HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >

He's a total pig - What should I have done?

r
rockycat Dec 8, 2007 06:21 PM

The family (Spouse, self and restaurant-trained 5-year-old) went out tonight for an early dinner to a local restaurant/bar at 5:30 PM. We go here often with our daughter, always at off hours, although we couldn't be considered regulars. We were sitting in the restaurant section, not the bar.

At the table behind us were three men drinking but not eating. One of the three was speaking very loudly and his vocabulary displayed an impressive command of assorted 4 letter words. Every few sentences the "F Bomb" detonated loudly. After one particularly loud outburst I couldn't help myself and turned around to give the hairy eyeball to the table. One of the non-sewer mouths looked at me quizzically and I motioned and said fairly quietly, "I have a 5-year-old here!" Nothing changed but a few minutes later I heard some comments about how I shouldn't bring a child into a bar. Even if I didn't have the kid with me, I didn't want to be subjected to that kind of language during dinner myself.

I didn't want to say anything to the waitress because all I would have accomplished would be losing her the tip from that table. Spouse and I fantasized briefly about flushing the jerk's car keys down the toilet when he got up from the table and left them sitting there but I didn't have the guts.

Let me also add that this restaurant is not a dive and has been mentioned often on our regional board as a very Chow-worthy destination.

So what should I have done?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. c
    Cathy RE: rockycat Dec 8, 2007 06:25 PM

    You should have asked to move to a table farther away.

    1. steeltowngrl RE: rockycat Dec 8, 2007 06:36 PM

      Out of curiosity, when you and your spouse were "fantasizing", was this done out loud in front of the 5 year old?

      1 Reply
      1. re: steeltowngrl
        r
        rockycat RE: steeltowngrl Dec 8, 2007 06:52 PM

        Said sotto voce, quietly in each other's ears. Fortunately, the little one seemed very interested in the necklace she was stringing. However, you never can tell what they notice and what they don't.

      2. b
        Beau711 RE: rockycat Dec 8, 2007 06:51 PM

        The loud foul-mouthed guy was a jerk and probably more than a little drunk during "happy hour." He was acting very inappropriate and being offensive and I would have asked the manager to be moved and told manager why. If you were still in earshot, I would have left. To add insult to injury they had the nerve to state you shouldn't bring a child into a bar area. Some people are just jerks and by even fantasizing about doing something back (although tempting) brings one down to the jerk's level. Let it go. I bet this guy has a tremendous hangover the next day.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Beau711
          w
          wayne keyser RE: Beau711 Dec 8, 2007 08:05 PM

          "You shouldn't bring a kid to a bar..."

          Maybe it would work to respond: "Well, then, there are ladies present."

          1. re: wayne keyser
            ccbweb RE: wayne keyser Dec 8, 2007 10:14 PM

            Nice. That'd have been perfect.

            1. re: wayne keyser
              e
              ekammin RE: wayne keyser Dec 10, 2007 07:13 AM

              I would have said ". . . ladies and gentlemen present".

              1. re: wayne keyser
                r
                RichK RE: wayne keyser Dec 10, 2007 03:12 PM

                Or "Then what are you doing here?"

            2. b
              Bite Me RE: rockycat Dec 8, 2007 08:58 PM

              I think I would have moved my table to another location, if possible. I've learned that you can't correct the behavior of others and, as you experienced, people resent it if you try, so that only makes things worse. I suspect your child is not going to pick up that language from hearing it in this situation. she may not have been even paying atttention. and, she doesn't hear it at home, so she's not likely to speak that way. But if she picks it up, you could explain it's not language for her to say. Easier to teach a 5 year old, than an old, drunken buffoon!

              1. t
                Tay RE: rockycat Dec 8, 2007 09:21 PM

                I once faced a similar situation. I'm not suggesting you do what I did but I'll relate the experience. I very politely did what you did. When that didn't work, I went over to the table and said, "I understand your right to free speech but honestly, how would you feel if the child sitting at my table was your Granddaughter?" That seemed to strike a nerve, and he apologized and toned it down.

                1. Suzy Q RE: rockycat Dec 9, 2007 06:12 AM

                  Unfortunately, we cannot control the actions of others, nor shame them into changing their behavior through dirty looks or comments. If their behavior bothered you that much, you should have summoned the manager and asked to be moved, and explained why, rather than continue to sit there. While I'm sure most people present weren't enjoying their conversation either, they weren't breaking any restaurant rules or laws.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Suzy Q
                    ccbweb RE: Suzy Q Dec 9, 2007 12:44 PM

                    Rules or laws are not the only measure of reasonable behavior. One should not need to be shamed into cleaning up language in a public place, generally speaking. I'd also very much like to be at the mythical restaurant everyone seems to imagine where there is always an open table to which to move and an accommodating manager more than happy to relocate any customer at the drop of a hat.

                    Personally, I think we'd all be much better off if more people spoke up against such behavior in a direct way rather than taking the "move us to another table" approach.

                    1. re: ccbweb
                      k
                      KTinNYC RE: ccbweb Dec 9, 2007 01:11 PM

                      Speaking up to a table of unruly, drunk patrons might lead to them curbing their behavior or it can lead to a verbal or physical confrontation. I'm not saying you shouldn't speak up but you should be aware of the potential consequences.

                      1. re: KTinNYC
                        Suzy Q RE: KTinNYC Dec 9, 2007 06:33 PM

                        While I might say something to an unruly patron if I was on my own or with an adult companion (and had probably had a few drinks myself), I would never do it with a child present. Too much opportunity for the child to hear further language or the potential for some other violent/antisocial behavior. With a kid present, IMHO the only course of action is to ask to be moved.

                        Also - and I throw this out there purely for discussion purposes - what if you'd been sitting in a restaurant/bar that permits smoking, and the people at the table next to you were all puffing on smelly stogies, cigs, or pipes? Would you have complained, or asked to be moved? Many people might consider that equally offensive to foul language.

                        1. re: Suzy Q
                          Cat Chow RE: Suzy Q Dec 14, 2007 10:50 AM

                          the thing is, unless I'm misreading the OP's post, they were in the RESTAURANT section, not the bar. The dweeb was already three sheets to the wind by calling the restaurant section "the bar".

                  2. jfood RE: rockycat Dec 9, 2007 04:28 PM

                    first let's answer the question. Ask to move or find another resto for the night. You can probably start a thread with multiple-100's of responses to horrible behavior of restaurant customers.

                    Jfood eats on the road alone a lot and usually asks for a table. Sitting alone with his book or blackberry, and not having converation with others at his table he has seen and heard everything from disgusting jokes, to graphic depictions of sex-capades, to preambles to divorce negotiations, to "Honey I have some bad news." Then if jfood picks up his cell phone they give him "that look." Different standards for diffeent folks.

                    But his general rules are as follows:
                    Rule 1 - But never confront a drunk.
                    Rule 2 - Never discuss a drunks dunkenly behavior in earshot of a drunk, s/he usually does not abide by rule 1

                    15 Replies
                    1. re: jfood
                      d
                      Deepster RE: jfood Dec 9, 2007 04:46 PM

                      Glad I read further before giving my initial response 'cus the previous two posts were right on with my thinking. What the 5 year old might have heard can be remedied by good parenting to an extent. What the child might have SEEN had a confrontation with an ugly drunk ensued....well, it might never have been outlived.

                      1. re: jfood
                        Veggo RE: jfood Dec 9, 2007 05:01 PM

                        I am a peaceful person who darkens most of a door frame, and I can recall at least 5 episodes analagous to rockycat's post, where patron(s)' foul, obscene, loud-mouth conduct was out of control, and a quick visual survey indicated that nobody in the building, customer or staff, was able or willing to do much about it, and I intervened. 3 were cured without incident. 1 in Vail involved police and EMS response, (I'm careful in choosing my battles), and one in Montreal in 1978, patrons were buying me drinks for knocking out a whacko who had been terrorizing customers for some time, until I arrived and took an available seat next to him at the bar and he tried to set my hair on fire with a cigarette lighter. I'm 55 now and I'd like to see the generation behind me grab the baton and responsibility to silence the foul-mouthed in their midst, but I probably have one more left in me if it's called for. It's sure easier when you're winnin' em, but someday the lines will cross.

                        1. re: Veggo
                          n
                          nc213 RE: Veggo Dec 9, 2007 05:34 PM

                          I agree with your sentiment Veggo, but i don't think it's fair to blame one generation. I saw the most obnoxious customers when I worked at a high end steakhouse from 98-02. Many, actually most, of those customers were much closer in age to you than me (31). There are plenty of jerks at all ages.

                          sorry veggo, i think i read you wrong. the way I read now is that you mean those of us who are a bit younger should ask the drunks to pipe down. hear hear. I have no problem doing so, though I'm much more of a crowd controller at a movie theater than a restaurant.

                          1. re: nc213
                            Veggo RE: nc213 Dec 9, 2007 05:50 PM

                            nc213, I object so much to the degradation of social mores and etiquette in what used to be proper and comfortable social settings, that I am willing to intervene at maybe the expense of a broken jaw, to defend them. I just think you young strong bucks can get the job done with less collateral damage, but know you can count on me to join the fray in your fierce defense if the fur flies.
                            Veggo
                            EDIT: you are exactly right, in that social misconduct manifests in all age brackets.

                            1. re: Veggo
                              l
                              LicketySplit RE: Veggo Dec 9, 2007 11:22 PM

                              I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea that rudeness, even in the extreme, warrants the punishment of a broken jaw. Think a bit about the trouble that action causes for so many people: the work for the EMTs, the police, the judicial system. And the trouble it will bring down upon the person who throws the blow, perhaps in the form a felony conviction that will haunt him or her for life.

                              Is it really worth it? Or is it just making more trouble?

                              I'm a bit of a toughie myself, but I have definitely toned it down, realizing the cost is simply too high. I let my ego take the hit instead, and walk away.

                              1. re: LicketySplit
                                d
                                dolores RE: LicketySplit Dec 10, 2007 02:30 AM

                                Intervene at the expense of a broken jaw? What if the offending person has a gun or knife?

                                I imgaine that the rational here is that the restaurant won't step in to resolve the problem? I am curious why a restaurant-goer would expect to resolve their own courtesy issue, rather than demand that a quiet and pleasant atmosphere is part of the 'contract' that I've seen written about between a restaurant and a patron?

                                Tenuous situation, for sure.

                                1. re: dolores
                                  Veggo RE: dolores Dec 10, 2007 06:07 AM

                                  Tenuous? Absolutely. But please note that my infrequent interventions have been a last resort when the restaurant simply lacked the capacity to fulfill the part of the bargain you reference. 3 were resovled peaceably although with tension, and only 2 ugly incidents over 55 years is not a lot. Now and then, somebody needs a good ass-whippin' to teach them what their momma didn't. And while the jerk in Montreal was attempting to set my hair on fire, should I have politely asked the bartender to bring me a fire extinguisher?
                                  I think most citizens would intervene to defend an elderly person being mugged. That comes with risks, too, and would not be part of your day's original plan. It's doing what needs to be done.

                                  1. re: Veggo
                                    d
                                    dolores RE: Veggo Dec 10, 2007 06:32 AM

                                    Oh, Veggo, I agree, wholeheartedly. However, here in NY I would fear more than most, perhaps, in doing as you describe.

                                    1. re: Veggo
                                      rednyellow RE: Veggo Dec 10, 2007 01:19 PM

                                      I agree with you. I too am a peaceful man who darkens most of a doorway and have on very rare occasions took matters in to my own hand. Sometimes it just has to be done and I too have had other customers thank me. As for what a child may see, as some earlier posters worried, I think standing up for whats right is a good lesson.

                            2. re: Veggo
                              Gio RE: Veggo Dec 9, 2007 05:43 PM

                              So, you're still as good as you used to be. That's a good thing for those of us who are barraged by the inconsideration of the unwashed masses at places we would not expect such behavior....

                              1. re: Gio
                                Veggo RE: Gio Dec 9, 2007 06:34 PM

                                Gio, you are wonderfully supportive and insightful and a great italian cook.The issue we are navigating around is that, frankly, many restaurants and other public forums are ill-prepared to deal with vulgar conduct and pugilism. Shot-and-a-beer bars have a goon on the payroll to dispatch weekly brawls, but nice places are ill-equipped to handle the "pigs" in rockycat's post. As one does the "visual survey" I mentioned above, and you conclude that you are the only tool available for the job, there is a strange, cognitive highly-alert feeling that precedes the reflexes to protect strangers. I'm sure this sounds goofy and will be deleted. But you just do it.

                                1. re: Veggo
                                  orangewasabi RE: Veggo Dec 9, 2007 07:24 PM

                                  Veggo, I dunno exactly "how" involved you need to be. But having travelled with some guys who have to turn on an angle and duck to get thru a doorway, I can imagine that there are times when someone your size just 'paying attention' to a noisy corner can help.

                                  1. re: Veggo
                                    Gio RE: Veggo Dec 10, 2007 06:51 AM

                                    It doesn't sound "goofy" at all, Veggo. Just a tad risky and potentially dangerous. However, I suppose you're sure you can achieve the desired result by stepping up and applying pressure, shall we say. Take care though...it's a tough world out there.

                                    I've never encountered such behavior as rockycat has described. I hope I never do.

                                    1. re: Veggo
                                      ArikaDawn RE: Veggo Dec 10, 2007 10:08 AM

                                      At the risk of sounding like I support action in the extreme, I will admit as a woman who has been subjected to rudeness/vulgarity in similar situations, and not always being particularly equipped to handle it myself, valiant action taken by those who CAN help the situation is ALWAYS greatly appreciated.

                                      1. re: ArikaDawn
                                        Cat Chow RE: ArikaDawn Dec 14, 2007 10:57 AM

                                        amen to that...even those of us who have mastered a dirty look or a firm NO. Some jerks don't understand the meaning of a firm NO, with or without alcohol in them.

                              2. MSPD RE: rockycat Dec 10, 2007 05:21 AM

                                I would have instructed my 5 year-old to go over there to recite the following:

                                "F**k you you f**king f**k"!

                                When the guys looked over in astonishment, I would have shrugged and said (with maximum sarcasm), "Gee...I have NO IDEA where he could have POSSIBLY picked up that kind of language".

                                (No, of course I wouldn't really do that. I would actually send my 3 year-old instead...unless it had a Pokemon character associated, he would instantly forget the f-word. They 5 year-old has a photographic memory. Surely it would end up repeated in school.)

                                1. s
                                  swsidejim RE: rockycat Dec 10, 2007 07:20 AM

                                  I would have gone and found the manager & had the manager come over, and do their job. If the manager will not do thier job, you pay and leave, never to return. If this was a decent establishment with good management and staff you would have never been put in that position, they would have stepped in upon hearing the first f-bomb.

                                  Also getting into a physical confrontation is pretty stupid on many levels:

                                  a) no matter how big you think you are there is always someone bigger
                                  b) no matter how tough you think you are you are not tougher than a gun, a knife, or two or three of the drunks buddies
                                  c) gettin into a fight is not what a person should be teaching their 5 year old.
                                  d) you are just stooping to the drunks level

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: swsidejim
                                    k
                                    KTinNYC RE: swsidejim Dec 10, 2007 09:07 AM

                                    Jim, I completely agree with all your points and I'll add that even if you "win" a fight there are many consequences including spending the night in jail, being sued, and nagging injuries. People who go looking for fights can always find them.

                                    1. re: KTinNYC
                                      s
                                      swsidejim RE: KTinNYC Dec 10, 2007 10:36 AM

                                      KT,

                                      I agree with your point as well.

                                      In regards to the swearing, I do not know too many places that I have ever been to where a drunk patron dropping f-bombs would be allowed to stay, or continue drinking. The only places I have seen this behavior allowed were biker bars, dives, and college bars. I do not think swearing like a sailor has any place in any social setting, kids, or no kids present.

                                      The establishment, its staff, & managers dropped the ball on this one.

                                      1. re: swsidejim
                                        Cat Chow RE: swsidejim Dec 14, 2007 10:59 AM

                                        especially (since I'm sure, the OP wasn't the only party offended by the loud, boorish behavior) that the restaurant management for whatever reason condoned the loudness of the language of three louses at the expense of the dining experience of their patrons. I wouldn't go back.

                                  2. p
                                    PDXpat RE: rockycat Dec 10, 2007 08:19 AM

                                    It's the privilege of management to define what is "appropriate" atmosphere in their establishment, and the responsibility of management to maintain whatever *they* consider appropriate behavioral standards. If management didn't object to this person's language, there's little you can do, except sit somewhere else. Perhaps in another restaurant, if you feel that's necessary.

                                    Bearing children, while a great and wonderful experience, does not provide you with either the privilege or the responsibility of controlling the behavior of other adults in public places. You are not that other patron's parent, nor are you the manager of the restaurant. If you feel the local conditions are unsuitable for your child, your role as a parent is to move your child to an atmosphere you feel is more suitable, not to attempt to change the rest of the adult world to suit your standards.

                                    Get up and find another table. Let management know, politely, why you did that. Let them deal with it, if they feel it's an issue. To do otherwise is to be just as childish as the patron you complain about. Since you asked, what you should do, in short, is MYOB and Get Over It.

                                    10 Replies
                                    1. re: PDXpat
                                      m
                                      mark RE: PDXpat Dec 10, 2007 09:54 AM

                                      excellent answer!

                                      1. re: PDXpat
                                        linguafood RE: PDXpat Dec 10, 2007 09:59 AM

                                        Very well said, and I totally agree. It's simply not *all* about the kids, or every place having a family friendly (no swearing, I suppose?) atmosphere -- even if non-parents are made to believe that it is or should be.

                                        1. re: PDXpat
                                          a
                                          aelph RE: PDXpat Dec 10, 2007 10:08 AM

                                          Totally agree.

                                          1. re: PDXpat
                                            MSPD RE: PDXpat Dec 10, 2007 10:09 AM

                                            Despite my earlier joke answer...

                                            PDX, you very eloquently summed up my approach and feeling as well.

                                            1. re: PDXpat
                                              f
                                              filth RE: PDXpat Dec 10, 2007 10:32 AM

                                              GREAT ANSWER!!!

                                              1. re: PDXpat
                                                r
                                                rockycat RE: PDXpat Dec 11, 2007 05:56 AM

                                                OP here. Believe me, bearing children is not, at least to me, the end all and be all of my existence. I truly don't believe the world should come to a complete stop and adore my little darling for the perfect creature she is. Frankly, she can be a royal pain at times and her behavior, while reasonable for a 5-year-old, is still, by definition, childish.

                                                So. let's forget the whole child issue. Should I, as a 40+ year old restaurant patron, have to listen to that kind of aural assault from another table or should I "just get over it" because, after all, it is your presumed right to say whatever you want, whenever you want, at whatever volume you choose? Civility be d***ed, it would seem.

                                                1. re: rockycat
                                                  s
                                                  swsidejim RE: rockycat Dec 11, 2007 06:06 AM

                                                  I agree with you 100%.

                                                  What is kind of disturbing is the total opposite ends of the spectrum we are seeing expressed here.

                                                  On one end you have people advocating a physical confrontation with the drunk becuase they think they are the keepers of the peace, or think they are big and strong, and have appointed themselves to the position of bouncer.

                                                  On the other end of the spectrum are individuals who believe swearing & being a loud obnoxious drunk is acceptable in a public setting.

                                                  I am glad I am in the middle, I dont think beating someone up is the answer, and I dont believe swaering and being an obnoxious drunk is acceptable in a public setting.

                                                  1. re: rockycat
                                                    p
                                                    PDXpat RE: rockycat Dec 11, 2007 07:35 AM

                                                    The point is this:

                                                    (1) you mentioned that this place has a bar side and a restaurant side. That alcohol is being served (apparently in some quantity) in the restaurant side as well defines this as an adult venue. A reasonable person expects this means there may be "adult" language and mature subject matter. No surprise there, this is pretty normal anywhere drinks are served, especially if a lot of them are served. Children welcome, *if* accompanied by a responsible adult, right? That means that by entering the place, you have accepted whatever risks are involved in exposing your child, and yourself, to an adult environment, and have taken upon yourself the responsibility for that choice, and for dealing with the risk in a responsible manner. After all, nobody held a gun to your head and forced you to sit, or to bring your child; you're there solely by your own choice.

                                                    (2) Just as you have the right and duty to define rules of behavior in your home, and I have the right and duty to do so in my home, management of any bar and/or restaurant has the right and duty to define what is and is not appropriate behavior in their establishment. Management, Not You. If management doesn't think it's a problem, it ISN'T a problem, in that place. If you disagree with their standards and practices, you have the right to vote with your feet, and go somewhere else. You do NOT have the right to define what is "civility" in a public place which isn't yours. Deal with local policy or go somewhere else.

                                                    Hypothetical Example: Would you walk into a biker bar --with or without your daughter-- and then try to tell all 20 half-drunk, coked-up Hell's Angels to shut up because you don't like their potty mouths? I'll send flowers to your memorial. Clearly, if you don't like rough talk and greasy leathers, you went to the wrong place. Your mistake, not theirs. Nobody in their right mind is going to try to Disney-fy that place, no matter how much they hate the F-word. Deal With It or go somewhere else. Seems clear enough, right? Well then, except by degree, in what way is the situation you described any different?

                                                    You certainly have every right in the world to decide that a loud drunk's swearing is unacceptable *to you*, you do not have the privilege of deciding it's unacceptable *in this restaurant*. There's a difference that many posters here seem to be missing. In the specific situation you described, I think most reasonable people would simply get up and find a quieter table. Maybe say something to the waiter/manager, maybe not.

                                                    That's what you should have done also, instead of stooping to the same level as the loud drunk, and starting a verbal altercation. Starting a fight with a drunk is a poor example to set for your child.
                                                    If it were my restaurant, I'd probably have tossed both of you.

                                                    1. re: PDXpat
                                                      Cat Chow RE: PDXpat Dec 14, 2007 11:27 AM

                                                      I'll give the OP the benefit of the doubt here, it seems that they had sussed out
                                                      the restaurant/bar as somewhat kid friendly, as evidenced by previous visits with said child. I'm sure they would have not brought the 5 year old to a place that:

                                                      a) where children diners are not expected or not appropriate
                                                      b) despite the bar area, did not seem to be a bar that attracted a certain type of patron, as evidenced by previous visits

                                                  2. re: PDXpat
                                                    Cat Chow RE: PDXpat Dec 14, 2007 11:14 AM

                                                    Well, PDXpat, yes and no. I personally think we have become too willing as a society to look the other way when things are clearly inappropriate.

                                                    Sure, I manage my expectations wherever I go, because yes, it would be unreasonable to try to impose my own developed sense of public behavior on others. So, if I am in a dive bar, I'll expect to hear some rough language, loud guffaws, drunken displays and possibly some lewd looking over. If I'm in a nicer bar I would expect to see some preening folks on their cell phones. If I'm in a family restaurant, I'll expect to hear annoying crying/whining from kids (including my own, alhough I'm trying my best to raise them). If I'm in a 5 star restaurant, I'll expect a level of decorum from the patrons who are there to enjoy a wonderfully prepared meal. Why should I have to put up with something that is clearly out of place and not in the right context? Yes, my own m.o. would be to remove myself from the situation AND let the management know my discontent if I objectively believe whatever forced me to leave was out of line with the environment the locale is selling. Again, I'm not going to complain about loud, crass frat boy drunkards when I'm in a bar that has $1.00 all you can drink beer Fridays.

                                                    What the OP described (unless I'm not reading correctly) was a situation where the drunk patron was clearly out of line in a place of certain level of experience and she from past experience at this locale not expecting to find this behavior. So why should she have to put up with it, just because drunkard wanted to show off his F-word skills?

                                                  3. danhole RE: rockycat Dec 10, 2007 09:37 AM

                                                    Since you weren't sitting in the bar, then I would think that the management should have shut this jerk down, especially since it was NOT a dive. But they didn't notice, and that is not a good place to eat anymore. If management can not provide an appropriate atmosphere, or control the customers, then they don't care very much, do they?

                                                    Notice I have not mentioned the child, because that is totally besides the point. I do not appreciate foul language, and have been known to ask someone to leave my home because of their language. Even so, I would never confront a loud, foul mouthed drunk! I have a guy friend who is a nice person, but get a couple drinks in him, and all of a sudden he is confrontational on every level. And the more you try to get him to shut up, the louder and fouler he gets. It is unpleasant and I have drug him out of more than one place because it is embarrassing. Of course he curses me out, up one side and down the other, but I figure that is a better choice than to have some "young buck" decide to put him in his place. He would be killed, because he loses all common sense and thinks he is much tougher than he really is. So, bottom line is leave the drunks to a pro!

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: danhole
                                                      s
                                                      soupkitten RE: danhole Dec 10, 2007 10:20 AM

                                                      i suppose i am asking for trouble when i point out that drunks can be dangerous to "the pros" too. some people don't see a problem with taking a swing at a server or restaurant employee who makes a suggestion to regulate behavior, and it can put the establishment in a legal situation to talk to the guy about his behavior, and then continue to serve the rest of the table alcoholic beverages (-- it is the establishment's decision to "cut off" a patron drinking at the restaurant, not something that can be decided by another patron who doesn't like his language--)

                                                      someone will probably point out that someone in the establishment may have overserved this table in the first place. since none of us were there at the time, save the op, that's a tough call to make on this discussion board. i wouldn't have tried to escalate the scene any further through a confrontation with the table, and i think that asking or expecting restaurant staff to potentially fight our battles for us is ethically tenuous at best. move if possible, or get over it, or maybe decide that based on one loud obnoxious person at one time, it's an inappropriate venue for family dinner. you can't regulate other people's behavior, and since this guy was swearing like a sailor with his friends, but not actively harming other patrons, it's possible that his table was on one end of the "acceptable behavior" continuum, and the op's table on the other. the kid needs to realize at some point that there are big loud obnoxious guys out there, but that daddy isn't like that, etc. maybe good behavior will be encouraged by witnessing the opposite in this case, and the op can use it as a teaching opportunity.

                                                    2. podunkboy RE: rockycat Dec 10, 2007 04:01 PM

                                                      Well, I don't know your location where this occurred, but there are some states of municipalities with laws against public profanity, as well as public drunkeness. Perhaps a call to 911 with available witnesses to swear out a complaint against the potty-mouth? There was a man in Michigan who went to jail for a few days for falling out of a canoe and cussing in front of his own children in earshot of an off-duty police officer.
                                                      But overall, if the restaurant's management is unwilling to provide a savory atmosphere to enjoy a family dinner, I'm sure there are other restaurants more appropriate in the area.

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: podunkboy
                                                        Honeychan RE: podunkboy Dec 10, 2007 07:25 PM

                                                        No offence, but swearing in a resturaunt does NOT qualify as a need to call 911! That's just getting a little overboard, don't you think? It's to be used for a -real- emergency.

                                                        Why is speaking with a manager, or just leaving the place so hard for some people to do? This just confuses me.

                                                        1. re: Honeychan
                                                          d
                                                          dolores RE: Honeychan Dec 11, 2007 01:58 AM

                                                          That's what I'm trying to figure out. Aside from the liability of personally dealing with the guy (who may have just been a drunk who wasn't allowed to curse at home), there's always the issue of a knife or a gun.

                                                          Not worth it, imo.

                                                        2. re: podunkboy
                                                          hotoynoodle RE: podunkboy Dec 10, 2007 07:29 PM

                                                          that michigan canoe incident was one of the more ridiculous things i've heard in a long time. offensive language doesn't warrant a call to 911 -- they have actual emergencies and crimes with which to deal. restaurant managers do not call the police as a rule because the legal ramifications can be staggering.

                                                          both as a patron and a manager, i have gotten many people to shut up. my stare is withering and my tongue sharp. not everybody wants to be in that position. if the op didn't want a confrontation, especially with a child present (drunk + directness = uncertainty) than asking to be moved is not unreasonable. suffering and stewing in silence is unnecessary -- and not the best example for your kid, imo.

                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                            d
                                                            dolores RE: hotoynoodle Dec 11, 2007 01:59 AM

                                                            Wow, I'm glad you said it.

                                                            Sad world if one can't curse anymore. Bottom line, a restaurant is not the place to swear loudly, since part of the dining experience is a pleasant experience, but in a canoe, out doors? Holy cow.

                                                          2. re: podunkboy
                                                            Suzy Q RE: podunkboy Dec 12, 2007 05:05 PM

                                                            You're advocating a call to 911 because someone is using bad language? You have GOT to be kidding.

                                                          3. c
                                                            cackalackie RE: rockycat Dec 10, 2007 04:34 PM

                                                            I first would ask myself if their behavior is what you would have considered out of order if your child had NOT been with you. If it was just the fact that the kid was with you, then move or leave or live with it. (And maybe it's not a place to bring your kid.)

                                                            If not, then I probably would have said, "Do you mind?" Or "Would you mind keeping it down?"

                                                            If they were so drunk that you were afraid to say something, then I would ask for the manager.

                                                            1. Veggo RE: rockycat Dec 10, 2007 06:42 PM

                                                              I will with reverence and humility abandon this thread, with 2 parting comments:

                                                              1) If everyone within earshot of an uncivilized pig is such a milquetoast that their only reaction is to request a change of tables, they are merely parting the sea to facilitate the same piggish conduct tomorrow, somewhere else, by the piggish one.

                                                              2) If hell breaks loose on your airplane, (this is to my detractors), you should want me to be on your airplane.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Veggo
                                                                k
                                                                KTinNYC RE: Veggo Dec 10, 2007 10:03 PM

                                                                I don't darken a doorway when I enter and I don't think I'm a milquetoast either, I've been in my fair share of fights, but in my opinion what the OP describes really doesn't require anyone being sent to the hospital. Instead it was, as another poster said, an opportunity to teach the 5 year old a lesson in proper behavior. If you honestly believe the consequence of swearing in a restaurant is being knocked out what would you do if you saw the party doing a dine and dash?

                                                                I've learned that there are a lot of situations where you can do as Mojoeater said and talk to the drunks, and I've done just that having worked in bars, into curbing bad behavior by just talking to them as adults to tone down their behavior.

                                                                This is not a life or death situation. These are not terrorist trying to bring a plane down. 9 out of 10 times they are just guys who've had too many drinks and just being boisterous.

                                                                And Veggo, if was, I'm quite sure I'd be with you if I was on the plane but this just isn't the case.

                                                              2. m
                                                                mojoeater RE: rockycat Dec 10, 2007 07:24 PM

                                                                Whatever happened to more flies with honey than vinegar? Giving someone a dirty look or snapping "Do you mind?" is immediately confrontational. I am a small woman and I worked in bars/restaurants for many years. Most drunks - most people - respond just fine if asked nicely. Get up, walk over, smile and ask them nicely to tone it down. Say something like "I'm so glad you're having a good time. We are too. I have one favor to ask. Could you please keep the cussing to a minimum? My 5 year old is starting to repeat everything she hears!" Chances are they'll calm down.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: mojoeater
                                                                  sarahvagaca RE: mojoeater Dec 11, 2007 12:02 AM

                                                                  That's exactly what I was going to say, mojoeater. If you approach someone with anger, you're likely to get anger back. If you scold someone (particularly a drunk!), you're likely to get rebellion--someone who wants to keep being obnoxious so that they "win" the fight that they now perceive themselves to be in. If you approach someone with a light manner and some respect, they'll often react well. No one likes being talked down to, so I try to keep that in mind. Give people an escape--"I'm sure you didn't realize how much your voices were carrying", etc. Granted this doesn't always work, but there's usually at least one in a group who will then be shamed into attempting to quiet the others.

                                                                  1. re: sarahvagaca
                                                                    b
                                                                    BlueHerons RE: sarahvagaca Dec 11, 2007 09:03 AM

                                                                    Ditto here. I would have politely just stated something to the effect of "while I know you don't realize this, you've said the F word a bunch and I'm afraid my five year old will hear and repeat it in Kindergarden tomorrow! Would you mind terribly? Thank you!".

                                                                    If that didn't work, I'd move tables.

                                                                    If ignored I would have just requested another table.

                                                                2. r
                                                                  ricepad RE: rockycat Dec 11, 2007 11:16 AM

                                                                  I have a friend who claims to have used this method on a similar boor at a sporting event. My friend 'accidentally' spilled an entire cup of soda on the back of the boor's neck (who was in the row in front of the friend and his family). The friend IMMEDIATELY starts in with, "Oh, man...I am so sorry...let me help you clean up...I'll make it up to you...", and then got up and bought the boor and his companion another beer each. The boor couldn't very well publicly complain, because, after all, my friend had apologized profusely (to the point of being annoying about it) AND had bought them beers, but the icy-cold soda substantially cooled the boor's jets, too, and everybody (else) in the vicinity enjoyed the sporting event in relative peace.

                                                                  Taking your cue from this story, you could have excused yourself for a trip to the bathroom, with emphasis on the 'trip'...and 'accidentally' spilled a water glass onto the pig's lap.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: ricepad
                                                                    jgg13 RE: ricepad Dec 11, 2007 11:20 AM

                                                                    That isn't the smartest of things to do. I've been in sporting crowds where the boor would have removed the friend's teeth regardless of their profuse apologies.

                                                                    1. re: jgg13
                                                                      r
                                                                      ricepad RE: jgg13 Dec 11, 2007 01:18 PM

                                                                      I was skeptical of the story...but if anybody could pull it off, this friend could.

                                                                      1. re: ricepad
                                                                        s
                                                                        soupkitten RE: ricepad Dec 11, 2007 01:26 PM

                                                                        note though, that if the op were to go around in restaurants dumping drinks on other people, as a staff member, i would have to say that the drink dumpER is a bigger problem than the dumpEE-- i'd likely throw the drink dumper out for trying to pick a fight!

                                                                        as i said to a hoo-- um, a lady-- once before throwing her butt out the door: "it doesn't matter what he said, you were physical and you're outta here."

                                                                  2. psb RE: rockycat Dec 12, 2007 02:23 AM

                                                                    My tongue in cheek answer is "you should have asked your spouse to deal with it".

                                                                    To the people talking about how these kinds of triggers have led to bar fights,
                                                                    have you ever seen a man strike out at a woman?

                                                                    >Should I, as a 40+ year old restaurant patron, have to listen to that kind of
                                                                    >aural assault from another table or should I "just get over it" because, after all,
                                                                    >it is your presumed right to say whatever you want, whenever you want, at
                                                                    >whatever volume you choose? Civility be d***ed, it would seem.
                                                                    >
                                                                    in the spirit of many other answers, i think mischaracterizes "the problem".
                                                                    you asked them to stop, they didnt, civility is already damned ... since you've
                                                                    established it's a case of "they dont care" not "they didnt notice" after you put
                                                                    them on notice. now it is just a logistical problem, i.e "what is to be done", not
                                                                    "who is right".

                                                                    the logisitical part of this branches two ways: is it the resto's problem or yours?
                                                                    i'm inclinded to go with "just ask for a new table". it would probably be "cheaper"
                                                                    for the resto to move you and maybe throw in a some minor compensation
                                                                    than to try to deal with the other table.

                                                                    What would you have done if the neighboring table had a bunch of pornography
                                                                    magazines they were going through? YMWTGF ("betty's ocean view diner" playboy).

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: psb
                                                                      t
                                                                      Tay RE: psb Dec 12, 2007 12:55 PM

                                                                      I don't believe the PO stated that the loud, rude patron was an out of control,drunk, or necessarily drunk, just that his group was drinking. I think this is one of those "Eye (ear) of the beholder" situations. Their response makes me think they felt as though they were the ones being imposed upon. I'm curious to know who was seated first. many will state that isn't the point, but, sometimes, it is a consideration. If the group with the 'loud guy' was already engaged in this type of uhhhh... 'colorful' conversation before the OP was seated, he may have felt a certain degree of resentment at being asked to change his words. As annoying and objectionable as many of us might have found his language to be, one bus ride with a bunch of high school kids on their way to/from school and you will hear the 'F' word used as a noun, an adjective, a verb, etc...over and over and over again. It's like a hit of Scotch at 8am..
                                                                      Unfortunately, I think some people have lost the ability to carry on a conversation without using profanity. He may have been one of those individuals.
                                                                      Modifying his language would have been the decent thing to do, but if he wasn't a decent guy and he wasn't breaking any laws, there wasn't much to do but what you did: politely ask him to desist. Other than that, leaving and telling the Mgr why, would probably have been my course of action.

                                                                      1. re: Tay
                                                                        s
                                                                        soupkitten RE: Tay Dec 12, 2007 01:11 PM

                                                                        you are right, & we also don't know anything about the conversation the table was having except for the profanity. maybe they were legitimately talking about a situation or a person who was actually a f&^%ed up, f*&ing f&^%. . . maybe the guy had gotten fired and was venting to his friends for a good happy hour before the op's family was seated near them, maybe he was cutting loose the evening before his middle east deployment with his brother and 2 cousins, and cussing is his way of putting a brave face on fear. . .

                                                                        he wasn't tripping waitresses or throwing punches at other patrons. . . imo what's the point in getting in his face, you don't know what kind of day he's having, & he already seems to have a chip on his shoulder. . .

                                                                    Show Hidden Posts