Saturday, August 10, 2013

No Kids After 7pm!

A few months back, I remember Mom and I walked into a restaurant to have dinner. They sat us in a cozy booth while there were other people waiting to be seated as well. Our area was empty and I was pretty happy with that because we would be enjoying a nice quiet dinner...until a family of five were seated right behind me. They had three kids with them, maybe from 1-4 years of age, wasn't sure. While sipping my wine, I noticed that it was very quiet behind me. I said to Mom, "Wow, not what I expected. They're quiet!" Mom shot me a look and giggled. "What?" I asked. She said, "That's the one thing you have to learn about kids. They only cry when they're done with their food and want to go home." I didn't care - it was just a guesstimation so I blew it off. Not even seconds after the waiter grabbed their half finished plates, I heard blood curdling screams inches away from my head. One kid slouched over my bench, looking right at us, screaming and punching the seat. The mother did absolutely nothing to control him. The waiter had to ask if she could ask her child to not 'do that'. It's not the kids who are at fault - it's the parents and the lack of discipline. These days, spankings are "bad" and just the thought of reprimanding your child in public is seen as "abusive". When I was younger and my parents took me out to a nice restaurant, which they did every single Friday night --- I knew, that without a doubt, if I got out of hand, my father would just snap me one look, bite his lower lip and made sure I knew I was in for something when I got home. And mind you, he was never, ever abusive, but he did put the fear of God in me. He was more 'growl' than bark - which was good because I never knew if I would receive the bark, or perhaps the bite! But it worked. We were well behaved little ducklings.

This morning, while watching the news, I was so excited to hear that there are some restaurants who have a "no kids after 7pm" rule. And get this --- they're getting MORE business because of this rule. Do you know, sometimes I won't go into one of my favorite restaurants before 7pm in fear that there will be screaming kids? You can't even hear yourself talk, no less enjoy your dinner and drinks. In an article written by Hillary Dixler, it states, "Lorraine MacDuff, owner of the Rainy Day Caffe in Lake Stevens, Washington, caused a major stir by posting a photo of the cafe's floor covered in crumbs to Facebook with the message: 'Like to take a moment to thank our customers with small children whose kids don't make a mess. A couple of ladies came in today and this is the mess their children made.' One of those ladies, military mom Kellea Poore, explained to King 5 that MacDuff was angry because the carpets had just been cleaned. Poore claims she was asked not to bring her children back again, then a few hours later found the Facebook post. Apparently the children had been eating scones. Since the incident happened, the story has been picked up by national news organizations including NBC. Rainy Day Caffe took down the photo, but posted an apology which has roughly 2,000 comments on it. The apology says: 'I want to apologize for posting that picture. It was not right to do that and I am deeply sorry for any embarrassment it might have caused anyone.' Commenter opinions are mixed about whether MacDuff was right to post the picture, but in a radio interview yesterday with Kiro Radio, MacDuff said she's been receiving threatening emails with messages like 'I hope you die in your sleep.' While she regrets posting the photo to Facebook, she stands by her decision to call out the moms for making a mess in her restaurant and for letting their kids be noisy: 'We are kid oriented, but we are not oriented to people who let their kids act out.' MacDuff is not the only restaurant owner struggling with how to deal with children in their restaurant. One Houston restaurant recently banned kids after 7 p.m."

Most people applaud Lorraine MacDuff for doing what she did and standing up to parents who have absolutely zero control over their little ones. You can visit her Facebook page to see the tons of support she gets from customers to waitresses and waiters who know what it's like dealing with this sort of thing. I realize I have no kids, but I know that without a doubt, if I had a child who was uncontrollable in public and threw tantrums or just couldn't conduct themselves calmly in a restaurant, I would get a babysitter so I can have a peaceful time out and not have to be yelling at them to stop or worse off, having a waitress or owner of the restaurant do it for me. How humiliating. Another thing that I cringe over, is when patrons bring in kids and sit them at the bar. Not only is this disturbing, but it's not legal. I saw the bartender walk over to the guy who had his eight year old son sitting next to him say, "I'm sorry sir, kids aren't allowed to be seated at the bar." And even though he was quiet and well behaved, the guy made a big stink, "Well, he's not acting out or bothering anybody else, is he?" And he looked over my way to get an answer. I said, "I don't think it's appropriate." He left the restaurant instead of moving to another table where kids were allowed. Believe me, I am not anti-kid --- I just think parents should have better discretion over where and when to take their kids to a public dining establishment. And a big ABSOLUTE NO to kids sitting at a bar. Call me "kidless" or call me "not experienced with children", but I call it inappropriate parenting.

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