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    Better Late Than Clever

    | Minnesota, USA | Family & Kids, Top

    (At our daycare, we are very strict when it comes to pick up times. Some children are registered to be picked up by four, others by six. For every minute they are late, parents pay a $5 fine. We make it very clear that we are strict about it and we charge for anyone who is late. If they come at 4:01, we charge $5. We even have a clock that uses the same satellites cell phones do so they can’t argue about the time. Most parents admit it is probably their fault and just pay up. If they need their kid to stay later, they can pay for their kid to stay until 6 just for the days they need it, so long as we know in advance.)

    (This happens at 4 PM sharp.)

    Me: “Oh, hi! Melanie’s outside, but you can sign her out and then head around back to pick her up.”

    Mom: “Okay.”

    (Forty-five minutes later, all the kids come in from inside. I see Melanie.)

    Me: “Melanie, didn’t your mom come yet?”

    Melanie: “No?”

    (Her mom comes in.)

    Mom: “Melanie, come on let’s go.”

    Me: “Um, she’s registered to leave at four, correct?”

    Mom: “Yes.”

    Me: “It’s four forty-five. You now owe us $225 in late fees.”

    Mom: “What? No, I signed her out at four exactly. I wasn’t late!”

    Me: “Well, just because you signed her out doesn’t mean you get free childcare for nearly an hour.”

    Mom: “Well, I still had errands to run! What, do you expect me to take her with me to the grocery store? ”

    Me: “Yes, actually. I’ll send you the bill, okay?”

    Mom: “That’s insane! I was here! And what’s one more kid?! Are you really that lazy that you refuse to do your own job?”

    Another mom: “Are you really such a b**** that you refuse to get your own kid on time? Seriously, if you can’t handle taking a kid to a grocery store you probably shouldn’t have kids.”

    Mom: “You don’t even know what’s going on! They’re charging me $225 for being a few minutes late, even though I signed her out on time!”

    Melanie: “Mommy, can we just leave now?”

    Mom: “Shut up! If you weren’t such a bad kid, they wouldn’t mind watching you a little late and I wouldn’t be paying $225 because of your behavior!”

    (At this point, Melanie begins to sob.)

    Me: “It has nothing to do with your behavior, Melanie. In fact, you’re one of the best kids we have here. Sometimes parents run late and we have rules about it, okay? It’s not your fault.”

    Mom: “I bet you tell all kids that to make their parents look bad! I didn’t do anything wrong! I was here on time”!

    Me: “Ma’am, you left your kid here for 45 minutes. I won’t charge you for the time you’ve been yelling at me, but I’m not going to let you get off without paying. And for future reference, if you ever need to pick her up late, you can choose to pay a little extra and get her by 6 instead of trying to cheat the system and end up paying hundreds to get her at 5.”

    Mom: “Fine. How much to get her at 6 today?”

    Me: “Well it’s too late for that now. You need to let us know at least two days ahead of time so we have enough staff because we send some home at 4 depending on how many kids we have. So, you’ll have to pay the fees and next time get her at the time you agreed to.”

    (This continues for more 10 minutes. Eventually she storms out. She ends up paying the fee, though.)