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Bad experience? Me? What makes you think? - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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Bad experience? Me? What makes you think? [Mar. 28th, 2006|07:39 am]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |irritatedirritated]

Dear parents of the snot-nosed monstrosities you refer to as offspring:

The other people in the restaurant did not pay a premium for food and drink in order to be treated to the screaming and shouting of your brats. And unless you are picking up the tab for the entire room, the fact that you paid the same premium also does not give you license to inflict the behavior of your ill-mannered chimps on said patrons.

When you signed on for the parenting gig, part of the responsibility undertaken was socializing your spawn. Social skills do not magically appear in kids at a certain age. There's no vaccination for them. The burden is yours. Get that? Yours. There is no onus on greater society to endure high-pitched shrieks and items flung from from a nearby table, just because you decided to bump uglies without benefit of contraceptive. If your child is howling in its highchair, you have a societal obligation to get it the hell out of the room. That's going to disrupt your dining experience? Too fucking bad. You gave birth to the urchin. If you cannot control it, then you need to remove it. Believe me, the only reason people around you are not stabbing its - and your - eyes out with a fork is that they have manners.

And don't give me any bullshit about how you just can't make 4-year-old Susie or 3-year-old Ronnie behave. I am a parent, and I took my kids out from age 0. They were never permitted to disrupt the dining experiences of others, and by the time they were 2, they understood that there were behavior standards expected in restaurants. I'm not unique. We have friends with well-behaved children who are the same. And I once went to Red Robin with a group of 8 mothers and 19 children ages 9-0, and not one of them was disruptive of the dining experiences of others. (To the surprise and delight, sadly, of the staff - because they are regularly subjected to the likes of you, DNA-donor!)

Were my kids always perfect? No. Sometimes they were tired, bored, cranky. If they could not behave, I removed them from the room. This meant more than a few strolls up and down sidewalks, waiting for someone to signal us that the food had arrived. But that was okay. By keeping the experience pleasant for the kids, we assured that they did not come to hate dining out, and our lessons in teaching manners proceeded apace.

Did this mean that either I or my husband sometimes missed out on pre-meal conversation with our friends? Yes, yes it did. Tough!!! I had an obligation to the other diners not to ruin their experience. The onus was mine. There is a price to be paid for having kids, and it would be nice if you figured it out.

So let me reiterate. No one in the restaurant was charmed by the bellowing of your sprat. And everyone in the restaurant regards you as an appallingly bad parent, a boor, and possibly a sub-human. You've ruined their day, and the sad part is I know you don't even care.

If you don't know how to behave at any place classier than McDonalds, then just go to McDonalds. Not that they even deserve you, really.
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Comments:
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[User Picture]From: jfargo
2006-03-28 12:46 pm (UTC)
Hmm. Tempted to print this out and hand it out to some folks when I go out to a restaurant. Only problem with that is I'd have to make it clear it's not ~quite~ about me, as I don't have children....

Oh, and thank you.
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[User Picture]From: kathrynrose
2006-03-29 02:17 am (UTC)
HEH! I was thinking exactly the same thing.
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[User Picture]From: mycorethoughts
2006-03-28 12:51 pm (UTC)
Ye gods.

I remember going to a nice Chinese restaurant with my husband, sister, parents, and our daughter who was 13 months at the time. The patrons all looked and groaned when they saw us walk in with a young toddler.

She didn't make a peep the entire time, and when we got up to leave, one of the newer customers said to her table mate, "Look! There was a baby in here! I didn't even know!"

When my sons would decide to be asshats, I'd take them outside and whoop their butts. But most of the time, at least they were quiet.
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[User Picture]From: jfargo
2006-03-28 03:56 pm (UTC)
Yay for good parenting! :)
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[User Picture]From: gypsy_kitty
2006-03-28 12:55 pm (UTC)
Well said!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-03-28 01:52 pm (UTC)
I applaud you for your good sense.
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[User Picture]From: fortuna_juvat
2006-03-28 12:56 pm (UTC)
Ooh, how much would I love to print this out and leave it at a certain family member's doorstep.

Age 0: Awww wookithowcute he is!
Age 1: Everyone, look at my child!
Age 3: ...Wait, being a Mom means I can't go out to the bars every weekend, and have to take care of the kid 24/7?! This kinda sucks, I wish I didn't have to do that.

Kid's 3.5, with the language skills of a 2 year old, because "Reading to him is boring."

I honestly think that the reason some people have children these days is because babies are "cute", without much thought to how to parent after that, or even how they'd like their child to be when they're older.
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[User Picture]From: kmg_365
2006-03-28 01:21 pm (UTC)
I honestly think that the reason some people have children these days is because babies are "cute", without much thought to how to parent after that, or even how they'd like their child to be when they're older.

That and because they think it is what they are supposed to do:

1. Get married.
2. Get pets.
3. Get house.
4. Have kid number one.
5. Bitch about kid number one.
6. Have kid number two.
7. Bitch about juggling the schedules of kids one and two.

These types of parents are fairly easy to identify. They're the ones sipping their Starbucks in the mall, chatting it up with their friends, completely ignoring their kids who are running all over the place, sometimes 100+ yards away.
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[User Picture]From: mamaursula
2006-03-28 12:58 pm (UTC)
My daughter is very well behaved when we go out, but there were a couple times when I agreed to take her out against my better judgement (because my grandmother wanted us to all go out and Kate was sick). Those two events ended with us ordering food and leaving before the food arrived. My mother had to bring us our dinner in little boxes after they were finished. Never again will I take her out when I know she's not going to be alright.
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[User Picture]From: darthfox
2006-03-28 01:00 pm (UTC)
Tell it, sister.

I will, however, also note that any restaurant that refuses entry to an adult who isn't dressed properly is within its rights to ask an adult already inside to control his or her child. Of course the parents ought to take the initiative themselves; but people don't, as you observe, always do what they should. If a waiter or hostesses or manager is prepared to ask a (for example) drunk or otherwise disorderly patron to knock it off or leave the restaurant, the same waiter or hostess or manager should be willing to ask a parent to rein in a disruptive child.

I absolve the parents of nothing. The above just means you have two sets of people to be annoyed at. :-) Double your fun!
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[User Picture]From: jfargo
2006-03-28 01:39 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure that it should be just at restaurants that would refuse entry to an improperly dressed adult. I really think that ANY place that wants to be thought of as nice (there are a few really nice places out here where you can dress in jeans - the atmosphere, food and service are still amazing) is within its rights to say "I'm sorry, but you're being disruptive to other patrons, could you please do something about it?" As you said, if they would do that with a drunk patron, then the child situation shouldn't be any different.
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[User Picture]From: scriviner
2006-03-28 01:01 pm (UTC)
:: applauds! ::
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[User Picture]From: longtimegone
2006-03-28 01:13 pm (UTC)
*laughs*

AS someone who doesn't have children (but plans to!) and worked in the restaurant industry for 7 years, AMEN! my mother didn't tolerate rude behavior from us (I'm sure we did it, she just removed us), and I don't tolerate it from other people. Kids are hard and parenting is harder, but everyone can partake in a bit of consideration and personal responsibility.

As an aside, at my first restaurant, there was a girl of about three that was screaming all through dinner. Her mother, harried and angry, took her to the bathroom and not 5 minutes later, the brat came out SCREAMING to high heaven, pulls up her dress to reveal her lack of underwear, and throws herself on the floor to bang her arms and legs wildly while still shrieking. I was horrified that the parents didn't take her out again. We had customers leave over it!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-03-28 01:54 pm (UTC)
I would have asked them to leave. They might get angry and never come back? Good!
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[User Picture]From: ohhjuliet
2006-03-28 01:13 pm (UTC)
My older kids were always wonderful in restaurants, I could take them anywhere. They smiled, said please and thank you and never once raised their voices.

And then I had Kerrin.

I don't go out much anymore. ;)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-03-28 01:55 pm (UTC)
At least you know not to go out.
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[User Picture]From: kmg_365
2006-03-28 01:19 pm (UTC)
We had a similar experience while on vacation, except it wasn't at a restaurant. We were listening to "Thomas Jefferson" address the crowd over the state of the war (the year was 1779) and the imminent move of the capitol from Williamsburg to Richmond town.

About five minutes into his speech, two kids started wailing and whining. The father stood there dumbfounded while the mother was telling him to get them some food. This went on for about ten minutes. When they finally gave the kids food, their whimpering stopped for about a minute, then they started up again, shrieking and screaming.

This carried on for another five minutes before dumb and dumber decided to take them away. Meanwhile, those of us who were there to see the re-enactment (and who were close to the hellions and John and Jane Clueless) missed about 15 minutes of his speech.
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From: genuinechris
2006-03-28 01:34 pm (UTC)
5 years ago, I was working at the Olive garden, and the layout was a former mexican restaraunt with 6 tables to a room, and 2 servers per room. The rooms were on the small side, and so obviously one kid could really make some noise. After 20 minutes of an 8 year old runining the experience for literally 20 other people, and 2 patrons asking about it (in central ohio the people are nice, it was BAD. He was singing foul rap songs and the parents were LAUGING), I was tasked with asking the person to knock it off. IT wasn't my table.

I said, "The other patrons would be able to enjoy the experience a little more if your table was a little bit quieter."

This comment was enough. The dude lept up, and said, "If you shush my kid, I'll shush you forever." in a comic-book esque rage. Except, he wasn't a super villan and the close quarters of the table kept him from 'leaping,' and his ankles caught on his chair. He lunged forward and his wife tried to hold him back--he shrugged her off, and I yelled "Whoa, buddy!"

That got the attention of another server, who was a Marine that had seen combat duty in Somalia and Panama, and was going to Law School. The gentlman with the rowdy kid got covered in white sauce in his effort to attack me, but when faced with two people that were young and reasonably fit decided to sit back down. I said, "I think you better pay your check NOW, tip Rachel WELL, and leave NOW." He complied, saying he didn't wanna eat this shit anyway.

Jason--the ex marine--said, "Too bad the jerk was wearing a white shirt."

I was miffed that the patrons that saw this left me below average tips, anyway.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-03-28 01:58 pm (UTC)
Good grief. That's appalling. What a raging dick.
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[User Picture]From: crystalrowan
2006-03-28 01:42 pm (UTC)
Amen! I don't necessary feel it's my place to make the same kind of pronouncements being as I don't yet have children, so I'm REALLY glad you're saying it. :)

However, I will say that dining out was a BIG deal in our house (grew up military so we didn't have much money for going out very often) and it was made very, very clear to us that we would not act up and that if we did, we'd be taken outside, spanked, and then taken home and possibly lose the privelege of going out again for future dinners. :) Needless to say, we were well-behaved.
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[User Picture]From: storyinmypocket
2006-03-28 01:54 pm (UTC)
*applauds*

If the kid's yowling and screaming and throwing a fit, it's obvious said kid really didn't want to be there in the first place. So the people doing this are torturing themselves, their child, and the other diners, for the sake of a 'nice night out' that they can't properly enjoy. I fail to see the point.

And I firmly believe that kids should be allowed to make noise, have fun, and just be... kids. But there are times and places for the above, nice restaurants not being one of those places. And if a child's throwing a screaming fit in a public place, something is wrong, and the child should not be there, because isn't screaming pretty much accepted as a sign that things are Not Okay? The actual Not Okay thing might be that the parents in question have no idea how to communicate to their children how one behaves in a public place, but still. I'd imagine it's a parent's obligation to do something about it, even if they don't care about the people around them.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-03-28 02:01 pm (UTC)
There are kids who just think that it's okay, because they've never been taught otherwise. It infuriates me.
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From: sunfell
2006-03-28 01:56 pm (UTC)
I wish that there was some way to stick the parents with Lil' Screamers in nice restaurants with a bill for disrupting the meal. Make them pay a $20 "Screamer Surcharge".

They'd stick to McDonalds or Chuck E Cheese after that.

Dining out was a rare treat for me and my sister when we were kids in the late 60s and early 70s. There were two distinct worlds back then: Kids World and Grownups World. And the two rarely intersected. When my parents had a party, we were sent to our rooms. They liked to go out dancing- we got a baby sitter. We weren't dragged to places not meant for kids, and we weren't considered an accessory to 'drag -n- brag' about like today's kids are.

Kids were gradually introduced to adult priveleges, and earning one was a real treat. It isn't like that today. And I think that is what is wrong with a lot of our culture.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-03-28 02:02 pm (UTC)
My parents did some of the same, though we did get taken to dinner a lot. But there were plenty of babysitter or stay-with-Gramma nights.
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