Wednesday, December 14, 2005

An Ovary Shrivelling Day

I just got home from the store and I’m still trying to unwind from a long day. This whole getting home at 10:45 thing doesn’t work for me so well. Overall it was a good day—I almost had a woman convinced that she needed to hire me as her personal shopper for all of her Christmas presents—but it left me with a question that maybe someone with children can answer.

When, WHEN is it ever okay to let your child(ren) to run wild throughout a store, pulling down books and leaving them in piles, tripping up retailers and customers?

Did this become kosher when I wasn’t paying attention?

Did Dr. Spock or Baby Einstein okay this and if so how do I complain to their publishing companies?

I mean, my momma would have snatched me bald if I’d acted as ill-bred as some of these children did, and the mother acted surprised that her children didn’t listen to her! Gee honey, I wonder.

I know that I have no idea how hard it is to raise children, especially several grouped around the same age, but I would like to believe that I would know my kids’ limitations. If they couldn’t behave themselves on a shopping trip, then they wouldn’t be on a frickin’ shopping trip!

Of course I could circumvent the entire situation by just never having kids. How attached to the idea of grandkids are you, Mom, ‘cause I think that my ovaries just revolted?


Megan Frampton said...

It is _never_ okay to let your kids do that (and I am a mom of a six year-old boy). In my local B&N, the babysitters allow their charges to do all sorts of damage--one of the reasons I don't shop there much, at least not in the kids's section.

It's just rude, no matter how young the child is. And man, do I sound like a prig. But you're right, it's so not cool to let your kids do that. My sympathies to you and your co-workers.

Terri said...

I suggest investing in a really large bucket, filling it with water and keeping it nearby to dunk such little monsters in emergency situations like these.
And a shotgun for the parents so they cannot procreate again.
But maybe that's just me..

Anonymous said...

When is it acceptable to let children run wild?


And before anyone says oh, he's not a parent, I AM a parent of a 6 and 3 year old.

Too many parents are worn down. Too many are beaten, or maybe never tried. Discipline is a full time job. It's draining. It takes constant effort. And you can't give an inch. Maybe a millimeter. Not an inch.

I'm old fashioned, but I believe that at the end of the day, a child must be afraid to cross the line. If there's no fear, you've gotta make some. Or you're in the passenger seat.

Bookseller Chick said...

I'm so glad that I'm not the only one that feels this way. I wanted to put up a sign that said, "All unattended children will be sold," but the Boss frowned on the idea. She also isn't so down with the cold water or the shotgun idea, but she's fine with sarcastic comments after the parent finally pulls their screaming child from the store.

Off to another day of screaming kids,


Kate R said...

about the ineffective mother: It is possible that perfectly normal children suddenly channel demons from the netherhells.

Every couple of months, back when they were younger, my own boys would suddenly lose their tentative hold on humanity along with their ability to hear my voice.

So it happens . . . The difference among parents is the response. Unless we were in the doctor's office or someplace we had to be, I'd just drag the boys off the scene. I once left behind a partially filled grocery cart.

Kate R said...

although I remember that for more than a year, I had no baby sitter, my dh worked until 10 pm at night (and left the house at 4 am), I had no family in the area.

I didn't have a choice about taking the demons along. Luckily I've blocked memories of many of the worst episodes. I wonder if the shopkeepers still remember us?

Michele said...

Kate R brought up some good counter-points. Kids will be kids, sometimes against all our "before you go into the store,this is what I expect from you" speeches.

When the kids do their thing, however, its the parental/caregiver's response that makes or breaks our opinions.
When my kids did something that made a mess..yup..they sometimes moved at the speed of an Am Track Train, I would find a manager or someone in charge and make the errant child face that "in charge" person and apologize and offer to help clean it up.
Every time, the child was mortified when faced with the real results of their actions by someone other than the parent. Most times, the manager/in charge person, was willing to forgive and say "That's alright"..personnally, it's NOT ALRIGHT...I sometimes wish before they said give my kids the "hairy eyeball" for a few seconds, THEN say that. You know, for ultimate impact? ANYWAY....they are much better behaved in the stores.
Now they just ask for things non-stop like a mosquito buzzing in my ear...but no more touchy/feely accidents. And I can tune them out with a few Grunts and Uh-uh's to let them know I'm indeed listening, but will not be swayed by thier badgering. I'll cope with that much easier than dragging a store manager into the picture. Thank Goodness!!
So, that's my story...which, of course, is still being written as they are still young'ns.

Bookseller Chick said...

Kate, I'm not asking for perfectly well-behaved stepford children, perfect children scare me. I feel like they don't have a childhood. I once had a little girl in my store--three-ish--painfully trendy in her little designer glasses, embroidered jeans, and styled hair. Very Jon Benet. (Mom was even more designer.) As I watched, the girl was sorting through the block animal books we had piled in a little display box. She would pick up each block book, examine it carefully, and carefully set it aside when she was done. The mother, who'd been completely ignoring her daughter for the most part, came up and snapped, "Aubry, put those back!"

And she did. Slowly, methodically, and oh-so seriously. All in the exact same place. Any enjoyment she was getting from those blocks were gone. I wanted to go give her a hug and tell her if that was her idea of a mess, she could make a mess in my store anytime.

I know that kids are going to act out and test their boundaries. They're kids, that's what they do. But it's when the parents let it go on and on for twenty to thirty minutes in our store that I have a problem.

And Kate, the shopkeepers might remember you, but chances are they don't remember your kids. Between growing and changing so fast and the sheer number of children we see everyday, we don't have a chance. Unless they took your picture. Did they have security cameras? You may be on a "look at for" poster in the back. ; )

Michele--that's all we want really, some validation that your trying to discipline/stop the behavior. I know that my mom made me apologize a time or two to a shopkeeper and I was so embarassed that I never repeated the offense.

jarvenpa said...

Ah yes, kidlets. At my used book store (where we don't have to worry too much about kids slobbering on the books, and we have dogs and cats that roam about to keep the kidlets in place, and all the really rare expensive books are Up High) when a group of intensely active children come in I usually turn over the selling part (or the receiving of $) to my partner and put myself into kid mode to engage the children. Children are often my very favorite customers--but I agree, the wild ones take a bit of handling. I may be a bit more tolerant though, being the mom of three. The book dogs are particularly helpful for really active kids who aren't into books but like dogs--we sometimes take gallops outside while mom or big sister or dad gets to look at books.
Unrelated topic, but my mind jumps there: what do you do with couples when one is a book person and the other isn't? I'm thinking of offering pre-relationship book screening to warn the readers/browsers/booklovers never to tie themselves to the "aren't you done looking at the books?" people.

Bookseller Chick said...

Jarvenpa, you bring up a good point. There should be a prescreening to figure out whether the soon to be significant something is a lover or a foot tapper (the person who taps and say, "Are you done yet?"). This disparity in the relationship can work in the case of children though. Often I've seen mom (or dad, doesn't matter) be the lover of books and the spouse hauls the rambuncious (sp?) child out to check out the candy store or take a turn around the mall. If I have the time, I love to spend time with the kids. I had a very long and serious talk about dinosaurs the other day with a little boy. But it seems inevitable that when I get the screamers or the runners in my store it's when we are out capacity and I'm either running around myself (trying to help customers) or trapped at the counter ringing. The only thing I get to deal with is the mess they leave behind.

danawales said...

I am kidlet free and am reading all your archives and to comment on your last comment BSC about the prescreener as I am a avid nut when it comes to my books and I DO NOT GET RID OF MY BOOKS UNLESS IT IS A COPY. Which my hubby hates I have filled 4 new bookshelves in 4 yrs of marriage. and I already had 5. Well needless to say he is not a reader at all except of email(only because of work lol) and he cannot understand but oh well I love him any way and funnily enough my daughter at the age of 2 is just like mommy so I guess his side of the room will be filled soon to LOL
Dana New Reader and Lover of BSC