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on July 20, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite

This is an AMAZING idea, and something I've made countless passive comments about before. I've had so many meals ruined, at all different points of the day, by crying/screaming children, whose parents seem to have developed a kind of immunity, and manage to ignore them completely. My friend can do this. He had a baby brother, and much like I tune out music at restaurants, he tunes out kids. I can't do it.

I really don't want to hear a slippery-slope argument. They do nothing for debates. This isn't a slope issue - it's a solution to a problem with well defined boundaries. You can't simply force customers with disruptive children to leave because then you have issues with securing payment. How do you define disruptive anyway? Having a defined age is a practical means of getting rid of disruptive children. Most parents aren't going to reasonably say "well my kid still cries and screams, but just turned 3... so he should be ok."

However, the underlying problem: Parents who take their children to restaurants (or anywhere public) should be respectful of their surroundings. If you're using public transit, or eating out, make sure your kids aren't causing trouble. If you can't control them, the you leave. Your kids are your own responsibility, and just as I leave a place when I feel uncontrollably enraged, you have an obligation to leave when you can't control your children, and they're disturbing others. If everyone did this, there would be no need for these kind of rules.

I can't believe someone didn't put in a rule like this earlier.

I would add that kicking people out of a restaurant creates a scene (that the people getting kicked out often make worse) that is uncomfortable for the remaining customers.

If children are making a lot of noise and fuss, and the family was kicked out, I bet people would clap. I've seen them clap for less.

Agreed. I would love it if the local shops banned children too. Not that I mind children, but they shouldn't be dragged in after work screaming all over the store.

Finally, I wish more places would do this. Not to mention airlines. I know a few places that make it just very child unfriendly, but they don't have the balls to just say it outright. I don't see the issue either; then you don't go there if you want to go with kids; there are enough restaurants, no clue why anyone would turn this into an issue.

I would happily pay a significant premium to travel on airlines without screaming children.

You can already do this today: it's called first class. The high cost keeps the little kids out, usually.

Not us. We fly first class more often now that we have kids. The extra space and better service makes it much easier to keep the kids quiet.

The biggest drawback to first class is that you're much less likely to get nice seatmates.

What is next: a restaurant without Asians? or without gays? or without Muslims? or without senior people? There are plenty of other restaurants that would accept them, I don't see why they would complain if just a few refused them. Or maybe a restaurant that would not accept just you!

While that certainly is a direction that things could go if you took this to an absurd level, places can already ban kids buy doing lots of things related to alcohol and smoking in many jurisdictions. Doing it outright doesn't really change much other than the liquor license requirement.

Not to mention: This isn't a ban on children, merely children under 6.

Unless I'm mistaken, children aren't a protected class in the U.S. in the same way that Asians, gays and Muslims are, so legally there's nothing stopping this. Children that young (under the age of 6 is what the article specifies) frequently can't behave appropriately in public, and this deprives other paying customers of the experience they're paying for. If a gay Asian Muslim started grabbing men or practicing martial arts in the middle of the restaurant, he'd be asked to leave as well for the same reason.

The difference is that they'd be asked to leave -after- they've caused the problem. This is causing a lot of collateral damage to innocents.

Gays aren't a protected class in the US.

Do restaurant owners recieve complaints about Asians? Gays? Muslims? Do restaurant owners recieve those complaints at the level that they do about young children? Are those complaints justified as they are in this case?

Yeah because that's the same. Young children are often an annoyance for people who want some silence or don't have them themselves. Not a 'I don't like the color of your skin' annoyance, but a 'I still can hear them scream hours after actually hearing them' annoyance. I cannot hear myself think annoyance. And that's fine, if you are parents or if you like that kind of thing, then that's great. I don't mind it often, but sometimes I do mind it and then it would be great to have the choice to go to a bar, restaurant, hotel, whatever, where there are no young children. I don't see how this is the same as discrimination against Asians etc; they never (actually 0 times and I go to Asian restaurants a lot) screamed in my ear, ran around throwing Coke all over me (luxury restaurant that happened in) etc.

I see your comparison more in a quite different light which I often encounter; if you let kids in, why not dogs? My dogs don't bark, whine, poop, pee on the floor, don't run around, don't break things, don't bite things, don't beg for food (or icecream) really loudly; something which I have seen young children all do (yep including the barking, seriously) in public places, including airlines and restaurants.

That is indeed the problem.

It is perfectly legal and acceptable to throw someone out if they or their party are being disruptive.

Banning them simply on some artificial criteria is a bad idea.

"Being disruptive" is not a firm rule though. It looks really bad when someone gets thrown out of a restaurant. It's assumed what they did goes above and beyond what is the norm. It also makes everyone in the restaurant feel uneasy, which hurts on repeat visits. It's better to have a firm rule so that everyone who does go to the restaurant feels confident that they'll have an enjoyable visit.

I think if you posted a notice that said "All disruptive customers will be removed from the premises. This include children." that most people would approve of it. A few people with noisy kids would object, but that's who you're trying to get rid of in the first place.

You would have to actually enforce the rule, and that would be ugly, but it would have been way, way less ugly than what's happening right now. And it would have been just as good for publicity, if you advertised it.

Actually I think a restaurant should be able to do this. They would be tying their own noose, which is the way it should be.

Not everywhere. You think that a restaurant in, say, Princeton, Texas (a small podunk town where I grew up) that refused entry to Muslims would lose business? I'm pretty sure people would show up and order a bowl of grits and a coffee just to have a hearty laugh at minorities before heading off to work.

So the Muslim doesn't contribute to the Princeton, TX economy. They go on Facebook and tell all of their friends about it, and it spreads outward. Pressure is not just on the restaurant to look like racists, but anyone who goes there, knowing that they'll be labeled as complicit. Maybe it's not enough, and Princeton, TX is just a backwards isolationist town that doesn't want to participate in civilized society. They can choose that, if they want, and inbreed themselves into extinction.

But not everyone in Princeton is complicit. The 12-year-old me is now fucked, because the town I live in becomes a shithole.

Why not? I can ban people from my apartment for any reason I choose, why should I not be able to do so for my business (if I had one)?

As a (hopefully) responsible father, I don't see why anyone would have any logical reason to complain about this idea. Let the owner run his business the way he wants, and if you don't like it then tough. There are plenty of other restaurants to eat at where it won't be a huge faux pas if your kid misbehaves.

I'd just hope that the staff makes the policy very clear because this is definitely outside the cultural norm. I'd be REALLY mad if I made reservations for something like a nice Father's Day brunch, showed up and was told that I could eat but my daughter would have to wait outside.

Good. There are few things that ruin my dining experience faster than a bunch of misbehaved, screaming children. I'd go to this restaurant for no other reason than this policy if I were in the area.

Me too, I would probably go there more often knowing that I wouldn't have to worry about a baby screaming in my ears or a toddler running around. You can get the same affect by choosing to go to a more expensive restaurant, but it's nice not having to do that.

I have a feeling that once the novelty of going to a child free restaurant wears off, this guy will regret his decision. Once a family has a favorite restaurant or three, they will probably continue going there even when their kids grow older, and he is removing himself from the pool of potential favorite restaurants. I hate screaming children as much as the next guy, but I think that he should have gone with one of the suggestions in the article and banned kids after a certain time or in a certain area.

They are getting a huge amount of free press. I have read at least two other stories and seen it on tv. That, combined with customers who approve of the ban will significantly outweigh the losses from kids/young families.

You might also be able to partition the place. I'd prefer planes, trains, restaurants etc with child-free areas, for the same reason I prefer restaurants with smoke-free areas. You'd just need to control the noise rather than the airflow.

How is this anything related to Hacker News?

The only thing that I can think of is that this restaurant is not far from PG's home while he was growing up.

I didn't know HN was supposed to be a dumping ground for PR plants these days. Flagged.

Next steps: 1. Ban the adults who drink too much. 2. Ban people who talk loudly in cell phones. 3. Ban teenagers who are partying with friends. 4. Ban the that woman over there. She's laughing a little loudly for my sensitive ears. 5. Oh, and could you please ban that other guy over there too. His facial hair is ruining my dining experience.

M'Kay. Thanks.

This is a great way to get free advertising.

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