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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rules for parents who dine with children in restaurants

I remember when I was little and how my parents would sometimes go out for dinner. Did my younger brother and I get to go? No. We got to stay with a babysitter. Am I upset about this? No.

It seems to be the trend in Atlanta these days for parents to take their kids everywhere. Now, I mean everywhere. When I was young, I can't recall spending countless evenings running wild in a smoke-filled tavern. Soon, there will be an entire generation of adults who grew up in just such a situation.

I personally feel that if a dining establishment caters to children then sure, they should be a more than welcome addition to the social scene. Unfortunately, today's parents seem ready and willing to abuse every conceivable restaurant and speakeasy with the presence of their undisciplined children. What is even stranger is that I rarely see children anymore at the places I got to visit with my parents as a child, mainly your standard run of the mill fast food establishments...

Its not that I don't like kids, its just that I don't like "your" kids is the term that comes to mind. Your children are your special gift from god and other people may not perceive them as a welcome addition to their dining experience. Having children does not mean that you can impose their bad behavior onto unsuspecting strangers in public. In order to bring some clarity to my personal expectations on this topic, I will now post a series of rules that parents should follow when taking their children into a sit down type of restaurant.

Rule # 1.

Make your children sit at the table at all times. They are a liability and an accident waiting to happen if they encounter ceramic plate and brittle glassware laden waitstaff.

Rule #2.

If your kids are screaming, crying, moaning, or otherwise disturbing other diners with their unique brand of sound, please remove them from the premises in a swift and courteous manner.

Rule #3.

If it is past 9:00p, Do not bring your children, infants, toddlers, into a restaurant. Period. If the school play, soccer game, ballet lessons, or piano recital runs late? Please utilize a drive through.

Rule #4.

If your kids are wearing Heelys (aka-rolling shoes), Do not even think about setting foot into a busy restaurant.

Rule #5

Accompany the children on all trips away from the table. Children should not be left unattended in public restrooms.

Rule #6

Call the restaurant you wish to visit ahead of time to see if they are indeed kid friendly. Many places as though they appear tolerant of children on the surface are not actually amused to see your gaggle of kids even show up at their establishment. Take the little league team to Dairy Queen and not over the closest 4 star restaurant.

Rule #7

Servers only make around $2 an hour plus tips here in the state of Georgia. In many cases your server will be the person left behind to clean up the Cheerios, paper, french fries, ketchup, and half chewed chicken tenders that your beautiful child sprayed under, over, and around your table. Please compensate this person in a fair a meaningful way. This translates as more than 15% tip. Way more.

Rule #8

If you are the type of person that refuses to discipline your child and feels that its your god given right to take your child anywhere anytime you please because you are spending your hard earned money, remember that the other guests of the restaurant are entitled to a pleasant meal as they too are spending their money on not just a meal but an experience. Do not be selfish and rude, when in doubt hire a baby sitter.

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