98.3 TRY Social Dilemma: Is It Okay to Bring A Happy Meal Into Another Restaurant?


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Thursday’s 98.3 TRY Social Dilemma came from Aaron and has to do with eating out with children. Here’s the email:

Hi Jaime.

My name is Aaron, and I’ve started following your social dilemmas as they’ve begun to be promoted by WTEN’s Facebook team. And…I turn to the experts to help me to come to grips with something that aggravated me. Some time ago, I was out with my kids and it became time to eat. My youngest was 5 and it was super easy to swing through a drive thru and grab him some nuggets, fries, and a drink. I suggested the rest of us go have a sit down meal at a local restaurant. When I got there, my five year old was still working on his little meal, so I had him bring it in with us. We were seated and asked about our beverages. The waitress had just come back with a chocolate milk that one of my other children had ordered when she noticed the bag with nuggets and said we couldn’t have it inside. I asked if she could request the owner make an exception since my kid was close to being done, because I didn’t plan to purchase him another meal or just make him sit there while we the rest of us ate in front of him. That way, the restaurant would still have three paying, hungry patrons in the party. The waitress went to ask, and I was told my five-year-old’s food would not be allowed at the table. Needless to say, in my frustration, I simply paid for the chocolate milk, left it on the table full with a 20% tip, and we went elsewhere. Is there a point where it becomes reasonable for an owner to make an exception to a policy to give customers a personal experience? This restaurant lost a paying client permanently due to how this situation was handled – I’ve never been back.

Thanks for your help, and for your fun and thoughtful social dilemmas!

~ Aaron

Well, I think Aaron was right to leave. I remember when I was taking care of my nieces and nephews. My nephew would often get a Happy Meal and then we would go to a restaurant for the rest of us. Rarely did the waitress/waiter give him a hard time. Little ones eat a little differently than the rest of us. Would they have reacted the same if Aaron had gone in with a packed meal from home for his five year old? It seems strange to lose paying customers over something so small, but that’s just my take.

Let us know on the NEWS10 Facebook page or let Jaime know on the TRY Facebook page.

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