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Hang On One Minute, I’d Love To Feel Yours Too

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

Finally, it was summer break. We had already made plans for a beach vacation and it was only two days before our flight was due. I decided to go into a drugstore to get some supplies for the trip and I took my oldest daughter with me.

So we walked into this drug store together. It was a long time ago, pre-corona times so no masking and no distancing rules. We got what we needed and headed straight to check-out. The cashier sitting behind the till was a young woman, probably in her twenties, with a toothy smile. She took one look at my daughter and beamed from ear to ear. She started scanning our items and started a conversation…

Cashier: oh what a beautiful Mischling, mixed children are the most beautiful.

Me thinking: here we go again…!

I gave her a feigned smile and took out my purse to pay.

Cashier: where are you guys from?

Me: Hamburg.

Cashier: I mean, where are you REALLY from?

I took one long look at her, wanted to say something very cheeky and hilarious like “from JUMANJI, the jungle…” then changed my mind and toned it down a bit.

Me: we’re from (name of our street)

She looks at me thinking that I probably misunderstood her. She turns her gaze back to my daughter, grinning. As I am counting out the money to pay for our stuff, she does the dumbest thing ever – she reaches out and fumbles with my daughters hair!

Cashier (giggling): oh that feels so fluffy. How nice… I’ve always wanted to know how that feels like…

That did it for me.

I gave her a steady icy look, but she was oblivious to that too, was too busy taking my payment and placing the change on the counter. So I did something else.

Me: Good woman, how old are you?

She looks up at me, not sure why I would ask -

Cashier: 22…?

Me: well…hang on one minute, I’d love to feel yours too.

I placed the shopping bag on the floor, reached out to her, placed both hands on her head and fumbled up her hair really nice.

Me: oh that feels so…(messing it up some more)…frizzy!

That wiped the stupid smile off her face.

Cashier: why would you do such a thing?

Me (innocently): what do you mean…but you just did that to my child?

Cahier: yeah, but she’s just a child and it wasn’t like that!

Me: well, you’re old enough to be my child, so from now on you will learn to respect people’s private space regardless of their age.

She was mortified.

Me: Sorry, here…keep the change (gave her some cents). Go get your hair fixed!

I picked up my shopping bag and we left the drugstore.

Experience they say, is the best teacher and sometimes words don’t help because:

  • Some people are not able to understand how intruding something is until it’s been done to them.

  • Some people will never understand how offensive something is until they experience it themselves.

  • No matter how hard you try, some people are never able to interpret nor understand sarcasm in words.

Yes. I don’t always play nice. Call it bad, call it whatever you will. But I’m not sorry, because...YOU MESS WITH MY KID, YOU MESS WITH A DRAGON!

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2 komentarai

Grace Denker
Grace Denker

Bettina, it's insane to have to experience that, isn't it? Some people don't know how to keep their curiosity in check. They feel that their curiosity gives them a right to intrude into people's private space. The rule of the thumb is: if it doesn't feel right, then it surely isn't right. It's not easy for anyone to think on their feet and react immediately to such nastiness. But after being treated like that a couple of times, I just had to figure out a tactic in dealing with such insensitivity. And believe me, it doesn't just happen with kids.


Great reaction, Grace! A woman once did that to my kids on the Ise-Markt when they were very little. Before I knew it, her hands were in the stroller and on their heads... I took it as a sign of interest and curiosity then... But it didn't seem right. Now, I would react just like you did!

Another day, on the same market, an elderly woman asked me whether they were twins and how I could tell them apart. The boys look quite different, despite the fact that they are twins. "Well, I just gave them different names", I responded. She looked slightly irritated, and walked on... At least, I felt good about my reaction, that time.

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