A Restaurant Kid Tax or Ban? Sounds Good To Me!

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There's been recent buzz over a buffet restaurant in the UK that tacked on a three pound fee because a woman's baby stroller was taking up space. According to the London Evening Standard, another woman at the same restaurant was also charged a fee for her six month old.

Media backlash was so bad that the restaurant issued a formal apology on its website stating that "COSMO is a very family-friendly restaurant and we pride ourselves on making children and parents feel valued - which is why we serve thousands of families every single week. The Minimum Charge Policy is intended for toddlers who eat but not as much as a child. It was and never will be intended as a charge for Prams or for babies."

Remember the story of McDain's restaurant in Pennsylvania?  They made the Wall Street Journal when they decided to instate a six years and older age limit for children at their restaurant.

The other day one of my friends posed a question on Facebook. Apparently she had watched as a woman changed her baby's diaper in a restaurant booth. Is this normal behavior, she pondered?  Most said it was disgusting...but a few parents said "what are ya gonna do?"


While dining at one of my favorite restaurants in New York on a recent trip, my husband and I sat down to a very late lunch. A family came in - man, woman, child around five. The bored kid started throwing around stuffed animals. Mom would pick up the toy, and the child would do it again. This lasted a few minutes..until the toy hit me in the head. I walked over and told the parents they needed to curtail their kid. Their response was, "She's a child."

Just last weekend, I was at Schnebly's Redland Winery in South Miami-Dade. It's an annual tradition to go for a tasting and buy some fruit wine to send to folks up north - sort of an alcoholic version of sending oranges from Florida.  As we were halfway into our tasting, the woman next to us placed her five month-old infant on the bar. Like that was fine. A baby on a bar. Yesterday evening, I tripped on a stroller as I was leaving a restaurant at 10 p.m. What's a baby doing out at 10?

I'm tired of kids running around and screaming in restaurants and bars, kicking the back of my seat in an airplane, and generally ruining my day. And guess what? It's not the kid's fault -- it's the parents!

I don't even get why you would want to take a child to a fancy restaurant, anyway. The kids are bored (unless they're being occupied by some portable device -- usually without headphones), they don't like the food (ask a kid whether they want the foie gras or mac n' cheese), and they annoy everyone. Including the parents who usually have to either take the child out between bites or pretend to ignore the wailing and screaming because their $50 steak is getting cold and they're going to enjoy it, damn it!

I don't have kids. I do have dogs. And I take Harry out for the occasional beer -- at a dive bar. If he barks, he goes home. End of story. Wish parents of human children felt the same way.

I would like to see babies and children in a special soundproofed cabin in the back of an airplane, and I would totally love to see a surcharge added onto a restaurant for bringing your child. Maybe that would stop people from toting kids to restaurants altogether.

Don't think kids would ever be banned from restaurants and flights? That's what smokers said, too.

Look, I have nothing against your kid. But I don't want to see you breastfeed or change his diaper in a restaurant. I don't want my $100 meal interrupted by a beanie baby crashing into my skull, or my intimate conversation stifled by the wails of a distressed and bored toddler. If your child is too young to have manners, that's no excuse for you. Have the manners for him. And if neither of you can behave? Might I suggest Chuck E. Cheese.

Here's a video of a parent acting worse than his child. See what we mean?



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Schnebly Redland's Winery

30205 SW 217th Ave., Homestead, FL

Category: General

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28 comments
nick
nick

What people need is the notion of being considerate and not "I am entitled". If your child bothers others you have been inconsiderate. Unfortunately after a while of having parents not being considerate, people want the children gone because they are fed up.

Sanchez
Sanchez

"If someone is giving you diry looks and snide remarks because of your children -- maybe you should take into consideration that maybe something is amiss with your child's behavior or where your child is is inappropriate."

Or maybe you just act like a confident individual and ignore the whiny full-size babies who apparently believe they were came to the world via immaculate conception.

Kids are kids, they are not pint-size adults and they should not be expected to act like they are. If you can't deal with it it's not my problem.

Calhonees
Calhonees

Next time the moron behind you blows his horn repeatedly for you to move up a few feet in traffic, and you are two seconds from beating him with a tire iron, think of the poor slob in seat 12b trapped next to a screaming child in seat 12c. Better yet, how about you and the wife on date night trying to hear one another over the wails of that same child at the next table? Maybe parents should act as adults and give some thought to where they take their behaviorly challenged children. Just a thought. 

Sanchez
Sanchez

Nothing to pad blog views like bringing up kids in restaurants and airplanes. Where to start? Have you seen McDain's? That only qualifies as luxury dining in the boondocks. I would never bring a kid to The Forge or Prime 112, but even high end places (in price) can be welcoming for kids. My son has been enjoying Michael's Genuine almost as long as the place have been opened, for example. There's outdoor sitting, and indoors the dim is so loud you'll be hard pressed to hear the child next table. Besides, it's downright stupid to compare kids with smoking, a nasty and filthy habit that has direct consequences to the health of others.

I agree with Frodnesor; adults have bothered me much more both in restaurants and in airplanes. And whiny adults whinning about kids usually get put in their place. You are not alone in the world, while you are entitled to certain courtesies, the rest of us including parents are just as entitled. Rent a private room or a private jet if you can't stand a little discomfort.

Yak
Yak

Under certain circumstances children can be like second hand smoke. Need I say more?

Simplevalues
Simplevalues

A simple solution to this equation is thus: 

   A. If child is accompanying adult, go to a child friendly restaurant.

   B. If adult is without child, go wherever you want.

No brainer if the adult has common sense.

rolmas
rolmas

What a ridiculous article.  So kids should not be able to eat out or travel?  Are they allowed out of the house?  What if you were walking in deep thought and heard a pesky kid yelling outside?

I have a 6 year old (who eats much more than mac and cheese) and he has been going out to eat with me since he was a baby.  I don't tolerate bad behavior, and I even make him put the volume down on his iPad...

Who gives a $hit how much your meal cost.  If the meal would have been $50, would the behavior been any less annoying?

Allie
Allie

I have two kids, but I can totally see your point. For the most part I agree with you. When my husband and I get a sitter, the last thing I want to hear is someone else's kid. The only solution is for restaurant managers to grow a pair and ask the offending parties to behave or leave. That way those of us who have taught our children manners, aren't penalized.

Frodnesor
Frodnesor

Just about every incident of bad behavior I've seen by a child has been equaled by bad behavior of adults. I don't want my $100 meal interrupted by their inane tone-deaf prattle, their obnoxious drunken guffaws, their annoying tapping and shoving of the banquette, their grotesque plastic surgery disasters (which have provided a lot more cleavage display than breastfeeding in restaurants, though I suppose not all of it undesirable), either.

Rudeness is rudeness, at any age. But kids won't learn how to eat and behave in restaurants if they're not given the opportunity.

Smoking on airplanes (and in restaurants and bars) is a health issue. It's got nothing to do with how much you enjoy your flight.

There should be a tax on adult writers whining like babies over kids in restaurants.

PoopyDiaper
PoopyDiaper

Dinner at a nice place, yes, a fee because the kids should be left home with the babysitter.  Otherwise you are affecting others dining experiences.

Lunch?  Kids should be expected.

Laine Doss
Laine Doss

So allowing children to act like wild creatures of the forest is OK and we all have to deal when your child grabs at stuff at the market, screams a torturous wail at the restaurant, or kicks my seat on the plane?  If I can teach my dog to sit - you can teach your child basic manners. 

Laine Doss
Laine Doss

You're not entitiled to have your child have a temper tantrum during my dinner. Unless you're picking up the check.

nick
nick

Too clear for those without common sense, of which there are many.

Laine Doss
Laine Doss

Totally correct and a fabulous idea.

nick
nick

Sounds like one of the parents that ignore their kids behavior in a restaurant

Guest
Guest

Your 6-year-old has an iPad?

Laine Doss
Laine Doss

If the meal were a buck I still wouldn't want to hear a child screaming.

nick
nick

But then as we can see parents yell discrimination so it is much better to have a policy.

nick
nick

Sorry but I have very rarely been bothered by other adults in a nice quality restaurant. Me thinks you exaggerate way too much.

Laine Doss
Laine Doss

agree. though traditional power lunch places should obviously not be a child's playground.

nick
nick

Forget Sanchez, he is the reason that many restaurants are coming up with the policy of no kids.

Sanchez
Sanchez

Again, there's a difference between "wild creatures of the forest" and an accidental kick on a chair. The only examples you were able to come up with in your story are of such inconsequential nature --a stroller in the way, a stuffed toy that hit you by accident-- that it's obvious the only reason you don't seem to grasp the difference it's because of some irrational sense of entitlement and a disdain for kids in general. A normal person doesn't get fazed by those small things, much less compose a diatribe wishing for the banishment of a large part of the population to imaginary soundproof cabin sections and Chuck E' Cheese's. Perhaps you should consider something else than blogging, so you can afford a private jet and a private chef.

Sanchez
Sanchez

In a restaurant, what I'm entitled to or not it's up to the proprietor, not you.

Besides, you aren't talking about "temper tantrums" which are disruptive no doubt, but also not the usual and constant behavior of kids. You are talking about tripping on a stroller, a baby at a bar--which BTW, Schnebly's is not exactly an speakeasy, it's a plantation--and a stuffed animal that hit you by accident. There isn't exactly a conspiracy of kids to make you suffer.

It seems to me you are one of those people who just can't stand kids. You see a kid in a place you deem inappropriate, you start looking for reasons to dislike what the kid and the parents are doing. A kid may not be louder than an adult's loud conversation, or worse, being on the phone. A toy accidentally thrown at your head is not more annoying than a grown up knocking your chair by mistake. But because it's a kid you somehow believe it gives you permission to judge the parents. That's fine, but parents also have the right to patronize places they like and where they--and their money--are welcomed.If I went by the imaginary rules of people like you, I would have been condemned to a decade of family restaurants and no travel. Thanks, but no thanks. I don't let my kid run wild in restaurants or planes, but I'm also not intimidated by dirty looks or snide remarks. 

rolmas
rolmas

That is my point.  Rude behavior is rude behavior regardless of what your meal cost.  There was no need to add the cost of your meal.

nick
nick

If you are getting dirty looks it is not because your kids are behaving !!!!! You seem like one of those  "I am right" and to hell with the rest of you.

Laine Doss
Laine Doss

If someone is giving you diry looks and snide remarks because of your children -- maybe you should take into consideration that maybe something is amiss with your child's behavior or where your child is is inappropriate.

Laine Doss
Laine Doss

Yes, but when the dollar amount gets higher it generally means you're buying into the whole package...the food, the ambiance, the service - even the lighting, the wine list, the bathrooms, the candles, and the quality of the linens on the table come into play. So when a screaming child interrupts my gorgeous date night with my husband I am more pissed off and its exponentially more inappropriate than in, say, Chili's at 5:00 p.m.

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