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AIBU

Why do staff not intervene?

(106 Posts)
Beswitched Sun 10-Oct-21 13:23:12

I was in a restaurant yesterday evening at about 7. Two sets of parents were eating together with 5 children aged between about 4 and 9. They were letting the children run around the restaurant, in and out between tables, grabbing on to the backs of people's chairs and generally being very annoying. Staff said absolutely nothing and eventually another customer went over and complained, at which point the parents made the children sit down.

At a hotel recently two children were flying around the lobby on scooters while their mother sat scrolling through her phone. One woman had to grab her elderly mother and move her out of their way, or she would have had a nasty fall. The two receptionists watched but did nothing.

Obviously the main fault is with the rude irresponsible parents. But why do staff not intervene when it's clear the parents are not watching or caring what their children are doing?

Ladyleftfieldlover Sun 10-Oct-21 13:35:25

Maybe they’re afraid of the mouthful of abuse they might receive? I’ve read about parents going into schools, for example, to upbraid teachers for simply telling their children off.

Ilovecheese Sun 10-Oct-21 13:51:45

Maybe the staff have been told that the customer is always right.

GillT57 Sun 10-Oct-21 13:59:42

I would imagine that the staff would have learnt by now that the kind of parents who allow their children to behave in such a selfish way are also likely to be extremely unpleasant when asked to do something about it.

Beswitched Sun 10-Oct-21 14:04:13

True. But then they are making it the problem of their other paying customers, which also isn't fair.

I have had so many meals out ruined by screaming babies, unruly children, loud drunk adults, screechy hen parties etc.

Scones Sun 10-Oct-21 14:33:26

Now I remember why I prefer takeaways!

allsortsofbags Sun 10-Oct-21 14:37:27

Is it really reasonable to expect staff to challenge parents on their children's behaviour ?

I'm not sure it is "Safe" or reasonable to expect staff - often young people on minimum wage - to intervene.

I think the reasons they don't are 1) not wanting to be the recipient of abuse and 2) fear of being sacked if there are complaints about any intervention they dared to make.

I also wonder how many workers in difficult situations know what they can do, are expected to do and what backing they'd get from management if they did get involved.

I know as a customer I would be very careful about speaking to the parents about their children's behaviour for fear of being attacked.

I'm not so bothered about any verbal come back there are other forms of reprisals and for staff they still have to carry on with their job after any abuse. May be that's why they don't get involve.

Would it be worth be physical abuse or having your business/ property damaged ? Something that has to be considered in situations such as this.

If children are that badly behaved what are the parents really like ?

Too many unknowns these days I don't blame the staff for not getting involved.

It's sad, it's annoying and some behaviours may even put other people in danger but there would have to be a real chance of someone being hurt before I said anything.

Are those parents/Adults being unreasonable in allowing disruptive behaviours? Yes, IMO they are.

Would I stick my neck out? Only in exceptional circumstances.

Therefore, I would Not expect staff to make challenges that I wouldn't make.

The staff have to be in their place of work every shift not just for the duration of any group of customers and may have had to endure worse behaviour than disrupts our visits.

So as annoying as disruptive behaviour is I don't think it is "Safe" or reasonable to expect "staff" to address the behaviour of others. Too many risks these days.

Ro60 Sun 10-Oct-21 14:39:36

If nobody complains, there's not a problem.

If they were causing me a problem, I would have asked the staff to address the situation.

GrannyGravy13 Sun 10-Oct-21 14:44:43

We are extremely picky on where we eat out, whether on our own, with friends, with AC or GC (aged 21 months -20 yrs) .

If I went somewhere where the behaviour of any group whatever their age was overtly raucous/noisy I would discreetly speak to the manager on the way out and not revisit.

It is always the parent’s responsibility for their children’s behaviour, if necessary a member of the management should have a discreet word with them.

sodapop Sun 10-Oct-21 14:51:30

I think in the case of the scooters staff should have intervened. This was clearly a health and safety issue. As for noisy, ill behaved children then it's the responsibility of the parents. I would have to ask the parents to deal with it if it was affecting my enjoyment of the meal. I would also mention to the staff when I left that the children had been a problem. If my children or grandchildren misbehaved like this they were removed from the situation.

Beswitched Sun 10-Oct-21 14:58:45

allsortsofbags

Is it really reasonable to expect staff to challenge parents on their children's behaviour ?

I'm not sure it is "Safe" or reasonable to expect staff - often young people on minimum wage - to intervene.

I think the reasons they don't are 1) not wanting to be the recipient of abuse and 2) fear of being sacked if there are complaints about any intervention they dared to make.

I also wonder how many workers in difficult situations know what they can do, are expected to do and what backing they'd get from management if they did get involved.

I know as a customer I would be very careful about speaking to the parents about their children's behaviour for fear of being attacked.

I'm not so bothered about any verbal come back there are other forms of reprisals and for staff they still have to carry on with their job after any abuse. May be that's why they don't get involve.

Would it be worth be physical abuse or having your business/ property damaged ? Something that has to be considered in situations such as this.

If children are that badly behaved what are the parents really like ?

Too many unknowns these days I don't blame the staff for not getting involved.

It's sad, it's annoying and some behaviours may even put other people in danger but there would have to be a real chance of someone being hurt before I said anything.

Are those parents/Adults being unreasonable in allowing disruptive behaviours? Yes, IMO they are.

Would I stick my neck out? Only in exceptional circumstances.

Therefore, I would Not expect staff to make challenges that I wouldn't make.

The staff have to be in their place of work every shift not just for the duration of any group of customers and may have had to endure worse behaviour than disrupts our visits.

So as annoying as disruptive behaviour is I don't think it is "Safe" or reasonable to expect "staff" to address the behaviour of others. Too many risks these days.

Yes I see your point, and should probably have put management rather than staff in my title.

I don't expect a young waiter or waitress to deal with situations like this. But the person responsible for managing the place should. The parents are responsible for their children's behaviour, but the manager is responsible for the running of the place, including ensuring that a minority of patrons are not ruining the experience for other paying customers.

eazybee Sun 10-Oct-21 14:59:48

I spoke to the waitress about some undisciplined children in a restaurant, six of them seated at one table unsupervised while their collective parents sat at a separate table some distance away and ignored them. The waitress agreed, but said they were not allowed to speak about their behaviour to the parents, and that they were all worried about the children cannoning into them while they were carrying hot food. We did speak to the manager and he also agreed but said company policy was not to annoy (!) the parents.

sodapop Sun 10-Oct-21 15:12:40

No company policy on the comfort and enjoyment of other customers then eazybee or apparently the safety of waiting staff carrying food.

Beswitched Sun 10-Oct-21 15:17:10

I agree. Where is their health and safety policy in all this? Children running around a place where staff are carrying hot dishes and customers are going to and fro, or banging into the backs of chairs where people are eating must surely carry lots of risks.
How would this company feel if they were hit with a huge compensation claim, and also charged with breaches of health and safety legislation?

It sounds as if the Manager just didn't want to deal with the situation.

DiscoDancer1975 Sun 10-Oct-21 16:34:39

I remember a few years ago, sitting in an Indian restaurant with my husband. An anniversary I think. Tables quite close together, but such good food, this wasn’t a problem.

The table adjacent to us had two men sat at it. It was in a little corner, so only the four of us. Turned out to be father and son. They were clearly miffed about something, judging by the conversation. It sounded like they were angry with a third party. Much swearing.

In the end...I leaned over, and asked them if they could tone it down, especially the swearing. I was mindful, that this could spark abuse. Actually....the exact opposite happened. They were mortified they were spoiling our evening, and had realised how loud they were being. They had a bike business, and had discovered someone was stealing from them.

They offered to pay for our meal! We said that wasn’t necessary, just to be quieter. We did accept a drink.

My husband said he bet if he’d said something, he would have been decked! I suppose we’ll never know, but I do think women are better at confronting this sort of thing.

We rarely go to restaurants now, because of this sort of thing. Totally recognise the parents putting their children far away from them, to bother someone else. We’ve got one restaurant we love, and as long as we go in the week, and it not an event, Valentine’s Day for example, we have no problems.

Judy54 Sun 10-Oct-21 16:44:00

Yes Management and Staff are in a difficult situation when something like this occurs. This only happened to us once and the Waitress discreetly asked us if we would like to move to another table. Job done and no need for her or us to speak directly with the Parents.

Tuppance Sun 10-Oct-21 17:00:10

Difficult situation, but staff don't interfere because they are afraid of consequences. Years ago I worked in a department store, I was walking across shop floor and a young child (about 2 or 3) ran out of lift, the very large mother was finding it difficult to control child. I ran after child and grabbed him just before he ran out of automatic doors. The mother, by this time quite a distance away, screamed at me to not touch her child! I explained he was running out of door into traffic, well he has to learn she replied!

Septimia Sun 10-Oct-21 17:00:36

It certainly is difficult for staff and management. Perhaps they would be prepared to be more proactive if the people affected by the bad behaviour - those complaining - got up and left, saying that they can't stay because of the disruption. Losing those customers rather than the disruptive ones might have a greater effect on profits!

harrigran Mon 11-Oct-21 06:58:49

Tuppance I had a similar experience, I was standing at a bus stop when a mother and toddler got off a bus and the child made to run out into the road. I grabbed the child as the bus was moving off, the mother glared at me and snatched him out of my arms, I said " you're welcome " to her retreating back.

Ashcombe Mon 11-Oct-21 07:19:40

I agree about the way selfish behaviour, from adults or children, can spoil a restaurant meal. At other times, I make a point of complimenting those parents whose children do behave well.

Unfortunately, some patrons are likely to give an establishment a bad review on Trip Advisor if the management intervene over children's behaviour. The entitled generation!

Josianne Mon 11-Oct-21 07:25:12

I had a word with the manager in Selfridges' posh restaurant once about this and received the reply that they wanted the restaurant to be all inclusive. (Sounded like a hotel package!) They did offer me a free alcoholic drink. grin

Beswitched Mon 11-Oct-21 08:11:43

At the very least restaurants should have a rule that children have to sit with the adults accompanying them, and not several tables away annoying other customers.

sodapop Mon 11-Oct-21 08:37:43

I agree Beswitched it is noticeable that this happens as a matter of course here in France. Children sit at the table with their parents and eat their meal without a lot of messing about.

Josianne Mon 11-Oct-21 08:52:23

Have you read "French children don't throw food" sodapop? It is true.

Bibbity Mon 11-Oct-21 08:53:15

The rule is there.
But the staff aren't paid enough to open themselves up to abuse.

And some days you're just really not in the mood for it.