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…And Stay Out! Kids Ejected From Restaurants and First Class

…And Stay Out! Kids Ejected From Restaurants and First Class

While there are few tangible perks to parenting (other than the sense of satisfaction you get from guiding a young mind through a perilous world) I experienced an unexpected and very much appreciated perk the other night. A much beloved café decided to extend a promotion of sorts allowing children under the age of 12 (as accompanied by their parents) to eat for free. Now this wasn’t chain food garbage, this was quality organic produce and meats prepared with some sophistication and was, in my mind, both a tremendous value and an uncynical way of welcoming families with young children to enjoy some of the finer things in life – namely a family meal enjoyed outside the home. Granted I am fortunate enough to have a child who has always been able to handle the social expectations of a restaurant (even some of the more formal restaurants out there) and I do understand that there are some children that are just not cut out for tasting menus and table etiquette. That said, if parents don’t have the opportunities to expose their children to some of the finer things in life, how are they ever going to grow accustomed to situations that require a bit more composure than Chucky Cheese?

Well two developments this week have indicated that children are becoming expressed and unwanted accessories in some sectors of the adult realm (I am not talking strip clubs and cigar bars). The owner of an “upscale, casual, and quiet” restaurant by the name of McDain’s in Monroeville, PA has announced a ban on children under the age of 6 in his establishment. “We feel that McDain’s is not a place for young children,” owner Mike Vuick emailed this week. “Their volume can’t be controlled and many, many times, they have disturbed other customers.” McDain’s (not to be confused with that other “Mc” franchise that seems to thrive on feasting children) will be a childfree zone and will hopefully attract a more dulcet tone-loving crowd than the sippy cup, goldfish-gobbling set. Some local Monroeville customers, namely parents of small children are pissed and feel the move is clearly discriminatory and in possible violation of rights of certain special needs children.

In another part of the world, Malaysia Airlines announced that they will ban babies from traveling first class on its Airbus A380 super jumbo jet, this comes after the similar decision to ban the little ones from the first class section of its fleet of Boeing 747-400 jets. Instead of babies enjoying the cushy convenience of the overflowing champagne flute and terrycloth eye masks, they will be relegated to business class and economy class. Now while you may have thought the first class section had traditionally been populated by demanding babies anyway (albeit of the adult variety) there will now be a distinction between the diaper-wearing set, and those who don’t like the flavor of their sorbet and can’t get their video on demand player to connect with CNN International.

Granted there are some places where the presence of young children is neither practical nor welcomed, but is the practice of banning children from sections of airplanes and/or entire restaurants discriminatory? Is it fair to expose fellow diners or passengers to the sometimes-rambunctious nature or audible tantrums of a young child, or should these children be segregated from the paying elite?

Read more: Babies, Children, Family, Life, Parenting at the Crossroads, , , , , , , , ,

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.

216 comments

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1:04AM PDT on Jun 1, 2013

Thanks for your beyond belief blogs stuff.
outback steakhouse coupons

10:32AM PDT on Jul 26, 2012

"babies will be relegated to business class and economy class"

This is a reasonable solution. Those who pay for first class do not want to be bothered by loud, agitated children or crying toddlers, just like polite people having dinner in a nice restaurant are not happy with crazy kids running and screaming around.

Anyhow, if people took the time to educate their prole (and pets) to be quiet and respectful in public, there won't be any need to discuss.
Unfortunately, stupid and/or impolite people make children and get dogs even if they shouldn't.
People seem to forget that it is usually the parents' fault if their children are obnoxious, as well as the owner is to blame if the dog is ill-mannered.
Moreover, it is not only the kids who are uncultured: there are plenty of rude and loud adults too. Most children understand and calm down if you speak to them or ask them to stay quiet. The same cannot be said for grown-ups.

As much as I hate bad-mannered kids, banning ALL children and dogs instead of punishing only the misbehaved ones is utter nonsense and tyranny.
It is the same as punishing all Pitbulls only because of their breed, not only the guilty ones but also those that are completely innocent and sweet.

9:42AM PDT on Aug 30, 2011

When I was little, dining in a restaurant was a treat and only if we behaved ourselves and minded our manners. We were to stay in our seats and not run around like I see so many kids do now. It was a great way to learn how to behave in public, but first we had to learn how to behave at home.

7:54PM PDT on Aug 6, 2011

Sad for the kids who are well behaved.

6:56PM PDT on Aug 5, 2011

Seems to smack of age discrimination in my view; but then I always did prefer the company of children to peers anyway. Just as many adults present annoying behavior as do younger humans; & how are children going to learn appropriate behavior in a setting if they are never allowed to be in that setting? I would take my patronage to another establishment in protest of kid banishment...............

10:13PM PDT on Aug 3, 2011

I do fully comprehend the ejection mentioned, though I do feel sorry for the percentage of parents that do teach their children how to behave in certain settings!

2:19PM PDT on Jul 27, 2011

Regarding the acceptance of the so call "accessory dogs"
The reason my friends, families, and neighbors, and their accessory dogs,are allowed on my patio, as well as in my house, is because they are civilized little beings, who are precious, and do not run around my home, or patio, like the capricious little rugrats, who come in and try to take over, by running, screaming, fingerprinting, and urinating on the toilet floor!
See, you have to put up with that nonsense because you chose to have the little rugrat take over your life, I Should not have to be concerned in having to reprimand any child, and have he,or she, stress me out, at a cocktail party, a theater, a fine dining restaurant, or relaxing while entertaining in my own home...It was your chose to have your offspring so stop insulting animal owners with pets who are well behaved, because the majority of the little monsters that are running around in public, invading those of us who do not have offspring are not reprimanded, or corrected by their wonderful parents, because even their parents are tired of the monsters they have raised!

Not to say, that there are not some very well behaved children..
There are! But the next time you are at a public, or socialized event, or even a park, whether small, or large, I will bet you that you can count the children who are well behaved on one hand!!! On the other hand, look around the park next time, and count how many animals you can count, who are very well behaved!!!

11:29AM PDT on Jul 27, 2011

I think this is an easy solution to ban children but I also find it socially irresponsible and cowardly. It is the job of every person in society to take responsibility for the worlds children. Parents who do a good job and have well behaved children shouldn't have to suffer for the bad parents. Its easy to just call it "policy" and kick out all kids to awkward conversation with parents. I work in two different restaurants and the vast majority of children that I have seen have been very well behaved. Children are fellow human beings, not pets. If you allow people to bring their "accessory" dogs on your patio but not their babies something is very wrong with the world. I plan to not give these cowardly businesses my support and money whether my children are with me or not.

2:22AM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

Thing is, parents KNOW their children are misbehaved... Seriously. You can't tell me that a mom doesn't know her own kids. We've all seen that movie "A League of Their Own" about women's pro baseball during WWII? That scene with Stillwell running up and down the bus isle and then covering the driver's eyes to the point he's NOT coming back? Well, if your child acts like that... Don't bring them to restaurants or other public places that require proper etiquette!

Those parents who don't teach their children properly are those who end up ruining the whole thing for us... My son was always pretty well behaved. If he misbehaved, I took him into the bathroom to have a talk. Second time got a stern consequence, and if it happened a third? The waitress was ready with the bill and we left. Anyway, even as a toddler, mine was good in public.

Even now, he's welcome many places. He's not perfect, but I can promise he WON'T ruin your dining or other experiences.

9:36AM PDT on Jul 21, 2011

My mom always proudly told her friends that her grandchildren (my kids) are the only ones in a restaurant who weren't running around annoying other customers. I totally agree with the bans since you can't always weed out the kids behaving wildly from the well-behaved ones, and I agree with the other posters who say that the problem lies with the parents, not the kids.

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