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Mike Filigenzi

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Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

by Mike Filigenzi » Fri Mar 07, 2014 3:29 pm

Jenise wrote:
Karen/NoCA wrote:Depending on the age of the child I see no issue with it. Once the kids are older, say by the time they are 7, and have been exposed to good training, they should be able to sit quietly, and talk with parents and other siblings. Spending a few minutes on an iPad while waiting for the food is no different than using the crayons the restaurant brings or participating in a game book. We groomed our three to go with us to fancy restaurants, because we wanted them with us when we traveled. At home, if we want a fine dining experience for the two of us, we made a fun night for the kids too, with their favorite sitter, a movie and a pizza. They loved it and we loved the evening. Even with our grandchildren now, when they are coming for a visit, I always remind them to bring their techie toys, just for those special times, grandpa and I want some quiet moments, especially in the car, RV or a nicer restaurant.


But, it's really not about the age of the child, is it, vs. the type of restaurant in which this is done? Completely agree that it would be no issue in a restaurant that provides crayons or toys for kids, but I would classify those as family restaurants vs. the adult-or-behave-like-one environment of upscale dining described in Robin's link.


For me, I don't think the type of restaurant really plays into it. If were to see this at Alinea or Per Se or someplace like that, I'd wonder what the heck possessed the parents to even bring a kid to a restaurant like that if the kid was that disinterested, but I'd see that as their problem. I don't think it would detract from my experience.
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Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

by Robin Garr » Fri Mar 07, 2014 3:41 pm

Rahsaan wrote:I didn't want to splash his name

For what it's worth, remember that this forum section is visible only to registered forum members logged in and actually in this space. It's not findable on Google, etc.
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Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

by Karen/NoCA » Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:34 pm

But, it's really not about the age of the child, is it, vs. the type of restaurant in which this is done? Completely agree that it would be no issue in a restaurant that provides crayons or toys for kids, but I would classify those as family restaurants vs. the adult-or-behave-like-one environment of upscale dining described in Robin's link.


Yes, it is about the age of the child, they have to be of a certain age to be able to sit, have learned from the training the parents gave them and be past the "it's all about me" ages. I really don't care if the restaurant is Alinea or Olive Garden...if the children are quiet, no one is bothered by any noise, it is really none of my business why the parents brought the kids or if they have an iPad in their hands. I'd certainly compliment the parents who dared bring a child to Alinea or a restaurant like that, if they made it through without an issue. Bravo for them.
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Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

by Sam Platt » Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:53 pm

I only remember one true tantrum from each of our children. Our daughter threw a fit when we came to take her home from a play date. Our son went off when we bought him the wrong size Sprite - the toddler cup was "for babies!!!" Both were in the 3-4 year old range and were subjected to a politically incorrect physical consquence for their actions. If nothing else a swat on the hind-end does get a child's attention.

A young child acting out during a three hour dining experience at a restaurant such as Alinea is on the parents, in my opinion. I don't know how a youngster could be expected to sit through such a thing or why a parent would want them to. At least they serve beer to the adults who are subjected to Chuck E Cheese.
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Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

by Jo Ann Henderson » Fri Mar 07, 2014 6:38 pm

Rahsaan wrote:
Jo Ann Henderson wrote:I was lucky enough to have children who never threw a tantrum, ever.


You mean no tantrums in restaurants? Surely they threw one or two tantrums elsewhere. Unless you had drinking water laced with sedatives in your house!

No, never had a kid with a tantrum - anywhere. When my kids were unhappy with something they may pout or shed a tear (daughter) then express their disagreement (son most often) and ask for an explanation (daughter). We discussed it most of the time, sometimes I just pulled rank and said "not open for discussion". (I was the parent after all.) We also don't yell at one another in my home. Simply not accepted. However, that is not the household in which I grew up. Which is why there is no room for violation of this standard in my home!
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Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

by Karen/NoCA » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:32 pm

A young child acting out during a three hour dining experience at a restaurant such as Alinea is on the parents, in my opinion. I don't know how a youngster could be expected to sit through such a thing or why a parent would want them to. At least they serve beer to the adults who are subjected to Chuck E Cheese.
True that...I recall those Chuck E Cheese days, grueling. Not sure I could sit through a three hour dining experience. We just did that on Valentines Day at Anselmo's here in our area, a local winery that has the best food around. Thank goodness we could get up and wonder the grounds for a bit, or I would have been misbehaving.
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Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

by Jeff Grossman/NYC » Sat Mar 08, 2014 2:52 am

Sam Platt wrote:A young child acting out during a three hour dining experience at a restaurant such as Alinea is on the parents, in my opinion. I don't know how a youngster could be expected to sit through such a thing or why a parent would want them to.

I assume you're making reference to the crying baby at Alinea earlier this year. (Just Google for "Alinea crying baby" and you will get more to read than you ever needed.)

Their excuse was that dinner at Alinea is pre-paid, like a ticket to a sporting event. So, when the baby-sitter failed to show their choice was throw away $400/person or go with the kid.

I don't buy that line of reasoning. If you have a Big Night planned then you line up more than one baby-sitter. Or you take your lumps. But you don't make the 80 other patrons -- $32,000 worth of dining -- go through Hell with you.
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Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

by Mike Filigenzi » Sat Mar 08, 2014 12:37 pm

Jeff Grossman/NYC wrote:I assume you're making reference to the crying baby at Alinea earlier this year. (Just Google for "Alinea crying baby" and you will get more to read than you ever needed.)

Their excuse was that dinner at Alinea is pre-paid, like a ticket to a sporting event. So, when the baby-sitter failed to show their choice was throw away $400/person or go with the kid.

I don't buy that line of reasoning. If you have a Big Night planned then you line up more than one baby-sitter. Or you take your lumps. But you don't make the 80 other patrons -- $32,000 worth of dining -- go through Hell with you.


Honestly, I can't blame the parents for giving it a try. The minute that kid made a noise, though, it was incumbent on one of them to quietly and swiftly remove the baby from the room. That's basic etiquette whether you're in Alinea or Olive Garden.

Of course, Alinea is in a unique position here because of their no-refund policy. That pretty much guarantees that something along these lines is going to happen once in a while.
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Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

by Jenise » Sat Mar 08, 2014 4:02 pm

Mike Filigenzi wrote:Of course, Alinea is in a unique position here because of their no-refund policy. That pretty much guarantees that something along these lines is going to happen once in a while.


It occurs to me that it also means people infected with contagion who might otherwise stay in bed are likely to show up--not good, either. Wonder if Alinea should re-think policy?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

by Jenise » Sat Mar 08, 2014 4:19 pm

Karen/NoCA wrote: I really don't care if the restaurant is Alinea or Olive Garden...if the children are quiet, no one is bothered by any noise


But that in fact IS the debate. The children in the example weren't making noise, just using iPads in a restaurant where children with 'toys' would be unusual. As a mother yourself, I'm sure you're extra-sympathetic to the parental issues involved in these decisions, and bravo to you for that. Having not been a parent myself, I'm admittedly less so. But I can assure you of this: it really does depend on the restaurant, and perhaps even the neighborhood--each has it's own set of attitudes. One quiet child with an iPad at an Alinea or a French Laundry, say, wouldn't disrupt a thing, but let's say everybody did it--a restaurant full of children with iPads would suffer an atmospheric change that would lessen it's attraction to the primarily adult audience of well-healed diners, special occasion seekers and business clientele that high end restaurants cater to. And that's why I said it's not about the age of the children. Children who enjoy the experience are fine, encouraging even, but children who aren't, who have to be distracted, are better off left at home.
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Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

by Rahsaan » Sat Mar 08, 2014 11:00 pm

We saw something very clever tonight. A pizza restaurant (good but not too 'foodie' or 'precious', although also not sloppy family-style Chuckie Cheese et al. either) gave our 3-year old son a small ball of pizza dough to play with while we were waiting for the meal. And he enjoyed it. Plus it was much nicer and more in tune with the restaurant than crayons and coloring books.
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Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

by Mark Lipton » Sat Mar 08, 2014 11:54 pm

Rahsaan wrote:We saw something very clever tonight. A pizza restaurant (good but not too 'foodie' or 'precious', although also not sloppy family-style Chuckie Cheese et al. either) gave our 3-year old son a small ball of pizza dough to play with while we were waiting for the meal. And he enjoyed it. Plus it was much nicer and more in tune with the restaurant than crayons and coloring books.


The Don Pablo's chain of Tex-Mex places has for years done a similar thing. There is a station where they make tortillas, and kids who come up to the station are given a ball of dough to keep. Our son played with several during his early years. It is a very clever twist on the child entertainment theme.

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Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

by Karen/NoCA » Sun Mar 09, 2014 12:22 pm

I remember that happening to us when traveling with our three. Can't tell you where we were, what state or even the type of restaurant, I just remember all three having a ball of dough to keep them busy. I remember them playing a form of bocci ball on the table in front of them with several smaller balls they made. It was great fun!
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Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

by Paul Winalski » Sun Mar 09, 2014 1:22 pm

On a related topic, I was surprised that even some of the fanciest restaurants in France allow patrons to bring their dogs along. I was at a Michelin-starred restaurant where a party had a dog with them. It sat under the table during the whole meal, and you'd never have known it was there. Except for one incident. When the main courses arrived for the human patrons, there was one short, quiet, plaintive whine from under the table. But the dog had not been forgotten--the waiters merely had served the humans first. The last dish to be served went under the table.

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Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

by wnissen » Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:40 pm

Even though I had a Game Boy as a kid, for some reason I see a big difference between having a screen and having crayons, a puzzle, book, etc. at the table. Maybe it's the immersive nature of a video game, where you tune out everything around you. I don't object to parents allowing devices at table, it's just not something we do with our five year old. In fact, we're heading to France next month and I've spent a fair amount of time researching appropriate dinner options since I don't think he would be able to sit for a full French meal without electronic assistance. (Suggestions for noiseless tabletop entertainment are welcome, by the way.)
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Re: Is it wrong to keep a kid busy at an eatery with your iPad?

by Karen/NoCA » Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:54 pm

(Suggestions for noiseless tabletop entertainment are welcome, by the way.)
With our grandkids, when little, I used to pick up those age approproate game books at the grocery store, in which they could do,connect the dots, or numbers, or fill in the blanks with words. They were great. Also, those small hand held games about the size of a cell phone (the name escapes me right now) where one moves the numbers/letters(?) around to form a sequence. I think they were red and black. They loved those too. Our little granddaughter who was so used to the high tech stuff at home made a comment about the small, old fashioned game I just mentioned..."we don't have this high tech game at home!" She said the same thing about a rotary dial telephone when I exposed her to it. :wink:
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