Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Model Parent

You've no doubt experienced it before. You're in a store somewhere trying to shop for groceries or clothes or supplies or whatever, and there is a gang of children nearby wreaking havoc on the aisle and anyone or anything in their path. You wait for a moment figuring that any second a mother or father will appear to admonish them with warnings of spankings or denial of special treats. But alas, no one comes, and the hurricane of brats wrecks the store and your shopping experience. They're just kids, some will say. They're just having fun - they mean no harm.

But as the old saying goes, it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt.

I wasn't present for the story I'm going to write here, although I've certainly seen plenty of out-of-control children during my years in retail. I remember years ago there was a small boy playing the Nintendo 64 display at my last job, jumping around and screaming and laughing at the game while his mother was nowhere to be seen. Next thing we know - CRASH. The display comes toppling down on top of him, and of course, the mother comes running from six aisle away while yelling about how we don't keep our store safe for children. He was OK when all was said and done, but it was yet another example of how some parents seem to care less and less about watching after their kids these days.

Anyway, on to today's story. Again, I wasn't there for it, but I've heard the story from four different people now, and each version has been pretty much the same.

Two days ago, there was a group of unsupervised children playing in our furniture area. Suddenly there is a crash and a scream, followed by a yowling cry that shoots up one of the aisles to the front of the store. A child emerges just in front of the printing area, screaming for his mommy, holding the back of his head. On the floor is a growing pool of blood that trails all the way back down the aisle and into the furniture section. From what I'm told, it looked like a murder scene.

The child's mother appears from aisle 1 - the complete opposite side of the store. Then her sister emerges from aisle 2. Of course, they scream and panic at seeing the boy. The manager on duty directs them to head to the bathroom in the back of the store then proceeds to call 911. While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, he runs back to our freezer in the break room and gets some ice for the child. When the paramedics finally arrive, the mother is holding her son in her lap in the middle of the men's bathroom with the door propped open. The other children, in the meantime, are playing around in our warehouse. As they work on him, she begins to feel dizzy, hands the boy off to her sister, and promptly passes out. Now the paramedics stop working on the boy and get to work on reviving the mother.

Once things are handled as best as can be handled and the mother is conscious again, she refuses to be taken to the hospital. She even went so far as to sign a paper stating that she was refusing to go. Our people document the incident and the manager ropes off the blood-filled aisles so that they can be properly cleaned.

Witnesses reported seeing the children jumping up and down on the desks and chairs, and allegedly the boy jumped off of the back of a chair and smacked the back of his head against the edge of a desk.

If the woman had kept a closer eye on her children and perhaps taught them to keep near to her when shopping, this kind of thing likely wouldn't have happened. I'm not saying all parents are like this, but more and more these days people are too wrapped up in their cell phones or shopping or whatever to give their children the attention and discipline they need.

Shopping tip of the day for 8/26/09: When making a credit card purchase, if you've finished signing your name on the digital pad and the two button choices are "Done" and "Clear," you want the one marked "Done."

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