Monday, May 28, 2012

A Memorial Day PSA

Change to "Shelver's Bookstore" and you've got it.
Oh my gosh, this! THIS!!!!

I didn't write the above story, but I dang well could have.

Dear Parents,

Today is Memorial Day. School is out, which means there will be dozens of rugrats running around our store. No, literally, running. Like hellions in light-up sneakers.

Now, I don't mind kids. In fact, they're awfully fun. I volunteered in a nursery for seven years, for goodness gracious. Kids are great. Parents? Not so much.

Please, parents, control your offspring. I know that you're probably tired. Maybe this holiday isn't feeling very much like a holiday for you. But the hard truth is that you're the one who brought the little hellspawn into the world, so it's your job to keep it in line, not mine.

Anyone who doesn't work in retail might think I'm exaggerating, but I'm really not. I have watched with my own eyes as parents come into my store, gabbing away on their cell phone, and dump their kids in the aisle without a backward glance. And what do little Susie and Johnny do while Mommy gets her caffeine fix? Why, run wild, of course.

Running, shouting up and down aisles, games of tag, oh and the mess they make! The mess! Toys flung onto the floor, pages ripped out, stacks of books knocked into the aisles, you name it.

What's even more depressing is when kids do the exact same thing when the parent is right there. We've caught parents shoving damaged books back onto the shelves, hoping we won't notice and make them pay for it. Sometimes the PARENTS are the ones shouting from one end of the store to the other. And sometimes PARENTS are the ones telling their children to stop putting away their mess, because Dad's late for an appointment. Yes, little Timmy, stop doing what you know is right, but know that if you try that same stunt at home, you'll get in trouble.

They watch you, parents. They know what's okay and what's not by watching YOU. They're clever, your kids. They know what they can get away with.
I watch some of these kids and even as an adult I can feel the hair standing up on the back of my neck just thinking about what my parents would do if I ever attempted to pull crap like those kids pulled. There wouldn't be any "Now, don't make Mommy tell you again," no pleading, no threats. There would be one quiet warning, and after that? WHAM! Green eyes (or reeeeally dark eyes, depending on the parent present) flashing, a quiet order, and we'd be in the car. No more fun, the end.

I'm not here to raise your kids. That's not my job. My job is to offer customer service by finding books for you and offering pertinent reading suggestions.

When your kids act like Bonnie and Clyde on a spree, we'll all hear about it. We'll talk about you when you leave our counter. It's kids like yours that's made our children's department specialist a dedicated child-hater (no lie).

But it works both ways. If your child is well-behaved and (gasp!) polite, we'll talk about you, too.

"Guess what? I just had a little kid, maybe seven, come up and ask for help with a book. He called me ma'am and said please AND thank you when I was done! How cute, right?"

I kid you not, I've said those exact words with fervent awe, and my coworkers have as well.

Remember, I love kids. I want them in the store. I want them reading. I just don't want them turning my tidy store into a natural disaster area.

So don't expect me to raise your kids for you.

Much love,


Your turn! Share annoying kid stories, bemoan the state of today's youth, crow about what you're doing for Memorial Day... anything you want!