Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Great Aberdeen Childcare Dilemma

Back in 2004, when we xpanded and moved into our present bridal shop, we started offering childcare during receptions in the "old" shop. As a mom, I knew how hard it was to take young children to a wedding, and also how difficult it was to find sitters, particularly when I was out of town. My thought was that people would LOVE having a place where their children could play and be supervised by responsible adults, in a room adjacent to the ballroom. I THOUGHT it would be huge!
Well yes, many folks thought it was a really good idea too, the problem was that they didn't bother to mention it to anyone that was attending the reception. So I would pay gals to sit in the childcare room waiting for some little customers, and nobody would take advantage of it! Even when I would go around and mention it to people, they were reluctant to leave their children in the childcare room. I think this was because they just didn't have time to process the idea sufficiently. They really needed to know about it in advance so that they could think it through and realize that it might be really great for their kids and for them both.
So we thought, ok,we need to provide some sort of encouragement to clients to mention it to their guests in advance, and encourage them to use the childcare room. I didn't have a problem paying staff to be in there IF it was being used, but paying them to do nothing was really becoming annoying! So we said, ok, we'll charge what it costs us for the first two hours, which came to about $90, to use the childcare room. If the kids were using it, we would pay for the rest of the evening, and if they weren't, then we would send the gals home.
Well, that hasn't worked either. Now what happens is that even though some weddings have had 10 or 15 children running all over the place, they didn't want to pay the $90 to have childcare! We have had childcare, on average, roughly once every 2 months this year. The saddest part is that we have had SO many weddings where they SHOULD have had childcare, but they haven't wanted it! Go figure!
Unfortunately it's very difficult to get good people to staff the childcare room when it is that infrequent. It's a lot of space to devote to something that is hardly used. It's just become very apparent that it isn't a feasible thing to do.
So unfortunately, I have no choice but to admit defeat and say goodbye to childcare. I have to admit that I was wrong (oh BOY! that is REALLY hard to do!!!) and cut my losses.
I don't know for sure what we are going to use that space for at this point. We've been kicking around some ideas but haven't really firmly decided on anything yet. We need to have that room available for garden weddings in order to have a place to sequester the wedding party before the ceremony, so it will need to be something that still gives us access to the space.
If anyone has any thoughts about this, I would be happy to hear them. My apologies to those few people who, like me, thought this was a great idea. I'm sorry that we won't be able to offer childcare for your receptions.
I do know that our insurance man will be thrilled by this decision! I thought he would have a heart attack on the spot when I told him we were planning to offer childcare! So at least HE will be happy!
I'll keep you posted (no pun intended haha) on what develops with that space. In the meantime, if you have any ideas or input on possible future uses, let me know!! I'm sure there is probably something I'm not thinking of that would be fabulous!


Anonymous said...

great place for shoes -- especially for difficult to find sizes
What's also great is that it is free shipping to and free shipping for returns. I've purchased SEVERAL pairs of shoes from this website as well as returned several pairs of shoes with no problems.

Kathryn said...

Sad ... very sad! I thought it was a great idea too.

strwberrryjoy said...

I think the childcare is a nice idea in theory, but now having a 2 year old, I would NEVER leave her with someone I didn't know extremely well. And I definately wouldn't leave her in a nursery at some random church or wedding venue because I'm a paranoid! But then you get the other kind of mom that doesn't care if their child is running around causing mayhem. So I think the target audience of the in-between group is likely to arrange for a sitter in their hotel or with local family if they are comfortable with that. Just my 2 cents! Maybe you could offer numbers of local sitters who could come to their hotel room after the dinner or something to babysit. I'm not sure I'd want a stranger sitting one-on-one with my kid either, but just an idea. Maria