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  1. #1
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    Question What would you have done?

    I guess this is almost a Dear Abby question. Nothing too serious but I kind of want to know the general consensus.

    I am currently on a business trip in Miami and yesterday I went to a nearby mall (Merrick Park mall, fairly high end) for lunch. I went into this very well maintained ladies' room right outside Nordstrom. There was a line (what else is new?) and all were patiently waiting. Now, there was this woman with a young boy who looked about 9 or 10. He ran to every stall and peeked inside between the doors and door frames. He then would laugh and say something in Spanish to his mother (or least I assume that was his mother) who was also in line. And then he would do it back and forth so he would peek into the same stall multiple times again and again. And not just a glance, he was actually standing there and peeking for like half a minute into a stall. So even though I don't understand what he was saying, I know it was not a matter of finding out if a stall was empty. All this time, his mother was just reading something on her phone, hardly answering him.

    I was shocked at by his behavior. More shocked that his mother said absolutely nothing. And even more shocked nobody standing in line said anything either. They all looked like nothing unusual was going on.

    I personally found his behavior totally unacceptable, and his mother's. But I am not at all sure I have a right to displine other people's children so I didn't say or do anything. Also the fact everyone else seemed to think nothing of it made me wonder if I was overreacting.

    Now my question is: do you also find this behavior totally unacceptable? Or am I being over sensitive? Also, if you do think this is unacceptable, what would you have done?

  2. #2
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    IMHO, boys over the age of 5 do not belong in the ladies' room to begin with. I probably would have requested mall security to inform the mother that her 10-year-old needed to leave and go to the men's room.

  3. #3
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    You are not being overly sensitive. That behavior is unacceptable. You could have substituted girl for boy, or changed the age, and it still would have been unacceptable behavior. There are expectations of privacy in certain situations, and this is one of them. The mother should have stepped in and put a stop to it.

    If I'd been in line, I probably would have said something to the mother, or just looked directly at the child and said something. Often, a direct word from a stranger has a greater effect. There is a shame factor. If I had been in the stall and seen him, I probably would have poked him, kicked under the door or made a loud noise or something to startle him.

    Even if the child was somehow mentally challenged, and that would be the only reason I can see for a 10-year old boy to be in the ladies room, the mother should have kept him from doing that.

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    Something should have been done. No one said anything probably to not be confronted by the mother or child.

  5. #5
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    i would have no problem asking the mother what was wrong with her and the kid and why she was so hell bent on raising a sociopath. i understand not everyone loves a fight w a stranger in public though.
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    It's totally unacceptable behaviour, but like you, I wouldn't have said anything - probably out of fear of getting yelled at by the mother. The idea of him peeking through the gaps in the doors did remind me though that I find it really odd when I'm in North America that the public loos have massive gaps that you can see in between the door and the edge of the door and also the doors are so high off the ground. When I first visited the US when I was in my teens I used to avoid using public washrooms like the plague because I couldn't get over the feeling that people could see me. Public toilets in the UK are made so that there is no gap that you could peek into, I've always wondered why there's a difference!

  7. #7
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    I'm amazed none of the women in the stalls said anything.

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    That's horrible! And that his mother didn't stop him is disgusting! If I were the woman in that stall, I would have unlocked the door and kicked it open as hard as I could! And knocked the little pervert out! But, I'm kinda mean...
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  9. #9

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    I once reprimanded a little boy for peeping in my dressing room at a store. The first time he did it, I asked him very nicely not to do it again. The second time, I wasn't so nice. His mother promptly told him how not nice I was for not understanding how little boys are. I bet he grew up well!

    But no, that behavior is totally not acceptable. You weren't overreacting.
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  10. #10
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    I agree this is unacceptable, but I probably wouldn't have said anything either. I might have given her a passive aggressive look. If I had been in a stall I might have said something to the mom as I exited.

    I can understand why she might feel she have to bring him, if the line is long and she needs to use the bathroom, she might not bet on him waiting outside for her and get lost (we don't know her situation, he might just be badly behaved so she can't count on him waiting, but he might be in custody case or other that would prompt her to keep him with her) - but she should have found a family restroom or asked him to stay in line. In fact, I would find this unacceptable for my 2 year old, and told him that you do not peek under bathroom doors, you wait with mommy.


    Quote Originally Posted by AnnieD View Post
    It's totally unacceptable behaviour, but like you, I wouldn't have said anything - probably out of fear of getting yelled at by the mother. The idea of him peeking through the gaps in the doors did remind me though that I find it really odd when I'm in North America that the public loos have massive gaps that you can see in between the door and the edge of the door and also the doors are so high off the ground. When I first visited the US when I was in my teens I used to avoid using public washrooms like the plague because I couldn't get over the feeling that people could see me. Public toilets in the UK are made so that there is no gap that you could peek into, I've always wondered why there's a difference!
    This is so true! US restroom stalls are so strange! In Denmark it is almost never stalls, but actually walls, floor to ceiling, with real doors in. If it is stalls, there are no freaking gaps, and the doors are tall enough so you can't casually look over. It is so funny, I tend to forget it until I land in Copenhagen airport, use a restroom, and go ahhh... I missed proper public toilets .

  11. #11
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    What a disgusting little creep!! If it were me in one of those stalls, I would have aimed my foot just to one side of the crack he was peeking through, and kicked the door/wall with all of my strength to scare the shit out of him; then, when I came out of the stall, I'd ask whose kid is that, and told that person she better take him in hand NOW, herself, before someone else does, and that she won't necessarily like what goes down when that time comes. 9/10 years of age is far more than old enough to know better than to behave in so crude a manner. There are just some situations where politeness is NOT called for or necessary in dealing with such behavior, and this is one of them.

  12. #12
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    I would have said, something - mostly a Hey, no!!!! out of sheer surprise.

    About his age - I have a friend who has a 6 year old who is taller than my tall 10 year old, so it could be he was just a really tall kid who appeared much older than he was...that being said, I would not allow my 2 year old to do that so the issue is the adult he was with....so I would have touched her shoulder and pointed to the child.

    I did permit my son in the ladies room until he was about 8. Around that time, at the beach a boy's neck was slit while his aunt waited outside the men's room I think many moms in the area delayed the going alone for their boys. There was a rule though - go in, use, and then wash up and wait in near the door. I think when he went to the men's room I would stand outside the men's room and give men the stink eye for the longest time.

    Kind of a funny - my son took my daughter around the mall for Christmas while I got a couple items by myself. He was about 16 or 17 so she was about 5. She needed to use the restroom and I figured he would wait for her outside the door. No.... he announced he was taking his sister inside and waited for her by the sink. He said no one cared enough to say anything. He just wanted to make sure she was safe.

  13. #13
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    It was totally out of line, but the people who call Miami Dade home are becoming increasingly rude, stupid, hostile, and self absorbed. Not that the rest of south Florida is any better, mind you.

    I've noticed a trend in malls in the past 5 years or so where people just walk into each other, neither says anything, and they just walk off to bump into someone else all with a blank look on their faces. It's like Dawn of the Dead, with a bunch of zombies milling about.

    Not much you could do-You can't fix stupid, and you can't kick a 10 year old brat in the face.
    Last edited by leesaleesa; 02-16-2013 at 12:34 AM.

  14. #14
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    I don't think you were being overly sensitive at all. Personally I would have left and asked the nearest store clerk to call mall security, or if there was a security station nearby, I would have gone there and reported it myself.
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    I think I would have said something.

    I did say something to someone in a post office about letting their kid slobber all over a soft toy for sale that were beside the waiting area, along the lines that you don't know what germs are being passed on to someone else who might pick up that toy later on. The parent was handing one of the toys to the kid to play with while they were waiting. I think they got the message too.
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  16. #16

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    I was at a restaurant and saw two boys sticking their hands in the food on a salad bar and stirring it around and laughing about it. They looked to be around 10 or 11 years old and were there with their soccer team. The parents and coaches were busy talking and ignoring what the kids were doing. I told them, "Get your hands out of that food right now! You're old enough to know better than that and nobody wants to eat something you've had your hands in." They ran back to their tables, and I went to the manager and told him what they'd been doing. The manager didn't seem at all concerned and didn't have somebody replace the stuff they'd stuck their hands in. It was the last time I ate at that restaurant.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moto Guzzi View Post
    ... They ran back to their tables, and I went to the manager and told him what they'd been doing. The manager didn't seem at all concerned and didn't have somebody replace the stuff they'd stuck their hands in. It was the last time I ate at that restaurant.
    Yuck! I was at Fresh & Easy and next to the register someone left a refrigerated dinner out - I let the staff know and the guy felt it and said, it still feels cold, I'll put it back. I won't shop there again. Why did he have to say anything aside from "Thanks, I'll take care of it"?

  18. #18

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    I think the boy's behavior was totally unacceptable, and from the description it sounds like it went on for a LONG time. The mother was totally irresponsible because the boy could grow up with 'those' problems and worse. I know from experience that people try to avoid confrontation, and they think keeping quiet is the right thing. However, it is not. I am not sure what I would have done, but I tend to speak up, and so far I never got in trouble for it. I would have at least asked the woman/mother who was so busy reading something on her phone if it was her son and if he could stand in line next to her.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moto Guzzi View Post
    I was at a restaurant and saw two boys sticking their hands in the food on a salad bar and stirring it around and laughing about it. They looked to be around 10 or 11 years old and were there with their soccer team. The parents and coaches were busy talking and ignoring what the kids were doing. I told them, "Get your hands out of that food right now! You're old enough to know better than that and nobody wants to eat something you've had your hands in." They ran back to their tables, and I went to the manager and told him what they'd been doing. The manager didn't seem at all concerned and didn't have somebody replace the stuff they'd stuck their hands in. It was the last time I ate at that restaurant.
    This is shocking. I hope you did not eat at that restaurant after watching this!

  20. #20
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    People often have bad reactions to other adults reprimanding their kids, but I don't really care. I would have told that kid "Hey, stop that! You cannot peek into the bathroom stalls while people are in there. It is private." IMO the behavior needed to be stopped immediately.

    Last year while I was in the lobby of our ice rink during a competition, several kids about ages 7-10 were running around like crazies jumping on and off the benches and playing chase, all while skaters were trying to put their skates on and off. The moms were on the staircase chatting and ignoring their kids. I was a competition organizer, and I yelled at the kids to stop running around and told them it was not safe to be doing so with skate blades sticking out in the open. Boy did I get a tongue-lashing from one of the Moms who told me to mind my own business and not be so harsh with the kids. In her mind there were nicer ways to tell them the same news. Really?! Where was she when discipline was needed. And what if the rink were held liable for slices to the kids legs and feet? Using a public lobby as a playground for one's kids is not acceptable. Would she let them run around the indoor pool deck playing chase too? Thankfully there are lifeguards who would stop that before an accident occurred. Honestly I have very little patience for parents who let their kids run wild because they are too lazy to keep tabs on them. If the kids want to play chase, take them to a park, not the lobby of an ice rink. Parents need to teach their kids acceptable behavior in public places, and if a sibling is bored while another family member is doing an activity, then bring books, puzzles, quiet play toys, coloring books, etc. to keep them occupied. How that parent who yelled at me could not see the safety hazard in the rink is beyond me.

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