Jon Dawson: Adults are the real children in restaurants

Photo by Helena Lopes on

We’ve all heard and repeated the numerous cliches about children behaving badly in restaurants. In one of my books (available at, I recount a 100 percent true story of a little boy bouncing off the door of an airplane in the middle of meal service during a flight. It’s a great story that I’d love to recount but I don’t get paid the same for reruns, so just buy the book (available at and read it during your next staff meeting.

During my ever-mounting number of trips around the sun, I’ve come to the conclusion that children currently behave better in restaurants than adults. Kids may throw the occasional tantrum or McNugget, but their emotional wiring is still in progress. By the time that child reaches the age of 35, however, a combination of found knowledge and parental instruction should have produced an adult who knows not to talk with a quart of macaroni and cheese in his or her mouth. 

Avoid the box store blues with a visit to Blizzard Building Supply, located at 405 Walson Avenue, Kinston.

I am not the first to bring this up, but since the problem has reached epidemic proportions I feel I must do what I can to help stem the tide: Adults of earth, please stop yelling into your phones while in a dining establishment. None of these restaurant calls are ever important. It’s not like you’re James Bond and Q is phoning in from headquarters with the codes to deactivate a Kardashian.

Some say self-awareness is a bad thing, but if you can’t tell the volume of your voice is drowning out bombing tests on a nearby military base, a little mirror time may be in order.

Mother’s Day will be here soon. Be sure to stop by Bannister’s Fine Gifts, located at 106 West Railroad Street in La Grange.

If you’ll be dining at a restaurant that requires you to place your order at the register, a little homework could go a long way. Research the place by getting on the interweb and checking the menu. Even though most of you reading this have been eating for a few decades by this point and should have a rough idea of which foods you like, some of you — and you know who you are — take longer to decide what you want than it takes to grow the ingredients, prepare the food and ingest it. I once saw a guy take so long to order a turkey sandwich that the turkey’s kid had time to grow up and make it into the sandwich of the person sitting next to him. 

Sometimes a lunch outing is a spur-of-the-moment thing that may require you to examine the menu while standing at the register. This is fine as long as you step to the side and let the customers who know what they want go ahead and order. Standing at a register and spending upwards of five minutes perusing a menu is a violation of Emily Post’s rules of etiquette, Tolstoy’s Rules of Life, Mr. T’s Rules For Fools and The Geneva Conventions.

Everyone likes good service, but there is no clause in the social contract between customer and waiter/waitress that alludes to indentured servitude. The job of the waitstaff is to correctly take your order, deliver it to you in a timely manner and check in periodically to top off your Fresca. That’s it. If you or your offspring spill 7 pounds of food on the floor, common decency dictates you should make some sort of effort to clean it up — and if your waitperson jumps in to help, remember it when you tip. If a busboy is dispatched to mop up your mess, at least thank the kid while conjuring some sort of remorseful look.

The Bryan Hanks Show airs on 960-AM in Kinston, and daily at 7 a.m. & 3 p.m. It also airs on the suite of stations in New Bern and Greenville (107.5-FM) at 6 p.m.

If your table is a tad wobbly, cram a few packs of Sweet & Low under the uneven table leg and get on with your life. Our grandparents made it through the Great Depression, so even the most delicate and entitled among us should be able to handle a wobbly table without calling in the National Guard. 

When finished with the meal, instead of leaving your table looking like a crime scene, how about compiling the refuse into one pile and stacking the plates? This will make cleanup time for the waitstaff go faster, thus allowing the next customers to be seated quicker, which will make them happy. It’s a nice thing to do for another human being and it won’t cost you a penny. 

As a species, if we could reduce the wait time at restaurants by even one minute, that would bring down global aggravation by 2/10 of a percent — which, for 7 billion people, is quite an impressive number.

There’s nothing any of us can do about death, taxes, or James Corden, but simple kindness is the social WD-40 we need now more than ever. Whether you’re spending big bucks or going wherever your coupons dictate, act like you’ve got some sense.

Jon Dawson’s books are available at

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One thought on “Jon Dawson: Adults are the real children in restaurants

  1. Preach Jon Dawson! I’ve seen more old ‘fellers holler that their Bojangles bis-kitts, “Ain’t done enough” than I can shake a stick at.


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