Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: Knitterly on December 10, 2013, 08:41:37 AM

Title: s/o Line saving - Santa Lines
Post by: Knitterly on December 10, 2013, 08:41:37 AM
The thread about saving places in line made me think about a situation Mr K and I encountered at the mall last weekend. 

We took Little Knit to meet Santa Claus.  She was VERY excited about it.  We'd just finished watching Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer (for like the 5th or 6th time), and she's really getting into the idea of Santa.  She kept asking if we'd see his reindeer, too.

Santa is scheduled to arrive at 11am.  Like just about every other parent, we figured it would be prudent to arrive early.  We got there at 10:45am.  The lineup went all the way through the winding barriers and out past several stores.  Given the number of kids in line and assuming that families would be seen together and at about 5 minutes per kid, it was at least an hour long wait.

One woman* who entered the mall in front of us sent one of her kids ahead to run and save a place in line for them.  Mr K and I arrived in line a second or two behind them.  This was totally fine by us.  :)  I mention it as an example of how others "saved" places in line.

There was no way that Little Knit was going to happily wait in line for an hour or more.  It just would not have happened.  We contemplated me taking LK to walk around while Mr K waited.  It turned out that I'd forgotten my cellphone, so he would not have been able to call me back at the 10-15 minute wait point.  Santa was positioned a little way outside of the Disney store (which reminds me, I have another shopping etiquette question, which I'll ask later), so we would not have needed to go far to keep LK happy for an hour.  But all of this was moot, since I had no cellphone.

My question is, when you take a toddler to see Santa, are you obligated to keep the toddler in the Santa line for the entire wait?  Or is this a case where one parent can hold the spot in line while the other keeps the toddler occupied.

*This woman was rude for other reasons, which were not limited to loudly griping about the fact that Santa didn't show up early and LOUDLY stating (to me) that there ought to be two Santa's in the mall.  I looked at her funny and replied that I was "sure Santa probably wanted to eat first, since he was going to be here through the lunch hour.  And anyway, two Santa's? *tsk* There's only one Santa!"

We got to see Santa on the way out of the mall, which positively delighted LK.  He was coming in as we were heading out, and he stopped to say hello to her.  He was the "real" Santa, too.  We have one really amazing "career Santa" in our city, complete with full white real beard and natural padding.  I see him on the bus sometimes in the summer and he absolutely delights in his role as Santa. 
Title: Re: s/o Line saving - Santa Lines
Post by: MariaE on December 10, 2013, 08:45:10 AM
No, not rude. An unhappy toddler means an unhappy queue. In this case I would find it perfectly fine for DH to keep your place in line while you entertained LK elsewhere. I might think differently if one adult was saving a place for multiple kids, but like I said in the other thread, it's the bait & switch that bothers me and 1 adult saving a spot for 1 kid would be comparable to a person with 1 item running off to exchange that for 1 other item - doesn't change the final wait time for me.
Title: Re: s/o Line saving - Santa Lines
Post by: NyaChan on December 10, 2013, 08:49:06 AM
No I don't think the kids have to wait in line for something like this as long as one adult isn't standing in for more than a couple of children - imagine a kid thinking its their turn next when a birthday party's worth of kid show up to stand with the one adult in front of them.  In fact, I think I would be happier as an observer and the kids happier too if parents were finding ways to keep the kids occupied or distracted from how long it takes.  No point in making a child miserable waiting for something that should be an exciting occasion.
Title: Re: s/o Line saving - Santa Lines
Post by: YummyMummy66 on December 10, 2013, 08:55:41 AM
I see no problem with someone holding a place unline.

Unless, when it is your turn, child is not at their place in line.  Then you let people ahead of you until your child is there and ready.

Or, twenty kids coming running up to be with Santa.  One or two kids or a small family, fine.  Many kids, one picture, fine.  But, twenty kids and each one taking their turn?  Not fine.
Title: Re: s/o Line saving - Santa Lines
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on December 10, 2013, 09:08:18 AM
My question is, when you take a toddler to see Santa, are you obligated to keep the toddler in the Santa line for the entire wait?  Or is this a case where one parent can hold the spot in line while the other keeps the toddler occupied.

Toddlers actually throw fits when they get tired/cranky. It's not their fault, they don't know how to deal with feeling frustrated, anxious, tired, overwhelmed, they're still pretty new to the world and are learning. As adults, our obligation is to make this learning process easier on them, and easier on those around us. So, I fully believe it is perfectly fine to take a little one out of line while the other grown up holds the spot. A potty trip, a quick snack, just a walk around to burn off all that excitement.

My friend one year took her two kids to see Santa, she had me come with for this sole reason. We'd rotate standing in line with each kid, holding places, do potty trips (it was a good long wait), kept the kids happy and it was nice for us to not just stand in line and wait.
Title: Re: s/o Line saving - Santa Lines
Post by: Winterlight on December 10, 2013, 09:23:23 AM
I see no problem with someone holding a place unline.

Unless, when it is your turn, child is not at their place in line.  Then you let people ahead of you until your child is there and ready.

Or, twenty kids coming running up to be with Santa.  One or two kids or a small family, fine.  Many kids, one picture, fine.  But, twenty kids and each one taking their turn?  Not fine.

This. Nobody wants to listen to a cranky, crabby toddler for the hour it takes to get to Santa. Not to mention, that's no fun for Santa, who now has to deal with said cranky.
Title: Re: s/o Line saving - Santa Lines
Post by: bopper on December 10, 2013, 09:47:50 AM
In this case of a line, you are standing in line for one child.  It isn't like 10 more people will show up at the last minute.
Title: Re: s/o Line saving - Santa Lines
Post by: m2kbug on December 10, 2013, 09:49:20 AM
No, I don't don't think it's rude if the children move out of line.  It's pretty much expected they'll get bored and antsy.  As long as someone hangs back to hold your place.  One Santa place I went to had the line wrapped around one of those children's play areas.  That was really nice, but they took the worst pictures, so I stopped going to that mall.  I often went to see Santa solo and would make use of my neighbors to hold my place while we went to use the restroom or grab a soda or a treat, which they were happy to do. 

As for the woman, it's going to be a rude awakening when year upon year she is met with an atrocious line. 
Title: Re: s/o Line saving - Santa Lines
Post by: TootsNYC on December 10, 2013, 10:24:15 AM
The *only* problem I have with the holding of a place in line is that I think it's important to telegraph to people with some accuracy, so that the people behind you can accurately gauge whether the wait is worth it. And because everyone on line should be "investing" just about the same amount of inconvenience. Paying a similar "price."

So, if you have one kid, and one person stays in line, that's great.

If you have two kids, and one person stays in line, I think that's fine. If you get to the point where you have four or five kids, and one person stays in line, I think that's bad form; have someone else stay for a little while, even if the kids do tag team.
And if you have two families and one person in line, that's out of line. (pun intended)
Title: Re: s/o Line saving - Santa Lines
Post by: Knitterly on December 10, 2013, 10:30:17 AM
This is all really good to know.  Thanks. :)

I always feel a little funny about the line holding thing, as Mr K has some really weird (and not etiquette-approved) ideas about what is and is not appropriate in terms of queues and such.

We have decided to take LK to a different mall with much longer Santa hours and much better Santa pic prices.  :)  Plus, we're going to a breakfast with santa thing, so she should really get her fill of the jolly man in red!  ;)

The woman in line in front of me was really a piece of work.  She seemed to feel that Santa hours should start earlier - whenever the lineup got long enough.  After all, kids get cranky in line and most kids need to have a nap.  I kind of feel like a child's naptime isn't really the mall's problem, but is a parenting issue.  If you're bringing your kid to see Santa during their naptime, it's not really Santa who needs to make the adjustment.
She was also loudly complaining in such a way as to confuse the kids who really believe in Santa.  Although most kids at a certain age "understand" that the man they are seeing is just one of Santa's helpers, it was still really uncomfortable, and LK was pretty sure that the guy she saw on our way out was actually Santa, as she asked him about Rudolph.  ;)  (Where Wudolph, Santa?)
Title: Re: s/o Line saving - Santa Lines
Post by: cwm on December 10, 2013, 01:46:44 PM
I'm with all the other PPs. I don't mind holding a place in line for a child if the child can't handle being in line him/herself. I think it's fair that if you only have one or two kids, having one adult hold the place in line is fine, but many more than that and it can become a problem.

The company I used to work for did a santa every year. They also had the whole "Santa's Wonderland" in the area, so there were games and activities for the kids, and they all loved it. Last year they had a new system for the queue. You get there and get a ticket which listed a 15 minute window on it. They had X number of tickets per 15 minute window. You'd go shopping, come back no more than 15 minutes before your window started (two lines, one for current window and one for the next window). In the lines, first come was first served, but the lines were kept short, children were kept happy, and nobody had to wait in line for hours at a time.

Mom's cousin has quintuplets, and they have an older sister. Six kids is a lot for Santa, so they got with another location of the store that was closer to their house. They called ahead and explained their situation, that they didn't want to hold Santa up for any of the other patrons, what was their best option? The store held an entire 15 minute window for their family so they could get individual shots with the kids, as well as a family shot, and each kid would have time on Santa's lap. IIRC, the average number of kids for a 15 minute window was 7 or 8, so to have one family shot and each of the individuals was about on par for Santa anyway.
Title: Re: s/o Line saving - Santa Lines
Post by: shhh its me on December 10, 2013, 01:51:36 PM
The *only* problem I have with the holding of a place in line is that I think it's important to telegraph to people with some accuracy, so that the people behind you can accurately gauge whether the wait is worth it. And because everyone on line should be "investing" just about the same amount of inconvenience. Paying a similar "price."

So, if you have one kid, and one person stays in line, that's great.

If you have two kids, and one person stays in line, I think that's fine. If you get to the point where you have four or five kids, and one person stays in line, I think that's bad form; have someone else stay for a little while, even if the kids do tag team.
And if you have two families and one person in line, that's out of line. (pun intended)

This is actually a really important point.  I know a Santa , the staff on busy times/days will put and end to the line. For lunch and closing, adding 10 or 20 people may mean Santa is missing lunch or going home 2 hours late.
Title: Re: s/o Line saving - Santa Lines
Post by: m2kbug on December 10, 2013, 01:59:43 PM
The *only* problem I have with the holding of a place in line is that I think it's important to telegraph to people with some accuracy, so that the people behind you can accurately gauge whether the wait is worth it. And because everyone on line should be "investing" just about the same amount of inconvenience. Paying a similar "price."

So, if you have one kid, and one person stays in line, that's great.

If you have two kids, and one person stays in line, I think that's fine. If you get to the point where you have four or five kids, and one person stays in line, I think that's bad form; have someone else stay for a little while, even if the kids do tag team.
And if you have two families and one person in line, that's out of line. (pun intended)

This is actually a really important point.  I know a Santa , the staff on busy times/days will put and end to the line. For lunch and closing, adding 10 or 20 people may mean Santa is missing lunch or going home 2 hours late.

It's kind of a hazard of the job, don't you think?  It could be 10 kids and 3 parents or 10 kids and 1 parent, there's still 10 kids when they put the rope up.  If there's an issue of the number of children who aren't visible in line, they need to figure out a better system to count them, perhaps individual tickets?  I've been in line when Santa takes off for lunch.  They don't wait until everyone is seen, they make you wait.  Santa may get off work a little late, but I think that's to be expected if they don't get the rope up early enough. 
Title: Re: s/o Line saving - Santa Lines
Post by: fountainof on December 11, 2013, 02:01:09 PM
Quote
Unless, when it is your turn, child is not at their place in line.  Then you let people ahead of you until your child is there and ready.
I actually think in that case you go to the end of the line not just let people keep moving forward until your child gets there.

I think as long as the people in line matches the amount getting to see Santa it is fine, but if one adult holds the spot for two kids, I find that rude.
Title: Re: s/o Line saving - Santa Lines
Post by: Bluenomi on December 11, 2013, 04:09:00 PM
Having worked with Santa I'd much prefer a parent hold the place in line while the toddler does something else. Nobody wants to listen to a screaming toddler. You hear enough if that then parents force either kid who is scared of Santa onto his lap.
Title: Re: s/o Line saving - Santa Lines
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on December 11, 2013, 04:20:42 PM
I think as long as the people in line matches the amount getting to see Santa it is fine, but if one adult holds the spot for two kids, I find that rude.

I think that can get a little too..strict (still not quiet the right word). If grownup 1 and 2 arrive at the mall with Kid 1 and 2 and Kid 1 annouces she's has to potty and then Kid 2 annouces she has to potty, I think it's perfectly acceptable for grownup 1 to take both kids to the potty while grownup 2 waits in line. I'd rather not have potty accidents. Or if both kids need to burn off a bit of energy, one at a time might not work.

Now 1 adult for 10 kids is another matter. But if you have two grownups with 10 kids between them, well taking each one out of line indivdually might not be the best plan either. But small groups would be.

I will say I think everyone should arrive in line at once. Meaning, one grown up does not get to go ahead to save a spot for any number of kids. Everyone starts in line together and as needs for bathroom, snacks, energy burning arise, adults remove children from the line as needed.

Also one adult must stay in line at all times! No having kids hold the place for the adults. That's just asking for trouble.
Title: Re: s/o Line saving - Santa Lines
Post by: MommyPenguin on December 17, 2013, 06:58:11 PM
In terms of an adult holding the line for multiple kids... would it make a difference if the kids were all going at once?  For example, if it wasn't something where the kid tells Santa their wish list, just something where kids stand around Santa to get a picture (like they do with the Easter Bunny)?  To me, the issue would be how many turns were required, not necessarily how many kids.  So one adult holding a place for 4 kids, if the parents only intended to have the kids gather around Santa, get a picture snapped, and then be done, I probably wouldn't have a problem with.  But if each kid had to take a separate turn to sit on his lap and tell their wish list, then that would be more of the "bait and switch" mentioned beforehand.
Title: Re: s/o Line saving - Santa Lines
Post by: mbbored on December 17, 2013, 08:00:12 PM
My opinion seem to go counter to most of the board, but if your child can't wait in line long enough to go see Santa, then you should come back at a less busy time or skip Santa that year. It hardly seems fair for the family who's been waiting patiently to suddenly have 2, 4 or 6 kids swoop in in front of them.
Title: Re: s/o Line saving - Santa Lines
Post by: Knitterly on December 17, 2013, 09:34:53 PM
My opinion seem to go counter to most of the board, but if your child can't wait in line long enough to go see Santa, then you should come back at a less busy time or skip Santa that year. It hardly seems fair for the family who's been waiting patiently to suddenly have 2, 4 or 6 kids swoop in in front of them.

Actually, I think that what you're saying doesn't run counter to most of the board at all.  The consensus definitely seems to be that it's okay to hold for one child, but definitely not for a lot of kids.  And I do agree that it would be unfair to be waiting and then suddenly have 6 kids join the parent in front of you.

We've opted not to see a mall santa this year at all, actually.  We went to a "breakfast with santa" thing on the weekend and were pleasantly surprised to find that they'd hired a professional photographer to do photos with Santa.  This was a MUCH better set up than the mall Santa deal.  Little Knit was thrilled beyond measure.

Santa was able to take his time with the kids, as there were so few of them.  Plus, there was no waiting in line, as you were given a number when you paid and could go do whatever until it was your turn.  Since it was a room full of mostly 2-3 year olds, this worked out really well.  Little Knit adored him, and we got some amazing photographs.  Much better than I think we would have gotten at the mall, as she was allowed to really warm up to him.  Less of an assembly line and more personal.  And cheaper.  ;)
Title: Re: s/o Line saving - Santa Lines
Post by: fountainof on December 18, 2013, 11:00:07 AM
Quote
To me, the issue would be how many turns were required, not necessarily how many kids.

Yes, that is a good point.  I do think turns matters and I would find it fine for people to go in and out of the line for breaks but probably find it off-putting if an adult came hours ahead and held the spot while the kids were at home or something else.  I would probably not say anything when the kids showed up but if the adult hit the front before the kids came I would speak up and say they need to go back to the end of the line and start over rather than get to wait at the front until the kids came.  You lose your spot if you aren't ready when you reach the front of the line.
Title: Re: s/o Line saving - Santa Lines
Post by: m2kbug on December 20, 2013, 11:07:48 AM
I think coming back at a less busy time is a little bit unreasonable as far as the Santa line.  If you have time off on a weekday or are a SAHM(D), weekdays are wonderful, especially early in the season, but if you're trying to work around work and going as a family, you're likely stuck with evenings and weekends, and as the season trudges on, a Santa without a line is not possible, even on weekdays.  Most families, you can guess 2-3-4 kids.  I would be upset if I suddenly found myself behind a gaggle of 10 or if Ms. B's entire kindergarten class made an appearance, but I haven't run into any situations where the number of invisible children is that off the grid.  They typically have all the kids get a picture as a group and quickly go over the list, and some are too young or too old.  I have never found it to be a completely unreasonable amount of time and a majority of the time, in my experience, the kids spent a reasonable amount of time in line, some in/out depending on age and parents didn't really stray that far. 
Title: Re: s/o Line saving - Santa Lines
Post by: TheaterDiva1 on December 20, 2013, 11:24:19 AM
Quote
*This woman was rude for other reasons, which were not limited to loudly griping about the fact that Santa didn't show up early and LOUDLY stating (to me) that there ought to be two Santa's in the mall.  I looked at her funny and replied that I was "sure Santa probably wanted to eat first, since he was going to be here through the lunch hour.  And anyway, two Santa's? *tsk* There's only one Santa!"

OT, but I'd love to know exactly how she was going to explain (or expected you to explain) to your kids why there are two Santas!