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Hoarders And Hellspawn; Mouth Germs And Other Gross Crap

Bookstore SlaveWell, not true Hellspawn, more like Purgatoryspawn. Hoarders had this big wooden wall to hold the registers up at cashwrap, and in the front of it, little cubbyholes for various tchotchkes. And of course, panes of glass over that so that, should a custy look straight down, they could see those little $5 or less baubles and maybe make a last second addition. I loathed those panes of glass.

They were impossible to keep clean. In an hour, the things have accrued coffee rings, greasy fingerprints, and various other little germy smudges. Now I'm not OCD, but this stuff was gross, and we had to keep these clean lest the next customer get coffee and grody shit on their nice, clean, brand new books. Then come moms with their Purgatoryspawn.

I guess you can see where this goes. The spawn isn't causing problems per se; standing patiently and quietly by mommy's side. But they are JUST tall enough that their lips can wrap around the beveled edges of the glass and suck on it like a pacifier. Maybe the texture/shape is appealing to their mouths... or maybe mommy should have weaned them a bit earlier. The height of this desk usually requires an elementary age spawn to reach it, not a toddler or infant who wouldn't know any better and could be excused.

Okay, fuck kid, that's gross. I don't want your mouth germs on my registers, leaving a nice thick coat of sticky saliva behind. Also, we clean that shit with heavy duty chemicals.

"Oh sweetie, please don't put your mouth on that. We clean it with Windex and Clorox. You don't want to swallow that stuff. It'll make you sick to your tummy," I say gently.

Now I know that technically it doesn't take more than a few seconds to say the whole spiel. But the child usually ignores me and keeps sucking on that tasty, tasty glass pacifier provided especially for them. Most parents tend to not look up at the words "mouth on that." For some, there's maybe a blink at "Windex and Clorox." "Sick to your tummy" might bestir some to reiterate my warning and to shoo the spawn away. There are times when I repeat myself, a little louder. And that works.

Some, however, are determined. They'll back up a step or two, wait a few seconds then come right back and latch onto that thing like a nursing baby. However, there have been times when pulling out a reeking Clorox wet wipe is actually necessary.

Skullies eewwI stop the transaction in its tracks, move the books, request that the custy pick up their checkbook, and wipe off the glass with the dripping Clorox wipe that's wafting enough chemical fumes to make your eyes burn. "I'm sorry," I say to the custy I am forcing to wait, "But this glass isn't sanitary. I can't, in good conscience, let your child put their mouth on this any longer."

This at least, does the trick, because it's snapped the parent out of their daze as their eyes burn from the Clorox fumes. And only now do they instruct their spawn not to put their mouth on the glass as I make the surface gleam wetly with a thick layer of corrosive liquid. Then I paper towel it dry, of course; after all there's a line, and we cannot wait for the glass to dry on its own. Now the place has a cloud of toxic fumes about it and even the parent dares not ignore their child's oral fixation until they leave.

Really parents, your child should know better than to put things in their mouth by now...

May all your customers be nice,



Reminds me when I worked at the dysfunctional pet store. Parents would occasionally have their kids with them. We would often have to clean our counters due to bird seed, pet food, small pets, fish water and other assorted nasty shit getting on said counter. Sure enough, some toddler/small child would come in, set down what parent had let them hold, and then stick their fingers back in their mouth! EWWWWWW! Did you know we just had a small dog up there? or a box with mice? or a tote from under the shelves looking for a customer? Hope your kid has a wicked immune system. If they didn't before, we just jump-started it.


If the stuff you're saying doesn't work then up the ante. Try "Oh I'm sorry but we'll have to charge you if your child sucks the protective arsenic coating off of the glass." 10 to 1 odds that gets an immediate reaction.


I'm with skittles. As someone who is chemical sensitive- cleaning down the bathroom with ammonia-free scent-free cleaner makes my eyes water and a a migraine come on- immediately bringing out the big guns could be enough for me to place a complaint with a company's ethics department. If I was an employee facing consequences for not considering that patients with multiple scent allergies exist, I wouldn't bet on keeping my job. :/ I agree that parents should keep a close eye on their kids in public (and I myself have spent shopping trips enduring the humiliation of a public toddler meltdown rather than back down and buying him cans of shiny (and sugary) things until the message sank in). I don't disagree on that point. I just think the potential hazard of wiping down a counter with a toxic bleach dripping rag is overstepping it.

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