To Scream or Not To Scream

My dad owned a restaurant when I was a kid.  He owned it for over 20 years.  My first job was folding pizza take-out boxes for him, but eventually I “graduated” to dishwasher, cashier, and finally to waiter (I even made manager much later but that’s another story for another day).

I waited tables for about ten years.  During those ten years a great many children, toddlers, and babies came in and out of that restaurant.  I can’t tell you the number of times I wanted to quit and go home because of the screaming or crying or misbehaving of these little people.  It truly was one of the primary reasons why I never wanted to have children (of course, that’s all changed since but stay with me here…).

I bring this story up because I’ve been reading up on this restaurant in Carolina Beach, NC called the Olde Salty.  Apparently, the owner of this restaurant, Brenda Armes, was tired of hearing multiple complaints about children acting up, misbehaving, crying, and screaming when her other patrons were trying to enjoy a quiet meal.

As such, she instituted a “No Screaming Children” policy.  That photo above is the actual sign that she has in her restaurant window.

“It has been a good thing for us. It has brought us in more customers than it has ever kept away.” – Brenda Armes

As a waiter in my teens, this would have been a tremendous policy.  I would have been dancing on the ceiling.  However, as a parent in my late thirties, I gotta say that I’m more than just a little bit disturbed about the whole thing.

Listen…I don’t want to hear screaming children, either.  The first thing I want to do when out to eat and I hear crying or screaming is to get up and leave.  But I also understand that sometimes children do that…period.  It’s just a part of life as a kid.

On the other hand, would I necessarily NOT go to a restaurant that instituted this policy?  As a privately owned restaurant, does the owner not have the right to institute this policy?

Some people don’t think so. In fact, one mother is saying this is discriminatory against autistic children. The article doesn’t actually state if that particular mother even goes to the restaurant in question or if she just wants to make some noise of her own…but maybe that’s the whole point.

Armes has stated that nobody will actually be kicked out of Olde Salty because of their children, but instead will be asked to go outside until their child calms down.

“We want to attract the type of people that come in knowing they aren’t going to have to sit behind a table with a bunch of screaming children.” – Brenda Armes

I gotta be 100% honest here when I say that while I don’t think this policy is right, it wouldn’t necessarily prevent me from going to that restaurant if their menu was appealing to me.

So what do YOU think?  Is this just a horrific idea?  Would it deter you from going?  Is it the restaurant’s choice or can this be considered discriminatory and, thus, illegal?

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7 thoughts on “To Scream or Not To Scream

  1. I heard about this as well…and I have to be honest…I’m totally in favour of it. My kids were NEVER allowed to scream and carry on when they were taken out. And honestly, I don’t want to hear screaming children, either.

    I look at it like a smoking policy. People aren’t allowed to smoke in restaurants anymore because it interferes with other people enjoying their own meal. Same goes with screaming kids. If you can’t keep your children under control (or at least be willing to remove them until they do calm down) then you should be at a place like McDonald’s where no one is going to notice or care.

    Great post!

  2. I totally agree with Sunshine as well. I’m a mom of a toddler and I remove my kid from the situation if he’s losing it. I’ve done it after ordering but before the meal comes (and paid for it) becuase frankly its just rude. I really like the comparison to smoking – I agree. A few minutes of freaking out – sure, but I think the policy of taking them outside until they calm down is a good one – it’s just too bad that that has to be spelled out. Oh and my nephew is autistic – and I can tell you my sister feels the same way…

  3. The crazy thing is, I’ve yet to see one parent who DOES let their kid sit there and scream and carry on. Let’s face it, all kids do it at some point or another. ALL KIDS. And the parent typically picks them up, carry’s them out of the restaurant.

    What kind of parent just lets their kid sit there and scream? I guess that’s what I bring it back to.

    Yeah, I’m in favor of it.

  4. I also agree with Sunshine. If your kids can’t behave appropriately in a resturaunt you should be taking them to a more kid-friendly place where “typical” kid behavior is expected.

    As for QT’s point, I think people are truly afraid to discipline their children in public these days, with all the cellphone/camera carrying judgemental and uptight people out there it just feeds the unruliness problem. Kids are smart and know they can get away with more in public than they would at home.

  5. I think it should be instituted in ALL restaurants!!!!
    Does that make me horrible??? I hope not—I just really believe a lot of parents allow their kids to get away with misbahvior because it is easier than being the bad guy. Man up and be the damn bad guy….kids need discipline.
    I wonder if you were expecting these kind of comments??
    Sunnie in NC

  6. Well, nuff said, huh?

    I can remember many meals where I asked for a to-go box because my kid couldn’t hang. Personally, how can any parent enjoy their OWN meal when their kid is screaming?

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