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    • Mehitabel
    • By Mehitabel 9th Oct 17, 1:07 PM
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    Mehitabel
    Restaurants. Must I pay for a miserable experience?
    • #1
    • 9th Oct 17, 1:07 PM
    Restaurants. Must I pay for a miserable experience? 9th Oct 17 at 1:07 PM
    Does anyone know what the situation is if a special meal out is ruined not by bad food or service, but by the presence of a screaming or disruptive child?

    This has happened to me so often, with the restaurant owner or manager doing nothing, that I'm wondering whether I could simply refuse to pay my bill.

    After all, part of what I'm paying for is the environment, isn't it? Or do restauranteurs' obligations begin and end with providing decent food?
Page 2
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 9th Oct 17, 4:10 PM
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    Manxman in exile
    That screaming child was you once.

    A bit of patience and tolerance is called for.
    Originally posted by steampowered

    No - it was never me.


    Then get a babysitter or family member to look after the kid. I would not impose on other's patience and tolerance - they may not have any and why should you assume they have?
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 9th Oct 17, 4:59 PM
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    NeilCr
    Perhaps you should go here OP!

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/well-nail-your-kids-your-439831

    I’d agree that you have to pay for the meal. I’d also agree, though, that I have had meals spoiled by children. I am not one of those “seen but not heard” people but I do draw the line at other folks kids running and screaming round my table. On one instance the parents thought it was hilarious that their kid was laughing at me

    We tend to find this occurs in pubs rather than restaurants. And, as has been said, we know the places to go where there are much less likely to be kids there (or they will be well behaved)
    • powerful_Rogue
    • By powerful_Rogue 9th Oct 17, 5:31 PM
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    powerful_Rogue
    I guess your parents took the view that 'children should be seen but not heard'?

    I don't think its reasonable or healthy to expect kids to be locked away!

    Personally I frequent family friendly restaurants and pubs quite a bit. I've never had a problem with kids running around. A bit of patience and tolerance seems to work just fine for me.

    If you take that traditionally British approach of complaining about absolutely everything, or you start tutting at people, you are going to end up miserable.

    If you visit a family friendly restaurant or a pub in the daytime you've got to accept that kids will be present, and that kids will be kids.
    Originally posted by steampowered
    One extreme to the other in your post.

    Kids shouldn't be seen and not heard, neither should they be allowed to run round restaurants. Theres usually outside kids areas for them to let off steam, however when at a table they should be seated to eat their dinner.

    Far to often it seems people take their kids to the "pub" to run around causing a nuisance so they can have a drink.
    • Chalkius
    • By Chalkius 9th Oct 17, 5:36 PM
    • 88 Posts
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    Chalkius
    If you're not willing to accept that noisy kids are a fact of life and you just got unlucky this time, your options are to pay and then not provide the restaurant with your custom after that, or to not pay and get reported for making off without payment. Pick one.
    • glentoran99
    • By glentoran99 9th Oct 17, 5:59 PM
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    glentoran99
    The screaming child was never me, because I wasn't taken to restaurants when I was that sort of age. My parents had too much regard for other peoples' comfort.

    I rarely speak to the parents, because if you do, the aggression you get in return is very unpleasant, however polite, gentle or even apologetic you are.

    If we can keep emotive stuff out of it... I'm trying to get at the legality. If I've looked forward to a special meal out and the behaviour of another group in a restaurant ruins it (and I've gone home in tears more than once) am I not entitled to some form of redress?

    Example: Last week I tried to eat a meal in a pub while three small children raced around, banging into my chair and even my legs, while the parents did nothing. The manager did give me a glass of wine on the house as an apology and that was appreciated. But why should anyone have to put up with this?

    If it were badly behaved dogs, I'd be entitled to complain. Why should it be any different because the disruption is caused by members of my own species? Does anyone know the LEGAL position?
    Originally posted by Mehitabel

    the legal position is you must pay
    • cherylsurrey
    • By cherylsurrey 9th Oct 17, 6:13 PM
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    cherylsurrey
    I rarely have this happen when I am out, and I eat out alot, this is because I avoid chain pubs, and places that cater for families, such as Frankie & Bennys or TGI Fridays etc. I cant remember the last meal out I had where I have been bothered by badly behaved children. People with young kids generally take them to places that are kid friendly like the places I have mentioned.

    Maybe avoid the places that attract families and then you wont have the problem.
    • warehouse
    • By warehouse 9th Oct 17, 7:20 PM
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    warehouse
    I rarely have this happen when I am out, and I eat out alot, this is because I avoid chain pubs, and places that cater for families, such as Frankie & Bennys or TGI Fridays etc. I cant remember the last meal out I had where I have been bothered by badly behaved children. People with young kids generally take them to places that are kid friendly like the places I have mentioned.

    Maybe avoid the places that attract families and then you wont have the problem.
    Originally posted by cherylsurrey
    A fair post that it's hard to disagree with. However for our last anniversary I took my wife to a restaurant that is for special occasions only, safe in the knowledge that we would have a peaceful meal. I was nearly proved wrong as a large table very near us had 2 very energetic 10/11 year olds that kept jumping up and running downstairs to see the stream that runs through the place. I got why they were excited as it was very unusual feature and their parents were obviously ignoring them, but they were on the edge of ruining a very expensive and once a year outing for us, (but didn't in the end).

    People with money are as bad as those in the budget end of restaurants when it comes to parenting skills. I think the key skill needed is to know where to sit in these places that the kids don't go near and then book those tables. Next anniversary we'll go back but I know exactly where to sit now.
    Pants
    • stuartJo1989
    • By stuartJo1989 9th Oct 17, 8:45 PM
    • 134 Posts
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    stuartJo1989
    The screaming child was never me, because I wasn't taken to restaurants when I was that sort of age. My parents had too much regard for other peoples' comfort.
    Originally posted by Mehitabel
    Well, with respect but that's a personal preference. My parents took me to restaurants as a way of treating me (and my younger brother) every so often. I cannot recall being a baby/young child, but I suspect that between me and my bro we upset a few people

    I think my parents were more bothered about raising us than they were about other people's comfort.

    I rarely speak to the parents, because if you do, the aggression you get in return is very unpleasant, however polite, gentle or even apologetic you are.
    I agree with you on that point!

    I was once on a train and some kid knocked my laptop lid closed!! I only had to *glance* at the mum for her to start a huge tirade to her partner (on the phone) about how I was giving her dirty looks and how I knew nothing about raising children!

    If we can keep emotive stuff out of it... I'm trying to get at the legality.
    Hard to do with such an emotive topic.


    If I've looked forward to a special meal out and the behaviour of another group in a restaurant ruins it (and I've gone home in tears more than once) am I not entitled to some form of redress?
    Well, you may have redress against the other group by means of calling the police. Particularly if they are drunk + disorderly, threatening you, smearing poo on the wall etc

    But I suspect that you are talking about redress in relation to the restaurant itself. You MAY have a case if you raise a LEGITIMATE issue on site and they do nothing about it at the time. Apart from that, you have little to no redress. That includes issues (such as kids running riot in a kid-friendly restaurant) which are based more on your own personal preference.

    Example: Last week I tried to eat a meal in a pub while three small children raced around, banging into my chair and even my legs, while the parents did nothing. The manager did give me a glass of wine on the house as an apology and that was appreciated. But why should anyone have to put up with this?
    Wow, good on the pub!!! Really nice of the manager in that instance. But he didn't have to do that...

    It sucks, but its a PUB and you'll find many children in the food section (mainly because it is freezer to fryer food at cheap prices).

    Go to a decent Indian, Thai or Italian which has candelight and slow-playing music if you want some peace and quiet (in my experience!)


    If it were badly behaved dogs, I'd be entitled to complain. Why should it be any different because the disruption is caused by members of my own species? Does anyone know the LEGAL position?
    Don't compare children to dogs.

    Besides, only guide dogs would be allowed into most restaurants (pubs included) so you wouldn't really be entitled to complain....


    Anyways, the LEGAL position is thus:

    - Raise issue to manager and hope for a goodwill gesture (free glass of wine springs to mind)

    - POLITELY speak to parents

    - Request whatever else you'd like with the manager (refund etc). This is likely to be declined but you are entitled to try

    - Take the restaurant to small claims court armed with your evidence of "loss of enjoyment" (I think that's the right legal phrase here) and present your case. You probably won't win, but you are more than entitled to try.

    Those are your legal rights.
    • Lip_Stick
    • By Lip_Stick 9th Oct 17, 9:31 PM
    • 2,126 Posts
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    Lip_Stick
    I eat out a fair bit with family, occasionally in the odd chain and I've had children being a nuisance around the table happen once, and that was because the children were spying on their parents from a balcony area we were seated on.

    How on earth the OP can moan like it's a regular thing is beyond me and I don't believe it for a second. I suggest they eat out late at night to avoid any disruption, or if they're that sensitive, opt for a takeaway and do the managers of any eateries a favour.
    There's a storm coming, Cameron. You and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you're all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.
    • Diamandis
    • By Diamandis 9th Oct 17, 9:36 PM
    • 32 Posts
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    Diamandis
    People on this thread seem to forget that not all parents are lucky enough to have perfect children. If you've never had to deal with children who have autism etc then that's great for you but should be parents be hermits because their children have difficult conditions?
    • Gavin83
    • By Gavin83 9th Oct 17, 9:59 PM
    • 4,615 Posts
    • 7,286 Thanks
    Gavin83
    Does anyone know what the situation is if a special meal out is ruined not by bad food or service, but by the presence of a screaming or disruptive child?

    This has happened to me so often, with the restaurant owner or manager doing nothing, that I'm wondering whether I could simply refuse to pay my bill.

    After all, part of what I'm paying for is the environment, isn't it? Or do restauranteurs' obligations begin and end with providing decent food?
    Originally posted by Mehitabel
    Did you eat the food? Where was it?

    I don't like kids at the best of times but despite eating out a lot I've never had a meal ruined by disruptive children. Public transport is another matter altogether. However I didn't ask for my money back.
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 9th Oct 17, 10:16 PM
    • 1,031 Posts
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    NeilCr
    People on this thread seem to forget that not all parents are lucky enough to have perfect children. If you've never had to deal with children who have autism etc then that's great for you but should be parents be hermits because their children have difficult conditions?
    Originally posted by Diamandis
    My partner has two grandkids with ADHD and their parents (and her) keep them amused and distracted at the dinner table. Sure they are boisterous but they do ensure that they don’t impact on other diners.

    They take them to places which are child and family friendly - the best ones have good play areas which give them a chance to release their energy too.

    So - no I wouldn’t suggest that the parents should be hermits. But I would ask that they respect other people in the restaurant that they go to.
    Last edited by NeilCr; 09-10-2017 at 10:36 PM.
    • stuartJo1989
    • By stuartJo1989 9th Oct 17, 10:21 PM
    • 134 Posts
    • 107 Thanks
    stuartJo1989
    People on this thread seem to forget that not all parents are lucky enough to have perfect children. If you've never had to deal with children who have autism etc then that's great for you but should be parents be hermits because their children have difficult conditions?
    Originally posted by Diamandis
    I suspect that you are on the same side as me, but I would just like to point out that children running riot does not automatically mean that they have "autism etc"

    SOMETIMES the parents just can't be arsed dealing with the kids.
    • Robisere
    • By Robisere 9th Oct 17, 10:45 PM
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    Robisere
    " SOMETIMES the parents just can't be arsed dealing with the kids. "

    ^^^^^^^ THIS!

    But I would say more 'often' than 'sometimes'! It is just another example of the breakdown in behaviour in our society, all stemming from the breakdown in responsibility by parents, who refuse to consider that their little monsters can do wrong. My kids were not brought up like that and my grandkids were not. The problem is caused by the fact that proper parenting is hard work and many parents today just cannot face it. Some of them are as badly-behaved as their brats.

    Now I await the reactions.... the truth always hurts.
    There may be more than one way to skin a cat.
    But the result is always inedible.

    • iammumtoone
    • By iammumtoone 9th Oct 17, 10:55 PM
    • 5,065 Posts
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    iammumtoone
    I very rarely take my son out to restaurants he hates it he can't sit still and gets bored (ADHA) so I avoid them for his benefit more than anything.

    However the last time we went, we were sat next to a table of adults who were swearing loudly (this was a family friendly venue). We had to leave as my son cannot stand to hear bad language (he knows it is wrong).

    Did I complain no as they were adults doing what adults are entitled to do, much in the same way children will be children when out.
    • Diamandis
    • By Diamandis 9th Oct 17, 11:08 PM
    • 32 Posts
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    Diamandis
    I suspect that you are on the same side as me, but I would just like to point out that children running riot does not automatically mean that they have "autism etc"

    SOMETIMES the parents just can't be arsed dealing with the kids.
    Originally posted by stuartJo1989
    Of course it doesn't mean their behaviour is due to a condition but there didn"the seem to be much consideration that not all behaviour is because the parents can't be arsed.
    • Mehitabel
    • By Mehitabel 9th Oct 17, 11:45 PM
    • 25 Posts
    • 18 Thanks
    Mehitabel
    Many thanks for the input, all.

    To make the picture more complete, the sort of restaurants/pubs I'm talking about aren't billed as specially "family-friendly", but places that ban small children are very, very few and far between. So, if you want to eat out, it will almost certainly be somewhere which "welcomes" children.

    To the person who suggested I should work on my social skills... I'm not quite sure which part of my query suggested I lack them. I just struggle when something - anything - destroys an occasion to which I've looked forward for a long time... And I'm forced to Suck It Up or be branded a monster (as evidenced by some of these responses).

    My query was a purely practical one, and thanks to stuartJo1989 for a full and practical answer.

    I admit that I'm baffled why people make a life-changing choice to have children (and make much of how life-changing it is...) and yet expect to carry on just as before, including visits to pubs and restaurants, but with said children in tow. And gawd 'elp anyone who protests, however mildly....!

    But my question has been answered. And I will now crawl back under my Evil Contrarian Monster stone.....
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 10th Oct 17, 12:06 AM
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    NeilCr
    I very rarely take my son out to restaurants he hates it he can't sit still and gets bored (ADHA) so I avoid them for his benefit more than anything.

    However the last time we went, we were sat next to a table of adults who were swearing loudly (this was a family friendly venue). We had to leave as my son cannot stand to hear bad language (he knows it is wrong).

    Did I complain no as they were adults doing what adults are entitled to do, much in the same way children will be children when out.
    Originally posted by iammumtoone
    Sorry

    I am easy going but I’d have said something - especially as you had a child with you.

    It’s the same for us all when we are out. Consideration for others while enjoying yourself. Children being children or adults being adults is not an excuse for behaviour that means someone else has to leave a restaurant.
    • stuartJo1989
    • By stuartJo1989 10th Oct 17, 12:12 AM
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    stuartJo1989
    Many thanks for the input, all.

    To make the picture more complete, the sort of restaurants/pubs I'm talking about aren't billed as specially "family-friendly", but places that ban small children are very, very few and far between. So, if you want to eat out, it will almost certainly be somewhere which "welcomes" children.
    Originally posted by Mehitabel
    As a rule of thumb, if a "pub" allows children on the premises in the first place then it is "family friendly".

    You are right in that very few places ban small children (read: minors), because they actually bring the money in!! A lot of pubs around me initially banned children but now accept them. My local whetherspoons, however, only accepts them until about 9pm (presumably in line with standard meal times)

    Restaurants also welcome children too, but in my experience either the parents are without their children or the children are on their best behaviour! I've particularly noticed this in Indian, Thai and Italian restaurants (and Japanese and Caribbean now I think about it). The Chinese ones seem a bit more *fair game* though...

    Sometimes it kinda depends on how much you are willing to pay as well!

    To the person who suggested I should work on my social skills... I'm not quite sure which part of my query suggested I lack them. I just struggle when something - anything - destroys an occasion to which I've looked forward for a long time... And I'm forced to Suck It Up or be branded a monster (as evidenced by some of these responses).
    I don't think anyone would EVER call you a monster! You aren't a monster. You aren't even impolite!

    BUT I do agree that you should probably:

    1. Be slightly more laid back and realistic in your expectations.

    2. Speak up if someone is doing your nut in (though, as per my last post, I appreciate how unreasonable some other people can be!)

    3. Splash out a bit more and take your partner/whoever to somewhere a bit nicer than a pub... (and certainly not cry when you end up with a few crying children and a free glass of win, you following? )

    My query was a purely practical one, and thanks to stuartJo1989 for a full and practical answer.
    I like to break posts down point by point, but I didn't see this when I started Cheers dude!

    BUT I want to caution you that I personally feel that small claims action will be futile in your case. Your are 100% entitled to do it, but you have to stump up initial money (reimbursed if you are right) and I don't think you have a strong enough case personally...


    I admit that I'm baffled why people make a life-changing choice to have children (and make much of how life-changing it is...) and yet expect to carry on just as before, including visits to pubs and restaurants, but with said children in tow. And gawd 'elp anyone who protests, however mildly....!
    I hear you about the mild protests! Been there, done that!

    BUT in my experience my mum and dad probably let me and my brother run riot and I'm just sort of glad that they raised me with love, took me to restaurants, fed us and looked after us. Sometimes you've just gotta be the master of the universe and accept the things that you have no control over.

    But my question has been answered. And I will now crawl back under my Evil Contrarian Monster stone.....
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 10th Oct 17, 12:39 AM
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    NeilCr
    I think StuartJo1989 has made a lot of good points. I agree re restaurants v pubs. One of the main reasons these days why we eat out in restaurants (yep Italians and Thais especially love the food and no or well behaved kids) and then go to a drinks only pub afterwards.

    My parents loved me (I had a great upbringing), took me to restaurants, fed me and looked after me. They didn’t let me run riot, though. They taught me to respect others and behave well around them - particularly in public places like restaurants
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