The Babysitter?

If you were to see a very large sign on a business that said “RaphaBooks – Your Neighbourhood Christian Store”, would it even remotely give you any indication that the business was a daycare? If you were a normal thinking adult, I don’t believe you would make that assumption.

But there are obviously a fair number of non-thinking adults out there.

My bookstore happens to be located beside a busy hair salon. I can’t tell you how many parents bring their children with them to a hair appointment, and then tell those children to go next door and wait in the bookstore. We’re not talking about MagiCuts, the place that cuts your hair in 15 or 20 minutes. My neighbour is a high-end hair establishment and clients are in there for a good hour, even for a simple haircut. So when a mother tells her kids to go hang out in the bookstore, those kids have plenty of time to destroy the place.

This morning, two children came in to “look around”, they said. My finely-honed perception skills sensed that these kids had been sent by their mother to wait in my store while she got her hair done. I confirmed this with the kids (a girl and a boy, aged approximately 8 and 9).

Within five minutes, the kids had made a complete mess of the Young Readers area, knocked a few displays over, and were drifting over to the giftware – definitely a no-kid-zone. I headed them off and told them they couldn’t just hang out in the store.

They asked to use the bathroom. I said no. They left.

A few minutes later they were back, with a toonie in hand. Their mother told them to buy something. Honestly, there isn’t a book in my store that can be bought for less than $5, unless you’re into obscure out-of-print titles that no one has ever heard of. Those are in the 75% off bin. And there are no kids’ books.

After at least half a dozen in-and-out-of-the-store with these kids, I decided to take a break and I locked the door, with a “back in half an hour” sign taped right in the middle. The kids returned, trying the door several times before seeing the sign. And wouldn’t you know, in half an hour when I unlocked the door, the kids were back again! I never did see their mother.

I give you this story as just one example. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been volunteered to babysit against my will, simply because I happen to own a business beside a hair salon. How is this acceptable on any level? It would never have occurred to me to send my children into a retail store (especially one as small as mine) to wait for me while I got my hair done. Who takes their kids with them to a hair appointment in the first place?

Okay, I’m done venting.

The joys of retail.


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2 responses to “The Babysitter?

  1. Wendy, your post today is well-written, interesting, and perplexing. Your raise great points, and I empathize with you. No, you should absolutely not be held responsible for babysitting children while their mothers have their hair done next door. You have every right to vent.As far as I'm concerned, you have every right, once you find out that the children's mother is next door, to take the children back to their mother, and, very nicely and with love, tell her that you will take no responsibility for minding them while she gets her hair done. No reasonable adult would ever in a million years expect that from you. If she gets upset, so be it. You don't need her kind of business anyway. You run a retail outlet, not a babysitting service. It's completely within your rights to do set the record straight. If the mother raises enough of a fuss, you can tell her you'd be happy to mind her children while she's getting her hair done–for $30 per hour. That should shut her up (I'm sure she won't take you up on it). The point is, these irresponsible adults are taking advantage of you. They must make other arrangements to ensure their children are taken care of while the have their hair done. End of story. I wouldn't put up with it. Don't be taken advantage of. There's a limit to what you should accept as the owner/manager of a Christian bookstore next to a hairdressers, and babysitting someone else's children while she gets her hair done has crossed way over that line. Don't put up with this situation a minute longer. You don't have to.

  2. Brian thinks you should tell the kids to go tell their mother that if they come back alone that you'll call Family Services to have them picked up. I think that would work. Although I would maybe go a little farther on Rick's idea, and just bring her a bill for the hours you've already spent minding her children.

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