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TV Remote Wars In The Waiting Room

Today I was waiting at the auto repair shop and I was the only one in the waiting room along with the manager who was busy.  The TV was set on a talk program and I was crocheting and keeping an eye on it. A man came in with his DD about 10 and the kid went over and started flipping thru the channels until she got what she wanted to watch. I can’t stand Sponge Bob. I was very tempted to say,  “Yes I was watching that, please put it back.”  Or, “Yes I was watching that but I don’t mind if you change it.”   But I decided to keep the peace and said nothing. I thought it was better not to take the chance on a hissy fit or glare from the dad on his parenting style. Would you speak up or shut up? 0325-13

Since I do not own the business nor own the television in the waiting room, I view it as merely a nice perk of being a client of that establishment but not one I am entitled to control in any way.   I do not need a television in a waiting room and if there happens to be one, I might partake of the benefit.  More likely I’ve come with my own reading material or Kindle to preoccupy my time.


{ 63 comments… add one }
  • inNM April 1, 2013, 7:30 pm

    There is a secondary issue here that is one of my pet peeves: people choosing to not communicate with those around them and causing awkward and/or situations (and worse, when you raise an issue about it, they get defensive). How easy would it have been for the father to say, “Excuse me, miss, may I change the channel?” As the story was told, the OP may have gone ahead and given her approval anyway, or she may not have. I know if the OP was one of my particular friends, the situation would have gotten very uncomfortable very fast, as my friend has no qualms about cussing loudly in public; leading to the father claiming that she didn’t have to behave in that manner. However, the father is assuming that everyone is going to be a pushover to give his child what she wants, and with that attitude, there WILL ALWAYS be an incident when they pull that stunt with someone who cusses first and asks questions later.

  • Marozia April 1, 2013, 7:56 pm

    I agree with @Ergala. Ask permission first. If not given, give yourself/child something else to do.
    Vulgar, vulgar, vulgar. Children have no manners these days.

  • Cat April 1, 2013, 9:27 pm

    The father failed in his duty to teach his daughter the good manners to remember that other people need to be respected. You should certainly have been asked if she could change the channel to something she would find entertaining.
    Children, like adults, can bring something along to entertain themselves. If she is ten, she should be capable of reading a book suitable to her age.
    If you chose not to make an issue of it, that’s fine. If you had chosen to request that you be allowed to finish watching the program that was on, you had that right too.

  • just4kicks April 1, 2013, 11:03 pm

    I agree, the dad should have asked. My kids know by now that if someone is there before us, the kids have to find a book to read, or play on my phone, quietly. Most waiting rooms have kid friendly reading material, or at the very least, Reader’s Digest, which we find the joke section, and laugh at all the jokes while we wait our turn for our appointment.

  • SJ April 2, 2013, 12:59 am

    I agree that it was not worth saying something at the time.

    However, I think it should be up to the business owner what channel it is on -not you or the kid.

    I also agree that the behavior of the child is indicative of entitlement. Sad.

  • EchoGirl April 2, 2013, 11:19 am

    One thing I do have to disagree with most of the posters on is the idea that her crochet somehow meant she wasn’t really watching TV or could be perceived as such. I do all kinds of needlework in front of the TV because otherwise I get bored fast and lose interest and nothing gets done. I may not be staring at the TV but I’m acutely aware of what I’m watching. That said I’m usually doing this at home so I have channel control.

  • LC April 2, 2013, 11:49 am

    I disagree with this response.

    The owners of the business provided the TV for their customer’s entertainment. The fact that they left the remote in the waiting room indicates that they are giving customers control of the program that’s playing.

    I think it horribly rude for the adult dad in this situation to allow his child to grab the remote and change the channel without first asking the customer who arrived before them if she was watching the current program or if she minded if his child changed the program. That’s just common courtesy.

    Beyond that, he is teaching his child it is quite all right to be selfish and self-centered and that there is no need to consider the people around her. He could have used this situation to teach his child manners and consideration. Instead, he reinforced to her that she need not consider anyone’s comfort or desires other than her own.

  • Jo April 2, 2013, 12:45 pm

    Personally, I was always of the thought that if there’s a TV in a waiting room, it’s up to the receptionist or business owner to control — not me, not another client.

  • Kate April 2, 2013, 7:22 pm

    I think it would have been polite of the parent to ask before changing channels, but I know I’d rather listen to the annoying background noise of Spongebob than a child playing up out of boredom.

    On the topic of ‘inappropriate content’ in waiting rooms – when I was about 4 or 5, I went to the doctor with my grandmother. She didn’t realise I could read so when I picked up a copy of Reader’s Digest magazine she assumed I was just playing with it. I ended up reading a VERY graphic story about people being burned alive in a house fire and had screaming, horrible nightmares for about a month. My parents could not figure out why I’d suddenly developed this fear that the house would burn down.

  • RP April 3, 2013, 3:53 pm

    I probably would have just changed it back.

    Still, it’s odd that the establishment doesn’t have it set up so that the customers can’t change the channel anyway. Most places I’ve been that have a TV have it where you can’t reach it or have it set up so you can’t change the channel.

    I also can’t imagine going into some place and just changing the channel without asking the people already in the waiting area and certainly not without clearing it with the owner.

  • kingsrings April 6, 2013, 2:59 pm

    I remember once many years ago when my family was dining at a local pizza parlor. My aunt was very, very strict about what her children saw on TV, so of course, she was offended by what the TV had on. Twice, she asked the employees to change the channel because it was something she objected to her children seeing. These were primetime dramas airing. I can’t remember if anyone else was in the dining room with us, but I wonder – did her TV rights trump theirs because of the children/TV viewing issue?

    I do think others in the room should be asked if the channel could be changed before someone just changes it. Usually though, I could care less and am not watching the TV, I’m reading something instead. However, it also depends on the environment. If I’m dining, I don’t want to watch something unpleasant or unappetizing that will make me not enjoy my meal. Also, at my favorite nail place, a couple of times in the past they’ve aired intense, R-rated movies, which is absolutely not what I want to watch when I’m there to relax and enjoy a pedicure! Fortunately, they realized that and now only play nice DVD’s.

  • Rap April 16, 2013, 1:45 pm

    “I remember once many years ago when my family was dining at a local pizza parlor. My aunt was very, very strict about what her children saw on TV, so of course, she was offended by what the TV had on. Twice, she asked the employees to change the channel because it was something she objected to her children seeing. These were primetime dramas airing”

    If its a pizza parlor for adults (not one of the places with games and tokens for the kids) and it was regular broadcast tv – and not say, The Walking Dead or Breaking Bad, and in the evening, then I genuinely think that the aunt was out of line in asking for the tv channel to be changed.

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