Have you ever escalated a minor issue with a major over-reaction? Panicked with another toddler pushed your child? Black listed another parent for giving your child candy?
It’s pretty easy to go from zero to sixty over the most minor of issues. This point was driven home to me recently over an issue emerging from a recent Starbuck’s remodel. I should note that our neighborhood Starbucks has always been one of the most children friendly places on the planet. There is a kids table, kids books, a changing table in the bathroom and super kind and friendly staff.
During a recent remodel, they promised to make the place even more kid friendly. The neighborhood was excited and optimistic, until a fateful email arrived in our in boxes noting that all kid friendly elements had been removed during the remodel, including the bathroom changing tables and implying that this was a conscious decision by the company.
Reading the email, I could feel myself start to panic. Why would they remove all the kid stuff? Were they trying to deter moms, and their potentially rambunctious children, as customers and cater more to students or other quieter customers? Why would they do this? Where would I take my kids now?
I had ample company in my over-reacting insanity, all of us assuming that our beloved Starbucks had changed it’s attitude over night toward moms and kids. Our assumptions were inconsistent with any of our previous experiences with Starbucks or reality – what marketer in their right mind would exclude a primary caffeine seeking customer.
But we were scared. What would we do if couldn’t find refuge (and caffeine) at Starbucks during our mid-day witching hour. Fear brings out the worst in all of us. We regress in our thinking and our reactions – hence the panic.
It turns out that both the changing table and the bigger kid table were just on back order. But the damage had been done – the anti-kid rant about Starbucks was already out there, a black mark on an otherwise perfect record.
Have you ever over-reacted due to fear? What did you do?