Parents..... a rant


OK, I of course know none of you personally; this rant is not personally about any of you (well that I know of).

I own a small store (gift and home decor). Although, I see this everywhere from the discount stores to grocery stores! I even have a friend that owns a locksmith shop and it drives him crazy too!

Stores are NOT a child’s personal playground!! When a parent takes a child into a store, that is the perfect time for the parent to take the child’s hand. I wish more parents would teach their children to respect things that do not belong to them and to NOT touch, grab, climb on, etc everything in the store. If you have to tell your child once not to touch something then it is time to take their hand. Also it is NOT a good idea to let your children have candy or soda in a store.

I can’t even count the number of times that I kindly went up and asked a child, whose parent was on the other side of the store, not to touch something. It is usually my greeting cards and I am afraid that they will pull the rack down on their heads. Well as soon as I nicely tell the child this, the parent runs up grabs the child, gives me a dirty look and leaves the store! (which is fine with me, if they are like that I prefer not to have them as customers) I had one customer tell me, “Johnny has never smelled that soap before so he is just curious.” I did get short with that customer (who is kind of a “friend” of mine) and said: “has Johnny pet a rattlesnake yet?”

Most stores will put up rude signs about this topic. We prefer not to, being that the majority of our customers are not rude like this, therefore we do not want to be perceived as rude to them.

The products in stores are for people to buy. Those people are not going to buy something that a child has pawed all over! If you child damages it, that is a loss to the owner of the store! Not all store owners (mostly small business owners) are rolling in the cash. Most small business owners are like you, they are working hard for what they make and it is not as much as you think.

It also is not just kids. Adults can be just as bad. Most small store owners can spot them when they walk in the door. The Adults who will go around a store picking up everything with NO intention of buying it! In our store we have many candles and soaps. I call these people “Sniffers”! They come into my store and pick up every single candle, soap, perfume and sniff it. I ask them if there is something they are looking for and it is always “no, I can’t afford anything right now”, I smile and be nice, but I so much want to tell them “Well, don’t pick up everything in the store then!!!”

I never mind people browsing, and if they are looking at something to buy they can pick things up and examine them all day long. But if they are not looking at buying then don’t touch!

I am not just making this rant about my store. Yesterday, I was in one of our big discount stores and I see a child take a shirt to show mom, who is 2 aisles away. Mom says “no, can’t have that”, kid throws shirt on the floor, steps on it, mom and kid walk away!!!

OK, thank you for letting me vent!


I feel your rant. My parents ran their own novelty retail business for about 35 years before recently retiring. I would help them most weekends. I’ll tell ya - the stuff a shop owner sees!

Oh my ( shaking head).

But…for each rude customer, my parents reminded me of all the wonderful and repeat customers they had. They focused on those people.

The lookers…l bet the moment they get some spare cash and need a small gift, they will think of you for that perfect candle, etc. Or how about this twist…they may not have money but when it comes time for Mother’s day, how do you know they didn’t ask for the lavender scented candle from your shop and send someone in to purchase it?

Truth is, you have no idea how far reaching that shopper is - though may very well be annoying. Perhaps signs may deter parents from letting children touch? It may ease your anxiety.

As for adults, I am a tactile person and need to touch. I may not be buying for myself, but I am darn well getting gift ideas for my birthday and mother’s day. Something my spouse can get me as a surprise.

I know it can be tough. I am sorry it stresses you out. But I know you have some really amazing and loyal customers also.


I feel your pain. I own a small jewelry shop and spent a small fortune on showcases and display items. A lot of people, not just kids, today have a “any store is Wal-Mart” mentality. “It’s just a store so who cares” seems to be the thinking. Me, I point out that I won’t tolerate people treating me and my store like that. I had one woman say to me “well it’s not like it’s your home”, to which I said, “no but it is my life’s work”. She got huffy, and I asked her to leave. Said she would never come back. I thanked her on the way out.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is fire your bad customers and let someone else deal with that headache.

Good customers understand and treat places with respect.

Hang in there…


I would bet that you probably spend more hours in your shop than you do in your own home!! Yes - it is your home, in a sense, and it’s sad that people are like that.

I’ve had people come in to a place where I used to work and just do nothing but complain, about things that the majority of customers absolutely love about the place!! :rolleyes: I have to think - man, it’s a good thing you will never invite me to your home so I can tell you how ugly your choice in window treats is, and how your couch doesn’t go with anything else in the room!! :rolleyes:

Some people have no sense of social graces. And their children don’t either. Go figure - no surprise there I suppose. I agree, I don’t think nearly enough parents today teach their children to respect other people’s belongings. When I was a kid we wouldn’t be caught dead running up and down the aisles of store or touching everything in site. My home and my grandparent’s homes were also never “child proofed” before I came over either. I just knew what was off limits and that was it. Many children today are raised in such extremely sterilized “child proofed” environments that when they are outside them they have no idea how to react.

I’m right there with ya on the whole rant thing.



I actully don’t mind the adults doing this as much as the kids. I am also a tactile person and I agree with you that many people may not be buying today, although there is a good chance they will be back. I think the only time it really bothered me with the adults is when some would come in and spray 2 or 3 types of perfume on themselves. Around the holidays I put the perfume samples behind the counter with a sign that they could ask for testers.

I am just hoping my rant makes some people think.


I hope it does also to provide some peace of mind for you.

Sounds like you have made some wise business decisions already to try and eliminate the annoying shopper.:thumbsup:


If you are like us, our business is more like our home at times than our home is!!

I think one misperception people have is that shop owners are RICH and their carelessness does not affect us! We are not rich. I pull less of an income off of my business than if I was out in the business world. I do it because, I love what I do and I love the freedom my own business allows me. :slight_smile:


Oh it does.

Being able to RANT about it on here also provides me with some peace of mind :smiley: Getting to say all the things I would never say to a customer.


Ohhh baby - then fire away. I can pretend to be that special customer this side of Hades. :smiley:


I used to work retail and I know what you mean. It was nothing for me to have to spend an hour reboxing, retaping or removing for inventory write-off various products that had been mangled by children under their parent’s not-so-watchful eye.

I remember my mother regularly telling me prior to entering a store that I was to keep my hands to myself and that if I touched something, she may have to purchase it and there would be no money left for my birthday presents.:slight_smile:


I feel your pain… check out the thread on “No Brats Allowed!” in the Family Life forum (it was about a couple years ago) where I detail the trials and tribulations of my in-laws trying to run a religious shop and being accused of being “un-Christian” because they ask a customer to hold their child’s hand.

I can’t understand in this day and age, when there are news reports about abductions almost every week (and not just kids getting kidnapped, we’re talking college-age ADULTS!) that people would want to let their kids run loose without supervision. I mean, it wouldn’t take much for someone to snatch a child in a crowded store, or one that wanders off without parents knowing where they are.

Like my dad always says: “Common” sense really isn’t!


:rotfl: :rotfl:
I will remember that!!! Thank you :smiley:


On a more practical note, would it make sense to wrap the goods in plastic, so that grubby or sticky/sweaty fingerprints wouldn’t get on to the product itself?

I noticed that our local Dollar Store has plastic covers in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they are quite attractive, too - you could put your greeting cards and candles, and other items that don’t do so well with fingerprints on them, into these plastic jackets and holders to keep them nice.

That way, if some kid (or adult) comes in and touches everything, all you have to replace are the plastic covers; not the items themselves.


That could get very expensive I would imagine if you had an entire store of merchandise to “child proof”. :eek:



Not as expensive as replacing your entire stock, or having to throw things out because they are covered in fingerprints.


Thank you for telling me about that thread. I have not been here that long so I missed it. I did read the article and most of the thread. In all, I guess I see it different from that thread. I love kids and know that all of them have their moments. I see it more as a parenting thing. I think parents need to work more on teaching their children how to respect others and others belongings. Although, I guess the problem comes in when the parent does not show that same respect.

One note on that thread. It did seem that the article was biased against kids and as one poster put it that they were biased against large families. I will have to say, that it seems like the families with more kids have the better behaved kids, at least to me.

I will say, that I ALWAYS try to make a point of telling a child when they are good in my store how good they are. I keep some inexpensive coloring books behind my counter. If they are really good I will give them one when they leave. I would love to be able to give all of them one, just can’t do that right now. I also have crayons and coloring books for kids that are bored while mom is shopping to let them have something to do.


I think you might be suprised at how much expense like that adds up. Thus then I have to raise my prices, then I lose customers.

It would be soooo much easier (to me) if parents would just hold their child’s hand or at least watch them. I am open to hearing why a parent thinks I am wrong on this. That is why I posted the thread.

I personally think it is a respect issue. I think we as a society are becoming too lax on respecting others.


Don’t you also have to raise prices when you lose half your stock to dirty fingerprints?

It would be soooo much easier (to me) if parents would just hold their child’s hand or at least watch them.

Yes, I agree completely. But you have to deal with reality as it is; not as you would wish it to be.

I personally think it is a respect issue. I think we as a society are becoming too lax on respecting others.

I think so, too. That’s why you have to do something to protect your inventory. Perhaps a sign …


:rotfl: :rotfl:
I like the sign!!! Might have to consider that one!


too funny

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