Monday, October 4, 2010

When is Action Needed?

Have you ever felt like you should speak into a situation, but also think ‘someone else’ should be taking care of it?

I know in Canada we have a certain amount of con-confrontation, verging on complacency in our society. We’re known to be peacekeepers outside of our country, but what about right in our local restaurant?

On Saturday we made the final loan payment on our car! Yippy!! So we decided to eat out to celebrate. We choose a place that is a pub style family eatery. Children are not uncommon, but not the majority. Hubby and I are childless, but tolerant of kids for the most part.

However ….. Saturday night tested all our limits of tolerance and ability to sit back and watch poor parenting. And I might add – this seemed to be the consensus to the other tables surrounding us.

When we arrived, there was a table of 3 women and 4 children just at the tail end of their meal. The restaurants crayons, colouring sheets, and balloons aplenty on display as being well used by the four children (all under the age of 10). As the ladies continued to chat, the children began to get restless, and louder. And louder, and more restless, and busier, and louder, and more active, and more busier, and farther from the table …… and you get the picture.

The ladies ….. were oblivious, and never once in the 90 minutes after finishing the meal did a single word of correction come from a single woman’s mouth.

Now – I understand the need for a little parental downtime, but if your child (or children) is getting up and standing on balustrades, and beating the other children over the head with their balloon – don’t you think that might warrant a word of warning? When the children are running all over the restaurant, and literally tripping up the wait staff and other patrons – would that not be a super time to step up and use some supposed to parenting skills …. ?

To my surprise and dismay the women didn’t bat an eye. Not one iota of conscientiousness crossed their features.

Even as a child stood on a chair – at their table – and proceeded to feed 4 balloons and their string into and around the revolving fan above the table – to which it came to a complete stop – nary an eyelash flickered recognition of the need to stop a child – any child.

Nor, might I add – did the manager come over and advice the parent of the need to rein in any one of the little miscreants.

I was baffled. Several times I felt like I should/could step in, but felt it wasn’t my place. These children had managed to derail the enjoyment of my own meal – does that give me permission to step into a situation.

What do you think? What would you do?

My inner voice was really chanting to get up and slap the women senseless, but my outer practical self said – jail term is not an option.

And did I mention that I asked the waitress if she got tipped well. Was I surprised when she said "no". . . . No I wasn't, not at all.

76 comments:

Lin said...

I would have said something to the manager. I mean, you were paying for your experience there as well. Who gives them the right to rule/ruin the atmosphere for everyone else. I would have been STEAMING!

Becky said...

Ugh, UGH! I too would've said something to the manager, although the messing-with-the-fan thing seems so ridiculously dangerous that I may have had to say something directly to them.

I wish I could be more like my boss, who works with kids professionally and is a mother to six (!) .. she has a way to talk to parents that isn't confrontational but she always gets what she wants from them.

Purple Cow said...

yikes! and I thought it was just Greek kids (and parents) who behave like this! I guess its an international thing.

I'd have asked the manager to do something.

cardiogirl said...

Mouth.

Hanging.

Open.

I am always shushing my kids and making them apologize to the person they ran into (when it happens which is rare, but it happens.)

Sadly, I would have left the restaurant rather than confront anyone. Although, I do think the patrons should expect to hear something from the manager whether another person told him or her about it or if it was initiated from the manager.

Oy. The STOPPED the ceiling fan?!

Carolyn said...

Sigh. I wouldn't have said anything to the mothers because I would have been so annoyed, only 4 letter words would have been swimming around in my brain! However, I would have (and have in the past) requested that I be moved to another table, away from the mayhem. It makes you wonder though...if they weren't going to watch their children, why didn't they use the money spent on their meals for a babysitter? Hmmmm....

LJ said...

This silly situation has weighed heavy on me all week. Hindsight / foresight I wished I'd said something to the manager. Because no one stepped into the situation, and 'potentially' cause conflict with a disruptive patron, the chances of the disruptive patron coming back is higher than the 5 surrounding nice patrons who are now pissed off.

Darn my non-confrontational Canadian butt!

Thanks you all for your comments and thoughts.

Anonymous said...

you sure used a lot of big words in this post!!! and spelled almost of them right even, 'cept for con-confrontational ... unless that is jail speak?

cardiogirl said...

Hey, Anonymous, you're missing a word.

... and spelled almost (FILL IN THE BLANK HERE) of them right even, 'cept for con-confrontational ...

I guess that's karma in action.

LJ said...

Way to watch my back! Thanks Cardio!

cardiogirl said...

No problem, LJ! That's what blog friends are for.

Martha Ruth said...

My daughter is an adult now, but if she'd even attempted to behave like those little beasts when she was a child, well... she wouldn't have. It's that simple. Believe me, I'm not a supermom who has some sort of special kid-wrangling powers. I just raised my daughter to know what is polite and acceptable behavior and what isn't. When you teach your children to behave at home and at the homes of friends and family members, they aren't likely to misbehave in a public setting either.

I can understand your discomfort about speaking up, but I would think a letter to the owner/management of this restaurant explaining what you and the other patrons were made to endure during that debacle, then they might at least make sure that in future, their staff will know to speak to the parents of children who are running amok and disturbing the other customers.

Truthfully, I see more of this than I would ever care to in public places these days. It's really quite a sad statement about the future of this world we live in. I shudder to think of the self entitled little bastards of today running our world in a couple of decades. God help us all....

I'm Martha, by the way. LOL I came here via Purple Cow, who I followed on today's blog hop and also know from another blog! Phew! Nice to meet you... Stop by my blog and say hello any time.

Peace,
Martha @ http://a-real-upstate-ny-wife.blogspot.com/

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Anonymous said...

great

Anonymous said...

This silly situation has weighed heavy on me all week. Hindsight / foresight I wished I'd said something to the manager. Because no one stepped into the situation, and 'potentially' cause conflict with a disruptive patron, the chances of the disruptive patron coming back is higher than the 5 surrounding nice patrons who are now pissed off.

Anonymous said...

I would have said something to the manager. I mean, you were paying for your experience there as well. Who gives them the right to rule/ruin the atmosphere for everyone else. I would have been STEAMING!

Anonymous said...

yikes! and I thought it was just Greek kids (and parents) who behave like this! I guess its an international thing.

I'd have asked the manager to do something.

Uhu work said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

yikes! and I thought it was just Greek kids (and parents) who behave like this! I guess its an international thing.

I'd have asked the manager to do something.

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