Friday, October 1, 2010

Excuse my sarcasm. I can't help myself.

sar·casm   /ˈsɑrkæzəm/

1. harsh or bitter derision or irony.
2. a sharply ironical taunt; sneering or cutting remark: a review full of sarcasms.

Well now, didn't I get my hand slapped on Facebook this morning when I posted a humorous (or so I thought) commentary on a product that I personally found silly (like you, I'm allowed an opinion, OK?). I admit, I often treat customers like friends, perhaps I should filter myself more than I do, however, I've never bothered trying. Not in-person, and certainly not online. I work a lot at the Ottawa store because I enjoy it. Being a shopkeeper, admittedly not the most glamorous job in the world, is a pretty sweet gig. No two days are ever the same, and I'm constantly meeting new and interesting people. I love it when a customer lingers at the store because we're having a good conversation.

If there's a chance we may meet, you should understand I am a naturally sarcastic person. People who know me well are quite familiar with this particular aspect of my personality, it's just the way I am. I usually do a good job of censoring myself when necessary. As an example, my inlaws (God bless them), don't 'get' sarcasm, so I don't bother. The last time I attempted sarcasm with them was shortly after I married my husband (their beloved son, obviously). They asked me why I hadn't changed my last name yet, and I deadpanned "Because it will make things so much easier when we eventually get divorced." - ba-dum-bum! You could have heard a pin drop. Instead of laughing (the expected result, I mean come on, it was funny!), the joke was followed by awkard silence. Note to self: the inlaws don't like sarcasm.

Inlaws aside, I'm aware that children don't often 'get' sarcasm. As my husband has pointed out many (many) times, perhaps sarcasm isn't the best approach when we're trying to teach our little ones, who have a habit of taking everything I say literally, not figuratively (a real problem in certain situations!). Although as they get older, I'm starting to notice Maddy and Hannah making effective use of sarcasm, when they let a zinger fly, I'll admit it warms my heart a little. OK, a lot.

So there you have it. There is no ill intent behind the things I say, in-person or online. I'm simply trying to be funny. As for the suggestion I should 'stop with the sarcasm', sorry -- no can do! That's like asking a zebra to stop with the stripes.


  1. Well you have to include the link and what you said!
    I'm dying to know, LOL!

  2. i love it!!! you never cease to make me laugh... in person or on-line!!! though not being on FB, i too am curious on what prompted this particular post. though either way, it is always such a pleasure to read the complete you... sarcasm and all!!! sending love from bogotá!!

  3. I was a follower of your store's Facebook page and a frequent visitor to your store when my little guy was younger. I'm a huge fan of cloth diapers and most of the parenting philosophies that your store supports.

    I had to unfollow (if you will) your store because I had great difficulty reading some of the comments that showed up in my newsfeed.

    As a breast-feeding (still once a day at 20 months!) mama who used to use cloth diapers and loosely follows some attachment and natural parenting principles, I am extremely reluctant to talk about those ideals with others. Why? You probably think it's for fear of judgement. Well, in a way it is.

    What I actually fear is the AP/Natural parenting mama who went before me and turned every other mother that she's ever spoken with off of ANYTHING even closely related AP/Natural parenting. People expect judgement. If any one says BOO about breast-feeding or baby-wearing, women are up in arms! But parents who use disposables? LAZY. Parents who formula feed? LAZIER. It's an embarrassing double standard that I am ashamed to be associated with.

    So, I keep my mouth shut and say as little as possible for fear of being cast in the shadow of the previous mama who made my ever so slightly more mainstream friend feel like the scum on the bottom of her shoe for choosing disposables, and using a bottle with her baby (even if it's only occasionally - he'll wean sooner don't you know!)

    My point is that sarcasm is fabulous. I use it regularly. But there is a time and a place and as a business owner and most importantly, as a mother, mocking other mothers is NOT it. That's why I had to unfollow your store.

    I expect to be slaughtered by your fans. Mine will not be a popular opinion for this crowd, I am sure. But I feel it's an important enough message to stick my neck out for.

  4. Totally agree with the poster above. You're a business owner, you have a FB page and a blog, and you invite comment - it's kind of unseemly to be complaining about how no one "gets" your sense of humor when you seem to have offended a good number of people, don't you think? You can hardly claim to have been mocking the product without mocking the people who have purchased it and found it useless. Forgive me if I don't buy your "but I was just being sarcastic!" excuse now!

  5. Another follower who has un-followed you. You were and are disrespectful to mothers who happen to do things differently than you. It's a shame.

  6. Hmm. There's are lot of followers who no longer follow you.

    TOO complicated... to figure out atm. (:

  7. This post, meant to defend your sarcasm as humorous and harmless, starts with a definition including adjectives such as harsh, bitter, cutting, sharp and sneering - not exactly the kind of guidance and empathy I seek regarding my family's health and well-being.

    I'm also un-following, but more because of a general superiority complex emanating from the page and the shop. Luckily for me, alternatives abound in the Ottawa area with equivalent expertise and far less judgement.

  8. To the last anonymous commenter (how brave), you can hardly fault me for the definition of 'sarcasm'. It was what it was, a tongue-in-cheek comment about a product I think is silly. If some ppl use and love it, great for them. I would hardly fall apart if I liked a certain product and someone else didn't, but I guess that's just me.

    Regarding your personal attack on me and my business, please don't mistake my confidence for a superiority complex -- I've been doing what I do for almost 9 years, and I just happen to be quite good at it. Yes, there are many stores in Ottawa doing the same thing now, I'm happy you've found somewhere else to shop that makes you feel more comfortable.

    susie ;0

  9. I think everyone should take a deep breath and relax. "Mocking other mothers"? (re. comment posted above). I think that's going just a wee bit far. Seems to me that the problem isn't with readers taking Susie (too) seriously, but with readers taking *themselves* too seriously.

    Susie, I don't think you have anything to apologise for. I'm a happy long-time customer who also enjoys reading your blog.

  10. And to put the original comment into context, it's not the first time I've suggested parents can do without certain products:

    I have a 'less is more' approach to parenting, and life in general.

    susie ;)

  11. hey susie,
    from one sarcastic mother to another, i thank you for your sense of humour. i get it, my house runs on it and my husband loves me for it.
    - meg (of meg&ian)

    ps. full disclosure: not only am i sarcastic, i am also an all natural, vegetarian, crunchy granola eating mother who is trying her hardest to raise an emotionally dependant kid.

  12. Susie - you're quite unbelievable. People who have come to you for advice and admitted to enjoying your store have told you that as a direct result of your attitude towards people who have different parenting ideas from your own they have decided to not to frequent your business any more and your response is to MOCK them?

    Before, I thought maybe you just didn't have great PR skills, but mocking clientele? That's not cool. As a now former customer, I could forgive a rookie overzealous comment, but mocking?

    As a smart business owner, I contrite attitude would carry you much further than the cutting attitude that you chosen. I pity the woman who mistakenly wanders into your store for cloth diapers and casually mentions that she formula feeds. I'm sure that Business 101 teaches that the customer always comes first.

    I can no longer in good faith recommend your store to my (numerous) expecting friends.

  13. Jeneke, my reply was not mocking, I'm sorry you read it as such. We have all kinds of customers who shop with us, breastfeeding, formula-feeding, cloth diapering, disposable diapering, and the list goes on. They are all welcomed and treated the same. I'm sorry if you feel otherwise, but you are welcome to your own opinion.

    susie ;)

  14. Wow. I think the only "mocking" going on was of the product and, seriously, most of us at some point have bought a baby product that in hindsight proved to be totally useless. It's unfortunate that a number of people took Susie's comment poking fun at the product personally, inferring she was poking fun at them instead. That certainly wasn't how I read her post!

    With my 1st baby, I bought a sleep positioner (useless! and now considered dangerous!), a Moses basket (used as toy storage), three different baby carriers that were just stupidly designed, a bucket carseat I dragged everywhere (my next 2 boys didn't have bucket seats) and a baby bathtub I now use to mix potting soil in. I make fun of these things all the time -- but I've never done this to belittle people who also have them but love them. I stand by my assertion that they are unnecessary products, though. ;)

    I think people need to loosen up a bit and see the post for what it is -- a humorous pole at an industry constantly trying to create needs that they can fill and products they can sell us!

  15. wow, i really cannot believe that one simple sentence has ballooned into all this nonsense!

    it was funny, susie was being funny and she has a terrific sense of humour.
    not once was she mocking a customer or belittleing!

    i have formula fed and disposable diapered and never once was i made to feel inferior in the baby shoppe, in fact, such an accusation is quite laughable.

    perhaps a little sense of humour is needed on the part of those who find themselves so easily it really necessary to get so worked up over something so small?!

  16. If you don't approve just stop reading! No one has forced you to read this blog or the facebook page!

    If you really had a concern you could have sent a private email to the store or to Susie and be done with it. Instead people feel the need to display their own perceived superiority publicly. Bravo. You showed us.

    If you were truly offended you wouldn't even be returning to this page and be reading this comment... but I bet you still are.