A media debate has been raging over the past week over a young woman who said she was made to feel like a ‘rubbish mum’ after she was thrown out of a store.
This was not because she was doing anything against the law, but rather because her 16-month-old daughter had a tantrum.
Lindsay Robinson was shopping at the Trafford Centre branch of John Lewis when her little treasure Heidi had a temper fit.
The reasons for Heidi being ‘loud and vocal’, Lindsay said, were because her daughter was upset as she is only just learning how to become stable on her feet and didn’t want to wear her harness to help her walk.
As Lindsay was trying to calm her daughter down, she was approached by a member of staff from menswear who ordered her to leave the shop.
Lindsay said: “He said to me ‘I’m afraid we’ve had a complaint, you will have to leave'. I was shocked. I dropped a key ring and rucksack for Heidi that I was about to buy and this staff member escorted us out of the store.
“I said to my friend, who was shopping with me ‘did that really happen’?”
Lindsay later made a formal complaint to John Lewis who have apologised and offered her a £20 voucher as an apology, which she said she wasn't interested in.
However, her tale prompted a flurry of online debate in the form of opinion pieces and columns. Surprisingly, many of them appear to be praising the John Lewis staff member who threw Lindsay and Heidi out of the shop – even calling for John Lewis to ‘grow a backbone’ rather than apologising for the action that was taken.
Did the shop 'deserve a medal'?
Daily Mail journalist Claire Foges wrote the member of staff ‘deserved a medal’ because most shoppers are heartily sick of parents who stand by while their offspring throw monstrous tantrums in public.
“Whether in shops, restaurants or pubs, more and more parents seem to think it acceptable to let their offspring scream away, regardless of the impact on those who are trying to enjoy themselves in peace,” she declared.
Plenty of others have backed up this opinion, with the exception of writer Hilary Scott who thinks the critics should ‘get over it’, because ‘it’s these screaming kids who will be working all hours to prop up the economy in a few years time, so you can have a pension in your old age'.
But wherever you stand on this, let’s just look at this way. Were we all model children ourselves? Did we never utter a sound when our parents took us to a public place?
Of course nobody wants to be sitting in front of a screaming child on a long-haul flight or trying to enjoy a quiet meal with a rowdy child spoiling the atmosphere, certainly not me.
But one would hope our fellow human beings would be mindful of the fact that most parents are really just trying to do their best at balancing a demanding life with busy careers as well as children and relationships, and sometimes a trip to John Lewis could be a welcome respite.
When a child is screaming blue murder, the best solution is to take them outside, if only to save your own embarrassment.
But I can’t help thinking there are ways of dealing with situations, and making the mother in question feel as if she was a criminal isn’t one of them.