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    Category: Family & Kids

    Alohomorons

    | Newport, TN, USA | Extra Stupid, Family & Kids

    (I’m working in the library when a patron of about 11 or 12 years of age walks up. We have the following exchange.)

    Young Patron: “Where do you have the Harry Potter books?”

    Me: “They’re right back here…”

    (I show her to the section where we keep them. She stares at them for a while.)

    Young Patron: “Can I have the Prisoner of Azkaban?”

    (I take it out and place it on a table. She opens it up and leafs through it.)

    Young Patron: “Oh my God! There are so many words! Can I have the one with less pages?!”

    Bad Parents Bug Us

    | Southern California, USA | Family & Kids, Pets & Animals, Top, Wild & Unruly

    (I am an intern giving a tour at my local zoo. The first stop is the butterfly & moth exhibit, where guests can go inside with animals. I give them the rules and instructions which include staying on the path/off the plants, no grabbing the animals, etc. Once we are inside, I see two children, approximately 6 and 8 years old, climbing all over the plants, trying to grab butterflies in their fists and bothering other guests. I do not see their mother, so I speak up.)

    Me: “Excuse me, boys. You need to stay on the path. You aren’t allowed to climb on the plants, and you definitely aren’t allowed to grab the animals like that.”

    (At that moment, their mom comes running out from behind a tree, clearly on her cell phone.)

    Mother: “Hey, you can’t tell my kids what to do! If there’s a problem you come talk to me!”

    Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but I didn’t see you, and your children were damaging the exhibit.”

    Mother: “What?! No, they weren’t! They are angels!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but they were climbing all over the plants and crushing them. There were also trying to grab the butterflies, which we do not allow.”

    Mother: “So? My boys are having fun. They can do whatever they want!”

    Me: “No, they are not. We have rules, and if you cannot follow them, you will be asked to leave the butterfly house and you will not allowed to remain a part of this tour.”

    Mother: “Your rules don’t make any sense. You just want to stop everyone from having fun!”

    Me: “No, ma’am, but it is my job to ensure that guests do not damage the exhibit.”

    Mother: “But you can just plant more plants, and the butterflies will be fine!”

    Me: “The butterflies will most certainly not be fine! Grabbing them like that will kill them!”

    Mother: “KILL?! How dare you say that in front of my children?! You are damaging them for life!” *turns to her boys* “Don’t worry, she’s lying! The buggies will be fine. You just keep playing!”

    (Despite my warnings, the mother refuses to intervene, so I have her and her children removed from the park. As she is being escorted out by security, she turns to me.)

    Mother: “You’re nuts! They’re just stupid bugs!”

    (Not a smart thing to say to an entomology student.)

    Needlessly Needy

    | New York, NY, USA | Family & Kids, Money

    (I work for a private school which caters mostly to academically talented urban youth. Years ago, the school was not as diverse as the school is now; many of our students received substantial scholarships due to coming from low income households.)

    Me: “Good morning. What can I do for you today?”

    Parent: “I’m here to see the Director! You people have been overcharging me for years! *slams a thick folder on my desk* “These are all my statements and checks proving you’ve been cheating me!”

    Me: “Can you give me your name and the student’s name so I can look up your account, please?”

    (The parent gives me the information and I look up the account.)

    Me: “Ms. [parent's name], your son graduated in June 2002. That was almost 10 years ago.”

    Parent: “And? You took my money! I hear students are only charged $500 a year to go here, but I was charged thousands! THOUSANDS!”

    Me: “Please calm down. Let me explain: we have always given need-based scholarships to low income students, and—”

    Parent: “We are low income, but you charged me the full tuition anyway! I want my money back TODAY!”

    Me: “Ms. [parent's name], according to our notations your average total gross household income during your son’s tenure with us averaged around $170,000 a year.”

    Parent: “…AND?”

    Me: “Well, students who receive low tuitions through need-based and academic scholarships tend to come from extremely low income backgrounds. Off the top of my head, I believe some of the students who fall under need based-scholarships average gross household incomes of only $20,000 a year.”

    Parent: “You f***ing liar! Nobody makes so little money! I want to see the f***ing director, right f***ing now!”

    (She ended up seeing the director, who did not give her money back but offered her a lower tuition rate for when her youngest child is old enough to attend our school. When that day comes, I plan to work elsewhere.)

    Childlike Parenting

    | Washington, USA | Family & Kids

    (I am working in the children’s section of the bookstore. A parent comes in looking for a learn-to-read series for their kid.)

    Parent: “I want something that will teach my kid how to read.”

    Me: “Well, there are a few good series over here. My little cousin used Bob Books and really liked them.”

    Parent: “No, my kid needs sound too. Do you have anything like that?”

    Me: “Sure, there are two right here.”

    Parent: “So, if I buy one of these, I can just let my kid learn to read all by themselves? I won’t have to help them at all?”

    Me: “Um, you want a learn to read series that doesn’t require you actually spend any time reading with your child?”

    Parent: “Yes. Absolutely. You have that, right?”

    Me: “No, we don’t. Any child who is learning to read requires some parental involvement. You could let them read to you as a way of checking on their progress. That would be the absolute bare minimum.”

    Parent: “Well, that sucks! So much for technology improving our lives!”

    Mother Doesn’t Know Best

    | Kentucky, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Family & Kids, Top

    (My mother and I are on a drive to Florida when we stop at a small gas station. A customer and her six- or seven-year-old daughter walk away from the restrooms to the counter.)

    Cashier: “May I help you?”

    Customer: “Your bathrooms are DISGUSTING! Let me talk to a manager! They make me SICK!”

    Cashier: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but the manager isn’t in right now. Would you like me to file a complaint?”

    Customer: “No! I want you to clean the GODD*** BATHROOMS!

    (At this point, the little girl is trying to drag her mother away and is telling her to calm down. The cashier is clearly shaken and on the verge of tears.)

    Cashier: *tearing up* “I’m sorry, but that’s not my position, and the janitors aren’t in right now. Is there anything else I can do?”

    Customer: “NO, GODD*** IT! JUST GO CLEAN THE D*** TOIL—”

    (At this point, my mother has had enough and speaks up in defense of the cashier.)

    My Mother: “Look. She has told you she can’t clean it. She has offered solutions. Now use the dirty toilets or you can leave! You don’t have to be such a b****!”

    Customer: *taken aback* “Well, I…I…HMPH!”

    (She storms out, dragging her kid by the arm. After we leave a second later, we see the woman and her little daughter in the parking lot.)

    Customer’s Daughter: “Goodness, Mommy! you didn’t have to be so mean to that lady. She was crying!”


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