Love Children But Couldn’t Eat A Whole One..

Emma Brophy believes there are worse things than other people’s offspring

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Eating out in Chiswick


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A parent’s tale of ‘being forced into the arms of Starbucks’ after Shackology reportedly changed their high-chair policy seems to have divided local diners into two very distinct groups – those who want their coffee / brunch / lunch served without children on the side, underneath or anywhere around and those who do. Not a new argument I grant you but does a family unfriendly policy make good business sense in an area like Chiswick? For some it clearly does.

According to the aforementioned parent, Shackology’s reason for ridding the premises of high chairs was that “too many NCT groups were using the facility for meetings, sitting for hours, spending little, and causing a nuisance with their prams and screaming children” which admittedly was an issue I had with Shackology during the daylight hours, but I never felt forced out, it was my choice to go elsewhere, in precisely the same way everyone has a choice either to or not to patronise any establishment on the grounds of whether or not they would enjoy the experience.

Whilst forum contributors have defended or derided other people’s off-spring who spend their time ‘screaming and shrieking, cavorting and running riot with no regards to their neighbours’, I found it surprising that no other antisocial sector of the community was mentioned.

What about the people who talk really loudly on their mobile phones or indeed just talk really loudly with no regard for the fact that other diners are not interested in their conversation? Or the smokers that leave the restaurant door open when they nip out for a cigarette - once is forgiveable but four times? Or the obnoxious individuals who are clearly having a bad day and believe it’s ok for them to take it out on the waiting staff? Personally I find them more distasteful than a squealing child because, quite frankly, as adults they should know better.

Perhaps we should take a leaf out of TfL’s latest bus campaign which asks us all to be a little more considerate of each other. Eat and let eat is my philosophy after all surely there are enough restaurants and high chairs to go around?

June 19, 2008