Restaurant Bans Screaming Kids -- Discriminatory or Brilliant?

Yesterday, I had no desire to move to North Carolina; today I’m considering it. No, I didn’t get a great job offer or inherit a fabulous, sprawling mountain estate there. I would just very much like to reside in a place where I could dine in a restaurant that posts signs announcing, “Screaming children will NOT be tolerated.”

The signs are on proud display in the Olde Salty restaurant in Carolina Beach. Amusingly, they’ve been up for months, but only recently began to build buzz, when news of them went viral. Some are calling the signs discriminatory, but I personally think they're great -- and yup, I'm a mom.

One news report quoted a mom as saying “You can’t help it if your kids scream.” You can’t? OK, maybe you can’t prevent an outburst, but you can certainly thwart it. Teaching kids how to act politely in public might be a good place to start, and issuing consequences when they misbehave would be a fine follow-up.

To me, the signs are a win-win, maybe even a genius bit of strategic marketing. Certainly, my kids are routinely imperfect and are occasionally prone to -- gasp -- screaming. Sometimes it happens in restaurants, because they’re kids and they forget the rules and mess up like the rest of us.

But if I were fortunate enough to be heading to the Olde Salty, it would be under one of two conditions: I’d either be paying some unseemly amount to a babysitter for the privilege of enjoying a rare meal in the absence of screaming, in which case I’d plant a fat, red lipstick mark smack in the middle of the sign and then bask in the peace and quiet. (I’d also be the first one to point out to the management if or when the clearly posted rule was being violated.) Or I’d be hauling my kids out to eat with me, in which case as soon as we arrived, I’d shuffle them straight over to the sign and solemnly explain that if they got out of line, we’d all be forced to go home and eat Mommy’s cooking. I’m guessing that would be enough to inspire them to be on their best behavior.

In fact, I’m considering printing up a few dozen of the signs myself and posting them discreetly in every restaurant I frequent -- with or without my kids.

Do you think the restaurant was out of line to post a sign saying, “Screaming children will NOT be tolerated”? Chime in below!

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