Parents are the worst offenders, according to Lee. Raising a functional human is hard, and quite a few people would love to outsource the job. So if their snowflakes are rowdy and hard to handle, why not take them to a charity and make them dish out food to smelly people for an hour?
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"Can you guys please hurry up? Mom said I could get an Xbox after this."
"You get those people who want to 'scare straight' their kids by having them give homeless people meals for an hour at Christmas," says Lee. "I gently explain to them that our shifts are seven hours for completely valid reasons (mainly to prevent this sort of behavior) and that we can't have [people] under 16 volunteering with us for insurance reasons (some of our guests aren't allowed to be around young people, and my job is to help them, not some kid). On occasion, parents take offense to this, so I (less gently) explain that we aren't running a f*****g zoo."
Just to be clear -- after you drop off the children somewhere appropriate, please do go help at a place like this. It will be one of the most rewarding things you'll do during the holidays, and it's badly needed. But be prepared to devote a good chunk of the day to it. They don't want tourists, or people who just want a feel-good story to tell the next day at the office. And ...