Opinions You Didn’t Need by People You Don’t Know

I went to the opticians the other day, for a routine check up. The first one I’ve had since I had the baby.
I was really hoping that I wouldn’t have to see the man I’ve seen before. He once told me that my breath stank of garlic. I really didn’t like him.
 
Anyway, it was him. No mention of my garlic breath today. No, when I mentioned I’d had a baby and had gone back to work, he suddenly shouted:
 
“BUT WHERE’S YOUR BABY?!”
 
I looked at him, perplexed.
 
“She’s…er…..with her Grandma, actually…..”
 
“NO! BUT WHERE’S YOUR BABY? WHY ARE YOU AT WORK YOU SHOULD BE AT HOME!”
 
I really didn’t know how to respond to this. I am afraid to say I mumbled, and blushed and tried ignore him as he looked into my pupils.
 
Afterwards, I felt rather angry about this statement. Who is he, Mr Optician Man, to tell me whether or not I should be working. Why, in fact, should he have an opinion at all?
 
He doesn’t know me or my situation. I’d love to be at home, but no-one will pay me a wage to be at home with my baby. I earn the most money, so I have to work. Not only that, I sort of need and want to work. I have a career and whilst at times I feel like I want to give it up, I do love it really.
 
It made me think, how do people feel they are qualified, and entitled, to talk to you in this way? Why did he think it was acceptable to say that to me? I knew he was an arse, as once he did tell me I had garlic breath. I could not tell anyone something so personal as this, or outright rude. I don’t think I could even say it if I knew them.
 
I am quite a shy, quiet person (don’t laugh, seriously I am), especially when I am alone, and not with anyone I know. I clam up, I find it hard to talk. Just going to Opticians takes a lot of effort for me, as I have to go alone, and face it all on my own. I hate being asked ‘is that brighter, or is that brighter? Which line can you read? Is the red or green stronger?” – (I never know, and I just guess. Probably why I always have issues). To go there, worked up as it was, and then be faced with this reaction, well it pissed me off, to be frank.
 
Should I speak up more? Should I say what I think? Is this how people get on in life, by saying what you shouldn’t? I am annoyed that I didn’t have anything witty to retort. I should try and think of a few up my sleeve, for any moments such as this.
 
Is it to make them feel bigger, better than you? Is it to make you feel like a silly little woman, who should be at home with her baby rather than work? Is it to make them feel superior in some way?
 
I was at a disadvantage, as my lenses were too strong (one day I may get the answers right) and I left, squinting into the distance, waiting for my new lenses to appear by the end of the week. Now I have to go back again and collect them. Maybe I should say something about his breath, or his face or something as I leave.
 
Has this happened to you? What do you say to people like this?

22 thoughts on “Opinions You Didn’t Need by People You Don’t Know

  1. 3yearsandhome

    He sounds like a prize prick. That’s just seriously rude. Have courage though, my dear. A simple ‘I really don’t think that’s any of your business’ will shut up people like that.

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  2. Carie

    Oh that’s just not OK. No one should say things like that regardless of their personal opinion. I once read an article that said that no working mum truly has a choice, they all have to work, it’s just that the reasons aren’t always financial!

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  3. Kath Knitty Mummy

    WHAT!! Is this man living in the 50s? Why on earth was he so surprised that a mum might also have a job?There is only one word for someone who would say that and I’m too polite to say it here (although I might have said it if I’d been in your position)

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  4. Amanda

    Holy crap, what on earth was he thinking?! I can not believe he came out with that, you should totally say something, he shouldn’t get away with spouting such nonsense when he’s supposed to be working, very unprofessional.

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  5. Sarah

    Had this by a supply teacher at my school. Me: Oh I’ve just returned from Maternity Leave. Supply: Why aren’t you at home? Your baby is more important.

    Errr hello?! Whose business is it? I don’t work because I want to. I work because I have to. And even if I didn’t have to Who are you to tell me otherwise? I didn’t stand up for myself quite as forcefully, mumbling something along the lines of needs must. The supply was an older man whose children we established were old enough now to have left home but just because you’ve had a child/ren doesn’t make you an expert. This makes me cross. If you can, complain to the branch manager for inappropriate comments. Idiot. (Him, not you).

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  6. sweettoothnim

    Aw that’s so rude. I used to get similar from old ladies i worked with. They were normally 85-95 and from the era that when you married. You stopped working. “in my day”….. Yes but it’s not their day now. It’s ours and it’s tough.

    I am the same with being quiet/shy. Never speak up for myself. I think of everything good to say later on. :-\

    Don’t worry yourself. He’s a different generation. Some have no clue. X

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  7. Stephanie

    That is awful!! I would complain about him to be honest. That is so rude and unprofessional of him. I would have been tempted to shout back ‘Where are your manners! You shouldn’t be at work without them!’

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  8. Iona@redpeffer

    So many people open their mouths first before thinking and speaking. And as many are totally unaware of the consequences their words have. I’m not sure, even if you had said anything to him that he would have understood-anyone capable of this kind of action is not especially filled with empathy I think. Don’t let it put you off your stride, there are many out there who try very hard to understand and empathise with others (I hope I’m one of around the 30% that do) :)

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  9. Kayleigh Parker

    I think it’s incredibly rude to force your opinions on someone else. For a stranger to do so must have been a total shock for you! I think a lot of strangers have opinions on how to bring up children… When I’ve been out with family members with young children, it’s not rare for a randomer to say, “oh isn’t your baby going to freeze without a blanket over him” or “You should leave her in her pram when she is crying”. I can’t believe people feel their opinion is necessary. Great post #pocolo x

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  10. mylittledreamworld1

    I worked full time when my daughter was 2, and had people at work say that they don’t know how I can do it, and they wouldn’t wp have wanted to leave their kids when they’d been young etc. it wasn’t malicious, but I had to work due to circumstances at that time – if we were rich I wouldn’t have been there, but there you go. People always have an opinion.
    I would consider making a complaint – you could do it online if you don’t want to do it In person.
    Oh, and I’d have reacted the same as you, I have a phobia about confrontation!
    Xxx

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  11. Gina Caro

    What an odd thing for a complete stranger to say!! People are weird, don’t let him get to you though, only you know what is right for you and your family :-) #PoCoLo

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  12. Hannah

    I would’ve called him a shovenistic pig and walked out booking an appt with someone completely different or even a new opticians! Dick.
    In all honesty though my anxiety would t allow that so if have done what you did then brood over it for a few days!

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    1. Emily Tealady Post author

      Thank you! Yes I know, I should have, and he has been a bit of an idiot before it’s just that the place is easy to get to etc. I should have said something! X

      Reply
  13. Verily Victoria Vocalises

    What a complete git! How ruddy rude! He has no right to say anything like this to you! He is providing a service to you and should remain professional at all times! It makes you wonder what else he could say to other people who are far more vulnerable. If it was me I would tell him to mind his own business…and report him! Thanks for supporting and linking to PoCoLo x

    Reply

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