In my post yesterday, I talked about the things that children come out with, and a Comment made to that post has once again inspired another post here…
My mother recounted this funny story years ago after she had gone into an expensive fine china and porcelain shop (Minson and Company, Christchurch, New Zealand) to choose a very special present. She had asked staff some advice and was browsing the selection when there entered an exceptionally well dressed woman with her small son (approx 4 years of age).
A staff member politely asked if they might be of assistance and was haughtily rebuffed as the lady rather sharply declared that she hadn’t decided which kind of item she wished to buy yet.
My mother was the only other customer in the shop, so the tone of this exchange immediately caught her attention. (apparently it was well-known that staff in this shop were very helpful with their excellent knowledge of porcelain).
The child started picking up various pieces, turning them over to view the bottoms and then setting them back. The child’s mother said nothing and let the boy do as he wished.
Considering the delicate merchandise and the steep price tags attached, this certainly not what might be termed a “family friendly” environment, and it could potentially be financially hazardous if said ‘family’ is a child under five years of age.
Thus my Mother said she found herself curiously spying out of the corner of her eye at the pair, as did, she noticed, the shop staff. (I assume they were getting rather nervous at child’s actions).
However this was an establishment with no small “reputation“ and the staff politely held back from admonishing the child.
The little boy’s mother browsed the contents of the shop, standing a short distance away from her son, who blissfully carried on picking up item after another.
Some five minutes later, as tension mounted, the child picked up yet another piece of porcelain, and looked at the bottom, then looked over to his mother and very loudly exclaimed:
” What a BLOODY rip-off! “
His mother’s reaction was instant… she immediatly put down the item she had been looking at, blushed deepest red, rushed to the child, prised the item out of his hands and raced them both off the premises with almost indecent and almost comical haste.
My mother looked over the to staff who were trying to remain polite and not laugh, but she couldn’t manage to keep her own giggles at bay and once she had started, there was no hope of keeping the straight face of decorum any longer and soon they were all wiping away tears of mirth.
Obviously the little boy had no clue as to what was really expensive or not, but at that moment had just chosen to repeat something that he had heard his mother say often in shops.
Clearly his mother was not necessarily quite the hoity-toity lady with manners that she made herself out to be.
With those five words he successfully knocked her off her high and mighty pedestal and Parents everywhere given a sharp reminder that their offspring may not only spout fourth your wisest words in public, but also in their innocence, air evidence of your least-best parenting skills too.
Sadly, Minsons was not a shop that I could ever afford to frequent as a young adult and now that I have tried to do some research to see what the business is like today, I discover to my dismay that apparently it ceased trading some time ago.
I did however find the link (below) to a Canterbury Heritage Site, with a photo of the original shop (top left photo) which I know to be from the Christchurch City Public Library Archives. The shop that I knew however, was the later one depicted in the bottom right hand corner.
I did go into Minson’s twice once I started work, and even then I was so afraid of breaking anything that I was a nervous wreck upon exiting. I remember a wondrously beautiful shop, but it did have the power to strike the Fear of God into me too. I’m very sad to learn that it has now closed and gone, but delighted to have a funny memory to remember it with.
.. btw the part of the Comment that inspired this post came from Denim: http://whatzthatallabout.wordpress.com/ who wrote:
“THEN…there are the times when you think they are not listening to your grand wisdom and words and somewhere like three years, 2 months and 19 days later they repeat it out loud as their own.“…
So true, so true.