My name is Chris and I frequent sporting goods stores. No, seriously. It is frequent. Probably three times a week into each of the two big box stores near me. I don’t buy very often but I am always scanning for a clearance deal, new bait or some hidden gem. Both of these stores sell kayaks so I often spend some time looking at the entry level kayaks. I know folks are going to be asking about them on the forums and Facebook so it’s better to know what they are talking about in order to give an informed answer.
This loitering causes me some problems. From an early age I have had to learn to keep my mouth shut. Invariably if it stays open long enough, a foot will fly into it. I’ve gotten better at it but the control factor has me wondering if I am not saying enough. In certain situations anyway.
This week I was in one of the big box retailers and saw a father and son purchasing a kayak. The store associate helping them asked if they needed a paddle or lifejacket to go with it. I waited for the answer, standing in the middle of the aisle staring as if Bill Dance and Hank Parker just offered to buy me lunch. The dad says “No, we have a friend with a paddle we can use and my boy knows how to swim.” I wanted to scream but before I could say anything (the shock took a minute to wear off), they were at the checkout line.
I had a huge battle going on in my head. I was debating back and forth whether to approach them and explain the dangers of kayaking without a PFD. I might risk making them angry. Dad was in his mid to late 40s so a younger guy telling him how to parent might not go over so well. A migraine was developing from all the internal dialogue.
Do I speak up or stay silent?
Though I feel regret now, I stayed silent. I kept my mouth shut, my feet on the ground and left. It’s torture to want to educate people but at the same time, is a public retail shop with strangers the best place to try to correct a mistake in progress? Hopefully someone talks some sense into these folks. It should have been me.
What would you do? What will you do?