IT'S school holidays. And Lord knows by this stage of the game, it gets hard to entertain those little mites.
Turns out that some parents have figured out just how to do it. They simply take their kids into a store and let them wreck the joint.
Presenting to you Exhibit A: The Green Shed, a recycling facility in Canberra. Last week business co-owner Charlie Bigg-Wither had had a gutful and posted on Facebook about the mess kids had made, alongside a number of shocking photos.
"The Green Shed is not a child care centre," he wrote on the social media platform, "we love kids as much as the next person - in fact between our staff we have a gazillion of them - BUT we are asking (pleading) that during the busiest time of year people who visit the sheds with their children try to keep an eye on them and not let them destroy everything in sight just because they can."
"The sheds are not a place to leave your kids while you go grocery shopping! (This happens).
"We love to see kids having a good time but it really is just a matter of respect that they clean up after themselves and put those toys, games, and bikes back where they were."
Judging by the comments, Charlie's post hit a nerve. Some of those remarks suggest it's not uncommon for people to leave their kids unattended at all kinds of businesses including: liquor stores, pharmacies, animal shelters, department stores and games stores.
"People leave kids unattended anywhere! I work in a major liquor retail outlet and believe it or not people leave their kids in my store while doing shopping," Emily wrote.
"We are to the point now that we have a once call over the PA and then it's over to the police," she continued.
Another woman - who appears to work at the ACT RSPCA - wrote: "I had a woman drop her kids off At the RSPCA Canberra for a few hours. It took me a while to realise.
"Her [the customer] response, 'What's the problem? I was only gone three hours and you're not busy'."
Despite these anecdotes, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) believes these circumstances are fairly infrequent.
Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the ARA, says The Green Shed's post about kids running riot is "obviously concerning."
However, he also states: "The ARA does not hear about this issue frequently but we are aware that this sometimes happens."
"Store owners are able to display a sign reminding parents that their store is not a free babysitting service," Mr Zimmerman suggests.
(For the record, The Green Shed does display signs stating "children must be supervised" but the owners claim they haven't made a noticeable difference.)
Meanwhile back on Facebook, some members of the public took the opportunity to rant about modern parenting - and they didn't mince their words.
Kerry bluntly voiced her opinion: "It's amazing how many stupid parents there are these days."
Chris concurred: "Kids were much better disciplined 30 years ago. Parents and kids nowadays suck."
Narelle also chimed with a direct message to parents: "You are responsible to TEACH your children respect along with many other manners that are gone from the family home."
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