Restaurateurs and diners seem to be aflurry this week about the recent decision of one Pennsylvania restaurant to ban children under 6 from entering its doors.
McDain’s Restaurant and Driving Range, a semi-fine dining eatery that also operates a golf course in Monroeville, PA, has taken a lot of heat from angry bloggers to angry mothers; also known as the least intimidating crowd of all time. It’s actually kind of funny, really. Considering the lack of attention it received before the move, it seems like no one really paid much attention to the place until people caught wind of the new rule. While some see it as “ignorant” or “rude,” it’s just plain good business.
To call this “discrimination” is asinine, and no I don’t want to hear what a bad attitude I have for thinking that way. I hate to demean proud mommies, but banning children is not even close to age discrimination. To call it that is insulting, and frankly overly entitled of you.
You see, the sound of a child whining is not just annoying. Actually, it is the most agitating sound possible for a human to hear. In fact, studies have found the sound is even more grating and distracting than a circular saw, and liken whining children to a fire engine in that the noise completely disables and distracts the people around it until it is gone. Parents may be able to “ignore it until the child stops,” as the old adage says, but for those of us who aren’t quite ready to settle down or don’t have experience with children, it make enjoying the restaurant basically impossible. There’s a physical response too; in humans the sound of whining immediately raises stress levels, and the effect is worse in men.
Now I should tie this into the restaurant experience by adding people are very delicate about their surroundings at a restaurant, since they are often out of their comfort zones. People are extremely sensitive, for example, when a server makes them feel stupid, even if it isn’t intentional. Moreover, if their experience with restaurant workers is anything but sublime, it also quickly drives people to take business elsewhere. This is why restaurants go to such terrible lengths to keep patrons happy: they’re already looking for reasons not to have a good time.
The root of the problem, according the McDains, is that when parents fail to control their children, the atmosphere is seriously ruined for everyone. And for every outraged mother who threatens to boycott this place (even if they’ve never been there) I guarantee you’ll find another person who has had a meal ruined by noisy children at the next table. And those are the kind of people who are more than happy they can go somewhere for a little peace.
Oh, wait. I forgot to mention,McDains was never intended to be family friendly. It’s an upscale bar that hopes for a quiet atmosphere for golfers and nature watchers. It doesn’t even have a kid’s menu.
I guess the whole point is moot.