August 11, 2011
Recently, I had to use a Groupon (or one of those types of offers) for a facial. I booked 6 weeks in advance, or even more. I was excited. I hadn't had a treat like this in a long, long time. The morning of the facial, my sitter for the day cancelled, and I was home with my 7-year old daughter all day. Rather than forfeit or reschedule, I decided to bring her along. I told her our plan for the day, which included chores, lunch, the facial, some errands, and free swim. She was excited. She packed her bag for the day, which included a book and some water and a small snack for her to have during the 60-minute facial. I know my girl. She would be cooperative.
I suppose I didn't give it too much thought. I suppose I could have. It was a one-person operation, I figured. We would disturb only ourselves. I have actually had to bring a child with me before to a bodywork appointment and it was fine. I was extremely put off by the response I received when the aesthetician opened the door.
She took one look at me, then looked long and hard at my daughter. The look on her face was baffled, confused, and irritated. She said, "OH", with a tone that I heard to mean "What the heck is *this*?" and "I don't do kids here." I explained, "My sitter backed out at the last minute and this is all I could do." She said, "OH." a few more times, with the same tone, exaggerated and really annoyed. I tried to put the tone aside and so I could enjoy the 60 minutes I had been looking forward to for weeks.
My daughter was silent for those 60 minutes. I forgot she was there. She was reading and having some water and playing pretend games in her head.
Even if it was not explicit that kids were not allowed, it felt like the business operator's response indicated kids shouldn't be there. I've been into some stores before that literally seem to flinch when I walk in with my kid(s). Sometimes, I'm made to feel like the kids are a disease. When it comes to airline travel, kids are an annoyance to other travelers and there is the constant proposal that there be kid-free sections of the plane. Restaurants and supermarkets (like a Whole Foods location in Missouri) are following the kid-free movement, outright banning children or implementing the ban during specific hours. (Ever take the kids to Happy Hour? Always!)
Are there places you wouldn't bring your children, even if kids are technically allowed? Are there circumstances under which you would support the kid-free movement? Do you think the kids should be allowed to come along wherever you are entitled to go?