Doug Dunlop's 11 year old, Lego-obsessed son is a frequent customer at the Lego store in Calgary's Chinook Mall, where he spends his odd-job savings on new materials -- until this week, when the Lego store management had the mall's security take him into custody.
When Dunlop arrived to pick up his son, the manager revealed the store's secret policy banning children under 12 from shopping on their own. Dunlop asked why this policy wasn't posted and the manager said, "It should be obvious to any good parent that children under 12 shouldn’t be in a store unattended. We have the policy for child safety reasons." When asked why the policy was in place, the manager said "If I have to explain THAT to you, then you shouldn't be a parent.”
The mall-ninja in attendance muttered darkly about the mall's frequent child abductions. When asked for the actual number of abductions from the mall, he had no answer.
I started taking myself to hobby stores and bookstores when I was about 10, to buy books, D&D supplies, and games.
I spoke to the security guard who told me that the Lego store required a parent to be with any child 12 or under. He stated that it was Lego store policy and that he was just enforcing it.
I then followed the guard to the manager, and asked him why he would call security on my son. He stated that for safety reasons, no child under 12 could be left unattended in the store. I explained that I had not left him unattended — he had arrived at the store on his own, as a customer. I happened to be meeting him there afterward, but only because we wanted to meet for lunch.
I asked what scenario made the Lego store so unsafe that an 11.5 year old needed a chaperon? He replied, “If I have to explain THAT to you, then you shouldn’t be a parent.”
The security guard then piped in and started making a claim that child abductions from the mall were a frequent event — which is a lie. I cut him off and asked, “How many child abductions have taken place here in the mall?”
I questioned why the age policy was not posted at the front of the store and the manger responded once again with, “It should be obvious to any good parent that children under 12 shouldn’t be in a store unattended. We have the policy for child safety reasons. Your son is welcome in the store, but we ask that you accompany him whenever he is here.”
Lego Store Detains Boy, 11, for Being Too Young To Shop Alone