…Don’t say anything at all.
I’m sure that’s a phrase that most people are familiar with in some form or another. I learned it as a child. I’d like to think that it’s still something taught to young children.
Oddly enough, the people who are the worst for breaking this age old rule aren’t children, but people who are definitely old enough to know better.
Pictured is (soon to be was) my hair. It’s green on top, blue underneath.
I love this hair. But then, I’ve always liked having odd coloured hair. I’ve had pink, purple, blue, red, red and black, purple and black, light green, dark green… Green has just been my favourite in the last few years.
Most people enjoy it too!
There are some people who think it’s weird, or who can’t understand why I would want green hair. And you know what? That’s okay! It’s even okay to ask me about it! I like talking about how I do my hair – the whole process and the amount of maintenance required surprises people.
What’s not okay is insulting someone to their face while they’re attempting to help you.
I work retail. I have an agreement with my boss that I can keep the green hair until just after Comic Expo. (Hence why it is being dyed back to blond at this very moment.) For the last couple weeks, I’ve had it green and blue, and most customers have loved it.
But there was one lady last Saturday who did not.
She came in, asking for a particular product that we don’t carry. I explained that we don’t have it, and I tried to offer suggestions on where she might find it. Then, this exchange followed.
Customer: What happened to your hair?
Me: Oh, I just decided to experiment!
Customer: Don’t do it again.
I’m sorry, but who are you to tell me not to do it again? Also, I’m not a child; I’m a grown woman! A grown woman who was trying to serve you, why would you try to scold me?!
I was absolutely stunned that someone could say that to me. I wish I could properly convey her tone over text. It was… so bitter and disapproving and judgmental.
I was so hurt. I normally have a thicker skin, but Saturday was my birthday, and at the time, it had already been a rough morning. That was just the last straw I needed to break down. I was still down about how Expo went, I was (still am) missing my husband who’s in Europe (my wonderful husband who supports my love of crazy colours), and I had a few other personal issues weighing me down as well. This woman didn’t know any of that – not that she’d have any reason to – but I wonder if it might have changed things if she had?
Ma’am, I doubt you’ll ever see this, but if you do – Your lack of respect for me as a stranger, as a human being you don’t personally know, was appalling. I cried. You made a grown woman cry on her 25th birthday. That said, I hope no one ever treats you with the disrespect that you showed me. No one deserves to be treated like that.
To everyone else who may be reading this – learn from this lady. It takes less effort to be nice, or to keep opinions to yourself than it does to ruin someone’s day. You don’t know what’s going on in a stranger’s life, and ultimately, that shouldn’t matter.
If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.