Your Kid, Your Mess. Not My Job.

There is a never-ending debate about who is responsible for cleaning up the mess a child makes in a restaurant. While it is our job as servers to clear plates and make sure our section and the restaurant is neat and clean, it is not our job to get on our knees after a two-year old attempts to eat a plate of spaghetti and meatballs that ended up mostly on the floor, highchair, table, walls, ceiling and the menu. The parents need to accept some responsibility when their child is a miserable fucking failure at feeding itself. I was sent a screenshot of a restaurant review written by someone named Adina who left one star because after his “boy” broke a bottle of vinegar, the server expected him to clean it up. Adina was less than pleased and considered it very unprofessional. Okay, so maybe the server shouldn’t have said he wasn’t from the cleaning company, but, yeah. I too think the parent should be the one to clean up that broken bottle of vinegar. I applaud this server who brought out the mop for the parent to clean up after their own kid.

We servers are more than happy to clean up a reasonable amount after a customer has dined in our section. Well, maybe “happy” isn’t the right word, but we expect to because it’s part of the job. But where is the line? Why should I have to mop up a puddle of vinegar and spend the rest of my day smelling like a douche when Adina could do it and smell exactly the way he did when he first came into the restaurant? Parents need to understand that we are there to serve food, not clean up after their filthy children who have shitty motor skills and can’t hold things.

I have cleaned up plenty of messes and mopped up more than my share of spills over the years. The times that I really resent it is when the person who is responsible for the mess simply expect me to do it and don’t apologize or thank me. Once, I remember mopping up a spilled soda after a kid knocked it over and the mother didn’t even acknowledge that I was doing it. I actually had to mop around her feet because she couldn’t even be bothered to move them out of the way. I wanted to take the mop and shove it up her poop chute and let her walk through the restaurant with the mop hanging out of her ass so she could clean the entire floor, but I didn’t. I was “professional” and did it for her, but when I do that, I expect there to be some kind of financial compensation for it. If you plan on tipping me 20% for my basic service, then you’d better up the ante if a mop is involved.

But back to Adina: it was your kid that broke the vinegar bottle. Dining out in a restaurant doesn’t mean that you have a personal fucking manservant at your fingertips for a couple of hours. If your kids makes an extraordinary mess, then that’s on you. As soon as you accepted the responsibility of being a parent, then you also accepted that you are going to be cleaning up after it. Whether it’s a dirty diaper, a broken bottle of vinegar or puke from too much tequila on his 18th birthday, it is not a server’s job to clean that up. Your child, your mess. Take your one-star review and choke on it.


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