Counter Measures

Robert Roe

I imagine that sometimes I come across as grumpy. Crabby. Perhaps even cantankerous. But that’s probably just because you don’t know me too well. If you did, you would say I’m curmudgeonly. “A distinction without a difference,” you might say. It’s all a matter of perspective, say I.

Case in point. A parent takes their toddler to a store, eager to buy widgets, geegaws or thingamabobs and get the heck out of there in order to get back to the “Chrisley Knows Best” marathon they were enjoying at home.

As if hoisting a purse or a backpack on the counter, said parent plops little Johnny or Susie on the counter and proceeds to ransack their purse or wallet to pay for the aforementioned junk.

Which leaves the child’s bottom nestled on the surface of a piece of space with which subsequent customers will have contact.

Before you get upset, let me rephrase that last sentence. Instead of nestling, I meant marinating. Infusing. Bathing. Pickling … whatever. A young person’s backside skootched around on a surface other people will use over the course of a business day. Sure, the coos and giggles of these little crumb snatchers are adorable, but not enough to have their less than tamed backsides canoodling where I am about to write a check or deposit some food.

Remember last week how outraged people were to see a father changing his child’s diaper on the floor of a men’s room? Now think of the kid sitting (diaper clad, to be sure) on a counter of, say, the Acme Widget Company.

Picture the baby’s bottom setting up shop on the counter of any number of businesses. Hold up. Replace the image of that cute, gurgling bundle of joy with anyone’s bottom. Sitting on the surface you are next to touch. Will it be for commerce? For a meal? Perhaps to just rest your hands or head on the place someone else’s backside has called home?

How do you feel – nauseous at the thought? Smug in the knowledge that your immune system is protected from baby bottoms? News flash – these are places of business, not baby lounges.

Am I on a war against the neonate? Don’t be absurd. However much I wish parents would be more attentive to where they park their offspring’s fourth point of contact, there are other pressing problems to be considered, like

Lurchers. I call them this in honor of the Addams Family’s cherished butler, Lurch. It doesn’t matter whether the sales counter is a foot or a mile wide, the Lurcher stretches over the counter like Mr. Fantastic at a Comicon signing, straining to see what is happening on the other side.

Personal space? Let’s talk about professional space between the customer and a service representative. Put simply, places of commerce are places of business, not places to get your business on.

Those are only a couple of the issues that stick in my craw. I’m sure once I have achieved my goal of being a crotchety old man, I’ll have more insights into what is wrong with the world these days. Now, if you would kindly get off my lawn …

Robert Roe