Facebook Groups: Oh, the Humanity

I belong to two groups on Facebook - a "Moms in Your Area" group which I don't recall joining, I was just suddenly in it, and an "Ottawa Freecycle" group which one of my friends administrates, so it kept showing up in my feed and I asked her to add me so I could get rid of some clutter.

I say "I try not to judge" a lot. It's not strictly true. I try not to judge too harshly. I try not to judge out loud too much. I try not to judge based on things that people can't help.

These groups do not make that task easier.

Although there are many reasonable inquiries on the first timeline - which gymnastics program is better for young children, request for hair stylist recommendation, has anybody tried the new Italian restaurant - there are also frequent indications that many of the moms in my area are of a venal, sub-intelligent, parsimonious type.

First there are the "Let me Google that for you" questions: what time does Wal-Mart open? What street is this dentist on? How do I wash lamb's wool?" Then there are the seemingly topical inquiries that inevitably devolve into unseemly gossip: "Why are there so many sirens down this street?" "I drove by and saw an accident." Good, there's an accident, everybody avoid driving in that area. No wait, there's more. "It was three cars and there are five people involved and one was drunk and two are wearing fur." "Last week near there I saw a woman almost hit a dog. I could tell by looking at her that she doesn't breastfeed." There was a thread about police cars and ambulances at a house near my son's school and people speculating about what had happened in the family that was really quite icky.

The appeals for hairdresser, doctor, dentist or optometrist suggestions usually result in a good number of honestly helpful ideas and testimonials. But there is often one person who feels the need to contradict at least one referral, while offering some horrendous personal experience as a reason: "OH GOD, don't go to Lisa at Hairy's, she cut my daughter's hair into a 666 pattern and then charged me seventy-five dollars!": "I can't believe anyone is recommending Dr. Patterson at Optometrists R Us, he put up an eye chart that had obscene words in it!": "Avoid this doctor's office, you will be drugged and sold into human slavery."

Photo by Eunoia
And finally, the inquiries about where to buy goods or services that all end in earnest requests for economical recommendations: "Where can I get winter tires without spending a bunch?" "Best place to get custom-made birthday cake without spending an arm and a leg?" "Who sells mattresses at a reasonable price?" "Does anyone have a yacht for really cheap?" Look, I get it. Times are tough and no one wants to spend more than they have to. But really, what do they think people are generally going to suggest? "Go here - it's extremely expensive." "Oh, ask for Roger, he'll screw you right over." "We paid way too much at this place and we STRONGLY SUGGEST YOU DO THE SAME."

I know, I know, I could just remove myself from the group. It clearly doesn't bring out the best in me. When I'm not rolling my eyes, I'm weeping in envy at the ease with which women with small children can now find other people in similar situations to get together with - this group could have saved my sanity ten or twelve years ago. I guess you have to take the bad with the good.

I feel like that's enough snark for one post, so I'll save my Prolegomena on any Future Metaphysics of Freecycling for a post later in the week.


S said…
Hope none of these lovely ladies reads your blog. Snort.
S said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hannah said…
And this is exactly why I had to quit our community Facebook group. For every useful post imparting actual information there were half a dozen filled with snark, bitchiness, gossip, probably-libelous complaining about small businesses, and dog owners calling people who like weekend fireworks the lowest form of humanity.

I honestly feel so much better for having left it.
Anonymous said…
"It was three cars and there are five people involved and one was drunk and two are wearing fur." "Last week near there I saw a woman almost hit a dog. I could tell by looking at her that she doesn't breastfeed."

I laughed out loud. Literally.

I just can't even. This is why I eventually left Freecycle (now FullCircleOttawa).

Nicole said…
THE VEGAN GROUP. THE VEGAN GROUP. I am in this group to post my recipes and HOO BOY. I turned off all notifications because it is nuts. I understand people are passionate about causes, etc., and that's fine BUT. There is one woman there who no matter what is posted, she has a problem with it. "Any substitutes for the cream cheese?" she'll ask. I say "Oh, I noted it in there. Vegan cream cheese can be subbed." Then, "Oh, I don't like vegan cream cheese. I can taste the soy." Someone else says "Try Daiya, it is soy-free!" "Oh, I don't like Daiya." Me: "You can make a cream cheese substitute out of coconut cream." Her: "Well, maybe. It just seems like a lot of work." You know what's a lot of work? BEING IN THIS FB GROUP. Maybe skip the recipe, babe. This is also the same woman who told me one of my recipes (Maple Tahini Treats) was absolutely terrible. Awful! Then said "But then again, I don't like tahini at all." WELL OKAY THEN. I GUESS IT IS THE RECIPE'S FAULT FOR NOT BEING EVERYTHING YOU WANTED IT TO BE.
Magpie said…
I have a whole (insert eye roll here) draft post of choice snips from the local moms FB page. Oh the snark. The first one I clipped? "Where do I get my 12yo's eyebrows done?" Um, NO. Your 12yo doesn't need her eyebrows worked on. Just NO.

Tonight, there was a query asking "Anyone have a vegetarian Thanksgiving stuffing that they love? Ive tried so many different recipes over the years and just have never hit anything we love!" Let's see, you stuff the stuffing in the turkey and doesn't that contaminate it so it's not vegetarian anymore? (Oh I know, there are people who don't stuff the bird with "stuffing" - but call it something else, like "dressing".)
Maggie said…
Why would you subject yourself to this kind of tomfoolery? Other than to bring welcome snark to the masses.
slow panic said…
Wait. There are local FB mom groups? I'm so glad I didn't know that.

StephLove said…
I don't know, Allison, if doctors in your area really are drugging people and selling them into slavery, maybe the public has a right to know.
Maggie said…
I just came to say your examples made me bark with laughter so hard I scared my cat.
H Munro said…
I am on one group that buys and sells stuff- mostly for kids- but sometimes the Mom's sell their clothes and furniture.
This one person kept posting numerous posts every day and it was really getting on my nerves. Until one day she actually posted to sell Sex Clothes!!
She actually said ' almost new, only used for fun a couple times'. After I swallowed the vomit in my mouth I blocked her, but I am still part of the group because I am still trying to get rid of stuff!!

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