As a college student covering all my expenses, along with being a full time student, I work 2 part time jobs at minimum wage. One of them involves being a tour guide in an educational nature center. I am the only tour guide there who is trained in doing birthday parties, so once a week or so, I get about 15 kids and their parents that I take through a couple of activities that I set up before hand (treasure hunts, boat rides, teepee building, etc) then I bring them back to the party room where the parents take over for cake and presents while I clean up the outside activities.
But last week set my record on being mistreated. First, we usually don’t schedule birthday parties less than 2 weeks in advance, but she called in Wednesday, demanding a party on Saturday. I say “demanding” because she made comments like, “You run a nature center, how the f*** can you not be available?” As it was, I had that afternoon off and could do the tour, so my boss went ahead and booked it.
I usually talk to the parents a few minutes before the party starts to introduce myself and go over the activities and timeline. But when I met this mother the first thing she said to me was, “How can I make sure that I am not paying for the the other kids who are here? Some of these kids seem to have brought their siblings and I don’t want to pay for them.” It wasn’t exactly rude, but I explained that he package only covered the kids she invited, and if other kids or the parents wanted to ride on the boat, they could purchase their own tickets.
When I rounded up the kids and started moving to the first activity, the mother grabbed my arm and dragged me back to tell me that “That boy there was not invited, his twin sister was and I don’t want him in the party” and I explained that since he was already there he could partake in the games, and just not ride the boat and she wouldn’t be charged for him. She told me that she didn’t care and she wanted him to leave, but that I had to tell him because I was running the party. Unfortunately for this boy, his parent’s had dropped him off with his sister because they were under the impression that both were invited, as they were all in the same class. He was only 8 so I pointed him in the direction of our visitors center, where there were books and markers, telling him that I was very sorry.
Most times the parents follow the kids and I around as we do the activities, and sometimes join in but this mother left while we were doing the activities, and I only had about 90 minutes of activities before cake so when I brought the kids back to the party room I was a little shocked that she wasn’t there. So I talked to the kids a little bit about the lake and the animals until she came back. Apparently she had forgotten the cake and went to buy one.
She handed me the cake and bag with candles and told me I could light them around the corner and bring it out in a couple minutes. I explained to her that I usually use this time for cleaning up the activities, so I could help with the cake, but them I had to start cleaning or else I would be here well into the night. She sniffed at me, took away the cake and rudely told me to do what I had to.
She spent about 2 hours doing cake and presents, so I was finished cleaning by the time they were sending kids home, and I went back tothe party room to say bye to the kids and help clean up. I was horrified to find the room looking as though a food fight in epic proportions had occurred. I started to clean up while the mother was moving presents to her car and reminded her to finish her transaction in the visitors center with the final count of the kids and parents.
When I finished cleaning, it was already getting dark so I checked into our visitors center to make sure she had finished paying. We usually close at 5, and they were just waiting on her to close out for the day. It appears that instead of paying after taking the presents to the car, she had decided the time was right for a hour+ walk around the park.
In the end, she paid at about 7, refused to pay for 3 kids who rodethe boat and didn’t tip me. I don’t usually resent not being tipped on public tours, but on private tours, that are specialized the way this one was, I feel as though I earned some sort of tip. Or a “thank you”. I didn’t get that either. 0418-11
At the moment the mother demanded special considerations for the availability of the birthday tour and resorted to vulgar language to get her way, there should have been an instantaneous rigidity of polite spine that responds with a simple, “I’m so sorry. We cannot accommodate that request.”
This is another of these situations where one needs to learn where that line is that should not be crossed. Entitled demands that are paired with the use of obscenity is one of my lines I allow no one to cross. Whatever it was they wanted is now suddenly unavailable to them. (And btw, I used this tactic for times during childrearing when my little FooFoos threw tantrums demanding something. Whatever it was they were having a hissy fit about wanting, they promptly lost any hope of getting it while Mom stayed cool, calm and politely collected.)
There doesn’t need to be any further explanations other than, “I cannot accommodate that request.” Rude aliens from Planet Booron are not owed an explanation on why you take the actions you do. Had freaky alien mom been thwarted, politely, at the moment she cursed at the park staff, she would not been able to inflict her rudeness any further but would have been compelled to find some other poor, etiquettely ignorant schmuck to torture. Oh, wait..maybe the OP was that poor schmuck!