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To challenge couple in restaurant who judged my DCs?

(337 Posts)
TotesAmazebelle Thu 27-Mar-14 19:38:06

Had dinner out earlier in an Italian restaurant. I agreed that the DCs (11 and 9) could play their Kindle Fires for 10-15 minutes when we got there. This is not sth they do often - they never usually play them in a restaurant or even around the dinner table at home.

Two tables away a couple (mid 60s) were tutting head shaking and he said "the trouble is they lose the art of conversation". I don't think they intended me to hear it, but it came over loud and clear.

I waited until they had finished their starter then approached them. I said in a quiet voice that I was sorry for interrupting them and that I heard what they had said. I said I wanted to let them know that my children had had a busy day at school and the eldest one had just had a one hour language tuition session after school. That I said that they can play for 15 minutes and that it's not sth we would normally do blah blah. They apologised for the comment and said they just think it's a shame when kids have their faces in devices all the time (they said they didn't have children of their own but have noticed it with nephews and neices etc.). I actually agree with this whey is why I don't let mine play at the table etc. and I told them this. We actually had a pleasant conversation about it.

I clearly felt the need to challenge their judgemental view. I was sat there for some time trying to decide whether to say something or not and the saying something clearly got the better of me. I just felt that they know nothing about us and what we would normally do. I didn't want them to go away with an assumption about me/my kids/other kids (am a bit sick of hearing about the downfall of the youth of today from older generations).

But was I being unreasonable? Should I have just ignored them (after 15 minutes kids had put Kindles away and we were chatting amongst ourselves and maybe they'd have seen this).

LaQueenOfTheSpring Mon 31-Mar-14 08:59:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thebody Mon 31-Mar-14 08:17:29

that should read 'I havnt' grin

limited love your Boden clad pirates.

thebody Mon 31-Mar-14 08:14:13

I ha by explained my parenting choices for years. couldn't give a crap what people think.

squizita Mon 31-Mar-14 08:10:48

Limited yep that's exactly the attitude (and dare I say the type of person who sometimes does it - not classwise but drunk/cocky/group wise) ... it's infuriating! So sorry you had to endure it really!

limitedperiodonly Sun 30-Mar-14 22:03:33

Some English people were once very rude about DH and me - mostly DH - in a restaurant in Spain. It was a mixed group of those pissed and braying 40 and 50-something Yachties who infest the Mediterranean in summer like Boden-clad pirates.

I think they presumed we were French, Italian or Spanish - hilarious in itself, isn't it? hmm - from our clothes, which were obviously also hilarious, not being drab tat.

We didn't say anything but it ruined the evening. If we hadn't have been such restrained people we'd have gone over as a tag team and punched them them all until we were shoulder-deep in their blood and then gone quietly back to our dinner.

Looking back I think we should have done. I'm sure that in court, the waiters would have claimed to have been looking the other way.

I've no comment on Kindle Fires or Chinese lessons but some people are very unpleasant and think they can get away with arch comments without comeback.

squizita Sun 30-Mar-14 19:38:47

Deaf? Raw nerve? Not sure where that came from really.
If they were deaf then it wouldn't be at all what I was talking about - but we've all known of obvious examples in RL if we're honest: the glance up and down of the alternatively dressed person with a 'ooh look at her!'; the rude teens at bus-stops sniggering at someone; the cliquey one talking to her friend loudly about her superior life while glaring eyeballs at the rival. That is not the same as an accident: it is rude and the intention is to flout good manners by saying something rude with EVERY intention that the other person will hear... and then hide behind manners by tutting at their earwigging/forwardness if they come and object.

Nothing to do with age or being deaf. It's a common trope in fiction and movies from Dickens to 'Mean Girls' as well ... the deliberately-slightly-too-loud-arch-comment. The (nicer, polite) person is expected to keep quiet.

Just rather surprised how many people act as if this doesn't exist.

To me, it's actually worse than just being plain rude because it's messing with the 'rules' - twisting them so you can be heard saying something upsetting, without any risk of payback.

I wonder if those who deny it happens find it touches a nerve with them? I'm afraid to say it is something I think most of us - albeit many in a teenage cliquey phase - will have done to a lesser extent. But there do seem to be certain folk who do it all through life - often judgementally and from a sense of the moral highground.

Wurstwitch Sun 30-Mar-14 18:52:54

Aye. Probably deef, them being so old and whatnot. Op Wouldn't have heard if they hadn't had to shout at each other.

Raw nerve much?

squizita Sun 30-Mar-14 18:44:06

Lots of grown adults here forgetting that it is poor manners not to use 'indoor voices' indoors (especially when saying something which might upset others) loud enough to be heard by diners in a public place. As I've mentioned before - a very British rudeness, relying on everyone else just to sit there quietly and politely for fear of being a 'rude evesdropper' and listen to you slagging them off - lest you tick them off for listening in. Absoutely hypocritical! "I can be rude and loud... but I'll call anyone who objects nosey and rude."

Listening in to your innocent conversation is not the same as being rude about other people in a too-loud voice.

Use that level of volume to say something unkind and your 'dishing it out' so should expect some comment back.

limitedperiodonly Sun 30-Mar-14 17:34:13

There was a time when I would have given them both barrels but I've calmed down a lot since then because I realised it made me look insane.

And these days it would be bound to end up on YouTube.

Luckily I learned my lesson before.

BTW since when was 60s elderly? Mick Jagger's 70.

IsChippyMintonExDirectory Sun 30-Mar-14 00:55:16

This should go in classics. Any thread about Chinese-learning kindle Fire playing over scheduled kids, a mum who strongly disagrees with children playing gadgets in restaurants and expressing this sentiment while her kids play on gadgets in a restaurant and the mention of Obamas dad swooping in to change the belief of hard core racists simply cannot ever be forgotten about. I've read this whole thread thinking I'm reading a comedy script

UptheChimney Sat 29-Mar-14 22:31:45

I wouldn't really appreciate being reminded of table manners by a childless elderly couple when I'm out at a restaurant

And I wouldn't really appreciate being reminded of table manners by a smug knowitall busybody mummy when I'm out at a restaurant.

TeaAndALemonTart Sat 29-Mar-14 22:12:21

If this actually happened I would have told you to sit back fucking down. Then I would have talked really loudly about how rude it is to comment on a private conversation.

But personally I think you're pulling our legs.

brdgrl Sat 29-Mar-14 22:03:00

I'm more shocked by the posters saying "elderly" and "old" about a couple in their mid-sixties! Hee!

Sandytrousers Sat 29-Mar-14 21:38:17

Hilarious! The OP's offspring demonstrate inability to sit chatting at a table in a restaurant.

May or may not have been commented on by other diners, at least a table away.

OP heaves over to give them a lesson in etiquette; during course of her generous opinion-sharing concedes that she too disagrees with children who use screens instead of speaking in restaurants.

OP also indulges in some toe-curling show-offs about her unbelievably over-scheduled children.

I have had such fun reading this. So glad you didn't stick by your principles, OP, and take the poor kids home if they were too wilted to chat.

And I bet the couple were thrilled at your gauche interruption of their evening.

Like LaQueen, my bullshit radars are beeping.

I don't believe anyone could be so ignorant yet so self-righteous and then seek validation from strangers.


AchyFox Sat 29-Mar-14 20:47:07

Oh OK it was What-difference-does-it-make-what-language-it-was-?! language.

Things are crystal clear now. smile

AchyFox Sat 29-Mar-14 20:44:14

So was it Mandarin or Cantonese ?

Sorry can't be arsed to scan the whole thread.blush

daisydoo222 Sat 29-Mar-14 19:49:37

I think gadgets are killing children's social and playing skills. I also think that over use affects their behaviour.

TBH I'm not really that arsed. My kids spend a very limited amount of time on gadgets. My stepkids have every gadget under the sun and it doesn't go down well when we restrict their use but they are much happier children when they're not using them.

I think parents rely on them far too much as a way of keeping their children quiet so they don't have to bother talking to them or playing with them.

I dread to think what this generation's kids are going to turn out like because of this shit lazy parenting that so many parents try to convince themselves is OK.

ArtexMonkey Sat 29-Mar-14 19:40:20

No, mid sixties isn't old, but then electronic gadgets aren't killing the art of conversation either.

Take it up with daisydoo too, she called them elderly, oh and all the people who think maybe their hearing was going


rookiemater Sat 29-Mar-14 19:35:33

It's a bit disingenuous to suggest that the couple were having a general chit chat about electronic gadgets. The OP states that they were shaking their heads and as they were two tables away from her, it is pretty certain that it was more than just idle conversation.

My understanding of etiquette is that it is incredibly rude to remark on someone else's behavior if it is not impacting on your own.

I'm not quite understanding the hysteria around the kindle fires - would it be ok for the DCs to draw, or read a book instead and if so why, as these are still ways of not making conversation.

And no daisydoo222 I wouldn't really appreciate being reminded of table manners by a childless elderly couple when I'm out at a restaurant.

Provided I have ensured that my DS is not impacting negatively on their meal in any way by making sure he sits in his chair at the table, does not make any unnecessary noise and eats in a polite fashion, then I'm pretty sure I have discharged all the obligations to other diners in the vicinity.

ilovesooty Sat 29-Mar-14 19:28:22

Mid sixties is old is it?

ArtexMonkey Sat 29-Mar-14 19:23:09

Obviously the polite acceptable response would have been for the op and her dc to comment loudly on what miserable arseholes old people are and how looking at their cats bum faces was putting them off their food.

Then if the old people didn't like it, well tough shit for earwigging.

ilovesooty Sat 29-Mar-14 19:18:34

If the OP had a child/children with a disability and had overheard comments obviously directed at her parenting of them and criticism of their behaviour I can absolutely understand why she'd want to challenge any comments she overheard and possibly educate people at the same time.

Overhearing general comments about electronic gadgets which might have been stimulated by her NT(presumably) children's activity is hardly in the same league.

Parents of children with hidden disabilities will be sick to death of being judged and upset by the ignorance they encounter. Parents like the OP just seem like self righteous rude idiots determined to tell others what brilliant parents they are. If, as LaQueen says, it ever even happened.

daisydoo222 Sat 29-Mar-14 19:17:26

rookiemater - they were the ones with no manners, not the OP

No her children were the ones with no manners! DS's at the table in a restaurant? WTF? Incredibly rude!

Fair enough it didn't really have an impact on the other couple but I think they were right in what they said.

Maybe parents need to be reminded of table manners themselves sometimes.

As far as how loudly they said it - maybe they didn't realise how loud they were, the OP said herself that they were elderly so maybe they were slightly hard of hearing.

rookiemater Sat 29-Mar-14 19:07:20

Ok so this appears to be some Mumsnetters view of the world.

You are out in public. Someone in the vicinity is doing something you do not approve of. It does not impact you, or your family, in any way whatsoever. You are apparently perfectly within your rights to comment loudly about what this other person is doing, so loudly in fact that they can hear you and yet whatever they are doing does not impact you, or your family, in any way.

If the other person hears you criticizing what you are saying - as they are likely to because you aren't using your indoor voice, then they apparently are the crazed loon if they choose to take issue with your unnecessary commentary about their activity.

Imagine if the elderly couple had said "Gosh there's a lot of fat porkers about these days guzzling big meals " and the OP was overweight. Should she just suck it up on that occasion,because well there is a lot of fat people and perhaps the elderly couple weren't referring to her. I think the MN consensus would be rather different in that case.

So why should her parenting be on trial and her evening meal spoiled by loud criticism, which apparently she should just let wash over her, or indeed suck it up because she is completely in the wrong hmm. What her DCs were doing had zero impact on the couple, when they chose to start mouthing off loudly, they were the ones with no manners, not the OP.

NoodleOodle Sat 29-Mar-14 19:04:16

the prevalence of electronic devises has helped kill conversation

People used to be anxious and judgemental over TV too.

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