Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dear parents of the world:

"People who force their toddlers on others in enclosed public spaces like fine restaurants (and airplanes) are even more selfish than those who insist on talking on cell phones in such places,"
I am very happy that you have successfully managed to swim upstream and spawn. It is the efforts of you, and those like you, that ensure that the human race will continue on this globe, at least for the next threescore and ten. Were it not for people like you, I wouldn't be here.

Further, I understand that you cannot get a sitter every time you need groceries, and that it is occasionally necessary to transport your sprog by airplane, bus, or train; to visit grandma, for example.

However, when I am enjoying my rare solo steak dinner in a moderately classy dead cow eatery, and your loin fruit is performing her air raid siren impersonation while doing a Jimmy Lee Sudduth with her mashed potatoes on the tablecloth, it kinda harshes my mellow, you know?

Look, I like children. I earned my book money in high school by babysitting children. I enjoy seeing children in public places. But there are places that grownups sometimes want to go and enjoy an absence of children. Movie theaters that aren't showing Shrek, for instance. When I pay money to go sit in the dark and watch grownup people act out grownup situations in grownup ways, I don't appreciate doing so to the accompaniment of ululations from a peanut gallery too young to grasp the concept of "inside voice".

I understand you couldn't get a sitter and that this is the only night the two of you could tear away to Steakhouse L'expensif and the 8:15 showing of Robin Hood, but that's not the rest of society's problem, okay? You should have thought about that before you laid off the Ortho-Novum.

Perhaps we could come up with some societally agreed-upon rules of thumb. For instance, if a restaurant has any two of the four following:
  1. Table coverings made of actual cloth that are not checkered.
  2. Candles on the tables that do not require batteries.
  3. An average entree price over, say, twenty bucks.
  4. Some faux foreign word in the name.
...then you must be this tall to ride, okay?

55 comments:

Marko said...

Since mine were born, I've been to a sit-down type restaurant exactly twice. That's not only because I don't want to bother the other guests with Kiddie Dinnertime Escapades, but also because I don't enjoy spending $30 per head on a meal and having to pay attention to the kids for the duration.

Call it 50% consideration, 50% selfishness...but bringing the kids along means the outing isn't relaxing anymore. I don't really get parents who drag their sprogs to Chez Tartare with them. Chicken fingers are a lot cheaper when you buy them frozen at the grocery store, and your steak tastes much better when you don't have to pay attention to your kids while eating.

skidmark said...

When of that age the family ate every meal in a restaurant. There were occasions when I was taken outside to the sidewalk to wait for my self control to return. The same happened to my child - including on her 15th birthday!

On more than one occasion I have offered cash money well in excess of what the family's total bill was if they would remove themselves to the sidewalk seating or otherwise vacate the establishment for the duration of the child's tantrum. Once my efforts not only resulted in the removal of the offending child but the management comping my meal - apparently they "wanted to" ask them to leave, even if only temporarily but were afraid to do so.

IMNSHO allowing your child to offend others, when you can merely inconvenience yourself for a short while by taking said child out, is a reflection on your upbringing, as well as a missed opportunity to teach the child what used to be called "manners" but nowadays may well be basic survival skills (just sayin', know what I mean?).

stay safe.

Eric said...

We don't let our daughter throw fits/tantrums/etc anywhere. We could be at a nice steakhouse or McDonalds, doesn't matter. One of us will take her to the car and most restaurants, when they see what you are doing, will get you your meal to go.

That said, I'm not going to not take my daughter out to restaurants to so you can have relaxing time with your steak. I can have fish sticks at home with my daughter, as suggested, as well as you can cook your steak at home and relax there. I will do my best not to offend you or disturb you but I'm not raising my daughter in a bubble.

Anonymous said...

Amen, fromthe parent gallery.

There are moments when despite the best laid plans of parents it all goes to hell. But in general and ounce of prevention & politeness should avoid this.

Especially "in transit", there's something about trips in cars, aircraft, buses and trains that will make even the most angelic sprog suddenly flip out.

Libertarian, Except When In Inconveniences Me said...

Why, there ought to be a law!

In the absence of legislation, the free market will decide whose business is valued more. And the free market is always right.

Instead of telling other people what they "must" do, the lesser-valued customers can take their business elsewhere. That's the capitalist way.

Andrew said...

Cthulhu knows I love ya, Tam, but you're wrong here.

We rail against "Zomg guns on the street!" thinking, because we know that it's not the tool, it's the person carrying it, that determines whether it will be used for good or ill.

Regarding all children as meal-disturbing shrieking machines is as closed-minded as regarding all gun-carriers as criminals.

Your problem should be with the rudeness of parents bringing children who have not learned manners, or failing to deal with children who have forgotten them.

Discriminating against fellow diners based merely on age is about as silly as doing so on the basis of height.

Politeness and rudeness come in all ages and sizes.

WV: cinju -- well, yeah, I like bacon. A lot.

Mikee said...

When my first child was a wee toddler, my wife and I (and the kid) went to a local Greek restaurant - a nice one. The meal went well, until just before dessert was served. The kid had decided he had sat in the high chair long enough, and started to squirm, and talk louder, and get ready for a tantrum.

The waitress saw this, and suddenly an elderly lady appeared, who in a lovely Greek accent asked if she might be allowed to take our son to another table to have his dessert with her. She explained that she was the owner, or the wife of the owner, and the mother/grandmother of everyone working there, and that she loved children.

Well, she took our son to a table across the room, near the kitchen door, and gave him something made of philo and honey and nuts, and let him play with some silverware, while she had coffee and asked him questions. He was enchanted and behaved like a perfect gentleman with her.

We had our dessert, and coffee, and left perhaps the biggest tip of our lives for the waitress.

There is more than one way to skin a cat.

perlhaqr said...

Skidmark: When of that age the family ate every meal in a restaurant. There were occasions when I was taken outside to the sidewalk to wait for my self control to return. The same happened to my child - including on her 15th birthday!

From this particular childless adult, Thank You. It's how my father raised me (parents were married, but it was really my dad who was the one who wouldn't stand for public displays of temper) and how I'd love it if more parents raised theirs.

I met up with some friends in Denver once after an all day drive at an Ethiopian place. The hippie twit mother at the table next to ours was letting her children literally run in circles around their table, shrieking.

I was tempted to get up and join them in an attempt to demonstrate how inappropriate this behaviour was, but, well, didn't.

Probably should have moved my party to the Ethiopian place up the street, though. Oh well. Still, WTF, people. In what society is this acceptable public behaviour?

Gay_Cynic said...

1) Simply because you've reproduced does not give you a right to inflict your temporarily or permanently dysfunctional minor children upon the rest of us. If you can't keep them under control either keep them home or remove them when dysfunction begins.

2) I favor a non-discriminatory $100 per incident disruption fee applied to the bill of the offending party, regardless of the age of the misbehaving party.

3) I also favor honoring private property rights. If, for whatever reason, a business owner finds ANY persons presence a net detriment...toss them into the outer darkness, and/or disinvite further returns.

4) I find that loudly commenting on the utter lack of consideration and parenting skills of the offending parties to be occasionally useful.

5) I'm presently on the lookout for a private club where hippies, small children, and idiots are barred.

Nathan said...

"Regarding all children as meal-disturbing shrieking machines is as closed-minded as regarding all gun-carriers as criminals."

Untrue; one of these is not like the other. All children ARE meal-disturbing shrieking machines on one level or another.

Even children whom I love as if they were my own fit that description.

Bad enough I have to put up with them at Hardees or Pizza Hut. If you go fine dining, get a babysitter.

Or a gag and a length of rope.

RevolverRob said...

I have long felt that restaurants should have a "family" and "no family" section. Nothing sucks worse than going to a restaurant with a date and being seated next to the family with three screaming kids. I've told the hostess to sit us somewhere else, we will wait.

I personally, would go to a restaurant that had a "no family" section regularly. Actually, I do, that's why I tend to go to sports bar oriented places, to be honest. But I would love it if I could go anywhere.

Unfortunately, this will never happen, because lots of folks would scream "they hate children, they hate children!". When the reality is they want what's best for their clients.

FWIW, a local theater here will NOT let anyone with children under the age of 8 go to any movie after 4pm. They have a specific day as well, where they offer discounts to families for attending movies. I really love the theater, because not only do they serve real food and adult beverages, but they also, will throw out any, ANY, person who disrupts the film. Child, parents, cellphone, talker, yeller, anyone. You get one warning and then they will pause the movie and publically (and embarassingly) eject you from the theater.

-Rob

Divemedic said...

So to those who think children should be permitted to shriek in your ear whilst eating:

EVERY child is disruptive to some extent or another. There are the one who run around the restaurant uncontrolled, the ones who cry and shriek, and the ones who loudly laugh and play.

There are also the parents who show up to a bar, and then lean over and ask me to watch my language, because there are children present. In a bar.

@Libertarian, Except When In Inconveniences Me:

SO you think only the market should decide? So it is OK for me to go to Chucky Cheese and begin sex education classes? Or loudly describing how the wife and I like to "do it"? Or do you think that there is a time and a place for everything?

TJP said...

I haven't completely forgotten what it was like to be a toddler. The children are crying because they're bored out of their little minds and don't want to be there. I know it's tough to be a parent, but if you make the kids an accessory to your life, they're going to end up dull.


Divemedic:

Don't worry about that troll. Society is poisoned by people who don't understand the difference between social norms and the force of law. In their minds, anyone who comes along and makes the slightest complaint must be demanding a legislature do something about it.

Buck said...

The only problem with your post Tam is that it will not be read by the parents who aren't teaching manners.

Eric said...

If a child is allowed to shriek, scream, and misbehave at home, at inappropriate times, they will do the same when not at home.

From Gay_Cynic:

2) I favor a non-discriminatory $100 per incident disruption fee applied to the bill of the offending party, regardless of the age of the misbehaving party.

I agree, fully. So when the drunks are loudly commenting on my wifes attributes, they are hit in the wallet, since taking them outside gets me arrested or put in the hospital. And this happens more than my daughter misbehaving in public.

We do not take her to bars or dance halls or any such place. We get a babysitter for those nights. When the babysitter cancels, we don't go. If a restaurant had a no kids after time, we would go before time or not go that day, or whatever. But again, I'm not going to shelter my daughter so as not to offend your sensibilities but I will make every reasonable accommodation so you are not disturbed.

Anonymous said...

So by your two-out-of-four criteria I guess chez charles (aka chuckie cheese) with that $25 pizza is out...

Joking of course. But you know, I don't recall any of my three children ever misbehaving so as to disrupt others meals, movies, etc.

I don't know whether that is attributable to loving discipline and training at home or the fact that with one income and three kids, dinner and movie out usually meant hot dogs at the drive-in movie; both I think.

What I do know is that I would trade all the over-priced meals at places with fake French names that I might consume for the rest of my life for just one more hot dog at the drive-in with my babies.

AT

GeorgeAtl said...

Back in the day, when I was a little tyke, I had to demonstrate that I could behave in public before I was allowed to go to a restaurant with my parents....But that was back in the 50's when parents were still parents instead of trying to be the offsprings friends!!

I'll never forget the look I got from the hostess the first time when she asked "smoking or non?" and I replied, "Non-Children!!"

Tam said...

Anonymouse 10:11,

"Why, there ought to be a law!"

New here, eh? I didn't even so much as hint at the implication that this might even possibly be the business of any lawmaker, so I'd cordially invite you to get good and bent.



Andrew,

"Regarding all children as meal-disturbing shrieking machines..."

Which I do not. If your child is disturbing no one, then they are not a problem, no? I would think this was self-evident.


Eric,

"That said, I'm not going to not take my daughter out to restaurants to so you can have relaxing time with your steak."

I smoke outside so as to avoid disturbing your meal; I can see that courtesy is not always reciprocated.

DaddyBear said...

I agree with Tam that there are certain settings where small children should not be present for the enjoyment of others, such as bars, theaters showing grown-up films, or really nice restaurants. I have 4 kids, and I have always been sensitive to keeping them from intruding on someone else's fun.

It all comes down to manners. If you are taking a normally well-behaved child out to dinner in a nice restaurant, you should know that your best case scenario is to get through dinner and be out the door before the ankle biter gets bored or tired and starts to annoy anyone within earshot. Don't linger over dessert, don't order something that will take half an hour to fix, and don't be surprised if the people around you start giving you the evil eye when little Johnny starts shrieking his aria.

If you're in the middle of dinner and your child starts melting down, pick him up and head outside until he calms down. If he doesn't, ask your dinner companion to get the rest of your meal to go and enjoy it at home.

On the flip side, if the table next to you has children, please don't expect them to sit silently. There's a reason most restaurants give kids their own menu and some crayons. Kids like to have something to do, and they will make some noise doing it. While they should never be allowed to be destructive or disruptive, they will make noises, talk in a voice that hasn't been trained for volume control, and otherwise try to entertain themselves. Sometimes the parents can keep it down to a dull roar, sometimes not. If the parents are doing all the right things, give them a moment to decide whether or not to take the kid out of the situation. Well-mannered parents will eventually take the disruptor out and you can go back to your steak. If they don't, then please take this parent's apology for those of us who weren't raised right, and aren't raising their own kids right.

Phillip said...

Hmm... I've been through something with my 4 year old recently that can show how I deal with it, and the way I HOPE most responsible parents deal with children in restaurants.

My wife and I went out to Cracker Barrel, an admittedly family style eatery, and brought our son along. He was rather well behaved for the most part, but at one point he bit his tongue which resulted in a rather loud crying jag. Hey, he's four, when he's hurt he cries. I picked him up and took him outside and sat on a rocker with him. In a couple of minutes his crying subsided and we talked, and he said he was ready to go back in. We went back in and finished our meal without causing more disruption than necessary to the other patrons.

When I take children anywhere, I like to make sure it is a place that accepts children. The high end for myself when it involves kids is someplace like Outback Steakhouse. A couple of weeks ago my wife and I were invited to a Sushi place, and arranged a sitter for the children. We also get a sitter to go to the movies or to some other 'adult' place.

Like everything in life, it requires balance and a little thought. And if a person walks up to me in Bob Evans and tells me I need to take my kids outside because they just don't like kids, even though they're behaving, then I'd say the problem is with that person, not with the kids.

Anon said...

By and far this isn't a problem with the establishments...the problem is parents who are too self absorbed to sit down with eachother and decide if their little crotchfruit has the maturity to dine at a classy resturaunt without acting up. But everyone has kids who are just sooo fucking special that no place is too good...

I don't know if this ever happens anymore...but once upon a time some people were capable of rasing their kids to act right at such places.

But by far; most all young kids apreciate chicken fingers and coloring books anyway. Fine dining is way to stuffy and boring to anyone under the age of puberty.

But (speaking from the perspective of a childless 18 year old) I'd like to see more adult-oriented places at least have an adults only time. There are some places where people just shouldn't have to pander to children.

Matt G said...

I went and had tacos and drinks with my old college roommate and his family the other night. The joint was popular, but not swanky. (It was a taco shop that sold a middlin' selection of decent beers in frosted glasses. My pint was Negra Modelo.) He and his boss, who had accompanied us, had brought their kids. For the most part, they played at their table together, watching videos on iPhones and playing with specially-downloaded kids' apps.

But then the 7 year-old daughter didn't like her tacos. The papas fritas looked nasty. She didn't like her coke. She wanted brownies. Where's the bathroom. Daddy, I said that I want your iPhone back (accompanied by a punch to his arm, to get his attention, while he was talking to grownups.). My friend Bill's wife was trying to get her to eat this, that, or the other, because the girl was soooo hungry, and hadn't eaten anything yet. When the friend went to stand in line to get the girl a plain, unseasoned chicken taco with no cheese, my friend's wife said "I just can't bear to see a child not eat. She needs a hug." The girl's original plate was untouched, sitting cold on her table.

I ventured that the girl needed a sound whipping, and that my daughters know that they could eat it or not; if it wasn't attempted, it would constitute the exclusive menu for their next three meals.

The thing is, I actually liked my friend's boss, and would likely be willing to be friends with him, but for that whole issue of publicly letting a 7 year old girl make him her bitch. Where else are his priorities screwed up?

Life is too short.

Cond0010 said...

ROLFMAO

Tam,

This is as close to 'Thermonuclear Snark' as I have seen. Very funny!

Boy I sure hope I never get in your flame crosshairs: I'd prolly get singed so bad I'd look like I had mange.

Here's something I found at Uncle Jays (posts alot of funny stuff as you know). Enjoy!

http://n2.nabble.com/file/n4095620/sign15_1526551i.jpg

Food for thought, wouldn't you say? =)

Too bad many restaurants and movie theatres do not have a sign like this.

Have a nice day!

Eric said...

**Eric,

"That said, I'm not going to not take my daughter out to restaurants to so you can have relaxing time with your steak."

I smoke outside so as to avoid disturbing your meal; I can see that courtesy is not always reciprocated.**

I would rather have you smoke than have adults drinking near my wife and making the comments they usually do.

Maybe our points are crossed because I'm not sure I would go to the places you eat anyway. The fanciest we do is http://www.fourwindssteakhouse.com/

Other than that, we go to places like Chili's, or Texas Roadhouse. (those are the only chain types, most of the places we go are local only)

LabRat said...

I don't really see what's a difficult distinction to see in the original post about "kids in public are fine, kids who aren't disturbing anyone are fine, kids being extremely disruptive in settings where adult behavior should be expected to be standard while their parents ignore them are not fine".

The record-setter for me was a meal in a Brazilian-style grill, caipirinhas and all, where the family completely ignored their three sub-ten children literally racing through the restaurant using unoccupied chairs and tables as gymnastic props. Feet on chairs, on tables, jumping from place to place.

I also remember an article, though not clearly enough to dig it up, about a restaurant that DID initiate a ban on younger kids. It was extremely popular with the majority of their clientele, but the screaming from exactly the parents it was aimed at was epic.

Anonymous said...

Yep, it's a real PITA to have to suggest to some keepers that if they don't know how to control their little animals I would be happy to make suggestions...
emdfl

John A said...

Earlier today I read an article that was not complaining about noise, but strollers and such. A particular example was the parent who did not want to fold up the stroller on a bus because it was a bit difficult to do. Which I understand and even sympathise, but I would nonetheless be in favor of restricting such to the back, not blocking aisles at the front.

And it has been a while since I have been to a "classy" restaurant, but there were numerous complaints about strollers and carriages in the restaurant. Is this common now?

Anonymous said...

Jesus, Tam: you get better with time. You're an inspiration to all us curmudgeons. You rock, woman.

TC
Leatherneck

phigmeta said...

Eric said, "That said, I'm not going to not take my daughter out to restaurants to so you can have relaxing time with your steak. I can have fish sticks at home with my daughter, as suggested, as well as you can cook your steak at home and relax there. I will do my best not to offend you or disturb you but I'm not raising my daughter in a bubble."

Let me try this on for size.

"That said, I'm not not going to put out my smoke in a restaurants to so you can have relaxing time with your steak and breath fresh air. I can have my smoke at home, as suggested, as well as you can cook your steak at home and breath there. I will do my best not to offend you or disturb you but I'm not smoking out in the cold just so your kids can have fresh air."

Hmmm i kind of sound like an ASS!!!


hmmmmm....

Eric said...

"That said, I'm not not going to put out my smoke in a restaurants to so you can have relaxing time with your steak and breath fresh air. I can have my smoke at home, as suggested, as well as you can cook your steak at home and breath there. I will do my best not to offend you or disturb you but I'm not smoking out in the cold just so your kids can have fresh air."

You want to smoke and the restaurant allows it, go for it. Hell, sit at my table, I'll even let you bum one from me and use my lighter. If I don't like it, I won't go there. Free market and all. Isn't that what this is all about? Or only if it's convenient and doesn't offend your sensibilities? Or is your money somehow better than mine in some way?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm i kind of sound like an ASS!!!

Indeed. One full of FAIL, to boot. His kid will likely grow up to be a productive citizen one day. Your cigarette won't.

Tam said...

"His kid will likely grow up to be a productive citizen one day."

The cigarette will be out of everyone's way in ten minutes, and doesn't require me to be a good role model (although I endeavor to be one by taking it outside.)

Would that everyone put as much thought and effort into child rearing as I do into smoking.

(Bringing your kids into a bar and complaining booze and smoke would be like me going to Chuck E. Cheese and bitching that the constant shrieking of rug rats was screwing up my ski-ball game.)

Zendo Deb said...

Used to be you could be sure that the brats wouldn't show up at bar/grill, where undesirables might be getting drunk.

No more.

I guess I need to find a seedier raft of restaurants. (That was one good thing about living in a college town, you could be sure the socialites wouldn't bring their offspring to the coffeehouses run by the goth patrol.)

Tam said...

Eric,

"If I don't like it, I won't go there. Free market and all. Isn't that what this is all about?"

Bravo. Thank you. :)

Anonymous said...

Would that everyone put as much thought and effort into child rearing as I do into smoking.

Fair point, but you weren't so much the one at whom the comment was aimed. There are those who do put that much thought into it, and I'd guess Eric's kid's behavior shows him to be one of them. Supposing that's the case, why should he have to suffer for the misdeeds of those who don't raise their kids to behave in public?

Eric said...

I suppose I should add this to everything. I am trying to raise my daughter so she will be like Tam, my wife or any of the other women I admire.

Free to do what she wants that she is cable of doing without burdening anyone else with restrictions. Free to learn. To love to read, to appreciate music. To enjoy museums more than what is on TV. So far, its working. Then again, she is only 2.

We take her to the local gunshop, she "works" with the gunsmiths and handles/touches everything in there (with supervision). But the owner is a friend of mine and they ALL love her and love to have her there.

We go to museums and not just the kids ones. The docents are happy to see us when we show up. She doesn't run free but stays right by our sides.

When we go to the park, I'm close by or playing with her but we run and pretend and play and it is appropriate to do, there or at home in the backyard.

I don't abide kids running free in stores or restaurants and do not keep my mouth shut about it. If my daughter, at 2, can behave in public, then your 5/6/7/8/9 etc year old can too.

WV - stlede - unknown saint of parents with well behaved kids

Divemedic said...

Or only if it's convenient and doesn't offend your sensibilities? Or is your money somehow better than mine in some way?

So if your children are acting out, all I have to do is drop my trousers and you will leave? Or comment on your wife's breastworks? Or does that offend your sensibilities and inconvenience you?

The point is, using Libertarianism as an excuse to get away with offensive behavior doesn't work. Your right to swing your fist ends where it connects with my nose.

Your right to raise spoiled brats into spoiled, adult-sized children ends at my right to enjoy a meal without interruption.

No one is saying that you can't enjoy as meal with the kids, what we are saying is that I respect your rights, you respect mine.

Tam said...

"If my daughter, at 2, can behave in public, then your 5/6/7/8/9 etc year old can too."

Not to mention various 25/36/47/58/69 year-olds, but that's been the subject of many another post here. ;)

Heath said...

Point out that parents can be inconsiderate assholes regarding their offspring, get dozens of idiots making it known they're an exception.

Many of you have missed the point, it's an issue of courtesy.


Keep your spawn at home if you can't control them...

Lergnom said...

A couple of years ago, there was a series called, IIRC, 'War against the Brat'. A Chicago restaurant banned children under a certain age. The expected eruptions occurred.
Discrimination. Boycott. Lawsuit.
Most of the regulars appreciated it. I can't find it on the web, so I don't know if the restaurant caved. I hope not.
The closest I got was http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/11/13/earlyshow/contributors/susankoeppen/main2175337.shtml

Roberta X said...

I have found the answer!

Eric said...

Dive Medic,

The original post started out that way, about unruly kids, but that's not how it ended. It ended with a request for 4 new rules and if any of the 2 were met, I couldn't eat there with my daughter

You are going to see exceptions to the norm, and a majority of them are going to be found reading blogs like Tam's, or Lawdog's or Marko's. I made my comment because the original post excluded EVERYONE with kids based on requirements that had nothing to do with decorum and all about qualifications that Chuck E. Cheeses and Denny's do not match.

Les Jones said...

True that some parents don't control their small children well. True, too, that they're small children and we don't and shouldn't expect the same conduct from them that we do from adults, ministrations from their parents withstanding or not.

When all of us were snot-nosed kids there were adults putting up with our nonsense. Part of being a grownup is showing the same grace for those future adults who are snot-nosed little kids now.

Bram said...

I like well-behaved kids and despise the parents of poorly behaved kids.

My kids' each tried it a couple of times in public. A quick trip to the car showed them the error of their ways.

I can assure you that my kids would in no way spoil your steak dinner.

Tam said...

Eric,

"The original post started out that way, about unruly kids, but that's not how it ended. It ended with a request for 4 new rules..."

You might have noticed that I sometimes wax hyperbolic for humor's sake.

And besides, I was referring not to rules like "It shall be unlawful in the State of _____ to..." but rather rules like "Don't wear white before Easter."

Hecate said...

Let's not forget the people who bring infants to restaurants without due diligence. Last weekend's entertainment included the baby spitting up on the floor, and the parents oblivious to the eewww de dirty diaper that we could smell quite clearly from the next table.

I don't care if it was Mother's Day, that's just not acceptable.

phigmeta said...

You want to smoke and the restaurant allows it, go for it. Hell, sit at my table, I'll even let you bum one from me and use my lighter. If I don't like it, I won't go there. Free market and all. Isn't that what this is all about? Or only if it's convenient and doesn't offend your sensibilities? Or is your money somehow better than mine in some way?


Gosh that's easy to say when you smoke... but see if your a non-smoker that would be problematic....

now bring your kids over here and let me blow smoke in their face.

BTW smoking is banned indoors in Seattle .... does that mean we can ban children too?

And yes ... likely my money is better than yours.

reflectoscope said...

Movie theaters that aren't showing Shrek, for instance.

I'd include movies that are playing Shrek, that movie was totally wasted on kids.

As for their presence in restaurants, I dearly adore the local place that doesn't permit minors, because I then have the choice.

I don't mind well-behaved kids being kids, and I'll cut the young ones slack on flights in pressurized aircraft.

As for the screaming children and the people they grow up to be, all I can say is that there are no bad regiments, only bad colonels.

Jim

Kristopher said...

Andrew: People have every right to discriminate.

And you have a right to discriminate against discriminators.

Midwest Chick said...

Mr. B had to say something to a teen who had a quite loud text message indicator sitting one table over. He asked the kid to either turn it off or down (it was every 15-30 seconds) and the mother turned and said quite indignantly "why don't you have kids of your own so you can parent them?" To which Mr. B replied: "if you'd parent them, I wouldn't have to."

LabRat said...

Am I the only one that sees nothing wrong with the idea of different expected social standards for different settings? I quite happily accept the idea that family-style restaurants are meant for families and will be filled with kids. If I like the food I also accept the idea that what we jokingly refer to as the Babies' Union (the entity that exists to make sure each shift is filled with at least one infant guaranteed to fuss loudly without cease until the meal is over) is going to be out in full force there. That's what the place exists for- to fill a market niche that consists at least in part of parents looking for a reasonably priced meal, that will be served before the kids reach Terminal Boredom Meltdown, where they won't get the stinkeye for bringing their kids.

Likewise, in establishments broadly known as "fine dining", the social standard is adult- the idea is that the meal is meant to last well beyond the tolerance capacities of young children. There will be three courses including dessert and coffee, eaten slowly because at those prices you damn well intend to savor it. It exists to serve an entirely different market, one that is willing to pay exorbitant amounts to enjoy their meal including atmosphere- which should not include children too young to have a volume setting installed yet.

It's not an issue of who's a good parent and who isn't, or whether children are acceptable in polite society, but of different social rules for different settings- or what they ideally should be.

Phillip said...

Dang, LabRat said it so much better than I did. I may be opinionated and outspoken, but that's why LabRat & Stingray have a blog and I don't.

reflectoscope said...

Am I the only one that sees nothing wrong with the idea of different expected social standards for different settings?

No. Well put, too.

Jim

Anonymous said...

Surprised my kids will even use a public restroom, they got a few spankings in them when they got out of line. Didn't take long until, "Do we need to go to the bathroom," generated instant good behavior. Ex-sister-in-law was single; had rules for parents with kids, and old, or slow drivers. They couldn't be out during 7-9 am, 12 to 1 pm, or 4 to 6 pm, couldn't grocery shop after 5:00 pm or on weekends and more I can't remember. Hilarious when she went into her rant, but a lot of truth.

Will said...

As a kid, my sisters and I (and cousins) were instructed that "children should be seen, and not heard".

I have a vague recollection of hearing (a time or two) a proprietor of an establishment inform a husband that his family was to leave and not return. It appeared to me that this was a severe rebuke of the family, judging by the reactions and comments of the onlookers. I gathered that your families reputation could precede you to the extent of being preemptively banned from public functions if your children were not well behaved. How times have changed!

For the past twenty-thirty years, I frequently encountered parents (almost always the mother) who totally ignored their rampaging offspring in public venues. I quickly learned not to bring this to her attention, as it invariably brought forth a momma bear sort of response, no matter how I approached the subject. If possible, I would mention the reason to management as I took my money out the door.

From observation, it appears that the unmannered kids tend to turn into the punks that cause society so much trouble. Plus, they don't seem to appreciate that lack of controls or limits that was shown them as kids, since they also tend to not care much for those parents when they reach adulthood. Sort of a 'reap what you sow', or unintended consequences, payback, eh?