This post was originally written sometime ago but it has seemed to connect with my latest post.
If I had a penny for every time I have been treated like this here, I would be a millionaire by now.
The first time I showed up carrying my son in a baby carrier to a mother’s group, rather than turning up in a four-wheel-drive, particularly sticks in my mind. I got looked at like something which had crawled out of the woodwork.
The times I have entered perfectly ordinary shops and have felt I was being treated like a shoplifter, are too numerous to mention. Now for something they don’t tell you about Australia – bag searches are routine here. The first time it happened I was out here as a backpacker. I was food shopping in Byron Bay and they had asked to look in my bag and that of my friend. We treated it as a bit of a giggle at the time. We had believed it was an anomaly. It is not.
I remember struggling around with two toddlers and a push chair and being subjected to a bag searches on numerous occasions. I was actually asked on one occasion, while paying for goods in a supermarket, to empty my bags. I had believed the cashier was quite nice, but she had seemed to be being encouraged by her supervisor to behave that way. I was used to shops asking for a cursary glance in bags, but this had been deliberate and humiliating.
I was shaking by the time I had left the store. A kindly Irish woman outside had cheered me up. When I had reached home, I had been ready to ring the head office to complain but had instead rung to speak to the store manager first. He could not have been nicer and had apologised. He had also told me to ask for him personally, should there be any future issues. Another time I had bought my son an ant farm for Christmas in another shop and I was chased down the street because they had happened to sell ant farms too. I had marched back to the shop and had demanded they go through my bags. I had got an apology. I have my own theories about this kind of behaviour.
My youngsters have friends who work in shops. Shop-lifting is indeed a major issue. I witnessed a nasty incudent in a charity shop one day. However that does not give shops licence to treat legitimate, paying customers like criminals. I realise the area had to deal with some difficult people but I would argue that treating ordinary customers this way, is not the answer. It is clear to me why customers decide it is just far less hassle to shop online. At the moment my policy is, you don’t get to be obnoxious to me twice, I just never visit there again.