Saturday, February 20, 2010

This Mama's Had It, Too.

(WARNING: This post contains a photo not suitable for little eyes.)

I was greatly inspired by BooMama's post Mama's Had It the other day, where she gives a large national bookstore chain a good old what-for over their placement of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition right where children can see it. Click over there and read the post for sure.

I'll often make a call to a store's manager when customer service goes spectacularly wrong (or right), but now that I have a son, I know I'm going to have to make more calls of a more, um, sensitive nature. I just didn't expect to have to do it so soon after reading BooMama's post.

We went to a birthday party for Elmo today at a large chain bookstore. (I don't know why I'm being nice and not using their name, but if you knew about the Elmo party or if you follow me on Twitter, it's not hard to figure out.) As soon as you enter the store at its one and only entrance, there's a little foyer-type area with bookcases that always display budget books. They always have something for everybody from kids to adults to hobbyists to home cooks. Imagine my surprise to see, without really even looking at all the books, a book called Smut with a photo of a barely-concealed naked woman on it. Hey, whaddya know, I took a photo:

Seriously? Really? Are you kidding me?

I turned the book's cover around and we went on in to the party. I sent BooMama a direct message through Twitter and she was equally grossed out. When I got home, I sent the bookstore a message through Twitter, left them feedback on their web site, and called the store's manager. After explaining politely that while my son who's two wouldn't be bothered by it, there are teenaged boys in that store all the time for whom it could be a problem. There are grown men who struggle with pornography for whom it could be a problem. I asked if she'd consider moving the book and she sighed and sounded bored and put-out when she said, "Alright, I'll go up there and see about it." That wasn't the response I was looking for, but I didn't want to be rude so I didn't press it further. I might swing by Sunday afternoon to see if it's been moved yet. Speaking to someone in person might pack a greater punch.

Mamas and Daddies, we need to be vigilant about this sort of thing. The world is out to snatch your little ones (and your husbands, girls!) from you, and we're the front line of defense. If we don't make the phone calls or talk to the managers, who else will? Start a trend. Speak up.