Social Question

mazingerz88's avatar

How would you feel if you've seen kids with parents like these?

Asked by mazingerz88 (18389 points ) June 26th, 2012

In a movie theater lobby, a child around 6 accidentally dropped her bag of popcorn. Her quick reaction was to pick it up. Maybe to save it or throw it in the trash. It was in the mother’s reaction I got thrown off a bit. She stopped her daughter and told her someone else would get the popcorn.

Another night, a couple was walking with their maybe 4 year old and the Dad unintentionally dropped food in a styrofoam box he was carrying on the sidewalk. Neither he nor his wife picked it up. Incidentally, there was this trash can not ten steps away from where they were heading.

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75 Answers

SuperMouse's avatar

I get incredibly frustrated when I see people treating the world as their own personal trash can. I just don’t get it and it is even more horrifying to teach kids that it is ok to leave their mess behind.

tups's avatar

It’s bad how laziness defeats goodness.

JLeslie's avatar

I am disgusted. I mentioned several months back on a fluther Q how put off my husband and I were when we went to the cinema and almost everyone left their trash behind as they walked out of the theater when the movie finished.

I also answered a q once about people not bussing their tables at McDonalds and other self serve type restaurants. The response of some jellies is it keeps other people employed.

Another example is people leaving dressing rooms trashed with clothes everywhere.

I find it just simply awful. Clean up after yourself for God’s sake.

@SuperMouse the adults think it is perfectly fine, so of course that is what they teach their kids, my mom would never have let me leave a mess behind. If she couldn’t get me to clean she would have cleaned it up herself, she would never make it a shop employees problem.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

It drives me insane how much litter ends up on the side of roads around here. I love nature. But it’s not a landfill you fucking idiots.

JLeslie's avatar

Here is the Q about clearing your table at McD’s if you are interested.

Leanne1986's avatar

I think both of those incidents you have described would have pissed me off. Whether or not someone is paid to clean up a certain area (like in the cinema), parents should not be teaching their kids that if they make a mess, someone else will clean it up. In this instance, the mother should have, in the very least, politely informed a staff member that her daughter had accidently dropped something and made a mess. At least this would have taught the little girl not to just leave a mess for someone else to discover and clean up. If it was me, I would have cleared up the majority of the mess and then informed someone of the more difficult bits to cean up. Obviously with liquid spillages this is a bit different as they are more difficult to clean up without a mop etc but I would definitely inform someone as common courtesy and for the safety of others.

The second instance is even worse in my eyes. Dropping litter outside (whether it is done deliberately or just not picked up when done accidently) really annoys me. It’s so arrogant and allowing your kids to see you do it is disgusting. I would have really wanted to punch that man in the head!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Leanne1986 Good for you. Punch away.

jca's avatar

Sometimes if I see something like that, I will purposely say “Excuse me, you dropped something.” Just to bust chops and let the person have to explain themselves. I hate littering and people who litter.

mazingerz88's avatar

@Leanne1986 I was incensed too. But could’t think of any right words at the time that I could say to those parents without causing a ruckus. Say or yell. Lol.

Leanne1986's avatar

@jca That’s a really good idea. People like that deserve to be called out on it!

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I hate people like that. Totally related- I took my daughters to see Brave yesterday and while we were there, my 6 yr old dropped her slurpee and some of it spilled onto the floor. I immediately set my purse down and began cleaning it up, but the usher told me not to worry about it, that he would get it. I asked, “Are you sure? I don’t mind.” But he told me he was positive, thanked me for being considerate, and we should just go enjoy the movie. He was very kind. But at least I didn’t just look at the mess and walk off.

Pandora's avatar

Ahhh, these are the people who should wear a scarlet letter (or words) on their forehead. There should be stamps that can’t be easily removed that last about a week. And on their forehead they should be forced to wear the word “litter bug” or “slob”. They would learn to clean up after themselves after be humilated for a week.
I never know what to say to people like that. What can you say to someone who is that self centered. I have pointed out to people in the past that they dropped stuff and so many times I was met with indifference and they just kept walking.

YARNLADY's avatar

My grandson spilled some food at a tasting booth in Sam’s Club and started to clean it up with his napkin, but the worker said “Oh, you don’t have to do that, that’s my job”.

I don’t understand litterers.

bookish1's avatar

Embarrassed.

whitenoise's avatar

This is the way I feel here, every time we leave the house. It is extremely common in the place where I live, for instance, to stop your car on the middle of the road to throw out the trash or empty your ashtray.

I think it is a sign of disrespect to the world around you.

We will unfortunately have to deal with he fact that not everyone shares the same values and values our world the same way.

flutherother's avatar

And the parent will wonder why their child’s bedroom is a mess.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Judi UGH, that makes me itch!

Pandora's avatar

@flutherother Isn’t that the truth. But I have raised two children who are totally different. My son is neat at home as he is outdoors and my daughter (The save the world child), hates litters and will even pick up after others who do and yet, she is a wreck at home and in her car. She’s not a pack rat. Just hates picking up after herself. At least she likes a clean kitchen.

JLeslie's avatar

I had a neighbor who was from India and when her MIL would visit the MIL would wipe any crumbs on the table onto the floor. This is in my neighbor’s home. Her MIL was from a fairly wealthy family, labor is cheap in India, so at home when crumbs fell to the floor the servants were there to sweep 3 times a day. But here, in the US, my neighbor would up having to sweep it up, and her MIL never got a clue, never gave a shit, just kept doing what she was accustomed to. But, that is a cultural difference, while I am pretty sure here in America the people most like to trash a place are the very people who would never have servants in their own home. In fact, I would go as far to say the very wealthy would be much less likely to leave a mess in a dressing room or leave a mess behind in general. Stereotyping, but that has been my experience.

I think it is good to say smething, because even if the parent doesn’t care what you said, there is a chance the child learns it is not acceptable. My MIL akways says it is good for children to be exposed to many adults, learn different opinions and thoughts, and I think that is very wise. It also makes me think of a Q regarding cigerette butts. Augustlan pointed out as a kid she never thought of them as litter, her mom dumped out the butss and put them out on the ground. Then later she realized it was not different than any other type of litter. So, I think calling this sort of thing to people’s attention can possibly give them an aha moment. It might only be 1 in 20 times you say something. But the one time is worth it in my opinion.

It doesn’t always have to be that you accuse the person of being awful, one can just point out they left their trash behind, or offer to help pick up an accidental spill.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Where I work, I see it everyday! Grown adults are absolute slobs who do this, not just their small kids and yes, they often tell the kids to walk away from spilled popcorn or drinks rather than pick up after themselves. Each time I see it, I want to ask them if they think there are invisible elves hired to pick up after them but I’m pretty sure they don’t even care.

ucme's avatar

“Oh look, it’s another monkey faced nipplesack with his snot nosed ankle biters, how gross!”

flutherother's avatar

@Pandora I have a son and a daughter just like yours. My daughter won’t leave litter outside but her room is a mess. My son is always tidy. I no longer mind the messy room it is quite endearing in a way but I couldn’t stand it if she left litter in public places.

Blondesjon's avatar

I think that the lobby story is perfectly acceptable and I would have said the same thing if it had been one of my children. Theaters, as well as restaurants, shopping malls, and hotels, have folks that work for them and get paid to clean up after mishaps like this so that the paying customer doesn’t have to. Why else do you think it costs you at least $50 every time you go to see a flick, order a couple of t-bones, or hit the mini bar?

Now, if this happened out on the street or at another person’s home and the mother said the same thing I would turn on her in an instant. There is a difference. see above

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It bothers me when I witness actions like this, particularly when a parent/child is involved. I wasn’t brought up this way. Our parents taught us, Leave the place cleaner than you found it.

While there are more important ethical matters to teach a child, or adult for that matter, I have wondered if the simple act not throwing trash away might cause a Butterfly Effect.

When I see this sort of action, as long as I feel relatively safe, I’ll say: “Sir (or Ma’am, etc.)! I noticed that you dropped this.” If they say it’s trash, the response is, “Okay, I’ll throw it away for you” and do so. I don’t know if they see me do it and have no idea if it has any lasting impact. All I know is that it makes me feel better for potentially planting a seed, particularly if a child is involved.

The same goes for shopping carts. It annoys the heck out of me that people using a cart do not take it to a parking lot corral and just abandon it willy-nilly after unloading their groceries. I’ll walk over to the cart and take it to the corral. If the person is in hearing distance, I’ll say, “I’ll put this away for you” or “I’ll take that cart” if I’m heading into the store. It hasn’t caused any personal attack…yet.

Leanne1986's avatar

Don’t get my wrong, I’m a messy cow, my bedroom was a tip growing up, but my parents would never have tolerated me making a mess and expecting someone else to clean it up.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Blondesjon Accidents do happen. I’ve created them myself. It isn’t hard to alert an employee when one takes place. It also isn’t difficult to pick up a dropped bag of popcorn or Styrofoam container and place it in the garbage bin, particularly when in an establishment that has them strategically located.

Have you ever worked in the hospitality industry? I did for 30 years. While we saw the full spectrum of how customers treated the establishments when it came to cleanliness and customer service during their visit, the people with your attitude were in the minority. In these cases, the company paid the employee extra for the amount of time spent cleaning a certain area, or doubled the amount of employees assigned to it, or hired outside help to address the issue.

Until you have been in an owner or manager’s shoes and witnessed the additional cost of cleaning up after the few that won’t take the time to aim for a trash can or alert an employee, then I find it hard to believe that you have any idea how financially damaging it can be to a business.

Blondesjon's avatar

Some folks consider it rude. In this economy I consider it job security.

Leanne1986's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer My boyfriend used to work in a large supermarket (this is going back at least 25 years mind) and he once told me that one of the biggest inconveniences was when staff had to go around the car park (and sometimes further afield) to collect discarded carts. It would take them away from the shop floor where they were often needed. Nowadays most supermarkets here seem to employ people just to be cart monitors which goes to show how lazy people are if a whole new job had to be created just to collect carts that people left lying around. Arrogance!

JLeslie's avatar

@Blondesjon I know we disagreed on the other Q I posted as a link as well. I think you are incorrect about what those employees are paid to do. Restaurants, hotels, theatres, and other retail establishment are not assuming people will leave all their trash behind. They do not hire staff for that. Well, I guess some have to if a whole community of people don’t clean up after themselves, but it is not the norm, not that I have experienced. Most people do clean up after themselves in the many places I have lived. I can’t even imagine if all of NYC for instance felt they could leave their trash behind. Maybe in small towns where there is always a table available at the McD’s, and the theatre is usually not 100% full for each showing. I am always aware if someone is waiting on my table, or the next person who might use the dressing room. It is not just about employees, it is about the next patron. Golden rule.

About job security. In this market it can also mean overload of tasks on an employee, because employers are not hiring so fast.

mazingerz88's avatar

@JLeslie I’m not a parent yet but I felt that mom in the theatre lobby failed to use that opportunity to teach her kid the value of cleaning after oneself and also being considerate about service workers.

JLeslie's avatar

@mazingerz88 it was not a failure of the opportunity. That parent thinks it is fine. There is nothing to teach if the parent herself doesn’t value it. Look at @Blondesjon he even finds some sort of ethic in leaving trash behind; he argues it gives people job security.

Supacase's avatar

Mention it to the parent once in front of the child and the child will be so embarrassed they will do his/her best to make sure it doesn’t happen again. (Usually)

I absolutely agree the child should have picked up the bag of popcorn, but I have to admit I wouldn’t want my child crawling around on that nasty, public floor picking it up piece by piece.

mazingerz88's avatar

@Supacase No, I wouldn’t want to see that child getting every popcorn on the floor as well but at least the bag still half-filled with it.

Linda_Owl's avatar

My third husband (now deceased) was prone to toss litter out the window of the car. I used to tell him that he should not litter, but his attitude was that someone would have to pay someone else to pick it up – he called it “job security”!

JLeslie's avatar

@Linda_Owl In my town people volunteer to pick up all the trash on the side of the road. I find trash in front of my house, it is unbelievable to me! I am on one of the main roads (still a country two-lane road) through my area. The elementary school for the town is caddy corner across the street from me.

mazingerz88's avatar

@JLeslie Well, two days ago we found three empty Rolling Rock beer bottles in our yard. Someone from our neighbor’s side tossed them the night before. All I could think of was, what shameless douchebags, don’t they know Bud is way superior?! Lol.

bkcunningham's avatar

They still make Rolling Rock?

JLeslie's avatar

@mazingerz88 Hahahaha. If it is teenagers I can look the other way, even though of course it is still horrible, but I think a lot of it is not teenagers where I live. I once was walking on Washington Ave on south beach and a guy in front of me threw his drink on the ground. I could not believe it. Right there on the street in broad daylight. I had not seen anything like it ever honestly. A grown adult throwing trash on the street for everyone to see. I admit I did nothing except be disgusted.

One time my boyfriend in high school was pulled over by a cop while driving. The cop said he was stopping him to give his passenger a $100 ticket for littering. He had thrown smethng out the window, they should do stuff like that more often.

jca's avatar

@Leanne1986: I can think of two exceptions to your theory of people being lazy for not returning shopping carts. One is people who are handicapped and have a hard time walking the cart back to the cart parking area. The other is people with babies or kids that they put in the car – you cannot put a baby or child in the car and then leave the baby or child alone in the car while you walk the cart back to where ever it is supposed to go.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I would feel disgusted. It’s a terrible message to instill in children. Just because there is someone else who will be forced to clean up your messes doesn’t mean that it is responsible to leave them behind. This is especially true when we realize that there typically isn’t a person whose job it is to clean up your messes. Instead, there are people who have various secondary functions, one of which may be cleaning up messes that customers either couldn’t clean up on their own (few movie patrons carry mops with them, so a large soda spill is probably beyond their immediate capacities) or refuse to take responsibility for (such as is described in the OP). This is a rather fundamental difference, and not one that is difficult to understand.

Furthermore, if there is a person whose specific job is to clean the theater, that doesn’t mean that there job is to clean up anyone’s messes. That person’s basic function is to take care of the routine cleaning that must be done to maintain the cleanliness of any place frequented by many people (such as cleaning the bathrooms or scrubbing the counters). Again, though, that there is someone whose job it is to clean the theater does not mean that there is someone whose job it is to clean up for you (even if this ends up being something they must do by default when people refuse to take responsibility for messes they could easily clean up on their own).

I find it interesting that people talk so much about personal accountability these days, but will not address it in simple situations like these—situations that may very well be formative in a child’s life. Parents are examples to their children, and so they must be exemplars of virtue—civic and otherwise—to the best of their ability. People who do nothing more than the bare minimum are little better than parasites, and parents who would be okay with their children amounting to so little seem rather uninspiring (to say the least).

thesparrow's avatar

For the popcorn, its kind of a good point. Why would the daughter pick dirty popcorn off of the ground? Where would she put it, back in the bag?

mazingerz88's avatar

Uhm, the trash bin?

thesparrow's avatar

But would you want your child picking up dirty popcorn from the ground?

mazingerz88's avatar

Yes, I might. I would also do the same to facilitate the clean-up faster. Then both of us would go to the bathroom and wash. No biggie. : )

JLeslie's avatar

@thesparrow The bag fell to the floor. Are you ok with the child eating from the bag still?

whitenoise's avatar

@thesparrow

Of course I’d want them to pick up stuff that they drop to the ground.
How dirty can it be… kids play on the ground anyway. (And yes.. there are exceptions.)

It is not a health risk for them to pick up popcorn that fell to the ground in a theater.
It’s a (mental) health risk to them if I would teach them (implicitly) that they don’t need to care for the world around them and they may treat it as ‘being at their disposal’.

fluthernutter's avatar

Forget popcorn or food. The other day I stepped in poop—in the middle of a Babies R Us.

I don’t know which is more mind-boggling. Not cleaning up after your kid takes a crap in a store. Or just logistically how it could have happened in the first place—there were multiple “incidents” in different aisles!

mazingerz88's avatar

@fluthernutter Are you sure those were not just toy poops? : )

Leanne1986's avatar

@jca Maybe we can make exceptions for certain cases but I see many people who do noty appear to fall under either of those categories just discarding them for someone else to collect. This is why most supermarkets in the UK require you to pay a pound to use the cart and you don’t get the pound back until it is placed back in the correct area.

jca's avatar

@Leanne1986: True. I guess you can also look at it like this: as long as people discard them for someone to pick up, that certain someone has a job. If everyone returned them, one or two people per shift would be jobless.

mazingerz88's avatar

And then there are those people who take the carts all the way to their apartment buildings, leave them in parking garages or keep them in trash chute rooms. This is what happens when the grocery is walking distance from their homes.

thesparrow's avatar

@whitenoise That is absolutely revolting. How did the poo get there, did the kid just drop his pants and go?

thesparrow's avatar

@mazingerz88 I think my BF used to do that when he lived on his own.. don’t underestimate how difficult it is for some people to get their groceries home when they don’t have a car..

SavoirFaire's avatar

@bookish1 Funny, I thought this was what happened.

@jca Every major grocery store chain in the US has employees to help the handicapped with their carts. As for mothers with children, it’s just a river crossing puzzle (and a rather simple one). They can leave the groceries in the car alone, so the solution is to take the baby with them when dropping off the cart. Even if we want to allow these exceptions, though, it seems that @Leanne1986 is correct that they do not account for the majority of carts left behind.

jca's avatar

@SavoirFaire: I’m not sure if you have had personal dealings with baby handling, but when you have a baby to deal with, and it’s tired, upset, hot, etc., easier said than done “take the baby with them when dropping off the cart.”

JLeslie's avatar

@jca I don’t know I am kind of in the take the baby with them camp also on the topic of putting the cart in the right place. Believe me I understand that sometimes the baby or young child is losing it and a parent just has to get things done as quick as possible and get out of there, but most of the time if the kid is in the cart, you unload the groceries, put the cart where it belongs, then take the kid out and go to your car. I am all for closeup spaces reserved for parents with young children so it is less of an ordeal for them. Growing up my grocery store had us drive up to the front and someone loaded on the groceries, or we tipped someone to take them out for us. Where I live now the people who bag the groceries will help you out with your purchase and load your car if you ask, and then they take care of the cart for you.

jonsblond's avatar

I’ve been following this discussion and would like to comment on the baby and grocery cart situation. An easy solution to the problem is to park right next to the cart corral. Everyone fights for the parking spaces near the front but you can usually find a space right next to a corral. You may need to walk a little farther but the exercise will be good for you. My children aren’t babies anymore but I have made it a habit to park next to the corrals now because it makes it easier to put the cart away without getting far away from your children.

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond That’s what I do, and I don’t even have any babies. Some stores don’t have corrals. Especially stores in larger cities.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@jca Yes, I’ve experienced baby handling. I realize that parenting is hard—that’s something you sign up for when you decide to have children—but I don’t see how “it’s hard” entails “I don’t have to do it.” Finally, @jonsblond makes an excellent point: park next to the cart corral. This will make things much easier.

Leanne1986's avatar

@jca Is that not the same as saying that people who litter keep street cleaners in work? It doesn’t excuse the fact that people that litter or leave their carts lying around are lazy and arrogant.

jca's avatar

OK, so as someone who leaves my cart lying around, I guess I’m in the “lazy and arrogant” category, @Leanne1986.

@savoirfaire: I don’t equate returning carts with one of the necessities of parenting.

jonsblond's avatar

No, @jca, you are endangering the lives of little kids walking in the parking lot. Did you know a shopping cart can move at 30mph on a windy day? Shame on you! (I’m joking with you.) I was trying to find a video of a runaway shopping cart in a parking lot but I couldn’t find a good one. I did find the following video though. The woman in the video has really done her research! Take a listen.

Have a heart; return your cart

jca's avatar

@jonsblond: I always put the wheels up on the grass curb or put it in the “cart corral.” :)

Leanne1986's avatar

@jca if you put it in the “cart corral” then I don’t count that as leaving it lying around, leaving it in the middle of the car park for someone else to rescue is leaving it lying around.

bookish1's avatar

@jonsblond: I was stuck in a runaway shopping cart when I was very little, 3 or 4. It was harrowing O_O

jonsblond's avatar

@bookish1 I need to hear more of this story! How the heck did that happen?

bookish1's avatar

@jonsblond: Um, I was too young to construct a narrative memory of it. My mom just lost track of me or something. :-/

jonsblond's avatar

At least you are here now to tell the story. =)

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wow. Bet those same parents blame the teacher when the kid starts acting out in class, doing whatever they feel like doing.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@jca I do not equate returning carts with one of the necessities of parenting either, and I didn’t say otherwise above. What I said was that “I’m a parent, and parenting is hard” is not an excuse for avoiding your other (non-parenting) responsibilities.

jca's avatar

@SavoirFaire: Well, apparently I’m off the hook as I’ve found that putting the cart in the corral is just fine.

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