Monday, May 17, 2010

Perhaps you got the *bar* mixed up with Chuck E. Cheese?

First and foremost, let me celebrate the fact that Jeffers gave me back the pair of sunglasses he took last week. Saturday night, I was settling in to bed, chit-chatting a wee bit with Leo who was still up reading after I'd turned off my light. As we talked, he suddenly started pointing behind my head. I didn't catch on at first, so his eyes got bigger, and he pointed even harder, if that's even possible. So I sat up, and looked behind me to find my sunglasses set neatly on my pillow, pretty similarly to the way our remote control had been when Jeffers took that a couple of months ago. I wonder how he decides when to balance shit in a weird place, and when to put them on my pillow instead? Oh, to get inside the mind of a ghost for a day. (Not one of the crazy ones...a normal one, like Jeffers. The crazy ones scare my ass.)

But now the true subject of this post. It's a "favorite" of mine, by which I mean it's activity that needs to stop, so I'll keep on posting about it until it does, goddammit.

On Saturday Leo and I did our normal thing and went to the Moose for drinks, conversation, and random tomfoolery. For some ungodly, random, fucked up reason, at about 6:15-ish, a large group came in and sat themselves down at two high-tops in the bar area. This wouldn't have been all that note-worthy had it not been a party of, oh, 13 - 14 people...and only 4 of them were over the age of 12.

That's right. I'm totally not kidding when I say that these idiots had 9 - 10 children with them (I lost count after the first 5 wandered past my bar stool, to be honest), and the youngest was one of those screechy 2 year old types. His dad tried to pull up a mutherfucking high chair to their table for him to sit in, for some reason. Apparently, it took him putting the child into the chair and then pushing it up to the table for him to realize the kid's head was under the table at that height. ::palmface:: Really???

The servers in the area were not pleased with this turn of events. Not sure how the two that were on duty decided who would wind up being blessed with the funness (flipped a coin, maybe?), but it wound up falling on a cocktailer named Katie who is generally one of the more awesome servers that works at the Moose. She has kids herself, so she's no kid-hater like me. But still...that kind of party was ridiculously STUPID to take into the bar, and she wasn't looking forward to it.

I managed to ignore the party for the most part, until I heard the shitty music on the sound system kind of fade out, and I realized that there was a child punching in songs in the juke box. (And yep, she picked country music. ::rage::) I continued to try to ignore them all, and then the 2 year old started screeching, so I couldn't help but turn my disgusted face in their direction, and one of the adults made eye contact with me. The screeching somehow stopped, so that was good. But apparently, the children were also:

- climbing on the tables that were empty (waiting for a party that had reserved them for 8 p.m.)
- spinning around in circles out in between the tables, almost causing a busser to drop a bunch of dishes on them at one point (which I wouldn't have minded, to be honest)
- running between tables playing a modified game of "tag"

The server eventually asked the adults at the table to please corrale their children, since crawling on tables is generally a frowned-upon activity in most public locations. And while spinning in circles can be very fun, the servers and other patrons around them didn't exactly appreciate the improvised obstacle course it created around the tables. (She didn't use those words...she simply pointed out the child that was *on top of* the table next to them, and said that for safety purposes, if the children could be redirected back to their seats, it'd be great. I just like my way of saying it better, is all. ::grins::)

So what did they do in response? They complained to the manager. That's right! THEY complained. Told her that Katie was a "snotty bitch" and that they always came in to the Moose for dinner without an problems, and would never come back again after what she said to them. (Side note: um, halleluia, you fucking idiots. BUH-BYE.)

The restaurant side of the Moose had no wait when this group came in. I'm sure that had they just been patient, they could've pulled together a couple of normal tables in the more family-friendly area within a 10 minute period.

Better yet, this group needed to go someplace like a fucking Chuck E. Cheese. Or to go over to a friends' house that had a basement they could all let loose in. It made no sense for 4 adults to think they could have an enjoyable time out with 9 -10 children to monitor. Had they been focussing on the kids completely, it might've been a different story. But lets face it: that's not why they were out. They were out to hang out with their grown up friends.

I've seen this sort of thing before, with my own family actually. I have a total of 9 nieces and nephews of varying ages, so going out as a family just isn't the best option when we're together, we've found. (And we've tried...because we crazy!) Even at home, it's hard for the grown ups to all sit together for any extended period of's just not going to happen. The kids finish their food, and then they have renewed energy to bounce off of whatever wall might be suitable for the job, and then a parent needs to hop up to run and see what's making one of them cry, or someone draws something that they want to show to another parent, or 3 of the kids are leaving 1 of the kids out of their whispering and that one decides they want to go home...

It's just a cacophany of silly. Which is totally acceptable and understandable and I actually like the crazy of my own family when I'm in the middle of it! (Within reason, of course. I am the Evil Childless Aunt, after all! I have a reputation to maintain, here!)

But that's why we don't tend to take it out of the house much anymore. And when we did all go out, we most certainly didn't sit in the damned bar portion of a restaurant!

The thing is, what can you do about this sort of situation? Should the management of the restaurant/bar step in and suggest that they might be more comfortable in the family-friendly area of their establishment? (*coughcoughYEScough*) Is it better that the server speak up like Katie did, and suffer the possible consequences of Facing Up to an Embarrassed/Idiot Adult?

The overall question, though, is how do we get people like that to realize how silly they're being by wanting to take their brood out for a bar?


GB, RN said...

I bet they were NASCAR fans...

Dan said...

I've argued with you in the past about kids in bars, but there's no argument here. These people were idiots.

PlazaJen said...

I hope the server at least had management on her side, even if they didn't feel they could tell these parents how to parent their children without creating even more problems. Gotta love people who behave as though they - and their kids - are the only people in the universe, establishment, aisle at Target, etc. And when things don't work out, to lash outwardly instead of reflecting on how their behavior - or their child's - might have contributed to a negative situation. Gah.

faithstwin said...

The girls and I had a TERRIBLE experience with a seemingly single Mom out with her approx 8 mo-old and 4 or so year old this past friday.

It wasn't a bar in any way, shape or form but the experience was dreadful and was the topper on the recent experiences we have run into lately.

I don't remember mentioning our CPK problem but if I did I apologize- it was just sooooooo BAD!!! And I'm a MOM!

This woman let her youngest child sit and remit repeatedly an ear piercing screech that made the entire restaurant go quiet. She was looking all of us in the eye (braver than I thought) while mouthing, "I'm so sorry..." as she tried to put her hand over the childs mouth to stop his noise. Top that off with the fact our waitress had disappeared, we were done and waited for the bill, and were miserable because this hideousness was forced on us. After, I shit you not, at least 10 minutes of this torture the manager finally went up to the lady and told her to pay her bill and leave.

Because she hadn't gotten the clue to cash out and run from the death stares we all lobbed at her previously!

I ended up going TO our waitress to get the bill, handed her my credit card and begged her to get to our table asap and told her she was going to have to foot my bill if I had to sit thru much more of the noise.

We actually left before this lady pulled herself together but I had a headache for hours afterward.

This is the most recent in a long line of being subjected to kids being outrageous while their parents were blind to the situation. One man even put a high chair in such a position that Oldest couldn't get out from her spot without them MOVING the thing (with much exasperation) to allow her passage!

Unless it is a special occasion you just don't take your kids to a place unless they are well controlled. Which is never.

faithstwin said...

BTW: That Jeffers sure is a card!

(Poor Leo must have been up all night after that one!)

statia said...

I have to disagree with you about never going out, twin, and Faith too. I get that you're child free by choice, Faith, that's cool. I have no qualms about that. So I'll break this up.

#1. Having kids, myself, we are pretty conscientious of other diners. We DO take our kids out, because they have to learn the basic manners of being in public. If you stay home all the time, how are they ever going to learn? That said, we stick to family friendly places, i.e. chain restaurants, where the noise level is already at deafening decibels, so if they do decide to make some noise, it's dulled. Kids aren't going to behave 100% of the time, and it's definitely asking a lot of them to do so, however, we don't let our kids wander, or get out of their seats (well, one doesn't walk yet, so she'd be just sheer mayhem under foot). We try to be well equipped with toys and crayons, and other shit for them to do when they start to get impatient. We have going out down to a science. Aside of the toys, we always order their food first. The quicker their meal gets served, the more content they'll be to wait for us to finish. We don't lollygag when we do eat. I don't want to push it and are respectful of their attention span. We pay for our meal BEFORE we're even finished eating it, so that we can hurry if need be.

We always grew up going out to eat, at least once a week. Again, it was a family place, which was fine. It gave us the basic concept of learning patience, behaving in public, and a feeling of responsibility to actually behave. Also, you just don't always have the luxury of a sitter (dude, they are EXPENSIVE now) and staying at home all the time with two small kids would be insanity. You have to get out once in awhile, you know?

That said, my feeling is, if you're going to patron a chain or someplace family friendly, expect kids who make noise.

#2. On the other hand, "you have a baby. IN A BAR!" Seriously, that family was just stupid. That's like taking your infant to an expensive 5 star restaurant and expecting them not to cry. I mean, really. Certain things you DO have to make sacrifices for. I totally agree with that server. She wasn't being a bitch at all. If one of those kids would have gotten hurt, they would have fucking complained anyway. That's the problem here. The sense of entitlement. And that's the fine line of a no win situation for the restaurant.

I would like to say that perhaps I was spoiled. Mini, being a spectrum kid, was extremely well behaved in restaurants until only recently, and even now, he's generally pretty good (fidgety more than anything, but as a baby, people would often comment that they weren't even aware of a baby being in the restaurant, which should have been my first clue). But, LG has totally been the opposite, and we've had some hairy times with her in restaurants, from incessant crying, to screams (not like the CPK incident, though, Twin), to those lovely screeches of delight in discovering her voice. Eventually she's learned that we just don't do that in restaurants.

faithstwin said...

Statia: I get where you are coming from, I truly do. But an 8 month old doesn't know a restaurant from their living room. I can see introducing the occasional outing at about age 3, when you can remove a child from a situation if needed to explain their behavior is unacceptable then try to return to the dining room.

Our family has been a bit up and down when it comes to kids and behavior. I can't comment to my fullest here but understand I know at least ONE of my children was NOT fit for being 'tied down'- even with the appropriate accoutrements (crayons? HA! Books? Tossed aside in moments. Family helping? Squirmysquirmysquirmy then crying ensue...)It was bad enough my ex would stay at home while I went to family get togethers. Aaannndd resentment begins.

You are talking, BTW, to Faith and I who were fed as equally at home as we were in restaurants. We ate out, on average, (between dinners and brunch on sunday) at least 4 times a week. Times were different then. I don't know what it is about kids these days but the fear of getting 'The Look' from Mom backed up by Dad and his 'Don't You Talk/Look/SMILE at Your Mother Like That!' ways and it seems not a hair would be out of place in the right setting.

I admit- the example of the CPK kid was the most extreme I have experienced lately but it was the climax to a seemingly high record of people eating out WITH children they have to know can't handle that experience yet. I'm talking Ruby's, El Torito, Dave and friggin BUSTERS. None of these are exactly little out-of-the-way places or top dollar eateries.

Oh, and BTW- I was easily able to take my up-to-6 month olds out any time to eat and get compliments about how great they were. There is a point right after they are born where you can take them anywhere because all they do is eat, sleep and poop. It's AFTER that stage when you need to recognize 'to-go' was invented for you for a few short years.

Faith said...

And to be fair, I really have no problem with families of 4 or 5 going out together, eating in a restaurant for a change of pace/scenery, and then heading off on their merry way. Like I said earlier about the more people bring their small-ish kids into the bar half of the Moose each week, the more I get used to it and am able to ignore it fully and comfortably. I like that I'm able to change with the times! Hey, look at me, all growing and shit! :D

This was a special case for sure. And I kinda disagree about the 8 month old not knowing a restaurant from their living room...I think they can tell the difference pretty well, really. And it's partially what makes some of them more screechy than they might be in private, and if that's what a parent wants to use as an opportunity to teach, that's fine. Just do it someplace more kid-friendly than grown-up friendly, and we'll all get along together just fine. :)