Monday, February 6, 2012

I know this is "old news" but I'M PISSED!

I meant to blog about this back in November, shortly after "The Incident" occurred but "LIFE" happened and it got sent to the back burner of my short list of "Hot Topics".  It wasn't until "IT" occurred again while we were in Florida, that my fire got a-burning and I am PISSED!

Pissed.  About what you ask?  This whole "BRAT BAN" movement that is going on now-a-days.  Specifically, with the  "non-kid friendly" environments in some restaurants.   Pissed. Pissed. Pissed.

Did I mention I'm pissed?  LOL!

Let's rewind to 1973.  Ok, maybe 1976. At. The. LATEST.  My parents were and are not strangers to fine dinning and they NEVER felt the need to exclude me, their baby, from these wonderful culinary experiences.   In my hometown of Timmins, fine dinning wasn't the "norm" but I can assure you that as a child, a very young child, I dinned at the few upscale restaurants we did have.  Hy Graders Steakhouse, The Senator & one of only two fondue (yes, including an OIL fondue) restaurants I have ever had the pleasure of eating at.  All I know is that it took ONE look from my mom and 8, I repeat EIGHT simple words to put my misbehaving ass back into it's place, "Do you want to go o the bathroom?".  I'm not sure WHAT,  if anything happened in the bathroom but as soon as I heard those words we were back to having a very fun, non-disturbing meal in a high flatulent restaurant.  By the time I was eight, I was travelling to Florida with my family twice a year and I enjoyed some of the most unique, upscale dinners that I have ever had, even in my adulthood.  Because of those wonderful experiences, I now have somewhat of a "rich taste" when it comes to ordering my meals while eating out...something Daddy Dave is not all that appreciative of.  LOL!

Fast forward to 2010.  My children had their very first dining experience 12 weeks after they were born and again at 14 weeks old.  You see, my parents were visiting and they wouldn't let me "shy away" from taking them out, despite my protest.  My mom was quick to remind me that she never excluded me from "restaurant outings" and because of that, I knew how to behave and what to expect.  It was a real eye opener for me.  Ya sure, they wont remember that they had lunch at the Cheesecake Cafe or dinner at Joey Tomatoes less than 16 weeks after they were born or that in the span of less than 24 months they had dinned at many, many different establishments.  But that's not the point.  They will also be able to confidently say that they too,  were NOT excluded from the restaurant experience and I am proud of that.

Fast forward to November 2011, 2 short months before their 2nd Birthday.  My parents were once again up visiting and we decided that we would head to one of my all time favorite restaurants.  Actually, it was the same restaurant that we brought Ave & Bryce too when they were only 16 weeks old.  Joey Tomatos.  At the time, the were still content lying in their bucket car seats while we dinned but I had very little concern bringing them there given the "type" of restaurant and their well learned good behaviour while eating out.  However, when we arrived I was appalled when we were told that they didn't have highchairs and/or booster seats to accommodate their needs.

After having a similar experience in Florida in January at a restaurant, it prompted me to write the following email to the General Manager of Joey Tomatos just last week:

My name is Ginger and I have been a longtime customer of your restaurant.  My girlfriends and I frequently get together and enjoy fabulous food, cocktails and great conversation at the Crowfoot Joey Tomatos.  We are always extremely pleased with the service, ambiance and overall experience.

Late last year my parents were up visiting and I wanted to bring them to your fabulous restaurant.  My family and I, 4 adults and 2 children (age 2) arrived at the restaurant only to be totally shocked that they did not have highchairs and/or booster seats to accommodate my little budding socialites.  I, of course, voiced my concern regarding this as I strongly feel that it is very discriminatory to not include the needs of little dinners in the equation of any restaurant.  I was told that if I had something in the vehicle that would make dinning with my two children easier, I was more than welcome to bring that in.  I am not sure as to what your staff may have been referring to as I do not travel with my own highchairs.  I figure this was an attempt at trying to downplay the unfriendly child environment and eliminate any further discussion regarding discrimination.  Meaning, that your restaurant wasn’t saying that we couldn’t eat there with our 2 year old twins, we just need to make our own accommodations for them to be able to be comfortable and actually sit at a table.

I am sure you can understand my frustration as I can understand perhaps, where your company may be coming from in regards to not wanting “unruly” children dinning in such a nice establishment.  However, I am appalled that your restaurant does not cater to families with young children.  While there are the few who may not understand the etiquette of dinning with young children, it seems insulting that those of us who do and respect others, suffer as a result.

I thank you in advance for taking the time to read and  respond to my concern regarding the fact that your restaurants do not have highchairs and/or boosters.


Please stay tuned for my conversation I had with the Manager of Joey Tomatoes in Calgary, AB less than 24 hours after sending this "feedback" and how I'm still PISSED.  P-I-S-S-E-D!


  1. Hey Ging! I can't WAIT to hear what happens! I know with you, it will be interesting. ;) I agree that we need to teach our kids from a young age how to behave and eat out in more adult-oriented settings. It's not fair to them or to the people around you when you do have to go out, if they haven't previously been coached on how to act. As much as I do love to go out without my girls, there are times when they have to or we do want them to come with us and I am thankful that they (mostly) behave and act appropriately. It has been a nice treat to be in Tunisia where kids are accepted everywhere at any time. While they might not always have the kid-friendly stuff (such as high chairs or change tables) they will do their best to accommodate and help you out. I know there are people out there who DO NOT want kids running around and screaming while they are trying to enjoy a nice dinner and I think in that case the parents need to reigning in their kids a lot more. However, I don't think it's fair to exclude kids/ families who would like to have a nice dinner out and are willing to be considerate of the people around them.
    Good Luck!
    N. xx

  2. I am FURIOUS for you!!! Nothing gets my blood boiling like a topic such as this! I think you handled the situation perfectly. I also think it is absolutely ludicrous for the staff to suggest that if you had something that would help make the twins dining more feasible IN YOUR CAR that you could go get it! UM NO!
    I am sorry, but we too have taken our girls with us everywhere we have gone out to eat which, while not literal fine dining, also aren't Mickey D's (they've actually never eaten at McDonalds actually)! We frequent Cheesecake factory, PF Changs, several local nice steakhouses and diners....the girls have NEVER EVER been excluded...and I would be SOOOOOO pissed if someone insinuated that my children were not well enough behaved to dine in their restaurant!
    I can't wait to hear what the manager said, but the fact that you are STILL pissed obviously means that he didn't say enough!
    I would walk away from restaurants like that, AND I would tell all of my mommy friends and encourage them to do the same....nothing is as bad for a business as reducing their clientel to peanuts so they can't make a profit. GRRRRRRR!

  3. I was wondering when we'd hear more on this lol...It's too bad it couldn't make it to those who have initiated this "revolt" against children or I guess I should say FAMILIES...You know - those parents who think it's ok to let their kids run wild anywhere and everywhere they go...I personally don't think it should matter if you're at McDonald's or Cesars...manners are manners eh...You know I may be tempted to make a reservation for your FAMILY...take the high chairs and make your Can't wait to see how or IF they respond...

  4. I can't wait to read the second part of this story. I too was PISSED when all these stories broke. My parents always took us to resturants when we were kids and I took Isabella to a resturant when she was 3 weeks old. We braved a resturant for Isabell'a second birthday when the twins were 2 months old. It was a liitle stressful, but I'm glad we did it. My kids know how to act in a resturant and all we have to do is ask our kids if they need to go outside and they stop.
    In annoys me to no end when kids are acting up in a resturant and the parents do nothing. We were eating at Chilis once and a group of moms and there kids were eating at two tables right next to us. Moms at one table, kids at another. The kids destroyed the place. They dumped the salt and pepper out, sugar packets everywhere, and food all over the place. The moms never said anything to them and left the place a disaster. The manager actually came to us and thanked us for teaching our kids how to behave in a resturant. Then he sent out dessert for our kiddos. I told him thanks and next time he should ask the moms clean up their kids' mess. Maybe they would be shamed into teaching their kids manners.

  5. OK... 1) I'm chomping at the bit to hear the rest of the story. 2) Being an old fart with an empty nest, I hadn't heard about this onslaught of kid bashing blog posts - but now that I have, I am equally pissed off! 3)My parents took my brother and I to some seriously high end restaurants from the time we were born and we did the same with our own daughter.

    I'd be lying if I didn't say that I've been beaned in the head with food that was flung by an out of control toddler, BUT I blame the parents of THAT child. I get that some restaurants have had "issues" but to not even give parents a chance to show that their children have been taught proper dining behavior, is flat out ASININE!!! (not to mention, rude as hell)

    I'll be on the edge of my seat until you post the rest of the story, so please don't wait too long, OK Ging? I'm not as limber as I used to be. ;~)

  6. So tell me Ging...will you be asking the kids if they want to go to the bathroom if they get unruly while dining out?? Two words...*poop pains*!!!!



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