There has been an article going around stating that Bath & Body Works at a mall in Missouri refused to allow entrance to a group of special needs students there on a school field trip. There has been much talk and controversy over this, and for good reason. The special needs community has been in an uproar, asking to boycott that particular store or even Bath & Body Works in general, no matter where the store is located.
I have never subscribed to the boycotting thing. It doesn't much matter who it is or what the offense is, boycotting isn't my thing. Partly because if I boycotted everything that I disagreed with, I'd end up having to grow my own cotton to make my own clothing, and buying dad's 100 acre farm to grow enough food to feed our family because I wouldn't be able to buy anything, anywhere. Plus I think there are better ways to deal with things. Let's say that 14,000 people would refuse to shop at Bath & Body Works. But how many of those haven't shopped there at all or enough to make a difference in the first place? If you take those out, maybe 10,000 shoppers are boycotting. That sounds significant, but when compared to the actual number of shoppers that grace the store annually, I'm guessing however many stand up as a boycott wouldn't make any kind of difference to the store's overall bottom line.
My approach is generally to educate. Most people are rude or unkind because they don't know all the facts, such as students with special needs certainly aren't going to deter shoppers from making purchases while in your store. Or that by taking a stand against innocent students will only make you, as an individual, look like the bully that you are. I'm a bit frustrated with the teacher in the situation for not advocating for her students and insisting that they be allowed into the store because it is their right as free citizens of the United States to shop at a store in a public mall. But I wasn't there and don't know how things happened, so I'm not really in a position to judge her for that.
I am, however, in a position to educate and advocate in my local area. I have decided, as a response to this incident, that I will frequent Bath & Body Works every single time I have Micah with me at the mall. I will pretty much dare someone to stop us at the door, or ask us to leave once we're inside, just by my presence alone. I'm highly doubting this will ever happen, but in the event that we would ever get an uneducated and uninformed manager or employee to act the bully, I would not hesitate to remind them of our rights as citizens just like all the other shoppers in their store have. I will proudly take my son with me wherever I go, and insist that the world accept him the way they accept me. That's the way I roll.
This evening, we were at the mall, so I stopped at Bath & Body Works. I needed some cracked heel cream, and their store has an amazing formula that has been my mainstay for years. I go through a jar of it every winter, and I needed to restock for the upcoming cold months. I walked to the back of the store with my children in tow. While I made my selection, the kids were behind me wishing I'd hurry a bit faster. The cashier was a very kind lady who smiled at us and wished my husband a happy Veteran's Day, and said she wished the store gave a discount to veterans as a thank you. As we were leaving the store, Becky informed me that Micah spit on the floor while I was making my selection from the shelves.
Some people just lack education, therefore they don't understand the big picture and act in ways that are rude or unkind. Micah learned this evening that spitting on floors is not acceptable behavior and will garner his mother's disapproval in ways that will make him never want to pull that shenanigan again. Except he's stubborn and pretty much does what he wants sometimes regardless of consequences. Just like normal people do, even grown adults in charge of managing very large retail chains.
I'm not excusing anyone's behavior. Rudeness is never acceptable. I'm simply pointing out that educating others is a better way to change the world than retaliating in anger. It's what I've been teaching my children for nearly 2 decades.