Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Restaurant Romper Room

Speaking as the father of a soon-to-be 1-year-old baby, I am well aware that the sight of my family and me trudging into a restaurant can scare the bejusus out of other patrons. I can sympathize. Long before my seed took root, I, too, trembled when I heard shrieking babies in restaurants, movie theaters or trash receptacles. Post-baby, however, I have become a bit more understanding of frazzled parents and the little challenges they endure trying to enjoy once-simple pleasures such as a dinner out.

A few weeks ago (I'm apparently still traumatized by the incident), Mrs. Chase and I took lil' Apple Rosebud to one of those ridiculous themed restaurants -- Joe's Crab Shack, in this case -- for a late lunch. We went around 3 p.m., intent on missing the lunch crowd that would surely not care for a baby currently experimenting with the concept of dumping things on the floor.

Everything was going according to plan. The place was nearly empty.

We ordered and -- as we suspected would happen -- the kid started to get a little cranky and restless once she realized that the Rice Crispies we'd spread on the tabletop had limited entertainment value.

Then a party of five came in, and inexplicably, in a large and largely desolate restaurant, the waitress seated them at the table closest to us. As Apple Rosebud had no intention of letting their presence keep her from exercising her relatively new vocal chords, the onus fell on the wife and me to ask for another table.

And this has happened before. Is it sheer stupidity? The desire of wait staff to tweak their customers a bit? Do waiters and waitresses know that babies make noises?


At 8:37 AM, Anonymous Dwight said...

If it's Joe's Crab Shack, everything as far as personal comfort is off-limits. I am still one of those people that gets annoyed at restaurants when there are screaming kids. But, the fact that Joe's waitstaff gets up and sings and dances to "YMCA" during my meal is infinitely more annoying. Screaming kids, apparently, are part of the "experience." Now, if the scene took place at a more formal restaurant, things would be much different.

At 5:47 PM, Blogger Brit said...

Ohhhhhhhhkay. Not to put a damper on your rant but I will now explain to you why the hostess seated the large party of five at the table right next to you and your evil spawn.

As you correctly assumed, 3 p.m. is a pretty slow time for restaurant business. That means the restaurant has likely sent home all the waitstaff except for one or two essential employees. In order to spare these two waiters from having to run from one side of the restaurant to the other and back with trays of hot food, the hostess seats all the customers at tables in close proximity to one another.

Also, you shouldn't assume that everyone is infinitely annoyed by the sound of a cranky baby. I, for one, am perfectly capable of toning distractions like that out. If they wanted to move, they would have asked to be moved.

Also, Joe's Crab Shack sucks ass.

At 7:35 PM, Blogger Chase McInerney said...

Except that we might as well have been a party of eight, we were so close together.

By the way, since you're in South Korea and off involved in the defense of freedom and whatnot, I'll let the "evil spawn" crack go.


At 7:50 PM, Blogger Brit said...


At 7:59 PM, Blogger Chase McInerney said...

Says you.

At 3:48 PM, Anonymous Thomas said...

In Tulsa your lucky to get a waiter that can speak english much less know their job.

At 12:39 AM, Blogger Freudian Slip said...

We have a 2 year old son, so I definitely know what you are talking about. It seems like it is the middle to young aged men that have the problems with babies in public. The other day we were out at a restaurant and my son wasn't really even being loud, but this guy kept giving us terrible looks. Where's the compassion!?!


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