Saturday, January 27, 2007

Do You Have A Screaming Preference?

Well, today was take 2 of our trip to the Olive Garden.

Today we arrived at just the right time, and only had a few minutes to wait for our table, and this was only because we specifically requested a table in the non-smoking section. (Yes, I know I’m a smoker, but Sunny isn’t…and if you can’t wait until the meal is over to light up, you have serious problems.)

So we sat down to eat.

“You know,” I began, trying to be heard over the screaming infant in the booth next to ours, “the first person to open a restaurant that refuses entry to anyone under 10 years of age is going to be a rich man.”

“What?” Said Sunny. “I can’t hear you over that screaming baby!”

Seriously parents, if your child is too young to understand that screaming at the top of its lungs, or running around the tables throwing breadsticks at anything that moves is a bad thing, they don’t belong in a restaurant.

I don’t want to sound like an asshole about this. I know you deserve to eat out as well, but invest in a babysitter. It’s selfish. Oh, and before you break out the old chestnut “I pay for my meal and I’ve as much right to be here as you.” Bear in mind that everyone else in the restaurant, the people who want a quiet, intimate dinner for two and didn’t order a side of screaming baby with their bottle of Chablis also have a right to be there…and they outnumber you.

At least take them to McDonalds or KFC. Basic rule of thumb, if the cutlery isn’t made of plastic, the glasses are made of actual glass and you require more than a single fork to eat your meal, your kids don’t belong there.

We talked about this for a while.

The problem is, if you ban kids from restaurants, what’s the cut off age? I mean, you have to be fair.

Then there’s the problem of penalizing well behaved kids and parents who actually parent, because of the people who will sit there and completely fail to act when Little Timmy is screaming the place down and flicking peas at the hostess.

Then it struck me.

I’m a smoker. I’m not allowed to smoke anywhere in the restaurant for the ‘comfort of the other patrons’.

If I want to smoke in a restaurant, I have to go to a specific area where I won’t bother anyone else.

Why not do the same for the screaming kids?

I mean picture it:

You walk into a restaurant.

“Welcome to the Olive Garden.” Says the hostess with a smile. “Do you have a smoking preference?”

“None smoking, please.” You reply.

“Screaming or non-screaming?”

“Oh, definitely non-screaming please.”

“Ok, if you’d care to take a seat, we’ll have a table for you in a few minutes.”

You sit down, then with that all too familiar sinking feeling, you see the next customers walk through the door. Mom and Dad are carrying a baby each. One is already screaming blue murder, and the other is patiently whacking Mom over the head with her rattle.

However, leaping into action, the hostess swoops, welcomes the new-comers with a smile, before spiriting them away to the soundproofed section at the back of the restaurant that’s surrounded by a full five inches of bullet-proof glass.

As the door to the screaming section opens, you’re hit with a momentary cacophony of noise, before the door closes behind them. A ballistic breakstick slams noiselessly against the glass, while the parents in the screaming section happily tune it out, as they always do.

Don’t lie, you know you want this system in place by the time you go out for your next meal.


OzzyC said...

What if it's the kids who are well-behaved and the adults are screaming?

Sunny said...

Well, you know my feelings on the subject- I agree 100,000%.

I would leave my kids home with their Grandparents when they were babies and toddlers-the grands were happy to have them for a few hours and i was glad to remember what it was like to be an ADULT having an enjoyable evening. but in the meantime-at HOME- I was teaching my kids how to behave in a public setting- of ANY kind. My boys went to the COUNTRY-CLUB for the first time with me and their stepfather when they were only 4 & 5 years old.
And they didn't scream, argue, cry or even spill or break anything.
I take pride in the fact that when we would go to those Siolcerware, crystal/glass and cloth napkin, eateries, patrons would stop by our table on the way out and comment on our childrens polite and respectable manners- all the while glancing at the tables where the Screaming Demons were.

The only fly in the ointment I see to your idea, sweetie, is that no one actually thinks THEIR child should be seated in the Screaming Demons section of ANYWHERE. Of course, that means that they wouldn'nt be patronizing the eatery that DOES have one so it would be an adult only environment anyway in which case the adul;ts who want peace and quiet would win anyway!

And as to Ozzy's question- when adults are the ones screaming- management asks them to leave anyway- at least, thats what SHOULD happen- and if management doesnt ask them to leave- they shouldn't be in bussiness long.

Sunny said...

damn- SILVERWARE should be the word that is there in place of the indecipherable one in the LONG 2nd Paragraph of the preceeding comment.

Why I comment on blogs before my first cup of coffee is beyond me- I can't see- let alone spell before caffine.


manda said...

no I disagree. many parents do believe THEIR child is a troublemaker, especially at a young age. I hate those people... my mom told me about this little girl who was running around a clothing store taking off all the price tags, and she's like THEY'RE MY TICKETS. and her mother was off doing something else.

I whole-heartedly believe that my nephews are AWFUL, and I will not take them anywhere. One time we went to Ruby Tuesday's and no matter what any of us said or did, they were still running around screaming. They're a bit better now, but they still don't understand the concept of well-behaved. And even if you try to make deals with them, like if you behave you get to stay up late tonight, they'll agree, but quickly forget it. Not all children are the same, and even if the parent DOES parent, it doesn't mean the child will be well-behaved. It's not fair to blame the parents.

What if you're on vacation and you have a few little kids and no where else to eat? what are they supposed to do then?

Saffyre said...

I agree entirly!

Screaming children are a pain in the ass. They are the reason I hate doing my grocery shopping. It has reached a point where I will wear my iPod at scary decibel level just so I don't have to hear the brats. Oh and the parents who insist on screeching like banshees, and cussing like sailors at their offspring....well, it's obvious why these children need a good wallop!