A Driving Instructor's Blog

I was in Asda the other night doing my weekly shop. It was about 6.30pm, and I remember thinking to myself that I was a bit early and would have to put up with an elevated number of other customers (and all that that entails).Macaulay Culkon from Futurama

True to form, the entrance area (from 5m inside the store to the same distance outside) was performing its usual function as a place for people with trolleys to walk into and then stop dead, preventing anyone else from coming in or going out. The outer entrance area  (Asda’s smoking garden) was filled with oiley, obese, and generally disgusting people chain smoking something they must have picked up after their dog had done its business. Naturally, it being a Friday, the pick-up/drop-off areas and parent/toddler bays, were full of Audis and 4x4s – each containing a swarthy, acne-ridden individual barely visible in the front bucket seat, cycling through endless dance tracks in an attempt to find the one most likely (in his dreams) of making everyone go “oooh! Look how cool he is” (in reality, everyone thinks “prick”).

Ordinarily, I would simply have wondered for a few minutes if the specimens in the Audis were actually in the car park for any reason other than to “be seen” – were they waiting for someone, for example? If so, were they going to be the first Audi driver in the history of the universe to be seen opening up the trunk and loading a pile of groceries into it? I might also have wondered where the smokers were going – were they waiting for an ashtray on wheels, driven by another chain-smoker, to pick them up and take them and their salad and baguettes back to the bricks and mortar ashtrays they live in? And so on.

Once inside, I’d probably have scowled at a few people as they blocked aisles or pushed trolleys around with no application whatsoever of the Supermarket HIghway Code. I’d almost certainly have wondered at the mentality of those who shop in Asda, and who are responsible for the presence of raw chickens placed next to the biscuits, fresh pizza on top of cases of Budweiser, empty crisp and snack packets on various shelves, and the sundry fresh and frozen items secreted in locations hundreds of metres away from where they should be. Had it been a particularly bad day, I’d undoubtedly have fumed at the number of children wearing “heelies” and running up and down in front of me. In fact, it was a bad day, because I had to contend with some 3 year-old brat on a bicycle as I walked towards the dairy aisle, a slightly older one swinging a trolley around in a circle in another, one jumping up and down in the beer aisle in front of two obese men (one of which I assume was her father), and – in the background the whole time I was there – a repeated, piercing scream from the spawn of some Earth Mother who probably thought that her kids should be seen and heard by everyone.

Then I saw this story on the BBC website. Kim Christofi owns a small cafe in Felixstowe, and she posted on her store’s Facebook page that she would step in if parents were “too scared to discipline their children”. She actually said it much better than that. Here is the actual Facebook text:

Can we make ourselves perfectly clear to all parents who are too scared to discipline their children about tantrum screaming. We will give you five lenient minutes to ask the child to stop screaming and then we will ask the child ourselves. If that means you too having a tantrum about our having to speak to your child and hurling threats about not returning – that’s really okay with us. We have a duty of care to the rest of our customers.

Absolutely spot on. But, as you can probably imagine, all the Brexit voters out there (yes, I’m assuming – but I’m probably right) didn’t like it one bit. As a result, Ms Christofi’s Facebook account has been inundated with trolls accusing her of being against autistic people, against disabled people in general, and all the other bad things that come at you from Facebook when you’re in the news.

Someone who goes by the name “Emma Watson” is a prime example of all that’s wrong with Facebook:

So the South Kiosk at Martello Park have had to close their Facebook page and I’m not sure she will have much business today or this summer.

This may have been a very silly error of judgement on her part, she obviously hadn’t thought this though or realised how vital things can go on Facebook.

It’s a shame she couldn’t just admit she made a mistake and apologise. Instead she made excuses and dug a deeper hole.
I’m not excusing any vile responses but I can imagine their wa…s some extremely upset parents out there that responded in the heat of the moment, but I’m not sure you can blame them really. I don’t however think it was those comments that put her out of business. She really did that herself. It was her post that did the damage and even if people couldn’t comment and that post was shared far and wide the outcome would have been the same.

I hope she takes this time to reflect on this situation.

I don’t think they have closed their page. And I think their business has gone through the roof, because there are many more people out there who support what she has said than there are who disagree. What has happened is that – as usual – those who disagree have the biggest mouths and the lowest intelligence, and the South Kiosk’s Facebook page has been trolled almost to death by people like Miss (sorry, Ms) Watson. I also notice that some media outlets have representatives who are hounding Ms Christofi on Facebook, using very offensive language and Sun-style analytics of every word Ms Christofi says. Some idiots are even referring to physical assault having taken place – I can see no reference anywhere for that.

Let’s just clarify some things:

  • Ms Christofi wrote a comment about screaming kids in her café
  • she did not – at any time – identify them as autistic, disabled, or anything else
  • there is absolutely nothing else to add – that’s all she did/didn’t say

Unfortunately, some imbecile (and it’s hard to point the finger at one in particular) decided that an autistic kid screaming at the top of its lungs in a public area is somehow different to a normal one doing it, and is therefore totally acceptable.  People like Emma Watson have orgasms over things like this. Ms Christofi’s most recent comment on the subject is:

For the last time, If you are bringing your children up to the kiosk then YOU need to keep them under control. If YOUR child is damaging MY business then I will take action.

Again, she is absolutely spot on.

If I go to the cinema to watch a film, I don’t expect to have anyone sitting next to me (or even to be within earshot) who is going to be screaming and running around, be it a kid or an adult. And it would make no difference if I subsequently discovered that the screamer was autistic – because if they were, and if they can’t keep quiet and still, then they shouldn’t be there. Exactly the same applies if I go to a restaurant or a cafe, or most other public venues.

Some morons are saying that tantrums are part of a child’s development, and ignoring them is one way of dealing with it. Actually, any decent parent would have done their job well enough by “ignoring” tantrums at home, so that public displays were rare. I didn’t do it when I was a kid because I knew I’d get a clip round the ear. Instead, public tantrums like these are the norm – the culmination of a me-me-me scenario being played out, where the kid has been spoiled again and again, but still wants more.

And far too many rubbish parents seem willing to label it as “autism”.

But let’s just close by saying again that Ms Christofi never mentioned autism. She only commented on badly-behaved children.


Note: Autism exists. The problem is that the symptoms of true autism overlap significantly with simple bad behaviour and poor upbringing. That ineffectual parents should latch on to autism as an excuse for their failings is perhaps understandable.

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