Several times a year I find myself reminiscing about the 1970s and 80s.
Sure there have always been punks, and brats in our culture, of which I was one, but back then even us wayward youth knew what the boundaries in American proper society were comprised of. For example, once in a business or other controlled public setting, staying out of trouble by following the rules was the norm.
Not so today to the point that a popular fast food restaurant had to tell youth under 16; no parents, no entry.
A Pennsylvania Chick-fil-A is barring solo patrons under 16 after unaccompanied youth repeatedly mistreated the restaurant’s property, patrons, and employees, according to statement on the location’s Facebook page.
“To dine in our restaurant, anyone under the age of 16 is required to be accompanied by an adult,” the statement says, going on to explain in detail why the decision, which the restaurant “contemplated long and hard,” was made.
“We want to provide a comfortable and safe environment for our guests and our staff, and also to protect our building. Therefore, we cannot allow this to continue,” the statement also says.
The Chick-fil-A restaurant in Royersford, Pennsylvania, began its statement by saying managers “love being a community restaurant and serving guests of all ages,” but that ongoing issues with unaccompanied youth engaging in unacceptable behavior at the restaurant forced them into a corner.
“Children and teens are learning to navigate the world free from supervision and often push the boundaries. We simply can’t let them push those boundaries anymore at our restaurant,” the statement concluded, thanking patrons for their understanding and encouraging parents to speak with their children about the matter.
The “unacceptable behavior” cited in the post includes using loud, explicit language; vandalizing property; stealing decorations; disrespecting employees’ requests to change their behavior or leave; and walking in an unsafe manner through the parking lot and drive-thru lanes.
According to the restaurant’s statement, the problems have taken place on Saturdays and other days the kids are off from school. Chik-fil-A is nationally known for not being open on Sundays.
On those days, parents drop off children and teens at a local park, and then some walk over to the restaurant.
The statement includes an apology to patrons under age 16 whose behavior is appropriate. The managers place the blame squarely on the “numerous extreme behaviors” of their out-of-control peers.
The most prevalent response to the post, according to Facebook, says he witnessed the problems firsthand: “Witnessed just such an event while eating with my grandchildren. Explained to them this is not how to act while in a public restaurant. They must respect other patrons. Thanks to the management for eloquently addressing this situation.”
The post then tries to not “trigger” bad parents by emphasizing that Chick-fil-A is not blaming parents for the situation, a comment with which some patrons responding to the post took issue.
“Why aren’t you blaming the parents? It is absolutely a parenting problem. … Letting your cherubs run wild in society isn’t parenting, it’s neglect,” one top comment said.
“I have the utmost respect for this post/decision and wish other places would take a similar stand. … I’m not sure why businesses tolerate the terrible behavior when it disrupts loyal paying customers,” said another.
“When one can’t behave, they lose privileges. I agree with all your reasons for reaching this decision. Protect your business,” another posted.
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