An article on a website called She Knows has been brought to my attention and I feel it needs to be addressed. A few days ago, a writer sneezed while she was holding in a fart and later that night, when she looked in her underwear, she discovered a story called “No, It’s Not Rude To Bring Your Own Food to a Restaurant When You Have Kids.” She immediately pulled that story out of her panties and posted it on the web. And, yes it is rude.
The gist of the article is that the the woman and her husband like to go out to dinner with their kids, but they resent having to go to “family friendly” places like “Red Robin, IHOP and Olive Garden.” However, when they go get Japanese hibachi, seafood or Mexican food, their four-year-old son doesn’t like anything on the menu. Her solution: bring him a grilled cheese sandwich, milk, pickles and apples. She admits to getting “a handful of stares, a few dirty looks,” and I bet most of those come from the people who work in the restaurant. You wanna know why? Because it’s rude.
I get that Mom and Dad are sick of going to places that offer chicken fingers and pasta with butter just so their kid can be placated with food. I can also understand how tempting it might be to bring food to another restaurant so that you can enjoy family time someplace other than Applebee’s. Here’s the deal though: restaurants serve food and they don’t appreciate people bringing in their own. It sorta defeats the purpose of there being a restaurant. When a couple decides to fertilize an egg with a sprinkling of sperm, not only is that the moment that a beautiful life begins, but it is also the moment that they have to give up certain things because now they are parents. Maybe it’s frustrating to go to an upscale restaurant and not see anything on the menu your toddler wants, but did it ever occur to you that maybe the reason the restaurant doesn’t offer chicken fingers and the hostess didn’t give you crayons is because they don’t want kids there? Hmmm, I bet you didn’t think of that did you?
I suppose the other option is to convince the kid to eat the things you like. If you only offer him grilled cheese and chicken fingers he’s only ever going to want grilled cheese and chicken fingers. I have been working in the same restaurant for over five years and have a family that comes in regularly. When their youngest daughter was about 5, I was always impressed that she ate salmon or cod for dinner. I remarked to the mother how rare that is to see and she told me, “Oh, I don’t want my kids to grow up eating mac and cheese for dinner every night, so we’ve always fed them what we like to eat.” This family was in the restaurant last week and that 10-year-old ordered mussels and green beans. The writer/mom says that when her son is 12, she will no longer appease his picky eating habits, but does she think that on his 12th birthday, he’s going to wake up suddenly craving foie gras and squab? Doubtful.
Look, it’s not the end of the world to bring food into the restaurant for your kid. Depending on the state, it might be considered a health code violation and depending on the restaurant they may or may not be okay with it. But to declare it’s not rude is wrong. It is rude. It’s entitled, self-serving and you know it. If you admit to to the stares and then tell us it’s okay to call you rude, this tells me that you know it’s wrong. Maybe the name of the article is wrong too. I suggest this: “I Bring Food For My Kid Into Restaurants and I Don’t Care What You Think.”
Here is the article on their Facebook page. Go check it out and tell me (and them) what you think.