Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Perennial Problem of Poor Parenting in Public-- A Guest Post on Kids in Bars

Climbing summer temperatures means kid sporting events are in full swing. That's great if you are a young athlete. Unfortunately, it also means a strong uptick in kids in the local watering holes between and after games. In this post, the SSS addresses the stresses inflicted on the general public when mommy and daddy decide it's time to was the taste of sunscreen and sunflower seeds out of their mouths with a cold beverage as their kids run roughshod.

I like kids, primarily my own.  I like good food and good bars too.  But mixing good bars and kids is a toxic combination for the patron at the bar without kids.  

I don't know when the shift began, but I have noticed an uptick in the number of kids at a local bar - a place primarily for consuming adult beverages.  In the last two months, I have observed the following:

Parents bringing their kids to the bar, armed with lots of dollar bills to put into pool tables, dart machines and not-so-oriented to kids games like Beer Pong, Beerball or a Big Buck Hunter.  

The aforementioned kids, after using their dollars, generally run amuck- attempting to climb the dart machine,   crawling under the pool tables, playing hide and seek under the pool tables (and everywhere else where kids could hide).  In a bar.  A place where the patrons are there to enjoy an ADULT beverage - and not usually wanting to be around the antics of small children.   And the parents?  Well, they are enjoying their adult beverage and glued to their smart phones oblivious to their children running amuck. 

Some suggestions for bars and parents:

Do not allow kids.  McNallys and JL Beers follow this approach.  It makes them extra desirable to many people.  Remember the hyperbole that banning smoking was going to kill bar profits?  It hasn't happened.  Indeed, many people, like me, enjoy coming home and not reeking of smoke.  I propose a similar rule for kids.   Bars should be 21 only.  If you want your kids to eat dinner with you, go someplace that is not primarily a bar.   The government shouldn't have to regulate common sense.  

Only parents think their kids are cute.   Other bar patrons do not think it is cute when your kids are running around chasing each other or using their straws as water squirting devices. 

If you do want to go out to eat and consume a beer, go to Chuck-E- Cheese.  Beer is served there.  It was designed for kids to get sugared up and run amuck.   You don't like the food? Too bad. Or be THAT annoying person and take your kids to a bar and make other patrons miserable by your kids wanting to play Beer Pong while climbing on a bar stool to reach a dart stuck far above their reach. 

If a bar has sections, and you need to lift your kids up to sit on chairs on one side of the bar, that is the implied adults only side.   

Lastly, this should go without saying:   Lawn darts were changed because a family game involving children throwing sharp objects resulted in some kids being injured.   For the same reason, giving young children darts to throw at a machine is a bad idea.   Dart machines were not intended to be a substitute for a pitching cage.   Some kid is going to get his or her eye poked out by a dart and the parents bringing their kids to a bar will sue.   Unfortunately, the law is behind the times and there is no "parents are idiots defense." 

And, a shout out to bar servers.   Families who choose to patronize bars should be subject to a mandatory 30% gratuity.  Their kids cause twice the mess of adults, so they should be compensated accordingly.   And generally, the poor server has to keep track of separate checks at the adult table and keep track of whose kid is whose.  Sadly too many parents that think it is appropriate to bring their children to a bar do not think it is necessary to tip the server based on the extra work serving families involves.  

Bottom line:  the world would be a better place if kids and bars did not mix and parents had the common sense not to bring their kids to bars.  If parents must bring their little darlings, it would be nice if they would exercise the bare minimum of supervision and require their offspring to sit in the chair and play with an electronic device.  If they aren't willing to do that, for the love of God, go to Chuck-E-Cheese.