Cagey, Arun (Cagey's 16 month old son) and I went to dinner last week at a family-friendly Italian restaurant...or so we thought. Since Goofy Junior is now 3-1/2, he's pretty adept at the restaurant gig. He doesn't need a booster, nor a sippy cup, nor a bib. So I've gotten out of the habit of worrying about him too much while eating out.
Cut to Italian restaurant: Helpful waiter (or so we thought) comes to table, inquiring about drink orders. We have kids, so we are ready to order everything at once and proceed to do so. Whoa! This threw him off-guard and he looked slightly peeved. But we managed to get our order in.
Bread? The bread has gotta come quick or the kids get restless. Bread? Hello, BREAD?! BREAD!?!?!?! Bread did not come. Wine came (yee-ha!), but no bread. Moms happy, kids not. Waiter asked if we would like him to bring crackers for kids. SURE! PLEASE! Something to put in their mouths so the napkins, plates, and salt shakers would stay out.
Here's the punchline....wait for it. Wait for it!
He comes out with two bowls of ice cream! And says he can't find crackers, will ice cream do. I think both Cagey's and my mouths hit the table right about the same time. Er, NO! HELL, NO!
Luckily the ice cream disappeared before the kids could figure out that it was meant for them. Then the bread mysteriously appeared and all was well.
Until it was time for the check. It was in the twilight zone with the bread. Kids were starting to meltdown from quickly approaching bedtime. Check? Kids up and running amok, burning off that extra energy from fighting sleep... CHECK?! Kids stumbling around in front of waitresses carrying large trays of hot food. CHECK!?!?!?!?
I could go on, but I think you get the picture. When parents and kids go out to eat, they are not interested in a four-course, leisurely meal. It's more like an air-strike. Get in, get out, and no one gets hurt. Efficiency is key. Waiters and waitresses that are keen to this get large tips. Dorky waiters with no clue bearing bowls of ice cream prior to dinner do not.
Take heed, service industry!