Close Encounter of the Rude Kind

I went out with my family the other night to dinner.  We just went to Ruby’s, a family-friendly diner with very standard diner fare.  I picked it because of its location at the end of the Seal Beach pier.  Oceanfront dining for cheap really can’t be beat!  And, I really like the variety of lighter, healthier fare on their menu for being a diner.  And, it’s a great place to take the kids.  Anyhow, soon after we ordered, a group of 6 was seated next to us.  And one of them (I shall call her Mouthy), sat down right next to me.  I was sitting on a long booth, so we were literally cheek to cheek.

Of  course, I dislike Mouthy from the instant she sits.  I mean, really – is personal space THAT hard to understand!  She and her partner are pretty loud and overall annoying, but I can overlook that.  Then, our food comes.  Bugster was jumping up and down in her high chair with excitement when her meal of macaroni and cheese with apple slices arrived.  Once it cooled, she dug in to the mac and cheese.  (I want to pause here and remind you that Bugster is 17 months old.)  She dug in with her hands, and, as to be expected, was making a huge mess of her face.  But she was quiet, calm, and completely engrossed by her meal.  Likewise, The Big Cheese was on her absolute best behavior.

Then, in my left ear, I hear Mouthy.  “Oh, gross.  That’s so disgusting.  I can’t even look.”  I look over, and she is staring at Bugster.  She continues to make comments to her partner about how nasty Bugster’s face looks and the crime her parents are committing for letting her eat with her hands.  She literally goes on for several minutes.  The more she talks, the madder I am getting.  Dear Hubby doesn’t know why I’m fuming (he thinks I’m REALLY overreacting to the personal space thing), so I very softly clue him in.  Now he’s fuming, and all the while, sweet Bugster is enjoying every bite of her meal.

I run through all the things I can do or say to Mouthy.  I contemplate saying something immediately, but I was still trying to eat my meal.  I also think about “accidentally spilling” my sticky Cherry Coke on her lap. But, I was trying to balance standing up for my daughter without embarrassing Dear Hubby or setting a bad example for my kids.

While my wheels are turning, Mouthy leans over to get an even better look at Bugster, puts her hand over her mouth in disgust, and starts right back in on her tirade.  She even says,”I wish I had my camera.”  “Hello?,” I’m thinking, “I’m right next to you.  You aren’t quiet.  Do you get that I can hear you?  Do you really think I’d let you photograph my kid?”  Still, I take the high road for a minute and stay quiet.  I ask Dear Hubby to gather up the girls, and I address Mouthy on my way to the door.  “I can’t believe the awful things you were saying my daughter.  You are the rudest person I have ever met.  Did you think we couldn’t hear what you were saying?”  And then, I walked away.  Mouthy began to sputter that she hadn’t said anything, and her partner chimed in with something I didn’t hear.  All the while, I just kept walking.  I stood up for Bugster, and I did it without embarrassing myself.

I seriously want to know if she thought I couldn’t hear her every word.  If you’re going to be a nasty, rude gossip, shouldn’t you know that you are being loud?  Thanks for letting me vent!  Now, I can forget about Mouthy and move on with my life.

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A Party Favor Nightmare

I recently made a purchase from a place I’ve shopped before that has left me feeling angry and bitter.  And, once I tell you about it, I’m hoping you’ll be at least a little bit angry with me.

I’m guessing you’ve gotten catalogs in the mail from Oriental Trading Company, purveyors of inexpensive party favors and decorations.  There’s a good chance you’ve even ordered from them.  I know I have on multiple occasions.  The Big Cheese just turned 3, and we were having her party at Frogg’s Bounce House (in Fountain Valley, CA), which led to her wanting a frog theme for her party.  I immediately turned to Oriental Trading Company for favors, because, let’s face it, if it’s not a licensed character, it’s not at the party store.

I found these frog straw cups.

Aren’t they cute? 

 I love favors that can double as party decorations, so I ordered these cups right away.  They are $14.99 for 8 cups (plus S/H).  At less than $2 a piece, they seemed ideal.  The Big Cheese helped me open the big Oriental Trading box when it arrived and fell in love with these frog straw cups at first sight.  Then, I glanced at the invoice and saw a Proposition 65 warning.  “WARNING: This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.”  For those of you not familiar with Prop 65, it is a California state law that requires anyone doing business in California to notify consumers that the products they are selling expose the consumers to chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.  This warning has to accompany the products that contain these chemicals when these products are sold in California.  In the case of my order, this Prop 65 warning was attached to these frog cups, these cute cups that I was going to use to serve beverages to toddlers and preschoolers, these cute cups that could cause serious harm to those very children.

I immediately called Oriental Trading’s Customer Service number to question what horrible toxin was in or on these cups.  Their customer service agent assured me that whatever the chemical in question, it was at federally acceptable levels.  She told me that I only received the warning because I live in California.  In other words, because I live in CA, I know that these cups are dangerous, but, if I lived in another state, I would have no idea that these Oriental Trading cups could harm my children.  I asked if it was lead paint.  The agent quickly assured me it was not lead – but then proceeded to tell me that she did not know what toxin it was.  Not feeling at all reassured, I told her I refused to serve drinks to young kids in these cups.  She told me I could either receive a merchandise credit or a cash refund for the price of the item.  The Oriental Trading agent then told me I could either recycle the cups or throw them out.  Also, the shipping costs I incurred could not be refunded.

Still seething by the fact that Oriental Trading would sell cups baring a Prop 65 warning to young kids, I decided I had to write a product review on http://www.orientaltrading.com.  Unfortunately, Oriental Trading censors their reviews.  I wrote a beautiful review discussing Proposition 65 and the language that came on the invoice.  I wrote that I felt these cups were inappropriate for children because of it.  I then received an email from Oriental Trading telling me that my review was not posted because it violated their terms of use.  I made multiple attempts, all containing 100% truthful information, and many were rejected, including this tame review entitled “Would not give to kids:  These cups came with a warning that they contain a chemical that could cause cancer or reproductive harm.  While the company assured me they meet all Federal guidelines, California law requires the warning.  I would not use these at my daughter’s party.”  I finally got Oriental Trading to accept a review of these cups, but it is so watered down, it’s almost worthless:  “Poor Quality:  Poor quality and not worth anywhere near the amount of money they cost.  Will not be using these at my daughter’s party.”  That’s right.  Until I eliminated all references to safety and Proposition 65, Oriental Trading refused to publish my review.  So much for honest reviews of their products on their own site.  At least now you know the truth.  Please feel free to pass on this review.