This article originally appeared on Yahoo Parenting and was reprinted with permission.
The sign was labeled a “Polite Notice,” but some families are calling one hotel’s sign ordering parents to keep infants off of public benches near their swimming pool downright rude.
“The wording is disgusting,” mother Toni Bird fumed to the U.K.’s Coventry Telegraph about a poster put up over the weekend at the Village Urban Resort hotel in Coventry, England, which reads: “Polite Notice: These benches are for bums — not bags or babies! Thank you” and urges parents to “vacate” changing rooms with their children promptly after swimming.
Bird told the local news outlet that as she was heading in to the pool changing area on Sunday with her 4-year-old daughter, the signs were all anyone could talk about. “The notices were everywhere.”
And while the mom said she understands the premise behind the sign — to prevent parents from changing their children on the benches (though Bird says that the women’s changing area only has one fold-down changing table) — she is still upset about the delivery of the message. It offends her, she says, because “they’ve just labeled both bags and babies as a nuisance.”
And Bird isn’t the only one. Mother Roni Tillman told the Coventry Telegraph, “I’m appalled by the sign and the exclamation mark just makes the statement worse.”
The regional director of the hotel, Stephen Cresswell, offered a mea culpa — for the tone of the sign but not its message. “If someone has been offended by the sign that has been put up then we, of course, apologize for that,” he told the outlet (Cresswell didn’t respond to Yahoo Parenting’s request for comment; nor did Tillman). “But a sign like that would only have been put up from a health and safety perspective to help everyone who uses the club.”
The debate continued online Tuesday with commenters divided between outrage over the issue and annoyance that it’s even a topic of discussion. “The sign is ridiculous and could have been handled with more grace,” blasted one commenter on the Coventry Telegraph’s Facebook post on the article. “They cannot expect people to put their babies on the floor unless they provide mats or more changing stations.” Another who wrote in called the sign “very poor customer service” and said she canceled her membership to the hotel club over it.
But many chimed in defending the resort. One member vented that she loved the sign because she’s “also fed up with mothers plonking their kids on the benches & allowing them to eat/drink, make a mess & take up room!…It’s about time staff tell some thoughtless people about their behaviour.” And another remarked: “[The sign] doesn’t offended me in the slightest. If people don’t like it they can go elsewhere. Nothing worse than getting back to change and finding some mums covering the benches with what only looks like they have enough changing bags for the week, leaving no one else any room to get changed. And yes before anyone moans I have got children!”
What do you think?
More from Yahoo Parenting: