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But, But…My Tan Is Far More Important!

I work in the evidence office for a local police department. When we recover items from a burglary, it is my responsibility to call the rightful owners and arrange a property return. Upon recovering a stolen camera and purse, I looked up the case number for the original burglary and called the phone number listed for the victim. Much to my surprise, the mother of the adult victim answered, and attempted to arrange a time for her daughter to pick up her belongings. Unfortunately, it is against our policy to make arrangements through a third party, and I requested the daughter’s phone number. The mother hesitated, informing me that her daughter was “only 23 years old” and was spending time with her friends that day, but eventually gave me the number.

I called the adult daughter and arranged for a property return for the following day. I advised the woman of what she would need to bring to establish ownership of her items, and requested that she call at least an hour in advance if anything came up that conflicted with her appointment. This is necessary due to internal movement of evidence — between locating, pulling, and checking out an article of evidence and making a notation on the chain of custody, it becomes very time consuming to put it back into evidence if the owner doesn’t show up for an appointment.

Five minutes before the scheduled appointment, I received a phone call from the woman. She informed me that she had to cancel, but desperately needed her items before the weekend. Frustrated but still willing to work with the victim of a crime, I requested the reason for her cancellation while I scoured my schedule for even the smallest opening during which I could return her items. That is, until she informed me that she was canceling our meeting due to a conflicting tanning appointment. She then demanded that I keep the entire police department open an extra hour so that she could make her tanning obligation and pick up her camera before her trip to the beach that weekend.

I am proud to say that I very politely informed (without any indication to my slightly twitching eyelid) her that there was no available appointment until the following week. Needless to say, she made her appointment with me and picked up her items. Not without very loud protest verging on a tantrum, but she kept our appointment. 0612-11


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Hollanda, UK June 13, 2011, 6:03 am

    It all comes down to priorities, I’m afraid. Personally, I would be far more grateful that my possessions had been retrieved, than I would be bothered about a tanning appointment…and I would make a point of thanking the police department for their help in ensuring that my items were returned. At the age of 23, a girl has well become a woman, ie she is old enough to drink, drive, vote, she is responsible for her own decisions. If she really wanted those items before the weekend, then what was stopping her rearranging the tanning appointment instead? It’s also quite telling that her mother was trying to arrange an appointment for her in the first place. This sounds like an entitled mother who has given birth to an unsurprisingly entitled daughter. People who think that we on the other end of the telephone have nothing better to do than cater to their every demand and expectation. Sorry, but it’s time this woman (and her mother) learn that life doesn’t always go the way you want it and you cannot have absolutely everything exactly your own way. She’s lucky enough to have her items returned as it is. When my house got burgled, I got nothing back!!!

    Some people make me so mad.

  • kingshearte June 13, 2011, 6:14 am

    Oh you monster! Now all the pictures she takes of herself during this camera-vital weekend will have her all pasty and unattractive. You know you’ve ruined her life, right? :p

  • karma June 13, 2011, 6:42 am

    Thanks for the interesting story. I must say, this is the first time I’ve ever read about how a job like yours works. That’s very interesting, so I appreciate the momentary window of vision into that world of police work. Cool!
    As for the knucklehead who wanted you to reschedule, well…..gosh…it was nice of her to pencil you in on her social calendar what with all she had going on (eye roll).

  • Xtina June 13, 2011, 7:51 am

    Some people–gaaah! First–I generally try to do what the police request of me quietly and without fuss, haha!

    Well, there are just no other words than “entitlement”. This girl obviously thought that the police were serving HER and were thus at the command of her schedule. Good for the OP for not acquiescing to her demands and p.s. it’s NEVER a good thing to make one’s name known among the police department as a difficult, spoiled troublemaker.

    P.P.S. A tanning appointment? Before she goes to the *beach*? Isn’t that one of the main activities for many people while at the beach, getting a tan?

  • Jillybean June 13, 2011, 8:27 am

    Wow. That’s all I got…just…wow.

  • DGS June 13, 2011, 8:53 am

    My head hath hitteth the desk-eth…really? A tanning appointment? Work, a doctor’s appointment, not having childcare, I can completely understand. A tanning appointment? No way, Jose. I hope that this is just the whiney adolescent egocentrism and naivete that dissipates with age, maturity, perspective and life experience, not a lifelong entitlement streak.

  • Daisy June 13, 2011, 8:55 am

    I have to know: did she tell you “I pay taxes and therefore you work for me”? That one’s always my favourite!

  • Margaret June 13, 2011, 8:59 am

    I would have thought this was mainly an example of someone who is mostly clueless and thinks it is only one minute out of your day to do the return, except for the part where it says the owner thought the entire police department should stay open an extra hour for her. I could understand thinking that since it is only a minute out of the day, it shouldn’t matter when she arrives. However, it is just inconsiderate to expect that she can make her appointment outside of business hours. Then again, maybe she thinks the entire police department is open 24 hours a day.

  • Janice June 13, 2011, 9:06 am

    All I can say is that Mother didn’t do her kid any favours. How frustrating!

  • vanessaga June 13, 2011, 9:27 am

    In addition to her own poor manners Id say mama deserves some of the credit for her behavior. Only 23 years old? I was living on my own at 23 ands even if I hadn’t been I wouldn’t have needed her to baby me. I could have chalked it up to overprotective mother of not for the subsequent actions of her daughter who will get a cold reality check when she realizes mommy can’t fix everything. Oh wait, she did. Good job giving it to her!

  • AS June 13, 2011, 9:58 am

    I like it that the OP got her way in the end.
    Given that the mother still thinks that her “little girl” is “only” 23 years old, it is no wonder she is not mature enough to have her priorities right. Last moment things come up. But it is not as if she was trying to attend a job interview, or to save the world!
    Too bad that she probably cannot use the camera because she didn’t get her tan and cannot bear to look at her pictures from the vacation! 😉

  • Gena June 13, 2011, 10:10 am

    It seems that the girl’s mother is an enabler – taking care of all her daughters business so the little girl doesn’t have to get involved. I seem to know plenty of people like this – supposed adults who call their parents for every little thing. Not for advice – but for the parents to take care of it for them. it’s no wonder the girl thought her tanning appt was more important.

  • Dorothy June 13, 2011, 10:20 am

    Good grief, entitled much, isn’t she?? Good for you for not catering to Little Miss Prissypants and her “important appointment”.

  • Powers June 13, 2011, 10:42 am

    Unlike previous commenters, I must say I feel nothing but pity for this girl. It seems obvious she was not raised to be an independent adult.

  • Lizajane June 13, 2011, 10:44 am

    Tanning…the new addiction. I thought it was less harmful than heroin because it only affected the addict. I was wrong.

  • Cat June 13, 2011, 10:47 am

    My husband teaches in the Journalism Department at our local university, and he had a student miss one of his classes, then say she had a tanning appointment she just couldn’t miss since she was going to the beach on Spring break. She then asked if he could make a special trip in to school so she could make up the quiz she missed that day, despite the fact that his syllabus clearly states that only true emergencies are accepted for absences on test days. He declined and added her email to his collection of outrageous absence excuses.

    These students are also always the ones that complain about getting any grade below A+.

  • Ashley June 13, 2011, 11:06 am

    Someone was polite enough to turn in her stuff, and you told her everything she would need to get it back and you maintained your politeness when speaking to her, and still tanning was more important until you told her she would have to wait a week….wow….In this day and age, if I were in that girl’s situation, I would have been so thrilled that someone actually turned in my stuff, I would have been at my appointment with bells on, and gone on my vacation pasty as usual.

  • ferretrick June 13, 2011, 11:27 am

    @Gena: Preach it. I used to work for an electrical contractor. I cannot tell you the number of times I picked up the phone and heard something like this. “My son (or daughter) just bought a house and they need an electrician.” They are old enough and mature enough to buy a home of their own but they can’t call their own electrician??!!

  • lnelson1218` June 13, 2011, 11:36 am

    One should not have entitlement issues with the police, regardless of which department it is.

    Lord knows we would not want the police to take the entitlement route with the public. “Sorry I can’t catch you bugular, I’m on my donut break.”

    My brother and Dad are cops. I know that they work to serve the public and some of the stories they tell…..

  • The Elf June 13, 2011, 12:08 pm

    This is a pet peeve of mine. I get that growing up is a gradual process and that few people are completely independent at 18. But I would expect that, starting at 18, a “kid” should start taking on more and more responsibilities. Maybe not a place of their own, maybe not a job (depends on other responsibilities). But they should be taking an active part in chores if they live at home, paying for the “extras” in their lives (i.e. dates, dvd player, etc), and most definitely managing their own errands. The mother is a total enabler, assuming the kid isn’t developmentally disabled or something like that. By 23, the “kid” should be as independent as the crappy economy allows – everything except maybe actual address.

    I always want to ask these enabler parents how they expect their “kid” to EVER be independent if they take care of all life’s little bumps. And don’t get me started on tanning as an excuse. Aside from the low priority, she’d have to book an appointment. If she already had the tanning appointment, she should have booked another slot with the police. If she already had the police appointment, she should have booked another time with tanning salon. It’s basic time management, something she needs to be responsible for, not her mother.

  • Wink-n-Smile June 13, 2011, 12:21 pm

    You’re a hero! You saved her from skin cancer! Oh, wait, she’s going to the beach, and will probably overload on the sun there. . .

    Seriously, what in the world was she thinking? She should be grateful to be getting the stuff back, at all. And when something is done by appointment only, that generally means that there’s quite a bit of fuss and bother involved, at least on one end. Police are well-known to have lots of reports and paperwork. It’s vital to keep the paperwork straight, in case of audits and internal affairs investigations, to be sure that everything is on the up and up. Shoddy paperwork makes it easy for cops to go crooked. Good paperwork makes it difficult for them to go crooked, and more likely for them to be caught and stopped, if they do. It also protects the victims of the crimes, by ensuring that no one else claims thier goods, by mistake.

    She probably complains when a shopkeeper asks to see some ID, or compares the signature on the back of her credit card. Because protecting your identity and financial assets is just a ploy to annoy you.


    Good for you OP, for maintaining your polite spine and showing the rest of the world how it’s done.

  • essie June 13, 2011, 1:20 pm

    Wait. She agreed to an appointment time, then tried to cancel at the last minute because she had a tanning appointment?

    My first question is: which appointment did she forget when she made the other one?

    My second question is: as mentally “ept” as she’s proven herself to be, was she really robbed or did she leave the purse and camera somewhere and someone else picked it up?


  • --E June 13, 2011, 1:38 pm

    Someday that girl’s mother isn’t going to be around to do everything for her, and then she’s going to have a very hard lesson in being a grownup. I feel sorry for her. It must be very difficult to have decades of entitlement kicked out from under you. It’s a lot easier if it’s never allowed to accumulate in the first place.

  • spartiechic June 13, 2011, 2:07 pm

    I have to agree with –E. Some parents think they are helping their children by taking care of them. What happens when she has to suddenly rely on herself? It’s better to assign age appropriate responsibilites starting in childhood that prepare them for adulthood. Isn’t that what parenting’s about?

    My grandmother took my cousin and father in and does everything for them. These are two perfectly healthy men who sit around on the computer or go to the gym, but say they have no time to help clean or cook. I’ve already made it clear that they will not be staying with me when my grandmother passes away. Helping out is one thing…enabling is another entirely.

  • Kitty Lizard June 13, 2011, 2:11 pm

    Well, the OP, in this case, seemed like a true professional, but my experience with trying to retrieve my stolen property was a flat-out nightmare. I was mugged, and someone turned my handbag in to the police. I was overjoyed. The cash was gone, but everything else, including my checkbook, credit cards, and driver’s license (remember that) were in the bag. The tricky part was trying to tag the property officer, who never seemed to be in, or, on the other hand, nobody ever seemed to know where he was.
    For over three weeks, I couldn’t seem to track him down. During this time, everything was frozen: checking account, credit cards, – it had to stay that way, because I didn’t have my bag. And remember my driver’s license? In my bag. Which meant I couldn’t drive. I didn’t want to go through the hassle of getting a new license if I was going to get my license back the next day. My husband is a lawyer – if he was in court, I was bumming rides from friends and colleagues. Finally I flat out lost it, after almost FOUR WEEKS, and called and SCREAMED, I. WANT. MY. HAND. BAG. NOW. I got one of the partners to drive me down to the station and parked myself in the lobby and stood there in front of the window and I could hear them LAUGHING in the back about how funny this whole thing was. It was funny until they came out and saw me standing there with flames coming out my ears. Within ten minutes I got my bag back. Apparently, they thought it would be a really funny joke to keep playing me along, and didn’t realize I was there listening to it. I got a written apology from the chief of police and a few people got reprimands. Small town police departments can be real pains in the buts.

  • Kippie June 13, 2011, 3:26 pm

    You should hear my teeth grind when a mom calls our office to make her 23 year old son’s doctor appointment.

  • Angeldrac June 13, 2011, 5:00 pm

    I don’t want to excuse thus girls behaviour, but I think it’s valid to consider the fact that SHE doesn’t know how the system works. She probably thinks she just has to go to the office and collect her belongings, and it’s possible that when it was explained to her she was annoyed still about having to miss her tanning appointment, but still came to understand that it was necessary to be punctual to the police appointment.
    As I say, I’m not trying to make excuses, but just asking that we try and consider things from her point of view a little.

  • Mechtilde June 13, 2011, 5:13 pm

    @ Powers and –E, you are absolutely right. I’ve seen what heppens after parents who refused to allow their child to become independent die, and it’s not pretty.

  • Louise June 13, 2011, 5:14 pm

    My brain just twitched.

  • June June 13, 2011, 5:20 pm

    I would think there is more flexibility with tanning salons than with police departments returning your belongings. As a burglary victim myself, I was happy to do anything necessary to help police. They’re the ones catching the thieves/burglars, right? I wonder if she was upset with the fingerprint powder residue all over her belongings.

    Way to go on the polite spine!

  • tankgirl June 13, 2011, 6:46 pm

    Perhaps I don’t understand etiquette as well as I thought but if she already had the tanning appointment and mistakenly made the appointment at the police station, isn’t bowing out of the police station appointment the more polite thing to do? A mistake is a mistake, and I would have thought the tanning appointment would take precedence because it was made first.

    Her attitude was the real issue of course.

  • --Lia June 13, 2011, 7:44 pm

    I’m getting off topic, but for those complaining about mothers making appointments for their sons, what about wives making appointments for their husbands? There’s a receptionist at our dentist who often calls wanting to change an appointment for my DH. (We live nearby, so if they have a cancellation, it’s not impossible that we’re glad to go in early if it fits out schedule.) If DH isn’t home, I tell her that I’ll take a message and make sure he gets it. She gets this sound in her voice as though I’m being obstructionist. Frequently she’ll ask again if I think he’ll want to come in. It’s not enough that I’ve told her he’ll call. The truth is that while we live together and keep track, in a general way, of what the other is doing, I’m not in charge of his appointments, and he’s not in charge of mine. I get the idea that in some families, one person keeps track of those things for everyone living in the house. Mother makes the meals, makes sure everyone has a bag lunch or has plans for meals outside of the home, sees to medical and dental appointments, pays bills, balances the checkbook, and either does the chores or assigns them. That would never fly in my home, but I’m not knocking it if that’s the way other people do it.

  • Ange June 13, 2011, 11:12 pm

    Ugh, nothing annoys me more than parents that just won’t let go. This girl is the end result of that and it’s not pleasant for anyone who has to deal with her.

    In my last job I used to get the odd request for work experience with me from high schools. Back when I was at school I and the other students arranged all this ourselves as that’s the idea, teaching you about job hunting/life experience/working etc etc. At this job all the requests came from parents, it was maddening. I remember one particular mother who was so overbearing; I asked her for a letter from her son to explain what he wanted to get out of work experience with us and she wrote AND SIGNED the letter. I’m sure it’s related that every single one of those students was a complete wet mop, lord knows how they’ll end up coping in the real world.

  • Claire June 14, 2011, 3:15 am

    I’m a police officer in the UK and I think because our service is “free” to those who call on it, it is often dismissed as intrinsically less important than something for which the user must pay (eg tanning or similar)(not counting tax contributions because quite often our most demanding customers don’t pay any). …….)

  • The Elf June 14, 2011, 6:25 am

    I make appointments for my husband, Lia. I do so for two reasons. 1) If he’s sick, I want him to rest up and I’ll take care of the details like making an appointment to see the doctor. He does the same for me. 2) My job is a typical desk job. It is easy for me to find 2 minutes in the day to make an routine appointment. My husband does not have that kind of job and there have been days when he’s barely had a chance to take a pee-break, much less a moment to make a phone call. So he tells me that he needs this or that and I call it in. The brief period when my husband did have a desk job, he called and made his own appointments.

    I think this is different because it isn’t a matter of taking on adult responsibilities. In this story, the mother needs to let her daughter manage her own affairs because she needs to learn how. With a marriage it (probably) isn’t a matter of being independent. It is a matter of how the relationship works. With us, a lot of our “duties” revolve around who is working when and how. If one of us has the day off and the other doesn’t, that person cooks dinner entirely. If one of us gets home first, that person will start dinner. Do you see what I mean?

  • The Elf June 14, 2011, 6:27 am

    Angeldrac, I don’t buy it that she didn’t know how it worked. The OP explained that she’d have to give 1 hour’s notice before canceling. Even if she didn’t know exactly what was involved in retrieving evidence, she knew that and that should be enough.

  • aka Cat June 14, 2011, 6:48 am

    @ferretrick: I work, my retired father doesn’t. When I ask him to “house sit” for a minor repair, usually I’ll just have him make the call since he knows what days and times work best for him. It’s a lot less hassle then me calling to make an appointment, then finding out that’s the Tuesday he has a Dr’s appointment, call back for another appointment…. etc.

    Obviously I have to call the plumber or whoever first if it’s something major or hard to explain, but he still follows up to make the appointment.

    Maybe I am spoiled, but as much as he likes my HD TV and my cats, I don’t think he minds.

  • lkb June 14, 2011, 6:54 am

    I agree with Angeldrac: The young lady probably did not understand how the police department works. She probably thought ‘the police department is open 24 hours, so it’s not a big deal.’ She probably did not realize that some offices or departments in the police station do have standard business hours and that there was no access to them in the off hours. And, well, she did have a previous appointment, though admittedly not a life-threateningly urgent one.

    Not completely excusing her but I suspect that’s her thought process.

  • DGS June 14, 2011, 6:59 am

    @Kitty Lizard, that is an AWFUL story. I am so sorry you were treated so badly. We live in a suburb of a larger town adjacent to a big city, and our suburban police department is outstanding. What makes me sad is that one of our neighbors, who is a cop, supplements his income by cleaning out people’s driveways of snow in the winter – despite our very high taxes, his salary is not very high. He is one of the nicest, most courteous guys around, and my DH and I love having him and his boys (they work with their Dad) around, especially when it comes to clearing out our monstrously huge lot.

  • yertle turtle June 14, 2011, 7:17 am

    Sheesh – there’s real ire her against parents who make appointments on behalf of their adult children. Is that really so bad??? Why assume it’s all about refusal to let go when it could just as easily be kindness? Maybe my perception is skewed because of the number of times my mom has made appointments for us when we’ve been sick or under pressure and I have really appreciated her help.

  • Gena June 14, 2011, 8:37 am

    There is a huge difference between doing a favor for your kids, and enabling them. My 19 YO daughter knows how to make doctor appts, get her oil changed, and deal with her school business. I give her advice, but I do not do anything for her. Now, if she was very sick I would make her an appt and go with her, but for routine things, she can handle them.

    Recently she was having a very hard time at school registering, getting the runaround, etc. I did go stand with her in line (when I sensed her frustration level was getting out of hand), but I was there for moral support only. I spoke to no one, I let her handle it all.

  • The Elf June 14, 2011, 9:58 am

    Yertle, I get the impression that your mother helped you out on exception – when you were sick and/or under pressure. The implication is that you could – and do – normally handle those kinds of things. Same with Gena’s situation – moral support is not enabling. This story has all the hallmarks of enabling. The mother said her daughter was “only 23”, she was out with friends, when she tried to cancel it was to get tanning before heading out to the beach. Call me crazy, but I didn’t get the impression that this “help” was the exception!

  • Robert June 14, 2011, 10:16 am

    “The mother hesitated, informing me that her daughter was “only 23 years old” and was spending time with her friends that day, but eventually gave me the number.”

    Does anyone else find it sad that Mom was well aware that her 23 year old daughter has the mentality of a pre-teen?

  • chechina June 14, 2011, 4:50 pm

    My first thought when I read of the mother’s reaction was that she was embarrassed of her daughter and would rather not have an officer/constable speak to her. Which made me sort of sad.

  • Enna June 15, 2011, 9:08 am

    Couldn’t it be classed as wasting police time and she be fined? Honeslty some people don’t have their prioroties right!

  • Danielle June 18, 2011, 8:50 pm

    I can so relate to this story as I, too, managed a Property and Evidence Room for years. The idea that you, as a public servant, should stay past your working hours or even come in on the weekend in order to accomodate anyone who wants you to at that moment, never ceases to amaze me. Also, how many mothers, sisters, girlfriends, and wives of the criminals call in order to get charges dropped, pick up the criminal’s items or otherwise make arrangements for them. This young lady in this story might have been a victim in this case, but she sounds like a future arrestee by the way the mother was doing everything for her. And she will get so frustrated when we don’t allow her to “save” her loved one from the consequenses of her own actions.

  • Aje June 23, 2011, 3:53 pm

    All these comments from everyone about how after 18 kids need to raise themselves- just so you know, some of us want to. When I was in college my mom used to call me and figure out what my schedule should be. She essentially picked my classes- decided which days and times were best for MY schedule and in addition, decided my MAJOR for me. Now I worked very hard and did put my foot down and pick my own major but she still picked all my classes and arranged everything for me. Some people think it’s wrong, and it is. I didn’t like it. But if I disagreed, I didn’t get to go to college at all, since she was the one who was paying for it. Now I’m out, have my own job, make my own appointments… but she still tries to run my life.

  • Fraenzi August 12, 2011, 5:07 pm

    I agree with most people here in that parents should not organise their children’s lives except for in emergencies (like making doctor’s appointments when the adult child is too sick to call in).
    I have problems talking to people, especially over the phone and if my mother hadn’t pushed me and forced me to phone people for various reasons (appointments, inquiries, even appointments etc. for her and my brothers), I still wouldn’t be able to talk to people on the phone.
    I hate it and sometimes I still need help and encouragement, but I manage to do it.

    I understand that there are people with worse problems than mine and those probably -will- need someone to make their appointments on their behalf, but usually, there is -no- reason for a parent to do this.

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