Monday, November 2, 2009

Warning: Does not Work Well With Small Children

This morning, a matter got my dander up. I know I'm a bitcher and moaner from way back. It doesn't take much to get me going. It is what I do. [Ohmygod you should hear me in the car. Everyone in the world is a bad driver except for me. And I will tell you exactly what you're doing wrong from the comfort, safety, and where you can't hear me inside my car.] But when it involves my children -well then- GET OUT OF MY WAY.

My daughter approached me while I was packing up lunches into backpacks. "I want to buy my lunch today", she says. Which is fine, of course, and I say so. But she's anxiously tapping her fingers on one hand against the fingers on the other. And she looks concerned. So I ask her what ever is the matter, dear daughter.

"I forgot my number", she states in a tone as if she'd just told me that she lost a family heirloom that I'd cautioned her not to touch.

You see, I make my kids' lunches everyday, and every once in a while they like to buy cafeteria food. The system at the school is such that each child is assigned a number (almost like a barcode, that is given to them by the cashier, no less) for buying lunch. They get in line, give the cashier their money, state their number, the cashier punches it into a computer and they're free to buy one main entree and various sides and a drink for $2.75.

Apparently this number is very VERY important.

"If you forgot it just tell the lady", I tell her.

Girl-Child looks nervous. Her eyes get a little well-y-uppy. And I get very suspicious. What is vexing my child so? [and why am I speaking as if it is 1865?]

"She told me that if I forgot my number again I would have to go to the end of the line and be the last one to buy lunch".

WTF? I'm sorry. She told you WHAT? Mind you that this is a child who has MAYBE bought her lunch FOUR TIMES EVER IN HER LIFE. And another "mind you"? It took everything I had in me to not drive helter skelter up to the school and have words with said woman.

How hard is this job? Seriously? You sit at a register in an elementary school and collect money from children. That's it. I get that it's boring, and monotonous, and repetitious. But to tell a little six year old girl, who doesn't buy her lunch often enough to have her stupid fucking number memorized, that she will have to wait until ALL THE OTHER CHILDREN buy their lunch before she can. To THREATEN MY CHILD? Because, why? Why? I don't understand how you could be having such a bad day doing this job that you have to intimidate a little girl.

There are many things my child will have to worry about in her adolescent years; like fitting in with her peers, and temptations, and bullies, and cliques, and studying hard enough for and doing well on a test, and if that boy likes her or like-likes her and does she like-like him back, and how I don't know what I'm talking about when I tell her that none of it matters, all of the angsty angst, because after you graduate high school you're likely to never see any of those people ever again and they won't be the most important people in your lives, and how she'll tell me that it's different for her and how I just don't understand because my life is not her life and how she won't listen when I tell her that it's ALL THE SAME SHIT that has been happening for generations but with new improved technology - because that's what kids and teens do. They believe the world revolves around them and that what is happening to them is unique and has never happened before, and...

She shouldn't be standing here in the kitchen freaking out over forgetting the godforsaken magical lunch-buying number. This is not something that should be causing my child any stress whatsoever.

I may just have to join my daughter for lunch.

47 comments:

smalltownmom said...

Why can't they just look it up?

These high-tech school lunch rooms. Our school is so old-school. Pay for it a month in advance, and they check the child's name off of an old-fangled paper list!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I'm with you on the threat--totally out of line and she should have dealt with the situation differently.

But, to play Devil's advocate, I have recently been in a lunchroom that employs that system and if too many kids don't have their number there are children that don't get their food until it's almost time to go back to class--and they don't get any play time.

I always packed my kids lunches too, but I kept the card they give you in the beginning of the year with the number and would write it on a piece of paper for them to keep in their pockets on the one day a month they bought lunch.

Sewfast said...

Oh Tootsie, I feel your pain...when my daughter was in the second grade she had a substitute teacher that penalized children for asking to go to the bathroom and they got a sticker for not going to the bathroom all day during class time. Let me tell you...I had a WTF moment all over her ass and the school secretary was cheering me on!!! Last I checked, toileting was an essential bodily function. And this was a teacher??? My daughter is almost 30 and it still pisses me off! Thanks for letting me vent!

Stacie said...

If you don't go up there I WILL! Oh wait...guess I can't . But you get my drift. I cannot believe that stupid woman said that. My fifth grade girl has a number too and has forgotten it. Our lunch lady just looks it up for her. Your poor kid probably would remember her number if she weren't so worked up over getting in line to face off with the beyoch in the hair net!

And I understand what Jenn is saying too. Our school system has the child keep the same number throughout their education. It makes it a lot easier to remember. Wait, am I giving props to my Georgia school system?

Kristin J said...

That is terrible! I would get my hair up over that too.

Chelsie said...

Why do they even need a freaking number? It used to be that only children who recieved free or discounted lunch needed a number. I am so sorry that she was afraid to buy lunch because of a bully lunch lady.

Michele Renee said...

I'd let the principal know. Our elem school principal would be all over that. One had to be dismissed at our school.

Tammy said...

You go girl!! That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of and to put young kids through that, what kid of a** is that lunch woman!!

Jen on the Edge said...

My kids have been at the receiving end of some similar crap from adults at their school. If you don't deal with this now, it will not go away. I understand that the cafeteria lady is busy and deals with a lot of kids, but her little rule is not age appropriate.

BeautifulWreck said...

the lunch room lady did this at the public school my daughter attended many years ago. it was insane. they had kids bringing knives to school who were shamed less.

Karen said...

I would definitely be joining her for lunch. With a huge smile and an even bigger attitude. Good luck.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

We are totally cut of the same cloth. I had a similar situation involving a social studies teacher and a class project and a rubric for grading it. Mr. D had to hold me back with all his body strength.

calicobebop said...

Hoo boy - it's on like Donkey Kong. That hussy had better watch out. Who threatens little children like that?

Stu said...

Ladies and gentlemen...

In this corner... Mom, Blogger, defender of children, and closet Bad Ass... Tooooootsie Faaaaaarkllllle Paaaaants.

And in the opposing corner, the unsuspecting Luuuuuunnnnch Laaaadyyyyyy...

MAYBELLINE said...

Please let us know how everything turned out. Who knew that lunchroom politics could be so riviting.

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

Go Momma! I totally agree with you. And lemme know if you need backup.

Jennifer said...

we have a cafeteria nazi JUST LIKE THAT at my kids' elementary school!

Karen said...

I hope you give us a run-down on what happens. Poor child, don't they have enough to worry about?

Terra Incognita said...

I actually work in a middle school cafeteria, and it is near to impossible to get kids moving through the line in due time. The principal typically wants all 100 or so students through the line in under 15 minutes, so we have that added pressure on top of it. It's not easy, and it's not just putting in numbers and sitting around collecting money. I wish it was. If it was, my paycheck would be sooo worth it. There is a lot of misconception about "lunch ladies". We do a lot of hard work to get those darling kids fed.
At our schools, the number they are given is the same log in number for computers and assignments on the school website. I understand your daughter has only used her number a few times, and given her age, I wouldn't expect her to remember it. With her not buying lunch regularly, it isn't hard to look her up.

Anonymous said...

If it takes so much time, can't the teacher give the number to the kids on a slip of paper to take to the cafeteria? We send a check monthly for lunch. Our kids all have a credit card thing the teacher hands them when they're in line for hot lunch. The lunch lady just swipes it and hands it back, and it deducts the cost of the lunch. The other awesome thing about this is that no one knows who is on free lunch--so no embarrassment.
Our lunch ladies also threaten the kids within an inch of their lives. My daughter was in tears tonight, too, because the lunch ladies "are too rough," as she puts it. They screamed and yelled today that if the kids aren't quiet tomorrow, they WILL BE PUNISHED. She's terrified. Believe me, I'll be on the phone with the principal first thing in the morning.

Hinata said...

Lunch lady needs to check herself. I doubt my 2nd grader ever even memorized her number because our lunch lady likes her job and also likes kids (really should be a prerequisite when working at an Elementary school btw) And just punches it in for her. I would totally go with her and see if lunch lady tries to send her to the end of the line with you standing there. Somehow- I imagine she won't be so tough when she's not lording her authority over a 6yo!

Minnesota Matron said...

I imagine that lunch went well!

Twenty Four At Heart said...

Don't you love the little people in life who are so proud of the small amount of POWER they have? How pathetic ... feeling the need to exert that over a young child. Boo hiss!

Martie said...

Why is there always some ass munch working at a school with small children when it is obvious that they hate children?? At this age kids need to know that the people at their school are loving and kind. Kids should never cry or feel afraid to go to school--some kids home lives are so fucked up that school is the only place they might get encouragement and comfort. Gah. My hair's in a knot now... Good luck getting this taken care of--cause I *know* you will take care of it.

Wineplz said...

So how'd it go? Did you drop the elbow on her? Smash chocolate pudding into her hair? Dump green beans down her pants? Come on, we want to know!

Wineplz said...

p.s. maybe the school should consider the credit card process--no numbers need be memorized. Seems it would be quicker than trying to get a child to remember their number, or get a number out of a kid that is distracted talking to their friends.

Breezy said...

Definitely keep an eye on this and I fully support you if you need to go apeshit all over that woman. I was an elementary school teacher for 4 years before my son was born. The only time "my kids" saw me angry with another adult was when one of "my" little girls sat down at the table without any food. Upon inquiring why she wasn't eating lunch she replied that she didn't have any money in her account and the lunch lady said she couldn't have the regular lunch, she'd have to have a bag lunch (PB&J and a fruit cup) if she didn't have the money. EXCUSE ME? BECAUSE IT'S THE 9 YEAR OLDS FAULT THE PARENT DIDN'T OR COULDN'T PAY FOR THE LUNCH? I was in an uproar and got her a lunch, proclaimed to the lunchlady that NONE OF "MY KIDS" WOULD EVER be treated that way again. How dare them humiliate the children that way! I definitely think you should bring this up at the school. I'd be willing to bet many children are being threatened and possibly humiliated.

Breezy said...

OH yeah, AND apparently they get all weird if you try to ask for a different side dish (ie the corndogs come with tater tots, but you'd rather have the mac and cheese), they'd tell the kids they couldn't have that different (not extra!) side dish...sooo much uneaten food (and many of those kids only got a hot meal at school). I took to standing in the line with the kids, not so much to oversee the children's behavior, but the lunchladies! (Sorry, I had vent twice!)

Christine Gram said...

They do that because little kids are the only people left in the world that they can get away with bossing around. In the cafe where I work we also have a magic number and I've forgotten mine. Lunch lady just looks it up.

Sincerely, Jenni said...

Our kids keep the same # all through school, and when they get to 6th grade and up, they actually use their school ID card to swipe at lunch time.

When my kids were little though, the teachers used to keep a cup full of tongue depressors, each one had one student' name and ID # on it. If you were getting hot lunch that day, you simply get your stick out of the cup on the way to lunchroom, and once you get through the cashier part, the teacher would collect the sticks. By the end of the school year, there wouldn't be a single student that didn't have their # memorized.

Sorry your lunch lady is such a hag.

Nap Mom said...

This is also a pet-peeve of mine. Please, please let us know how this turns out. I think that "is rude to children" is a requirement on a lunch lady resume. (No offense to the few lunch personnel who are actually nice.)

cactus petunia said...

I'm flabbergasted. That someone could be that petty.
Poor kid. How did it turn out?

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Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

that is so terrible babe.

I hope you kicked some lunch lady arse.

Kristi said...

How lucky she is to have found her true calling in life! Hoi.

BOSSY said...

Unreal. Why oh why why why?

psychomom said...

Okay, this is my first visit to your fine establishment, and I have read several posts in the last 30 minutes (oh my, has that much time passed already?). You have a new "follower". Thanks for the smile. As far as your poor tramatized sweetie is concerned...I think joining her for lunch is the perfect solution...just don't get arrested for assault! :)

Jessica said...

Sometimes I think that lunch ladies, bus drivers, and the lady that works Mc Donald playland have this sense that they need to do a better job raising these dang kids because their parents are losers. So they get this self-inflated sense of purpose to teach kids lessons that really don't need to be taught. I mean really what kid needs to be taught that the world can be an ugly place with mean people that have misplaced their emotions. There is enough time to figure that out when they get their first job.

Hope everything worked out and your daughter can have less stress about lunch in the very near future.

prashant said...

it's almost time to go back to class--and they don't get any play time.
Work from home India

Jason, as himself said...

It seems your lunch lady needs a little bit of perspective. Maybe we can get her transferred to a school about five miles southeast of your school. Then threatening a little kid for forgetting her number will be the last thing on her mind. :)

Jason, as himself said...

It seems your lunch lady needs a little bit of perspective. Maybe we can get her transferred to a school about five miles southeast of your school. Then threatening a little kid for forgetting her number will be the last thing on her mind. :)

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Madge said...

oh how i hope you join your daughter for lunch and oh how i hope you tell us about it

johannajamerson0719 said...

good article....................................................................................................

lapoflux said...

I am a little behind on my reading - so, did you kick the lunch lady's butt?
At least verbally?
Please?

kanishk said...

Our lunch lady just looks it up for her. Your poor kid probably would remember her number if she weren't so worked up over getting in line to face off with the beyoch in the hair net!

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Nishant said...

it a month in advance, and they check the child's name off of an old-fangled paper list!

Work from home India