To think that this woman should have at least said sorry and offered to pay for broken item.

(81 Posts)
Fakebook Mon 12-Nov-12 13:45:57

Was in Tesco this morning and looking at their Tupperware because dd loses the lids in school almost everyday. Anyway suddenly there was a massive crash. I looked to the right and a little boy had thrown 3 ceramic bowls on the floor and they had all broken to smithereens. His mother exclaimed "oh noo" and stood and stared at the mess. A customer assistant came and began picking up the mess and then another came and began sweeping.

During this time, the woman didn't even say sorry and calmly carried on browsing with her son lingering behind her like nothing had happened.

AIBU to think she should have apologised profusely and then offered to pay for the bowls that her little angel had just broken? She didn't even tell him off! If my dd had done that I would have done a proper kneeling down, eye contact, stern voice telling off super nanny stylee!

Fakebook Mon 12-Nov-12 13:46:26

Title is supposed to say itemS.

BabylonPI Mon 12-Nov-12 13:48:38


I would have done the whole down on knees, eye contact thing too not that my 3yo would take a blind bit of notice of me

AnyaKnowIt Mon 12-Nov-12 13:50:02

She should have said sorry, but if you break something in a shop, the shop can not charge you the RRP only the manufactor price.

hazleweatherfieldgirldetective Mon 12-Nov-12 13:50:33

Should she have told off her child? Yes, absolutely.

Should she have apologised to the employee? Yes, absolutely.

Should she have offered to pay? Not much point, really. I used to be a manager in Tesco and broken stock is wasted off, all part of the inevitability of having things that can smash right where people can touch them. They would have told her not to pay anyway.

FeckOffCup Mon 12-Nov-12 13:50:42

Hmm accidents happen, my DD would have got a telling off for touching them but I probably wouldn't have offered to pay, it's not like tesco can't afford it, possibly would though if it was a small independent shop.

ObiWan Mon 12-Nov-12 13:51:50

If my very young child had broken something, I'd have apologised to the staff, and spoken to my child in the car/at home. I'm not a fan of show-piece discipline.

I wouldn't have offered to pay for them in Tesco, because it just doesn't seem to be their policy for things like that. They tend to write-off breakages.

MargeySimpson Mon 12-Nov-12 13:52:01

I think in big shops people seem to care less, because Mr. Tesco isn't sat behind the counter thinking about the profit that's been lost!

I used to work in WHSmiths and people used to bring back things that were not broken but said they we're because they didn't want them anymore, ie half a roll of xmas wrapping paper in feb that was 'too see-through'. The amount of wasted products is mind blowing (stuff people bring back or break in store). Pretty sure they have insurance for that kind of thing!

AmberLeaf Mon 12-Nov-12 13:52:38


DeWe Mon 12-Nov-12 13:53:35

Yes, I was going to say Tesco probably wouldn't take the money. Dd2 dropped a pint of cream once which smashed and spread everywhere. I said we needed cream so she picked up the biggest she could find... blush

They were very nice about it, wouldn't let me pay and politely told me I couldn't clear it up for them either. Apparently their policy/insurance/something else doesn't cope with customers cleaning their floors.

kige Mon 12-Nov-12 13:56:21


She should have told the child off and apologised to the staff. IMO, she should also have offered to pay for the broken items regardless of whether this was likely to be accepted or not.

I know that Tesco can afford it, but that does not make it morally right. Tesco can afford for me to go and shoplift my weekly shop but I don't do it! To me, it's the same as breaking something in a small store - because in both cases the items she allowed to get broken don't belong to her.

Hopeforever Mon 12-Nov-12 13:57:07

If you only looked over after you heard the crash, how do you know the little angel had thrown them on the floor not knocked them off?

Do you know the full medical history of the boy, does he have dyspraxia? Is the mum struggling with PND, perhaps her mum is really ill in hospital and she is trying really hard not to get stressed as her Cognitive Behavior Therapist has taught her to cope.

Personaly I have full sympathy for any parent taking a young child into Tescos as they will have so many judgmental eyes upon them.

HoneyDragon Mon 12-Nov-12 14:02:05

Why do any of those reasons prevent the adult saying sorry?

jeee Mon 12-Nov-12 14:05:25

I always offer to pay for breakages in Tescos, despite knowing damn well that they'll say no. I feel morally upright, but I'm not out of pocket.

Perhaps this woman knew that they wouldn't charge her, so didn't feel the need to go through the offering to pay charade?

socharlotte Mon 12-Nov-12 14:06:26

They6 can only make you pay if you broke the items on purpose (criminal damage) Accidental damage is just a business expense .Big items will be covered by their insurance.
And no , I doubt a supermarket would take the money for it.Bad cistomer relations and the admin effort it generated wouldn't be worth it.

OwlLady Mon 12-Nov-12 14:06:57

she should have apologised and told her son off but no, she doesn't have to pay and the shop will be more concerned about litigation from them!

kige Mon 12-Nov-12 14:07:21

Hope - even if any or all of your explanations apply to the woman in question, she should have felt sorry and if she did feel sorry, it is very unlikely that she would have continued to browse calmly - it is much more likely that she would have gone and paid for her shopping and left to calm down.

OwlLady Mon 12-Nov-12 14:08:23

I once accidentally pushed my trolley into a clothing display in tescos and the whole line of clothes, about 5 pegs along all in a row, just all came crashing to the ground and there was a heap of clothing on the floor and I blushed and walk away quickly blush obviously nothing was broken, it was just a big mess

Hopeforever Mon 12-Nov-12 14:09:26

Who knows what the mother was thinking or feeling, we only have the version in the OP.

EnjoyResponsibly Mon 12-Nov-12 14:10:06

Reprimand child: yes

Apologise to staff: yes

Offer to pay: no

Fakebook Mon 12-Nov-12 14:41:16

Ok, so I suppose I'm being unreasonable about the paying thing. Although, I still would have offered and felt very guilty.

I know it was the boy because they fell practically at his feet and his mother was too far from the shelf for it to be her.

(Knew the disability thing would come up) No, I don't know if he was suffering from asd/dyspraxia/ ADHD any other underlying condition. I'm sure if my child was ill I still would have been sorry for what happened. Having an illness doesn't give you a "pass go" from apologising and breaking everything in sight.

Fakebook Mon 12-Nov-12 14:42:52

What the mother appeared to be feeling was nothing. She carried on moseying along and didn't even take hold of her ds's hand to stop it happening again.

ZenNudist Mon 12-Nov-12 14:45:44

Yes to saying sorry. No to offering to pay. Shops don't always stack things as safely as they could. Plus supermarkets cost breakages into their pricing and overheads. Trust me tesco et al don't lose out over anything!

MrsWhoGivesaShit Mon 12-Nov-12 14:47:46

Hopeforever haha! there is always one!

Well I would have thanked the people cleaning but wouldn't have apologised profusely (who to? it's not their bowls) and I wouldn't have offered to pay as I learned 25 years ago during my Saturday job in Sainsbury's customers don't pay for breakages in big supermarkets. Obviously would be completely different if it was a small store.

And I'm not sure what's wrong with carrying on browsing either. What's she meant to do? Run out of the shop sobbing?

How do you know he'd thrown them btw? Rather than knocked them?

adeucalione Mon 12-Nov-12 14:52:56

I'm surprised at how many people don't think she should've offered to pay - I would've offered, even if I fully expected them to say that it wasn't necessary.

If you break something that isn't yours, you offer to pay for it, that's just good manners.

Everlong Mon 12-Nov-12 14:56:18

My dh broke a teapot in tkmaxx the other week. He lifted the box and it just fell out. Ds aged 6 was hysterical laughing. As we always tell him not to pick things up in case they smash/break.

Dh was [shocked] and offered to pay for it. They said no way it's fine.

YANBU, I would have had a word with my child about not touching, being careful or whatever (we don't know whether it was an accident or not), she should have offered to pay for teh damage despite the fact that Tesco would have refused the offer. However my biggest problem with this story is the total unacknowledgement of the staff who were clearing up the mess created by this child. As a supermarket staff member myself I would like to point out that we are human and do deserve some recognition of what we do. We work unsociable hours so people can shop at soetimes the most absurd times for very little pay, we have to put up with a few very rude and abusive customers who think they are entitled to treat us like s* and if your child causes this kind of insident, whether deliberate or not, it's only common courtesy to apologise.

Hopeforever Mon 12-Nov-12 15:45:16

saintlyjimjams we don't seem to have been given the answer to how the OP knows in what manner he broke them.

At no point did I say it would not be a good idea to apologise or ask the the child to say sorry.

All I'm saying is, we only have one version of the events. I've learnt how painful it can be to have judgy pants pulled up too far and discover afterwards that I wasn't in possession of the full facts.

Jus saying.

BTW dyspraxia is not an illness.

FreePeaceSweet Mon 12-Nov-12 15:56:58

If my very young child had broken something, I'd have apologised to the staff, and spoken to my child in the car/at home. I'm not a fan of show-piece discipline.
This ^

I don't tell my kids off for the benefit of onlookers. Its cringy. I deal with them in private.

DreamingOfTheMaldives Mon 12-Nov-12 16:06:17

"Do you know the full medical history of the boy, does he have dyspraxia? Is the mum struggling with PND, perhaps her mum is really ill in hospital and she is trying really hard not to get stressed as her Cognitive Behavior Therapist has taught her to cope."

Do any of the above prevent someone from apologising when they or their child has broken something which didn't belong to them.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 12-Nov-12 16:38:07

I'm surprised at how many people are saying that she shouldn't have offered to pay.

Not offering to pay for damage you or your children have cursed is just blatantly rude, even if you fully expect to be told not to worry about it. It's very sad that so many people don't see that they should take responsibility for themselves.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 12-Nov-12 16:39:27

Telling a child off in a shop when they have been badly behaved in a shop is not telling them off for the benefit of onlookers hmm

It's just telling them off at the time they have misbehaved, so that they can fully understand that their actions have consequences.

Hopeforever Mon 12-Nov-12 16:44:12

We DO NOT know how they came to be broken, the OP tells us she turned round AFTER she heard the noise. She did not see it happen, she just saw the young boy next to them

Maybe she was flustered and thought she'd already said sorry in all the confusion?

How bizarre. This is going to sound stupid, but are you sure it was his mum?

I was in the street the other day and someone gave this poor woman a really nasty snap about letting her child stand in the way ... the women replied 'erm, he's not mine!' and mum (real mum) came dashing out the shop to grab errant toddler.

I expect you do know she was the mum, it just seems so odd you'd be calmly standing browsing to the sound of smashing bowls.

Fakebook Mon 12-Nov-12 16:49:32

Right Hope hmm. We don't know how they broke. They could have miraculously flung themselves off the shelf and fell at the boys feet, who was (weirdly) standing right next to the shelf and looking down at them bowls. Alternatively, I may just be lying and making the whole thing up for cheap jollies hmm.

Fakebook Mon 12-Nov-12 16:51:30

LRD, nope was definitely her son. They were both Asian, most probably Bangladeshi, not that their race matters, just that the boy definitely belonged to her!

Ok, I'm not going to joke that there are more than one Bangladeshi family in the UK but that did make me smile! But yes, I'm sure you could tell ... it just seems so odd.

I keep thinking why she'd do it but nothing really covers it, does it?

Anyway, this is a non-issue. Of course you apologise and offer to pay afterwards. If everyone smashed bowls, yes, Tesco would suffer a loss OR they'd adjust the prices in the end so we'd all have to pay.

SoupDragon Mon 12-Nov-12 16:55:51

Regardless of any SNs, she should have apologised. It is basic good manners.

Anything else kind of depends on the situation wrt the child but I would have told mine off or at least reinforced that they should be careful.

Fakebook Mon 12-Nov-12 16:56:12

Sorry yes that was a bit of a stupid comment, I should have added that the boy was following her so was definitely her son.

Oh, no, I was only teasing!

I do agree with you, I'd have been utterly confused as to what she was playing at.

Hopeforever Mon 12-Nov-12 16:59:15

Ok, so she is not a child minder, it's not her nephew and of course she speaks perfect English (which she may well do)

How do you know he didn't do it by accident, they were not already unstable?

If she stayed put to look at the shelves, how long did you stay to watch? If she left before you, perhaps she went to the customer service to apologise. Perhaps if you left first, after obviously staying a while as you watched them get the equipment to clear it up and then start cleaning, she spoke to them afterwards.

flow4 Mon 12-Nov-12 17:03:47

It seems so odd that the woman didn't apologise or seem concerned that it makes me wonder whether the OP has mis-interpreted the situation... Maybe...

- The child wasn't hers?
- She was waiting for the spectators to move on before apologising/telling off the child?
- She's seriously depressed and not functioning well generally?
- She knocked the bowls down?!

fuckwittery Mon 12-Nov-12 17:05:20

Maybe she's broke and paying for those three bowls would mean they couldn't eat properly that week.

flow4 Mon 12-Nov-12 17:12:33

Oh and now I'm remembering (years ago) a pile of tins falling down beside me and DStoddler, when we had not touched them .... Oh the dirty looks! blush angry

Hopeforever Mon 12-Nov-12 17:15:18

flow4 how blush

Cahoots Mon 12-Nov-12 17:16:23

She sounds like a loon. I know they would not have let her pay but it would have been polite to offer.

SoupDragon Mon 12-Nov-12 17:22:38

fuckwittery does being broke also mean you have no manners?

IsItMeOr Mon 12-Nov-12 17:24:03


Surprised that so many would not even offer to pay. You break something, you try to put it right. If they don't want you to pay, fine.

flow4 Mon 12-Nov-12 17:31:40

I think I have just about recovered from the blush now Hope... It was probably about 15 years ago! wink grin

MrsWhoGivesaShit Mon 12-Nov-12 19:25:37

hopeforever you seem intent on defending the mother in question. was it you?! shock

Fakebook Mon 12-Nov-12 20:35:55

I think hopeforever is just being awkward for the sake of being awkward.

PropertyNightmare Mon 12-Nov-12 20:57:34

Yanbu. She should have apologised.

fuckwittery Mon 12-Nov-12 22:01:43

Yes, definitely should have apologised, no excuse for lack of manners, but offering to pay may not have been an option.

Scheherezade Mon 12-Nov-12 22:40:36

Just a sidenote, rather than buying a new Tupperware box everyday (it must cost you £500-1000 a year!) Just buy a lunchbox.

Fakebook there is a difference between the boy throwing them off the shelf and them accidentally being knocked off though? And you don't which it was? It might rather later someone's reaction. I walked past some toothbrushes the other day and they ended up on the floor. No idea how as I didn't touch them, they must have been very unstable. I picked them up, and might have said whoops, but didn't apologise.

Just a sidenote, rather than buying a new Tupperware box everyday (it must cost you £500-1000 a year!) Just buy a lunchbox

Yes, or sandwich bags?

SoupDragon Tue 13-Nov-12 07:22:57

Or just train your DS not to lose the lids. Then you wouldn't have to send hundreds of sandwich bags to landfill.

SoupDragon Tue 13-Nov-12 07:25:04

Presumably, JimJams, you didn't apologise as you didn't break them. Unlike the bowls in the OP.

flow4 Tue 13-Nov-12 07:50:03

Although actually, the OP said she turned round to look after the crash, so we don't actually know that the child broke them...

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

valiumredhead Tue 13-Nov-12 07:59:32

Offer to pay Tescos ? You must be kidding!!

RustyBear Tue 13-Nov-12 08:05:17

Were they the small deep white ceramic bowls?

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Tue 13-Nov-12 08:06:31

Oh FFS OP get over yourself. Are you sure you're not a thinly-disguised racist? The most obvious and likely reason for the woman not saying anything would be that she was so utterly mortified she didn't know what to say, and was therefore desperately trying to pretend it hadn't happened.

Also, the fact that you are insisting the child broke the bowls deliberately when you didn't see what happened makes you sound fairly spiteful and quick to jump to conclusions.

jamdonut Tue 13-Nov-12 08:11:44

Don't you all know that Tesco's is having a bad time financially at the moment. Their shares are down, profit is down,they're cutting staff and staff hours left right and centre, of course she should have insisted she pay..... [sarcastic emoticon]

They don't usually make people pay...but an apology wouldn't go amiss. I am married to a Tesco employee who has to take the brunt of people's rudeness,daily. Just because you work in Tesco, doesn't automatically make you a dimwit, though many people seem to think so.

FanjoForTheMammaries Tue 13-Nov-12 08:14:16

They could possibly not have had good English.

Fakebook Tue 13-Nov-12 08:28:55

No I'm not a racist. I'm in an ethnic minority. I've grown up surrounded by Chinese, Pakistani, Indian, Nepalese, African, English and Polish people. The race of the mother and child wasn't mentioned in the OP because it wasn't relevant. What a ridiculous thing to suggest.

The bowls were deep red coloured with white flowery patterns (I think). They were definitely red.

Even if you knock something off by accident, a simple "sorry" doesn't cost money.

The facts seem to be unclear in this specific case. But generally, YABU, if a child breaks something a parent should a) apologise and b) offer to pay. It's just fair play and basic manners, surely? If the company say "no, no, don't worry, these things happen, you don't need to pay" then that's great. But the offer should be made.

You weren't in my local Tescos were you (SW London)? There was an almighty crash in the next aisle to me which would have been kitchenware while I was looking at pillows or summat. Didn't see what the fuss was about though.

oops, I meant YANBU

dysfunctionalme Tue 13-Nov-12 08:45:08

I think there was a time when people worried about manners in shops but that has long past. These days you're lucky if the customers don't piss in the aisles.

NotQuintAtAllOhNo Tue 13-Nov-12 08:54:08

Maybe she did not tell the child off because it wasnt actually the child causing the mess!?

It could have been the mother accidentally breaking them, if you did not see, you would not know. Bowls are not usually placed low down on shelves, they are in adult browsing view?

On a side note, when my 21 month old ran away from me in a shop, and the staff instantly matched lost child with bewildered mum, it would be ridiculous to shout racism, even if we were both blond, in a Bangalore mall. It is just kind of obvious.

I'd be more likely to be aghast if the OP actually saw what happened tbh. I tend to avoid judging anyone tbh unless the facts are very clear as I so often get judged by the daft and judgemental half looking when out with ds1. It's given me an aversion to making assumptions. Without seeing exactly what went on (which the OP clearly didn't) you can't tell whether the mother behaved reasonably or not. I do tend to get irritated by assumptions.

I wound have thanked whoever cleared it up, and found someone to call the cleaning staff if no-one appeared. That's it. I wouldn't necessarily have told my child off - depends how the bowls ended up on the floor.

ontheedgeofwhatever Tue 13-Nov-12 09:28:36

DD broke a mug in Starbucks once (one of the ones on shelf for sale not one they served coffee in). I'm afraid it was at the end of a very exhausting shopping trip during which she'd played up as much as possible and to my eternal shame I really screamed and shouted at her and she burst into floods of tears.

I apologised to staff and made her apologise too but they were lovely. They cleaned everything up and gave her a lollipop and some marshmallows I think they felt sorry for her having such a horrid mummy blush they refused to let me pay for it either.

YANBU at the very least she should have been apologetic

Hopeforever Tue 13-Nov-12 10:38:37

saintlyjimjams so glad I am not alone in not wanting to jump straight into judging what is not proven.

Guilty until proved innocent has become law perhaps?

SoupDragon Tue 13-Nov-12 10:44:57

Guilty until proved innocent has become law perhaps?

You do get that this is just an internet forum, you know where people just chat? The Op didn't march up to the woman and lay into her, nor did she frog march her off to the police station or put up a "wanted" poster all round town.

I am more than happy to judge her for not apologising though - that's just plain rude.

Fakebook - this says it all, for me:

"Even if you knock something off by accident, a simple "sorry" doesn't cost money."

In my opinion, there is NO excuse for bad manners - and not apologising was bad manners.

adeucalione Tue 13-Nov-12 11:02:12

I don't really see how there is anything to debate here.

Even if the bowls were broken accidentally, by a child with co-ordination difficulties, at the end of a hellish day, then the accompanying adult - no matter how poor, embarrassed or stressed - should have said 'sorry' and 'thank you for clearing this up'.

Even if the OP didn't see what happened immediately prior to the crash, she saw what happened straight afterwards and the woman's response does seem unusual and rude.

Amazing that several posters think that you don't have to apologise if you are embarrassed about something, don't have to offer to pay for breakages if you are in a large store, and don't have to correct a young child's behaviour immediately after they do something that you (presumably) don't want them to do again.

The only way that OP would BU is if the bowls fell to the floor independently of anyone touching them, but as she saw the immediate response of the woman and the child, she is presumably able to judge that they were to blame; the only time that a display spontaneously collapsed as DH and I walked by we looked shocked, burst out laughing and told everyone in the vicinity that it wasn't us.

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