Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Manners R Us

This is just a little post.

It might not mean a lot to you, but it means a lot to me.

Joe and I had gone shopping to Toys R Us in Dedham. We were looking for those beads that everyone seemed to have when I was a child. The kind where one pops into another and you could form necklaces and bracelets or simply make long strings of mulit-coloured beads. Ruby is coming to Toronto this week to see the ballet 'Sleeping Beauty' and we wanted her to make her own jewellery for the event.

We don't regularly go to the big toy stores, choosing to shop at our local independent store. So we entered and were immediately overwhelmed by the size and the range of stuff. Right inside the door was a customer service desk. A young fellow was working there so I just pulled over to ask directions. Yes, you read that right, I have no difficulty asking for directions. Two reason for this, one, I don't know how to get everywhere I want to go and two, I don't know how to do everything - directions, that's just an easy decision.

The fellow told us that he didn't know of those kinds of beads, other than giant ones for little, little, kids. Then he suggested we go to an aisle fourteen or fifteen rows up. Then he said, I'll have one of our staff meet you there and show you what we've got. I thanked him and started to drive away. I was thinking that I could somehow work this into a blog and find out if any of you knew where to get them when I heard a distinct click and knew he was about to make an announcement over the store speakers.

I flashed to all the times, before the cell phone, when I've received phone calls in restaurants or in other public places, I always ask the hapless message giver - 'And just how did they describe me?' This leads to bluster and it's not fair that I do it, but I do. His voice came on the speaker clearly. 'Great, I thought, the first time I'm able to clearly understand the speaker system and it's going to be a description of me.'

'Could someone meet two gentlemen, one wearing a brown shirt, the other with a dark coat, they are heading to the 'totally me' section.'

That was it.

No wheelchair.

No weight.

Now, I'm not ashamed of either of those things. Really, I know this sounds as if I am. I just get tired of being reduced to those to things, in peoples minds and in people's vocabulary. It was just a really nice moment. A moment when fear gave way to realization. Yes, there are really nice people in the world with social skills, with social discretion and with vocabulary.



karen said...

Very sweet. I love it when someone knows how to describe a person, regardless of their abilities or unique features.

Um ... the beads you are looking for (I am super tired, so did I miss that part of your post? Did you find any?) were being made by a company named Parent. They were often found at Costco at Christmas time but I had heard they were going on strike. The cheap copies at the dollar stores (and maybe ToysRUs?) are not worth a dollar -- they don't really go together easily because they are hard plastic.

Anyway, these are the ones we had http://www.meetthedubiens.com/2010/09/parents-pop-beads.html and I noticed that another company, Klutz, makes a booklet called Pop Bead Critters.

Hope this helps! We love the independent toy companies here in Vancouver too, and find that they generally have *better* selection than the local T'R'U.

Anonymous said...

That's great to hear! I always love it when people find ways to describe me besides girl in chair; I was once in a class sitting next to two other blonde girls and one girl couldn't remember my name and said 'the blonde girl over there'. We were all quite confused but no one specified the wheelchair even though it would have been the easiest way.

John R. said...

That is customer service!

Joyfulgirl said...

I'm glad. Needed a "nice" story today so thanks for that.

Joyfulgirl said...

Also thanks for the beads idea - am going to look into those for future gifts!

Louise said...

This reminds me of a phrase that passed into my family story...... I was about seven years old and watching cricket on TV with my dad. The very first black cricketer to play for England was on the screen, with a couple of others. The commentator said, 'and that's X (forgotten his name!), the ..... er ....... the ........ er ..... the gentleman with the spectacles.'

wheeliecrone said...

Every once in a while I meet someone who is so nice and pleasant and courteous, I wish I could shake hands with his or her parents and tell them what a good job they did.
It sounds as if you would like to shake someone's Mother's hand, Dave.

Anonymous said...

As I was reading this story, I thought of my 9-year-old son, pointing out his 11-year-old sister (who has Down Syndrome) to a stranger: "She's the pretty one with the glasses."

As Karen said, Klutz makes something similar. You can buy Klutz products at Barnes & Noble or craft stores.

Debbie (NJ)

joanne said...

Yeah! thanks for sharing! I remember those beads...do they still make them or has technology taken over? have a great day all!

Susan said...

That's something I've never done. Seen a ballet live...

Ah, but Sleeping Beauty. It was the first movie I ever saw. I was maybe 3 or 4 years old. I think I remember it so well because it was one of the very, very few things we ever did as a "family". I remember being terrified by the witch and the idea of a poison apple - something very, very good which was hiding something very, very bad. "Mirror, mirror, on the wall..."

Oh,the memories!

Ruby is such a blessed little girl to have the uncles that she does. What an experience this will be for her! What fun you'll ALL have.

See a live ballet... That's going on my bucket list right now. :)

Alice Fraggle said...

I'm in tears. Beautiful story - hopefully the only things he noticed about you and Joe were the color of your shirts!

jwg said...

Back in the day they were called pop beads, but that was about 50 years ago. Sweet story.

jwg said...

PS There are lots of them on ebay under vintage pop beads for not a lot of money.

Joan Fraser said...

Hi Dave Joan here from wet (and windy) old Helensburgh Scotland.Hope you make it back some time. Thought I'd let you know that Duncan (our resident safety guy) who made such an impression on you when you were here lost his Dad very sadly and suddenly last week. Obviously he was stunned, but that same man was talking to friends, supporting his mum, waiting til his brother arrived from Australia - and has been a tower of strength for everyone. He shared with me that he was so fortunate to have gone home on the Friday night to an answerphone message which said "Hi Duncs - Dad here - just checking in and hope you've had a good night"......what a glorious memory that he was in his beloved Dad's thoughts just a few hours before he left this world in the early hours of Saturday. I told you before what a great guy Duncan is - and obviously his Dad felt the same:) x

Dave Hingsburger said...

Joan, oh my gosh, of course I remember Duncan. Please tell him that he is in our thoughts and prayers over here in Canada. Thank you so much for letting me know.

Rosemary said...

Loved your blog today, Dave.
I can relate to the whole description thing myself.