Opinion Brief

A restaurant's 'outrageous' 'baby tax'

An English eatery sparks an international debate by charging moms an extra $5 for bringing young children to the table

An Asian buffet restaurant in South London has ignited a controversy that has parents across the pond shaking their fists in anger. Multiple mothers say that when they took their babies to the Cosmo restaurant — an 800-seat, 22,000-square-foot venue billed as the largest eatery in the country — they were charged a $5 fee for simply having their children with them. While the restaurant has since apologized, saying the charges were only meant for children who ate at the buffet, the "baby tax" has set off a larger debate. Should parents have to pay extra to bring a tiny tot to the table, or should they be "outraged" by the very suggestion?

A baby tax is totally unacceptable: "It's hard enough taking children out in public, but if I choose to do so, I should be given the same treatment as anyone else at that restaurant," says Monica Bielanko at Babble. Parents shouldn't tolerate "the no kids allowed movement that seems to be spreading across the globe." Families shouldn't be split up or marginalized. "Unless my kids start to act out and I do nothing about it, leave me alone."
"Restaurant slammed for 'baby tax'"

Actually, it's understandable: Babies are messy, says Adriana Velez at The Stir. They cry. They require combersome strollers. Why shouldn't restaurants charge a bit extra? I always make it a habit of leaving an extra big tip when I bring my kids to dinner. Instead of thinking of this as an unjust tax, let's just think of it as a "mandatory baby gratuity" for the staff's trouble.
"Parents eating out with babies should be charged extra"

Let's find a middle ground: "I just wish everyone would use better judgement," says Amy Graff in the San Francisco Chronicle. Parents "with a quiet six-week-old baby shouldn't be hassled" or charged extra if all their baby does is sleep and eat breast milk in an already noisy restaurant. But on the flip side, "parents shouldn't be taking toddlers to bars and trying to turn taverns into Romper Rooms." Parents and restaurants alike just need to use common sense and be respectful of each other, and other patrons.
"Moms outraged by British restaurant's 'baby tax'"

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