teaching moment

A Mom Let Her 7-Year-Old Use The Self-Checkout On A Busy Day And She’s Getting Called Out

She said she wants her kid to be independent and confident.

A mom is taking heat for letting her young son operate the self-checkout at a store on a busy day.

The best parents know that the world is our kids’ classroom, and there’s no better way to build confidence and independence than by letting your kid do things for themselves. But on the other hand, it’s also important that while your kid is “learning by doing,” it isn’t at the expense of other people’s safety or time.

Over on Reddit’s “Am I The A—hole?” forum, one mom wants to know if she was in the wrong for giving her kid a teaching moment... in the middle of a busy Sunday at the grocery store.

She explained that she and her 7-year-old son were checking out after food shopping and he wanted to be in charge. So she let him take the lead.

“I am a big believer in learning by doing,” she wrote. “I like to give my son as interactive a role in things as possible, and if he wants to do something himself I always at least let him try unless it's unsafe. When we got to the self checkout he confidently told me he could do it by himself, so I let him.”

The slight problem? There was a line, and their School of Life moment was slowing down people’s day.

“There are about ten self checkouts and one line for all the machines, so people don't line up behind individual machines,” she continued. “He was a lot slower than I would have been, but he managed to do it all with my supervision, even the produce. As we started to wheel away, a woman walked up and slammed her grocery basket on the counter. She said ‘thanks for doing that as slow as possible, asshole.’”

In the opinion of the original poster, the woman was out of line, not her.

“I thought that was incredibly rude and uncalled for. Some people are slower than others. It is what it is. There were several other machines being used and freed up, so we can't have made that big an impact on her wait time.”

Down in the comments people were divided over whether the mom was not considerate of other people’s time or whether the angry woman behind her in line should chill out and let the child learn how to weigh broccoli.

Many people thought that the store was too busy to have a child in control.

“You should have let your son help with a few items, not all of them, or taken him at a less busy time so you’re not inconveniencing others,” one of the most popular responses said. “Learning by doing is great, but there’s always a time and place for things.”

“My kid loves doing the self checkout, but I only have him help with scanning if it's busy (he's fastest at that) and I do the bagging and paying,” another said. “OP was being rude as hell.”

“Employees perceptive. The store isn't a preschool. The world doesn't revolve around you or your kid,” another wrote.

Over and over again, people stressed that it’s okay to take time for teaching moments — as long as you pick a time that doesn’t affect others.

One Redditor offered another example: “Imma teach my 15 year old to drive during rush hour in the city.”

Another person rightly pointed out that a lesson that was overlooked was self-awareness and considering other’s feelings before making choices.

“This was also a ‘learn by doing’ opportunity to teach him about being aware of your surroundings and considering others,” they wrote.

Another person added, “At a certain point, the ability to use a self-checkout is just common sense. Decency, empathy, compassion, social etiquette, etc (& the reactions you’ll get when you don’t use em) actually DO have to be taught.”

On the other hand, most everyone agreed that the woman who lost her temper was also out of line, especially since she swore in front of a kid who was just trying to learn something. And especially because sometimes you have to wait in line and some people are going to be slower than others.

“She had no business commenting. That’s what self check out means — we all do it at our own speed,” one person offered.

The final verdict? Everyone sucks here. The mom should have picked a better time and place to teach her son how self-checkouts work and the woman behind them should have controlled her outburst and been more patient.