Recently, a restaurant in Georgia went viral after one customer shared a photo of their menu on Reddit. There were classic staples you'd expect – food, fountain drinks, and a WI-FI code — but there was also a line most hadn't seen on a menu before.
Right under the drinks section, the menu seemingly alerts customers to an "adult surcharge" for "adults unable to parent," meaning that parents with unruly children will see an additional fee tacked onto their bill. (And how much that exact fee will be remains unknown as it's not listed in the menu.)
As you can imagine, news of the apparent fee caught steam online and hundreds expressed their harsh disapproval over the possibility of a waiter or owner deciding whether someone's child is poorly behaved enough to warrant a "bad kid" tax. "If I read this at a restaurant I would probably leave," Reddit user u/TheBigTree91 commented.
And while many of us can balk from behind our screens, a few people who say they have actually dined in the restaurant shared their experience.
"The owner came out and told me he was adding $50 to my bill because of my children’s behavior," user u/PowerUpPump recounted a review saying. "My kids watched a tablet until the food arrived, ate their food and my wife took them outside while I waited and paid the bill."
"If you have children, absolutely avoid this place at all costs," another warned.
"Holy moly – the most disrespectful owner made a huge scene in front of the entire restaurant because our children were 'running through the restaurant.' They were down by the river. We were told we need to 'go to Burger King and Walmart' and that we were bad parents. They have a $50 surcharge for 'bad children.' We were a group of 21 and our server was AMAZING and was overly apologetic. Terrible business practice, we will never be back."
"We were three adults, two children and our four-month-old baby, and since we entered the place they gave us a bad look. Later my wife was rocking the baby (who was not crying, just to make him sleep) and this 'manager' told her that 'you don’t do that in a fancy restaurant' (of course this is not a fancy restaurant)," a supposed customer said.
"[He] later moved our stroller in a bad way. Food is not good either. Do yourself a favor a go somewhere else."
And while most responding to these stories were incredulous, not everyone was sympathetic. There are more than a few who believe having a system in place that penalizes "bad parents" that ruin the experience for other paying customers could be beneficial.
"The idea of bad parents having to face actual consequences for not parenting their kids (ie. letting them run and scream around and be in the way and disturb others) is great," said u/fyre1710.
"[I have] no problem with the rule," u/Honest_Elk4942 said. "My problem would be with the vague 'unable to parent' description. Along with an even more vague amount I will owe. If they listed the behavior they found unacceptable and the exact amount I would be able to determine how much of an issue it might be."
But most believe this restaurant owner is probably just in the wrong business.
"It's truly one thing if the kids are being hazards and screaming with the parents blatantly ignoring them, but most of the time, I see parents actively trying to keep things under control and take children outside if they're being disruptive. The really young kids are especially hard because they don't understand yet. If you hate children that much as a business owner, turn it into a bar or go into something else that doesn't involve children," magicrowantree said.
What are your thoughts on a "bad parent" fee? Let us know in the comments.