Shut Out By The Grinch

by admin on October 7, 2013

We (myself, my sister and her two young daughters) went to a museum yesterday and an incident happened that has been playing on my mind and I’d really appreciate some advice about whether I handled it right.

At the museum, there were lots of interactive games and computer-based activities for the kids. I was with my youngest niece (age 8) waiting for one of the computers to become available so that she could have a go. The little girl in the chair in front of us finished her game and got up and left. My niece was just taking her seat when a girl about the same age who was standing behind the seat next to her jumped in and tried to push her out. I put my hand out to block her, saying something like, ‘Hey, you can’t push in like that, it’s not your turn’. The girl’s mother (who was kneeling next to the other seat – I think it must have been one of her other children playing the game at the other console) stood up and shouted at me, ‘She was there first – that’s her seat’.

‘No it’s not’, says me, ‘we were next in line and she needs to wait her turn’.

‘But she was there before, so she’s entitled to have her seat back’, says the mother.

‘No, the other little girl was in the seat and when she got up, it’s our turn. If your daughter was in the seat before that girl, she’s obviously given up her place and she can’t just grab it back when she feels like it, especially when there’s someone else waiting to play’.

Here’s the kicker – she says, ‘Anyone with a shred of decency would let her have her seat back’.

‘No, your daughter gave her seat up and C (my niece) is next in line’. So C plays her computer game and, when she’s finished, we get up and go, having been subjected to all manner of huffs and puffs and black looks from the other mother. I didn’t see what happened after we left – that’s someone else’s problem.

I know it was uncomfortable to both girls to have adults squabbling like that, but I wasn’t prepared to back down – it was the principle of it. I feel a bit ashamed to, firstly have behaved like that in front of children, and secondly, like a bit of a Grinch to have shut the other girl out.

I told my sister about it (she was in another room with her older daughter at the time) and she said ‘Why would she assume her daughter was more important than mine?’ which really did sum up the whole situation, but I’m still a bit uncomfortable. 1002-13

{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

Cherry91 October 7, 2013 at 3:26 am

Ah,that child is going to grow up to be a TREASURE, I can just tell…

Good on you for not giving in to an entitled boar. Sounds like both she and her daughter need to hear the word “No” more often…

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Marozia October 7, 2013 at 4:27 am

OP’s niece was next in line, so it was her turn.
The other child had left the line, so therefore, forfeited her turn.

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Lisa Marie October 7, 2013 at 5:12 am

Don’t feel bad. Some people go through life with the entitlement glitch. Then they are surprised when real life gets in their way. You not only supported your niece, you demonstrated standing up for yourself.

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ferretrick October 7, 2013 at 5:40 am

Why do you feel ashamed? You just gave your niece a valuable lesson in having a polite spine. Having good manners does not mean giving in to entitled bullies to prevent conflict of any kind.

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Charliesmum October 7, 2013 at 6:38 am

She’s entitled to have her seat back? Seriously? That is some prime delusion right there.

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Lo October 7, 2013 at 6:41 am

You demonstrated remarkable fortitude in looking out for your child without a shred of entitlement on your part. You stood up to a bullying mom. I wish I’d had a mother like you.

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Abby October 7, 2013 at 7:25 am

At first I thought what the other mother meant was, there were two lines for the computers, one line for each computer. Girl #1 and Girl #2 were occupying each computer, while OP’s niece was waiting behind Girl #1 and and Girl #2′s sister was waiting behind Girl #2. I always prefer lines set up like at the airport check in where there’s just one line and whichever portal opens up first is available to the person who has been waiting the longest, as opposed to a line for every checkout and you just have to guess which one will be the shortest, and if you get behind someone taking forever, too bad, you don’t get to jump ahead to a faster moving line.

If that were the case though, that’s rather irrelevant whether the other mother’s daughter had been in that seat before. I think mom was saying that her daughter had been waiting to use the computers longer than OP’s niece was, and therefore should get the open computer. However, from OP’s point of view, it looked like the girl was just watching her friend play and not in line. Either way, the other mother did not need to start a fight, and the other girl trying to scramble in the seat when it was clear someone else was getting in was rude.

OP, it does feel awkward blocking a young kid. I had to do the same thing. My daughter and I were in line for a train ride, and only the front was big enough for two people (my daughter was 1.5 and wouldn’t have ridden alone), so we waited in an extra amount of time to get first dibs on the front car. As I am lifting my daughter into the seat, a girl probably about 4 tries to climb in quickly. I don’t know if she had a giant blind spot, or if she just assumed I’d give up, but I stood my ground. I felt terrible blocking a 4 year old, but we’d waited several extra turns to ensure we could have the front car.

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Mae October 7, 2013 at 7:54 am

You did nothing wrong and having nothing to feel bad about. You do not get to claim ownership of public property just because you may have used it first. The shred of decency remark was meant to make you feel bad and remove your niece so her child could play the game.

I work at a museum and see all kinds of horrible behavior that parents just ignore or condone. Including, but not limited to, letting their children climb on exhibits, destroy exhibits, run willy-nilly through exhibit halls, often bumping into other patrons and the list goes on. Security does as much as possible but you have to be very careful because some parents have an excuse for why their child cannot behave in public and on the rare occasion when they have to remove a child from an exhibit due to safety, some parents goes ballistic. Note- I said some parents, not all parents.

One extreme example- a mother let her child climb onto a platform displaying a dinosaur skeleton, the child grabbed the rib and broke it off before security could get to them. She then took her child off and attempted to leave the museum. Security stopped her and asked her about the incident, she denied it, even after they showed her the security footage!!

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Emmy October 7, 2013 at 7:56 am

The child had horrible manners by physically trying to push another child out of the seat. Eight years old is plenty old enough to know better. The OP has no reason to feel bad about blocking a child who is physically pushing around another child. If the mother had ‘a shred of decency’ to use her own words, she would teach her daughter to behave like a polite human being and not a stampeding bull. I think some parents think decency only runs one way; other people are supposed to cater to their children’s whims, but their children don’t have to show consideration for others.

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livvy17 October 7, 2013 at 7:58 am

It’s always hard watching a mother teach her child the wrong things. Thankfully, you did wonderfully, and showed your neice that it’s ok to stand up for yourself, and that it’s not appropriate to try to cut back in line once you’ve left.

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Marie October 7, 2013 at 8:08 am

Don’t feel ashamed of “blocking a kid” if it’s not the kids turn. They might be upset about it, but it teaches them a valuable life lesson: you have to await your turn. They will also learn it’s not the end of the world to wait a few minutes before they can use the computer or embark on a ride. On this occassion, OP also taught her daughter to stand up for herself when it’s justified, and not just let others walk over her because they have a bigger mouth.

It might feel awkward and grinchy doing it, but in the long run children will benefit from adults that learn them how to queue and be fair.

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Laura October 7, 2013 at 8:27 am

I probably would have done the same had I been in your position, OP. She was definitely in the wrong.

On a side note, I was working out at my gym one day, and started on one of the weight machines, only to have a young guy approach me and say, “I was in the middle of a set! Can you please move?” I replied, “No. You were nowhere around the machine, so you will have to wait until I’m finished.” He was very huffy about it! For some reason he thought he could just take a break between sets, get on another machine or visit (not sure what he was doing), and come back to the same machine to pick up where he left off without a wait! I must admit my attitude was partly because he was young enough to be my son! And quite cocky to boot. To this day I’m glad I had a polite spine.

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Library Diva October 7, 2013 at 9:12 am

You have nothing to feel badly about, OP. Your niece will remember that you stood up for her, and didn’t let random strangers push her around. With any amount of luck, either the mother or the daughter will also remember this day, and will remember that occasionally, people push back, and they can’t count on bullying their way through every situation. I can’t stand people like this other woman, and what’s worse is when their bad behavior is rewarded by people who cave in, wishing to avoid a scene.

Evil me kind of also hopes that the mother starts telling her friends this story, and that they all tell her that her behavior was appalling and she should be ashamed.

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Allie October 7, 2013 at 9:17 am

I wouldn’t feel bad about it. Sometimes you’ve just got to get your Irish on, so to speak. You didn’t devolve into swearing or name calling. I would categorize your response as a polite spine.

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Abby October 7, 2013 at 9:17 am

@ Laura- that is a huge issue regarding gym etiquette. I’ve spent a fair amount of time on weight loss and body building message boards, and the consensus seems to split pretty 50/50. Half say you leave the machine, you lose your place in line. The other half says doing super sets is a necessary part of building your body, in which case you have to use multiple machines/weight benches at certain intervals, and other gym patrons, who are presumably also there to work on their bodies, should understand. I fall into the former group, but the guy is by no means alone in his thinking he can “reserve” machines in a public setting and others should work around his sets.

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Shalamar October 7, 2013 at 9:18 am

That reminds me a bit of when I was a Brownie when I was 9 or 10 years old. A friend of mine, who wasn’t a Brownie, was fascinated by the little leather purse that was part of my uniform. She asked to borrow it one day, and I foolishly said yes, but I told her that I had to have it back by Wednesday (which was when the next Brownie meeting was going to be). Well, Wednesday came and went, and despite repeated reminders, she didn’t give me my purse back – she kept “forgetting”. My parents finally had to get involved, and they called her mother and demanded that she bring the purse back NOW. Friend’s mom and Friend arrived at our house with the purse, and as Friend’s Mom handed it over, she said huffily “I can’t believe you’re making all this fuss over a stupid little purse.” My mother said “Whether it’s a ‘stupid little purse’ or not isn’t the point – the point is that it belongs to my daughter, not yours.” Friend’s Mom spat “I guess it takes all kinds to make a world,” and Mum said “I couldn’t agree more.”

Friend was always a very entitled girl, and “borrowing” stuff without returning it was a favourite trick of hers. It’s not hard to see where she got her attitude from.

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Barbarian October 7, 2013 at 9:44 am

Line-jumping is an unpleasant part of life. OP did the right thing by setting an example of how to deal with it. People are becoming more entitled and aggressive each day, so it does not hurt to get the support of a facility’s manager to help you out in line-jumping disputes if the situation starts to get out of hand.

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Politrix October 7, 2013 at 9:57 am

OP did nothing wrong here, but if I might make a small suggestion when dealing with young kids, FWIW — I find it’s pretty easy to say just about anything– including and especially that awful word, “no” — as long as it’s done with a laugh and a smile. “hey, young man, could you please wait your turn ’til my daughter’s finished going this way on the monkey bars? Then you can have a turn. Wouldn’t wanna see a crash in midair, haha! There we go… thanks!”
In this way, the offending kid doesn’t see it as an admonishment (however deserved one may be), and the other kid’s parents don’t see it as a stranger disciplining their child (again, a job the parents SHOULD be doing themselves, but are pretty much failing miserably at). And at the very least, it avoids that awkwardness you may feel at having to correct a stranger’s kid, as well as cut down on any unpleasant scenarios you may not want your own kids to have to witness.

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Elizabeth October 7, 2013 at 9:58 am

I remember the first ‘task’ of childhood was learning to wait my turn. It is an early life lesson that this bullying Mom is neglecting to teach her children. The lesson she tried to teach today was ‘argue until the other person backs down and gives you your way.’ Thankfully you disallowed this by remaining firm.

Please don’t let this bully ruin your day.

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Yarnspinner October 7, 2013 at 10:14 am

This reminds me of an incident waaaaaay in my past and I had no idea what to do then and have no idea what my younger self should have done now.

I was in my twenties and visiting a museum that had a terrific interactive display on sight and sound. One of the displays showed what different kinds of music looked like as color. Think a screen and several buttons reading “rock” “country” “Beethoven” and so on. You pressed the button for the appropriate music and as it played, the screen above would erupt in a variety of rainbow prisms and would change color saturation depending on what was being played. There was a girl about eight years old at the front of the line and she held on to the rock button as if it was a life saver. (I gotta tell you the colors that appeared was almost completely an angry red monochromatic that did nothing for anyone’s mood. It wasn’t “happy” R&R, more like angry heavy metal and apparently this child adored it.)

As each person tried to move up and try a different color, the girl made herself “wider” by putting her arms around all the buttons so no one could touch them. FINALLY she left, but as soon as another person got up to try a different sound, she would run right back, slap the rock button and glare at anyone who tried to change it.

I finally gave up after she slapped the rock button on me when I was trying to see “Beethoven’s” colors (very pretty what I saw in the six seconds I had). I knew that if I said anything, my friends would accuse me of being a fussbudget and I suspected her parents would, too.

My evil inner child really wanted to dump her into the middle of electricity cages, though.

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Ashley October 7, 2013 at 10:17 am

How did this mother even expect you to know that her daughter had been there previously anyway? Like, that’s not even a logical excuse for what her daughter was trying to do or what she was trying to justify…Her daughter left, she gets to get in line like everyone else.

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Laura October 7, 2013 at 11:22 am

@Abby — and here I thought it was an isolated incident! That’s very interesting to hear. I guess I could sort of see it, but this guy was no where near the machine, he was all the way across the room. I could understand if he was resting while hovering around the machine, (I’ve seen that, and always leave it alone).

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mark October 7, 2013 at 11:26 am

Thank you very much for standing up to line cutting. I get sick of line cutting. Sometimes the line is growing faster in front of you than behind you.

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Stacey Frith-Smith October 7, 2013 at 11:42 am

OP- this is a tricky situation. The desire to explain your very reasonable position can be strong. However, it’s usually best to ignore people who are completely entitled. Any explanation and subsequent clarification just encourages them to keep arguing

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Fung October 7, 2013 at 12:22 pm

Perfect! You’ve done an absolute perfect job!
In 1 action you’ve taught your niece that she IS important to you and that she can count on you watching her back. You’ve also taught the other girl that there ARE limits to what she can get when she wants something, and at the same time, you’ve taught the girls mom that the world doesn’t revolve around her and her child.
I’m however curious about how the other girl was behaving during the ‘yes/no’ exchange

@Library DIVA is absolutely right and I couldn’t agree with her more, especially the evil-me part ;)

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DGS October 7, 2013 at 12:31 pm

You did the right thing by firmly but politely blocking the other girl from playing a game. If she was not waiting for her turn in line and had run off, it was not her turn, as she forfeited it. It’s important in life to learn to take turns and share; evidently, the little girl’s mother never learned sharing when she was growing up.

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Calli Arcale October 7, 2013 at 12:52 pm

OP, you did perfectly. You were not squabbling with the other woman; you were showing a polite spine and standing up for your niece. I ran into something similar once when a woman thought that leaving her basket of groceries on the floor at the end of the belt by the cash register would save her place in line. Now, the store wasn’t especially busy or anything. When I got in line, all I saw was a woman being rung up by the cashier, so I dutifully got in line behind her. When she was done, I put my few things on the belt and waited. Then this women came out of nowhere, all huffy, upset that I’d taken her spot in line. She made some choice comments about how I obviously came from a different part of the country where kids aren’t raised right, which was hilarious on several levels as a) I grew up about 20 miles away from there and b) she was in the wrong since she’d left the line. It was a good opportunity for the polite spine.

I will never stop being amazed at the sense of entitlement that lines, even short ones, bring out in people.

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Lisa October 7, 2013 at 1:15 pm

No Grinch here, except for the overly entitled mother trying to rob your niece of her place in line!

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Jenn50 October 7, 2013 at 1:35 pm

As to the use of the exercise machines, I call baloney. You can’t expect others to know you’re in the middle of a set, or interrupt the flow of THEIR workout to accommodate your high-maintenance routine. If you want guaranteed access to machines on a specific schedule, you either get your own, or go to a less busy gym at a less busy time. Otherwise, you get to take your turn like everybody else.

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Ryo's Girl October 7, 2013 at 2:44 pm

OP – your response was completely appropriate. The entitled mom reminds me of an issue a friend had with her kids at Disney World. Her 4 year old daughter was actually on a trip provided by Children’s Wish due to health problems. The kids were playing in a free play area (like a park) with lots of others and the 4 year old was playing with a new stuffed toy my friend and her husband had purchased for her at the park when another girl around the same age came up and tried to take it from her. Of course, my friend’s little girl held on tight to her new toy and started saying “no no no!” When my friend stepped in and took the other girl’s hands off the toy and said, politely but firmly “No this is K’s toy, not yours. You can’t have it.” The other child’s mom came up and started giving my friend and her daughter grief, my friend said again that it was her own toy, not a communal toy. Then the other mom got all huffy and said how disgusting it was that she didn’t teach her child to share with others. I kept thinking a) K was playing with the toy so why should she have to “share” when she was still playing with it, b) its her toy, not a communal toy so again, not necessary to share and c) she didn’t even know this other girl – I’m assuming if this other mom saw someone playing games on their phone they wouldn’t demand that stranger share so she could have a turn! Of course, the other mom didn’t realize K is actually somewhat immuno-compromised so the reason she was playing with her own toy in the “park” was so her siblings could play there and the last thing you’d want is another child’s germy hands all over your kid’s toy ;)

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Powers October 7, 2013 at 3:12 pm

“Give me this toy because I tried to take it from you” is not sharing, it’s stealing. Sharing is “When you’re done with the toy, may I have a turn, please?”

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Shannan October 7, 2013 at 3:18 pm

So in this mom’s mind everyone in line is just supposed to wait until her daughter comes back??? Whenever that is? I don’t think so….

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Barbarian October 7, 2013 at 4:00 pm

After reading this thread, I am beginning to wonder if businesses offer customer service representatives training on how to deal with unruly children. Many people don’t like to correct stranger’s kids even when it’s necessary for fear the parents will cry child abuse.

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Margaret October 7, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Ah, yes, ownership of public property. I was at the gym and went to take a shower. There are 3 showers in the women’s locker room. One had a door ajar. Score!

I got in and there was a robe and bottle of water in the cubicle. I went out and asked, whose robe is this? No one claimed it so I put it on a counter near the sink and went back into shower number 1. About 30 seconds later, someone was knocking on the door saying, this was her shower. I said, if you’re not in here, it’s not your shower. I put your robe over on the counter. She said I also had a bottle of water in there, in a huffy voice. I handed the water over and she said again, that was my shower.

I said, no one was in here – it’s not yours if you’re not in here!

This is the same woman who tried to cut in front of me for a shower stall a few weeks ago, saying “I was waiting.” If she was, she was waiting about 20 feet away, around a corner where no one else ever waits. I said, I’ve been waiting longer and got in.

I don’t know why people think that they can save places or cut in line to use popular things, whether an exhibit, a computer, a shower, a weight training station, or whatever. In their minds, they must think that everyone knows their intentions and they are entitled to do what pleases them.

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NostalgicGal October 7, 2013 at 5:20 pm

OP, I support you fully. By 8 I certainly knew WAIT MY TURN, and how to politely ask if someone was in line so I could get in line to do/go again. And if I had my turn and wanted another one it was go to the back of the line if it wasn’t a ticketed event (aka had to go buy a ticket to go, and even if I bought two in that case I still had to go through the line again ‘TO BE FAIR’)

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smarlo October 7, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Just this weekend I saw the RIGHT thing being taught about lines. Me and my friend were waiting in line at our campground for a hayride. A group of little kids (under 10) and an aunt were in line behind us. The kids kept trying to inch past us in line. The aunt noticed this and told them that line jumping is cheating and we don’t cheat.

They stayed in their place. It was nice to see!

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Kate October 7, 2013 at 7:49 pm

OP, somebody needs to educate that child about waiting your turn and how lines work. If the mother isn’t going to do it, at least you can help! I would not feel guilty at all.

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Rug Pilot October 7, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Unless the arrangement was single queue – multiserver, the obnoxion was waiting behind another chair and was not entitled to whichever chair was next available. She had to wait for the person who was in the chair she was standing behind to vacate the seat. Better to have single queue – multiserver as we do in banks and most fast food restaurants.

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JackieJormpJomp October 7, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Yeah, that’s super uncomfortable. But she’s the one who made it that way. You were right, and shouldn’t feel bad for not getting pushed around.

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FerrisW October 7, 2013 at 9:06 pm

It’s remarkable how self-centred people can be, isn’t it?

I remember an incident when I was 7, at Disneyland. I was patiently waiting in line to meet Mickey Mouse, and as I almost reached the front of the line, a grown man pushed me out of the queue and took my place. I ran back to my parents, terribly upset.

What I don’t remember, but was told to me years later, is that a woman standing nearby had seen what happened, and commiserated with my parents about how rude some people could be, how people needed to wait their turn etc etc. She’d been quite vocal and disgusted by the man’s behaviour. My mother had then watched, with a mix of amusement and horror, as this woman grabbed her child by the hand and pushed her way through a queue of children and parents waiting to meet Donald Duck, because why should she have to wait? It seemed that it was a case of ‘one rule for her, one rule for everyone else’. And I think this is how far too many people can be- only aware of the slights they perceive to themselves, never to how they slight others.

OP- I’m feeling optimistic today, so I choose to believe that the woman you encountered relayed the story to a friend, and was swiftly told how ridiculous her response to you was, and because of this, she’ll teach her children to be lovely members of society, and not rude idiots. In other words, I think you handled the situation really well!

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Kimstu October 7, 2013 at 9:10 pm

OP did just fine. The problem with the attitude of PrincessSpoiler Mom is perfectly summarized in the references to “her seat”: “She was there first – that’s her seat”, “But she was there before, so she’s entitled to have her seat back”.

Ma’m, it was not “her seat”: a chair at an interactive museum exhibit is NOT like a seat at a theater. You don’t have exclusive rights to it for the duration of your visit and can’t take it back whenever you like just because you got to it first.

You aren’t even allowed to stay in it indefinitely for one continuous sitting. If the seat is empty, you sit down, take a reasonable turn at the exhibit activity, and then get up so others can take their turns. If you want another turn, you get back in line and wait.

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Kimberly Herbert October 7, 2013 at 9:25 pm

OP you did the right thing and showed your niece how to have a polite and shiny spine. I once had to literally shove a kid away from my then 5 0r 6 yo cousin. We were at the local children’s museum. They had this thing were you sat in a tractor seat and pulled yourself up with a pulley system. I’m 5′ 10″ or so. Cousin had the thing almost to the top. Her rear was about the level of my eyes. This child came along and wanted to use it so she launched herself at cousin and tried to pull her to the ground. I reacted on pure instinct and years of self defense training and shoved her away, while keeping cousin from falling (about 5 feet to ground). Girl was unhurt but staff refused to do anything about her group. Have never returned to that museum.

At HMNS they have this thing were you can crank a handle for 30 or 60 seconds and it tells you what the equivalent energy would be in drops of gasoline. This is kind of hard to describe, but you have to stand back from Loren when she does it she gets into it. She is also a left handed dyslexic. Sometimes she turns the crank backwards. Either way she is standing backwards to the normal way so she can turn the crank with her left hand. (think left handed batter) She really puts her back into and her elbow flies. This boy tried to line up in what would have been the normal place, while Loren was listening to the intro/ready set go part of the video. I blocked him and told him to step back or she might hit you with her elbow. . For a split second his family looked shocked/annoyed but then Loren started and that elbow started flying and they understood. They even asked if Brett was in line, (were he was standing would have been the “right” place if the majority were lefties instead of righties). He said no I had my turn.

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NostalgicGal October 8, 2013 at 12:59 am

@ Rio’s Girl, #30
There is one on here, I think around November 2011, about a person on a city bus, commuting, had Bejeweled on their phone and was playing it. A man and 5 year old daughter got on, sat behind her, and the girl started demanding to play the game. So the father tapped the woman on the shoulder and asked her to let the little girl have the phone to play the game, and truly expected her to hand the phone over. When the woman refused, the girl started screaming and carrying on about why won’t the mean woman give her the game and the man said because she didn’t know how to be polite and share. I agreed with one poster, about I wouldn’t hand over my cellphone, with apps and info and the cost and the contract, it may be worth a few thousand… what if the girl dropped it? What if it came to the woman’s stop and the girl didn’t want to give the phone back?

@ Yarnspinner, a museum on west coast, they had an interactive bit, with different joysticks colorcoded to run two triple jointed robotic arms to do things like grab objects in the field or try to tie a bow or knot in two pieces of cord held up in holders. I had taken industrial robotics a few years before and the chance to play with this would have been great. Next to me was a boy of about 4 or 5, and he had one of the base controls of one arm, and was just enjoying grinding it over. Which made doing ANYTHING with that arm totally useless. The other arm a mother and daughter of about the same age were cooperating and at least getting some fun out of it. The boy apparently wasn’t with those two, and I looked around for his parents, and waited. Nope, not even when I tried to nicely talk to him about trying to work together (my best customer service polite mixed with infinite patience with kidlets) he just kept at his pursuit. I finally walked away as there wasn’t going to be any chance of this kid getting bored any time soon, he could prevent anyone else from having some fun with the exhibit–I wonder if he didn’t burn out the servo or control….

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Snowy October 8, 2013 at 3:20 am

When I was a kid, I was in Girl Scouts, and we’d to Troop field trips to this and that. One time, it was to this really cool thing called Kaleidoscope. It was a series of travelling creativity and science exhibits for kids that toured around in trailers, and it was very interactive. You could do things, make things, play on things, the works. Science, arts and crafts, *and* playing? My idea of heaven! I looked forward to it from day one, I was just so eager to do it.

The day came, and our troop drove out there, a few parents (not mine) arpooling all us girls. The place was full of scouts and school groups, and there were lines for everything. Most of the girls in my troop (but not me) had friends in other schools, so they dashed off to find them–and join them in line. I watched as every single other girl in my troop cut in line, in front of strangers, in front of *me,* thanks to their friends. Sometimes they went right to the front of the line.

And the parents, teachers, and scout masters just watched.

So they did stuff, and I waited. I think I walked through one exhibit that didn’t really have a line, but I wanted to do something interactive, so I waited in line again and finally, after a good sized wait, I got my first turn in an interactive trailer–making jigsaw puzzles! You drew on a special piece of white cardboard, and they had a die cutter that you ran it through and boom, a jigsaw puzzle all your own! (This was long before you could buy such things, so it was uber cool.) I was just sitting down to get started when the troop leader poked her head in–and told me it was time to go.

Time to go? But–this was my first time to do anything, and everyone else had done three or four things, some of them twice.

Yes, she said, but the rest of the girls were all done. I was the only one that had “lagged.”

I remember how it felt when my heart broke. I felt like Christmas had just been taken away. It must’ve shown how crestfallen I was, because the lady running the exhibit looked crestfallen herself. She quickly offered to send me home with a blank puzzle, and ran one through the die cutter for me. (The die cutter hadn’t been cleaned from the previous puzzle, and it wound up with marker smeared all over it. I think she offered to do another one, but the troop leader was pushing for me to leave so we could all go home.)

And then we went home, me with my smeared, blank, unfinished puzzle in a paper bag, everyone else with their cool arts and crafts and handouts and things. Them with their stories of what they go to see and do and how they saw so many friends, and me with nothing but a long wait in line and a broken heart. It’s stupid to say so, but I felt betrayed. And it’s stupid to say so, but decades later, this still hurts to remember.

So, parents of cutters, while you think you’re just enabling your young one to have a good time, while you insist cutting is “no big deal” because they “just want to be with their friends,” when you let your kids cut to improve their fun, you’re taking away from someone else’s. And when twenty girls do it, the ten girls whose parents taught them better get punished for having manners.

Teach your kids right. Teach them manners. Teach them to be the adults you want them to be, on every level, big and small.

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Lily October 8, 2013 at 3:56 am

You were perfect OP.
Neice knows you support her and Pushy Princess Mom knows she cant always rely on others to permit her insolence.

Same thing happened to us at an airshow, a horrible pushy man and his son tried to barge past my son in line to sit in one of the plane exhibits.

His argument was that I (mom) had left the queue so he had every right to push past my son (who remained in queue)
The fact is he thought I had left the building, I hadnt I was keeping a close eye on Son in the queue the who time and Pushy Dude backed down VERY quickly when he realised I was still there waiting for my Son to have his turn.

When my Husband came back it was funny to watch Pushy and Pushy Jnr RUN from the hanger like scared rats.

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Niamh84 October 8, 2013 at 6:03 am

I’m slightly confused by the title of this – admin are you saying the letter writer was a grinch? Or do you just mean that’s what the spoilt girl and entitled mother would have thought?

OP I think you did well. You were just defending your niece and weren’t over the top or rude.

@Allie, what does “get your Irish on” mean? I’ve never heard it before.

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Angel October 8, 2013 at 8:10 am

Before I had kids myself I might have just let the other child go in front. And come back later. Now that I have children of my own I am a lot more inclined to do what the OP did. And she did the right thing IMO. There wasn’t any yelling or cussing, no insults. I think that other mom ought to be ashamed of herself for speaking to you that way! Unfortunately these types of people are everywhere. I try to be a good role model for my kids with the polite spine. I would want them to stand up for themselves in that way, if I were not around.

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Abby October 8, 2013 at 8:29 am

@Niamh84

I assume OP meant she felt like the grinch being that she was an adult blocking a child from an exhibit. Not that she did anything wrong, but it’s still an awkward position to be in. People like the other mother realize that most people will concede to avoid an awkward and uncomfortable situation and take advantage by pulling stunts like this.

Reading it again, it sounds like the other little girl was waiting for the other computer, but decided to pass the time by watching her sibling play or hanging off to the side- in other words, not actually waiting in line, so someone else who joins the line would have no idea she had designs on that seat.

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Yarnspinner October 8, 2013 at 10:38 am

Snowy, I came close to sobbing as I read your story. Have been there and done that. WHY is it that those who are thoughtful and polite and take their time are always the ones who teachers/people in authority punish–yet reward the bad behavior of students they complain about?

Many hugs, chocolate chip cookies (still warm from the oven) and a glass of ice cold milk to you.

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NostalgicGal October 8, 2013 at 11:24 am

@ Snowy, been there too many times… that was a lot of my scouting experience.

To sum it up, at the start of what would have been senior scout, I’d had it with being the polite one that got left out of stuff, left at the end, and otherwise get the short end, and turned in my sashes, empty; and my books, half signed. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to do stuff and earn badges; but I had a working mom in an era of stay-at-home, and she couldn’t be a troop leader or assistant, she actually did once in disgust announce she was going to go volunteer just so I could actually get to do/finish something-she’d have the power to sign off stuff like several other full-sash scouts had-their moms/troop leaders signed off for them. Or take a day off work to chaperone just so I could have fun at an outing. (order 8 pizzas and everything was full of toppings I couldn’t eat, and I would get in trouble for stripping the topping off (cheese and all, not making a mess) and eating the crust on one piece because I was STARVING, quit picking at your food and EAT it…nevermind I’d be throwing up for the rest of the day and trip if I did eat it all)

The worst part is watching everyone else happy with their swag and listening to it for months afterwards. I agree, major bummer. Snowy, you have to let it go. I did when I handed over my things, and told them succinctly to look at the sashes and books, if they wanted to know why I was quitting; and left the meeting. I haven’t forgotten, but it’s in the past. I still buy the cookies, as long as the scout actually sells them to me. Honest, the young lady comes to my door, and shows me her folder… I will buy 20-30 boxes (and freeze them to eat throughout the year). I will not buy a single box from any cardtable at a grocery store enterance.

I can’t believe the leaders and chaperones just watched, but I can also believe they did; I experienced similar many times. Revenge, Snowy. Volunteer and help with a youth group. Make sure there are no left outs and left behinds.

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