Oh, I'm with you here. I worked in a 'family friendly' pub, with a play area outside, sweet (candy) dispenser thingys, plastic rubbish toy dispensers = hell. I spent more time keeping an eye on boisterous kids, whilst their parents got drunk, smoked or just generally didn't care about the antics of their children than I did behind the bar or waitressing.
I've tended to bawling-their-eyes-out-toddlers ( who, yes, can't FIND their parents!), escorted children to the toilet, helped them out of them when the door gets jammed and their blind with panic thinking they'll be stuck forever, fixed toys, retrieved balls from pub car parks, sat them down to eat, tied their shoelaces, stopped fights and stopped them blocking up the sinks in the toilets.
Where are their parents? Who knows.
Pubs/bars/restaurants arent for adults, they're for children to run riot in, to relax without the burden of their parentals telling them 'NO!'
Whoever thinks pubs are for adults of legal drinking age are fools.
Its that that got on my nerves most. Not the behaviour of the children, but how the ADULTS behaved.
I remember one day, when it was particularly hectic. The door into the kitchen from the restaurant area was one of those swing doors, that swung in any unpredictable way, at any unpredictable moment. There was a small glass window at the top, but it was quite old and messed up (despite how many times i scrubbed it.) So you could never even really see too well, when there was someone about to come through it, unless they were right up close e.g. at the last minute.
So when its busy, you're quite quick on your feet, especially whilst carrying hot plates that are burning through the waitressing cloths making you grimace whilst trying to maintain a happy smile. So those doors are a danger area, with one or two hot, tired and stressed out bar staff, who are doing the jobs of oh i don't know, 10 people all at once. Somebody would come bounding out, swinging the door open every two minutes, with considerable force.
Right. get the picture. haha, i'm so long winded.
So of course, whenever nearby families take root near to the door region, we made them aware, not to let their children play infront of it, or they would get hurt.
So on one awful summers day, a family came in and sat in the door area, I warned them, as I spotted a boy of around 4-5 with them.
When I told them, I basically got ignored, you know, the "what do you know? you're a blonde bar-maid and obviously that equals no importance" kind of look.
Without fail, the kid started fiddling around near the door, whilst the family went on ignoring the existance of their child and anyone else around them. So I approached the child, who scowled at me, and ran off to its mother, probably to 'tell on me.' So I followed, reminding them again of the possible danger, even resorting to humour. I told them about a time when a work mate of mine had been bending down on one side of the door, attemting to change the bin liner of a nearby waste paper bin, when i had come charging out the kitchen, almost knocking her out.
Of course, it was lost on them. blank looks.
The child continued to play around the door area, with things he shouldn't even be touching, cutlery, bottles of ketchup, napkins. A few near fatal head colliding with plates full of hot food occured, until I'd had enough.
If this child were to get hurt, i knew I'd get the blame.
I asked the manager to approach them, as they werent listening to me. So they did, and got no better response.
Eventually, the inevitable happened, and the young idiotic child collided with myself and the door. Not anything major, but enough to send the child to the floor a few feet away.
At that point, I felt a weird mixture of Guilt, anger, embarrassment, but mostly , the need to laugh. Of course I couldn't, and felt bad regardless. I couldn't believe at that point, that it had actually happened, and wanted to stay in the kitchen and scream at the incapability of a large group of people to control one child.
But, all of a sudden, these people came to life, and descended upon me, like i was some kind of monster. I, despite being quite a non confrontational person, who is more likely to cry when being shouted at, than shout back, gave as good as I got. I didn't shout, but stood my ground, feeling so angry at how unbelievably ignorant some people are.
They demanded to see the manager, who then, bless the lady, did the shouting for me! They still didn't get it into their heads that it wasn't my fault, that they'd been warned, countless times, and were asked to leave.
Truly though, what happens to people in restaurants? They become evil mutants who are baying for blood if they haven't got enough mayonnaise.
A friend of mine (work mate) once had a piece of battered fish thrown at her by a lady out of their 'fish and chips' because it was too hot? Thrown at her! she actually caught it, but still. mental?
I could go on forever, but i wont. I think i already have.
Just know, I feel for you.