Social Question

Blackberry's avatar

How do you feel about the idea of a 'scream-free restaurant' (a restaurant that has a no screaming child policy)?

Asked by Blackberry (31902points) September 8th, 2010

http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2010/09/07/i-scream-you-scream-some-of-us-scream-for-scream-free-restaurants/?hpt=Sbin

Apparently this restaurant established a no-screaming-kids policy. I see no problem with it. What do you think?

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59 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

It’s a private business – they can establish whatever rules they like. I’d have a problem if most restaurants established this because where would we eat (not that our kids scream consistently but once in a while).

Frenchfry's avatar

Not very family oriented. I would not go. Like @Simone_De_Beauvoir Sometimes it happens.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Since smokers are often given a special area outside in the cold rain and hot humidity, then why not put the screaming children out there with them? It might be a final cure for smoking!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I was once a child. Children sometimes scream. As long as they are not raving lunatics, I have no problem with a few screams from a child. That’s what they do.

poisonedantidote's avatar

I think a private business should be allowed to serve who they like under any conditions they like. the consequences will be theirs to deal with. I would even be ok with them having a no blacks, no Jews, no whites, or no anything else policy.

personally, i would not go to a restaurant that does not serve everyone, regardless of how they are dressed, what they inhale or anything else. but i do think if you own a business, you should be allowed to employ and serve who you like under any conditions you like.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@poisonedantidote Yeah, we already had those problems having to do with race and ethnicity – it’s not the same…people hating someone who’s just like them but of a different race is different from people being inconvenienced by someone screaming.

Your_Majesty's avatar

LOVE that! This is not worse or better than a restaurant that will only allow their consumer to enter if they wear formal dresses. We need privacy policy in restaurant and voice pollution is considered as issue for consumers.

JLeslie's avatar

I think the sign is offensive, but if people are too stupid to remove their children from the restaurant when their kids are having a tantrum, then maybe a sign like that is a clear message that the proprietors expect a reasonable sense of decorum while eating there. I think most people know when their child is behaving poorly and need to do something about it without having a sign in their face. I don’t think the owner is talking about a single scream from a child, she is saying she expects the children to behave, and if they don’t, for the parents to curb the behavior, or remove the child from the restaurant. As she said, if a baby begins to cry she understands that is uncontrollable, although I think if it went on for more than a few minutes she would expect the parents to do something, to show consideration for other diners. I think most parents do this automatically.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Government enforced segregation is not the same as a private business serving who they want under the conditions they want. its the business who invests the money so they should have the final say.

Let me be clear, i hate racism, but i still think a business owner should have the right to deny service to anyone they like under any conditions.

a small side note, i live about three streets away from a rap club that has a sing that says no white people. i am white, yet i still fully support their right to not allow me entrance.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

JLeslie’s answer nailed it in the first sentence.People too stupid to remove their children. Maybe we should have a stupid parent free zone.

Trillian's avatar

I like it. It’s a shame that people need to be told to respect others, but there you have it. You see the signs in the cinema advising people to shut off their cell phones. Good manners are not a given anymore, and ther are lots of people who think nothing of inflicting their screaming children on others, and see no need to quiet them. “Oh we allow our little Ryan to freely express himself. It’s his right.”
Yeah.

wundayatta's avatar

I think it is a parent’s duty to keep their child from disturbing others when in public. I have two children, and we did our best to keep our kids quiet and in place. We did not tolerate running around and playing under other people’s tables or any of the other behavior we know bothers people. If our kids were engaging in that kind of thing, we took them outside the establishment.

Apparently, there are a lot of parents who don’t feel like they need to think about other people when they are with their kids. “Kids scream.” Yes they do, but you aren’t helpless. You can do something about it.

It is sad that a restaurant has to post a sign to indicate that they expect people to display common courtesy. Unfortunately, I think the restaurant does need to do that because too many parents don’t seem to care about other people.

Some children have screams that blow your brains right out your ears. I have had my cranium scrubbed clean far too many times by that mechanism. I usually look to the parents to do something, inside or out. I think maybe one out of ten parents seems to notice.

Maybe I’m more sensitive—I don’t know. When my kids started to scream like that, we nipped it in the bud. We taught them how to scream in a more acceptable way (i.e., at a lower pitch), and that was that. They only needed one lesson, and it was only a game lesson (let’s see who can scream the lowest). It was pretty funny.

Anyway, kids are teachable. Far too many parents seem to either not know how to teach them, or not give a shit. I don’t blame that place for putting up that sign one bit.

Seek's avatar

The restaurant can serve who they choose. That’s their right.

Now, that grumpy woman said “We’re not saying your kid can’t have fun, and we’re not saying your kid can’t be in here…”

But she’s already made it plain that there will be certain expectations put on any child that crosses that threshold, and it’s not a friendly atmosphere. Even if I didn’t have a toddler (who has never thrown a tantrum in a restaurant, by the way), I wouldn’t support such a business.

Still, the crotchety people who want to eat their greasy cheeseburgers in stone cold silence have a right to do so.

MissAusten's avatar

Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill.

In my personal opinion, the owner of that restaurant intentionally made the signs obvious and slightly offensive just for the attention. Like she said, it’s brought it a lot of business.

Unfortunately, there are way too many people who think the majority of parents have children that scream the majority of the time while the parents do nothing about it. As a parent, I’m a little sick and tired of the attitudes and judgments. We have three kids, and not one of them has ever screamed in a restaurant. I have never once been in a restaurant that wasn’t geared toward families and had to listen to a screaming child. In fact, I’ve never had to listen to a screaming child in a family restaurant. Laughing children, children who forget to talk quietly sometimes, but never a screamer. Not one single time. Maybe others live in places where this is a daily, common problem and nice restaurants are consistently plagued by screaming children or crying babies. In that case I could understand the hysteria.

Otherwise, I think the restaurant owner should just get over herself. It’s perfectly acceptable for her to have that policy, but there’s no reason on Earth she has to be so rude about it. Why not make the signs just a little bit nicer? Oh…because then she wouldn’t be getting so much attention.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@poisonedantidote It wasn’t even government-enforced segregation, more like government-sanctioned – there are not many government run restaurants and I’d hate to see what some of NYC would look like if they could deny entrance to black or Muslim people.

Trillian's avatar

I just want to add that there are places where children are welcome and there are places that cater more to adults. I don’t see a problem with places not wanting to have children running around underfoot or screaming and making importunate demands for attention. And as for silence, I sometimes prefer to have a conversation without having to compete with a loud radio or screaming child.
I fail to understand the idea that every business out there must be child friendly. Nor why a person’s desire for peace and quiet automatically makes them a bad person. I’ve raised three children. Anytime I took them out in public I did not allow them to cause disruptions and if they made a fuss, I would take them out of where ever I was.
The perception is out there because the reality exists. I don’t know the percentages, but there are many people who do not have the common courtesy to keep their kids quiet in some places where quiet is desired.

SundayKittens's avatar

I’m all for the No Stupid Parents Zone, with a $500 dollar penalty. Same for movie theaters, but the fine doubles and I get to side-eye you.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I don’t have a problem with it. I’ve been to pubs that don’t let anyone under 21 in, that’s their right. Obviously she made the sign because she had a problem with screaming children in the past. This is her way of trying to keep it from happening again. When my son was younger, I did everything I could to keep him calm when we were out. If he couldn’t keep calm, we didn’t go out. It’s just part of parenting.

JLeslie's avatar

@MissAusten I don’t think the sign is to get attention. I thnk the sign is similar to a 55 and up active adult community. They simply don’t want screaming kids in the place, and it seems it was a problem in the past.

MacBean's avatar

To me, it really depends on the sort of establishment in question. If you’re eating at Le Cirque, I think you’ve every right to expect a calm, quiet, chaos-free dining experience. If you’re at Cracker Barrel and start giving the stink eye to other patrons who have kids who aren’t behaving like robots, sorry, but I think you’re the one who needs to find another place to eat, not the people with normal human children. The owner of the restaurant in the link obviously has every right to say screaming kids aren’t allowed in her place of business. But I think she’s an asshole for it and I wouldn’t set foot in there. (And I don’t even like most kids between the ages of about two and sixteen.)

poisonedantidote's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Ok, before this gets out of hand. I’m not trying to argue in favor of segregation here. the only reason I mentioned race was to emphasize my point that a business should be allowed to deny service to anyone under any conditions. I was basically trying to be as extreme as I could to help make my point.

As I see it, they own the business, if they are not allowed to stop who they want entering the building then you and I should not be allowed to stop a gang of crack heads from throwing a party in our living room. the business owners have invested thousands of dollars in the establishment, and because of this they have the right to run it as they see fit.

A restaurant (or any other business) that denies access to certain racial groups would be a terrible thing, but in a free country, a truly free country, they should have the right to do so. however, you and I would also have the right to stand outside and protest it all day long.

Sadly, we do not live in a movie where the good guy always wins. If we want to have real freedom we need to be prepared to live in a world where incredibly horrible bastards some times win. in a free world, Muslims get to build a mosque next to ground zero (or on ground zero if they owned the land), the crazy preacher in Florida gets to burn copies of the Quran, and this woman gets to deny access to screaming kids, and we, we all get to decide if we want to eat there or not.

I hope this helped clarify my position, and I apologize if my original comment caused anyone offence. If you look at my past questions and answers you will see I oppose racism. I was just trying to emphasize the “anyone” part of my point.

aprilsimnel's avatar

You know, kids are capable of screaming like that because on the vast savannahs and deep, wide woods, the tot in danger who could get Mom’s attention while she was foraging is the tot who lived. Isn’t that great? Yeah.

Well, we’re not on the savannah anymore. In a space that’s possibly only a couple hundred square feet, a distraught kid with a 100dB, high-pitched scream isn’t what anyone wants to hear when they are eating and socializing. I can’t believe a public establishment even needs such a sign. It’s like church: if your child is screaming, take the mite outside and calm her/him down.

Trillian's avatar

@SundayKittens Yeah, being quiet in a theater should be a given. I also noticed that it is not only kids in restaurants or other public places. Some poeple are just_really_ loud and have conversations that you can hear all the way across the room. I don’t understand why, but it seems to me like they’re putting on a show for people. I think it’s just as objectionale as a screaming kid in a way. In a restaurant, people should be able to converse with each other without having to compete with those from another table. People do it with cell phones too. They talk really loud so everyone can hear their conversation, and I frequently get the feeling that this is deliberate as well. The person has the mistaken notion that they are witty or interesting in some way to others.
Whatcha gonna do?

CMaz's avatar

Scream free is the way to be.

Tells you how society has changed. Back in the day, kids did not scream in restaurants.
They controlled themselves or were not brought out to dinner.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

(1 GA will put soc over 10K)

Trillian's avatar

Congratulations! Going over to meta to see who puts the Q up first. Party in the mansion tonight.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Congrats SOC!! Now who wants to host? I can’t, I agreed to leave it to fate.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Awww, thanks! @Adirondackwannabe you can if that is how fate wants it, lol. :)

Ponderer983's avatar

This would be my wish in life!

tinyfaery's avatar

I like it. I’d even pay more to eat there. I am very easily startled and I cannot tell you how many times I have been so startled by a child screaming that I had a very hard time calming myself down.

BoBo1946's avatar

See both sides. If you carry your s/o out to a very nice restuarant on a very special occasion, you don’t want to hear that, especially if you are spending lots of money for the meal at a 4-star restuarant. But, having said that, can understand the position of parents with small children. Normally, at your expensive restuarants, you don’t see small children, so this should not be a problem.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

I don’t really care about restaurants because I don’t really like going out to eat ( And why should I when I can make food that’s 10 times better)
However, if they do this for movie theaters, that would be the best thing that’s ever happened in my lifetime since buying Dopethrone for $7
Also, congrats SoC!

Seek's avatar

@BoBo1946 Did you watch the video? It’s a tiny hole-in-the-wall greasy spoon, not the Four Seasons.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I like it. I have two kids and I refuse to tolerate them screaming or whining in a restaurant. My oldest tried to call my bluff once when I told her if she didn’t shut up I was going to take her out to the car and keep her there while the rest of the family finished their meal. She tested me, so I pulled her outside and made her sit in the car. When everyone else was done, they came out with us and my nifty hubby brought my unfinished meal out to me. =0) If either one of my kids gets loud in a restaurant now, all I have to do is look at them with an eyebrow raised.

I hate parents that let their children whine, cry and scream in restaurants. It’s rude and disrespectful of everyone else around them. I’m one of the people that believes it’s nice to eat in peace. Not silence, but peace. Conversation in normal speaking tones is more than welcome, just not yelling and whining.

I feel the same way about people who go to a movie theater and sit there talking on their phone or texting on their phone. Just a couple months ago, a lady was sitting two rows in front of me, constantly texting. I and several other people had asked her nicely to turn her phone off. After about ten minutes of that, a theater employee was brought in to tell her off. After he left she received another text, so I loudly told her to shut it off or get out. Even with a crowd of other people supporting my ultimatum with “YEAH!”, she flipped it open for another text so I nailed her with popcorn. After high fives, laughter and cheers from the people around us, she finally turned it off. Some people are just so stupid and so selfish that people like that restaurant owner are almost forced to put up a sign.

faye's avatar

I rarely get to go out to eat and I sure don’t want to hear a screaming kid when I do. “Children scream” was a couple of comments. I taught mine not to immediately. If we did get to go out, even to McDonald’s, restaurant manners were required. In my own house I didn’t allow screaming. I used to say, ‘there better be blood”.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr oh, i did not. They should be happy to get what they can get…cutting their own throat….... greasy spoon….loll

DominicX's avatar

After having to listen to a screaming kid in a restaurant for 15 minutes+, I wholeheartedly support this. Some restaurants require certain attire, some require no smoking, others require no screaming kids. I really don’t see the difference…

MissAusten's avatar

@faye You make a good point. When we go to Friendly’s for lunch (it’s an ice cream/burger place that caters to families in particular) I always remind my kids to use restaurant manners. The only time they can run and yell in a restaurant is when we visit the playscape at McDonalds, a very rare experience because I hate it so much. It’s not a big stretch for them to have manners in restaurants because we also expect good table manners at home.

In all honesty, I think most parents have common sense about where to take children when they want to go out to eat. The owner of the restaurant that started this whole kerfuffle seems to have an inexpensive diner in a touristy area. Think of families on vacations, dragging little kids around, messing with their schedules and probably not getting them to nap regularly. She probably does have more of a problem with screaming kids than other places might. However, I still stand by my original opinion that the signs she posted do not have to be so blunt. There’s always a nice way to say something and a rude way to say something. She chose the rude way and actually seems proud of herself for it. What’s so commendable about being rude?

Children may scream, but if parents exercise common sense when going out with children (taking them to kid-friendly places, not expecting them to act older than their age, making sure they aren’t overtired or starving, bringing along a quiet activity to help the child be patient, etc) they will rarely have problems. When my daughter was six, one son was two, and the other son was an infant, I could take them out to eat by myself and not have any problems. I’d actually get compliments on how well behaved they were, or even have people tell me they didn’t realize there were children in the restaurant. And my kids are insane!

It sucks that there are enough silly parents out there to give the rest of us a bad name. :(

ducky_dnl's avatar

I think it’s a good idea. I go to restaurants to eat, not to hear kids screaming their heads off. It’s annoying when I’m sitting down trying to be quiet and hear “AHHHHHHHHH!” every five minutes. :|

Neizvestnaya's avatar

That would be lovely to count on in a few of the very nice restaurants I like. I expect kids in most restaurants but in a very nice one or a resort where my meal is going to be over $100. then I want a “scream free” experience to go with the ambiance and food quality & service I’m paying for or enjoying being treated to.

Facade's avatar

I think it’s good. Children just shouldn’t be in certain restaurants. Their behavior can ruin people’s evenings.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Even if the restaurant is a hole in the wall, there’s still no reason for parents to not attend to their children if they start crying loudly. It’s no reason to be rude about it, though, either. These people look as if they were just trying to get on TV. I’ve definitely dealt with that type before. Ugh.

breedmitch's avatar

Years ago I was working in a very nice restaurant. One night there was a young couple with an infant who was being fussy. Nothing too outrageous, just fussy, but it really did disturb the atmosphere of the place. At the table next to them was another young couple who, before leaving, told the table with the baby “You know, we hired a sitter so we could enjoy a night out. Perhaps next time you could, too.” It was said without malice or judgment. I always thought that was a nice way to handle it.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

A restaurant that has such a sign posted isn’t banning children from the establishment; only attempting to send a message to those that have children and read it. There is some type of reason behind the point of posting this type of sign. It could be that the owner/manager doesn’t personally like screaming children. If that is the case, they are in the wrong business. More realistically, they have had complaints from enough customers where the restaurant has been threatened with losing some of their valued business clientèle. Or worse yet, they have had to approach the parents to ask them to do something about it.

Parents of even the most well-behaved children cannot anticipate an unexpected outburst. It is their responsibility to get the situation under control, either by word, taking the child away from the public area until they calm down or just plain leave if it is out of control. It is the same situation for any public gathering, e.g., movie theaters, speeches, ceremonies, and religious services.

Would I avoid a restaurant that had such a sign? No. I don’t find it discriminatory. I do find it a bit humorous and would like to observe what happens if a patron breaks the house rule.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I wonder how many couples are like my bf and I, couples who rarely get time off together to go anywhere and when we do then it’s a big deal and a screaming kid is the last thing we want to hear.

jerv's avatar

I carry duct tape, so the policies of the restaurant are irrelevant.

rooeytoo's avatar

It’s her business, she can serve whom she pleases. And I would happily patronize an establishment that caters to adults. As parents and children patronize establishments that cater to them. What is the difference? I get annoyed when children and students pay less for theater tickets and the like than I do, that is discrimination. They take up the same amount of space as I do, why should they be treated differently? I don’t hear parents complaining about that sort of discrimination.

@jerv – duct tape is good too.

OpryLeigh's avatar

A child having the odd temper tantrum doesn’t worry me, it happens and, most of the time, I feel sorry for the parent who is probably aware of the fact that their childs tantrum could be annoying other people. If it is continuous, without the parent taking the child in hand and by that I don’t mean hitting the child, just attempting to discipline and educate about courtesy to others in public places, then I get annoyed.

I don’t see this as being any different to “adult only” holiday resorts and if some people want to pay a bit extra to know that they will have a peaceful holiday/meal/etc then I don’t see a problem at all. There are still plenty of places where you can take children to eat so one restaurant (greasy spoon or otherwise) here and there is not going to hurt. Yes, the sign was abrupt and to the point and maybe it could have been worded in a friendlier way but maybe they tried that and it didn’t work.

NaturallyMe's avatar

I love it, i hate noisy, screaming, roudy kids, and i will definitely try to avoid places where things like that are common-place. There needs to be places where people can go to enjoy an evening or afternoon out without having to deal with noisy kids – because for some of us, screaming kids are like nails screeching on a chalk board or worse.
Any private establishment can set the rules they want to have, and let’s face it, there are enough restaurants that DO allow kids, so there’s really nothing to complain about.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

The sad thing is feeling like you have to post a sign in the first place. Don’t people with small babies and kids feel a social courtesy to leave when they disrupt others around them? When you go into an environment other people are paying in order to be a part of then don’t you go there to participate in that ambience? This is why I don’t get why people want to go to a really nice place but walk in wearing shorts and tank tops.

jerv's avatar

@Neizvestnaya My experience is that many parents think that children are the best thing ever. That is the type of person that feels pity for people like my wife and I who are childless by choice. Then there are parents that think their children can do no wrong and that others are discourteous by pointing out that their kids are brats.

But the biggest group has to be the selfish people who really don’t care since they are the only people on Earth that matter If you drive on a regular basis, you probably run into a few hundred of those people a day.

So, to answer your question, no; many people with small babies and kids do not feel social courtesy to leave when they disrupt others around them. Sometimes you will run into a parent that tries to control their sprog and/or apologizes for their little darling’s behavior, but that seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

MissAusten's avatar

@jerv My experience has been the opposite. Maybe it depends on where you live. Most parents I know, myself included, can’t help but be hyper-aware of how people perceive our kids’ behavior in public. Each of my three kids has had one public crying fit, and let me tell you, it was horrible. I actually had a store employee follow me out of Wal-Mart when I took my crying toddler out of the store. He glared at me the entire time, and many of the other shoppers also gave me nasty looks. I could have easily gotten him to stop crying by buying him the toy he wanted, but there was no way in hell I’d do that.

I talk to other parents all the time about how crazy it is that other people are so quick to stare, judge, and glare no matter how quickly or well you handle a situation with an unruly child in public. The only solution is to never leave your house. Yes, I will do whatever I can to minimize any disturbance my kids might make and go out of my way to avoid situations that would be asking for trouble. My friends with children do the same thing. Perhaps you don’t notice the parents doing a good job because their children aren’t causing a problem. None of the ways you described parents above applies to me or my husband, and only applies to a small percentage of the many families I’ve known.

aprilsimnel's avatar

@MissAusten – I hope we know the difference between people doing their best like you and those like the parent at Trader Joe’s last week with the infant whose scream literally pierced the air as she and a Mr continued in the frozen food section. Her husband/partner/whoever said and did nothing. Two grown people there, and neither picked the baby up from its carrier to console him? That bothered me more than the noise!

>:(

jerv's avatar

@MissAusten I wish there were more parents like you around. I’ve seem many of the apathetic type both in NH and here in Seattle.
You are correct in that I don’t notice the ones that get their kids to behave, but those types of people don’t bring their little ones to R-rated movies either. So yes, the bad parents stand out a bit.

MacBean's avatar

”...whose scream literally pierced the air…”

Are there pictures? That’d be interesting to see.

aprilsimnel's avatar

It looked like lightning bolts when I closed my eyes.

MissAusten's avatar

@aprilsimnel Yes, that would really bother me too. Especially if there were two adults, one of whom could have easily picked up the baby to calm it or just taken it out of the store.

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