Bad Parenting Surcharge

Written by on November 5, 2023

Bad Parenting Surcharge – Story by Liam Sweeny.

The Toccoa Riverside Restaurant in Georgia. Good food, good atmosphere… I don’t know, I’ve never been there. But it’s a restaurant in a rural area of Georgia, apparently, and is becoming very well known for a certain surcharge that may appear on some peoples’ bills – the ‘bad parenting’ surcharge.

So I get this. And I get the heat coming off of parents who don’t get this. If you have been in enough restaurants, you’ve run into bad parents – actually, just inattentive parents. The kids are running around, screaming their heads off, and you’re just trying to eat your salmon. Or maybe you’re there with your special someone and a marriage proposal is in the air. Can you imagine proposing, or getting proposed to, this thing that’s going to be a cherished memory, and right as the ring comes out, a toddler comes crashing into your table, again, screaming?

I also see this from the parents’ perspective. Even the best behaved kids are going to be wild once in a while. You can’t control a baby’s crying, and who the hell is going to tell someone they’re getting a $50 surcharge for being a bad parent when it’s the only time in three months you could go out to eat, and your babysitter has a second job now and you have to bring the kids?

Some people are saying the restaurant should just have a “No kids” policy, and that’s where I would land. Is it absolutely fair to the parents of well-behaved children that they can’t go there? No, not really. But the restaurant can set whatever policy they want. But charging people for being a bad parent is just begging for those parents to react worse than their kids. So you take an honest to God bad, inattentive parent and accuse them of being what they are? It hurts the most when the shoe fits, and I’m not sure if the $50 surcharge is worth the indignant hassle the restaurant’s going to get.

Oddly, the restaurant has mostly good ratings on Google.


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