At least she’s got good taste in lip colours?

by admin on May 8, 2018

A few years ago, my beloved spouse and I left our jobs in a national telecom provider’s business segment for account executive positions with a competitor. Our new employers were a family that had their own franchise with said telecom. One brother ran their stores, one brother handled business sales (our boss) and their sister took care of various admin duties.

Now since this was a small franchise company, the two of us worked out of a very small office with the three siblings. We used our cellphones instead of landlines, and our days consisted mostly of sales calls to and meetings with local businesses.

Most days were somewhat difficult because the siblings liked to argue. Loudly. And frequently. There were many days when the two of us would pack up and work from home because it was just too loud to make calls.

And then summer vacation started.

Each sibling had at least two children and they loved to visit the office. As cute as these kids were, their visits were SO disruptive. Work would stop and they would have free run of the place. Thankfully, the visits usually weren’t that long.

And then something went awry with the sister’s sitter. She was still able to look after two children but the we began to see more and more of our colleague’s two year old daughter in the office for an entire day at a time. This child was loud. She was adorable and she’d taken a strong liking to me so she usually wanted to play at my desk. Since this was our boss’s niece, I felt like I needed to go along with it so I’d get caught up on admin when she was around. If I had important calls to make, I’d either go into a side room or I’d leave and work from home.

One day, after we were all used to working around the little tyke’s appearances, I was busy with something at my computer. I’d given the little munchkin some pens and paper to draw on and I heard a noise. She’d found my purse and had figured out how to open it.

OK fine. I wasn’t crazy about that but there wasn’t anything in there that could harm her. And then she discovered a tube of MAC’s Russian Red lipglass. Now this is the brightest, reddest, stickiest, most heavily pigmented lipgloss I’ve ever encountered and I almost never wore it because ti will stain everything.

No sooner had those little eyes seen that tube, it was in her hands and she was running gleefully down the hallway. (I don’t blame her; it’s a classic hahaha.)

I ran after her and let her mom know that her child was in possession of one of the most destructive, messy items on Earth.

Mom tried to get it from her and this child screamed as if we were trying to steal her very soul. Her grandpa (the BIG boss) was in the office that day and he came running when he heard her screams of terror. He took one look at her huge, tear filled eyes and asked why she couldn’t just play with it for a while.

At this point, I didn’t really want it back. Let’s face it; kids can be really gross at this point I had no idea what had managed to work it’s way into the tube. But still, the kid had quite literally stolen it from my purse and I was annoyed. More so when they gave it back to her to stop her crying.

Mom told me that she would let her take it home and then she would sneak it away from her after she’d gone to sleep that night. That’s right, she was letting her child steal and get away with it and we were all going to try to ease her trauma. Not cool.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this family also shorted us by literal thousands of dollars in pay over the next few months. They were stunned when we quit and shocked when we took them to the labour board to get our backpay. 0406-18

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

flora May 8, 2018 at 6:02 am

Working in retail, one of my biggest pet peeves is people who sneak stuff away from their kids. Rather then tell the little darling no, they let the kid hold or play with a toy up to register and either sneak it away from the child and tell me they’re not buying it or lie to said child saying that the nice lady will scan it , turn around and whisper to me “we’re not buying that, don’t let him see it” as if said child is stupid.
Sounds like an awful work environment. It sounds to me that the mother was more afraid of the big boss man then taking something away from her child. That sounds like a toxic work environment to me.

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Lara May 8, 2018 at 6:44 am

I hope you got your back pay! You deserved a raise for coping with all the chaos. I’m all in favor of integrating family and work as much as possible, but it is the parent’s responsibility to keep them occupied and out of everyone else’s way, not mention teaching their child not to steal other people’s stuff! Hopefully she smeared the lip gloss everywhere once they went home.

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DGS May 8, 2018 at 8:13 am

It is certainly unprofessional to have small children, particularly toddlers, around the office. A visit for an hour or two on “take my kid to work day” is cute, as is a weekend office barbecue, but having children underfoot whilst working is unprofessional, unproductive and unsustainable. (And before I get flamed, I adore children and have little kids of my own, who are absolutely the bee’s knees – but I would never bring them to work for more than a few minutes, as at 3.5, 6.5 and 8, they do not have the maturity and attention span and discretion to sit quietly and unobtrusively for 9 uninterrupted hours).

The toddler in the story is not being bratty or acting terribly – she is 2 and acting like a 2-year-old. Of course, she is going to pitch a fit when she doesn’t get what she wants, and this is where her mother, grandfather and various other relatives, have a wonderful opportunity to step in, take away the lip gloss by distracting her with something else or offering her something safer and tidier to play with, and if that fails, take the lip gloss away and console her and comfort her and redirect her to a different activity.

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EchoGirl May 9, 2018 at 11:27 pm

My brother and I did occasionally hang around our parents’ offices on days off. But our parents would never have allowed us to make tons of noise, run around, take things that didn’t belong to us, etc. (Also, day care didn’t have “days off”, so by the time we started doing this, we were older and in school, where you do learn to take turns, keep your hands to yourself, not take things that don’t belong to you, etc.)

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Anonymous May 8, 2018 at 10:05 am

Okay, these people are unreasonable, but OP, why couldn’t you have just told them what you just told us? Besides the fact that the lipstick belonged to you, you also didn’t want the child to have it because of the potential for mess and stains–on the office walls, floor, and furniture, on the child herself, and everything she touched. I know that the main thing is that it was your lipstick, and the child took it out of your purse without permission, but I would have gone with the “mess” angle instead, because then the sister might have realized, “Gee, if Child gets red lipstick all over herself, I’m going to have to clean her up.”

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Kate 2 May 8, 2018 at 12:19 pm

Because she shouldn’t have had to and probably didn’t think of it at the time and didn’t want to make her bosses mad.

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Mrs_Deb May 8, 2018 at 1:27 pm

But she did! The OP wrote in her posting:

“I ran after her and let her mom know that her child was in possession of one of the most destructive, messy items on Earth.”

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Michelle May 8, 2018 at 2:50 pm

You answered your question in the first few words: “these people are unreasonable”. Unreasonable people *cannot* be reasoned with. They didn’t care if the child stained the office, her clothes or herself. I’m surprised they didn’t blame OP for having lipgloss at the office!

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LadyV May 8, 2018 at 3:18 pm

Read paragraph 10 – OP DID tell the mom that it was extremely messy. However, that’s irrelevant – the toddler took something that belonged to someone else, and the mother should have immediately made her give it back. Personally, I would have asked to be reimbursed for the now-unusable lipstick – MAC cosmetics don’t come cheap!

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Anonymous May 8, 2018 at 10:12 am

Oh, wait, OP, I misread that–you told Sister that the lipstick could make a mess, but not Big Boss/Child’s Grandpa. I would have told him too, because, I guess he got caught up in, “tears in Child’s eyes, want to avert a meltdown.” I would have explained to him too that the lipstick was messy/prone to staining, because he probably wouldn’t have wanted Child to make a mess in the office. Maybe, depending on what the closed lipstick tube looked like, he didn’t know that it was red when he saw her with it. Maybe he thought it was clear, or nude, or light pink, or something that’d be easier to clean up, and that it’d be easier to clean up lipstick (even if it was stolen lipstick that didn’t belong to him, Sister, or Child) than to deal with a toddler tantrum.

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Semperviren May 8, 2018 at 10:55 am

So the plan was, what, to let the child take the lipstick home, sneak it away from her later….and then return your toddler-mauled lipstick to you? They weren’t even going to replace it with a new one? Ew.

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Devin May 8, 2018 at 1:48 pm

I thought this same thing. Plus how do the parents know you don’t have a communicable condition like cold sores that could be passed to their toddler because of their negligence. I don’t even blame the toddler because she was doing what curious unsupervised little ones do when left to their own devices, and it wasn’t your job to be supervising her. Good thing she didn’t think to chew on a power cable or poke a spoon into a socket.
This family is rude and unprofessional and I’m glad you got out. Good luck getting your back wages. I guess lessons learned?

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NostalgicGal May 9, 2018 at 2:25 pm

Coldsores (mouth herpes) can be pretty devastating to a baby or toddler… there are a lot of people badly afflicted with same that want to kiss babies all the time and the mother certainly doesn’t want her child catching that…. but try to dissuade these people? First class affronted.

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Amberly May 8, 2018 at 2:48 pm

My thoughts exactly. I had a brief glimmer of hope that the mother had offered to replace the lipstick with a new tube, but alas…it was not to be.

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Dee May 8, 2018 at 11:03 am

OP – You’re shocked that the mom didn’t take the lipgloss from her daughter but you, yourself, had let the kid(s) get away with everything else? You never set any boundaries from the beginning. You can’t expect to see anybody else respect you after that.

Those kids don’t sound cute, they sound horrid. Their parents are users and abusers, so there’s no surprise that they also shafted you on your wages. But all this would have come out well before the lipgloss incident, if only you had been professional. As in, the first time the siblings and/or their kids had affected your work. If only you had gone to the boss and asked for his assistance, else you wouldn’t be able to get your work done. And leave it in his hands. Depending on the outcome you’d know whether this is a workplace that deals with its issues in a fair and timely fashion or whether the dysfunction is ingrained. With that information, in the case of the latter, you could have made the choice to move on to another job asap, and the lipgloss episode would never have happened.

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Kate 2 May 8, 2018 at 12:20 pm

It doesn’t sound like OP “let the kids get away with everything else”. Entertaining little kids when it isn’t part of your job description is very different from their parents letting them steal.

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SS May 8, 2018 at 5:20 pm

As soon as child got into my purse, it would have been taken away from her with a serious “NO”.

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Goldie May 8, 2018 at 4:24 pm

It was a family-owned business. My understanding of the letter is that there were five employees, three of whom were siblings/co-owners and the other two, OP and her husband; then there was apparently the big boss, who also happened to be the little girl’s grandfather (so, the father of the siblings?) OP had no one to ask for assistance. Everyone in that office except for her and her husband, including her boss and the “big boss”, was related to that child.

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InTheEther May 8, 2018 at 9:33 pm

Where do you live that you can quit a job and then immediately jump on another high paying job without worrying about a bad reference or anything? I might be willing to move.

Calling out a stranger, coworker, or even family member about their kids’ presence and behavior is one thing. The worst thing they can do is throw a snit fit, and you can largely ignore and possibly avoid them. Your boss? S/He can make your job miserable.
Everyone’s had that one boss. You just try to spot them early so that you can start working around them and handle things behind their back when need be.

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Dee May 9, 2018 at 11:30 am

InTheEther – You mean where you live no one can quit a job and find another one? I’ve lived in pretty tight job markets before but always had the choice to look for another job, and as I said in my original comment, to do that asap so I could move on from a bad one. Or just let the chips fall where they may at the bad one, as OP should have done, the first day the siblings were fighting so loudly that work could not be done. Instead, OP enabled the behaviour and worked from home.

If the boss doesn’t want to support OP it is still possible he will want to support his business, and if work can’t be done because of the others then he might address that. He most certainly won’t address it if OP condones the behaviour and works around it. Then it’s not a problem, right?

There’s no point in OP having a fit about lipgloss after supporting all the other even worse behaviour.

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AS May 8, 2018 at 11:19 am

If I have a child following me around the whole day, I reserve the right to discipline them if I feel that is necessary. If a parent has trouble with that, then they can take their progenies away. A 2 yo does not always know the right from the wrong. Just a stern voice saying “we don’t take things from other people’s purses” should often suffice. I am amazed that this family is unable to do that.

And for further reference, you *do not* have to babysit for free for anyone, even if the child is your boss’s or his/her sibling’s. You can always return her to her mother and say that “I’d like to make some important phone calls, and and so I am dropping her back with you”.

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Shalamar May 8, 2018 at 11:39 am

When my mum was a secretary, the Big Boss liked to bring in his son (who was about 7 at the time). Son thought that the secretaries’ word processors were the funnest things ever, and his greatest joy was typing something. Except that he wouldn’t type, per se – he’d bash on the keyboard with all his strength. One of the secretaries cried in alarm “NO! DON’T DO THAT!” The kid stared at her in astonishment – it was pretty obvious that he didn’t hear that word much.

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sillyme May 8, 2018 at 11:54 am

Unfortunately, this kind of child-rearing has clinical approval in some social worker circles. When we tried to actually rear the children we were adopting, including a violent eight-year-old who stole, lied and attacked people, we were accused of “not loving” the child and abusing him. We also experienced a child-care director who felt that violent tantrums in small children were not to be address.

It got to the point the older child would threaten us with false allegations of abuse for being grounded. Sadly, parents are encouraged by people with more credentials than knowledge, and threatened by those same people with more power than prudence.

I think some “lenient” parents are really fearful, sensing the “war on mommies” where false allegations can arise when any observer objects to a parents confrontation with their child.

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jokergirl129 May 8, 2018 at 7:56 pm

Maybe I’m overthinking but reading about the boy making false allegations and such has me more worried about more serious matters than just “war on mommies”. I can’t help but worry about parents getting into some potential legal trouble or trouble with the cops if kids make false allegations about serious matters and other people overhear. That’s honestly kind of scary and really concerning because even if nothing comes of it in the end (lack of evidence and what not) it could still end badly.

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Rinme May 9, 2018 at 1:30 pm

There’s really nothing to worry about. Kids make false claims all the time, and professionals like social workers and cops can spot the lie from far away.

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kingsrings May 8, 2018 at 12:06 pm

And this is why working at a company run by family needs to be looked at cautiously before accepting the job. So does any company that allows employee’s kids onsite. Family relationships tend to have too much bearing on business relationships and thus employees get away with things they never should, simply because they’re family. Kids should never be allowed to act disobediently in an office. A family-friendly work environment doesn’t mean it’s now okay to allow little Johnny to be a total terror to everyone.

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Barensmom May 9, 2018 at 11:23 am

I agree, working for a family business when you’re not a member of that family usually isn’t a good idea. Because family will always come first.

I worked for a few family businesses, and often found myself in the middle of situations. I was working as a cashier for this business, and family members/employees would come and take money from the register for various reasons. The manager would chastise me for allowing that, so I would then tell the employees that I was told not to let them. They would then go to manager, who then “threw me under the bus.” Another business was husband/wife who would contradict each other’s instructions constantly – I never knew if I was doing the right thing and was always in trouble with one or the other for following the “wrong” directions.

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lakey May 8, 2018 at 12:10 pm

First, the business was run very unprofessionally. It’s not surprising that they ran into trouble. 2 year olds don’t belong at work, well, unless it’s a school, day care, or some such.
Second, working for a small, family owned business where all the other employees are family members is difficult. Try dealing with an incompetent employee who is the boss’s wife.
You’re better off out of there.
Third, the problem is not the 2 year old. She behaved the way toddlers behave. It is the job of the parents to teach a 2 year old that she can’t take things out of other people’s purses, but I wouldn’t describe a 2 year old doing this as “stealing”. I don’t know if they understand the concept.

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staceyizme May 8, 2018 at 9:24 pm

Exactly. Two year olds are still little elves with somewhat mercurial natures and, while not lacking a whit in intelligence, have very little patience with such details as “yours”, “mine” and “not a toy”. Much better to manage by environment. (Don’t take them to the office, high end restaurant or formal function unless you’re reasonably certain that they can manage the demands that will be made of them under the guise of “appropriate behavior”. If given custody of such a being under less than ideal conditions, return them to the responsible party at once and flee the scene posthaste.

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Dyan May 8, 2018 at 1:22 pm

NO I need my lip gloss back NOW…there is nothing else to say…

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Rinme May 9, 2018 at 1:26 pm

Yup. People are not mind readers and are too often clueless. Just use your words!

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Bea May 8, 2018 at 1:46 pm

My bosses only brought their kids to work when they were old enough to do some kind of tasks to keep them busy.

I’m thrown for a loop being mad that a toddler “stole” something though. I had a co-worker with a develop mentally delayed son who once took my drink off my desk to help himself to. My response was to alert his dad in a “I don’t know if he’s supposed to have that!” way. I wasn’t mad and didn’t think anything of it because it’s a child who did something that was childlike.

I think the response should have been to ask you if they could replace the lipgloss. Ew ew ew that they just thought that they’d let her play and sneak it away.

But since they also stole wages from you, this must have been the tip of the iceberg for you!

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NostalgicGal May 8, 2018 at 2:44 pm

My mom went to work for a family run drug store that had a soda fountain as well. Turnover had been frequent there. She was supposed to be paid weekly. After a while it might be two weeks before she got paid (but paid up). Then six weeks went by. SIX weeks. She asked for her salary repeatedly, more and more frequently as time added up, and mostly the owner got annoyed. So she took him to claims court. The entire family was shocked, outraged, and flabbergasted. She couldn’t wait to get paid? Well six weeks wasn’t THAT long. He even said something to that effect to me. I, all of nine years said, “If I didn’t get paid for six weeks I’d get awfully hungry and probably have no where to live.” Nice and loud. They paid, mom put in her two weeks (and got paid every week for those last two). After that they couldn’t get anyone else to work there. The family children had to go to work there (and that was a disaster, one of the boys took boxes of candy bars to school and sold them from his locker, but never brought any money back for example) and the missus HAD to Work, yep, she actually had to work, at the soda fountain.

Sorry OP that you had to involve the authorities to get your money. I hope you did.

The snarky me hopes the little girl took the lipstuff home and there was a white couch, white carpet, and white drapes that she could ‘freshen up’ with some color….

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JD May 8, 2018 at 3:22 pm

I would have thought they would have offered to buy you a new lipstick, taken that one from the child and trashed it, and explained to the child that no one is allowed to get into other people’s purses, much less take things from the purses. And then deal with any tantrum that might have followed. Why am I not surprised that such unprofessional people also shortchanged the OP and spouse on pay?
I worked with a woman who would bring her child to work on infrequent occasions, starting when he was about 7 and continuing until he was about 11-12 at which point she no longer worked there anymore. This woman was an admin person, like me, but she had pull — her husband was a middle manager and they were both friendly with the VP in charge of this location. Her child was super annoying, very spoiled, and drove me crazy, because she and I shared an office. Thank heaven his visits were only when school was out and she couldn’t hire a sitter. He was the kind who beat on the back of my chair saying “What’cha doing? What’cha doing there? What’cha doing now?” He was not on the autism spectrum, was not disabled in any way, okay? She had him thoroughly checked out by medical and mental health doctors because he would complain of having no friends at school and never wanted to do anything but play computer games. He had total contempt for females and told his own mother in my presence that she was stupid and crazy, to which she would tell him he shouldn’t say such things, tsk, tsk. His dad was an arrogant, overbearing macho-man who doted on this child, so the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Thanks to her “pull”, she got away with bringing this kid to work (her own mother refused to babysit him anymore when school was out), but the final straw came when she brought her dog to work, because she was going to take it to the vet at the end of the day. Finally, at that point one of the managers grew a pair and told her to take that animal home. I should mention that we were in the offices of a manufacturing facility that was not animal or child friendly, and for which purity of its product was important.

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Yuchin Robb May 8, 2018 at 3:32 pm

No words. Speechless. Kids are the mirrors of their parents. Glad you’ve got what they owed you back.

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Kay_L May 8, 2018 at 3:48 pm

Kind of off-topic, but, I have this video of my granddaughter when she about 18 months old. She had found a tube of Chapstick/color and was busy applying it to her hair! She had no idea her mama was video recording her. She finished applying it to her hair and applied it to her free hand.

It was then that her mama said “Hey!”

You could see the ripple of shock run through her whole body. Her mama said “What are you doing?”

And my little granddaughter looked down at the stick in her hand and the red color that was all over her other hand and just collapsed to the floor on her butt. She had no answer! LOL! Caught red-handed! Literally!

Her mama made her pick up the stick and give it to her. And she probably had to stand in a time-out.

But, the look on her face when she was caught was classic! Looking down at her hands, like, what AM I doing?! Busted!

She would never get away with running down a hall with someone else’s property screaming.

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MzLiz May 8, 2018 at 4:59 pm

Ooooh, I’d be fuming. Aside from everything else, MAC is expensive!!!! And once an open product of mine has been in the possession of another person (esp, a kid) while out of my sight…It’s yours, honey. You want your baby to take it home? Cool, but don’t bother returning it cos – Congrats! You just bought your kid a posh lip gloss & now you owe me a new one. She expected you to take it back afterwards & continue to use it?!?! What a selfish, clueless parent. This is something you apply to your MOUTH, who knows what the kid will have done with it in the meantime. Um, yuck. Don’t think so, Lady.

This story reminds me of the time I had a falling out with a friend after her teen girls (& a couple of their friends, apparently) got into my make-up when I was visiting. I was furious when I realized they’d gone into the guest-room while their mom & I were out, snuck INTO MY BAG & went hog-wild on my precious stash. Bad enough they poked around my personal belongings but I use high-end brands & they’d been utterly destroyed. As a product junkie, I totally get the allure of fancy cosmetics but the girls were old enough (13 & 15) to know better. Worst part; if they’d asked, I’d have been happy to make them up with my kit as I know how to do it hygienically. But they’d dug into my shadow pots, bent my mascara wands, squashed my lipsticks in the tubes…It was almost impressive how they managed to ruin every, single item. *sigh* My friend apologized, as did the girls & had it been an accident, I would’ve accepted that. But this was done in a very deliberate way that was actually quite hurtful & she didn’t think it was worth punishing the girls over or offering me even a token amount towards replacements. That pissed me off more than anything and I told her so. If I’d willfully smashed the girls’ treasured musical instruments or stomped on their smart-phones, you can bet I’d be expected to cough up the dough. Livid, I left immediately & told them to keep all the stuff they’d wrecked.

It took some time for me to speak to my friend again. She kept apologizing but was never forth coming with any compensation (I don’t have kids but my first thought was part of their weekly allowance should be given to me until they’d covered the damage). My FiL, who is fond of her but understood why I was upset, greased the wheels by giving me a check “on her behalf” to replace my collection. Shallow as it might seem, it helped me forgive her cos I felt at least SOMEONE took it seriously. I’ll never stay overnight with her again but we’re still fairly close. I did get a little – admittedly petty – payback a few years later though; at each of the girls’ graduation parties, I attended empty-handed saying they’d already got their gifts from me. 😉

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Teresa May 8, 2018 at 7:24 pm

I’m in agreement with the judgments of the family’s behavior, but I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the loss of that lipstick. It’s such a good red, and it’s not exactly cheap.

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Livvy17 May 9, 2018 at 10:03 am

R.I.P., good makeup, we scarcely knew ye.

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Rinme May 9, 2018 at 1:23 pm

This one is on grandpa.

Mom did take the lipstick away and was prepared to handle the screaming toddler, but then had her parental authority overriden by grandpa-boss.

It’s understandable why mom wouldn’t want to start an argument about her parenting with him, in front of an employee, no less.

At this point, OP could tell the pair that she wanted her stuff back, but she didn’t, did she? She played it cool, so they didn’t think it was a big deal.

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Semperviren May 10, 2018 at 8:37 am

Clearly, Grandpa, as the big boss, was interested in solving the short-term problem of shutting down the child’s howling by whatever means necessary. He wasn’t concerned with parenting the child (nor should he be, not his job) he was concerned with stopping the noise ASAP so he could get back to work.

What Grandpa missed is: as the big boss, he’s responsible for the larger issue of setting company policy and setting the tone for HIS company’s workplace. So that was the time to usher his daughter into his office and say “Love you. Love my granddaughter. But this is an office, not a daycare. You need to make arrangements.”

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