Playing the "Baby Card"

So as you all know, I’m one of those “BabyHaters” that the bigwigs up in Washington are always warning you about. But the thing that a lot of people fail to understand is that it’s not the children I dislike, it’s the breeders that make them. Not parents — because parents actually take part in parenting their children, teaching them lessons, and so forth. Breeders are the ones who make the babies, but then don’t appear to give a crap about molding those kids into being productive members of society.

Parents will accept responsibility for their errors, and will teach their children to do the same. Breeders, however, will play the “baby card” and make it seem like nothing could possibly be their fault, either by the simple fact that they have made babies, or alternately because their special precious angel is the most innocent and wonderful creature on earth and can’t possibly be responsible for anything bad.

Here are two very different tales from work involving playing the “baby card”:

1. One of the bosses went to small claims court because our company (parking lot management) was being sued. The backstory: girl was driving daddy’s very expensive SUV in a very expensive part of town, was driving in our parking lot, and hit a concrete pier (around 3 feet in diameter, 3 feet high, used to hold a light pole or sign or something). This caused $7,000 in damage to daddy’s SUV. Two weeks later, daddy came home from his business trip and immediately filed suit against us, saying that clearly the pier was a hazard.

More detail came out in court. It was around 1 in the afternoon, so it wasn’t so dark that daughter couldn’t see the pier. She was running late for an appointment to get her hair and nails done, and was cutting through our parking lot (she didn’t actually even park there). She wasn’t following the bright white arrows painting on the ground — she just cut across to get to the salon. Bam, she hit the pier.

Daddy insisted on testifying in court, even though he was out of town at the time of the incident. What did he testify? He wanted to make sure everyone knew what a good girl his daughter was. He brought in her S.A.T. scores (perfect 1600) and her acceptance letter to Harvard. He also wanted the judge to know that even though his daughter owns a cell phone, and that he was not even in the same city at the time, that he knows his daughter is NOT the type who would talk on the cell phone while driving, so there was no way she could have been distracted.

Boss made some comments about this being a great chance for a lesson. The judge grabbed that and ran with it, and when she made her final summation and judgement, commented all about how this girl probably needed this as a chance to learn a little personal responsibility. How no matter how cute and good at test-taking you are, if you hit concrete with daddy’s car, it’s nobody’s fault but your own. Despite the facts that daddy’s precious angel couldn’t possibly be at fault because she’s going to Harvard, we won the case.

2. Since I’ve been hired, the other girl is working at catching up on violations letters. Our surface lots are all pay-before-you-park, so if you park your car and walk away without paying, instantly you’re hit with a $25 violation. I don’t think it will surprise you to hear that probably 70% of people who receive these violation notices don’t send in their payment, so then they get a letter. Of the ones who get the letter, probably another 70% dispute the violation with a story about how they didn’t see the payment sign / thought they could pay later / had some other excuse.

A letter came in from a man who’d parked down by the lake restaurants. This particular parking lot is shared by a group of restaurants, many of which are pretty darned expensive, and is one of our biggest violation lots. The gist of his letter was:

My wife and I were taking our grandbaby to Expensive Restaurant, and we parked in your lot. We all got out of the car and I was on my way to the payment box, when I heard a noise behind me. I turned around to see that my wife had tripped, and dropped the baby in a mud puddle, and fallen on top of the baby. The baby was crying and had soiled its diaper, so we picked it up and rushed it into the restaurant without even thinking of paying to park. We needed to get this baby indoors! And dry it off! And change its diaper! Then we ate our expensive meal and came back out, and found this $25 violation notice on our car! I don’t feel it’s right, because of the horrible thing that happened to the baby which distracted me so totally that I couldn’t pay to park, and had to go eat an expensive meal instead.

The letter was all, poor baby poor baby poor baby. They wanted to have this violation (which most likely cost much less than a single meal at the restaurant they went to) waived because babybabybaby. The boss let everyone in the office (there are five of us total, including the two bosses) read the letter, and asked us if we would waive it or not. He was very surprised that the 20-year-old girl said “don’t waive”, and I also said “don’t waive”. Other boss also said he wouldn’t waive it, which is why he gave the final decision to the more soft and generous boss. Despite our overwhelming don’t-waive vote, he went ahead and waived the violation fee.