4/28/14

An Open Letter to the Amway Lady Who Ruined My Son's Saturday Night:

Hi Jennifer (I feel comfortable revealing your first name because so many of us share it)!

My name is Jenny (see??). My son has a part-time job at the grocery store in our city. He works there after school and on weekends. He's saving up for a car. Or Chipotle (hey, our accounts are linked...I see where the money goes!). Most of his shifts are spent ringing up customers. Sometimes he does the bagging, sometimes he's the kid out in the parking lot gathering carts.

Last night, however, he was cashiering. You went through his line, with your husband. Apparently the chit-chat was pleasant...since it was nearing the end of my son's shift, he probably appreciated the back and forth with nice people such as yourselves. Ending the night on a good note and all that jazz.

When the goods were bagged up and your credit card slip signed, you could have gone on your merry way and let my son finish his shift and get on with his Saturday night. He's 16 and Saturday nights are like unwritten books just waiting for their stories.

But you didn't, did you?

Nope. You turned back to him, after he wished you a good evening, and you spoke. You touched the sides of your own face, and you said to my son:

"Wow. You have a lot of acne." Then you pulled a business card out of your purse and handed it to my boy.

"I sell products that can help with that. In six months, it'll be gone!"

My son took your card. He took it, and said "Thank you." And then he added, "But no thanks."

He took your card and thanked you because that's how I've been raising him. He's polite. Unfailingly so.

He said "no thanks" because I'm also raising him to speak up for himself. To be proud and to be brave.

I picked him up not long after you left. I'm a single mom of four, and we are a one car household. I spend a lot of my time transporting teens to jobs, activities and friend's houses. In a way, it's a blessing because we have some great talks. We talk about pretty much everything, my kids and I.

Last night, my son and I talked about you.

Your words, regardless of your intent, hurt my son. He told me the story.  His face was illuminated by the glow of his phone as he simultaneously spilled his guts and solidified the evening's plans with his crew. And then, he said the thing that broke my heart and for a second, made me hate you:

"Man. I was having such a good day up until that moment, Mom."

Amway Jennifer, you ruined my son's day.

Now, here's how I operate: I think. I analyze and dig deep and I try really hard to understand the Hows and the Whys of life. I choose not to believe that some people are truly awful. I gave my son some food for thought:

"Maybe they'd been out for dinner and drinks and she was a little buzzed. People lose their filter after a few cocktails."

"Maybe she had bad skin when she was younger and wanted to help you."

"Maybe she's desperate and broke and thought that trying to get a 16 year old grocery store cashier as a customer seemed like a good idea."

I thought, but didn't say out loud:

"Maybe she's a thoughtless, vapid a-hole who has zero social skills and should be sent to live on an island stocked with nothing but Amway brochures."

My son was already smiling, I'm not sure if it was because talking to Mom was reassuring or if one of his friends had just texted something funny. I felt some relief that for the moment, the black cloud you had so carelessly dumped over his day had begun moving along.

That's the thing about this kid. My son. He's a good person. He's smart, he is charismatic and confident. One of the more popular kids in his grade. Scads of friends and a sense of humor that makes me unblushingly proud. He's not a saint, of course, at home I sometimes call him Eric Cartman due to his ability to sound exactly like the rotund, angry child from South Park. But he really is a decent and kind person. I love him with all of my heart.

He has some zits. I guess you could call it acne, it's not an uncommon phenomena in teens. He's well aware of it, as we have several mirrors in our house and his vision is perfect. We have some ProActiv products, some Neutrogena cleansers. I try to buy unprocessed, organic food for my kids as often as my budget allows, because I think it's better for them, and their skin. So yes, this son of mine does have some skin issues.

But here's the deal: he doesn't need it pointed out to him. Especially not on a Saturday night when he's finishing up a shift at his part-time job. And especially not by a stranger trying to sell something. You could have left the store, gone home and done whatever it is you do. But for whatever reason, you thought it was a good idea to confront a captive teenage boy and point out a perceived flaw on his person in order to drum up some business for yourself.

Jennifer? It wasn't a good idea.

He gave me your card. I have it here, in front of me as I type this. As a veteran of a difficult divorce, I have learned that some calls and emails should be given a cooling-off period, so as not to send or say something I might regret later.

I wanted to call you, that night, in the car while my son was sitting there next to me. I wanted to lay into you, rip you a new one, let you know just how absolutely and completely WRONG you were. Your actions brought out the mama bear in me and although she doesn't come out often, when she does, it's on. On like Donkey Kong, Jennifer.

I don't think I'm going to call you. There have been several emails started, and then deleted. As the hours pass since you first approached my son in that grocery store, the feelings are abating. Slowly, but surely. I'll still send the email to you, guaranteed. You need to know that what you did was wrong. But I'll wait until these mama bear claws retract a bit. Typing with these things can be a bitch.

My son won't forget you. He won't forget you, or how it felt when you touched your face to point out the flaws on his. He won't forget what it felt like to have to swallow his pride and take the card you handed him, because he's 16 and a cashier at a grocery store and it's his job to treat the customers with respect. You taught him a lesson that night, which I'm sure wasn't your intention. You just wanted to sell some stuff.

You taught him that words have power. You opened your mouth and schooled my son on what it's like to be on the receiving end of ill-timed, inappropriate words. You gave him a lesson on what is and what isn't okay to say to perfect strangers. You helped me do what is one of my least-favorite jobs as a parent: you thickened up his skin, made my sweet boy a little bit tougher. You reinforced his armor, that battle gear he can use as he begins navigating life. You helped me, Jennifer. Helped me arm my son. Now he's smarter, and better equipped.

Better equipped to face the world...a world that is full of people just like you.

So please, Amway Lady. Let my son and I teach you something, too. The next time you feel the urge to hawk your wares, think about it. Look at who you're attempting to entice. Before you open your mouth, before you touch your face, before you dig in your purse and fish for one of your business cards...think. And if that isn't something you're capable of, you might want to see if Amway makes a product that could help you.

Sincerely,

Mama Bear














254 comments:

  1. I wondered if you'd write about this after seeing your Facebook post. I've also been fuming about what the Amway bitch did to your boy. (That's her official name in my head) I have a boy of my own. He's 11. Just got braces and is all kinds of awkward right now. I just had my own Amway bitch situation recently. Took everything in me to not hunt down and physically harm the adult who hurt my boy.

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    1. Thank you, Courtney! Hugs to you and your sweet boy. And kicks in the groin to adults who have no boundaries :(

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    2. HH-- "Adults who have no boundaries"? Did you mean to be ironic? Because it seems like your son handled the incident well. This blog post is all about you and your appropriation of your son's experience.

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    3. I wrote about how it made me feel, as his mother. Was that not okay?

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    4. Yes, just dying to know what she wrote back! Let us know, please. I'm a mom of four, it's so upsetting when we realize we can't shield our kids from the a**holes forever. I have an overweight 13 year old girl, she's beautiful, inside and out, but people are so mean. I wish I had the email addresses of those who've been mean to her. And my 10 yr old son is cross eyed from 3 brain surgeries, he also has large scars right by his hairline. I wish kids thought before they spoke but, they're kids. When its an ADULT? Yes, mama bear makes an ugly appearance. You should be so proud, the way your boy handled it. I would be. You've won another reader with this post.

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  2. I just adore you. You know, when you send that email, I still want to see it. I just can't help myself. ;)

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    1. Right back at ya! And I did send the email. And she wrote back. And I dislike her even more now.

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    2. What did she say!?!

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    3. the_happy_hausfrau,

      I'm an Amway rep myself, and on behalf of all Amway reps who really are just trying to be friendly and help other people, I want to apologize for this woman's actions. I wholeheartedly and sincerely am sorry for the way your son felt, how she presented herself, and how she reacted towards you. One thing I've learned since being in Amway is that their customer service is top notch. Even still, let me please apologize on behalf of all Amway IBO's and Amway itself.

      Please, please keep this in mind. Amway is made up of two separate entities (most of the time). Amway, the supplier, and a business group of trainers. Different groups within Amway teach different methods, some are a bit more pushy than others. The one I'm a part of utilizes a filtering system so as not to be offensive or pushy towards prospects and customers. We really only want to work with those who legitimately want to be worked with (it's never fun having someone on your team when they don't want to even be there -- much like sports).

      So, I say, your son is going to grow up to be a strong and confident man fully capable and able to face any struggles or battles in his way, because he's got an awesome mom who has raised him well. Job well done, and thank you.

      -Eric

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  3. Ugh, some people are CLUELESS! Please do send this stupid woman an email, she needs a wake up call.

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    1. Sent it! She replied. I don't like her. I need to see how much of her email, if any, I can post. I'll post mine for sure. And maybe the gist of her reply. Which was laughable. She's awful.

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    2. At 41 (mom to my own awesome 10 year old boy), I am still amazed by the number of stupid people on this planet.

      I don't like her either. ;)

      Yes, can't wait to read what you wrote (and what you can reveal of what Amway Bitch wrote back).

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  4. I love this post so, so much. And I hope you share that email with us.

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    1. Thank you Nell! I'll share the one I sent, for sure. Her reply? Not sure how much I can share of that, legally. But I can sure paraphrase the hell out of it. It was the opposite of the reaction I was hoping to get.

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  5. Love, Love, Love this Jenny!! You said it perfectly without being rude and still keeping it classy! I would love to know if she responds to your email.

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    1. Thanks Sil! She did reply. It was not what I was hoping for. It was, however, what I kind of expected.

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  6. Email her, then direct her to this post. You are a better woman than I. Not only would I have called her, but I would've probably trashed her all over Facebook and the internet. Bravo, Mama Bear!

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  7. Jenny, the world is full of douche bags who give all kinds of unsolicited advice (beyond my own mother). People have told me at the gym, due to my protruding mid-section, that "I really might benefit to join XXX class" or something along that line. It's such a learning moment that it's almost a good thing it happened. Yes it will thicken up his skin, but also he'll learn to actually THINK before speaking. This is something a lot of people can not do.

    I'm sorry he was hurt. And I too was wondering if you had written an email about it after your initial post on FB. I too was aghast at the gall of this woman. If you do confront her, please post about it b/c it will be special.

    Lastly, understand how shallow her insides are to have a craptastic job like that, and make people she doesn't even know feel bad. Oy, if that wasn't a reason to smile at her and say 'thanks but no thanks'. It puts the bad stuff back on her.

    You're a great writer. Love, g

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    1. Thank you Gail :) I sent her the email. She replied in the way I kind of thought she would.

      I read both my email and her reply to Henry. He was happy to know that I have his back no matter what. And we both just shook our damn heads at her reply. I told him he did the right thing.

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    2. You should complain to Amway. But this is a shout out to you and your son. Does hhe know what a great Mom he has? I'll bet he does.

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  8. Back when I was a cashier, women (it was always women) used to hand me pamphlets for weight loss products all. the. time. I'm five-five, and the most I've ever weighed is 120. Go figure. Some people are just jerks. Or desperate to sell their crappy products.

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    1. I pity them. And you know what sucks, is that I KNOW what it feels like to really need income, to really really need money. But I'd never sink so low.

      And you are taller than me by a couple of inches. And weigh oh so much less! I can't believe anyone would hand you weight loss stuff! Dolts.

      Thanks for reading :)

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  9. Amway IBO's and "douche bag" are often used in the same sentence.

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    1. I whole heartedly disagree.

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    2. Eric, this is one time you should not toe the company line. I read your earlier comment and thought it was genuine and heartfelt. Now I don't. This blog entry is about a young man suffering through the most awkward time of his life and his mother putting a thoughtless woman on blast. Beyond her venting, this post is also about her regular readers showing support for her actions and offering up some solidarity against Amway Jennifer. And that's what having a well-read blog and fans is all about.
      Now your first comment looks like a personalized form letter to a customer disappointed with their product. Try not to take this personally, seeing as the comment above that generalized Amway employees was not aimed at you, unlike the comment that your co-worker and colleague made about her boy.

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    3. As the editor of a very popular blog (not humble bragging, I swear) that gets hundreds of thousands of hits for each post (Ok, Ok now just straight bragging) you have now been baptized into the world of national aggregate linkouts. Which means you're going to see lots of hate even though your points are fair and your arguments valid.

      As long as there are comment sections on blogs there will be people who are downright livid that you're getting attention and they are not. The kids like to call this being a "hater."

      Stay strong (you obviously will) and keep churning out great content with a personal touch and you can bet HuffPo won't be the last big time portal to link to your work. Remember this: You haven't truly arrived until you get your first piece of hatemail (or in this case hate comment), since it requires a lot more effort for someone who despises you to air their grievances than to just click the "close window" button.

      Keep on keepin' on.

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  10. I have--had--a friend who got into Amway. It's like a cult. She went from being a good friend to a constant sell, sell, sell. It was sickening. I'm so sorry your son had that experience.

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    1. I have friends who are doing other direct-sales things, and they've never gone overboard with the selling. This is my first dealings with Amway...and judging on the reply she sent me, I think you are spot on re: the cult. Holy brainwashing!

      Thanks so much for reading!

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    2. Please keep in mind, Amway is made up of two very distinct components. Amway just has the products and a compensation plan, that's it, they don't teach people how to sell their products. They have a training system, and they also have rules on what we can or cannot do. There are dozens of training groups within Amway, each has their own flavor. Unfortunately, groups like BWW are extremely pushy and come off as disrespectful and even plain out rude. There are othe groups, like the one I'm a part of, that don't do this at all. We don't act pushy, we don't sell sell sell. It'd be nice to get a sale every now and again, but I'd much rather sell something to someone who actually loves the product, wants more of it, and THEY buy it, I don't have to sell it at all. That's how it's supposed to work. Forcing products on people who don't want nor like the product is really just plain stupid and disrespectful. I say, please take a step back and realize, not all Amway IBO's are the same, and often times they're just regurgitating what their training team has taught them, which can be many different things. On top of that, if someone steps out of line like this lady clearly did, you can contact Amway and they'll take care of it. If they deem it detrimental to their business then they would even remove the IBO's IBO number and put a stop to their business.

      Please don't shine us all in such a bad light, a lot of us are really great people once you get to know us. We're people just like you, we have feelings too, and we, at least I know myself and my team, try to focus on being a positive influence on prospects and customers, not pushy salesmen and women.

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  11. I'm so sorry this happened to your son! So many direct sales people are predatory. Thanks for writing this.

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    1. Thank you for reading, and for your support on twitter! It's much appreciated :)

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    2. Gotta say, for the most part, even when the products are good, Direct Sales bring out the whackadoo in most people and only the truly obnoxious people seem to stick with it. In. My. Opinion. and Experience. Too much experience.

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  12. Well said! There are too many unsolicited advices going on and around which are often unwelcome (and just plain rude). Whether it's to actually try and help out or just gain a customer out of your son, that was really rude and insensitive.

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    1. Thank you so much, Amy. The reply to my email was vomit-worthy. Rude and insensitive pretty much covers it.

      Thank you for reading!

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  13. Wow. I'm glad you emailed her. In situations like that and dealing with people like that, speaking up should really be the only goal. If she had apologized, well, that would've been gravy. But just standing up for your son and giving her that feedback was all that's required to consider this successfully handled. Sounds like she lacks self-reflection ... and that's too bad.

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    1. Thank you Anne. Yes, I think self-reflection is just one of many things she lacks ;)

      I am happy that my son came away from this knowing he can always come to me. And that when push comes to shove, I'm still capable of writing a good email!

      Thanks for reading.

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  14. Love your post and couldn't agree more with what you said and how you went about your thought process. This woman clearly needs some assistance in the area of a filter and compassion but identifying it in the way you did with your son was brilliant. I do want to point out to you that coming from a single mother I think you need to raise yourself up to yourself and not continually identify yourself as a single mother. In my opinion, this is not a weakness but a strength as clearly your kids are stronger because they see a strong role model of a mother who is strong enough to get through all she has gotten through. I feel that when you feel the need to share your single motherhood it is a notice that you have a weakness rather than just saying you are is mother. I love what you say and really enjoy your blog, so keep them coming! You have been a great role model for your kids...they are very lucky!

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    1. Thank you! Gah. I do harp on the fact that I'm a single mom a lot, don't I? I guess it's become kind of a preemptive strike thing with me. I feel that sometimes I have to explain why things are the way they are with my kids, with our finances, etc. I should try your suggestion and just be a MOM. It's not a weakness, as far as I'm concerned, because holy crap is it tough and I think it makes us tougher just because of that. But you're right. Time to ditch the "single" part of it.

      Thank you, so much, for reading and for the gentle nudge ;)

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  15. Huh. Reminds me of math class in about 7th grade. I was one who had acne early, earlier than everybody else. I got used to the occasional question from some dumb kid "What's that on your face?" and I was a pretty resilient kid and I just dealt with it.

    It must have been late spring, because I was wearing a sleeveless shirt. I don't know why she was in my math class, but the SCHOOL NURSE was there. She grabbed my arm and said loudly, "You must have chicken pox, look at your arm...." etc. etc. She held my arm and kept talking for what seemed like forever.

    I will never forget it. But I also just realize the woman just really didn't have a clue whatsoever.

    I probably have only shared that story a couple of times in the almost 40 years since then. Experiences like that do toughen you up....but they also create empathy.

    Glad you shared the story!

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    1. Hey jlcmom. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your story. This subject keeps coming up, and it's heartbreaking. SO MANY PEOPLE have stories like yours, where they were embarrassed by people who should have known better. These memories don't fade away.

      Here's to empathy, I guess :)

      Thank you.

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  16. I never comment anywhere ever, but your post touched my heart. Hugs to you, congrats on raising a wonderful man.

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    1. Aww..thank you! How sweet of you to say. Thank you so much for reading, and taking the time to comment.

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  17. Jenny, this made me so fucking angry, I don't even know how to express myself here...

    All I could do (hell, I couldn't NOT do it if I tried) was put myself in your shoes and imagine that I would one day pick up my now 2.5 yo son from his part-time job, only to learn that he had encountered this witch in sheep's clothing.

    I want to choke this woman.

    "But I'll wait until these mama bear claws retract a bit."

    You are better than me, Jenny, because I don't know if I could heed to the cool-off period.

    Now, I'm hooked. I want to know what happens when you reach out to her...

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    1. Courtney I am bringing you with me the next time I want to kick someone's ass!

      I sent her a very polite email, wherein I shared with her my disappointment with her behavior. I told her that my son would get over it, but would most likely never forget it. And that she is very, very lucky she picked on a kid who has a remarkably healthy self image. I reminded her that many teens struggle with depression and low self esteem, and that her comment could have been the last straw for them.

      She sent a lengthy reply, mostly touting her experience with skin care. She did add, "I'm sorry you felt offended."

      Claws are now fully retracted, but hooo boy. Did we learn a lot from her.

      Thank you so much for the support. You're several kinds of awesome :)

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    2. I am perplexed as to why this woman felt the need to drive home her experience in skin care during her response. Really??

      What, is that supposed to make up for the fact that she has zero compassion -- or common sense, for that matter?

      (Shaking my head.) Jeez, some people...

      Delete
  18. Came by you and this post via The Brown Girl with Long Hair, love Courtney.... Anyway read it last night but was to tired to make the post comment that I wanted to.

    Good grief!!!! Some adults just don't own or know how to use the Social Filter button that they were given!!!!! Amway? Thought that had gone out of business years ago, it should, it puts people in a frame of mind of sell, sell, sell!!!! They don't think, they just open mouth and jump in two feet first!!!
    I have a teen daughter who is gorgeous, but has little to no self esteem. If this had happened to her last year at her first job, she would have never gone back. As a mom, bless your son for keeping his composure, being polite (Kudos to you mom) and thanking and then politely rejecting her offer... In my mind I would have throat punched her and outwardly done the same. Had I witnessed that, I would have wanted to say something to her along the lines of "Are you kidding me????" but again held back because your son did a wonderful job of it himself, and I would not have wanted to embarrass him further.
    I am glad that you emailed her, I see in the comments, and would love to know if she apologized???? I hope she had the decency to do so... Your son is amazing!!!!

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    1. Hi Ray! Thanks so much for reading, and for coming here to chat.

      I totally get what you're saying about your daughter. Some kids would be so hurt and/or mortified.

      A throat punch did cross my mind. And oh my GAWD do I wish I had been there. But it's probably best that this happened to my son alone, so he could deal with it himself.

      She did not apologize. She did, however, tell me about her extensive experience with skincare ;)

      Thanks again for your kind words! Hug that daughter.

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  19. I am glad you emailed her, and maybe she didn't get it but maybe it will come around around. When I was in middle school, I was very awkward. I was in a class with a group of older kids and one day, the most popular one turned to me, studied me for about a minute and said, "Damn, you are the ugliest thing I have ever seen in my life." I remember the blood rushing to my face. The ugliest thing. After high school, while most of the people I knew were getting rounder and softer and more unhappy, I bloomed. I got a job as a bev cart girl on a golf course and low and behold, the boy who said that to me came out to play golf with his friends. And he pulled me aside asked me out on a date. It was a big moment. :) At first I wanted to embarrass him the way he had embarrassed me that day, but instead all I said was, "I guess you don't remember me, but we had a class together in middle school, and you told me I was the 'ugliest thing' you had ever seen. That comment has stuck with me for a long time. I hope that you were going through a rough patch, but in case you aren't, maybe this is karma trying to tell you something." He denied it and sheepishly walked off. I couldn't tell what he thought but the next time I came around on the cart, he looked terrified. :)

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    1. Hi! And HA!! I love, LOVE this comment. It's like the scene in Pretty Woman, except a thousand times better :)

      I love your reply, and that you took the high road. I hope he felt like crap.

      You go girl. Thanks so very much for sharing this awesome story!

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  20. Cried my eyes out reading this. I spent my teenage years covering my acne, so as not to be teased, looked at with disgust, or told I was ugly. Your son is indeed lucky.

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    1. Claudine I want to hug you! Thank you. I bet you are absolutely beautiful :)

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  21. If your kid was really upset for any lasting time ober this trifle then...your kid is a pussy. You (all of you) are the perpetually offended who are contributing to the downfall of society. Hopefully this experience toughened his pansy ass up a bit and gave him the opportunity to learn a valuable lesson... that the sun does not in fact shine out of his ass... and that the world gives not one fuck about his happiness and that the only person in charge of and responsible for his emotional well being and state of mind is himself. That, he can let something like this own him or he can brush it off and get on with his life.

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    1. LOL, Maybe he'll grow up to be a brave person like you, anonymous troll :)

      Thanks for spreading the sunshine, a-hole.

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    2. @ Don't be such a whiny pussy...You need Jesus!

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    3. You called it on the first post. The second feeds the trolls. As a parent I know we don't want to see our kids get hurt. I also know my son is 14 and we discuss the good and bad things in life (our own and others). He has some skin issues and it is part of being a teen and hormones changing. If someone has ever said anything he hasn't told me. He isn't sheltered.
      The idiot above is probably some low IQ tough guy that has gone nowhere in life and is bitter. I was teased in middle school about my weight, even by people bigger than me. I wasn't even that big. In middle school it bothered me. Then I lost the weight. So some teasing isn't horrible. I was chubby and I lost the weight. I also toughened up. A few years ago some chick in a bar told me I was fat which now cracks me up. She was a total stranger and why she thought her opinion mattered is beyond me. She just wanted my spot and I wasn't moving for her. So she thought she could shame me into it. I told her if she didn't get off my back my fat a$$ was going to punch her. She took off. LOL I've never actually been in a real fight.

      At least your son was bothered by that woman's audacity but didn't let it ruin his night. He already is strong and it sounds like you did a great job with him. Tell him to take pity on these ignorant people who were not raised better. That is why this woman is shilling Amway and the pyramid scheme that it is instead of something better. If she has to go after teens working at the grocery store for business she probably IS struggling.

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    4. Michelle, you are totally right. I don't normally receive offensive comments on my blog, so this one took me by surprise...mostly because of the sheer idiocy. I need to sit on my hands sometimes ;)

      I appreciate you sharing your story. I am laughing at the image you created of the bar scene...right on, mama! I have always, ALWAYS struggled with my weight and know just what you mean.

      Thanks so much for reading, and for taking the time to comment. Now I might delete that second remark to the troll. Thanks for the advice.

      Delete
  22. I just read your blog post. As someone who was born with a facial disfigurment and who also works in a grocery store I know this scenerio all too well. Its amazing to me how brave people get in situations where they know the person they are talking to cant respond the way they would really want to. It always happens to me on the days I am feeling the best about myself because those are the days I am less guarded, more interacting. And the nicer you are, the nastier people are. I had a man recently loudly discuss my face for a long period of time, totally not understanding what had happened. He ended the conversation asking why I dont wear make up to cover it. I do. And then telling me I should get a huge tattoo on my face to cover the scars. I have 38 years of stories I coukd tell you. A few weeks ago I was at a bar to see my 15 year old son perform live for the first time at an open mic night. A man who came in and acted like he was a long lost friend of me and my parents, then announced to everyone within earshot that I had pinkeye. My mother tried to explain to him that it wasnt pink eye but a nevus I was born with that had been removed during 13 plastic surgeries and skin grafts. He didnt care. He insisted it was pink eye. 38 years I have been dealing with this and it STILL shocks me at how cruel and stupid people are!!

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    1. Hi Mary Jo...

      AUGH. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this kind of situation all the time :( Why are people so thoughtless?? Sounds to me like you have learned to deal with it but I'm sure it never gets "easy". Hugs to you.

      Thank you so much for sharing your story.

      Delete
  23. I have totally been there--in your son's shoes. As teenagers our self-esteems are already delicate as-is, but to add acne on top of that we might as well be made of tissue paper. However, I hope your son's skin issue is just the typical teenage flair up boys their age get. I never heeded anyone's unsolicited advice and didn't seek treatment until way later in life and now (in my 30s) I'm stuck with scars that make Crater Lake look like a kiddie pool. Tough stuff we deal with. :)

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    1. Ugh...I'm sorry you "get it". I love the tissue paper comparison, just love it. (I might steal it, ha!). Yep, his skin isn't really that bad, which made the woman's comment even more questionable. My older son had it much worse, it took some strong meds and mannnnny trips to the dermatologist to get things right with him.

      Sounds like you are a pretty cool person, scars and all. Thank you so much for this lovely comment.

      Delete
  24. I discovered your article and you are my hero.
    I wont go into my life story but lets just say its horrible when an event happens that can show the worst sides of human nature and how inhumanely we are encouraged to be nowadays to achieve what many in society regard as successful.

    you sound like an amazing mother. I'm the kind who would have rang her up to arrange a consultation, then acne would be the last of her issues but on reading your blog, you have helped with my aim to be a bit more calm..

    and that arseshatt who commented above..
    you again dealt with him perfectly..
    and to him... you sir, are a dick..
    carry on the good work Mama Bear.

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    1. Aww Cabrini you brought tears to my eyes. Thank you :) Good to know the Mama Bears have each other's backs.

      Thank you.

      Delete
  25. So let me start by saying I agree strongly that this women was out of line...but I also have a very difficult time with parents who allow their children to have acne. Yes I said allow....There is no reason in today's world for any child to have this stigmatizing skin disease. There are many medical treatments and if over the counter products don't work then a dermatologist is a must....not doing so in my opinion is abusive. If this adult was so willing to make this remark I can bet his peers think and even say similar things (behind his back & maybe even to his face?). There is plenty of things to tease about at this age why give one more? I know we all would like to live in a world were looks don't matter..but they do and all kinds of studies show that looks are connected with job success and overall life satisfaction. I bet it bothers him a lot more then you know and this was just the first time he had the courage to speak up. Please take him to a Dr. he has a medical condition that needs treatment. We all want to give our kids the best chance for happiness and we can't fix everything...but this is one area you could!

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    1. Wow, Amway lady is that you? Do you know every medical and personal detail of these people's lives that you feel it appropriate to lecture her?

      Delete
    2. ALLOW their kids to have acne???

      Anonymous, you have to be the most ignorant person on this string. I might even posit that you are the most ignorant person I've electronically run into all week.

      I spent my teenage years and all of my twenties with scarring cystic acne. I went to several dermatologists, I was on several antibiotics, tried every cream and wash (OTC and Rx), tried every vitamin and diet change, NOTHING worked. Sometimes the genetics are just more powerful than the treatments. And before you go lecturing me on medical conditions, know that I have a degree in Human Biology and that sometimes a Doctor isn't THE answer. They aren’t magic, you know.

      And how do you know that this woman hasn’t already taken her son to see a Dermatologist?

      Your comments, assumptions and advice are appalling and only go to show just how many douchebags there are in this world who have absolutely NO idea how fucking socially retarded they sound when they open their face-mounted horseshit cannons.

      I spent years trying to get out of a suicidal depression because of my acne and my poor mother, having done everything she could do about it, decided to work on my character as opposed to my skin. She said time would heal it (it did; I'm 34 and finally my skin is clear) and that I should focus on being the beautiful person that she knew I was.

      I faced SO many comments like this Amway woman's (and yours) from people "just trying to help". What you don't realize is that you're acknowledging the presence of something we have tried so hard to hide and that maybe that day we were able to pretend that it wasn't as bad as we think...

      And then a comment like that destroys all the hard work we’ve done and we’re back to where we started.
      It's hard to go through life with flaws on your face for the entire world to see. How lucky for this sweet boy that his confidence seems so high. He has a wonderful and patient mother. I would not have handled this the way you did; I would have called her immediately and lord help her if her address had been printed on her card.

      SERIOUSLY, Anonymous.

      Delete
    3. I have nothing more to add other than I LOVE YOU JOANNE STARKEY :)

      Thank you. I wish I could give you a hug. Hope that's not too creepy.

      Delete
    4. Wow is right. I don't think I'm stunned as much by the occassional story of a socially inept or rude person as I am by the sheer number of them who are out there. It's disturbing. JoAnme Starkey perfectly covered everything I would say to refute the fact that you think doctors can just magically cure acne now adays - so not true. I'll add that this is a dangerous slippery slope: what's next...should parents be obligated to get nose jobs, teeth whitening and more for their kids? You have so missed the whole point here. I was able to just laugh off the earlier troll comment, but your post actually seems sincere. Yuck, yuck, yuck. And, I'm remembering now that not only did you focus on the complete wrong thing here, you actually used the word 'abusive.' Your post here is just gross.

      Delete
    5. Jenny, I love you back. :) Long-distance hug accepted and one sent right back. You and your blog have a new fan. Your insights and observations are so funny and well-written. (I especially liked the advice you wrote to "wife 2.0" regarding her new baby. Hope she doesn't ignore it!)

      You really should post your e-mail and her reply, though. We're all dying to know what lame excuse she came up with to explain her dumbassery. :)

      Delete
    6. Jenny, I love you back. :) Long-distance hug accepted and one sent right back. You and your blog have a new fan. Your insights and observations are so funny and well-written. (I especially liked the advice you wrote to "wife 2.0" regarding her new baby. Hope she doesn't ignore it!)

      You really should post your e-mail to Ms. Amway and her reply, though. We're all dying to know what lame excuse she came up with to explain her dumbassery. :)

      Delete
  26. As an Amway IBO I apologize. We're not all clueless Jack Holes. If you like you can file a complaint against her with the corporation. I just sent them a link to your Huffington Post article as well.

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    1. Thank You! Well Done!

      Delete
    2. Betsy, thank you. Amway was gracious enough to contact me through Twitter. They asked me to forward her information to them...I declined.

      She was very thoughtless and I really hope that she'll stop approaching teenagers. But I can't mess with anyone's livelihood. I'll write a blog post about it, for sure, but if she has mouths to feed I can't be the one who threatens that.

      Thank you so much for commenting. I hold no ill will towards Amway as a company.

      Delete
  27. I...LOVE this post! It especially touched my heart because I was your son, MANY times growing up, having a great day go bad when a complete stranger feels it is OK to comment on my skin. Your measured, wise response made my day. I shared this blog from Huffington Post, and have become an instant fan of your work. Thank you!

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    1. Aww Tim...thank you. I'm sorry you know how it feels. I absolutely LOVE this comment. Warm fuzzies after a long day at work. Nothing better!

      Thank you so much for reading and for taking the time to share this.

      Delete
  28. Jennifer, I just read your article 'An Open Letter to the Amway Lady Who Ruined My Son's Saturday Night' at the Huffington Post and thought that I would view your own blog post for the same article so that I could comment anonymously as to request that you make an addition or update to your article that would serve as a general warning to adolescents with acne and their parents or guardians:

    1) seek out a dermatologist early on for a child (when this condition first presents itself around puberty) if his or her acne outbreaks appear to be more than just infrequent outbreaks with few pimples;

    2) you are not a seer, so stop trying to "inoculate" yourself as a parent with the baseless hope or faith that they will simply "grow out of this teenage phase". While many teenagers do mature into adults without ever having physically suffered with inflammatory or severe acne and the accompanying skin damaging effects from acne, such a parent is merely rationalizing his own acceptance of the child's inflammatory acne condition and gambling that this child will not be scarred by acne over the next ten to fifteen years of this teenager's life as a young adult --- now that you know, don't (or no longer) be that parent.

    3) and likewise, stop trying to "inoculate" your own child with the same baseless faith or false hope that he or she will simply "grow out of this teenage phase"--- such a parent is unwisely instilling the idea within the mind of his young teenage ward they can "go it alone" and resist medical evaluation and treatment for inflammatory acne;

    4) act like the ward that you are suppose to be and protect your young teenager with inflammatory acne scarring as the Federal Trade Commission has very seldom even wagged its regulatory finger against the over-the counter (OTC )acne treatment industry for its marketing practices. Both you and your American teenager have been exposed daily to OTC acne treatment product marketing/advertising of some sort for many years before they even entered adolescence --- television, print, internet, point-of-sale vending machine placement at shopping malls, etc.
    While some of these OTC acne treatment products may be generally fine for a teenager with infrequent and mild outbreaks of acne, please do not rely on any over-the-counter medications for self-treating acne as the persistent and frequently recurring inflammatory acne can permanently scar (and sometimes disfigure) the skin on a child's face, if not scar his or her psyche.

    I am making these suggestions based on my own personal experiences --- as a teenager with inflammatory acne I had relied on OTC acne treatment products and did not seek out treatment from a dermatologist until after I was sixteen years old. This type involuntary, uncomfortable "face touching" to acne (as described in the thread above) and acne does not end with uncouth efforts of a Amway rep trying to sell products to teenagers --- it also arises later in life during job interviews and introductions within social circles.




    ReplyDelete
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    1. I'm totally going to reply to this comment, but I think I need a cocktail first. Thank you..and I'll be back!

      Delete
    2. LOL, this is hilarious. Not only the content here, but the fact that he/she is requesting that you yourself update or amend your post. So, apparantly the problem is not with people who judge someone with facial flaws in school, in public, in a job interview...the real problem is with the child who dares to show their less-than-perfect face in public...and the parent who was unable to stomp out said imperfection. Oh boy.

      Delete
    3. 1) Fair enough - if it seems to be more than infrequent outbreaks and the child is concerned about it (rather than having the will of someone else forced upon them), then yes, take them to see someone about it or let them know that option is available to them.

      2) She is not a seer and I sincerely doubt you have any medical training at all. If mama bear is concerned about the health or welfare of her cub, I doubt she will be acting on unsolicited advice from the internet. You are saying that as soon as a child gets spots, they should be sent to a skin care specialist? I doubt there are enough specialists and even they would not want thousands of patients who do need of their services. I will assume, like me, you know nothing of her sons medical state and I will take a leap of faith here and also assume she will not be taking parenting advice from you.

      3) Deja vu... please refer to part 2

      4) So that's the secret to a long healthy life. If the marketing practices are okay, then the product must be. I was, like, sooo worried about that. Right, from now on all i'm going to consume are vitamin pills.

      While I appreciate you refer to your own experience with inflammatory acne, we do not know if bear cub Cartman has this.

      Insinuating that any parent is doing something wrong or is in some way neglecting their child because they have acne is bordering on lunacy. I have every confidence that Terminator Jenny is enabling her son to be a confident, considerate and thoughtful young adult.

      Delete
  29. That's a really terrible thing for someone to do. I work at a makeup as an esthetician, I could seriously never just walk up to someone and say that just to sell my services. If I say anything about their skin, I do it kindly and ask them if they'd be interested in me showing products to them that may help, and mention how I suffer from ance myself, so I get it. Then I see the reps that come into the store, they pretty much yank the person's hand and shoce products in their face. I really dislike how rude and insensitive people can be. I'm sorry your son had to have that happen to him, people in the beauty industry are cruel.

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    1. Hi Laura! Thank you so much for commenting. I want you to go through my son's line at the grocery store next time :)

      I think she was just clueless. And really, really wants to sell her stuff. Hopefully some of what I wrote in my email to her got through.

      Thanks again :)

      Delete
  30. Wonderful post and you are clearly doing s great job raising a nice boy amongst the worlds jerks.

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    1. Hey, thanks, anonymous! I really appreciate that. Thank you for reading.

      Delete
  31. You raised a good boy. I'm sure this has been mention by someone else as a possible solution- My 22 year old son had horrible acne too. He stopped drinking cows milk and it cleared up and has stayed clear. Then I remembered I was allergic to milk as a kid and had to drink soy. He likes unsweet almond milk.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thank you Melissa! And you are not the first one to suggest the cow's milk idea. Worth a try, right?

      I appreciate you coming here and commenting. Thank you!

      Delete
  32. You have a great son, and you should be happy to have raised someone so polite. I just wanted to say that my son too worked in a grocery store, and for some reason certain people (by far a minority) feel free to be abusive to kids who work behind the counter. It is a very sick mentality. I would bet this woman preys on people with any obvious weakness to sell her products, and your 16-year-old son was trapped behind the check out counter and so she had the perfect victim. You have greater restraint that I would have in not reporting her name to Amway. Bless you.

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    1. Thank you! I am pretty happy with how he's turned out so far :) I agree with you...there seems to be some weird mentality that assumes because a young person is standing in front of them, working, it's okay to let it rip. I don't get it.

      I really appreciate you coming here to comment :)

      Delete
  33. About 24 years ago I was out enjoying a meal with my husband and our young daughter. We were so happy because we were driving to Disney. I had a woman approach me with her advice and she handed me her Mary Kay card. Still feel the shock of someone's ignorance all these years later.

    Cheers to your son and cheers to you for raising such a fine young man.

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    1. Thanks so much Pat! I can't believe how many people have brought up their own past experiences like the one my son had. It really is something that stays with you.

      Cheers right back at you :)

      Delete
  34. Wow, Jennifer. You went to a lot of trouble to craft a longish blog post about something that was just really, really... well, NOT such an awful thing. The woman was selling acne products, and your son has acne. To whom do you think she should recommend her products? Yeah, it was a bit clumsy of her, and she went about it in a somewhat insensitive way, but guess what? Life will continue to send such people into your son's life, so he'd might as well learn to deal with this reality now. Moreover, it sounds like he handled an awkward moment with courtesy and grace. And if in that moment he felt uncomfortable, well, we would all do well remember that other people can't MAKE us feel one way or another. We create our own feelings internally; they are not handed to us. All that having been said, I have to ask you one thing, Jennifer. Why you haven't arranged for your son to see a dermatologist? I suffered from terrible acne as a teen and I would have given my left arm to consult with a doctor about it. And the treatments are SO much better now than they were when I was young... this really seems like a no-brainer to me.

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    1. And you went to a lot of trouble to craft a longish comment just to say you disagree with me. Which is great, because you bring up some valid points. I contend that it was really poor judgment to approach him while he was at work. And to say to a 16 year old kid, "Wow, you have a lot of acne" wasn't exactly what I'd call a Sales 101 recommended ice-breaker. How about, "Hey, I sell a great line of skin care, and so many of my customers are guys your age. Can I give you my card? I can set you up with a couple samples." Even though the principle is still not awesome, the approach is less...well, insulting.

      My kid processed it. We talked about it, that night. I chilled out for a day and then sent her a very polite email, expressing my disappointment in both her approach and her decision to try and sell to a young kid while he was on the clock, at work. She replied saying pretty much what I figured she would, that her heart was in the right place and that she knew kids with acne, yada yada yada. All is calm.

      As for the dermatologist question: this isn't my first time at the acne rodeo. An older child of mine also experienced it. His was bad...cystic and painful. He went to the dermatologist and received treatment. This kid, the one in the post, has some zits. They aren't awful, they aren't even very plentiful (which makes her comment all the more questionable). He's very fair, like me, which probably makes them stand out more. If his skin gets worse, off to the derm. we'll go.

      Thank you for reading, and for adding your opinion. I do appreciate it.

      Delete
    2. Another yucky person? Ugh. I think the author did a great job of detailing how her son did in fact use this as a learning experience due to just how many jackarses there are in the world. Can't think of how she could have made that any more clear. I love how people who say stupid and thoughtless things harp on the "no one can make you feel a certain way" point. Yup, true. But, it shouldn't be used as an argument to blame the person who is the victim of their verbal missiles.

      Delete
  35. Thanks so much for writing this. It's a lovely example of people (you and your son) choosing integrity over ease. I'm inspired, and it's such a joy to read about this amid all of the muck that's often in the news. What a terrific example of kindness, humor, and the human spirit. Well done.

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    1. Thanks Annie! I really appreciate this. Thank you for reading and taking the time to chime in :)

      Delete
  36. Meh, with a mom like you and great experiences ahead, you'll both forget this ever happened in a few years.

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    1. Judging by how many people have commented about this sort of thing happening to them in their teens, and how they can still remember it 20, 30, 50 years later, I doubt he'll forget it. But he's definitely over it.

      Thanks for reading!

      Delete
  37. Wow, your son got insulted by someone who had good intentions. No teenager likes having acne and she probably truly believed she had a product that would help your son. After having a nice conversation while checking out, is it really that far off base to assume she truly wanted to help your son? You seem so quick to judge intentions when you are likely very mistaken. You and the rest of America is so easily offended these days. Maybe we should stop looking for reasons to be offended, then we won't be offended so often.

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    1. Hi David! Are you a parent? If so, imagine someone approaching your kid while he's at work, and bringing up something as personal as the condition of his skin. He's at work, remember, so he can't ignore her, or walk away. My kid is secure and has a very healthy ego...but what if he didn't? What if he was depressed, what if his girlfriend had dumped him that day, what if someone at school had called him "pizza face" that day?

      Being a teenager is not the easiest thing, and probably even harder now with all of the social media stuff. The last thing any kid needs is a stranger, even one with good intentions, bringing up such a personal topic. Especially when the kid is at work.

      Thanks for sharing your opinion.

      Delete
    2. Didn't exactly have to look hard to be rightfully offended by that one though. Maybe Amway lady and others with subpar social skills shouldn't go looking for children whose normal insecurites are ripe for them to prey on.

      Delete
    3. Her intentions were to turn a quick buck. But don't let that stop you from your weird rant about how people are too easily offended (and she wasn't offended, she was angry. Parse the difference).

      Delete
  38. I read this and I'm a little surprised at how offended you were. Since you said your son had a nice conversation with this lady, could it be that she sincerely wanted to help and truly believed that her product could help your son? Maybe her product has helped a lot of teenagers with acne and she believed it could help his self confidence. What she said could be taken as insensitive, but do you really know her intentions? Can you really judge what she was thinking at the moment? America is so quick to look to be offended by any and every little thing and post/blog/tweet about how awful people are. It's a little sad.

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    1. Hello!

      I'm not sure where you read that my son and I had a "nice conversation" with this lady. We had a nice conversation about her. And regardless of her intent, her approach was wrong. Whether you agree or not. He's a minor, he was at work where he was basically forced to smile and be polite (which he did, of course, since he's a good kid).

      Of course I don't know what her intentions were. However, she and I did exchange emails and she was intent on selling her services, even after I explained to her (politely of course) that what she did at the grocery store wasn't cool.

      Look, I know not everyone agrees with me on this, and that's okay by me. I'm not seeking approval. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

      Thanks for chiming in.

      Delete
  39. Thanks to your blog entry, I realized that I too can look forward to having a huge opportunity to have my writing featured on HuffPost..if they'll print an upset mom's diatribe about what seems like an over-reaction in defense of their child to an oft occurring and ordinary slight by some stranger, I think my story about being beaten and held against my will when I was 12 should be a shoe-in....

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    1. Promise me you'll come back! :)

      Delete
    2. And one other thought: so what you are saying here is that unless someone has had life experiences which are as horrific, or even more horrific than yours, they have no business writing about it?

      Delete
    3. The blog post is simply a personal example of a larger problem. I'm tired of people with zero emotional intelligence throwing their verbal grenades and everyone else just being required to accept it while many of us go out of our way to be kind, thoughtful and think before we speak.

      Delete
  40. I agree with the last comment. I doubt she meant any ill will. I've had acne, and I have had people offer me advice on how to deal with. I didn't take it personally, because I know it's not a reflection of who I am. Also, there is a difference between being an asshole and simply lacking tact. While I do not know this woman - and she does seem to be a little bit clueless - I don't think this act is enough to label her an asshole. So being furious at her is a waste of time. Another good lesson to teach - people are generally pretty stupid. Not necessarily bad, just stupid. Sort of like the person who said no one should ALLOW their child to have acne. Forgive them their ignorance, and don't waste your time being angry about it.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Jenny, as a single mom (mine are grown and gone now) who fielded many of this type of thing over he years, I applaud you for this post. In fact, I give you a standing ovation. It is very well put and so true. It's a shame that our kids need to learn that there are people out there who are so bloody ignorant about what their "well meaning" words can do to the delicate teenage psyche. Your son is so fortunate that he has a mom like you who can help him put it into perspective and help make the lesson a little less painful. Bravo! I am honored to join your circle and follow your blog.

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    1. Thank you, Sheri!! Welcome to the crazy :)

      And I might be wiping away a couple of tears after reading this. Thanks so much.

      Delete
  42. People here don't seem to get it. It wasn't that she was selling her crap that was the problem. It's that she did it without any kind of professionalism or tact which resulted in publicly humiliating a teenage boy and kicking his self-esteem in the knees. It's HARD to deal with acne, especially as a teen, because all the people your age have no problem ridiculing you for it. I had problems with acne to the point I needed prescription meds for it. My father would point it out every single day and sometime would even COUNT. The people that never had to deal with this kind of nonsense for something they can't help have no idea what it's like.

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    1. Exactly. One of the gifts of going through a hard time is the ability to empathize and show grace and kindness to others who are going through difficult times. Some people just will never get it.

      Delete
  43. Now that your post has been featured on Huffpost, I am sure you will receive many comments, too many to respond or even read. I want to add one more and say that I completely relate to your mama bear reactions and am sorry your son had to have that experience. As a mother of 2 girls who have not yet reached puberty I like to arm myself with the experiences from others in order to appropriately guide my reactions in the future. I will catalog this one away till the appropriate time so I do not end up in jail, or in a public cat fight. Jennifer probably finds her bullyish approach to be successful in increasing sales, but her lack of socially appropriate approaches probably keeps her from keeping those people as customers. I am so proud of you for not passing along her info to "tattle to her boss" as it seems you have showed your character to be one of highest esteem. I don't know that my initial reactions wouldn't be to let her get disciplined and learn her lesson the hard way, but you are right. We all make mistakes. I think that you made an impact with this story. You have showed sales people what proper tact would be and you have showed many mothers how to remain objective, make it a teaching moment, and to cool off before reacting. Thanks to HP for guiding me to your wonderful blog!

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  44. I can relate to this million percent. I have weight issues & I heard about it constantly growing up. People may mean well but the way they say things are wrong. It's not what you say, it's how you say it. She could have worded that pitch A LOT better, in private & without the promise of it being gone in 6 months because everyone is different.

    I wouldnt blame you if you called/emailed & cursed her out because truthfully, she deserved it for insulting your son & ruining his day. But you did the noble thing & that's way better & admiring. I really learned something from you & it'll improve my parenting, so thank you for writing this! :)

    I hope your son is feeling better!

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  45. Hey, I followed your blog from the HuffingtonPost. Recently a friend told me about a jerky guy she encountered and what she said to him. When he pointed out her early graying hair, she smiled and said "Thank you. I appreciate it when people point it out to me." Then finished her transaction with him.

    Just incase Jennifer decides to come back through your son's line.

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  46. I'm so happy your post has reached so many. I identified with every single thought you expressed, both as a mom and as someone who was hurt in the same exact same way. I was working part time at an Office Max store when a customer struck up a conversation. She seemed super nice. Before she left, she said "you'd be so pretty if you got rid of your acne", and she proceeded to hand me a Mary Kay card and tell me about their "amazing" acne products. I felt sliced to my core because she had mentioned my biggest insecurity and because I felt betrayed, in a way, because I realized she wasn't nice at all, she'd had an agenda: to prey on my insecurities in order to sell. I kept thinking: WHO DOES THAT? I took the card and didn't say anything because I was trying so hard not to cry. I felt so humiliated. I cried, later, in a restroom stall. I was mad I didn't tell her how inappropriate her behavior had been, and I was mad because I let her get to me. I spent the rest of the day hyper-aware of my acne. I think you should email Jennifer, and just point her to this post on HP, to see its impact, and to the comments here, to see how much support you and your son has received. Finally, I learned a lesson too that day in Office Max. No, I didn't stand up for myself, but I have stood up for others when I've seen someone is making them feel the way I did that day, and I learned to never, ever hurt someone like that.

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    1. Thank you, Ines! What a lovely comment. I'm sorry that happened to you. Seems to be a pretty common occurrence, young kids in customer service jobs being treated this way. That stinks.

      Thanks so much for reading, and for sharing this. :)

      Delete
    2. This illustrates the thought I had when someone mentioned that Amway lady had a nice conversation going and probably was just being friendly. I find it more likely that she used it as her opening into her salespitch...which makes the teenager feel tricked and manipulated.

      Delete
  47. Mama Bear is WAY OFF... I wish someone had offered me a product like that when I was a teen... My skin was bad and I was not happy... Any hope would have made me feel better... You are a self righteous snob... You kid will soon see you are overbearing and a detriment to his growth... Get a dog if you still need to baby something ... Pathetic

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    1. Says the anonymous troll...

      P.S. We have a dog and he is totally babied. :)

      Delete
  48. You are Great Mom! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Aww thanks, Mary :) I'm trying! I really appreciate you taking the time to read the post, and commenting.

      Delete
  49. I hate the fact that I know how your son feels. In high school, specifically my junior year my acne got really bad. And people had came up to me and made comments about my skin. My teacher once told me that it might be an allergy to dairy or something. And this was in the middle of class, I was mortified, but nice about it. I had the nail salon girl tell me "your skin no good, what did you do." And after I went home, I fell to my knees when I got into the house and cried because I was tired of people pointing out my skin. It is not like I do not know my skin looks that way and I had tried everything under the sun. Finally, after going to the dermatologist and getting some anti-biotics and such it stopped being so bad. And ever since then it has been a journey. I do not eat dairy or gluten any more. I also use 2% benzoyl peroxide cream on my face after I wash it morning and night. And it works. It is such a sigh of relief to have my skin looking normal enough that I don't have random people or people I know coming up to me saying what happened?! It was probably one of the worst times in my life. Everyone had something to say about it and all I wanted them to do what shut up about it. So I am so sorry that this happened to your son! And I would have probably done the same thing. Except cried about it afterwards.

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    1. Oh Alexis, I'm so sorry you went through all of that :( And you are about the 20th person today who has mentioned dairy...I'm going to have him lay off of it for a few days and see if anything changes.

      Thank you so much for coming here and sharing your experiences. And thank you, very much, for reading.

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  50. When something like this happens to my son, I am always glad that I wasn't there in person to hear it. I don't trust myself to have appropriate adult reactions.

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    1. Thanks Gregory :) If I'd been there, I don't know if I would have been able to say anything. I really almost did call her that night, though, sitting in the car. Glad I held off. My son was watching...and hopefully he learned something!

      Thanks so much for reading.

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  51. Thank you for sharing. I can't know your pain, but I sympathize!

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  52. So where is the email and reply?

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    1. I am comfortable sharing my email here, but not hers. I think that might be illegal ;) I will post a follow up this weekend. Thank you!

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    2. There is nothing illegal about sharing an email. There are no confidentiality rights to what we email to others. As long as you don't edit hers, then you can share it.

      Delete
  53. May I respectfully suggest a phrase for your son to put in his arsenal along with "thank you":

    "Wow, that's really inappropriate."

    Also recommended for overweight people, pregnant people, female people, and basically anyone who finds themselves the target of maybe well intentioned but nevertheless totally out of line personal remarks.

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  54. There are worse things for a young man to learn the hard way, such as: http://www.cdc.gov/MotorVehicleSafety/Teen_Drivers/teendrivers_factsheet.html

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    1. Couldn't agree with you more. However, this happened to my kid. And I wrote about it. Doesn't mean I'm saying this is the worst thing, ever, that he could/will experience. Just relaying what happened and how it affected him. And me.

      Thanks for sharing!

      Delete
  55. Hi Jenny....I found this on the Huff Post, which led me to your blog....and thereby went several hours as I dipped in and kept reading....in between a trip to the nit salon to get rid of some unwanted guests courtesy of the grandkids - but that's another story! I just love your writing and have subscribed so I can continue to indulge. Looking forward to it!

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    1. Thank you! And OMG. Christmas 2008 was our Lice Experience. I still have nightmares about it.

      I'm so glad you're here :)

      Delete
  56. I've only gone anonymous because I couldn't work out how to do anything else....

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  57. I have invested a good deal of time reading this blog and the comments after it. As I write this I am reminded of a Maya Angelou quote that states "People will forget what you did, they will forget what you said, but they will always remember how you made them FEEL. Obviously this Amway lady didn't think her words through and she made your son FEEL terrible. I am sorry you had to go through that. I can relate to the Amway lady in the sense that I too have almost no filter and have easily offended people, not because I am a jerk but because I truly lack tact. I am not proud of this. Its something I have struggled with and have worked hard to change, but I am still far from my goal. I would like to think that if I was in her position and I got an e mail from you, I would like to think that I would say I am sorry and I will try to be more mindful in the future of how I say things and who I say them to. Perhaps she hasn't done that because she may have become defensive, also a human error. I will however say the following about this situation, I don't think that the Amway lady is the monster that she sounds like or is made out to be. I think simply she is a human being who offended and hurt another human being, but she probably didn't do it with any intent or even knowledge of what she was doing. I think in situations like this you have you to realize people stick their foot in their mouth sometimes. I am not trying to minimize this situation, I just don't fully agree with her being put on blast like this. I am sorry if my opinion offends you. That is not what I am after. I am just saying, we are all human with flaws. This amway lady is human too, she is not a villain though, and I can't wholeheartedly agree with folks taking shots at her through this blog. She made a mistake, forgive her and move on.

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    1. Thanks for commenting, and no, you are not offending me. I understand what you're saying. Hey, I'm a pretty zen person. If you've read anything else on my blog you would see that forgiveness is a big thing in my family. I forgave my ex husband for putting me through some pretty brutal stuff.

      Where I disagree with you is this:

      "I think simply she is a human being who offended and hurt another human being, but she probably didn't do it with any intent or even knowledge of what she was doing."

      I think she knew EXACTLY what she was doing. I sent her an email, very politely stated that as a parent and as a person, I found what she did to be very offensive. I warned her that the next kid she approached in this manner might not be as well adjusted as my kid. Her response contained zero remorse, and no apology. Just a long running paragraph about her skin care expertise and that her heart was in the right place.

      I do agree with you that she is a human. When Amway contacted me and asked me to hand over her name and contact information, I declined. Why? Because I'm over it. I see no need to jeopardize her livelihood.

      Thank you for your very civil comment. I appreciate it!

      Delete
  58. We can't choose how people treat us, but we can choose how we let it affect us. There is a lot of anger in this blog and the comments. It is possible to choose forgiveness and love in response to a situation. That doesn't mean you approve. But you can send love and forgiveness to the woman with the intention that it will have a positive effect on her subconscious and perhaps even change her behavior in the future. It's my belief that in riling people up with your blog and causing all the negativity in the comments, you are ultimately not behaving any better than the woman who offended you in the first place. No need to respond. I'm making my comment but I'll never be back. I don't choose to engage any further negativity.

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    1. B.S. Everyone who leaves a comment like this always comes back :)

      I feel bad for you, that all you got out of this was negativity. Sometimes we only see what we feel.

      Some of the comments have been lovely, emotional responses. What happened to my kid has obviously been happening to kids for years and years. Will my post make it stop? No. But maybe just a few people will think before they speak. I think that's a bunch of positive right there.

      Thanks for reading!

      Delete
    2. What a deliciously passive-aggressive comment! "It's my belief that in riling people up with your blog and causing all the negativity in the comments, you are ultimately not behaving any better than the woman who offended you in the first place. No need to respond. I'm making my comment but I'll never be back. I don't choose to engage any further negativity." Okay then!

      Delete
  59. Go Mama Bear! I shouldn't be surprised by some of the negative comments here, but I can't help but want to yell,"Why is the burden on the person being insulted here!?! Especially a 16 year old boy who is trapped behind a counter at work!?!" I'm glad this mom handled it adult to adult and used the story to a) teach some socially inept people the impact of their words , and b) inspire others who have had to continuously pay the price for these land mines of thoughtless and rude comments they randomly cross paths with day to day. Sure, we need to learn to deal with it, but wouldn't the world be a better place if more people had the empathy and common sense to just focus on the inside?

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    1. Hey Anonymous, THANK YOU. It freaks me out a little that anyone would think that what happened is okay. Freaks me out because it's scary to realize that these are the people raising kids, walking around the world with us and interacting with our kids on the daily.

      And here's the thing about my son: his skin isn't even that bad. It's not the deep, red, painful acne that so many people suffer from. His is the garden-variety "I'm a hormonal teenage boy and here are a few zits to prove it". And that is what prompted a total stranger to approach him and say what she did.

      Regardless of where her heart was in all of this, her foot was in the wrong place...her mouth.

      Thanks so much for reading, and for understanding :)

      Delete
    2. Sure thing :-) Love your style of writing and your transparency and heart. You have a new reader here. I added in another comment the thought of how some people end up developing a strong sense of empathy while others don't...obviously many of these kinds of commentators are raising children w/o empathy and understanding. Not that I'm never judgemental at all, but I continuously have learning moments w/my 3 kids (aged 4-18) to point out that we never know someone else's story. From judging a teeen w/a little acne to an obese woman eating at a fast food joint to (well, fill in the blank w/just about anything) - we never should assume anything about what people are dealing with.

      Keep up the great work!

      Delete
  60. This is a great message you have posted :)

    After quite awhile following, listening, seeing, and ultimately, learning, about this groups of people, I have found one common trait; they smell only of abysmal pockets. Not the sort of people I'm comfortable with at all.

    Even as I join them (officially), I have only one objective to that end, and that is to help others along the way (one of them being my cousin who has lost his job at Leo Burnett due to a near fatal hit-and-run). Quite clearly not to their (A-way) best advantage, but that's my drive, so be it.

    So, there you have it. Now you know I'm a networker. But I hope you will let me be your friend as I hope you'll be mine (friend). Thank you again for the message, it's clearly going on my Facebook.

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  61. I have severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and constantly dealing with tactless people. I could go on and on but instead feel the need to share that upon using organic coconut oil on my face every night to soften the scaly plaques have also found that not only doing what I use it for it has cleared up my acne. It has also given me a even skin tone and diminished fine lines. I am not selling, just sharing a good experience in hopes that it helps someone else.: )

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    1. Hi anonymous. Thank you for the suggestion! Lots of people have mentioned the coconut oil. Do you just put it on your face, straight?? I've heard it's kind of a miracle salve.

      Thank you so much for reading, and for taking the time to comment!

      Delete
    2. I do. It's on my nightstand. Just a fingerful does it. Slightly oily at first but not suffocatingly so, by time I wake it's completely absorbed. Even got sunburned yesterday put it on as a moisturizer and noticed the sting subsided almost instantly, so I guess it is a miracle salve. I also take internally (spoonful in my coffee) and lost 10 inches of bloat from my belly in short time when I just wanted to help my PsA and cholesterol. :)

      Delete
  62. Oh man. I had acne as a teenager and it embarrassed me so much. It would've MORTIFIED me to have a lady point it out like this. You are so right on with this post!

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  63. I have acne. I've had acne since I was 10 (I'm 32.) I don't know what it is about this skin issue that makes people think you're constantly seeking their advice, but unfortunately this type of situation happens ALL THE TIME. It's embarrassing, and as much as I wish people would realize their words are hurtful, I have learned they won't.

    Most recently the woman at my nail salon told me to drink the juice of half a lemon daily to get rid of it. She has asked me about it the last two times. I don't think I can go back there because I'm embarrassed that my skin is still damaged.

    When I was pregnant a woman at a hotel desk looked me right in the face and said, "You have a lot of pimples." THAT'S IT. No advice there, just a statement. I promise you it happened just like that. I'm still shocked over the blatant rudeness of it. And you know what's even worse? I tried to justify it with my pregnancy. I TRIED TO JUSTIFY IT.

    I'm going to tell you something, acne-problem-solvers of the world. I KNOW WHAT MY FACE LOOKS LIKE. I'm sorry you find it uncomfortable to look at. I know you think you are an acne-expert (I'm looking at you, brother-in-law's girlfriend trying to sell me some Mary Kay shit that'll fix me right up). You don't know my skin, and you don't know my struggle. Don't you think if ANYTHING really worked, I would have found it already? Like I haven't already tried every product or remedy known to man?

    I always wonder if these people also go up to overweight folks and say, "You're fat. Have you tried eating less?" It's the same thing.

    If you end up reading my comment, please let your son know he's not alone. It's hard not to be defined by your blemishes- I struggle with it daily. But most people see past them. I have managed to have a successful career in the media, even though I don't have perfect skin. Let's just hope one day the hurtful people of the world will gain some self-awareness!

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    1. Hi Holly! Of course I read it, and I love it. Thank you so, so much for not only reading and commenting, but for sharing your own personal story. I've heard from so many people who have had experiences just like yours, and it's really mind-blowing. Perhaps if more people share the painful stuff like this, it won't happen as frequently. We can always hope!

      I did talk to my son about this last night. He's aware that I wrote about it (my kids know I blog, of course) and I did get his permission to write about it beforehand. He confessed to me that he read it. And he said he liked it.

      I asked him, "What if she had worded her pitch to you in a different way? What if she had said that she sells skincare and that a lot of her customers are kids your age? Would that have made it better?"

      He said, "No. She was out of line. End of story."

      I'm so glad you stopped by. Thanks so much :)

      Delete
    2. @Holly - Thanks for sharing so honestly. Proves again that these are larger and ongoing issues: 1) people hyper-focused on outward appearance, 2) people lacking empathy/common sense/social skills, 3) people making judgements about why someone else has a perceived imperfection (blemishes, weight gain, etc...). It makes me curious as to how some people end up being kind-hearted, non-judging, emotionally intelligent human beings while others end up being thoughtless, judgemental socially inept clods. Is it the way their parents raise them? Is it a lack of empathy? Is it a type of intelligence they just don't have - like I'm bad at math, they're bad at being kind? I really want to know. If it's the parental thing, then I'm sick of taking the time to teach my kids these things while so many other people don't think it's an important skill to teach their own kids.

      Delete
    3. Oh PK, you have revealed so much about yourself by the words you chose to use in your short and misinformed post. You clearly value what you perceive as "success" over basic human kindness.

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  64. who's the loser for posting the PRIVATE email between you and her? you aren't successful until you work the business with no fear. so while she is laughing all the way to the bank, you are not concerned with the fact your son has acne and can be helped. if you confronted me, I'd tell you very politely where to go. :)

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    1. Hi Einstein! I think you need to re-read it. I didn't post the email. But nice try.

      P.S. Confront me any day....just leave my kids out of it. ♥

      Delete
  65. I'm sorry for the jerks on this page the_happy_hausfrau. So many people have a bad light about Amway because of some idiots who don't know what they're doing and are just a bunch of pushy salesmen. I sell Amway, but I never push it in people's faces, all of my sales are made by people who actually like and really want the products. Clearly this lady was being insensitive and rude. I'm sorry for the experience, and you're an AWESOME mom! Keep up the good work :)

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    1. Thank you so much Eric! No worries about the jerks. I've handled worse :)

      I really appreciate your comment. And it is a bummer when one person puts their company in bad light. I think of how she could have approached this: "Hey! I sell skin care products, and a lot of my customers are guys around your age. I'd love to give you a couple of samples to try. Can I give you my card?" THAT would have been okay (although I have to wonder if my son's place of work has any policies regarding solicitors on site). And we probably would have taken some samples!

      Hopefully me email to her at least opened her eyes.

      Thanks, again, for this comment.

      Delete
  66. This is absolutely ridiculous. What she said was rude and obnoxious and you have every right to be upset about it. But...why on earth, with all the problems in the world, is huffingtonpost putting this on their website?? It's a prime example of first-world problems. Please, put your writing skills and passion into something more productive. And if you choose not to, I hope that "news" sites don't feature it online. This is a facebook status, not an article.

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    1. Huffington Post is divided into several different sections. This post appeared in the "Parenting" section because it pertains to parenting. I appreciate the fact that you only want to read about "newsworthy" things, however, I think the title of my post might have been a pretty good hint that what you were about to read wasn't an article about the problems in the world.

      Thanks for reading (I think?)!

      Delete
    2. You do realize the Huffington Post ALSO covers those newsworthy items you are so angry about this not being, right?

      Delete
    3. If we compared everthing to the larger issues going on in the world then no one would ever have a "right" to discuss anything except the fact that 1 out of 8 people in our world are starving, women and children being abused in other countries and the other human rights issues. As a Christian I see battles we can fight both large and small in keeping with Jesus' commandment to love thy neighbor as thyself: feeding hungry people is one, but so is being thoughtful and kind in the words we choose to speak.

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    4. I'll admit, I misunderstood the title. I actually took it to be some kind of funny exaggerated title that would lead into a story about a mom's deeper understanding of how she had taught her son to find strength in himself and not let anyone ruin his night. My point isn't to be insulting. My point is to say, you seem to have a nice way with the written word and being a single mom of 4 probably have some very newsworthy insight into social justice, and modern parenting/youth issues (standardized testing, school yard bullying, socioeconomic unfairness in school systems etc) that would lend better to HuffPost. What you wrote is meaningless in the real world. As a counselor who works with children and families to keep them together , I understand there are many hardships in life both for parents and children. Write about those. And if you don't know first hand, I would suggest getting out there and getting dirty.

      Delete
  67. Jenny, this is an awesome post... I'm glad you and your boy could have a frank talk about the realities of the world and some of the... er... let's just say obtuse people he'll have to deal with :) I'm in my 40s, and I still get people telling me that I'll never have a good job since I've got a beard and tattoos, and nothing pleases me more than to hand them my biz card with senior engineering manager title!

    Idiots... er... obtuse people... aside, may I share a tip that works for me with my adult acne? I've had it my whole freaking life, and when I was in my teens my Gramma suggested this to me... take a big jug of vinegar and a large water glass and keep them in the shower. After your son has showered up, but before he turns off the water, have him poor some vinegar into the glass until it's about a quarter full, then fill the rest with water. He should shut his eyes tight and dump the glass over his head then rinse it off. The first few times it might sting a little bit, and there may be some redness, but that should go away.

    I do this every day! It helps control my flaky scalp, breakouts, etc. Not perfectly, but sooooo much better than medicated stuff. I really hope this helps :)

    All the best! -- cj

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    1. Thank you CJ! I've heard about the vinegar/water thing from several others in the past few days. Worth a try :)

      Thanks so much for reading, and for taking the time to comment.

      Delete
  68. This made me so sad. I have two boys and they don't have perfect skin, but if a stranger ever pointed that out to them to sell a product I would be pissed. I sell skin care products, but I DO NOT ever approach people by pointing out their flaws and I would never approach a child. This lady needs to be out of business.

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  69. When I hit my mid-20s, my perfect skin transformed into a horrible mess of prominent, depressing acne. The number of people - often complete strangers! - who approached me with the "best intentions" just blew me away. EVERYONE had a cure for my problem. "My daughter used to have acne, she tried X." / "Have you done Y?" / "You should really look into Z, I've heard it works wonders!" I put up with it because I hadn't found a solution, but now that my skin is under control, I look back on those moments with irritation. People with acne KNOW they have acne, and you can bet your behind they've heard of your "cure" as well (and it obviously didn't work). Your "well-intentioned" words do little than to point out that when you look at someone, all you can think about is the flaws and how you wish you could help the poor soul! To the author, I'm sorry your son had to deal with one of these people with no boundaries, but am happy to see it handled so well. There will be many more "helpers" like her to come!

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    1. Thank you...and ugh. Sorry you had to deal with that. I've talked to my son about this, since the story has reached so many people, and like you, people have shared their stories (holy run-on sentence, ha). I asked him if anyone has ever commented on his skin before, and he said no. I then asked him if he felt like it was an issue, and again he said no. But...then I asked him if he wanted to see a dermatologist, and he said "Maybe".

      Appointment made :)

      Thanks so much for reading, and for sharing your story!

      Delete
  70. I used to have a giant blood blister/hematoma/venous lake on my lip. Was foolish enough not to have anything done while I was on my parents' insurance and then didn't have insurance or money for several years after college to do anything about it. The sheer number of people who felt they could comment still blows my mind (and only 1 or 2 at most actually offered a solution or asked if I had seen a doctor). The best (worst?) one was the woman (old enough to be my mother IIRC) while I was working retail. In the middle of asking me where the restroom was--and all but doing the potty dance, I swear--she stops and asks me what that was on my lip! I gave her my patented cold stare and pointed her at the bathrooms. My manager was disappointed that I didn't go off on her, 'cause he would have had my back! I'm sorry, too, in retrospect.
    .
    Some people, not just Amway folks, are just that way. The world around them is arranged solely so they can benefit. Every person is a resource, something to enrich the coffers. Your son's acne doesn't sound too drastic to me, just the typical stuff we all went through. But she's got to get a new client, make another sale, so anyone with even the slightest blemish is prey to her. (just like the cosmetic ambushers in the store--no, I happen to like my eyebrows, thank you very much, and no, I don't need a $50 compact!) Even if her bosses are pushing her to make a sale, that's not right. And I saw your comments about her reply, so I doubt that's very much the case. Kudos to your son for keeping his cool!

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    1. Wow...was the blood blister on your lip painful? And how tricky was it to get it removed?

      Sorry you experienced this as well. And yes, unfortunately the world is full of "helpers". I think this was a good learning experience for my boy. And for me :)

      Thanks for reading!

      Delete
  71. gah! some people!!!

    please tell your son that i am with him. i was born with a small dark smudge beneath one of my pale blue eyes, equidistant to nose. even before i began school women would walk up to me, sometimes licking the fingers first, and rub at the mark while making a comment about smudged mascara. mascara! on a 5 year old! fark.

    after my 22 year old daughter went through thyroid cancer treatment last year her lovely face EXPLODED with painful acne. it took best part of a year to calm down and during that year she carried on as before but the change in young men WOW. at one event she saw her blond, blue-eyed top-tier athlete friend send a significant fist into a guys face - at the time her friend said he had grabbed her. weeks later she admitted he had asked her why she was hangin out with someone so ugly!!! am not a violent person but have to say when i think of that i smile. some people learn the hard way.

    skin isnt static, it changes, yet poor character is for life. enjoy what you learned in this because its a building block to better things. and good on you mom - wish my mom had said something.

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    1. Thank you so much. I have a friend who has the same dark smudge thing going on, only hers looks just like a black eye. She gets comments on it constantly. And when she's out with her significant other, people don't hesitate to give him the stink eye as well.

      I love, LOVE your daughter's friend. LOVE.

      Thank you so much for your support.

      Delete
    2. "skin isnt static, it changes, yet poor character is for life" love it.

      Delete
  72. Ignore the people saying you're overreacting (as I'm sure you will). I had an eczema (dry, red skin that itches like ten thousand ants are roaming over your body) blowup last year while working in customer services and I got SO MANY unsolicited suggestions. I know they thought they were being nice but after it's happened ten times all you're hearing is "I can't end this interaction with you without mentioning that you look weird."

    For the people who don't seem to get it:

    OK: Friends and family recommending cures if you bring up the very visible problem you have.

    Not OK: Random strangers ruining your mood by reminding you that you don't look your best, especially if they're customers and you have to be polite to them.

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    1. Hi anonymous! Thank you. I have been reading some of the comments, including the overreacting ones. My friends and I have especially enjoyed the ones accusing me of "helicopter parenting". If you knew me in real life you'd know how hilarious that one is.

      A friend of mine suffers from eczema, and yep. People don't hesitate to comment on it. I'm sorry you dealt with that.

      Thanks for the support :)

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  73. A commenter above mention how lucky your son is to have a mother who can put the incident "in perspective." But what worries me is what kind of perspective your son is learning when you write a long blog post about a small incident and then answer everyone's comments. I think your obsession with your own feelings and encouraging people to pile on the lady is sorta scary.

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    1. Hi anonymous. Thanks for reading. My blog posts are always long (that's how it goes) and oddly enough, are usually about my feelings. Weird. I've tried to write about other people's feelings but that doesn't work.

      And yes, I try to answer all comments, even the ones like this. Because that's the polite thing to do ;)

      Delete
    2. I love that you respond to comments here and analyze life situations thoroughly. It shows self-awareness as well as the ability to dialogue and consider other points of view as well as being open to what others think. You have a new reader in me :-)

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  74. Unfortunately there have always been and always will be people that are as clueless as this woman and I am thankful for them. There are some things I can not teach my children. It is knowledge they will only attain by experiencing situations directly, either for them selves or through a peer. Their is definitely a part of me who would love to go out and confront the myriad of senseless people there are everytime but as a parent who wants to raise well rounded adults I find that I have to pick and chose the battles I will fight for them the older they get and how I go about it and weighing the pro's and con's to find the best way to do my job. Brava happyhausfrau you dealt with this very well.

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    1. Thank you Jody! Much appreciated. And I agree with you, 100%. I think 16 is still young, and although he handled it so magnificently on his own, this woman still needed to be informed that what she did was out of line. Surely he wasn't the first kid she's approached. I hope after she read the email I sent, she'll at least think before doing it again.

      Thank you!

      Delete
  75. Sweetheart I have just read your post and some of the comments. Firstly I would like to is how well written it was. The covering all points of what happened to your beautiful boy. Yes you are so right about this (for the want of a better) lady giving your boy a lesson in life. I dread to think how she talks to her own kids.

    The second thing l want to say is that sadly people will always read things the wrong way and have their own warped interpretation which is most of the time wrong. They are a waste of time and space and best left to their own devices.

    Your way of deal with this person is a good one by being calm. My self l am afraid l would have gone for juggler which is not the best thing to do. By reading what you said l just hope we take a lesson and think before we speak.

    I to raised my kids on my own who have grown to be caring people.

    All the best to you and your son

    Penny

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    1. Thank you so much Penny :) I love hearing from moms like me, who have proof that our kids can and do grow into wonderful adults. Thanks so much for giving me a smile this morning.

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  76. I read your story. People can be harsh and not mean any offense. I understand from a mothers perspective that what was said was wrong but you have to be realistic. NOBODY LIVES IN A BUBBLE. LIFE IS NOT PERFECT. It is these moments that when you are faced with pressures from friends at school or people in your environment that you learn to become who you are.

    Grow a thicker skin and realize that what people say dont mean a thing unless they are people that truly matter. Its more of a lesson for your son to learn and not for you to be so reactive.

    That person may have "ruined" your sons day, but this is a bigger lesson than you can teach him and he will be facing these lessons as he grows up and theres nothing that you can do except give him guidance. Your aggression is unnecessary cool off. this is a part of life.

    Aaron.

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    1. Hi Aaron. Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment. I do think that my son handled it in an exemplary manner, one that made me even more proud of him. And believe me, he did learn a couple important lessons.

      The only aggression I exhibited was this blog post, that I'm sure she won't see. I had to get it off my chest, and I'm glad I did. I did write an email to her, one that was very polite and written in a constructive tone rather than an adversarial one.

      Thanks again for chiming in.

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    2. I have to say that I admire your polite/generous response to Aaron here. I think he had a bit of a holier than thou attitude and didn't seem to realize you and your son had already taken this in stride and seen it all as a lesson to be learned in life.

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  77. I dont know you, or your son. I've not followed your blog. I came here (like probably a good majority of these commenters) from huffpo. I just had to tell you, im feeling so much pride for your son. What an awesome young man. If that had been me, id have been mortified- there may have been yelling, and definitely there would have been tears.

    I can only hope my own son grows to be as confident in himself. I struggled with security issues all through school, and through most of my twenties as well. It wasn't till my oldest was born that I was finally able to let all that go. I think your son has a jump start on the rest of the next generation :)

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    1. Hi Amanda

      Thank you so much! We talked about it just last night. I asked him if he's given it any more thought, if he still felt it wasn't as big of a deal as he did that night. He said, "No. What she did was wrong. She shouldn't have said anything."

      I was a total insecure mess as a teen (and sometimes still am). My son is a thousand times more confident and secure. That's pretty awesome.

      Thank you so much for reading!

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  78. This happened to my mom when she was a teenager. She's in her mid-fifties, and she still remembers it and it still hurts her. So, yeah, not okay.

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    1. Hi Kimmi, and THANK YOU. You wouldn't believe the number of people who have shared their experiences....most of them now in their thirties, forties and like your mom, fifties and up. You don't forget this kind of crap. You definitely get over it, but it's not forgotten.

      Thank you :)

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  79. "Mama Bear" you are doing your son a disservice. The women offering her services was ride or inconsiderate, is it rude for a spinal surgeon to ask a paraplegic if they want help?? Your overbearing sense of protection is going to cause your son more harm than good. The real world isn't fair or nice, and unfortunatly self esteem and acne go hand in hand..why would you use her services? The sad thing is your son still has acne and now your blogging about it on social media...What happens when this hits his Facebbok page? I am sure his mothers blog is more embarrassing than some white heads and rossacia.

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to voice your opinion! You must not have teens...facebook is so last year. Besides, he knows what I wrote. I asked his permission to write about it. And he stands by it. He's very mature, you see, and if you read the post you can see how calmly and politely he handled the situation.

      And I'm sorry but I doubt a spinal surgeon approaches paraplegics with any regularity. They are not on the same sales-track that I think the Amway lady is.

      I agree with you, though: the real world isn't fair or nice, but only some of the time. People who have commented here and on facebook and the HuffPost, and sent me emails, are proving that for the most part, the world is fair and very nice. And I'm proud to see that my son is one of the fair, nice inhabitants of it.

      P.S. I'm guessing English is not your native tongue. How would you feel if an English teacher approached you and said, "Wow, your English is really bad! I can tutor you. Here's my card."

      My apologies, of course, if English is how you communicate regularly. Just a kind, nice suggestion on my part ;)

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    2. Point proven - love it ;-)

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  80. Don't buy amway face products, they're horrible ....I tried them thinking organic face wash this has to work and their products actually made my face worse. It started to become really oily and my face just broke out all over and I was 22 when I tired this and my face broke out like I had just hit puberty just like the horrible acne I had in high school. It definitely will not help your son.

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  81. Mama Bear, I'm 24. My brother's had acne for years and it has consistently left him feeling depressed and extremely self-conscious. It worries my mother and me sick.

    You’re a better person than me, though. I could have never found the resolve to cool off before seeking and destroying whomever insufferable cretin had the gumption to try bag a sale, whatever the cost. What nerve!

    I know it might take him years to get over it that Amway rep’s hurtful attitude but, something tells me he’s a lucky man to have a mother like yourself. Take care and God bless. Catch you in the next life.

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  82. Hey Jenny,
    I know how your son felt. I recognize the pangs of terror, sadness, and flat out humiliation that sprang forth from every prolonged stare from strangers, "kind words" from family members, and seemingly unaggressive comments from anyone who thought "Hey, maybe that kid has no idea about the swelling, redness, pus-filled nastiness arising from his face, let me remind him of it." I am 17 years old and I had noticed my skin going from bad to worse by September. I remember hoping, no YEARNING, that the school day would be over soon as I arrived in the morning. I avoided everyone's gaze and constantly looked down in hopes that I would not be humiliated because of my genetics. My bad skin. I remember every single comment, remark, and stare directed at me because of it. And I promise you that each one of them shattered me. Iremember breaking down in tears to my mother after a family friend had commented on how bad my skin looked. There was no effort to recommend some treatment or to encourage me or even to give me hope. I felt so embarrassed of my skin, my genetics, of ME. I tried everything from Neutrogena to a strange "home remedy" of baking soda, sugar, and I think lemon extract. I was finally so fed up that I begged that I be taken to a dermatologist. My mom somehow scraped together a crazy $200 fee for a 10 minute consultation where I was told to use a normal cleanser such as the Neutrogena grapefruit cleanser and then follow it up with a topical creme called Aczone along with some simple oral antibiotics. I believe there's a more successful product (Retin-A I think or something like that) but that's the one I was given and although it took over 3 months, which felt like 3 months too long for me, my acne was incredibly reduced. I would dismiss the whole radical eating pattern changes and the smearing of oils on the face (Please check the comedogenic levels of any coconut oil or any other thing BEFORE you use it on your son) because, once again, I've been there and done that. With the antibiotics and the cream, my face cleared up and I didn't have to change my eating patterns (previous attempts had unnoticeable changes either way). I ask you to please try to scrape together some money to go with your son to the dermatologist, it'll be so worth it. And to your son, let him know: It gets better.

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