Take Care At The Daycare

| Kent, England, UK | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers

(I’m a secretary/receptionist for a nursery. I’m dealing with a VERY upset parent whose husband has just left her. Another parent approaches my desk to pay, hears what’s going on and backs up to give the first parent some privacy.)

Parent #1: “I don’t know what to do. He just packed his stuff, said he ‘didn’t want to do it anymore,’ and left. I don’t know how I’m going to pay you.”

(The more she spoke, the more she cried. I buzzed for the owner and she took the parent into her office. The second parent then approached the desk again:)

Parent #2: “Oh my goodness, that poor woman. Anyway, I need to pay [Son]’s bill for the month, please.”

(I told her how much and she writes a cheque. She then hesitates a little.)

Parent #2: “Could I pay her bill as well?”

Me: “Pardon? You want to pay another person’s bill?”

Parent #2: “Yes. She needs all the help she can get right now.”

(I tell her it’s almost double her bill but she insists. Just as she’s finished writing the cheque the owner and the first parent come out. The woman has calmed down a bit and rushes to pick her son up.)

Parent #2: “Excuse me, [Owner], could you do something for me? Would you give this to her, please?”

(She’s holding a gift card for a supermarket.)

Parent #2: “I’ve been putting £50 a month on it since January; there’s £500 on it now. They’re going to need it a lot more than we will.”

(I and the owner stared at her for a moment, completely taken aback by her generosity. The owner took the card and the parent went to get her son. That’s when I started crying. I was so overwhelmed by what had just happened. Two days later, when the first parent brought her son in, the owner greeted her and asked her to come to the office where she gave her the card and told her the bill had been paid. I could hear her crying through the door. That was the best day at work and probably the kindest thing I’ve ever seen.)

Day-Careless

| CA, USA | Bad Behavior, Family & Kids, Money

(I run a daycare for folks around my town. On this particular day one of them calls me up saying they’ve run into some financial troubles and won’t be able to pay me this week. After crunching some numbers I decide I can take the hit to my budget and tell them I’ll still look after their child. The next week I add the amount they owe to their total when they come to pay me for my services.)

Mother: “Hey, why is the fee double what it usually is?”

Me: “You weren’t able to pay last week as you said, so I added what you owe to this week’s total.”

Mother: “What I owe? I said I wasn’t able to pay that!”

Me: “Well, now you can.”

Mother: “Uh, no, no that’s wrong. I pay you [total] per week to watch my child and that’s it! If I can’t pay one week that’s just how it goes.”

Me: “Uh… ma’am, if that were the case I wouldn’t be able to stay in business. You wished to make use of my service; I need you to pay for it.”

Mother: “And so I am. The same amount I pay every week and nothing more! I run my own business, too, and I know that if you want to hang onto a customer you should learn to respect when they are having problems and not bleed them dry!”

Me: “Be that as it may, you still owe me for last week.”

Mother: “NO, I DON’T! Now go get my son for me and stop being so rude!”

(After she leaves I take a few hours to cool down and think over what to do about this. Finally I pick up the phone.)

Me: “Hello, it’s [My Name] again. Just wanted to let you know that I thought over what you said and decided that if you aren’t going to pay for me watching your child then don’t bother bringing him to the daycare anymore.”

Mother: “WHAT!? No, you have to look after him! I’ll be terribly inconvenienced if you don’t!”

Me: “Too bad. I have a business to run. too, and I can’t keep it going if the customer expects me to work for free. If you aren’t going to pay what you owe for the services rendered then you’re going to have to find someone else to watch your son.”

Mother: “How dare you! This is going to terrible inconvenience me! Do you know how much the other places charge in this town!? You can’t do this! You can’t—”

(I hung up while she was still screaming. She still turned up the next day demanding I watch her kid, then left when I refused, screaming some more about how unprofessional I was and how I just lost a good customer.)

Not Sue-table Clients

| San Diego, CA, USA | Bad Behavior, Family & Kids

(I am giving a tour of my home daycare to prospective clients.)

Mother: “This is quite lovely. I really like your outdoor space and the type of toys you have for the children in the playroom. I was wondering, how do you deal with discipline?”

Me: “Well, it depends on the type of behavior I am dealing with. I mostly redirect, show appropriate behavior, and say no when I have to. I only resort to time-out when a child really needs to cool down and their actions are directly affecting the other kids.”

Father: “Well, how do you deal with hitting or biting?”

Me: “Some children, not all, will go through a phase or episodes. It’s a matter of getting them to understand it hurts, showing them alternate ways to express frustration, anger, or excitement, and also teaching the other children to say no firmly. As hands-on as I try to be, it cannot be always be avoided, but we work through it. Both parties learn from it, in terms of self-control and assertiveness.”

Mother: “The reason we are looking for daycare for our daughter is because at the last place, a little boy bit our daughter. We are both lawyers, and I can assure you that we sued the bejeesus out of that provider.” *disturbing giggle*

Me: *thinking to myself* “And that makes me want to take you on as clients because…?”

Me: *out loud* “Some things will happen. This is a safe space, regularly inspected, but toddlers are learning to handle their feelings and emotions and sometimes it manifests in physical ways. I am here to guide them and show them better ways. I cannot condone litigious responses to fairly normal occurrences that cannot possibly be prevented, though they can be corrected. Are you fine with being sued if your little girl hits another child at the park?”

Father: “She would NEVER do that. If she so much as grabs food without asking first she gets a spanking, so I can guarantee you she’s not going to physically attack another kid.”

Me: “…”

(Needless to say, I made the rest of the tour as brief as I could and when they emailed me to ask about enrolling, I turned them down politely.)

Requires Adult Supervision

| Philadelphia, PA, USA | Bizarre, Theme Of The Month

(I work in a daycare which caters to infants through to 12 years of age. A middle-aged man once approaches me.)

Customer: “Hi.”

Me: “Hello. How can I help you?”

Customer: “I want to be cared for.”

Me: “How old are you?”

Customer: “46.”

Me: “This is a daycare that only caters to young children.”

Customer: “Oh… do you know where I can find a daycare that caters to adults?”

Me: “Yes I do. The nearest hospital is right down the road.”

Customer: “Thanks! I can’t wait to play with the toys!”

Marri(age) Dispute

| OR, USA | Family & Kids, Theme Of The Month, Top

(I am a secretary at a big summer camp. Due to the extended needs of our small children, we only take kids through age 12. I answer a call.)

Me: “Hello, this is [Camp]; how may I help you?”

Mother: “I’d like to register my son for the finger-painting class.”

Me: “That’s excellent. May I just ask your son’s age?”

Mother: “Certainly, he’s 17.”

Me: “…I’m sorry, but I don’t think we can take your son.”

Mother: “Why?!”

Me: “Because we only take children up to age 12, and anyhow, this class is for our five-year-old age group. If you’d like, I can refer you to [teen camp]; they’re better suited to teens.”

Mother: “No! You’re going to take my son! He wants this class!”

Me: “I’m really sorry, but that rule is set in stone. We can’t bend it. Like I said, I can help you—”

Mother: “NO! NO! NO! You sign him up right now or I’ll have you fired!” *to son* “Here, Little Johnny! Tell this b**** to put you in the class!”

Little Johnny: “Yeah, I know the class is for five-year olds. My mom just doesn’t want me to go see my dad. Sorry about that. She’s an idiot. Bye.”

Mother: *in background* “LITTLE JOHNNY! DON’T TELL HER THAT!” *click*

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