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What Would You Do if You Saw a Child Licking All the Sauce Dispensers in a Cafe?

That’s right folks. We’re asking all the big questions here at Mums Lounge today! What would you do if you saw a child licking all the sauce dispensers in a very busy cafe, other than throw up in your mouth a little bit and possibly never eat sauce from a public dispenser ever again?

After purchasing a hot dog for her husband and herself, one woman found herself in this unexpected situation at her local Costco. Rather than approach the family or the child, she opted to take up her concerns with the staff in the hopes that they could replace the dispensers with unlicked ones or clean the ones that were out before other unsuspecting customers popped a serving a saliva on their hot chips.

I went to Costco and bought a hotdog for myself and my husband. After waiting in line, I went to the sauce dispensers to get some mustard. I saw a child licking her fingers, eating the sauce off them, and then proceeding to wipe them on the sauce dispensers (where the sauce comes out), repeating the same thing several times with all three sauce dispensers.

I decided not to confront the child or say anything to her family to avoid causing drama and embarrassing the child. Instead, I told the staff about the incident. A staff member came out and asked who did it, and I pointed at the child. Probably should’ve kept quiet, but oh well.


The staff member confronted the family, which was a big group with two women and their children of various ages. The child who did this was about 6-7 years old (I saw her licking everything around her and even her mother asked her to stop). The family then confronted me, asking why I didn’t tell them directly and went straight to the staff. I politely explained that my concern was food safety and that’s all, so I wasn’t looking to confront anyone.

They didn’t believe me, said I must hate children, and spent the next few minutes talking over me and not letting me put a word in. I reiterated that my concern was only food safety and that I don’t want other people’s saliva in my sauces. The staff member then told them they could easily check the CCTV, which seemed to calm the family down.

I’m still frustrated due to the whole incident. I hate arguing with people in public and wonder if I am in the wrong here. AITA?

Edit1: just wanted to highlight that I told staff to get them to clean the dispensers, that was the reason.

Reddit commenters were quick to point out that whilst she had done the right thing in informing staff, the staff member handled the entire situation very poorly.

NTA the staff needed to know so that they could clean the dispensers.

It’s also not your job to parent that child or to confront the parents, you did the right thing.

I’m also curious as to why the parents knew that it was you that reported this? The staff should’ve handled this very discreetly so that nobody knew who it was that reported their child, that would’ve saved a confrontation altogether. (ScoobaChick28)


NTA, but the Costco employee handled this very poorly. They should have been much more discreet, and when the family asked “who complained” the employee should NOT have pointed you out. What was the employee hoping to achieve by doing this? They apparently didn’t have enough common sense to realize that this was going to lead to a confrontation instead of keeping things calm. The ONLY reason the family would ask “who complained” is because they want to confront that person. Having that information serves no other purpose and doesn’t actually change the fact of the situation at all.

When the family asked who complained the employee should have said something like it doesn’t matter, it’s a health issue or no one complained we observed your child licking the dispensers or something like that. It’s the employees job to deal with the family and clean the dispensers, not yours. (anbaric26)

Considering the fact that one of the mothers had told the child to stop doing it at least once, it was pretty obvious that she had no intentions of making sure that the dispensers were sanitised for other customers in the café, and would have likely walked off and left them when they had finished eating.

NTA. If you confronted the family they would have been mad at you and grabbed the child and walked off. You did the right thing, because I don’t want to eat some child’s germy saliva. That just makes me sick that families won’t watch their children and stop them from doing something that disgusting. Thank you for speaking up! (Less_Ordinary_8516)



NTA. Telling the staff means the sauce dispensers will be cleaned. Telling the parents means they’ll pretend it never happened. (sfzen)

Could’ve said I didn’t tell you because I heard you tell her to stop licking everything and she didn’t! So what bloody use would that have done? And since you already told her to stop and are aware of the issue, shouldn’t YOU have told the staff they needed replaced? Just because you don’t take food hygiene seriously doesn’t mean other staff won’t. (Bakedk9lassie)

The combative approach to her by the two woman was likely fuelled by the fact that they felt their parenting skills were being called into question publicly. Rather than choosing to deal with it quietly, talk to their child about why they shouldn’t do that and apologise to the staff for the inconvenience they tried to redirect their humiliation onto OP.

NTA, they should’ve been watching and disciplining their child. Not even my 3 year old would do that and he licks the front door after he wipes banana on it. (Still working on that 🤦🏻‍♀️)

It’s honestly terrible that you can’t even trust something public to be safe against contamination from irresponsible people. Thank you for stepping up and talking to the employee, if nothing else it might prompt better sanitization standards and more oversight for health and cleanliness.

I doubt the family will learn anything from this, but who knows. Being publicly shamed for bad behavior can do wonders sometimes. (sexywallposter)


They were called out and didn’t want to take responsibility. “My or my child’s actions aren’t the problem, you noticing the actions are the problem. How dare you expect human decency from us?”

Tell them directly? Why? So they can tell you they already told the child to stop? They should have told the child to stop AND taken the affected bottles to the staff to be sanitized because they know that’s gross.

NTA (Raedriann)

What would you have done in this situation, and more importantly, will you ever eat sauce again?

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Jolene enjoys writing, sharing and connecting with other like-minded women online – it also gives her the perfect excuse to ignore Mount-Washmore until it threatens to bury her family in an avalanche of Skylander T-shirts and Frozen Pyjama pants. (No one ever knows where the matching top is!) Likes: Reading, cooking, sketching, dancing (preferably with a Sav Blanc in one hand), social media, and sitting down on a toilet seat that one of her children hasn’t dripped, splashed or sprayed on. Dislikes: Writing pretentious crap about herself in online bio’s and refereeing arguments amongst her offspring.

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