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Category: Family & Kids

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Keep Digging A Bigger Hole For Themselves

| Israel | Bad Behavior, Family & Kids, Popular

(I am working as an archaeology student at an excavation on the Israeli coast. Our site is located on a kibbutz — something like a small village/self-sustaining community where tourists often stay to get a more ‘genuine’ Israeli vacation experience — just a few yards up on a hill near a popular beach, so we get a lot of tourists coming up to see what’s going on, and are typically happy to explain the process to them. Because the site is located on a steep cliff overlooking the Mediterranean, however, it is quite easy to fall and get badly wounded on the rocks below. In addition to the fact that the site itself is very sensitive and should not be disrupted, most of the area is ‘roped-off’ from the public during the summer. This happens during lunchtime while most of the archaeologists and volunteers, my supervisor included, have gone down to the kibbutz for a bite to eat. Only about three of us have stayed behind to work on a cluster of pottery and animal bones that we have been meticulously unearthing for the better part of a week. A British tourist and her three young children approach the site.)

Colleague: “Hi there! How are you folks doing today?”

Tourist: “Fine. What are you doing up here, anyway?”

Colleague: “We’re excavating an archaeological site. Right now we’re working on a layer of Persian artifacts. If you’d like, I’d be happy to give you a-”

(At that moment, two of her children duck under the ropes and come ambling down excitedly into the pit.)

Me: “Oh, no! I’m sorry, but I have to ask that you stay up behind the ropes. It’s very dangerous down here.”

Kid #1: “I just wanna see what you’re digging!”

Me: “I’m sorry, it’s just very dangerous. Please go back up to your mom, and we’ll be happy to explain everything about the site.”

Kid #1: “But we’re just looking!”

Tourist: “Let them look! It’s educational!”

Colleague: “Ma’am, please, it’s dangerous…”

Tourist: “They just want to learn!”

(At that moment, Kid #1 suddenly reaches down, grabs the handle of a piece of pottery we’re working on, and yanks it out of the soil. The handle breaks, of course, and he holds it up to show his mom. My colleagues and I are too shocked for a moment to speak. The mom is grinning.)

Kid #2: “Mum! Look what I found!”

Tourist: “Oh, hold it up so I can take a photo!”

Me: “Excuse me! Please, give that back! We’ve been working on that piece for a WEEK and you just broke it!”

Kid #1: “Does this mean I get to keep it?”

Colleague: “Absolutely not!”

Tourist: *angrily* “Oh? Why not? He found it; he should get to keep it! You don’t even sound Israeli. What makes you think that any of this is YOURS?”

Me: “The site belongs to the State of Israel. It is a protected site, and your child just destroyed an artifact after entering a dangerous, roped-off excavation site. He DOES NOT get to keep it.”

Colleague: *bluffing, but absolutely incensed at this point* “You’re lucky we don’t have you arrested for looting!”

(My colleague takes the broken pottery away from the kid, but as our attention is diverted, Kid #2 pulls a dog skull out of the soil a few yards away and holds that up, too.)

Kid #1: “Mum! I think I found a human skull!”

Tourist: “Oh, my! You two are naturals at this!” *to us* “Aren’t they naturals at this?”

(My colleague and I grab the dog skull and the piece of pottery, put them aside, and grab the kids to haul them back up out of the pit.)

Tourist: “Hey! Don’t you DARE touch my children!”

Colleague: “They’re trespassing, defacing an archaeological site, looting, and putting themselves in danger. If you don’t want to wrangle them, WE will.”

(As we haul the kids back up and move them under the ropes, another colleague, an Israeli ex-marine who works for the university, happens to come up the hill. She sees us arguing with the tourist and asks what happened. As soon as she realizes that the site has been damaged, she goes into a frenzy.)

Israeli Colleague: “They did WHAT?!” *to us* “And you LET them?!”

Me: “I’m sorry. We did try, but she refused to call them back.”

Israeli Colleague: *to the tourist* “Ma’am, do you realize how dangerous and irresponsible it is to let your children down there? Especially after you were TOLD to call them back? They could have fallen and been hurt, or worse. And they have damaged our site!”

Tourist: “They were just learning! And they found a pot handle and a skull! I think they’re better archaeologists than YOU lot!”

(At this point, the Israeli colleague, barely controlling her outrage, demanded that the woman and her children leave the site and not return. She warned them that if she saw them again, she would have them detained for looting an archaeological site. We explained the situation to our supervisor when she returned from lunch and got thoroughly chewed out for not responding more aggressively – which, arguably, we could have. As some small comfort, to those who do not know, many pieces of pottery found at excavations are already broken into many pieces and it’s possible that the pot handle would’ve broken anyway – which is likely the only reason that our supervisor didn’t skin us alive for letting it happen in the first place.)

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Retail Is A Messy Business

| Allentown, PA, USA | Bad Behavior, Family & Kids

(Two adult women come into the store. Their elderly mother waits outside until she finishes her cigarette, and then joins them. I am migraine-prone, which cigarette smoke can trigger, so when she passes me I start feeling nauseated because the smell is so strong. My coworker lets me go off the floor to the bathroom until the dizzy spell passes. When I return, the customers are gone and my coworker is untangling garlands.)

Me: “What happened?”

Coworker: “The woman whose smoke made you feel sick? She was picking these up and throwing them around in the corner over there. And when her daughter tried to clean up the mess, she pointed at me and said, ‘Leave it! She doesn’t have anything better to do!’”

Related:
Not-So-Smart Phone, Part 14
Not-So-Smart Phone, Part 13
Not-So-Smart Phone, Part 12

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Coming Face To Face With A Little Haggler

| FL, USA | Family & Kids

(I am working at a face painting location in a major theme park. I notice a small child, at most five years old, staring at the sign with all the designs on it. After a moment or two, the girl approaches me.)

Girl: “How much is it?”

Me: “Hello! Face painting is $12 to $18! The price depends on which one you pick.”

(At this point, she gives me a dirty look.)

Girl: “That’s too much! Can you lower the price?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I can’t lower the price.”

Girl: “Ugh! Where’s your manager?!”

Me: *trying not to burst out laughing* “She’s not here right now.”

(The girl then turned and stormed off back to her parents, who were sitting on a bench across the way and had no intention of letting her get her face painted in the first place.)

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Pretzel Cocktails

| Anaheim, CA, USA | Bad Behavior, Family & Kids, Food & Drink

(I am working at a vending location that sells pretzels.)

Customer: “I would like two salted pretzels.”

Customer’s Seven-Year-Old Daughter: “I don’t like salt!”

Customer: “What do you mean, you don’t like salt? You love the salt on my margaritas.”

Me: *speechless*

Customer: *to me* “What’s your problem? Is it because I let her lick my margarita?”

Me: “Here are your pretzels, ma’am.”

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Your Excuse Holds No Water

| CA, USA | Bad Behavior, Crazy Requests, Family & Kids

(I work at a city pool as the head lifeguard. We do not allow flotation devices such as life jackets, foam noodles, puddle jumpers (they go around the upper arms and the chest), etc. A family comes to the pool with puddle jumpers, and are told at the gate that we do not allow flotation devices in our pool. About an hour later, a family comes and has a child in a swimsuit that has built-in floaties in the front and back. We have no control over that so they are allowed. A few minutes later, I see a young girl with puddle jumpers on in line for the diving board. Her dad is with her.)

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but flotation devices are not allowed in the pool.”

Dad: “She just wants to dive off the diving board and she’ll take them off.”

Me: “Sir, you were told at the gate that we do not allow any flotation devices in the pool. If she cannot swim to the pool on her own or without her floaties, then she should not go off the diving board.”

Dad: “This is ridiculous! This is a stupid rule!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but not all parents are as careful with their children as you are. In the past, we’ve had too many children left unattended in the pool with a lifejacket on and no parent. Many parents expect the lifeguards to be babysitters while they read a book or play on their smartphones and leave their children in the pool. Even though they are wearing a lifejacket, those are not made for swimming but for floating. Some young children can actually get stuck face down in a pool while wearing a life jacket.”

(The dad pulls the little girl out of the line and she proceeds to throw a fit, crying and demanding to go off the diving board. I continue to roam the pool deck. I see this dad talking to a lifeguard up in the chair, then goes to the front gate and talks with the guard working the cash register. I go to the front gate to excuse the guard to rotate to his next station and ask the dad if I can help him with something.)

Dad: “You are a bunch of hypocrites! There is a girl in the shallow end of the pool with her mom and she has a lifejacket on! What are you going to do about that?”

Me: “Sir, this girl is wearing a bathing suit with the flotation pads built in. Do you want me to go over to the mom, tell her that the bathing suit is a flotation device and make her remove it and have her child swim naked?”

Dad: *grumbles something and walks away when I ask an approaching family how I can help them*

(The two other guards told me later that he said the same thing to them, and they both gave him the same answer about making that poor girl swim naked! He called me “Shrek” and told one of the other guards I was being a b****. He has come back two other times and caused trouble by acting childishly and deliberately breaking rules along with his wife. He is now known as the “Shrek” guy.)

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