Travel, Treats, Tips, & Traditions

That time I told off an old lady at Fantastic Sam’s.

Posted on: by Kate

Thank you for listening to my momma bear rant about That time I told off an old lady at Fantastic Sam’s ….. I’m just a mom who really loves her little girl.  All of her, no matter what her first impression is to you or what her challenges may consist of.


So my baby girl’s hair grows really fast.  I generally take her to my salon for a bang trim because they are really good with kids and their bang trim is only $10 – even for kids – and they are REALLY great!  Sadly, earlier today I did not have time to drive to my salon so I swung into the Fantastic Sam’s right down the street from our house right after dropping off the big kids at school.  We have a busy week and this would be cheap and quick.  It’s just a bang trim, so it should be fine.

My daughter has some sensory and anxiety challenges.  She hasn’t been diagnosed with anything official and the TEAM of doctors that have worked together to keep her alive have all mentioned she might just have a strong personality and she might have some slight spectrum issues we can watch and address later, but still; she’s a little different…. but aren’t we all?

Anyway, I do my best as her mommy to meet her needs, help lessen her anxiety, and also teach her how our world works and how we have to live in it….. but she is two.  We walked into the salon and I said to my baby girl “Let’s get are hair trimmed OK? It’s gonna be so quick K?”

“I no like it.” in a whisper, her chin tucked into her chest and hugging her sunglasses tight.  No yelling, no fit.  Her little feet stamped nervously, but not a fit at all.

I led her hand over to the chair that was set up just for her.  “Sweets, I bet you can sit still for just a minute and I bet the nice lady will let you have this lollipop while you do your cut K?” She shuffled over, chin still tucked into her chest.

“That’s bribery.”  Says a little old lady getting a shampoo set in the chair next to ours.  I had been focused on my daughter, but my eyes met her judgmental smirk.

“Yup.  I’ve got three kids, they are all alive.  This one gets a tiny lollipop when she gets a haircut because it helps her get through it. I don’t feel badly about that at all, but everyone raises their kids differently.” Me.  I am NO stranger to a judgmental look or statement from an old lady who clearly raised better behaved kids than I have.

Old lady shrugs.

The hair stylist brings over the cape and asks us to sit.  “Oh, do you have a booster?” Me.  “You aren’t going to hold her?” Stylist.  “No, I usually just hold her hand, but she sits on her own, she should be fine.” Me.

“Yeah, you shouldn’t spoil her.”  Old lady who I STILL have not asked for an opinion from quips in.

* Kate’s inner dialogue* “What would Jesus do, what would Jesus do…”

*deep breathe.*

Small talk between C’s stylist & me.  Small talk between old lady’s stylist and her.

Then old lady asks “How old is she?”

“She’s 2 and a half.”

“Well I am amazed.” Says the little old lady.

I prep myself with my ‘gracious face’ – because something with that lead in tends to be followed up with “She is doing so well.” “Her hair is SO thick and beautiful!” “Look at those long eye lashes!” or something else complimentary….. silly me.

“When I was 2 1/2 I was already reading.” Judgmental look up and down at my baby and then a sneer.


Seriously, my eyes got hot.  I have had a decent morning thus far, but this mean old lady was totally gonna make me cry.  I don’t cry freely, I hate crying so much.  So I prayed and stroked my baby girl’s hand.  She was doing so good.

“My mom had to put me in school at four because I was just too smart.”

So she isn’t stopping.  I bit my tongue and felt a tear start to well in my left eye.  I don’t know what to do with this.

I decided I would write her a little note before I left. Something along the lines of….

“Dear Ma’am – You don’t know me, and I don’t know you.  I don’t need to defend my child’s intelligence, or my parenting to you.  But just because I will.  My daughter has challenges your child may not have had and you may not have had.  My daughter’s doctors told us she might not walk or talk and she has been in and out of a hospital much of her life.  She isn’t reading yet, but you can’t tell all she is thinking by a five minute meeting.  All that being said, I think it is sad that your mom taught you to read and never taught you manners or tact.  I am her mom, I love her even if she isn’t reading yet or if she has anxiety when getting her hair cut.  You hurt my feelings, but I hope you have a nice day, Love, Kate”

Ah, the best of intentions………..

The phone rings and our stylist needs to answer it.  Old lady by this point is over getting her hair shampooed.  And like many old ladies just like her, she doesn’t realize (or doesn’t care) that just because her ears don’t work anymore, doesn’t mean that everyone else’s don’t.  She talks about her new medication that was for a disease she couldn’t recall the name of, but it was gonna make her boobs get smaller, and her dance class she teaches and then as she stands up to walk back to her chair she says to her stylist plenty loud enough for all in the salon to hear.  “I am just amazed at that little girl over there.  When I was 2 1/2 I was reading, and look at her.”

And she sashays her judgmental butt back over in our direction…. but I stopped her, just for a second.

“You know what? You are a MEAN old lady.  A mean judgmental old lady.  I think it is terribly sad that your mom had the forethought to teach you to read at such a young age but never taught you to use your manners.  I think it is sad that you have obviously lived a very long life and have never learned or care to show tact. You don’t know me or my daughter.  It is NONE of your business, but my oldest was reading at 2 1/2 too.  This one was a NICU baby, doctors told us she might not live, she doesn’t read yet, and I am totally OK with that, but who are you to judge a kid and a mom that you have only seen for a couple minutes?  Not every kid has the same start in life and I think it is sad that you feel like you are better than me because you don’t think my baby is smart enough.  She is doing fine.”

And some more stuff….. I kinda blacked out a little bit.  But I know I called her a mean old lady several times….. which to be fair was a tried & tested fact – she hadn’t tested my daughter’s intelligence at all, but felt the need to call her not so smart on more than one occasion.

Christ-like behavior?  Maybe not.  I dunno though…. I think that sometimes “What would Jesus do?” can be answered with “Throw over some tables and call people out on their inappropriateness.”

I only yelled for 30 seconds or a minute max…. but I can say a lot in a minute.  Could I have kept quiet? Probably.  I usually do.  I usually suck it down and then write something snarky on facebook.  But I didn’t this time.  This time I confronted.

What did she say in response? NOTHING.  No “Oh, I am sorry.” No, “That isn’t what I meant.”  Just a condescending nod in my direction and then she went on talking about here weird boob medicine and how she liked the conditioner the stylist had used.

Nobody said anything.  Her stylist focused on her hair, Little Miss C’s stylist finished up her hair, and that was about it.

The guy in the waiting area looked like he was going to pee his pants while I gave meanie a piece of my mind, but that was about it.

The folks in the waiting area complimented her adorable haircut as we walked out (it may have been because she truly was cute…. it may have been for fear of her mama bear, who knows.).

I was checked out by a somewhat annoyed stylist, who I tipped slightly better than usual, even though she wasn’t super friendly at that point.  I suppose it was me that made the room tense.  Uh, I’m not the one who called a baby stupid, but I suppose meanie is probably a more regular customer than I am so I suppose it makes sense for you to be on team meanie.

I congratulated my little girl on doing such a good job and then sat in my car and cried and shook.  I called my mom and my husband to share the story because I didn’t think it was right to drive.

Then I posted about the altercation on facebook.  I guess I am still worked up about it, because then I blogged about it.  Thank you for letting me vent.


Also, I may not be welcome at Fantastic Sam’s anymore.  *shrugs*

* For the record, I have nothing against old ladies.  I hope the future is kind enough to me that I get to be one at some point.  My point to her was that my little girl hadn’t been around quite long enough to know how things all work here on Earth…. but she had been here plenty long enough to know about tact and kindness.  She chose to be mean.  That’s sad.  I’d like to be a nice old lady someday, not a mean one.  Also, I don’t think Fantastic Sam’s was at all responsible for said old lady’s remarks – but I think that SOMEONE should have said “I’m sorry that lady was mean to your little girl, we hope you will come back.”…. but they didn’t.

** Update ** “That time I told off an old lady at Fantastic Sam’s”  made it’s way to corporate and then to the local Fantastic Sam’s franchise that we visited that day.  We received a nice note from the owner saying he was very sorry for our experience and thank you for sharing with him as it would provide a valuable learning experience in customer service for his stylists and employees in the future.  This was all I really wanted, to feel validated in my bumming experience.  While it was not at all necessary or requested – he also said he would love to have Miss C back ‘on the house’ – so we will probably be back at least once more.

Until Next Time ~ Kate
Comments: 32 Responses
  1. Sarem says:

    Sorry you experienced that kind of lady! So true…she’s much older & judgemental with that kind of attitude towards a mom with a small child! Wow! Anyone can change, so I truly hope she starts NOW!

  2. Good for you for standing up for your child!! I can’t imagine anyone saying anything negative to or about baby C!!
    Also, I’m a big believer in turning over tables and calling people out on their inappropriateness.


  3. christina says:

    Good for you Kate, Sometimes the older generation that we are taught to respect can get a little rude in their old age and you can only take so much from a rude old lady like that .She should not be judgemantal of anyone ,especially a 2 year old child.You absoulutely did the right thing, don’t question your motherly instinct and now that you vented move on and ENJOY time with your Family.

  4. Jen H says:

    Good for you for standing up! There are times when something should be said, and this was definitely one of them! Sorry you had to deal with this though, I hope it didn’t ruin your whole day.

    • Kate says:

      it didn’t ruin the whole day, but it did upset me more than it usually does =( but I LOVE how many people came over to support us!

  5. Annette says:

    My blood is boiling just thinking about this. I wish I had been there to help give old meanie a piece of my mind, as well. Good for you for standing up for your baby girl.

  6. shannon says:

    What an awful thing to go through, and, sadly, there are many of us moms who can attest to “mean ladies” (I’ve experienced ALL types of mean ladies, old and middle aged). I think Jesus is proud of you because he rebuked many people himself, and you called her on her bad behavior. I agree that the salon should have done something, or said something. There is an odd thing in this world today – noone wants to get involved, noone wants to speak up when there’s indignation, noone is NICE/POLITE. I have been stalked in a parking lot twice with my little boy (also NICU grad), by a middle aged man and middle aged woman. ThOne instance she felt it was necessary to block my vehicle in because she didn’t like the fact that my boy was skipping close by me holding a toy. I should have had him on a leash. People are so odd that they feel it’s necessary to speak their mind. So, I guess you’re “odd” too cause you spoke your mind! ha ha. GO MAMA BEAR!

    I guess all you can do is pray for her, cause there’s noone who would want to be around her. She probably has no family or friends.

    • Kate says:

      I agree – I have had several mean ladies (and even kids) of all ages – I suppose I was too hard on her for her age. 😉 – you are totally right – I went back and forth between being so mad at her & also feeling a bit bad for her….. her trip to ‘the salon’ was probably the highlight of her day – and then I went and ruined it….

  7. Jennifer P says:


    My son just turned 8 on Jan 10th. He too was a NICU baby and we were told he may never talk, he may never walk and so many other things all of which he has overcome. However, because of scar tissue in his lungs he coughs like he has croup ALL the time. We allow him to BMX race like his older sister and cousins because HE wants to. Not because we force him to I cannot count how many times MAMA BEAR has come out of me at these races. I have had to defend him and us so many times about how we are harming him and he is a sick child how dare we have him coughing around the other kids. I am amazed at those who ask nicely and get to know us and those who don’t. Don’t ever feel bad for defending your parenting or your child. God gave the special children only to those who could handle the comments and stares. God bless you.

    • Kate says:

      thank you so much! I really thought I was just blowing off steam – I didn’t think much of anyone would identify – thank you!!

  8. Kelly says:

    Good for you mamma!
    I wish I had been there because I would have been the one to cheer you on. I have a nicu baby that is 5 now and speech delayed. He just told me tonight that kids in his class are making fun of him for the way he talks. So sad that the judgements by some start at such a young age and clearly do not get better as they age. Our hope can only be to teach our own how to be kind to one another and not take what others say about us or to us to heart.

    • Kate says:

      Im scared of other kids too – our neighbor (another 7 year old) made fun of my son’s way of speaking the other day and it killed me inside =(

  9. Becky says:

    I’m so sorry! That’s terrible! This made me tear up just reading it! Don’t be hard on yourself for defending your daughter, that’s what moms are for! After all, she couldn’t defend herself and you probably would have felt worse if you would have walked out and said nothing. Could you have handled it differently? Maybe. But, none of us are perfect by any means! I don’t think that we as Christians have to let people walk all over us. I am really disappointed in the staff that they didn’t apologize for the woman. Like you said, it wasn’t their fault but, they should have tried to make it right. Hugs to you and your daughter! I’m sorry again you had such a bad experience! 🙁

  10. Chris says:

    I wish all mamas were like you. Go girl. Go girl.

  11. JJ says:

    Reading at 2 1/2!? I was amazed my 4 year old knew what the number 8 was in the checkout line today! There are plenty of capable 2nd graders in my son’s class who cannot read. What a close minded lady, thoughts and well wishes to you!

    • Kate says:

      Thank you JJ! For real right? My oldest knew all her letters by 2 1/2 and could read a couple words but we knew that was the EXCEPTION – this old biddy was judging all 2 1/2 year olds by the alleged fact that she was reading at 2 1/2 – it was really just an opportunity for her to brag about herself I guess – I don’t know….

  12. Kate, I’m sure you will never be “a mean old lady,” because you’re not a mean lady now. Most mean old people were mean young people. Did you do the right thing? I can’t be the judge of that. On a good day, I probably would have ignored the woman, knowing that nothing I could say would make a dent in her narrow mind! On a bad day? I probably would have done what you did! You sound like a wonderful mother.

  13. Nancy Barrett says:

    I was reading this, and then my 8 year old popped up behind me and started reading too.

    Here is her comment … “That mean lady is mean and mean! I hope that she someday apologizes (which I don’t think she will because she’s so rude). I hope you have a happy experience to make up for that sad experience. And another thing, you should have gave her MORE of a lecture! I hope that your daughter will always be nice, unlike that lady.”

    And here is my comment … “People DO need to be called out when they are rude and don’t have a clue that they are being hurtful. But rude people are like kids; they only hear the first sentence you say, so keep it simple. As the mom of a child who is “outside the norm (whatever the heck normal is :-)”, you will probably have some more of these experiences. It might be helpful to have a prepared standard response when people first cross that rudeness boundary, like “My daughter is special in a lot of ways, and she is developing just the way she should be.” (or ‘just the way God intended’ might work better for you) and then ignore any further snarky comments. That way, you get your point across without going all ‘Momma Bear’ and raising your own emotional stakes in the interaction. I know it can be tough parenting a child with sensory and anxiety issues; just 6 months ago, my daughter refused to get a haircut (the first one we had tried at a salon since she was 3) because she couldn’t stand the feel of the paper strip and the cape around her neck. I apologized and briefly explained to the stylist that she had sensory problems, got a haircut myself while my daughter watched, and walked out with my head high. She’s not perfect, and neither am I.” Have a great day!

  14. Phoebe says:

    I was trying to let this go and not say anything but the comments are making me sad. Mean old ladies are sometimes kind people who are suffering from age related illness. My grandmother was a kind and loving woman who would be horrified at the rude things she says now. When our minds start to fail it often goes undiagnosed. If it is the early stages it can just look like someone is rude and grumpy. They are still well enough to go about their usually routine but are just not themselves. It is only when others around them notice things like they are forgetting important information or getting lost, that they may get treatment. If an elderly person lives alone and does not see family often they could go unnoticed for a while.
    I have not idea why that woman was rude to you, but since watching my grandmother fade slowly away from who she used to be, I have a different attitude towards cranky old people.

    • Kate says:

      Well, this old lady drove herself to the salon – if she is suffering from some age related illness that makes her say such awful things she probably shouldn’t be driving either. I agree sometimes older folks say things that they might not have when they were younger and more lucid, but a lot of times this is a standard excuse – this lady seemed very lucid, just mean. She was more than cranky and very lucid, just mean. Either way, even if she was honestly having issues with dementia or something like it, it still hurt my feelings and nobody said anything kind to our little girl or me…..

  15. Rachel says:

    I would have flipped too. What is the matter with people?

  16. Daisy Hamory says:

    good for you for speaking up!

  17. Mary says:

    WOW. This nearly made me cry. I am so happy you stood up to that bit*h. I couldn’t of said it better myself & how dare she judge a beautiful little girl whom she does not know. I feel sorry for her, no wonder she looks like an OLD lady, because shes a creep & it ages her! I was sorry there was no intervention, like her stylist saying be quiet, but happy the salon owner wrote you.

  18. […] And now many years later I know and I sure wish I could go back.  Now I have a little one that challenges me more.  And my normal MO now is to prep my little one for a trip to grocery store (or wherever), to start with the best of intentions every day to be patient and kind to everyone, and sometimes it works out, and sometimes I end up telling off old ladies who deserve being told off at Fantastic Sam’s. […]

  19. Amber says:

    I really don’t know why people have to be so mean sometimes. Sometimes I feel like they see someone vulnerable and they pick on them to make themselves feel better. I see it all the time and have also have had it happen to myself. I probably would have done the same thing. It’s hard to just sit and take it. Especially when you get it so often. I have to say though the part about what would Jesus do and how you would like to think he would ‘throw some tables over and call people out on their inappropriateness’ made me laugh.

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