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Why do staff not intervene?

(108 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?

biglouis Tue 26-Oct-21 23:45:30

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

Many years ago I was waiting to buy fabric in the John Lewis flagship store in Oxford street. A very grand old lady was being served with many yards of expensive brocade. A young man came to the front of the queue and began to address the assistant, diverting her attention from the task.

In a cut glass accent the old lady rebuked him "Young man, this assistant is attending to ME. Kindly go to the back of the queue and await your turn." Her manner was so frosty and intimidating that the rude customer slunk off, humiliated.

When it was my turn to be served, I told the assistant that I had trained my staff such that if anyone jumped the line or interrupted they were to say something like. "Im afraid Im attending to this lady/gentleman at present so can you please ask another asssitant or wait until Im free." Rude customers should ne put in their place by staff, as it is not the responsibility of the public to police their behaviour.

The girl replied "Customers may not always be right but in this store they are never wrong!"

Witzend Fri 15-Oct-21 09:12:33


A few of these, strategically placed, might do the trick.

Love these!

A sign outside a shop I once saw said,

‘Unaccompanied children will be sold as slaves.’ ?

TerriBull Wed 13-Oct-21 09:25:03

We always took ours to Pizza Express when they were children, instilling in them this was a treat so make sure you behave and don't upset other customers by being noisy. We did take books, crayons and paper to keep them amused and they never let us down. Now we are taking the grandchildren every so often. PE tend to be geared up for children and do supply them with drawing materials, so again, that keeps them amused in between their studying the menu for favourite foods. It can be a joy to take children out to eat and good practice for them, but only if they can be taught restaurants are places where they need to stay sitting at the table and keep the noise level down.

Beswitched Wed 13-Oct-21 08:31:14

It's often the noise as well as the running around. A lot of parents are so used to eating meals accompanied by the racket and clatter of young children that they don't even really hear it anymore.

I have to admit my heart sinks when a young family are seated beside me in a restaurant. It seems to be a 50 50 chance whether you'll get parents who are aware that they're not at home at the kitchen table now and will have to act accordingly, or ones who just don't realise that their wailing baby, toddler repeatedly banging cutlery off the table and whinging to get down, and older children shouting over each other to get their parents attention are ruining a meal out for customers at adjacent tables

sazz1 Tue 12-Oct-21 18:06:00

I sorted my childhood out properly in how to behave at restaurants and cafes. We went to a cafe for tea as we had just moved house and cooker was being connected next day. Ordered dinner, ice creams, squash etc, and paid for it at the counter. 4 children decided to play up, throwing salt and sauce packets, standing up shouting etc.
Told them once to behave to no effect so we left there and then.
Went home, sent to bed and I took up cheese sandwiches and breakers of water. So quiet they couldn't believe it had happened.
Yes it cost me a lot of money but I could take them to any restaurant and hotel dining room after that. They behaved perfectly.

nanna8 Tue 12-Oct-21 13:50:10

We don’t go to restaurants that have children running around and when we used to go on cruises we chose the ones that don’t allow children on board. Much more relaxing. Wahay for Viking cruises, what a good idea whoever thought of child free cruises. I love kids but not when I want to relax and when we are paying a lot for the privilege! There are restaurants that encourage family dining and they are wonderful if you have young children. Avoid them at all costs !

Smileless2012 Tue 12-Oct-21 11:46:56

It's dangerous to have children running a mock in restaurants.

What happens if they run into a waitress and get hot food tipped over them? No doubt the parents would try and sue the restaurant.

If children can't behave appropriately when out for a meal then they shouldn't be taken.

We were often praised for our boys' good behaviour when out for meals and I always tell the parents of well behaved children we've been impressed by their behaviour.

MissAdventure Tue 12-Oct-21 11:38:16

What a little darling.

barbiann57 Tue 12-Oct-21 10:52:15

When I was in the supermarket a while ago. This boy of about four years old was going round punching people in the back. It was not a light punch, he pulled his arm back and gave it full force. I was the recipient of one of these punches and I could still feel the result of it when I got home. I watched him as he went over to a very frail old lady, luckily she turn away just as he swung his arm. His mother was nearby at the check out, I looked over at her. Her response 'was. 'At the end of the day he is only a child.' I hate to think what he will be like when he grows up.

hollysteers Tue 12-Oct-21 10:35:31

“houses with no room for a table”.
A family dining table should be one of the first things on the furnishing list no matter the size of the house, fold up if need be.
Good manners can be instilled as well as conversation. Exchanging the day’s experiences, worries etc every day around this (to me) important table. Not slumped in front of a TV.
The TV supper/couch generations now have no idea how to behave in a more formal setting and it’s interesting to read again the oft quoted comment on the table manners of French children.
It can be done! Adults come first, then the children. Not the other way round.

Beswitched Tue 12-Oct-21 08:35:21


I used to work in retail and we basically got no back up from managers and had we spoken to a parent about their children and they then asked for a manager, the manager would apologise that we had spoken to them and probably given them a £20 gift card too! So we did nothing.

This seems to be the basic problem - Managers afraid to confront rude customers and obsequiously apologising to them when a staff member tries to prevent their badly brought up children from causing danger or annoyance to others.

I think social media has a lot to answer for. This type of parent has no scruples about rushing to slate a restaurant by giving a totally edited and one sided version of what occurred. Then other people, who weren't even there, come piling on to slag off the restaurant and express their shock and horror.

Callistemon Mon 11-Oct-21 22:49:56

It is NOT difficult to control your children!
DS manages it with a look.

Callistemon Mon 11-Oct-21 22:46:47


“Please cut parents a little slack”

When mine were small I used to take things they could play at the table with, coloring pencils and a coloring book, lego or small people.

Yes and some restaurants would supply pictures to colour in and a little pack of crayons.

JenniferEccles Mon 11-Oct-21 22:39:16

Isn’t it true that now unfortunately in too many households, the children rule the roost, and this can take many forms other than running around shouting.

A couple or so years ago we were having tea in a National Trust cafe when a family came in, comprising, parents, two children and grandparents.
They found a table, took off their coats and sat down whereupon the boy, about 6 or 7 said in a firm voice “I want to sit at THAT table”pointing to another one nearby.
The parents told him no, we are already sitting here.
With that he stood up, marched over to the other table and sat down looking at them.

To my horror the parents got up took their little girl, and moved to join the boy.
I saw the poor grandparents glance at each other, sigh and pick up their coats and join the family.

Of course we all know the golden rule as grandparents is to not interfere in disciplining grandchildren when the parents are present, but I remember thinking what great restraint they showed on that day.
I would have been sorely tempted to have marched over to my grandson, grabbed his arm and take him firmly back to where the adults, who are supposed to be in charge, were sitting.

Gwyneth Mon 11-Oct-21 20:03:28

I have been in restaurants where young children are running around causing chaos. On occasion this has been around 8 o’clock when the children should be in bed. I feel very sorry for staff but I do think it is the manager’s duty to at least have a quiet word with the parents. As many posters have stated this is a health and safety issue. If accidents occur to other customers or staff as a result of ‘uncontrolled’ children what are the legal implications? It would be interesting to know. If parents can be held responsible then this might be a way forward in enabling restaurants to ask parents to leave if their children are causing problems. Otherwise restaurants should be able to state that they are adult only in the evenings.

GraceQuirrel Mon 11-Oct-21 19:17:27

I used to work in retail and we basically got no back up from managers and had we spoken to a parent about their children and they then asked for a manager, the manager would apologise that we had spoken to them and probably given them a £20 gift card too! So we did nothing.

MissAdventure Mon 11-Oct-21 19:08:23

I used to remove my daughter and have "a word" with her if I thought she was going to start any old nonsense.

mokryna Mon 11-Oct-21 18:55:05

“Please cut parents a little slack”

When mine were small I used to take things they could play at the table with, coloring pencils and a coloring book, lego or small people.

Caleo Mon 11-Oct-21 18:50:44

The time is coming when customers learn which restaurants, hotels, and pubs attract congenial people. There will be some venues that cater for naughty kids and their parents, and other different venues that are there for quiet well mannered people.

Elvis58 Mon 11-Oct-21 18:32:54

Sorry but if l am not happy then l tell the person concerned. I dont expect other people to do it. In general the problem has been sorted occasionally l get a retort but l give as good as l get!
My view is that society has broken down because we turn a blind eye and do not speak out when we see wrong doing and these people go through life unchallenged.

nahsma Mon 11-Oct-21 17:15:40

Some time ago - before the world changed - a group of us met weekly, early evening, in our local for a couple of drinks before going home for dinner. The building is very old with a couple of bars, lots of nooks, crannies, beams and doorways. Two youngish women were at a table in the other bar, their several assorted children (primary age) were rampaging around the building in a circuit that meant they constantly ran past our table, bumping into our backs and yelling loudly. Eventually one of our number was so hacked off that he stuck his leg out and tripped the largest child. Said child landed, undamaged, on hands and knees. The howling was fearful, but the rampaging stopped and they all departed shortly afterwards. The “afternoon” barmaid, a student, came over and said “thank you, I wanted to stop them but I didn't know what to do”. It turned out the mothers had their lunch in the pub, collected kids from school, then came back. I fancy strong drink might have clouded their judgement/parenting skills grin

grannybuy Mon 11-Oct-21 16:52:46

The same parents might well be very quick to complain if hot food was spilled over them by a member of staff whom they had bumped into.

Beswitched Mon 11-Oct-21 15:34:51


I'm afraid that even a quiet word with the children, to some parents would mean a complaint to management and either a disciplinary or even loss of a job as a result.
Yes it is the parent's responsibility, but is it the staff's responsibility to stand in for the parent?
Why is it that we will sit back and moan when children misbehave in places like hotels and restaurants and not say anything, but expect the staff (and it definitely won't be in their job description) to be the ones to say something ? They have enough to tend to.

No but I presume it is in the manager's job description to actually manage the place. Which must surely include ensuring that children are not creating a safety risk to staff or disturbing and annoying other paying customers.

Any manager who sits back and leaves it to other customers to sort out such situations is not doing their job properly.

Yammy Mon 11-Oct-21 15:26:19

Once when mine were little on Mothers day my husband booked us a table at a country pub ,as MIL was staying. As we entered we were told children under 8 were not allowed in the main eating area but did we complain ,no we took them into the consevatory where we were directed. the children behaved well and all was well until we got home and MIL had big grease spots on her sunday best.
Did we get a rollicking for taking her there in the first place.
Maybe as suggested in another post the ones among us who want a quiet civilised meal should avoid the play barn type places but it is a two way thing and perhaps parents who know what their children are like should choose carefully as well.
Children learn from example and training and I leave an open question who needs training first?

highlanddreams Mon 11-Oct-21 15:24:00

If you go to a child friendly restaurant expect to see excited children because eating out for most children is not an every day event,it's a treat therefore it's exciting & fun for them. If you don't want to hear and see them go somewhere else! But if you're the supervising adult of said children please take care of them in the dining areas, waiting staff are carrying hot food, soup, hot drinks etc and should not be worried about tripping over & burning any child that may dart out in their path. The job is poorly paid & hard enough as it is,you're always busy & you have to take flack not from the customers but also from the kitchen, it's not easy by any means. They're not there to look after your children, only to feed them.