Internet Company Shames Mom for Wanting Her Kid to Watch TV -- Major #CustomerServiceFail

no internetIs there no end to the ways in which mothers can be shamed for their parenting choices? An Australian mom who tweeted a customer service inquiry to her Internet provider during a connection outage was met with an incredibly condescending response suggesting she take her kid outside until she could get back online -- and people everywhere are outraged.

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Michelle Stephenson, mom and national newsroom manager at Nova and SmoothFM, posted a message that anyone who's ever been frustrated over Internet issues can relate to -- particularly anyone who's also had to deal with a kid who had to miss his favorite shows as a result of the lack of connection. She was probably expecting a typical form reply from her provider, Telstra (Australia's largest telecommunications and media company), or maybe she was hoping that her complaint would make them fix her Internet faster -- but neither of those things happened. This is the answer she got:

Whoa. What?! That's what I call some completely out-of-line, utterly self-righteous, and absolutely inappropriate customer service right there! Stephenson is paying for a service, and Telstra is supposed to provide it. That's it. End of story. It's none of Telstra's business what Stephenson or anyone else wants to use the Internet for; the company is just supposed to make sure she can use it. That's its job. What's not its job is making rude, parent-shaming comments. Stephenson felt the same way, of course, and responded in kind: "So patronising," she tweeted. Other Twitter users expressed similar sentiments:

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I'm not surprised this has struck such a nerve with people. First, there's the issue of a company butting into a customer's personal life, which is something that should just never happen; second, there's the blatant mom-shaming, which is something that should just never happen either (but does way too often). For its part, Telstra has apologized, with a spokesperson acknowledging that the tweet was "inappropriate" while explaining that it was an "attempt by our team member to empathise with her whilst trying to assist with her enquiry." The Telstra employee responsible for the original tweet also did her share of backpedaling:

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Okay, well, that's nice. But too little, too late? And if this lady is a working mom too, why doesn't she get that her tweet was obnoxious and uncalled for?? Perhaps this unfortunate exchange just serves as further proof that the so-called "Mommy Wars" continue to rage on, or perhaps it's just proof that Internet providers are out to make your life miserable (haha, KIDDING). Perhaps it's both. But whatever it is, it's definitely not cool.

 

Image via Marcelo Graciolli/Flickr 

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