Yesterday (Saturday), I stopped by the Buger King next to my grocery store shopping for the week‘s groceries. I had a “no purchase required” coupon for a free coffee and the Seattle’s Best coffee BK serves is “real” coffee.
Because I believe that good coffee should be savored and that means no distractions, I didn’t take it “to go” for drinking at the grocery store.
I began to have second thoughts about my decision when just a few minutes later a young child began making a lot of nosie. I’m not talking about a toddler; this child was old enough to talk and he was talking…LOUDLY! His mother asked him to keep quiet but it was no surprise to me that her admonition had absolutely no effect. Just about the time I decided to leave, they left. I don’t know if it was coincidence or politeness on the mother’s part. Probably the former…
Saturday of last week, we saw Transformers. There was of course a much higher than usual number of young children in the audience, especially since it was a discount morning show. During the movie, a child in back of me began pushing my “rocker” seat with his foot. Since a parent was there, I figured the parent would intervene and stop it. When the pushing continued for a good minute, I looked back and only then did the parent intervene.
And don’t get me started on flights. I’ve had to endure at least one nosy child on the majority of all flights I’ve been on for many years now. And most of my flights are four hour trips to the southwest or west. Amazing how the children coordinate their fuss sessions so that at least one of them is noisy during the entire flight.
So it shouldn’t be any surprise that I am one of the many and increasing number of supporters of “child free” zones. Restaurants, movie theaters and airplanes should all have secluded areas where young children must sit to minimize disruption to adults.
It is true that I never had children. Some of you may postulate that because I never became ”used” to noisy children, I am particularly sensitive to them. Not so.
The problem is not so much noisy children but their “parents” who are unwilling and/or unable, due to poor parenting, to control their nosiy children. When I was a child, I knew better than to keep acting up when my mother told me to be quiet. I knew what was coming if I continued.
Nowadays, so many parents have either gone “natural” (let the child be, because that’s natural) or they have simply abdicated parental responsibility for one reason or another. Until I see some research that shows me that children today are somehow fundamentally different (genetically, biologically, etc.) from children 40 years ago, I believe the problem lies 100% with the parents. They have “learned” they can get away with letting their children be noisy brats because no one will tell them to do something about it and enforce a sanction if the disruption continues.
But there is a significant group of folks who share my sentiment that I have a right to peace and quiet when I am a paying customer. Yet, the problem seems to be getting worse, not better. Which explains the rising tide of pressure for separation of children whenever feasible.
For example, airline passengers are very supportive of requiring children to sit in a special area. In a survey of 2,000 fliers, almost 60% supported this procedure.
There is also considerable support for this concept in restaurants.
A Pennsylvania restaurant banned children under six from the premises because of complaints from patrons.
In the past, I’ve usually suffered in silence. But I’ve decided to go on the offensive in restaurants not considered “family“ ones. If a noisy child is not silenced, I will ask for a manager and explain that my enjoyment is being disrupted and what action will be taken? If I’m not satisfied, I will write a review of the restaurasnt on TripAdvisor, a popular review site, and note that management did, or did not, take effective action to provide an enjoyable atmosphere. And I’ll let the manager know that I’ll be doing it.
(I know hotels are very concerned about their TripAdvisor reviews and ratings. You may recall that a few weeks ago, I wrote about my unhappiness at a Wyndam in Jacksonville. I completed an online customer satisfaction survey Wyndham e-mailed me and told them of my issues. Two weeks ago, I received an envelope from Wyndham. I expected a perfunctory apology and perhaps a discount offer for a future stay. All the envelope contained was a check for $50.)
There’s a saying about not being able to have your cake and eat it too. Business must be confronted with that concept. If they do nothing about noisy children, they mist be prepared to lose business. They may very well lose business from families if they begin requiring children to sit in a special area. The business will make a business decision: who is likely to give them more profits? I suspect the “no children” crowd has more disposable income and so spends more per person than a family and on the more profitable menu selections such as alcohol.
Maybe it’s the oligarch in me, but I like it when money talks. And I’m about to start talking…