Childproofing restaurants is a rightful discrimination
By Eric Wilkins, Staff Writer
When I manage to scrape together enough money to eat at an establishment free of rodents, there are certain things I expect. One, decent fare. Two, an acceptable level of cleanliness. And three, an enjoyable atmosphere devoid of jarring and unpleasant noises.
Though not stated explicitly, my third point is chiefly directed towards children. “Children are to be seen but not heard” was a common saying amongst our family gatherings, and I must say that I’m now beginning to see the wisdom of such a comment. And perhaps they shouldn’t even be seen. Nothing ruins a dinner like a toddler bemoaning the loss of their right to free speech when their mother shushes them. Likewise, a baby’s wailing impression of Celine Dion doesn’t quite strike the right chord with me. I tend to prefer a subtler type of dinner entertainment.
That’s not to say I don’t think children are wonderful. They’re the future and whatnot. And, since I’m only on the cusp of reaching the magical age of 20 myself, I’m not even sure I’m privileged to speak so haughtily on the subject. But I am. And kids don’t belong in restaurants.
Slight rephrase: kids don’t belong in certain restaurants. Fast food joints and family-style restaurants are, of course, suitable venues for children, and I expect to see them there when I frequent such places. However, if I miraculously find myself in The Keg, the last thing I want to see there is a kid. Thankfully, I’m not alone in this desire. Every now and then you hear a story popping up in the news or on some desperate gossip site about how a mother is complaining about the gross lack of concern shown to her by a restaurant refusing to accommodate her child. The quote is generally along the lines of, “Why can’t I enjoy a night out too?” The answer? You can. Go get a babysitter and stop trying to destroy everyone else’s evening. The sense of entitlement some of these parents possess is nothing short of incredible sometimes.
However, the restaurants are also to be held responsible to some degree when one’s meal is disturbed. Unless a clear policy on children exists, the parent can still play the blissfully ignorant card and wander on in. Withholding common aids such as highchairs or a change table in the washroom is playing it a bit coy for my taste. Don’t be cowardly about your rule for children; be open and clear about it. Setting up an obstacle course and then playing dumb is just asking for a fight.
Have kids. Love your kids. But keep them out of my restaurants.