“If only all restaurants did this…”
That’s what was typed on the receipt a couple received after dining with their three children at a small restaurant in Washington.
“The photo was uploaded to Reddit” and The Huffington Post picked up on it, speculating on why the children were so well-behaved. “In this instance, we wonder how much coloring was done before the meal? Were there iPhones at the table? Did they get all-you-can-eat buttered pasta from the first moment of the meal? Was there any food on the floor at the end at all?”
Yes. As a parent who shuns dining out with my children at all costs because it’s more work than pleasure, I too wondered how the children were well-behaved enough to earn their parents a discount. Many other Reddit and Huffington Post readers pondered the same thing. However, since The Huffington Post wrote about it more information has come out on the original Reddit thread. The mom who actually received the discount left the following comment elaborating on the circumstances surrounding the discount:
“This was me and my family. I didn’t know this picture had been posted until today, so I’m here to fill you all in. My family (me, husband, 2 year old, 3 year old and 8 year old) went out to dinner Friday evening at a small restaurant in Poulsbo, WA. We enjoyed a fabulous dinner sans crayons, ipods, and other toys. We appreciate conversing with one another over dinner and always use our dinners out to catch up and do just that. I worked in the restaurant industry prior to having kids and so have high expectations of my children when we are out to eat. We never arrive starving and always tip well. I encourage all parents to take their kids out to eat so they know how to do so. This kind of reward was not expected and probably not something they do regularly. Frankly, it is not the kind of restaurant you often see young children at. Our server visited our table toward the end of our dinner and remarked at how the entire serving staff hadn’t even noticed there were young children at our table. They brought us a bowl of ice cream to share and we saw this little nugget of goodness on our tab at the end of our meal.”
Well. That’s just bully for her but I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a “fabulous dinner” nor have I “appreciated conversing” with my 1 and 3 year old at a restaurant dinner table. And, believe me, that’s not due to us not trying. We parent our assess off at dinner. Some dinners are better than others but all of them are as stressful as dismantling a bomb MacGyver-style. One look at the comments on Reddit and I’m thorougly convinced I won’t visit another restaurant until my kids are in college.
“People with well-behaved children shouldn’t get discounts, that should be the norm. People with children who act poorly should get $5 added to their bill for forcing all the diners around them have a shitty experience.”
“At certain restaurants I think there should be a decibel meter that pops down whenever you are seated, and if you exceed a certain volume level, whether you’re a drunk and obnoxious adult, a screaming kid, or a screaming baby, you automatically get charged $5, and that $5 is distributed as a discount to nearby tables.”
“They should get a discount for behaving the way they are supposed to behave? I’m sorry but that is just silly.”
“I’d like a discount half that size for not bringing f#@%ing kids to a god damned restaurant where alcoholic beverages is sold. If I wanted to hear kids I’d go to a place w/ some sh!t playland, and not while I’m cutting into my rare rib-eye while savoring the flavor of the beer that showed up just prior to my meal.”
This is why I won’t dine out with my kids. Not because my kids behave badly but because my kids behave LIKE KIDS yet most people have little to no tolerance for kid behavior. Sometimes they cry, sometimes they throw things and almost all the time they make a big mess of their food. But, just like flying in an airplane, I’m so terrified about upsetting people, like the guy trying to cut into his rare rib-eye while savoring the flavor of the beer, that I end up sweaty and exhausted and not able to enjoy a bite.
Yes, kids should behave, within expectation of kid behavior, not like tiny adults everyone on Reddit apparently thinks they should be like. If they misbehave they should be taken out of the restaurant. And yes, I even agree that it’s inappropriate to take toddlers to certain restaurants, unless you’re the lady who got the discount, that is. However. If you’re so intense about your dining experience perhaps you should stay at home where NOBODY can bother you because, I have news for you; you’re living in the world. It has kids in it. Sometimes kids are assholes but most of the time they’re just being kids and most of the time their parents are doing their damnedest to keep them in line. (I said most of the time as there’s always the jackhole parent that lets their brat kid go nuts that ruins it for all of us.)
Is a discount for well-behaved kids a good thing? Sure! Should it be a policy? No. And I don’t think any restaurant would be silly enough to instigate it when the term “well-behaved” is so subjective. Obviously my definition of well-behaved differs drastically from Mr. Rare Rib-Eye so enforcement would be a nightmare.
It isn’t a policy at the restaurant that offered the discount, by the way. Another Reddit commenter cleared that up. “My mother was actually the server who applied the discount. She says that she appreciated the exceptional behavior that the children had. It was a random act of kindness because of their behavior.”
I’m all for random acts of kindness. Like, next time you see a sweaty, exhausted mom trying to wrangle her kids at the table next to yours, smile at her instead of the dirty look you’re really feeling. She could use it, trust me.
You can also find Monica on her personal blog, The Girl Who. Read more from Monica on Babble:
- Here Comes The Bride: History of Weddings Throughout The Past Century
- Angry Toddlers: A Photo Series
- 5 Baby Name Trends Shaping Up For 2013
- 2012 In Photos: You Don’t Need A Pro or An Expensive Camera To Get Awesome Photos of Your Family