No one wants their child misbehaving when they're out in public, But the best way to handle a mid-shop meltdown is probably not to tell your child the woman working behind the counter will punish him — then get angry when the shop assistance doesn't play along.
Explaining the situation on Reddit, a woman who works as a retail assistant said she was behind the counter when a mum and her young son came in to the store.
"He was screeching and throwing fits and touching everything, making messes," she said. "He was screeching so loud I could hear him plain as day when they were all the way in the back of our store.
"Having worked with kids this is annoying but it doesn't ruin my day. I just ignore it and get on with my job."
Until the mother of the wayward child roped the innocent shop assistant into a plan to discipline the boy.
The mother told the child the 'scary lady' would punish him. Admitting she looks 'unusual', the shop assistant was adamant she didn't look scary.
"I'm a rather large woman (height and weight) and our uniforms are all black so I also wear a black face mask," she explained in the post. "I also have hair dyed algae-green and wear violet-pink contact lenses.
"I could tell the little boy was now fearful of me and the mum just kept saying 'she's gonna get you and make you behave [and] she's gonna take you to the back-room and make you work if you keep grabbing things'."
The little boy looked at the shop assistant and went silent and looked scared - which upset her.
"I felt like she was using my non typical appearance and my position as a cashier to scare her son because she thought I was an acceptable target," she said.
"I don't want kids to be scared of me."
The shop assistant said she wanted to be a 'safe haven for kids in case they get lost or hurt' so she decided to comfort the boy.
"I told the little boy, 'don't worry, buddy, I'm not gonna get you. I'm really nice, I promise'," she explained. "I smiled at him, it seemed to make him feel better but he went right back to messing around."
The response was not what the boy's mother was after and she was furious, yelling at the shop assistant: "I just needed to calm him down, thanks for nothing."
"My manager asked me why the lady stormed off (was watching the cams) so I told him," she said. "He said it was bad customer service and I should have gone along with her.
"Was I an a--hole for not letting a customer make a villain out of me for a kid?"
Redditer's agreed that the woman didn't do anything wrong - and the mother was guilty of bad parenting.
"That is called terrible parenting," one person responded. "By telling a kid random people will hurt then is most likely going to lead to issues down the line."
"She's a bad parent," agreed another. "And your boss is an a--hole for wanting you to go along with her little charade."