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Where Have All the Good Manners Gone?

December 15, 2009

Today, I decided to treat the Chipmunk and his BFF to dinner at McDonald’s.  It was the last Tuesday she will be with us before Christmas, so I thought it would be a nice idea – and the two of them were certainly enthusiastic about the whole thing!

If I had thought it would be fairly quiet up there at 5p.m. on a Tuesday, I was soon to be disappointed.  However, it was not necessarily the noise that was my problem, and which completely ruined the whole experience.  I know that in a place like that, kids are excited and are obviously going to be loud.  Add to that the fact that it is nearly Christmas, and the end of the school term, and I was prepared for kids to be more hyperactive than they may otherwise have been!  What I was not prepared for, was the reality of the behaviour of some children – and the indifference of their parents.

I kid you not, the kids in that restaurant were vile.  Fighting, running around, crashing into people, playing with the sauces/napkins/straws that other customers have to use, climbing all over tables with their filthy shoes – and that was just for starters.  They were treating the place like it was a playground, not a restaurant.  And it wasn’t even just one family, so I can’t put it down to a single instance of bad parenting or a family thinking it’s okay to behave like animals.  There were at least two separate clans behaving like this while we were there, each with between five and eight children in tow.

‘What were the parents doing?’ I hear you cry.  Well, at first they were at the counter trying to sort out who wanted what.  While their spoilt brats children were running amok, they were more interested in whether the little darlings wanted chocolate or strawberry milkshakes with their Happy Meals than doing anything about the behaviour.  Personally, I would have recommended the arsenic flavour.  I’m joking.  I think.  Surely, once the parents got back to the table they instantly restored order to their wayward offspring?  Well, no actually.  Instead, they were far more interested in chatting with the other adults, grinning inanely at their wonderfully entertaining children, and marvelling at the ability of little Damien to turn the restaurant furniture into his own personal climbing frame.

I tell you, it was lucky that I had already promised the kids a slice of birthday cake back at home, rather than staying for an ice-cream, because there is no way we were staying any longer than we absolutely had to in that place.  Before they had even finished their drinks, I had cleared the table and was instructing them to put their coats on.  Poor kids are lucky they didn’t end up with indigestion!  If the Chipmunk ever behaved like that in a restaurant, I would be absolutely mortified.  I would rather leave and go without dinner than put other people through behaviour like that.  You just don’t behave that way eating out – even in McDonald’s.

Or maybe I’m behind the times.  The staff certainly didn’t seem inclined to do anything, although that may have been because they all appeared to be about 12 (including the manager) and probably didn’t fancy going up against the 25-stone, 6ft tall father of the family.  Despite this, can someone help me out here?  Just when did it become okay to turn a trip to a restaurant into an audition for feeding time at the zoo?  When did people stop giving a toss about others and just behave however they want?  When did we start raising our kids to behave like animals instead of reasonable human beings?  And please can we rewind to a time before whatever it was that made this kind of thing acceptable took place?  If this is now okay behaviour, I don’t think I want to see what comes next…

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 15, 2009 21:22

    I’m sad to see the same sort of useless twits being unparents in the U.K. that seem to have become the norm here in the U.S. 😦 I can’t even think of the last time I saw well-behaved children in a retail establishment. I know my sister and I would not have been permitted to act so horribly! The fact that those “parents” often act as if you’re being an ass to point out their little hooligans’ activities only makes the affront worse. The staff and owners? Probably don’t do anything (here, at least) for fear of litigation from parents. It’s quite disheartening.

  2. Gina Watson permalink
    December 15, 2009 22:16

    you dare not say anything as you are quite likely to get thumped or at least verbally abused and assaulted. But yes, I do agree, it is completely unacceptable behaviour, and the children do not stand a chance if the parents are so ignorant. Behaviour is learnt not a very good example and life without boundaries is not helpful long term.

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