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Eat & Drink

Would you support a "baby tax" at Toronto restaurants?

Posted by Derek Flack / December 1, 2011

Bay Tax RestaurantsMaking the rounds over the last few days is a story about a London restaurant that has started to charged a "baby tax" for families that want to bring young kids along for dinner. There's no word on what the age cut-off is, but the fee itself was rather nominal at £3. Could this ever happen here? Are these little bundles of shit and joy really that much of nuisance?

On New York-based site, Gothamist, poll respondents were roughly 65 per cent in favour of implementing something similar in their home city. But that's New Yorkers — and thus not much of a shock. What did come as a surprise, however, is the degree of support the concept had when I took it to our Twitter followers earlier today. Although there were some strong voices of dissent, lots of Toronto diners thought it was a great idea. Some went so far as to say that they'd pay a tax to quarantine these little creatures from their favourite restaurants.

So a poll of our own.


Photo from Lars Plougmann on Flickr

Discussion

183 Comments

Yes! / December 1, 2011 at 03:54 pm
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Oh man. This is truly a fabulous idea!!!!!!!

Kat / December 1, 2011 at 03:56 pm
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Hell NO!!! this is for those who have not kids!
Anonymous / December 1, 2011 at 04:03 pm
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There should be a 'depends on the establishment' category for this question. I'm split down the middle, I'm sure others are too.
Stefan / December 1, 2011 at 04:07 pm
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I'm cool with this for uh, any establishment ever. Can we just have a general baby tax? That would rule.
KidsSuck / December 1, 2011 at 04:10 pm
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Brilliant proposal.
Jessica Baker / December 1, 2011 at 04:17 pm
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As a server, I think that this is a terrible idea and an offensive example of penny-pinching by the restaurant's management. Hospitality should be one of every restaurant's primary concerns. They should be focusing on increasing profits by going the extra mile and providing exemplary guest experiences, not by offending and under-appreciating the ones they've got.
FacelessFood / December 1, 2011 at 04:21 pm
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We have been taking our kids out to restaurants since they were babies...that's why they know how to behave when eating out!!!

The reason we love Greece, is that children are welcomed everywhere.

A tax on swearing adults would be great though ;-)
childless but sensible / December 1, 2011 at 04:21 pm
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lol. this is such a NIMBY situation. Everyone who doesnt have kids wants to punish those who do. I don't have kids but this is ridiculous.
rilesy / December 1, 2011 at 04:24 pm
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Can we have tax exemptions for single baby-less people instead?
You miss the point / December 1, 2011 at 04:24 pm
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This is a cash grab by the restaurant and won't do anything to stop an unpleasant dining experience from a screaming kid, belligerent drunk, loud talkers or insert annoying patron example here.
Dan / December 1, 2011 at 04:24 pm
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People who can afford to go out to dinner with kids can afford the extra few bucks.

When your in a public space filled with people enjoying a mean and conversation and your kid starts screaming your affecting everyone.
EarthJuice / December 1, 2011 at 04:25 pm
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This is a good proposal for downtown. Not sure if you can expect this to fly in the burbs though. Then again, I think you have diff expectation for fine dining (Swiss Chalet) in the burbs. Kids belong in the burbs only. There should be a surcharge, if not a ban, on babies on transit during rushhour too.
Ethan Davis / December 1, 2011 at 04:27 pm
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Does everyone who voted 'YES' to this tax own a restaurant? Like any tax(bag tax for example)people just pay it. Besides the restaurant who earns an extra $3 per child, who wins? People who want to bring their kids, now pay extra, people who don't want kids still have to sit next to them. If the idea is to discourage kids, the tax has to be much larger to make any impact. I assume when I enter into public, there will be all sorts of people who may get on my nerves...but we can't start taxing the annoying and hope they go away...or can we?
New Dad / December 1, 2011 at 04:29 pm
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As a new father in Toronto I am really sad to read this is seen by anyone as a good idea. Since when does living in a big city mean that one has a right to selectively exclude people from enjoying the benefits of a multicultural place like Toronto for the sake of your own luxury? Is the $3 to cover the costs of a baby being in the room? Hardly. This is simply a method of exclusion when parents with babies are already made to feel unwelcome enough in public places and especially restaurants. If you see a new parent in a restaurant, maybe try and focus on what their day to day lives are like for just one moment before you wish they were somehow banished from being in your space. Ask a mother who is breastfeeding what her days and nights are like. How much sleep she gets. It's her you are shutting out with your $3 tax while you sit in your little safety groups and ignore the rest of the room anyways. I am normally really self-conscious of disturbing other diners when we go to a restaurant as a family. Now I'm starting to think I'm just catering to ignorance. People make babies and babies crap and babies cry. Get over it. You were a baby. We all were babies. Babies are the 100%! OCCUPY RESTAURANTS!!!
hüth / December 1, 2011 at 04:31 pm
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The teen tax will be triple the baby rate, right?
Babysitter / December 1, 2011 at 04:31 pm
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Hey more money for me. WINNING.
Mike replying to a comment from rilesy / December 1, 2011 at 04:36 pm
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seconded. Where's the tax breaks for people who choose not to have children?
Just a suggestion / December 1, 2011 at 04:39 pm
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The way you framed the options in your poll will likely affect the outcome. The options should simply be 'Yes' or 'No'. If the wording was, say, 'Yes, it's worth a try' or 'No, kids always come first', you would probably get different results than with the wording you've used. The choices should always be as generic as possible, so as to prevent the wording from influencing which option one chooses.
Dave / December 1, 2011 at 04:41 pm
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The only thing keeping my 5 month-old from being an ideal restaurant patron is that he doesn't eat food yet, and for taking up a spot at the table, we tip extra. We don't take him out for a 'fine dining' experience, but we probably could.
A few weeks ago, we sat near a dude (read "hipster") who was dining alone, but constantly on his cellphone swearing like a sailor very loudly. Dude even dropped the forbidden "C" word. Our server loudly commented on how every patron should be as considerate as our little boy. Instant huge tip.
A bad dining experience is as dependent on adult patrons as children.
Skylar / December 1, 2011 at 04:43 pm
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Why not just have a family night? Theatres have mom and baby days, maybe restaurants should implement a night or 2 for familes or couples with babies or whatever. So regular non-kid folks know not to go to x restaurant on x day if they don't want to sit next to a family with kids. And folks that don't give a crap will still go eat whenever and where ever.
Baby Momma replying to a comment from FacelessFood / December 1, 2011 at 04:49 pm
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Um can you say discrimination? I get it. I have a kid. They are not always well mannered bundles of joy and sometimes us parents want to hide under the table when they act up in restaurants. But we don't. Responsible parents deal with their child's misbehavior in an appropriate way so that EVERYONE (including the sometimes embarrassed parents) can enjoy their meal. I think the onus needs to be on the parents to teach good behavior in public. As for crying babies, (mine was colicky for 8 months) parents can usually have the good sense to take the baby somewhere calmer to sooth them. Childless people need to have some compassion for what parents have to go through. You would never tax someone with Tourette's syndrome would you?
rick mcginnis replying to a comment from rilesy / December 1, 2011 at 04:49 pm
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Only if you promise never to breed.
Voice OFTreason / December 1, 2011 at 04:50 pm
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Tax exemptions for single Babyless people ? There should be an extra charge for those that don't contribute towards the existence of society.
The problem is that it's too hard to have a kid right now.





Jo / December 1, 2011 at 05:02 pm
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I was once at a sushi restaurant on Danforth for my birthday and had the unfortunate luck of having to endure an hour's worth of whining and crying because a 4 yr old at a nearby table wouldn't eat his food. It was mentally exhausting and it ruined my evening. Babysitters are there for a reason people.
Derek replying to a comment from Just a suggestion / December 1, 2011 at 05:04 pm
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Thanks for that, but we tend to add these extra bits to the poll answers to keep things light and to underscore how unscientific they really are. With basically no control over the sample, these polls are fun exercises that might hint at a trend more than anything else.
Lindsey Naegle / December 1, 2011 at 05:08 pm
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Flip it around - charge us happy, childfree children an extra tax to enjoy a meal free of a screaming baby, wandering toddler or "innocent soul" who can't possibly be subjected to adult conversation that sometimes (sorry) includes curse words and descriptions of a graphic sexual nature.

I'm sure we'd be more than happy to dig into our disposable income that we've saved on childcare.

Seriously though, this question has been raised because people have lost all common sense about what is and isn't appropriate for a young child or baby. Family friendly establishments or 5:30 dinners? Bring on the tots, and teach them how to be a good restaurant patron. Absolutely! 9:30 dinner sitting at a cavernous restaurant where people are likely celebrating intimate dinners and special occasions? Hire a babysitter, FFS.
Lindsey Naegle / December 1, 2011 at 05:09 pm
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er...childfree people. Though I'm sure some militant mommmies would call us "children"
Jo replying to a comment from Voice OFTreason / December 1, 2011 at 05:10 pm
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Really? 7 billion world pop. and you want people to keep procreating? LOL
Merits replying to a comment from Baby Momma / December 1, 2011 at 05:15 pm
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I'm all for kids in restaurants, I honestly could care less if they are there. But please don't tell me I need to have "compassion" for people who are parents, you were not forced to have a child you chose to. It's not a disability it is a conscious choice.
Jordan / December 1, 2011 at 05:15 pm
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Wouldn't it just be better to have a ban on children in certain restaurants / areas? A tax doesn't make much sense - we'd just end up having privileged annoying kids crying in restaurants. Also, while we're at it - how about an airline that does the same thing? The last flight I took a toddler kicked at my seat and screamed for the majority of a 6 hour flight - the parent's didn't even try to stop him.
SueM replying to a comment from Dave / December 1, 2011 at 05:20 pm
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My child is far better behaved then most of you.
Alex / December 1, 2011 at 05:24 pm
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I've never had a dinner where a kid was screaming or crying. I don't remember being out and having loud obnoxious people near me either. I think the vast majority of the time most people in a restaurant are fine. So a tax would be stupid when most of the time the baby is just sitting there or sleeping.
Jesse / December 1, 2011 at 05:34 pm
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Forget the baby tax, but restaurants should be able to stipulate whether or not babies are allowed to eat there. A baby tax at any family restaurant seems ridiculous, but at somewhere fancy and 'spensive, it would be better to just have no babies. If you can afford the meal, you can afford a babysitter.
Richmond Hill Restaurants / December 1, 2011 at 05:53 pm
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Shouldn't they call it a baby 'fine' as a tax usually (and hopefully) is used to provide some other related service. To 'fine' people for coming to your restaurant with your child is surely a business killer. Personally I am more likely to return to a restaurant that understands the challenge of dining out with young children and attempts to help the parents out. The Keg for instance has always been a pleasure to dine at with my child as they have gone out of their way to provide a service that helps me keep my child entertained (and quiet!). Always a big tip for Keg staff.

A commenter suggested it would be better to have a ban on kids in certain restaurants. Let me tell you I have experienced this and will never eat at that restaurant again and I purposely go out of my way to disuade anyone from eating there. Any tax on kids would soon be revoked when the social media storm it would produce started putting restaurants out of business.

To @merits - really? Every single person with a child choose to have one, only a dullard would suggest such a thing. I would guess that you rarely feel compassion.

Maybe any 'taxes' collected, should this ever be implemented, could be used in customer service training.
Kaila / December 1, 2011 at 06:09 pm
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wow...this is disgusting...babies are not animals. They are people, actual, developing, growing, breathing people.
hop / December 1, 2011 at 06:14 pm
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What about adults that act like babies, there should be a tax for them too.
BabyHater / December 1, 2011 at 06:26 pm
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babies are so dirty and noisy. this is a great idea.
maybe it will prevent people from making these things.
BabyHater replying to a comment from SueM / December 1, 2011 at 06:27 pm
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yeah yeah .. everyone has the 'best behaved baby' ever.

blah blah blah ... as a middle aged woman, i hear this all the freakin' time.
Mike / December 1, 2011 at 06:29 pm
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No way. Why should I be punished for wanting to eat succulent baby meat? *Reads over* Oh...I kinda misunderstood that...carry on.
iagree replying to a comment from SueM / December 1, 2011 at 06:43 pm
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my children are also better behaved then the apes who post here.
Your choice, your problem / December 1, 2011 at 06:49 pm
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To the parents whining about "compassion" - it's not actually that people hate your baby, or don't think parenting is hard. It's just that the attitude that your baby should be welcome anywhere, anytime, is a little hard to take. Please tell me WHY you would feel the need to bring your baby to a restaurant that isn't a typical "family" atmosphere (Swiss Chalet, fast food, etc.)? Why is this ok or necessary? There are these people called babysitters, and they aren't all that expensive. Like someone else said, if you can afford to eat out, you can afford a sitter. A child under the age of 4 can't even really be expected to sit still for the duration of a dinner, so you actually know the kid is going to be some sort of disturbance - yet this isn't your problem, this is everyone else's? You don't actually have a god-given right to impose your child on everyone just because you don't feel like staying home or being separated from the kid for a couple hours.

And everyone saying people should be more understanding of the challenges of dining with young kids, you like servers who help entertain your kids (because they certainly don't have a million other things to do)...you're the people who let your kids wander around the restaurant while you linger over coffee for 2 hours, aren't you? Maybe people would be more accepting of kids in restaurants if parents would actually attempt to discipline them or be willing to leave dinner early if the kids are acting up. Yes, that's right - willing to sacrifice YOUR enjoyment of the evening because of YOUR kid, rather than expecting everyone else to make that sacrifice.
tissue replying to a comment from Your choice, your problem / December 1, 2011 at 07:01 pm
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here is a tissue for your issues.
Jason replying to a comment from Dan / December 1, 2011 at 07:16 pm
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You are = you're
If it belongs to you = your
org / December 1, 2011 at 07:25 pm
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We need a little balance here people. Parents should just be mindful of how their kids behave and choose a restaurant based on this. We don't need a $5 tax. This will just give parents with badly behaved children justification for bringing their loud kids to a nice place. When their kids start running around the restaurant creating chaos and we give looks, they will give us the "FU I paid the child tax" look back.
w-hat / December 1, 2011 at 07:51 pm
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How about people just use common sense with their kids. My wife and I bring our toddler to family type places for brunch and stuff, but we eat out at the hot spots by ourselves and get a sitter for the little one.

Also, I agree with others, if your child is acting out in any way that is unacceptable and disturbing others, it's time to take them outside. Children need to learn how to behave in public, otherwise you end up with even more douchebags than we have now, and that's something we can all agree on wanting less of.
James / December 1, 2011 at 08:08 pm
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Solution that makes everyone happy: Pay baby tax.... reduce tip by amount of baby tax. Done and done.
Vince / December 1, 2011 at 08:25 pm
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So I'm taking a hot new lady to a classy joint, I don't want a baby or little kid sitting next to us all reminding her about the consequences of.... shall we say, doin' it. Like later at my place after eating dinner and sharing a dessert. And by "doin' it" I mean sex. I think you get my drift.
a / December 1, 2011 at 08:32 pm
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I agree with w-hat. I see children acting out at restaurants and parents remaining passive towards them. I'm happy for these parents that have the ability to ignore the unruly behavior/outbursts/crying, but I do not have that super-ability. I find it incredibly disruptive and oftentimes wonder why I'm out paying for an unpleasant experience. If your child is acting out, take them outside/washroom/car and teach them not to behave that way, it's called discipline. It's better to teach them now than to let them carry those traits into adulthood and let them become a burden to society. For babies who are crying, go take them outside/washroom/car, and try to calm them. I don't understand why parents insist on bringing out cranky/fussy babies to restaurants. Give yourselves a break, hire a sitter for an hour and if you cannot bear to leave them, then order take-out.
Awesome / December 1, 2011 at 08:38 pm
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If I take my kid out I do my best to make sure I don't inconvenience or disturb anyone. If I have to pay a fee I now have free reign to disrupt as much as I want cause I paid for that right. Bring it, now i don't have to feel bad.
rafi replying to a comment from New Dad / December 1, 2011 at 08:41 pm
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it is not right for you to impose your lifestyle choices upon others. note that i said choices, you have alternatives. child-bearing and raising is a choice, not an inescapable/forced/imposed situation. people who are childless reserve the right to quiet/pleasant enjoyment at restaurants/public places. i would gladly pay a premium to not be disrupted by babies in any public place.
JustMe replying to a comment from BabyHater / December 1, 2011 at 09:02 pm
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I wonder if your mom thought that of you...
WWJD replying to a comment from New Dad / December 1, 2011 at 09:08 pm
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I am childless and find all of this intolerance infuriating. I just want you to know I stand apart from all of this disgusting behaviour and am appalled at the comments left here.

All of you haters sound like the whining, crying babies. You disgust me.
kstop / December 1, 2011 at 09:10 pm
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How about this - when someone brings their baby to a restaurant, if more than 50% of the diners immediately pay them $3 each, they have to leave. Otherwise their baby gets to poop on a randomly-selected patron. It'll be like Casinorama while you eat!

Full disclosure: I do have a baby, and he has been taken to the occasional brunch, but he's so cute that I'm pretty sure that at least once he's inspired a nearby hipster couple to immediately procreate in Aunties and Uncles' restroom. I probably wouldn't take him to a restaurant for dinner unless I knew the owners were cool with it, and definitely not to some bollixy romantic dining spot.

Jimbo / December 1, 2011 at 09:31 pm
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I have no kids, and when I go out with my wife I'd like to enjoy a nice conversation without a misbehaving, screaming kid ruining our evening.

Heck, I'd pay extra to eat in a restraunt that doesn't allow kids at all.

Bill Jinkson / December 1, 2011 at 09:55 pm
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anti-baby people: suck it up. Your tune will change if you ever manage to stop whining enough to convince someone to procreate with you.

Baby people: eat early, teach your kid right. Eat later, get a sitter.
Bill Jinkson replying to a comment from rafi / December 1, 2011 at 09:57 pm
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"it is not right for you to impose your lifestyle choices upon others. note that i said choices, you have alternatives. child-bearing and raising is a choice, not an inescapable/forced/imposed situation. people who are childless reserve the right to quiet/pleasant enjoyment at restaurants/public places. i would gladly pay a premium to not be disrupted by babies in any public place."
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ha ha ha your enormously bloated self-importance and laughable sense of entitlement are noted!

Now get back to your campaign to ban children from parks so you can sit on your blanket in peace with your guitar and practice Grizzly Bear covers.
A / December 1, 2011 at 10:11 pm
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Nothing is worse than a baby wailing and throwing food around.

Babies should be banned from planes too.
Bill JInxson replying to a comment from A / December 1, 2011 at 10:19 pm
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ha ha ha another childless hipster without a clue about the world who wants his super cool little Parkdale life to never ever ever change.
Chantal / December 1, 2011 at 10:26 pm
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Haters: just remember one thing. Without those babies who will grow into adults and pay into the system, there won't be anyone to wipe your behinds when you are old and drooling.

Yes, they are a lifestyle choice. So is not having kids. You have no more "rights" in public than my family does so suck it up...
Tracy replying to a comment from BabyHater / December 1, 2011 at 10:27 pm
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You do realize that you were a baby once and were just as disgusting.
electric / December 1, 2011 at 10:28 pm
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I am for a tax on stupid parents who can't realize when their kid is ruining other people's evenings. There is a point when little johnny can handle a meal at a real restaurant.

I get there are a LOT of angry parents out there who are upset their social life is fucked, but don't take it out on people who don't have small kids anymore by refusing to change habits.

A Tax? no. Going to a restaurant where kids should go - what a GOOD idea. Eating at the bar at jack astor or whatever isn't a family dining unless you like potty mouths and beer talk.
Tracy replying to a comment from A / December 1, 2011 at 10:29 pm
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That's compassionate. So if I'm traveling to say a wedding or a funeral, my child has to stay behind? Or if my family lives on the other side of the world and I'm an ex-pat, then what? Babies should be banned from planes? Do you really think many airlines would survive if families were unable to travel?
Chantal replying to a comment from Tracy / December 1, 2011 at 10:34 pm
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There is no reasoning with people like A. They just represent a level of selfish in what should be a civilized society that I don't understand. Pointless.
Sarah replying to a comment from New Dad / December 1, 2011 at 10:36 pm
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I'm sorry, but I have to disagree. Children take up just as space as an adult, and aren't exactly paying customers, even if they do get a meal--it's probably worth half as much as what a an adult does. Going out to a restaurant is a luxury, not a right.
Derek / December 1, 2011 at 10:38 pm
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People we have a fierce case of "first world problems"....Babies are humans! umm kind of like you and me... The only people who could possibly support this are so full of themselves... if you are that person I'm disgusted to be in a common establishment with you.
Tracy replying to a comment from A / December 1, 2011 at 10:39 pm
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As a parent and someone who used to work in the service industry, I think there might be exceptions. Charging a tax during the day or early evening? No, you'd lose a lot of customers who wouldn't be happy with that. Charging a tax or listing as a "child-free" establishment later at night? Sure, that seems reasonable. Or better yet, if you don't want kids in your business, just make sure it's listed as a "child-free" zone. There are resorts like Sandals that are listed as "Adult Only" so if a restaurant wants to do the same, then make sure your an "Adult Only" establishment all the time. Don't give people the option to bring their kids, then punish them for it!

And if your charging a fee for kids, then if I hear someone swearing or being vulgar, I expect them to be charged as well. Oh, and as a former server, if the reason for the tax is because children are messy, I'm going to disagree. If my kids drop food, I always pick up what I see and after years of serving, there are a lot of adults who are pretty disgusting when they eat!
Maybe / December 1, 2011 at 10:42 pm
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Maybe the tax is for taking up an extra seat and for any extra cleanup or services (warming up a bottle for example) and not because the restaurant owners are childless and hate your baby.
Greg / December 1, 2011 at 10:44 pm
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Lets also tax the ugly people! I don't want to see you when I dine out! Same to you fatties
lizzy / December 1, 2011 at 10:44 pm
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I don't care for children.

but this is just crazy.. and would never happen in Toronto.
Chantal replying to a comment from Maybe / December 1, 2011 at 11:05 pm
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No less offensive.
Dan / December 1, 2011 at 11:23 pm
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Let any business do what they want in this category...people have choices and if it bothers them, don't go there. Wouldn't that be a better use of time rather than everyone (including myself) commenting and arguing and discussing this BS? I work for myself and am doing great, but this is why our economy is in the situation it is...this is the type of thing we think about.
Patrick replying to a comment from Dan / December 1, 2011 at 11:25 pm
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How about, instead of the baby tax, we institute a $20 tax on Blog TO comments from people who don't know the difference between "your" and "you're"? Seriously: I can't take it anymore.
Dan replying to a comment from Patrick / December 1, 2011 at 11:30 pm
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How about a tax for people who pay attention to crap like typing/grammar mistakes on the Internet? Again, if you can't take it anymore, jump off of something, I will truly care...hold on, let me add a spelling mistake to help the cause: hmmm...Were are you going to jump from? lol
Dan replying to a comment from Patrick / December 1, 2011 at 11:33 pm
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Sorry, I'm being an ass...
Gisaster replying to a comment from rilesy / December 1, 2011 at 11:36 pm
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This! Co-sign.
kids replying to a comment from Sarah / December 1, 2011 at 11:45 pm
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so they have children menus for nothing, because they are not paying customers. get over yourself.
mike / December 2, 2011 at 12:51 am
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this is a horrible idea. the city is for everyone, not just adults. a tax like this is just one more reason why families move away from downtown. we need to make things better and easier for people with children and babies, not worse.
there is already a stupid lie about how those garbage shacks in the burbs like the chalet or mcdicks or jack astors or whatever have 'family values' or are 'family friendly', which we all know is a lie anyways. dont give that lie any more validity than it already has, simply by those places having parking lots.
Missy / December 2, 2011 at 01:09 am
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Subtract the tax from the tip.
Realism / December 2, 2011 at 02:28 am
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"Subtract the tax from the tip." So your suggestion is to punish the waiters? How does that make sense?

Practically speaking, how are restaurants supposed to know how old the kids are? They can't ask for a baby's photo ID. What happens when parent simply about their kid's age?

Charging a baby tax seems like a ridiculous plan, essentially "Let's punish all parents for the behavior for a small minority of them." It's the responsibility of the restaurant to decide if and when diners should be asked to leave, ie when they (regardless of their age) are negatively impacting their other customer.

Rather than whining (quite baby-like I might add) that your "beautiful evening was ruined" (how many of you has this ACTUALLY happened to?) you should complain to your waiter or the manager, if they receive enough complaints they should ask the offenders to leave, and if they don't ask, don't go back (and don't leave a tip) and maybe they'll get the message.
jazflute / December 2, 2011 at 07:41 am
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Babies are offensive to the senses. They shouldn't be let out of the house until they're 12.
Sarah / December 2, 2011 at 07:46 am
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If you have ever been licked by a strangers child while the parent looked on laughing, you would support this idea.
J / December 2, 2011 at 08:09 am
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Only in favour if the server gets the $$. We are the ones who have to clean up after them. Not to mention the cost of advil from the headache they cause when they scream and cry while we are taking an order.
Stra / December 2, 2011 at 08:29 am
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I'd estimate that for every 10 times I eat out, there is one lousy baby encounter that I've experienced, and that experience is usually horrific enough to remember for a very long time. The last one was at a brunch place on Roncey's sitting near a baby shoving scrambled eggs in its face, eggs mixed with baby saliva falling all over the place (on my jacket and under my chair too) while the parents look on rejoicing. Given the experience is rather irregular, I would say the baby tax is a bit ridiculous.

I'd rather a tax be applied to purchases of stroller SUV's that take up an inordinate amount of sidewalk and aisle space, or a large surcharge applied to movie tickets for parents that insist on bringing their babies to later matinee/evening screenings.
whaaaaaa!!!!!! replying to a comment from Bill Jinkson / December 2, 2011 at 08:32 am
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it's called population control and you should be thankful that us non baby people make the choice to not procreate.
Stew / December 2, 2011 at 08:44 am
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We should not tax children in dining establishments per se, but the parents who allow their crotch droppings to run wild, destroy tables, sugar carafes and leave cheerios or saltines all over the place should be taxed.

Your child is not cuuuuuuuuuuuuuute when she's climbing up the back of the banquette and dropping french fries into my hair.
Erica replying to a comment from Skylar / December 2, 2011 at 08:47 am
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Family night is a great idea -- and along the same lines, adults-only nights. Some theaters are already offering "18+ only" shows with alcohol and dinner as a premium movie-going experience.
Daniel / December 2, 2011 at 09:16 am
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This is quite ridiculous. I don't see how this is going to help anyone. I don't have a child but I do not see how this can really be effective.

I was reading some comments above and some were saying this tax would encourage better parenting. Absolutely not. A baby is a baby with the inability to fully reason. So a baby will cry or whine no matter the situation, unless they have been conditioned not to cry through other forceful or abusive means which I do NOT condone.

Also, let's say this tax comes to Toronto and a family chooses to pay the tax at a restaurant. What happens if the baby begins to cry and whine? Do we ask them to leave the restaurant in the middle of their meal? I don't think so.

So this idea really is just pure discrimination and money grab opportunities for restaurants.

A better idea would be to setup a smaller room, much like those family washrooms you see in shopping malls, where the parent can take the baby to the side and calm their child down until they are ready to eat again. And if the child is being completely obnoxious by destroying tableware, a stern warning should be allowed by the restaurant and even a charge for damaged property at the management's discretion. I believe this would be more effective than charging a fixed tax before a family is given a chance to dine.

I saw some other comments, what about those teens and adults that are completely obnoxious at restaurants? Swearing, yelling, talking loudly on their phones etc. I've run into those situations more than a baby crying and it's never a pleasant meal especially when someone is swearing like a sailor.

There was one time when I was out eating with friends and a group of teenagers came in drunk. One of them dropped a beer bottle they brought from outside, hiding in their jacket and it smashed on the floor causing a mess and ruckus. My friends and I were exchanging some words with them asking them to leave the establishment and in the confusion the management kicked all of us out of the restaurant thinking we were a part of the group. Now talk about a completely ruined evening at a restaurant!

I'm not here to step on anyone's toes. I realize that there are some with children, some without who choose not to have children and some who do not have children and are just saying incredibly stupid things. For those without children saying stupid things, please step back a little and think about this in the bigger picture. Think about when you were a child, think about your parents and the things they had to deal with when you were a child, think about your future as possibly becoming a parent one day. Think logically.
King Wester / December 2, 2011 at 09:17 am
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My wife and I take our 2 kids (4 & 1) out to restaurants in the city all the time. One of the best benefits of living in a great city like Toronto is the dining!!

We try our best to ensure they're good, but occasionally one will melt down or do something that is obviously not something you want to see in a restaurant - running amok, talking too loudly, etc.

I'm super aware of my surroundings and I try my best to ensure we're not imposing on people's dining experience - but c'mon, love the city and the people that make it great - including our ankle-biters!

And next time you're about to chow down on that carpaccio, I apologize in advance for my toddler slapping your ass.
Dear dumb dumbs / December 2, 2011 at 09:29 am
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1. So, enact your moronic baby tax. 2. Parents pay moronic baby tax. 3. Parents eat meal. 4.Baby freaks out.
5. Parents have already paid your moronic baby tax, so now what happens?
I eagerly await your dumb dumb answers.
gr1 replying to a comment from Dear dumb dumbs / December 2, 2011 at 09:44 am
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The entire restaurant boo's you for being inconsiderate and unable to take care of your own child.
gr1 replying to a comment from Dear dumb dumbs / December 2, 2011 at 09:45 am
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child tax < babysitter.
IL / December 2, 2011 at 09:46 am
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Well if this comes to fruision - and i ate at one of those establishments, i would definately be getting my $ worth at the expense of other diners/staff. Poopy diapers changed in the middle of the restaurant, those diapers left open on the table, not trying to calm my crying baby - let the screaming continue!
People who like this have to remember that parents have a huge arsenal at thier disposal, especially when they have to pay extra for the privage of taking thier baby out to dinner!
urbanguy / December 2, 2011 at 09:59 am
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what about a paki tax or a negro tax. i do not want these dark smelly people spoiling my nice diner as well.
Aydin / December 2, 2011 at 09:59 am
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It's just like the plastic bag tax. It's not necessarily about preventing the sale of every plastic bag in the city - it's about changing peoples' mindset, making us reconsider whether we NEED a plastic bag for each individual purchase during a shopping trip.
As silly as it sounds, this tax would hopefully make entitled parents remember that their little crying bundles of joy can take away from a restaurant's atmosphere for the rest of the clientele. Hopefully it would be implemented in a way where a restaurant could decide if they're a "family restaurant" (no tax) OR a "fine dining establishment" (tax it up!).
I certainly don't mind if your kid is freaking out at a Jack Astor's or a Mandarin - those restaurants are family friendly, and I'd expect to see kids there. But if you bring your toddler to Scaramouche or Le Select Bistro, you're clearly too emotionally attached to get a sitter (or just couldn't find one). Either find a sitter or a family-friendly restaurant. It's that simple. Not every movie is for kids, and not every restaurant should be for kids too!
Believe me, if parents were more considerate with their restaurant choices on a consistent basis, we wouldn't be having this conversation!
Patrick / December 2, 2011 at 10:03 am
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Another thing to remember is that if we actually implemented this ridiculous and offensive tax, it would GUARANTEE an increase in screaming, crying babies in restaurants. There's the famous example used in economics classes of a daycare somewhere that was tired of a few parents always showing up late to pick up their kids. So they decided to impose a "Late tax", something on the order of $5. The obvious thing happened: the number of people who were late to pick up their kids tripled. If you make people feel guilty about something, then most won't do it, but if you offer it as an option at a low price, then why not? Many other experiments have verified this sort of thing. So if you charge $3 for babies at restaurants, you'll get three times as many of them, and when they start misbehaving you won't hear "Oh, I'm so sorry... Timmy isn't normally like this. I'm really sorry." Instead you'll get "What? I paid my $3."
Aydin replying to a comment from Dear dumb dumbs / December 2, 2011 at 10:09 am
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Not sure I understand what the issue here is. They ate their meal, paid their bill and left. See, the restaurant had to use a 4-seater table for only 2 paying customers. That's what parents forget.

If 3 adults go to a nice restaurant, where 2 of them have a full, 3-course meal, but the third has only a bottle of milk and a jar of smashed peas, which he brought with him, the restaurant would have the right to be annoyed at that customer. If you're going to take up a seat, you should either have to buy something or somehow pay for that real estate! I don't care if you're a baby or an adult. That's what the tax is for!!

In the scenario you've outlined, the two parents had their food, and the restaurant got some kind of reimbursement for wasting a seat on a non-paying "customer". What, exactly, is the problem here?
Bill Jinxson / December 2, 2011 at 10:09 am
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Hey maybe all you non-baby people could tell us how much you think babysitting costs for a night. Can't wait.
Nerves / December 2, 2011 at 10:10 am
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I think the tax is unnecessary. Personally, whenever I dine with my kids, I always leave an extra generous tip for the extra cleanup required under the table. If the child is unhappy, I'll pick it up and even take it outside until she settles down a bit.

That being said, I'm not about to start taking my kids to 'fine dining' restaurants, but please don't force me to go to the 'burbs' or eat in chain restaurants. Just because you have kids don't mean you should have to eat shitty food.

If you consider it an 'inconvenience tax', then other annoying diners like loud talkers, drunks or rowdy groups should have to pay it too. I'd like to see you try to enforce that!
Kevin / December 2, 2011 at 10:10 am
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Where's the "Fuck you" option on this poll?

Sincerely,
New Dad.
Nerves replying to a comment from whaaaaaa!!!!!! / December 2, 2011 at 10:12 am
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This is such an outdated way of thinking. There are a lot of places in the world that could do with a little population control, but Canada isn't one of them. Already we're facing a crisis of supporting the elderly. If you don't mind working until you're 85, then sure, who needs kids? Who do you think will be paying for your healthcare when you're retired? That's right. My kids.
jazflute / December 2, 2011 at 10:12 am
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Scrap the tax. Babies should just be banned from restaurants.
Jimmy / December 2, 2011 at 10:19 am
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Babies should be seen and not heard. If a baby tax helps with this, then let's do it.
Bill Jinxson / December 2, 2011 at 10:25 am
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Looking back to before I had kids, I too heard every single shriek and saw every single tossed pea.

But once you have kids, mother nature instantly blesses you with an amazing new ability: to not hear or notice other people's kids - in a restaurant, at a park, on the subway - anywhere. It cannot be explained. But it happens.

So all you people whining about the babies, suck it up. Once you have kids, it will never ever bother you again.
Caitie / December 2, 2011 at 10:38 am
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Bill - You do realize some of us don't want children, period?

But, the idea itself is stupid and designed to inflame. A better solution already exists. Simply don't permit children in bars and restuarants after 9pm (with the exception of family restuarants, which you really shouldn't be going to if don't enjoy the company of children). This gives parents the opportunity to patronize the same places as everyone else but gives not-so-child-friendly individuals the opportunity to dine at a later time without being disturbed.
Blogto Commentator / December 2, 2011 at 10:53 am
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They should ban kids in restaurants.
james / December 2, 2011 at 10:57 am
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I'd love to see a baby tax, an SUV stroller tax and a self-rightous indignant parent tax. On Roncesvalles many people have had to switch coffee shops because the entitled mom-mafia has completely taken over Cherry Bomb and turned it into a daycare/new mom support group.
garyT / December 2, 2011 at 11:12 am
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maybe a discount for lonely misanthropic people who eat alone at a table for 2?
agentsmith / December 2, 2011 at 11:17 am
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Seems like this is a solution to a problem that doesn't really exist. Except for "family" chain restaurants or brunch places, I can't remember the last time I even saw a kid in a restaurant.
Moi / December 2, 2011 at 11:32 am
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They should just have baby or NON-baby sections
Just like it was when you had smoking and non

OR

As an owner, just have adults only
it's your place, your choice
EarthJuice / December 2, 2011 at 01:05 pm
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Babies should be not seen and not heard.
Miss Lynx / December 2, 2011 at 02:13 pm
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I would support a "baby tax" under only one condition: that the only people exempt from paying it are people who can definitely prove that they themselves were never babies. Because if you were at some point a baby, and other people had to put up with you, you're in no position to point fingers. Hypocrisy really isn't pretty, folks.
woooo / December 2, 2011 at 02:32 pm
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I'd like to see a post called The Best Baby-Hating Scofflaw Cyclists in Toronto for the ultimate in troll-baiting.
Joel replying to a comment from Dan / December 2, 2011 at 02:38 pm
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Where does it end then? Should a restaurant charge a tax for loud people or for people who talk on their cell phones really loud too? How about a charge for smokers who smoke right outside the establishment? The list could go on and on and on.
Joel replying to a comment from garyT / December 2, 2011 at 02:39 pm
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I second that!
Joel replying to a comment from urbanguy / December 2, 2011 at 02:42 pm
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Go back to your hole in the ground. There should be an a$$hole tax for people like you.
Ratpick / December 2, 2011 at 03:11 pm
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We should ban babies from all real restaurants, so they grow up knowing nothing but McDonald's, Chuck E Cheese, and Kelsey's.

mikeb / December 2, 2011 at 03:14 pm
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I support a retroactive baby tax.
Japhet / December 2, 2011 at 03:27 pm
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Can we tax assholes who insult the staff? How about rude, messy teens? Or senile nanas? Let's tax people who don't tip and give it back to their poor servers.

Some of these comments are nuts. We can't start taxing one segment of the population for the bad behavior of a few. Bad behavior, whether perpetrated by a child, senior or adult should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis by the management.

There are plenty of restaurants where it is already inappropriate to take a baby. Age restrictions are in place for bars. Seems like there are plenty of places where you can be an adult without nary a toddler in site.

I've always said that kids need to be taught how to behave in a restaurant and many parents don't seem to be up to the task (probably because they were never taught).
Foodie / December 2, 2011 at 03:54 pm
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This makes total sense for high end restaurants where atmoshere is key I'm sure parents on date nights would also appreciate this .
Dan / December 2, 2011 at 04:10 pm
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babies just need to grow the fuck up - until such time that happens, keep them the hell away from non-family type establishments.
Logan / December 2, 2011 at 05:10 pm
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What does the baby tax come with? Priority seating, more service, a bib... The whole purpose of a tax is that you are actually getting something back in return.
Morgan / December 2, 2011 at 06:32 pm
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this would be amazing. If I go out to a restaurant it's not usually because I want to sit in a room with screaming children fawned over by their stupid parents. Those parents are the worst and should leave their children at home. If I can't smoke in a restaurant because of fears of being a second hand smoker, they shouldn't be allowed to bring their little brats in because I don't want to be a second hand parent. Don't impose your lifestyle choices on the rest of us.
Ratpick / December 2, 2011 at 08:49 pm
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You know you're metrosexual when you refer to having kids as a "lifestyle choice."

Yeah, bratty kids are the worst, but sheesh!
a replying to a comment from Miss Lynx / December 2, 2011 at 10:15 pm
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thats not the point. minors are minors. they don't have the same rights as adults for a reason. that is why they have parents/legal guardians who can pass judgements. we are not ragging on babies, we are ragging on the parents who are in charge of them to take responsibility for their behavior. they should know better to either: 1) take control of the situation at hand i.e. calm a crying infant or unruly child 2) if they cannot seem to do that, then take them elsewhere because the child/infant is probably not feeling the social atmosphere or are in discomfort. they're your kids, be an adult and take some responsibility for them. no one else has the right to discipline but you, so if your kid is acting out then why should everyone else suffer for your lack of parenting ability?
harry replying to a comment from Bill Jinxson / December 2, 2011 at 10:22 pm
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Bill J., you sound bitter and in denial about your family life situation.
rafi replying to a comment from Ratpick / December 2, 2011 at 10:24 pm
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What is the point you are trying to make? that is completely irrelevant to the actual topic at hand. classifying others, name-calling is so childish. your parents should have taught you better.
I hate breeders / December 3, 2011 at 07:56 am
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"A tax on swearing adults would be great though ;-)"

Fuck you, you asshole breederbrain. If I were sitting next to you and your spawn in a restaurant I'd be telling the filthiest stories I could think of.
namehijacked / December 3, 2011 at 09:14 am
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A tax? No, I wouldn't support that, but neither do I believe families should get tax breaks for having children. It's their choice, let them figure out how to afford it.
I'm just blown away that so many families can afford to eat out with 2 or 3 spawn in tow! My sis makes over $100k and McDonald's is about the best her brood of 4 ever gets.
Perhaps government should just keep its nose out of private enterprise and let establishments return to 'adults only' venues. No need for a tax. Let the free market sort it out.
Phil / December 3, 2011 at 10:34 am
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Having children is NOT a lifestyle choice. Children benefit a society as they grow up to be adults who pay taxes that pays for old age pensions and health care. It is people who don't have children who are an eventual drain on society. Germany pays thousands more to couples that have children than Canada does. And everyone here HAS at one point been a child and MOST people here at one point will have children. The small minority of you who THINK you won't have kids, are probably young (and wrong, trust me you start to think differently about these things when you're in your 30s). And then we get to the REALLY small percentage of people over 40 who never had kids... you are probably the smallest minority in Canada. In other words exactly the kind of person who should shiver at anything that even rhymes with discrimination. You're practically an endangered species. Slippery slope people.
b.g. / December 3, 2011 at 01:04 pm
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Phil, we have 7 billion people on this planet. We don't need to make any more of them. The more you pop out, the more the environment goes to hell, the more your descendants will fight for food, water, and living space.

Oh, and I'm 44 and never had kids, never wanted them, and never once changed my mind, you patronizing prat. Some of us know our own minds, rather than just do whatever the rest of the human herd does, then justify it after the fact.
Stra replying to a comment from Phil / December 3, 2011 at 01:33 pm
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really Phil? There is a significant correlation between government corruption and poverty and famine, and population growth.

"It is people who don't have children who are an eventual drain on society." It doesn't matter children or no children, it's inevitable that you'll wind up being a so-called drain on society. What planet are you from?
Phil replying to a comment from b.g. / December 3, 2011 at 04:11 pm
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You're 44 and no kids? I'll make sure to tell mine to stay away from the creepy old man. What street do you live on?
a replying to a comment from Phil / December 3, 2011 at 04:48 pm
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Phil, please stay on topic. You're comment is a personal attack as opposed to an attack on the issue at hand. Go do yourself a favour and man up.
a replying to a comment from Phil / December 3, 2011 at 04:48 pm
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*your
b.g. / December 3, 2011 at 07:51 pm
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I'm a woman, Phil. Perhaps you're guilty of nothing more than the usual sexist move of assuming male as default, but I'm guessing that imagining a woman who never wanted kids is more than you're capable of. You don't strike me as someone who easily imagines anything except what you're told to.
Phil replying to a comment from b.g. / December 4, 2011 at 09:57 am
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You strike me as a sad person.
Phil replying to a comment from a / December 4, 2011 at 10:02 am
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You preach to someone about personal attacks and then in the very next post you correct someone's spelling..... even though everyone understood that person's post, spelling mistake and all. So either you feel the need to be petty and correct people over minor trivial things on the internet so that people respect your intelligence more (they don't) or you enjoy making others feel less intelligent. Do you think that person feels better now that you pointed out their spelling error? I guess you don't care how that person feels. Go away troll.
Tanya replying to a comment from a / December 4, 2011 at 10:12 am
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Telling someone to stay away from personal attacks and then to "man up" all in the same sentence. It's a new blogTo record for hypocrisy. Btw my cousins name is Phil (Phillisand she's a woman) so your post is probably sexist as well. Be more mature or stay off the interwebs.
cindy / December 4, 2011 at 04:32 pm
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I think this would be a lot more acceptable if the tax was imposed by high-end restaurants after a certain time, say, after 8 p.m. when the evening and happy hour crowd starts to come in. I've had to eat alongside screaming kids in both casual and fine dining restaurants, but the majority of the time the parents are courteous enough to take their children away for a bit until they calm down.

The real problem isn't people with kids versus people without kids, but the desire for people to be mutually respectful in public. I shouldn't to talk loudly or swear when I'm eating out (especially in the presence of kids), and parents ought to teach their kids to behave politely in public.
j-rock / December 4, 2011 at 07:23 pm
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A tax is ridiculous and unfair. Parents should just exercise some common sense when dining out with their kids. I'm a new parent, and I have no problem taking my 6 month old out for brunch on a Sunday afternoon, or for a Chinese dinner on Spadina. But it you're going to be dining at Canoe or Nota Bene, then spring for a sitter. They're called "family restaurants" for a reason. Kids don't belong at fine dining establishments. I also don't have a problem if a restaurant wants to declare itself "kid-free". I know this is a policy at some places, especially those with patios that have limited space. Strollers and diaper bags take up a lot of room, and the kid is not going to be eating or drinking from the menu. But if that's not an explicitly stated policy, then you can't just "tax" people extra.
a replying to a comment from Phil / December 4, 2011 at 08:21 pm
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i was correcting myself. i feel sorry for your children. maybe you should be spending time with them instead of belittling others over the internet.
a replying to a comment from Tanya / December 4, 2011 at 08:23 pm
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the man up was not a personal attack. it was a suggestion. tanya, maybe you should ease up on the modern-day feminism act.
a replying to a comment from b.g. / December 4, 2011 at 08:24 pm
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haha i totally agree with you b.g.. she seems a tad bit uptight doesn't she?
a replying to a comment from Phil / December 4, 2011 at 08:26 pm
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phil, i am nominating you for parent of the year. kudos and cheers! haha
Cheap fat bastard / December 4, 2011 at 10:54 pm
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Wha, a bebe tax?? AIGH das no gewd. I want my bebe back ribs tax free...

I want me bebe back, bebe back, bebe back ribs tax freee!
Nerves replying to a comment from Cheap fat bastard / December 5, 2011 at 10:28 am
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/thread
HLBB replying to a comment from childless but sensible / December 5, 2011 at 10:33 am
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I'm childless as well.
I'd happily pay a "childless" tax to avoid having children screaming, crawling under my table, throwing tantrums and/or food while I'm trying to have a night out with friends.

I have a lot of friends with kids; they also chose to socialize their kids early by not taking them to Rainforest cafe or other "kid" places. When they're out, these kids behave themselves accordingly. If parents only take their kids to places like Chuck E Cheese (where running around and screaming is considered acceptable behaviour) and that's all the kid knows, then that's how they'll act when they're out at a "grown up" place.

That's the trade off: you have wonderful little bundles of joy and light....you sacrifice a few brunches and dinners at "adult" restaurants for a few years.

*shrugs*
Fred / December 5, 2011 at 01:14 pm
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OK, let's have the dog discussion now.
Joel replying to a comment from Morgan / December 5, 2011 at 02:21 pm
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"Don't impose your lifestyle choices on the rest of us." - You are a smoker and you have the audacity to say this? Go blow your smoke somewhere else.
Robman / December 5, 2011 at 02:22 pm
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How about an *sshole taxe instead.

Seriously, this is a way of trying to get more money from people with kids -- or a way to try and get rid of them so that tables will be filled with adult patrons who might buy wine.

How about a tax is your child acts up, but you get the $3 back if they don't? Would that fly?
Joel replying to a comment from I hate breeders / December 5, 2011 at 02:22 pm
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I'm glad that you aren't the type to have children. The world doesn't need more people like you.
Joel replying to a comment from a / December 5, 2011 at 02:29 pm
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I believe that b.g. started the personal attacks by calling Phil a "patronizing prat". Why didn't you scold her? Very hypocritical.
serversally / December 5, 2011 at 02:39 pm
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I'm a server, and I admit that most of the time when I see a family with children under the age of 4, I have to mentally prepare myself for the extra hassle they are about to cause me (especially during prime dinner service). But more often than not, the cosmopolitan parents of Toronto are gracious and kind to the diners around them, and in a couple of years most likely those toddlers turn out to be polite and well mannered children. I'd hate to think of future generation's youth not knowing how to behave in public.
A baby tax is silly and elitist.
*And please, if this is implemented, don't take it out on the servers. I'm sure we will not be receiving any monetary gain from that tax. Don't shoot the messenger!
Dave K / December 5, 2011 at 02:39 pm
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As a parent, I can say this: there's no need for a ban or a tax on children in restaurants. Some places either are inappropriate for infants and small children, while others simply don't attract a family-friendly crowd. We can usually tell before we sit down whether we should be there with our 5-month-old.

As a side note, what's with the commonly-held and frankly offensive assumption by many here that only mindless, uncultured suburbanites have kids - or that somehow parenthood is something worthy of scorn and punishment? You folks really show your age with these kinds of comments. Get back to us in 5-10 years and we'll see where you're at.
Guy / December 5, 2011 at 03:40 pm
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Why don't we tax idiot parents who allow their children to scream and be disruptive in a restaurant? It's not the kid's fault the parent doesn't notice that their bundle-of-joy is a grating irritation to everyone around them.
muchacho / December 5, 2011 at 10:51 pm
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Parents pay for sitters so they can go out and be away from babies. Remember what it was like to spend time with adults?

Leave the brats at home until they can read a menu, order their dinner politely (say please and thank you), and sit quietly and still for 90 minutes. No damn toys at the table or walking around the restaurant either.

The problem is the parents are still adolescents into their 30's as well and are just bad. Maybe we should just make restaurants too expensive for the poors?
EMG / December 6, 2011 at 05:44 pm
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This is stupid.
Barbara / December 7, 2011 at 11:28 am
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This is ridiculous. I can't remember a single time in my life that a baby ruined my dining experience. People need to get over themselves. In Europe, children are accepted in restaurants and public places. And in return they learn how to behave like adults. I'm sure most parents can figure out which restaurants are appropriate for kids and which aren't.
heehee replying to a comment from EMG / December 7, 2011 at 12:02 pm
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Agreed.

Why tax? You mean like a bag tax? I still buy bags and use them to throw out my garbage.

It should be a ban and it should be up to individual restaurants. Why are these things so over thought?! (Beside sthe obvious tax grabs.)
Christopher / December 7, 2011 at 12:30 pm
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In my opinion...

a) The tax is stupid and can't achieve anything good.

b) Some restaurants should impose a minimum age limit, just like clubs. Little kids can be very annoying and ruin the dining experience we're paying for.

c) As a society, however, we should learn to be more tolerant of kids. More patient. I can't stand the little jerks most of the time, but I also recognize that as a serious flaw in my own character and I'm trying to get over it. We were all children at one point and we all made someone cringe at one point. Extend the olive branch to the snot-nosed, take a deep breath, and lets work together.
chephy / December 9, 2011 at 09:19 am
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Ah, kids... Ruin your life, don't they?

You people can make all the babies you want... not that I'll ever understand that. In my opinion, having a child is one of the dumbest things anyone could possibly ever do, especially in today's society, with lack of community (takes a village to raise a child, remember?) and social support (look no further than the baby haters on this board).

But whatever. You want to take your nice peaceful life and trade it in for years of screaming, piss, shit, barf, meltdowns, tantrums, incessant whining, ruined possessions, retarded TV shows for the young 'uns (not that the grown up shows are that much better, mind you -- if you people watch that crap, maybe you'll be just fine with Treehouse), garish colours all around you (oooh, kids love cheap plastic shit in neon green and bleeding red and eye-poking yellow), no sleep, no time and no disposable income (hello, daycare, babysitters, loads of plastic shit in neon green, shoes that get ruined every week, gloves that are lost every other day...) -- go forth and procreate. But please -- leave me and other sane people out of it.

But just because you love your kid to pieces, don't expect that everyone else will share this attitude. Here it is: we don't give a damn about your kid. Not one flying fuck. He is your child, your joy, your pain and your responsibility. Go set up in a parent ghetto (aka "the burbs") and take him to Swiss Chalet in your minivan.

That said the tax is dumb. For a nominal fee the parent will feel justified to let his kid disturb everyone else's meal. Kids should just be banned from some places. Your four-year-old doesn't want to be there anyway. He wants to be sliding off a pukishly yellow slide in Mickey Dee's and delighing in the plastic shit thrown in with his Happy Meal. So accompany him there for a great family time out, ha ha. Have a great meal (mmmm, french fries)! See you never!
chephy replying to a comment from Phil / December 9, 2011 at 09:33 am
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LOL! She is correcting *her own* spelling error.
Angie / December 14, 2011 at 07:24 pm
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Why don't we just use our common sense here: if you're eating out at dinner time at Kelsey's that's great, I expect there to be babies and young children. I'f it's 9pm and I'm out for a cocktail at say, Kalendar, maybe don't bring your babies or small children. Also one would think this goes without saying but some people man, I don't know... if you're child is fussy at 9 while you're trying to have a drink and an adult convo, it's because a)Your kid is bored out of their mind (can't blame them) and b) IT'S WAY PAST THEIR BEDTIME (and you're a cheap jerk who couldn't fork up the $50 to get a baby sitter...if you can't afford a babysitter, then you can't afford to be going out for cocktails anyway.
There, that was easy.
Angie / December 14, 2011 at 07:33 pm
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p.s. Let's not forget that these babies will grow up to one day deal with and clean our shit.
samsung tablet pc / December 21, 2011 at 08:42 pm
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I enjoy your site, i really enjoy reading your articles, good luck in the future.
Heather / January 10, 2012 at 01:42 pm
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Just ban everyTHING under 12 yrs. old till after 8 pm. They should be at home in bed at that time anyways. A tax will only make these loser parents feel they are then justified in letting their spawn go wild. After all, they've paid for that right, no ? Those of us with now grown children should not have to endure that crap. And yes, we did keep our girls under control in public. That was 27 yrs. ago though, and boy have things changed. Parents no longer know how to parent. Anything goes !
joel replying to a comment from Heather / January 10, 2012 at 02:23 pm
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@Heather - Don't senior citizens like you have a curfew as well? I would say 8pm is way past your bedtime as well. If there is a baby tax then there should be a Seniors tax too.
Heather / January 11, 2012 at 10:07 pm
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Hello Joel - since I am still far from being a senior citizen, I wouldn't know or care about your little curfews. I guess you're one of the loser parents I've referred to. When you finally grow up you'll understand what I and all the others here are talking about. Until then, keep your animals on a leash, away from civilized people. Perhaps a parenting course would be in order ??
cats replying to a comment from Heather / January 11, 2012 at 10:50 pm
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how many cats did you have to push off your keyboard to type that?
joel replying to a comment from Heather / January 12, 2012 at 10:41 am
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@Heather - Wow. You are a senior citizen - crotchety and so full of judgement. Thanks for proving me right. I guess you kept your girls on a leash (literally) "away from civilized people"? Let me remind you that this is 2012 not 1912 granny. You come on these web sites with an air of arrogance - thinking you know it all. You don't. You said "Parents no longer know how to parent." You know why? Because its mothers like you who screw up their children by putting them on a leash. I hope you don't screw up your grandkids too.
Heather / January 12, 2012 at 12:54 pm
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Wishing you both (Joel and cats, that is) a wonderful New Year! Good for you both, spending time at the computer instead of with your 'children'. Good luck and goodbye .....
Love, Heather
joel replying to a comment from Heather / January 12, 2012 at 01:13 pm
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The truth hurts don't it?
I work and read this on my break and lunch. I'm not retired like you. Have a great and happy retirement!
Heather / January 14, 2012 at 06:39 pm
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Poor Joel. That green shade is really unbecoming. I really wish you were right about the retirement thing, but unless you can tell me how to do it at 51, it ain't happening!! Anyways, we're off topic - all I have to say is this: there are valid reasons why there is such venom in all these previous posts - even I'm shocked at some of them (crotch droppings?? Really??) So many people are fed up with having to endure these little brats who have no boundaries. The unfortunate thing is, though they are not to blame, they are the easiest and most visible targets for our anger, and our anger IS valid. So Joel, if you are one of the great parents out there (you seem to be of reasonable intelligence), then please spread your wisdom !! I really hope you're not one of 'them'.
joel replying to a comment from Heather / January 16, 2012 at 09:57 am
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Heather, I hope I am not bitter like you at 51.
Parenting has changed since your time. You should walk a mile in a parent's shoes now. Perhaps you'd understand better instead of blaming them for not knowing how to parent. It's easy to point the finger instead of taking time out to see both sides of the issue. That's my wisdom.
Heather / January 19, 2012 at 11:58 am
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What are you talking about Joel? You say parenting has changed since my time, but teaching children to respect others and their space, teaching them how to behave around others etc., those are things that should never, ever change or go out of style. Whichever generation you are in is completely irrelevant when it comes to the real basics of bringing up a child properly and preparing him/her for the world as a responsible adult. I believe in doing unto others....etc. As for walking a mile in your shoes - no thank you. I certainly do recognize that young parents nowadays face some scary issues that my generation did not - just the social media advances can mean disaster if not properly monitored, and don't even get me started on the media's sexualizing of children!!! But the original topic (manners) we began is not one of those issues. BTW, I'm not bitter, just hugely disappointed in and fed up with what I see from a lot of young parents. I'm interested to know what the other issues are that you referred to.
joel replying to a comment from Heather / January 20, 2012 at 03:41 pm
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Finally some dialogue. What issues? One issue is that due to the internet and other forms of communication, parents are inundated with information on how to parent. There is too much information. Its confusing. One expert says to do it this way, another expert says its his way or her way. Your parents say its their way. Too many voices. Time/Work balance is out of whack. 20-30 years ago a family could afford to have just one breadwinner. Not now. Both parents have to work nowadays. Less and less time to parent. This is just my opinion but it is harder now to teach "children to respect others and their space, teaching them how to behave around others etc" because more and more we are taught in schools and through outside sources (tv, books, magazines etc.) to only take care of yourself. We are taught to be selfish and look out for number 1. Sometimes its explicit but a lot of it is implicit. Who cares what others think is the attitude. If my kid acts up in a restaurant - who cares! Its none of their business. That's the message society teaches. I really don't agree with it but its hard to fight because the attitude is so prevalent.
I totally agree with you in that we need to teach our children how to behave in public and especially respect for others. But a lot of parents neglect that hoping tv and school will do it for them.
I don't agree with the tax though as it seems like you are punishing everyone for the sins of the few.
On a side note Heather, I apologize for some ungracious words that I wrote about you in previous posts. It was uncalled for.
Heather / January 24, 2012 at 01:49 pm
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No worries - I was reacting to some earlier posts that angered me and was rather ungracious myself. Shows what lack of sleep can do to an otherwise reasonable person! So I apologize also.
I have to tell you I was very surprised when I read your post. It's really the first time I've heard someone of your generation (30something ???) actually say they've been taught and encouraged to be selfish. Having raised our kids in the mid 80s, my husband and I saw the subtle shift in attitude, in the schools etc., but it was so subtle in the early stages that we weren't even sure what we were seeing. There seemed to be an emphasis on self and only self .... not exactly the values we were trying to instill, but being young and inexperienced parents ourselves, we sort of went along with it and said nothing - for a while. (I know how hard it is to go against what you see and hear all around you). I guess it really became obvious by the time my second child came along though, that building a healthy self esteem was being sacrificed for 'it's all about me and what I want, and to hell with everyone else'. I think that's probably some of what you are referring to (?). Personally, I would love to know how and why this happened. The only thing I am sure of is, it's not going to change any time soon. We seem to be getting worse with each generation, rather than better. So what's a decent parent to do? Listen to the advice, consider it, and ultimately do what YOUR heart and conscience tell you is right. We've all made mistakes in parenting, it's impossible not to, but I believe if you follow your own core feelings about what is acceptable behavior for your kids, you'll do fine, and I would bet your kids will thank you for it when they're old enough to get it. Mine did. I only hope they can remember it all when the time comes!! No grandkids on the horizon yet - my kids aren't sure yet if they want them, and I'm really ok with that. I know a few people who pressured their own kids to have kids just b/c they wanted to be grandparents. How selfish. I've gotta run - to be continued
Heather / February 15, 2012 at 12:50 pm
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Hello? Is anyone out there? Hope so ..... Joel?
Jesse / January 22, 2013 at 10:46 am
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Absolutely.

If a restaurant chooses to have a baby tax, then they only want an adult clientele and that's OK. For instance, when I go for brunch, I don't want a baby screaming next to me. I've chosen to go out and spend a ridiculous amount of money on breakfast because I want to treat myself, not because I want to listen to someone's child cry.

If I choose to eat out a restaurant that allows babies, then that's my fault.
Opensource1111 / February 17, 2013 at 02:20 am
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Everyone has been on the side of the childless adult trying to have a nice meal. We get it - crying babies, loud obnoxious hipsters who can't control the volume of their conversations, seniors leaving their walkers in the aisle, etc. so much to complain about. I don't take my young children out to restaurants very much because it doesn't seem to be a comfortable experience for them. That's the only reason. I couldn't give a crap about whether some childless, arrested adolescent 30 something has to listen to a crying to whining child. I have to listen to idiotic banter on totally inconsequential subjects from these 30 year old children who refuse to grow up (dude, pass the PBR). I will say that I find many parents annoying and selfish, in that they have no regard for their kids' comfort, but merely focus on their own enjoyment, not wanting to relinquish their desperate hold on what life used to be like per child. Kinda like those hipsters when they become parents. It all makes sense now. If it's 9pm, and you're just sitting down to dinner with your 4 year old, something is wrong with your lifestyle and parenting choices.
Me replying to a comment from Jesse / February 17, 2013 at 01:24 pm
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Maybe restaurants should just ban customers? After all, the rest of us don't want to hear you yapping at the top of your lungs on your cellphone either.
justanasshole / January 9, 2014 at 12:57 am
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How about a stroller tax on the TTC?!
iSkyscraper replying to a comment from justanasshole / January 9, 2014 at 02:53 am
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Also a bicycle tax and backpack tax and also tax those assholes that think the rest of us want to hear their "music" and of course a huge tax on cellphone users. We could us that also here in New York.

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