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by Abigail Van Buren

Loud Kids, Sarcastic Parents Are Recipe for Miserable Meal

DEAR ABBY: Last night, my husband and I had dinner at the only "good" restaurant in our small town. Seated at the table behind us was a couple with three small children. During our entire meal, those children screamed and carried on -- while their parents did nothing. The disruption was so incessant that another couple walked out without finishing their dinner.

The manager offered to seat us elsewhere, but the children's high-pitched voices could be heard throughout the place. I repeatedly looked over at the parents, and the man shot me a sarcastic remark implying that if I was annoyed, it was "my problem."

If you were the manager of the restaurant, what would you have done? -- ANNOYED IN THE SUNSHINE STATE

DEAR ANNOYED: Had I been the manager, I would have approached the parents and said it was time for one of them to take the youngsters outside for a "time-out" until they were ready to behave themselves in the restaurant. I would rather risk losing one couple's business than that of a room full of patrons.