Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Repost: some things just stick with you.

Since I'm suffering from ridiculous writer's block, I thought I'd repost an ancient story just to have a post!

The restaurant I currently work at is one I worked at six years ago, for three months. I don't have a whole lot of specific memories of customers from then, but there was one specific table I will never forget. It was three soccer moms and their kids, between 6 and 9 years old. Two of my tables had been pulled together for them. It was during the afternoon, not the rush, so that part was fine. What wasn't so fine was the fact that the moms were at one end of the table, the kids at the other, and beyond ordering the food, the moms completely ignored their children.

At first, the four kids were just demolishing their own table. After sucking on sugar packets, sticking gum to the table, mashing macaroni on the table, squirting ketchup all over the place, ripping up every napkin they could find, make sugarwater soup on the table, and destroying all our promotional flyers ... these children got up and started grabbing things from OTHER tables to destroy. And the women sat there, chatting and laughing, paying zero attention. Not one of them said one word.

When they finally left, the kids had dirtied four tables. It took fifteen minutes or more to clean up. I had to vacuum the floor, in the middle of the day. I got $5 for my troubles. It was so bad that my only other table, a middle-aged couple, asked me, "I can't believe they let their kids act that way. Do people do that often?"

It makes me feel old to say it, but I would never, ever have been allowed to behave that way when I was a kid. My daddy would've slapped me into next week for acting that way in public--not that it would've been an option to me in the first place. I knew better.

That was the first time I'd really experienced that sort of thing (though not the last). I'd worked at a local family-owned restaurant for years, and I don't remember people there ever letting their kids get that out of control. Sure, we had some asshats sometimes, but the fact that it was small, local, and just slightly more upscale apparently kept the worst offenders away. But at nation-wide, corporate places? People don't give a fuck.


Anonymous said...

We are still shocked that parents do that - and don't feel old because although we don't hit our kids - they knew the "bathroom" rule - that if you acted up the restaurant DID have a bathroom and you didn't want to go in there with Dad or Mom because the outcome wasn't going to be good [a talkin' to worked wonders on my kids]

And we didn't eat out hardly at all growing up but we also knew we would be smacked into next week too had we stepped over the line once.

It is ridiculous. What really scares me are the teenagers I see, in packs, out on their own - did anyone teach them manners?

purplegirl said...

Most of the time, no. I am horrified at the behavior of most of the teenagers I see. I remember being that age and being a little loud and obnoxious in public with my friends, but most of them now act more like five year olds. Fucking ridiculous.

yellowcat said...

I work in a small enough restaurant where I can say something if the kids are completely out of line. It's the borderline ones, though, who really irk me. They make just enough of a mess to be annoying, but not enough to create a fuss. In this economy nobody wants to lose a dollar.

dirtydisher said...

The worst ones are always the owner's kids. Gawd. Nothing you can do short of quitting, but, it gets old.

purplegirl said...

I've been lucky enough not to have to deal with that yet!

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

I think I've said this before here but I we used to get compliments from the servers when we went out as a family when I was a kid. There were five of us and back in the day (before you could get arrested for it) if we didn't behave we'd have to go sit in the car. Also, we were threatened with not being taken out to restaraunts if we didn't behave politely. So we did and the waitresses would rave about what nice kids we were. This was back in the day when the parents WOULD smack you into next week (before you could get arrested for that, too) Back in the day when kids knew that their parents meant business ;)