Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mother's Day insensitivies: will people never learn?

This coupon brought to you courtesy of my local grocery store: "If you're a mom, shop on Mother's Day and get 15% off your purchase with this coupon." (I guess if you're not a mom, just stay home and cry, or come in, suck it up, and pay full price).

In Mo's fantasy land: "If you're infertile, shop on Mother's Day and get 50% off and a hug."

Ok, actually I wouldn't have liked that either.

How about a simple, "On Mother's day, come in and get 15% off your purchase with this coupon." All comers. Those who are moms and those who are not. Those who have moms and those who do not. 

I had Magpie with me and it had been a long shopping trip already when I was handed my receipt with this printed boldly at the bottom.

It reminded me of an infertile patient whose church pastor yearly has the mothers stand up on Mother's Day, leaving those who can't have children sitting there painfully.

The receipt bothered me enough that I decided to take the time to officially speak to someone. Politely, but it felt worth mentioning. 

Management's response to my saying this coupon could be painful and left some people out? A genuinely baffled look, followed by a confused, "Oh, yeah, I guess it discriminates against men?" 

Intentions were clearly in the right place, and I knew that, but I also know that this holiday is a painful for many people.

Me: "What about women who want to have children but can't? Or women who lost their pregnancy?"


I'm sure I'm oversensitive as someone who thought she'd never get to be a mother. Mother's Day is already such a painful day when you want to be a mom and you can't get there. 

Local grocery store, I know you had all the best intentions, but this one missed the mark.


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  1. Oh, how frustrating. Good for you for speaking up.

    I don't know what is posted there this year, but last year a local and fairly conservative/traditional church (in terms of denomination, I can't speak to the community itself as it is not one I am part of) posted something along the lines of, "All women are special in the eyes of the Lord" or words to that effect in the days leading up to Mother's day.

    I meant to send them a thank-you note, though I didn't ever actually follow through.

    There are places that get it right.

  2. Go Mo! Good for you for speaking up!

  3. I work in cosmetics at a pharmacy. I burst into tears yesterday when a customer asked me what I was doing for my mother on Sunday. I didn't mean to, but I was on the cusp of cd1 and it just happened. She has been gone for 8 years and I'm having a really rough time this year due to gaining a stepmother who wants me out of my dad's life.
    My genuine customer service smile (yep it's real I honestly love my job and am happy at work) turned into a panicked, awkward grin a few times when customers wished me a happy mother's day. I don't thank them; what am I supposed to say, that this is literally my dark day? The worst day of every year for me? Not only have I lost my mother and the grandmother who helped raised me, but I may very well never get to celebrate this holiday and be slapped upside the head by it for the rest of my life?
    Wish me luck and no tears; I work Sunday.

    1. oh kalisu - sending thoughts to you today. hang in there. it's a tough day to work in customer service.

  4. I'm sorry, I usually really like your posts but you have lost me with this one. Why begrudge others their happiness? I can't stand this attitude. Very self absorbed. It is one day a year! Gees.

    1. sorry this one rubbed you the wrong way. I'm not really begrudging others their happiness, just wishing for folks to try not make situations harder than they have to be. I've arrived in my own personal happily ever after, but I try not to forget those that haven't gotten here yet.

    2. It may be "one day" a year Andrea, but it really "lasts" between 4 to 6 weeks form a retail standpoint. First the emails from every place you've ever purchased from (and some you haven't) start coming in, and then the displays go up, then random people you don't even know start wishing you a happy mother's day or asking what you're getting your mom. Whether you agree with someone's feelings or not, the feelings are valid.

    3. Well ... .right, to what @Mo and @Kalisu said and surely more to the point -- no one's begrudging mothers the happiness they get (if any, not all do -- see the latest Ask Moxie post for evidence) from being wished a Happy Mother's Day, or celebrated on Mother's Day. But please -- I'm a mom (and I have a mom). If you know that (that is, if you know me), by all means, wish me a Happy Mother's Day or ask me how my mom is doing. But don't assume (and if you're a business handing out random coupons, you don't know anything about me and therefore shouldn't bring that topic, or any number of other ones, up).

  5. I think the store was probably clueless and probably would have accepted the coupon no questions asked...but still.

    Last week in a group email (several agencies working on a project--maybe 5 men and 6 women), one of the women ended the email with "to the moms--happy Mother's Day!" That would have gutted me 6-7 years ago. And I know 5/6 women on the email have kids, but I'm not sure about the 6th--a woman in her 50s. Who knows her story?? Again, the email sender is probably clueless.

  6. I know this day hurts... I was there for many many many years. It took me 5 IVF cycle to get my miracles, but I would still not say anything. I mean, Mother's Day is widely celebrated. I don't have a problem with a coupon at a store. I would never go up to someone and tell them about remembering women that can't conceive. I don't think that they would get it, and I don't expect them to get it or be sensitive to it. Actually, I think that they would probably think I'm crazy to mention something like that.
    For example, I personally, don't believe in God. Never did. I don't make comments to people when they casually tell me "god bless you" when it comes up. I just smile and say thank you. I don't ever plan on discussing my atheism with them, when I know fully well it wouldn't change their views.
    My bottom line is, that everyone kind of follows what the majority does. I don't expect people to change the way they think because of the minority.
    For that matter, I still send "merry Christmas" cards to all my friends (even if they are jewish) at Christmas, just because it's Christmas and I get annoyed that we all have to be PC/sensitive all the time.
    I hope you don't take this the wrong way. I always agree with you, just not this time.

    1. UGH! Sorry, but it's not "PC" to not send "merry Christmas" to Jewish friends. It's common courtesy. Shall I wish you a good Ramadan?

    2. I am sorry you got upset by my response. As I mentioned before I don't practice any religion. I send Merry Christmas cards, because if happens to be what most of friends/relatives celebrate. I don't make different cards in order to reflect the religion of every person that receives them. It'll get very expensive if I do that, and yes, I have friends that are jewish and muslim. I have spoken to them about it and they don't seem to think there's anything wrong/insensitive with what I'm doing.
      If you want to wish me a good ramadan, I would have no issue with that, if that's what your belief is. If you're just saying it to insinuate that *I* would have a problem with anything "muslim" you're wrong.

    3. Not upset, V. Just astonished that you think it's perfectly fine. There a reason most people send cards these days that say "happy holidays." It's not about being PC, it's about being inclusive and respecting other peoples cultures and beliefs.

  7. we do that standing up in church thing.... which, of course, KILLED me for many, many years. I still don't like it but to be honest, they are really just clueless!

  8. I have 3 kids, grown now, so have never been in your position but I totally agree with you! When I turned on our Roku yesterday, Happy Mother's Day was plastered all over the background screen, I said to my husband "Wow, that's actually quite insensitive...what if you're an infertile woman and this is your day to hide from it all and watch Netflix all day?". I try to acknowledge ALL women on Mother's Day, regardless if it's for being a mom, step-mom, a pet mom, an aunt, a daughter or just a woman because we are all mother's when it comes down to it.

  9. Mo, you are not oversensitive! You spoke up and maybe gave someone a clue. Good grief, infertility and miscarriages are far from rare! Thank you!

  10. Hi Mo,
    I think it was great that you spoke up.
    Sure they acted out of ignorance rather than wanting to be hurtful to anyone, but awareness will never increase unless people speak up.

  11. AMEN. I was trying to explain to my husband what is so obnoxious about the special deals and so forth on Mother's Day. I know the same thing happens on Father's Day, but it just isn't quite as pronounced.

    good job on confronting the store! Even if it doesn't change anything, it is good to say something :)


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