To The Thoughtless Lady In The Checkout Line

Dear Jennifer;

My son has a part-time job at the grocery store in our city. He works there after school and on weekends. He’s saving up for a car. Or Chipotle (hey, our accounts are linked…I see where the money goes!). Most of his shifts are spent ringing up customers. Sometimes he does the bagging, sometimes he’s the kid out in the parking lot gathering carts.

Last night, however, he was cashiering. You went through his line, with your husband. Apparently the chit-chat was pleasant…since it was nearing the end of my son’s shift, he probably appreciated the back and forth with nice people such as yourselves. Ending the night on a good note and all that jazz.

When the goods were bagged up and your credit card slip signed, you could have gone on your merry way and let my son finish his shift and get on with his Saturday night. He’s 16 and Saturday nights are like unwritten books just waiting for their stories.

But you didn’t, did you?

Nope. You turned back to him, after he wished you a good evening, and you spoke. You touched the sides of your own face, and you said to my son:

“Wow. You have a lot of acne.” Then you pulled a business card out of your purse and handed it to my boy.

“I sell products that can help with that. In six months, it’ll be gone!”

My son took your card. He took it, and said “Thank you.” And then he added, “But no thanks.”

He took your card and thanked you because that’s how I’ve been raising him. He’s polite. Unfailingly so.

He said “no thanks” because I’m also raising him to speak up for himself. To be proud and to be brave.

I picked him up not long after you left. I’m a single mom of four, and we are a one car household. I spend a lot of my time transporting teens to jobs, activities and friend’s houses. In a way, it’s a blessing because we have some great talks. We talk about pretty much everything, my kids and I.

Last night, my son and I talked about you.

Your words, regardless of your intent, hurt my son. He told me the story.  His face was illuminated by the glow of his phone as he simultaneously spilled his guts and solidified the evening’s plans with his crew. And then, he said the thing that broke my heart and for a second, made me hate you:

“Man. I was having such a good day up until that moment, Mom.”

Anyway, Jennifer, you ruined my son’s day.

Now, here’s how I operate: I think. I analyze and dig deep and I try really hard to understand the Hows and the Whys of life. I choose not to believe that some people are truly awful. I gave my son some food for thought:

Maybe they’d been out for dinner and drinks and she was a little buzzed. People lose their filter after a few cocktails.

Maybe she had bad skin when she was younger and wanted to help you.

Maybe she’s desperate and broke and thought that trying to get a 16 year old grocery store cashier as a customer seemed like a good idea.

I thought, but didn’t say out loud:

Maybe she’s a thoughtless, vapid a-hole who has zero social skills and should be sent to live on an island stocked with nothing but Amway brochures.

My son was already smiling, I’m not sure if it was because talking to Mom was reassuring or if one of his friends had just texted something funny. I felt some relief that for the moment, the black cloud you had so carelessly dumped over his day had begun moving along.

That’s the thing about this kid. My son. He’s a good person. He’s smart, he is charismatic and confident. One of the more popular kids in his grade. Scads of friends and a sense of humor that makes me unblushingly proud. He’s not a saint, of course, at home I sometimes call him Eric Cartman due to his ability to sound exactly like the rotund, angry child from South Park. But he really is a decent and kind person. I love him with all of my heart.

He has some zits. I guess you could call it acne, it’s not an uncommon phenomena in teens. He’s well aware of it, as we have several mirrors in our house and his vision is perfect. We have some ProActiv products, some Neutrogena cleansers. I try to buy unprocessed, organic food for my kids as often as my budget allows, because I think it’s better for them, and their skin. So yes, this son of mine does have some skin issues.

But here’s the deal: he doesn’t need it pointed out to him. Especially not on a Saturday night when he’s finishing up a shift at his part-time job. And especially not by a stranger trying to sell something. You could have left the store, gone home and done whatever it is you do. But for whatever reason, you thought it was a good idea to confront a captive teenage boy and point out a perceived flaw on his person in order to drum up some business for yourself.

Jennifer? It wasn’t a good idea.

He gave me your card. I have it here, in front of me as I type this. As a veteran of a difficult divorce, I have learned that some calls and emails should be given a cooling-off period, so as not to send or say something I might regret later.

I wanted to call you, that night, in the car while my son was sitting there next to me. I wanted to lay into you, rip you a new one, let you know just how absolutely and completely WRONG you were. Your actions brought out the mama bear in me and although she doesn’t come out often, when she does, it’s on. On like Donkey Kong, Jennifer.

I don’t think I’m going to call you. There have been several emails started, and then deleted. As the hours pass since you first approached my son in that grocery store, the feelings are abating. Slowly, but surely. I’ll still send the email to you, guaranteed. You need to know that what you did was wrong. But I’ll wait until these mama bear claws retract a bit. Typing with these things can be a bitch.

My son won’t forget you. He won’t forget you, or how it felt when you touched your face to point out the flaws on his. He won’t forget what it felt like to have to swallow his pride and take the card you handed him, because he’s 16 and a cashier at a grocery store and it’s his job to treat the customers with respect. You taught him a lesson that night, which I’m sure wasn’t your intention. You just wanted to sell some stuff.

You taught him that words have power. You opened your mouth and schooled my son on what it’s like to be on the receiving end of ill-timed, inappropriate words. You gave him a lesson on what is and what isn’t okay to say to perfect strangers. You helped me do what is one of my least-favorite jobs as a parent: you thickened up his skin, made my sweet boy a little bit tougher. You reinforced his armor, that battle gear he can use as he begins navigating life. You helped me, Jennifer. Helped me arm my son. Now he’s smarter, and better equipped.

Better equipped to face the world…a world that is full of people just like you.

So please, Amway Lady, let my son and I teach you something, too. The next time you feel the urge to hawk your wares, think about it. Look at who you’re attempting to entice. Before you open your mouth, before you touch your face, before you dig in your purse and fish for one of your business cards…think. And if that isn’t something you’re capable of, you might want to see if Amway makes a product that could help you.


Mama Bear 

About the writer

Jennifer Ball is a writer, a mom and a dog person who used to have really pretty feet. Her work appears sporadically on her blog, Happy Hausfrau, and has been featured on The Huffington Post, The Today Show, Family Circle magazine and in the Listen To Your Mother anthology published by Putnam in April 2015. When not working at her full-time job or trying desperately to keep up with her TV shows, she enjoys drinking martinis and following drama in comment sections. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. There’s also a really good chance you can find her at either Target or Costco.


Rose 7 months ago

My little sister had acne, and I took her to a highly regarded dermatologist in our area (our mom was dead, and our dad pretty clueless). He told her that her skin was one of the worst he had ever seen. Really. That scar, though invisible, is the one that stays with her. Her skin has cleared up, but the inner scar remains. I think I should have bitch slapped that doctor, or at least reported him to the state board. But i was little more than a teenager myself, and I, too, was intimidated by the good doctor. Your post brought back the decades old fury I felt back then. You definitely did the right thing emailing her, and you should probably send a copy to Amway too. I wouldn’t have blamed you if you had bitch slapped her with your bear claw!

PS, I am also really sick of my acquaintances trying to sell me something on Facebook. If a stranger tried to engage me at a supermarket, I might have to bitch slap her too!

hailey 1 year ago

Wow, I HATE that that happened to your son. I remember being very young, like 5 or 6, nd an old oman on the Sunday school bus looking at me snd saying “you’re a fat little girl aren’t you”. Ive never forgotten it, but it made me realize very early thst grown ups are not always right and shouldn’t be allowed to say whatever they want. Hopefully your son walks away feeling bad aboutthat lady, and not himself. His acne will go away, but she will still be sn asshole.

Stephanie Knight 2 years ago

Wow, I’m horrified by this story! Thank you for posting it. It’s this experience that makes both Amway and people who rep for Amway look bad. We aren’t all like this woman! Jennifer, It doesn’t matter to me if you never buy an Amway product, but it does matter to me that this woman sullied the rep of a company I believe in. SO… I called Amway and told them of your experience. They too were horrified. We talked about you and your son, and how bummed we were that this silly woman hurt your sons feelings and ruined his day. Then we talked about how we may not be able to change your impression of her, but perhaps we could change your perception of some Amway Reps and the Company as well. We both looked at your blog and couldn’t figure out exactly how to get a hold of you, so if you would like to email me, I am arranging to have a gift sent to you from the corporation. (no, it will NOT be for your sons face!) It’s just a little something from me and Amway. I don’t care if you NEVER buy an Amway product, this isn’t about that. This is about showing you that she was one person that was NOT representative of the whole. So please email me and let me know how I can get a gift to you. Or perhaps post a link to where I can email you and we can correspond.

Have a great day!
Stephanie Knight
Fairfield, California

Jessica 2 years ago

Way to go Mama Bear! I don’t know what it is about people these days. My Mother taught me to think before acting or saying something I couldn’t take back. You know, you can’t unring a bell kind of thing. I’m not perfect, and I’ve tasted shoe leather on more than once. But you did your a good thing for your son, you are a good Mom!

SB 2 years ago

Ummm… I fail to see where this lady did any wrong. First of all, she sells acne products for a living, so to make said living, she likely seeks people out who may or may not desire her services. She sees someone with acne, she will hand them a card because they may or may not be interested legitimately. It’s how she makes money, and what she is trained to do for her business. She could have been more discreet about it, but it’s not like she burst some huge bubble or insulted the boy in any huge way.

Secondly, I doubt she knew the age of the young man. For all she knew, he could have been 18 or so. I have been offered products in the past by customers trying to make a buck, and just politely take their cards or samples and either consider them or pass them on to someone else who is actually interested. I doubt she was personally trying to point out your boy’s acne to insult him, rather, just trying to come up with a way to promote her business to someone who may actually be able to use one of her products. I’ve been offered anti-wrinkle cream even though I still look like a teenager. Did I whine to anyone about it? Nope- I politely took the offer and thought nothing more of it.

One day, if your son chooses to become a consultant or distributor for a company, he may desire this skill to engage strangers himself, and shouldn’t be so sensitive about it. People will always try to be helpful, whether for selfish reasons or otherwise, and reacting in this way is going to cause years and years of long letters and angst. I mean, it’s not like she told him he was a beast- she made a comment and offered a solution. His response was perfect- your input? Overkill and not needed. He’s a big boy, obviously, and handled the situation fine, and trust me- this will not be the last time he gets his feelings all twisted up by someone who put their foot in it. Sorry, but I don’t see the big deal. You made it a big deal, which teaches your son to react outrageously rather than just shrug stuff off.

Mandy 2 years ago

Someone did this very thing to me when I was 18 and had just started a serving job. Handed me a card. Asked me if I had a dermatologist. I’ll never forget him either. All that BS about how it’s not as bad as you think – vanishes in that very instant. I’m sorry people are so insensitive. But I’m so glad to hear that your son is such a wonderful individual that he can take it for what it is, brush it off, and get on with his life. You’re clearly doing something right.

Tara Lee 2 years ago

I think this article is a little extreme! People are going to ruin your good day sometimes. It’s not like the woman told her son he was disgusting and should have his acne treated asap. Get a gripe. Hopefully someone at school doesn’t put a damper on this sons day, cuz mama bear will have to waste another 10,000 peoples time reading an article about her coddling her 16 year old son for having his feelings hurt. Grow up. This is the real world.. not the Disney channel. Good grief.

    SB 2 years ago

    Thank you- basically what I was thinking as well. Helicopter mom alert!!!

    Happy Hausfrau 2 years ago

    Funny…you seem to have the minority opinion. But thanks for chiming in. I’m trying so hard to get a “gripe”!

Summer 2 years ago

I agree that she should not have said anything to your son!! That said, my cousin did go to the dermatologist and went on a medication that cleared up his acne in 6 months. I think as parents we want to help our children any way that we can. I’m a stay at home mom, not a sales person but there is something the “doctor” prescribed, that worked and might be worth looking into. My cousin doesn’t even have scars now. If anyone is interested, I will ask my sister what it was. Again, I do not think this woman should have said anything to your son!

Lauren 2 years ago

I don’t think the poster is over reacting, and by no means am I saying that what the woman said to her son was in good taste…But I do feel like some people who are commenting are being overly judgmental of people who sell Amway products. This woman probably had good intentions but it didn’t come out right. This one woman by NO MEANS is a representation of Amway as a company or what they stand for. I really wish that the poster left out that that she sold Amway products because it puts a bad name on a great company. My boyfriend sells Amway and we know a lot of great, and kind hearted people who sell Amway. and like anything else you do in life, it, building your business takes work and you need to take risks. This woman probably was taking one of those risks and clearly it did not go well for her and it was in poor taste. So please don’t bash the woman based on what she does, I’m sure this mom would be just as upset if the woman was a fellow cashier and said the same thing.

Michelle AuCoin 2 years ago

People live in bubbles. I think there is a direct correlation to advice giving and not heeding own advice.

gail tunick 2 years ago

I realize she is a saleswoman and it is one of the few ways for her to get customers. When people have said things to me or to my children that are very insensitive I have an answer that stops them I say thank you and ask them how much money do they earn. Most are shocked and then realize why or they will say that is none of your business which I then reply “exactly”. have a nice day.

Lindsay 2 years ago

I had horrible acne as a teenager and when I see teens struggling with it, the thought always pops into my mind: I wonder if they know about Accutane or other products that could help. Because it truly changed my life. Now I would never say it, but I do think that…and it truly comes from a place of wanting to help. The fact that this woman was selling the products kind of shows that she is not just coming from a do-gooder standpoint. But I wanted to tell you that it’s at least possible that intentions could be there that someone was trying to help. Good for your son for being polite and being able to brush it off. I applaud him and you for how you handled it.

keri 2 years ago

Appreciated the post more than you know. I have 2 boys, 10 and 5 and these days are surely ahead of me. You’ve taught me and I thank you.

William 2 years ago

Dear Mama Bear,

I am a papa bear without fangs and claws, as such, but I do appreciate yours and the perspective that you have on this incident.
I hope this note can be short, because I don’t want to take up too much of anyone’s time to write a long letter.
My point in summation is that we, as mama bears and papa bears ( I am a single parent with one beautiful 4 years young daughter whom I cherish enough to give my last breath for…) are teaching everyone wherever and whoever WE are… and that is the most essential point I want to make. I get your claws came out and there was an angry protective instinct.
I wonder if you have gotten around to seeing what effect your words have on the persons who are involved in this, including all who would read this.
I wonder if there is forgiveness in your heart and whether you could find a way to impart that to your readers and to your beloved son and to the Amway woman?
What would this world be like if we all could find a way to soften our skin, instead of armoring up, for the eventual unfolding of our lives? I am no spring chicken, yet I want to share that we have a choice about how we are showing up in this world at any moment and i would ask: Are we extending love? Or are we crying out for help as an individual who, herself, had to put on her armor and protect himself from the evils of the world? I am not Christian, per se, so I am not waxing biblical or anything… I am just trying to cultivate in myself another choice of a response that would uplift the entire situation and everyone involved to a higher level of openness and encouragement so that these behaviors are discovered by the apparent perpetrator ( on his or her own) to be unsustainable in the preferred environment we all want to raise our children.
I am interested in hearing your thoughts. I get that you are a great writer and I also get that you have a conscience and a desire to teach your children all you hold as dear and I wonder if there is a willingness to see and respond in a way that in new for us furry, fangey, friends?
I hope I have not said too much here to insight your wrath because i am pretty darn fuzzy!

Best to you and your children!


    Happy Hausfrau 2 years ago

    William, I love your comment. And I happen to have a son named William, so that just sweetened the whole deal. I’d love to reply to you at length. Given my propensity to go on and on and on and on, I just might.

    Forgiveness is huge with me. GINORMOUS. I preach it to my kids. We’ve been through a lot, these kids and I. And we have remained close. We have a really strong bond.

    For a long time after my divorce, I was angry. I don’t think anger is always such a bad thing. When used sparingly, it makes a pretty good fuel. Anger can spur you on to do good things. It can motivate you. It can light a fire under an otherwise sad, unmotivated butt.

    After a while, though, anger consumes you and everything around you. That’s when you need to let it go. It took me a while to figure that out. But when I did? Oy. It was wonderful.

    Forgiveness is a beautiful thing. It frees you up, opens your heart and your soul, your very life to new experiences and loves and feelings.

    I was mad at this lady. And then I typed out a nice, polite email that explained to her how her words made my kid feel. How seeing him hurting made me feel. I hit “send” and poof. Anger gone. I wrote this blog post the day after this happened to my son. I wasn’t furious, I wasn’t vengeful. I felt the hurt that my son had felt, and since I have a little blog, I blogged about it. Just to get it off my chest. I didn’t expect it to be seen by anyone other than my small (but awesome) following.

    The response to this piece has been wonderful. I’d say 90% of the comments have been favorable. So many people have had this happen to them and are talking about it 20, 30..40 years later. It seems to have struck a chord. I’m glad to have opened up some conversation.

    I love your suggestion of softening of our collective skins. It would be such a great world if we could all do that. I think, though, that the people who need to see that message are the ones spewing vitriol and negativity. I hope that’s not what came across in my post. Wasn’t my intention.

    I love the fact that there are men like you out there, raising kids and reading Scary Mommy. It gives me hope.

    Sorry if this is kind of disjointed and rambly…helping a kid with homework and trying to watch “The Following” while typing. I’m not Superwoman!

    Thanks for your sweet comment.

Sarah Kucala 2 years ago

Kids have to deal with things on their own and not always have their helicopter parents around. Its not such a terrible thing.

Shane Ian Clarkson 2 years ago

I’m 40 years old and I have rosacea.. which looks like acne… people point out all the time that “your face is so red” ….really …you don’t think I know that….. You don’t judge people by the color of their skin…period. ..

Markus F 2 years ago

I’m somewhat surprised there’s nobody suggesting maybe she wasn’t this horribly insensitive person in lieu of the “well done’s” and suggestions of physical violence. Good grief! Maybe, just maybe, she was actually trying to help and just went about it the absolute worst way possible.

I had really horrible acne through highschool which continued into college. I’d tried everything over the counter, and when I say everything I really mean everything from Oxy pads to special soaps to diet to proactiv to organic raw honey to supplements. Nothing worked… until a dermatologist during college got me through an accutane treatment and put me on essentially the prescription version of proactive (benzoil) as a maintenance treatment. It’s the first time since puberty I’ve EVER had clear skin and it has been life changing both for my self esteem and my social life.

What I wouldn’t have given for someone to come up to the highschool freshman version of me and whisper “hey, you have a lot of acne and I know something that might help”. Do I think you should just start slapping some direct-sell product on your face without medical advice? Heck no. Do I wish someone would have told me what would have fixed my face 10 years ago even if it was in a terribly inopportune public setting, even if it was horribly embarrassing and ruined my day, absolutely.

Ruining a day doesn’t even begin to compare to the social stigma from the cackling monkey on my back who reminds me even years since I’ve had even a break out that your still ugly with your disfigured face, any laugh you hear in a social setting is probably about you, any look that people toss your way and look back away was probably for them to catch a glimpse of the “pizza face”. This isn’t as easy to clear up as the acne was (If only there was a pill for that too). Someone telling me about possible treatments might have saved me the emotional trauma along with the irreversible pits and scarring 6 years of horrible acne caused, despite my now clear complexion.

As someone who’s not assertive enough to approach strangers and say “Hey, I see you have acne and my dermatologist put me on xxx and yyy and it went away”, especially adolescents (who it probably would help the most), I somewhat applaud folks who have that ability. Oh what I wouldn’t give to save even one person from that.

Also, to your son’s credit, good on him for being assertive enough to say “no thanks” at the same time, he already seems stronger and more self-confident than I would have been at his age.

Could she be a horrible salesman peddling some new thing that doesn’t work, sure. Could she be someone who actually just wanted to help, sure. Is she completely insensitive to the appropriate time and place for offering that help, absolutely, but I’m not sure your complete public overreaction in the company of your son gives a balanced counterpoint to the situation either.

People are jerks, people will always be jerks, and sometimes people just say stupid stuff at complete inopportune moments. Instead of wasting so much energy on being upset about it which doesn’t really change anything, probably better to learn to brush it off and fight those battles that really matter and actually make a difference.

All the best to you both, truly.

Gail Collins 2 years ago

This mother is awesome! The amway witch needs to tap the brakes and shut her mouth. It’s people like her that make my blood boil.

Antonio Torres 2 years ago

Yes, definitely drop her on a desert island, with nothing but Amway brochures and breath freshener.
Your son taught HER a lesson of self control and good manners. Oh, if it had been me, she would have heard some music… Well done.
Oh, and concerning your son… He seems like the kind of boy any parent would be proud of.
“parenting, YOU ARE doing it right: . Definitely.

Susan Forsyth 2 years ago

Now that’s good.

Sandra Brindley 2 years ago

That Amway woman was thoughtless, inconsiderate, asshole. She doesn’t deserve the amount of time and and energy that mama bear has dedicated to her. She doesn’t even deserve the amount of time I spent reading that, let alone the amount of time spent composing it.

Bernie DeCosmo 2 years ago

I would like to think that she really cared about the boy, but, probably not. Lots of evil people out there.

Gina 2 years ago

I am 38, over weight and I have a rather large gap in between my rather large teeth. I work retail and have had customers make every remark just shy of calling me fat, that doesn’t bother me anymore. One day, I had a lady come up to my register and say that she used to have the same problem I have. I thought wonderful, another fat comment. Nope, she pointed to my teeth and said that she had hers fixed. No matter what retail job anyone has, there will always be a jackass who THINKS their opinions are relevant.

Allison Diehl 2 years ago

That Amway chic was incredibly thoughtless. She may be desperate to reach her quota, but approaching people, pointing out their flaws, and then offering to sell a product to fix them is rude. This isn’t about children being whiny or a mom being overly sensitive. This woman’s behavior is unacceptable. By the way, as a teenager (with acne), I once had a stranger compliment me and tell me I looked like a “Dove girl.” Decades later, I still remember. This woman really ought to try complimenting people.

DontBlameTheKids 2 years ago

Gah! Unforgivable. (I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, I love your writing, Jennifer!)

Lisa 2 years ago

The woman should be ashamed of herself. Being so desperate to make a buck that she had to use a 16 year old boy’s insecurities is just nasty. Does she forget what it is like to be a teenager? To over analyze every aspect of yourself and be hypercritical? So she masked her actions under the cover of trying to be helpful when she was just being greedy and rude – what a surprise. Your son could not even call her out on her behavior because she was a paying customer and as an employee of the store, he needed to be professional. Not only was she insulting, but she also made him feel subservient. I am grateful that you wrote this article. I hope it is a wake up call to everyone who thinks they are entitled to voice their unsolicited opinions on skin conditions, weight, parenting, etc. Be kind. Your words can make or break someone’s day.

John Jacobs 2 years ago

One thing that has been addressed only in passing in these comments – the effect of multi-level marketing (MLM) programs like Amway and many others. MLM organizations are similar to religious cults in the way they rev up the people who sell their stuff. Because of the pyramid nature of this type of marketing/selling, the person trying to sell products and ‘distributorships’ has virtually all of their personal relationships changed. Every conversation with friend, family, grocery cashier, etc., has the potential of being a sales opportunity. Many of these folks simply cannot turn it off. I would guess that because the numbers are so important to an MLM seller, and there’s so much rejection between successes, that the thought that your son had his feelings hurt was no big whoops to this person. “That’s one more ‘no’ on the way to your next ‘yes’ and a sale!”

Teri 2 years ago

As if kids don’t have enough stress in their lives, this assbag has to come along and ruin a perfectly good night for your son. I’m so sorry this happened to him, and I totally think you should contact her and show her those mama bear claws! You are well within your rights to do so!!

Karen Beck 2 years ago

Wow, what a thoughtless twit! What a great strategy to sell your stupid overpriced products- insult people by pointing out their flaws in public! I can’t stand pushy salespeople anyway but that is way out of line. Good for your son by not being rude back to her.

Skyler Harvey 2 years ago

Hell, I say you name her and shame her. Anyone that could behave so insensitively to a kid deserves to receive a barage of well meaning advice from total strangers. Besides, I’m sure we all have stuff we could offer to sell her, too!

Michelle Munn 2 years ago

My daughter gets teased often due to some eye surgery that affected how one eye sometimes looks. Some people can be awful I wouldhavehad a consult

Judy Auld Byrd 2 years ago

Wow! This mother OVER reacted!

Amanda Schroeder 2 years ago

Major overreaction! Yes, the Amway woman was tacky and thoughtless. But if the author’s son is old enough to have acne and hold down a job, he’s old enough not to have mom hunting down the Amway lady to tell her off. Creepy.

bellabionda 2 years ago

The fact she touched his face would have sent me into a raging werewolf. I’m a single mother of 3, with one car, and I do all the things you do. And I so appreciate the Times in the car that gives us that one on one time I don’t think we would get otherwise. I have a close relationship like you do with my kids. And it angered me to imagine how my child would feel. I have a no hands on my child rule. I don’t reach out and place my hands on my childs face arm nothing. With out their permission. There is something called personal space, and she invaded his space. Maybe give her another email or send her this posting so that she can read what us mom’s think of some stranger thinking she can reach out and touch anyone she sees. Especially our children…grrrr

Kelly Pinkerton 2 years ago

This woman was a total thoughtless insensitive bitch and your one awesome mom “mama bear”.

Valentina Marino 2 years ago

Go get her Mama Bear!!!! My kids are my everything too , hurt one of them and it’s over!!!

Lydia Quinones 2 years ago

I have terrible acne and rosacia (sp?) And I am nearing 40. I got this all the time from everyone. And I still sometimes get this from people today. I have figured out that they just want to help. Most had problems too. I am now able to say, ” No thanks. I have my own regimen. ” But not always. And sometimes it still hurts

Mary Lou Morell 2 years ago

What a jerk! Remember, your acne will go away, but her stupidity probably won’t!

Life is Rough 2 years ago

I feel like this article is a complete overreaction. Each of us have to deal with people who say and do insensitive and hurtful things, sometimes to hurt you and sometimes on accident, every single day. Especially when we work in jobs where we interact with the public.

As someone who has received my share of insensitive comments over the years that have hurt me and a parent, I think that this is a part of life. It is not a good or happy part, but none the less, it is a part. I know how hard it is to watch your children feel hurt, but, put it in perspective. The fact that this made you so angry you sat down and wrote a blog about it is an overreaction about an incident I’m sure your son has moved on from.

I feel like the internet is rampant with overreactions like this and we all must be PC about them otherwise we get bullied out of the comments. :(

Gaynor Fowlie 2 years ago

The mother needs to ask why “She”had not told her son herself he needed skin treatment!!
It’s not normal to have acne, l never had it , neither has my daughter.
He best get some big boys trousers on, suck it up and get to the clinic…’get it treated, then people wont have to Comment.

    Happy Hausfrau 2 years ago

    “it is not normal to have acne”. Gaynor, sweet baby Jesus. I can’t believe you typed that sentence on a big website, and used your real name.

    You and your daughter determine exactly what is, and what isn’t normal? Do either of you wear glasses or contacts? Are you overweight? Prone to yeast infections? Please tell us. The rest of the world is waiting, with bated breath, to find out if we are “normal”.

    And for what it’s worth, the boy in question is 6’3″ and is wearing men’s sizes now. We put the big boy pants on a while back.

    Thanks for your input.

Maryann Sparks 2 years ago

Am I the only one who thinks the mom over reacted and over analyzed the situation? So her sons got a few zits and a lady wanted to help/ make a profit. There are worse things in life to go though at 16. Sheesh

Fletch 2 years ago

While I do not mean to dismiss or diminish a parent or anyone that helps support and give perspective on troubling events in a growing soul, as I see and value your caring perspective… I differ in what my message would be… and who it would be directed to.
The woman delivering the hurtful sales approach is indeed wrong. But the approach, as mama bear, kind intentions as they are, to vilify her (and/or whatever product/company she is pushing)… may not be as productive as u wish it could be. (Ok, run on sentance, yes). As I believe your primary goal is towards your son, and in preparing him for this world… my humble suggestion would be: instead of attempting to fix every unhealthy person that affects your son (or others)… you instead help your son understand how there will always be unhealthy people out there. And unhealthy people do not deserve your emotions (nor does anyone unworthy, a subject outside this thought). Help him see it is them who has who has acne… not your son. When he understands how people can either communicate with love…or insecurity, u will empower him for long after u are gone (my goal as a parent). He will likely even get to the next level on his own… to not feel anything except compassion towards the unfortunate person that is so misguided in trying to make a living. And then he may take to time to lend a hand to the one that is truly needing help. Good luck mama bear.

Jackie 2 years ago

I was attacked at my job at a retail store. I couldn’t even get a break from the cashier position to work in another part of store let alone one off the floor. An angry women through 7 pounds of chocolate at me because I was unable to return her holiday items after the holiday had passed. So I get why you are angry at this women and she did an awful thing but honestly it was not that bad. I even had friends who work in retail who told me being attacked is normal. It should not be, and I wish I could have written a strongly worded letter to the horrible women. So tell your son he should be thankful that the worst part of his day was being insulted over some acne by a women offering to help him.

Virginia Llorca 2 years ago

My brother’s wife made a remark to me when I mentioned an acne product my daughter used. She said, “Well. It’s certainly not helping her.” Years later I know what was behind it. My daughter is beautiful. Her’s isn’t. When I mentioned the incident in passing, years later, to my brother, he was shocked I would criticize her behavior. But what she said was okay I guess.

Ritika 2 years ago

I have had people tell me – ‘ you are pretty but could be beautiful if you lost some weight..’ At first I used to get super bugged and unhappy… but now I know that most people are insensitive idiots.. They don’t realize what they do could seriously hurt another person…

Kudos to your son Mama Bear, he handled it with much more grace than I would have!! :)

Nancy Rush 2 years ago

Poor kid. Damn thoughtless people.

Richard 2 years ago

I used to have bad acne as a teenager – I had it, to some extent, right up until my mid twenties.

Other people don’t understand the damage that can be caused by “a few spots” – I suffered everything from bullying at school, people shouting at me in the street and talking about me on the bus to being told to go work in the stock room, out of sight, at the store where I was working.

When the movie The Elephant Man was on T.V., it was months before the kids at school stopped following me around and saying “my name… is John Merrick…”

I wish I had some wise words of wisdom for your son, but I don’t. All I can say is that he will grow to be a better, stronger, more beautiful human being than those who seek to judge him.

He has my utmost support and he is in my thoughts.

Heather Banger Knighten 2 years ago

From one Mama Bear to another, go get her. Excellent story, excellent lesson both taught and learned.

Ali Kuhl 2 years ago

We all love our mama bears!

Heather Holter 2 years ago

I have and have had terrible acne since I was 13 so 25 yrs. The only time it went away was while I was nursing and didn’t have cycles for about a yr 4 times. I am well aware of it, but for some reason people feel the need to point it out. I am sensitive about it without someone saying something. There were 2 times I was totally devastated by peoples comments, the rest I just shrug off as ignorance. The first was an elderly man who asked me if I had chicken pox. The other was a bunch of people whispering about weather or not I am a meth addict! I am not by the way. It’s sad that people have to say things without thinking about how much it may hurt that person.

eegeee 2 years ago

let your son read this. hes old enough to understand your anger. he may be embarrassed by your protectiveness but he desrves to know that that he is loved – deeply – and that regardless of his position (then and in future), he responded with maturity and honesty. he was in the right

and ‘Jennifer’, regardless of being the adult and client in that conversation was wrong. inappropriate and desperate (i mean, who solicits at the till? this is borderline bullying imho)

he’s a legend in my eyes for standing up for himself.

Vmom 2 years ago

This post blown WAY out of proportion!
I doubt she goes home and beats baby seals and cackles maniachly at others’ misfortunes. She just had no sales tact and said something dumb. Like we all do sometimes. Doesn’t make it right, but ruining this woman’s life is INSANE!

    eegeee 2 years ago

    no, it’s bullying. unsolicited and inappropriate.

    (and please elaborate just how Jennifer’s ‘life’ being ruined by an email from a teenager’s mom – one whom she approached for business in the first place?)

      Vmom 2 years ago

      Well now it’s public. Could have gone viral for all you know! The ‘you go girl. Get her fired!’ posts are a little scary. People wanna slap this lady for saying something a bit rude.

Brenda Riley 2 years ago

Way to go mom!!

Kris E 2 years ago

I agree that what this lady said was jerky and insensitive. I’m not sure why poor Amway had to take a hit for it. It’s not like the company made her say rude things. She could have just as easily worked for oxy clean or pro active or any other acne med company. The author used AMWAY in the article title to get more readers. A Sloppy, and rude tactic. Also I feel like she is kind of de-glorifying her sons victory over his appropriate response by blabbering it all over FB. That lady was rude. kid stood up for him self. End of story. Not sure it needed to be elevated to such epic proportions.

Suzanne Rehermann 2 years ago

I think insensitive, greedy a hole would be an appropriate moniker for this one. Mama bears hate it when you hurt their babies. Just sayin.

Nora Saunders 2 years ago

I worked at a Stop & Shop in high school. I had moderate acne and received a business card from a woman I checked out. Her sales pitch was to “call [her] when [I] was ready to get serious about [my] skin.”

April Keough 2 years ago

One of the many reasons I hate sales :(

Brenda Trueblood 2 years ago

She was so mean…thoughtless

Kristy Bishop 2 years ago

I would send this letter to her!!!!!!

Mindy Ritz Ryan 2 years ago

Don’t call out the Mama Bear!

Mary Ann Simulinas 2 years ago

As a long term acne suffering (still at 53) I sympathize, but more importantly, it’s a great opportunity to teach your son (and yourself) get over it, she’ a poorly socialized jerk, move on, bet your son has many things to look forward to including proms, college, etc. Why let a moronic strangers words mean anything?

Sarah Sanchez 2 years ago

Acne sucks. I took medication for it in high school – medication that gave me hives at a dance with a black light, bad enough that I had to go home. Scars fade but don’t disappear. I’m so sorry your son went through this – an unforgettable, undeserved insult from an adult who should have known better


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