Parents Eating Out With Babies Should Be Charged Extra

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baby in restaurantA restaurant in the UK is making families pay a fee to dine with their babies -- even for nursing babies who don't eat the food. Cosmo restaurant has a new policy that parents must pay an extra £3 (about $4.50) for each child, minimum. No more free lunch for you, shorties!

We're not talking about a fancy restaurant where babies would disturb the hoity-toity decorum, either. This is an all-you-can-eat buffet where, despite being named after an Italian grandfather, one may pile a tower of Asian pot stickers, egg rolls, sushi of questionable freshness, and cold sesame noodles upon one's tray for one low price. But this policy makes perfect sense to me. Please, Cosmo, do charge a few extra quid for the little sprogs.

Cosmo told one angry parent they charged the fee because her stroller was taking up too much space in the restaurant -- as in, the 22,000-square-foot, 800-seat mega space that currently holds the record as the largest restaurant in England. To which I say, bullocks! This is obviously not about space. This is about the general inconvenience of wee ones.

Come on, parents. Haven't you seen the mess your babies leave in restaurants? If it's not the mess, it's the stroller people keep tripping over (which should be either left in the car or folded and stowed completely under the table), or it's the crying, or it's the restaurant food the baby actually is eating, or it's the way the baby distracts the parent who spills her own tea -- you get what I'm saying. I can admit that my son has brought his share of chaos -- which I always took responsibility for. But I've also made it a habit to leave an extra tip for the staff's trouble.

Would it be nicer if the restaurant let babies dine free? Sure. But is it an outrage? Meh, I don't think so. I'm surprised more restaurants don't already do this.

There will always be silent babies who quietly doze the entire meal and might as well be a sack of potatoes. But no restaurant wants to be put in charge of judging which babies are high maintenance and which ones are not. So consider this a mandatory baby gratuity. A cheesy gratuity, true (considering the restaurant), but still better than an outright ban.

Do you think restaurants are justified in charging a fee for babies?


Image via eyeliam/Flicker

restaurants, trends