Tag Archives: John Lewis

Adult who complained about John Lewis toddler tantrum needs putting on the naughty step

THIS week I was asked to talk about whether it was right that a mum, whose 16-month-old toddler was throwing a full-on tantrum, was asked to leave a John Lewis store after a complaint from a customer. No, of course it bloody wasn’t.

Apparently, a customer complained about the crying noise to a member of the menswear department who then asked the frazzled new mum to leave.
I’m pretty sure this was a one-off by a member of staff who was either inexperienced, having a bad day, or simply moronic. What he should have done is walk the stupid moaner off the premises, not the mum.
Oh yes, I know it’s pretty irritating when a kid cries in a public place. It’s MEANT to be annoying, to get grown-up human beings to pay attention to a child who might be in peril. But this wasn’t in a restaurant, or a bar, or a library. No one goes shopping for the peace and quiet.

So hey, Mr John Lewis customer, why don’t you walk away for a few minutes and come back when the tantrum’s over rather than throwing your toys out of your pram and COMPLAINING? Clearly when you wanted your own way as a kid, your parents must have pandered to your every whim, instead of leaving you to bleat and cry until you realised it was pointless, and did what you were ruddy-well told.

Yes, I’ll happily admit to bribing and threatening my offspring to get them to stop them kicking off in public, but a 16-month-old? Too young to understand I’m afraid.
The only thing you can do as a parent with a screamer is ride it out, or carry them bodily somewhere else to distract them. I did have a particularly effective hard stare that would silence my older sons (not Bonnie, she just didn’t care), but not at this age. You can lose a finger trying to strap a wriggly, screaming pre-schooler into a buggy, or get kicked in the face by flailing feet. Parenting the under-fives is like an extreme sport. Done daily.
Trust me, most parents are also swearing under their breath when toddlers throw a paddy in public. It’s not a situation anyone enjoys.

So get over it, shoppers-without-babies. Walk away, put your headphones in, have some empathy. Because it’s these screaming kids, mine included, who will be working all hours to prop up the economy in a few years time, so you can have a pension in your old age. Move on tantrum police, there’s nothing to see here. . .




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Are we being ripped off if VAT-free ‘children’s’ clothing only goes up to age 12?

WHEN your children are babies, or pre-school, it feels like they cost more money than you could ever earn.

Nappies, special food, prams, cots, car seats, milk, clothes that they grow out of in a week and then perhaps nursery fees that cripple the family budget – even though childcare staff are among some of the lowest paid workers.

You know that when they come out of nappies, or start school, the bills should reduce, shouldn’t they?

School uniform is an expensive business, even when you don’t have to buy for three (or in our case, four from September). But at least we are told children’s clothes aren’t subject to 20 per cent VAT.

But what constitutes children’s clothes? Under 14, apparently.

Our eldest is 14, his brother just about to turn 13. Still children, right?

Not when it comes to clothing I’m afraid. My kids aren’t enormous, pretty average in height, but the eldest both measure in at size 14-15. Many of their friends their age have been six-foot tall for some time already, and they aren’t even 15 yet. Their parents will already have been doing what we are now having to do: buy them clothes and shoes intended for adults.

Jed and Doug in cheaper attire

The choice of clothes for boys aged 11-16 is very limited. Unlike girls, who seem to have racks of options, few clothing stores seem to cater for teen boys, which seems bonkers to me when they are more fashion conscious than ever before. They are also having frequent growth spurts not seen since they were newborns, and seem to need new trousers and shoes every other fortnight.

Why are the retailers so terrible at catering for them? Surprisingly, Next is rubbish for boys over 10, as are M&S, BHS, TK Maxx, John Lewis, Matalan, Debenhams, Primark, New Look and the supermarkets.

H&M are one of the few places I don’t have a fight on my hands when shopping, but they aren’t well stocked or cheap. As for shoes, they both have bigger feet than me and I have to now pay adult prices for adult-sized shoes (although half-decent children’s shoes are sometimes more expensive than adults’ anyway).

Adult clothes don’t quite fit either. The legs are too long, the tops too baggy, but it’s all we can get.

So who is getting the benefit of this zero VAT? Someone’s missing a trick.

Our kids have always had to put up with hand-me-downs, except Jed as the eldest, but even he has to wear second-hand now. Don’t tell him, but I’ve found that I’ve shrunk so many items of Bloke’s clothes they now fit his sons.

Thankfully, for the kids, he’s not quite got to the elasticated trouser and cardigan stage yet.

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