Almost a year ago I put up a post about my kids riding in the carts at Home Depot. For some reason, I keep getting comments to the old post, about once a month. Interesting. I wonder what search engine entry keeps bringing people to that post. Here's a copy of it:
I owe that guy an apology
I was at Home Depot the other night with my 6 year old daughter and, as usual, she was riding on the cart. She loves going to Home Depot with me because riding on the cart is fun. I like having her with me because she's fun, and she's interested, and of course, because I love her.
Then the well-trained Home Depot guy comes up to me and says she needs to get off the cart. And I say back to him "It's all right. She can ride." And he says, "No, sir, she really has to get off the cart." Firm, but polite. Not rude in any way.
And that's when I went off on the guy. Not sure what all I said, but I do remember saying "Weren't you ever a kid?", and "I don't care about Home Depot's lawyers!" I wasn't, remarkably, profane, but I was pissed and I think I had some Bill Cowher style spittle flying there for a minute. I shouldn't have been quite so forceful with the guy, who was just doing his job, but really!
- I am the DAD. I will decide what level of safety is appropriate for my children.
- If I say it's OK, then it's OK. Back off, quickly.
- There are way too many lawyers and they need to be ignored and defied more.
- There are too many risk managers and we've given them too much power. Take it back.
- You might get hurt in life -- this does not give you any kind of legal standing whatsoever.
If I see that guy today when I go to get some ogee baseboard to replace the termite-eaten baseboard in my bedroom I'll apologize to him. I'll also tell him to tell his manager to back off on this one -- when we go back to Home Depot my daughter will be riding in the cart whether they like it or not.
Little did I realize the controversy I was stirring up. Invariably, the comments I receive are much like this most recent one:
You are the dad so ACT like one! you should be helping to prevent your kid from getting injured. Not a very pleasant site [sic] for your daughter to be going to prom some years later with a huge scar on her lip or missing an eye. grow up and act like the adult rather than letting your child go wild. ESPECIALLY at home depot of all places!!! you types piss me off when I go in there and you pay no mind to your children especially since they have no concept on [sic] danger. I was a kid once and got hurt plenty of times but not under my dad's supervision.
Hmmm. These people, always men so far, always miss the point -- It's up to me to set the standards for my children, not Home Depot, its lawyers or its risk management department. And it's not up to them, either. Hey, I'm a law & order kind of guy, but respect for excessive authority can be taken too far. All these would-be principals will suck the all the fun out of life, if we let them.
And besides, how dangerous is riding in a cart, anyway? Is it more dangerous than riding a bike or a scooter or a skate board or snow boarding or surfing? Is it more dangerous than riding in a car on US 19? Or climbing a tree? What is wrong with you people? How do you plan to teach your kids courage and joi de vie if you never let them do anything that might scratch their beautiful little faces?
Mind your own business.