Today I had an experience that was horrifying, anger-inducing, and disheartening all at once. After being in China for almost 4 years, I’ve encountered and gotten used to a lot of gross, stupid, negligent, and disrespectful stuff. But today’s experience is bothering me enough that I’m up at 2AM writing it out.
My wife and I had just finished lunch at Ikea and began walking around the showrooms. Now going to Ikea on the weekends is by itself a terrible mistake. It’s jam packed with people, made worse by all the screaming kids running around. It’s like a minefield where all the mines keep randomly shifting places. You have to dodge all these reckless kids wildly running around while their incompetent parents stare at their phones, and if you run into one of these kids, their snobby parents (or grandparents) blow up at you and start bitching you out. Tread carefully.
We get to the office section and as we get to a corner and turn, I start to feel like I’m dreaming because my brain wasn’t processing what I saw.
Some dude was taking a goddamn piss in the middle of Ikea.
At first I was shocked. He had his back up against a white cabinet, his pants were around his ankles, and he was just letting it flow right onto the floor. He wasn’t facing the cabinet. He was facing outward. I couldn’t fucking believe it.
Once the realization came that I wasn’t dreaming, I got really pissed (no pun intended). When we turned the corner, he couldn’t have been more than 10 or 15 feet away from us. My wife is pregnant so my first thought was that I didn’t want her to get some disease from this idiot.
And since I’m going to be a dad soon, my next thought was how could I possibly explain this scenario to my kid if he/she saw it?
I really wanted to punch him, but I also didn’t want his piss all over me.
That’s when I noticed that no one else had said anything to him, pointed him out, or even acknowledged this ridiculous act he was pulling. If I was in the US, I’m sure someone would have called him out on it, shamed him, called the police, whatever.
The fact is, no one did anything.
At this point, I was absolutely furious. These were families that had kids running around, and they just acted like it was no big deal. Sure some of them quickly walked away, but the majority just went about their business.
I quickly grabbed the closest Ikea employee and told him the situation. I pointed the guy out to the employee, hoping that the employee would throw him out, yell at him, or do something. Instead, the employee apologized to me profusely, and went over to another employee to talk it out.
Both my wife and I were so disgusted by the situation we just got away from that area as fast as we could.
I should mention that while I was pointing the guy out, he saw me and he kind of just… scurried off. While he was making his getaway, I noticed that he either had a limp or that he was drunk. But either way, he scurried off into the crowd and I assumed that the Ikea employee just mopped the floor and didn’t do anything about the guy.
I just felt so disheartened and disappointed by the lack of action from everyone who saw what happened. Mainly because people here in China sometimes still can’t figure out what common decency is. They can’t tell that this is an inappropriate act, that the behavior is wrong and that kids shouldn’t see it. And even if they had some sense that what this guy was doing was wrong, no one had the balls to call him out on his bullshit.
It made me want to scream “What the fuck is wrong with all of you!”
And I get it. The guy was either batshit insane or drunk, so you don’t know what he might do if you call him out. Maybe he pulls out a knife, or trys to bite you, or infects you with some disease. So people might be afraid of doing anything and instead just choose to ignore it.
But I think this is a huge difference between the US and China. In most situations, especially in a public setting, people here are just extremely non-confrontational. I’m sure if this were in the US, someone would have said something, or acted much more quickly than I did.
Sometimes when we see stuff like this it makes my wife and I just want to pick up and go back to the US.