I keep seeing children in supermarkets. Today it was the Scouts.
Not running about, but standing by the checkouts. They don't get in my way. They ask me politely if they can help me pack my bag and I say politely no I'm much better off doing it myself and they leave me to it and everyone is happy.
And I'm sure that some people are happy to have help packing their bags and it saves the cashier's time, and by knock-on, everyone's (except the children of course).
And I don't mind the Scouts being helpful, it's a voluntary organisation and they've always done it and it raises money for charity (they had other Scouts with large buckets). That's what the Scouts can choose to do. I still don't think it's much, y'know, fun, but hey.
But there has been a worrying trend, which is children in (smart) school uniform. There were some yesterday in Marks and Spencer and some the other day in Morrisons. In order:
What are these kids doing on December 23 in school uniform standing around in Marks and Spencer? If the term has finished, as I suspect it has, why have they been dragged out to the supermarket when they should be out playing (or inside playing, maybe, or playing with their phones at least)? (If it is the last day of term, it's not a very thrilling one. Teachers all run out of things to do?) Give them a break.
I was more concerned the other week. That was a Friday in term-time (unless the term finished very early, in which case the following arguments still mostly apply.)
Is it a good use of students' time to be spent standing around in supermarkets in preference to, ooh I don't know, take a random idea, being in lessons LEARNING stuff?
I didn't ask why they were doing it, I had to get on (and in truth I only thought about it properly later). I can't think of an answer I'd be happy with.
Were they raising money, for charity, or even worse, for their school? Not their job. That's for adults.
Is it some kind of PSE initiative to learn about money raising, about public service, volunteering? It seems at best desperately inefficient if it's not even counter-productive (who would want to repeat the experience?) I can't imagine what they got out of the experience. After 10 minutes, I think anyone would have got whatever point there was.
Is it about the new thing of "being responsible citizens"? Per-lease. Even I can't make a case for how that would work. Or "building links with the community". I'm struggling here, to find any reason.
Maybe it was so the teachers could do some Christmas shopping while they were there. Well at least something got done. Badly, and at a disproportionate cost, but something. Actually that seems to be the answer that makes the most sense and maximises usefulness of the activity.
If the children volunteered or "volunteered" then don't let them. If they weren't volunteers that's even worse.
Get the kids back in school.