I was out a couple weeks ago shopping with my friend and her 3 month old daughter. There was a man smoking outside the entrance to the store. Now before you go bashing me, I have absolutely no issue with anyone’s life choices. He has all rights to smoke if he wants to. It’s what comes next that I’m upset about.
As this is the only entrance, my friend and I try to mind our own business and discreetly get the baby past the smoke as fast as possible. Apparently this is where we were wrong in his eyes. He sees what we are doing, and proceeds to exhale his smoke in our direction and wave it DIRECTLY INTO THE STROLLER! We didn’t know how to respond. We just gave him a nasty look as we rushed the baby out of the way.
I’m interested to see how others would have handled this situation. Is there really any other way to handle people like this? 0923-13
Perhaps you were not as discreet as you thought you were in expressing a disdain for the man’s smoking habit. But no matter, there are cretins in this world that would behave in this obnoxious manner with little to no provocation whatsoever. This guy reminds me of the junior high school bully who tormented kids for no apparent reason other than delighting in other people’s discomfort.
So, what do you do when faced with a strange man in a public place who makes a passive aggressive action towards a baby? You avoid him because to do anything else at that moment is to place the baby right in the middle of an adult conflict with no assurance that you can win the war. If he’s creepy enough, you call the police to report a suspicious vagrant loitering outside a store and behaving in a way that is not socially acceptable. You report the incident to the store manager in the chance that he is a store employee or a regular customer that the manager can speak to.
Years ago I encountered a teenaged employee of a grocery store having a major anger fit in the parking lot. The problem was, he was directing his rage at his supervisor at customers in the parking lot and I was the closest person to him when he went off. I simply turned on my heels and walked right back into the store, asked to speak to the manager who proceeded to tell me this kid was one of the “emotionally challenged” young adults they hire. I knew the company tried to hire disabled or mentally challenged individuals, some of whom were a great asset to the store (“Hi Willie!”). But this individual was different in a way that was not a positive contribution and his behavior was alarming. I pointed out to the manager that it was not his customers’ responsibility to have to deal with assuaging the explosive anger of one of his employees on their way to their vehicles and that this presented an unknown danger I wasn’t willing to keep encountering. How do I know the kid won’t pull out a gun or take a knife from the butcher’s area or use a box cutter to put actions to his emotionally charged words? This employee was not to be seen after that so I assume he was fired.