Sound off: Do restaurant baby bans leave a sour taste in your mouth?
A Pennsylvania restaurant announced this week that it is banning children under the age of 6. Mike Vuick, owner of the now infamous McDain's Restaurant in Monroeville, PA wrote, "Beginning July 16, 2011, McDain's Restaurant will no longer admit children under six years of age. We feel that McDain's is not a place for young children. Their volume can't be controlled and many, many times, they have disturbed other customers."
While this may be the first time Monroeville residents have experienced intolerance of young children, this restaurant is not the first to ban kids. Restaurants in Florida and North Carolina have already forbidden children, and received mixed reactions. Some parents are outraged. Kveller.com offered this insight about the hostility towards kids: “If you are going to glare at us with your judgmental stink eye before my child even opens his mouth – you might just get a ketchup-laden french fry thrown in your direction and it may or may not have come from our kid.”
Others – even moms - applauded the restaurants’ exclusive efforts, advocating a “separate, but equal” seating policy for families with tots. After all, the irony of hiring a babysitter for date night only to go to a restaurant with screaming children is not lost on discerning mothers. Yet others silently let their patronage do the talking, choosing or avoiding restaurants based on their kid policy: Owner of Olde Salty restaurant in North Carolina, Brenda Armes, explained that her ban on children “has brought in more customers than it has ever kept away.”
This distaste for children is not limited to eateries. Airlines, too, have begun to ground children. Most recently, Malaysia Airlines banned children from its First Class section on some of its longer flights, citing complaints from first class passengers unable to sleep in their pricey seats because of wailing infants. Malaysia Airlines is not alone in its jet-setting juvenile bias. In fact, there is a facebook page dedicated to the movement to disallow children from certain planes. Anecdotally, octuplet mom Nadya Suleman, flying out of New York after appearing on TODAY, was recently reported to have clashed with a celebrity who was miffed about her brood causing a commotion.
It's probably safe to say that Suleman enjoyed that flight even less than the irked celebrity or her neighboring passengers. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to which side of the aisle you’re on.