Brian Holden: Shame if parents don't show consideration

By Brian Holden

Crying babies - don't you just love 'em. But whether we are parents, grandparents or just the couple sitting on a train or bus, we find ourselves gritting our teeth when silence is broken from directly across the aisle.

How much though should we be expected to tolerate when the same thing happens in a cafe or restaurant?

There's quite a furore right now following a baby-crying incident at a Mt Maunganui cafe recently.

What started off as a typical case of a baby kicking up bobsy-die, ended up with mum spitting the dummy when she objected to management asking her to take her 4-month-old son outside. Oh dear.

Management claim they were responding to complaints from other customers, and feedback certainly shows that the 90 per cent of the public is on their side.

Basically most believed it was the parents' responsibility to remove their screaming child out of courtesy to other patrons.

For me, when I go to a cafe, it is to spend a quiet 20 minutes, before heading out into the world again.

That is why I go there and after having paid my $7.50 for a cappuccino and a muffin, it is not unreasonable to expect to enjoy them in relaxing atmosphere.

Of course, it doesn't always turn out that way with deafening coffee machines crackling away, grinding more beans for customers as they queue up.

And of course there's the banging of the portafilters that baristas do to remove the old grinds.

That's the way it is in coffee land. However crying babies and scratchy kids are a different story as they can be readily whisked out of the cafe if the problem gets too far out of hand.

Trying to negotiate, tolerate or endure the stress of such dramas in a cafe during one's visit, surely negates the reason for going there in the first place.

I feel for parents who find themselves in a situation where their babies or kids turn into little monsters in public places, the supermarket meltdown syndrome, but when they do nothing about it, my sympathy rapidly disappears.

It all comes down to consideration for others, whether it's cafes, restaurants or churches.

Parents do have to take stock of the effect that the disruption on those around them and then jolly well do something about it.


So now let's deal with cats. Darned good pets, cats - they don't ask for much. For Gareth Morgan to suggest that they should be exterminated to preserve our birdlife is overkill.

Granted when it comes to birds, cats show no mercy, but the former get a pretty good deal when you consider that whole islands are put aside for them.

And okay, our own cats do bring in a few dismembered birds, but also numerous deceased rats and mice, which the world can do without.

Dr Morgan's Cats to Go proposal is totally unrealistic and he is really out of his tree in expecting cat lovers to adopt a no replacement policy as their pets grow old and eventually die.

Clearly the man has no heart.

Now we're getting the "that's not what I really said" response, now that Dr Morgan has bricked himself into a corner with an overwhelming number of protesters venting their anger.

For cat lovers throughout the nation he has touched a very sensitive spot and they are not happy.

Despite being a cat lover, I am not in the least bit worried. My bet is that in 10 years' time, despite all the Gareth Morgans in the world, there'll be just as many of our furry friends as ever.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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