The guard "told the father that the girl could face criminal charges" -- she's four, mind you -- then took her to a room and made her sign a piece of paper"acknowledging she wasn't allowed to enter any Safeway stores." We're impressed that she could sign her own name, because -- did we mention this? -- she's four years old.
All this follows the Honolulu incident, in which parents were arrested and temporarily lost custody of their preschooler after the same sort of innocent mistake.
The Safeway chain announced that it had fired the guard in Everett, saying it was "appalled" by his behavior, and was going to re-examine its policies. Pretty much what they said after the Honolulu incident, which gives it a less-than-convincing sound.
The supermarket industry is reasonably competitive; unless you're in a very small town, there are almost always other stores to patronize. If there were a Safeway within a thousand miles of us right now, we would have already abandoned it in favor of KrogersShop-RitePriceChopperA&P or whatever. The funny thing is that what the stores are competing for, by and large, is business from families with children. So if Safeway wants to delay its inevitable swirling around the drain, it really needs to start thinking about ways to attract the parents of small children. Here's a hint: more "How can we help you," and less over-the-top bullying.