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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

A Woman Driving Around Offering Her 13 Year Old Boy For Work Seems Wrong To Me; What Do You Think?


I don't like the fact that they crossed my snow covered icy driveway to go onto my porch and stick this note in my door.

I believe the boy is 12 1/2 or 13 and this may violate child labor laws. I do not want them to come back to my house.

I can not determine what town the telephone number represents, or if it is an unlisted cell phone.

The note they left says they want to help with shovelling.

I immediately went out and started up my snowblower and got the job done myself. I believe it would be a violation of child labor laws for an un-related child to use a snowblower on a non-farm residential property in the Town of Chester. Even if I am in error on child labor laws, this is innappropriate for this woman to drive around south eastern Vermont trying to put her young son out to work. That's my opinion.

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Seems GREAT to me

Shoveling is a great job for a 13 year old, just like mowing lawns. I wish we had more kids out offering to help. I bet there are many just sitting on couches twiddling their thumbs looking at screens that would be good at it.

Three cheers for the kids willing to do it, and for the moms and dads willing to help with transportation.

They even walked up over snow and ice to offer a phone number? That's determination!

Do 10 houses at $20 a pop and you've made some good, honest spending money. (Under the table and tax free, no less!) Do it for five snow storms and you've made $1000.

Send them to Cedar Street.

 
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A long and honorable history

Kids have been going door to door offering to shovel snow for decades . My brothers did it in the 40s and 50s when the going rate was .50. My kids did it in the 80s - it's a great way for teens or preteens to make a little spending money and help out their neighbors. I don't imagine this boy was offering to use your snowblower but to actually clear your snow using a shovel.
We would be better off as a country if more kids were willing to be proactive and willing to do physical labor. It builds character and a strong work ethic.

 
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Shoulda come to my house

I would have been glad to pay the kid to clear my driveway.

 
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No problem?

I have no problem with a kid offering to shovel walks, I did it myself when I was a kid. It was a great source of extra spending money.

However, the presence of the mom disturbs me. What role does she play in the activity? Where is she when the kid is shoveling? Who gets to keep the money?

I don't think my mother even knew what I was doing.

 
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It seems people, even

It seems people, even neighbors, aren't in a trustworthy atmosphere for a kid to feel comfortable going door to door as they were back in the early 70's when I grew up and when I put my snow shovel to work for a little spending green ($5- $10 a driveway & paths), so I can see a parent's apprehension these days of allowing solo long treks out into snow storms even though a shovel is a pretty good enough yard tool/line of defense if trouble came, especially when pumped up from shoveling.

But back then it was gratifying after pitching all that infinite white matter into mounds to hit ground zero and to experience a fair way to exchange labor for providing a paid, handy service without being taxed at the young age of 9 and 10 yrs. Kind of like all the work that goes into producing a little maple syrup from all that sap, the end product is divine and you own it!

I think kids need to become detached from the allure of modern SM devices long enough to fill their lungs with fresh Vermont air and works some muscles other than those of texting digits and show a little responsibility. How many kids have come by your house to offer a shoveling service, I've had one in 18 yrs here in Brattleboro, too bad it used to be a competitive field back in the day and there is still a need I'm sure as long as the snow flys?

 
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What's her role? She's

What's her role? She's providing transportation for her child so that he's not walking on ice covered roads and so she knows which houses he's going to. There is nothing troubling or suspicious about that. Maybe she runs a couple of errands while he's shoveling or maybe she waits in her car with a cup of coffee and checks her emails.
It doesn't make sense to complain about the potential dangers of a kid knocking on people's doors and then be suspicious when his parent accompanies him on his travels.
If my kids were going beyond our immediate neighborhood seeking shoveling jobs I would damn sure want to know what houses they were going to.

 
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Ridiculous

There is nothing wrong in teaching a kid to be industrious and help them earn money. This isn't "child labor" FFS.

 
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Time to crack down, I suppose

I shall ask all neighborhood lemonade stands to show me their business license and other paperwork from now on.

 
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Homeowners are becoming much

Unfortunately, homeowners are becoming much too paranoid about the possibility of being sued and the unexpected course it could take if somebody slips on ice and suffers a minor injury on their property and wants to make them financially accountable, even if it's no worse than the many bumps we may suffer on any given day we just rub off or treat ourselves, it can easily be blown out of proportion.

This may hold true even if the odds are highly unlikely an injury would occur to an agile, coordinated kid with rubber ankles and quick reflexes in a puffy cushioning jacket and a plastic shovel if planted to catch the potential fall and who at the same time may even be unaware of the concept and what's involved in actually suing someone in the first place, but his/her mother does. Even if the snow shoveler intentions are only earnest just to shovel and head to the next paying customer hopefully suffering no worse for wear and in better physical shape, maybe even having fun with a buddy.

This "Beware" atmosphere we live in wouldn't have anything to do with and explain our now instinctive reaction to all the grave exploitation of ambulance chasing lawyers lurking out there as determined opportunists, would it? Especially when they encourage this kind hot pursuit and recourse to go sue happy with the incentive of a questionable, ulterior motive, money on the line, and thereafter coaching to ramp up a feigned, over reactive demonstration to gain retribution, possibly sympathy for the "victim", who fell down, would it now?

What are we trying to protect ourselves from honestly when it comes to waving off the passing storm hire of the snow shoveling kid?

Possibly spared from a would be ring of drive by Moms who put to work their indentured (14 hrs days), purposely under dressed against the elements kid with tread-less, slip sneakers set up for the big fall and handed a loose handled, bent and rusted, jagged metal, snow shovel to better the chance at bonified tax free, price gouging cash payout of an injury lawsuit. All the while, Mom idles in the comfort of the heated family wagon, or later after taking a few laps around the block to scheme, threatens each owner that snow will surely be put back where it naturally landed unless an additional 20% tipping fee is met. I guess it's possible and we have heard of worse warped behavior happening with more frequency these days it seems.

It would be better if it was understood, the law of the land in a perfect world, or at least a given and agreed upon general consensus of immunity of fault by all to promise to be careful, take precautions on others properties, that's all, and if you don't it's your own dam fault or go at your own risk or don't go at all. Don't take the owner to task for negligence for your misfortune so we aren't put in the position to constantly second guess the snow shoveler risk avoiding other young entrepreneurs to come. Apart from the suspicious Mother figure, I would welcome the path shoveler to make sure I'm not sued by the US Postal System delivering mail for leaving pathway conditions somewhat hazardous with ice, or then again UPS or the owner could sue the kid for doing an inadequate job and causing injury to the Gas guy, there's no end, let it go.

I mean really, has it come down to a kid going door to door to shovel for pocket change now has to sign a liability release form and show proof of a cleared physical to shovel walkways for an elderly neighbor. Or for that matter, is it necessary for Trick or Treaters to have their candy lab tested for tampering while sorting candy in separate bags with source address labels stuck on them for future evidence, what a world we live in now if this is where we're headed?

I'm glad I'm not a kid growing up these days as such freedoms perish and feel for those who are missing out in finding some form of independence in this respect away from Mom's watchful eye when venturing out on their own for an afternoon to do good(profitable) work for those who should welcome it. This paranoia just breeds more and more mutually exclusive confinement and distance, a result of the trials of mistrust forcing further limitations on our social interaction among our neighbors alike when we should be offering a helping hand without such misgivings, contrived complications, regrets or snagstrings attached.

 
 #

"I'm glad I'm not a kid growing up these days"

Grown-ups gave me a book when I was about 10 or so that had hundreds of ways for kids to earn some extra cash. Car washing, lawn work, mowing lawns, raking, shoveling, lemonade stands, baked goods, crafts, babysitting, picking up bottles for return, having a carnival, hosting a haunted house in the basement, and so on. If I recall correctly, it also had some basic info about money, making change, and saving, too.

I recall riding my bike or walking all over town, by myself or with friends. I visited one kid in junior high that was way across town... probably the equivalent of walking from the high school to Exit 3. I had to go by the state prison to get there. Never a problem.

I think you are right that we all had more freedom and independence as kids. We should work to get that back for future generations. Inject a little more danger and uncertainty. It builds character!

 
 #

It's easier to shelter your

It's easier to shelter your children to reduce the chance they may find themselves in scary situations they had not intended to confront. Life is all about survival so the more experience you have out there in the real world the better, even though there are so many more people on our planet these days with a greater probability of coming across someone who is deranged or poses a threat trying to crush or intrude upon our personal space in a bad and uncomfortable way.

You used to call them weirdos or perverts, maybe you still do, but that is too general of a term considering the ever expanding variety and intensity of troubled people out and about that crave to use you up.
Like you, I thought nothing of treking miles on my own as a kid, sometime without a destination. My mother trusted my judgement in good faith and I earned her overall respect and confidence always calling her to let her know where I was and when I would be here and there. But things have changed and we don't live in that world anymore with all it's encroaching, self destructive ails, take it or leave it, so take a buddy or go the open road with a group of friends if you are an adolescent and let parents know of your whereabouts, yes a definite loss of innocence for us all and absolute pity.

 
 #

Exaggerated suspicion

I agree that the world is a much scarier place than it used to be but in this case the boy's mother was accompanying him in his
quest to earn a little money and maybe help somebody out in the process.
The exaggerated suspicion and paranoia over a child showing some initiative and- Oh my God! - actually leaving a note with contact information is what's really wrong in this scenario.

 

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