Apparently, People Are Smacking Each Other Over Crying Children In Starbucks

Brooklyn Heights blog has an eyewitness account of the aftermath of one customer (allegedly) smacking another customer in the back of the head over a fussy child.

The smacking-aftermath witness says:

I was in the Montague St Starbucks at 10:20 am today, maybe 10:25. A man outside had a baby in an upright-type stroller and was speaking with a woman who seemed very concerned. It seems that his child was fussing in the stroller while the man ( who I will call “Dad”) was waiting for his drink. When the baby kept crying another man complained to Dad: when Dad did not leave and stayed to wait for his drink, the non-dad man slapped Dad on the back of the head.

Apparently they took the issue outside (where it was witnessed by the the person who tipped Brooklyn Heights blog) and the smackee was rational and did not smack back.

Personally, I was smacked by a child wielding a toilet brush like a weapon at IKEA the other day, but it’s hard to see how this sort of thing can go on between adult humans — particularly when the disagreement is over childish behavior. It’s entirely possible that the toilet brush toddler thought I would like to play St. George and the Dragon. Not sure what this guy’s excuse was.

How do you deal with parents who ignore fussy children? Should you do something?

Dad Slapped at Starbucks: Brooklyn Heights Justice or Just Plain Crazy? [Brooklyn Heights Blog via Starbucks Gossip]


Edit Your Comment

  1. floraposte says:

    You should totally hit them. It absolutely proves that you’re right and that you are utterly suited to be the arbiter of public behavior.

  2. lehrdude says:

    I guess it’s better than hitting the kid…

    • ospreyguy says:

      I’ve read about a couple of those… That’s a good way to get a broken everything… Touch my child in any way without permission, I break you. Bad. You bleed much. Kid then laughs at your bleeding face. Problem solved.

      In all seriousness though, parents are not oblivious to a child’s screems. If they seem to be ignoring it, there is probably a reason. Kids are like a puppy, they need some good training early on or you have a wild one later…

  3. pb5000 says:

    These types of things need to be addressed by the situation. On one end of the spectrum, kids will throw a temper tantrum to get what they want and sometimes parents have to ignore them to show they aren’t caving in to the stomping feet brat just because they are in public. I have young kids and I’ve had to carry one of them kicking and screaming out of a store from time to time, it get’s better but you have to teach them that that bad behavior will not be rewarded. The other end of the spectrum are the inattentive parents who’s child is screaming because they need something and parent is too busy talking or something.

    There are instances where kids will be kids and there are instances where a particular parent probably needs a smack in the back of the head.

    • Sanveann says:

      Ditto that. I know my 2 1/2-year-old will sometimes whine and cry because he wants something, and there’s usually nothing to do but tell him to knock it off (usually ineffective!), then ignore it and leave as quickly as possible. If I were at a coffeeshop and my toddler was throwing a fit, I would just finish getting my coffee and leave as quickly as possible. That’s if I were already in the process of paying or waiting for my drink … if I were just waiting in line, I would just leave.

      • thisistobehelpful says:

        Key words were “leave as quickly as possible.” You can ignore your kids just fine in their carseat on the way home.

    • varro says:

      Dilemma – how do you know if a parent is ignoring a tantrum vs. too lazy or cowardly to control children’s behavior in public?

      This is a big thing in Portland (aka “Brooklyn West”) – hipster and yuppie parents let their precious indigo spawn wreak havoc in public frequently.

  4. wjamny says:

    I guess we should be happy that we’re not reading another story about an adult assulting the child. I understand that the child may have been annoying, but can’t a person grab a cup of coffee and leave the premises without being assulted?

  5. Darrone says:

    It’s lose lose. You stand up and say something, you look like a jerk. You do nothing, you get a screaming baby.

    • FigNinja says:

      If the baby is fussing either the parent is trying to calm them and failing or they’re not doing anything. If it’s the former, you’re just putting more pressure on a parent who is already trying. If it’s the latter, do you really think anything you say will get that person to reevaluate their parenting methods? Most likely they will just focus on you and possibly make a scene which would just make a bad situation worse. Most people’s first instinct in the face of criticism is defensiveness, not introspection.

      • lordargent says:

        If it’s the latter, do you really think anything you say will get that person to reevaluate their parenting methods?

        Exactly, nothing you say,

        that’s why you smack em on the back of the head.

        A rolled up newspaper to the nose also works.

        /bad, bad parent

  6. dreamsneverend says:

    Well let’s see.. both parties have failed in some way here. The guy with the wailing kid should have carted him outside until a barista flagged them that their order was ready. The other guy shouldn’t have escalated the situation by hitting the guy, but he was doing what the majority of us would like to do at times.

    • davere says:

      It sounds like his wife was there anyway. One of them should have taken the kid outside while the other one waited for the drink. The parents should have never subjected people going to Starbucks, a place that doesn’t cater to infants, to a crying children. That’s what McDs is for, not Starbucks.

      Or so I think, you will never catch me at a Starbucks.

  7. blogger X says:

    What is St. George and the Dragon???

  8. Digitizer says:

    Interesting spy work by the blogger, but I personally think he should just mind his own or get a real job to stay busy between 9 and 5…

  9. Benny Gesserit says:

    Waiting for a drink in a Starbucks? Do nothing.

    What’s the absolute longest you’ve had to wait for a coffee? 5min. Crying children make my ears bleed but, good Zod I can put up with it until my drink’s ready.

    • BytheSea says:

      Agree. However, when I was doing my thesis in the public library and around 2pm, when they released the teenagers to come play tag in the stacks, I’d tell the librarian and she’d take care of it. Don’t take things on yourself when everything is equal, tell someone in charge who’s got a bit of authority.

    • ScarletsWalk says:

      Yeah, you’re right.

      Screaming kids are horrible, but people with kids shouldn’t be locked in their soundproof houses till all children are 5.

  10. Esquire99 says:

    The angry guy should have hit the father, hit the kid, taken the father’s coffee and walked out. That’s what we call win-win-win, where everybody wins.

  11. HogwartsProfessor says:

    As Judge Judy likes to say (and has to, repeatedly), “You don’t put your hands on people!!!!”

  12. ConsumerWolf says:

    People who are unwilling to control their children deserve to be punished, but maybe a smack is a bit much. I can completely understand though. Just because you chose to have a screaming, inconsiderate, uncontrollable child to be a part of your life doesn’t give you the right to impose that upon anyone else.

    • sleze69 says:

      We’re not talking about a kid on an airplane. This COULD have been a kid trying to use his crying to get what he wants. If that were the case, the father was effectively ignoring the child to teach him that he can’t just whine and always get his way – that’s why we have these Gen Y’rs that feel entitled to everything and can’t take criticism.

      • ConsumerWolf says:

        If the father wants to let the kid cry, the father should leave the coffee shop. He signed up for this crap when he had a kid. I didn’t.

        • ben says:

          I missed the part where you were in the coffee shop.

        • azntg says:

          Perhaps you shouldn’t step foot in a coffee shop to begin with. If you’re untolerant and unwilling to make any semblance of concessions, what makes you think others don’t want to return your sentiments back to you?

          Think about it.

    • shepd says:

      *maybe* a smack isn’t alright?

      Uhhh, it’s assault. Personally, my response would have been:

      “Excuse me, did you hit me on the head on purpose?”
      “No, I slapped you on the neck because you won’t shut up your baby!”
      “Barista, did you hear that?” (While dialling 911)

      You hit people outside of the ring and you can enjoy the night in a cell with others that like to hit people. It’s simply inexcusable behaviour for an adult, outside of self-defence (And, no, legally [and morally] you can’t use violence to fend off a crying child).

    • Schemer says:

      Deserved to be punished? Really? Because they can’t always control every emotion their child is feeling? Ah, it’s so easy to tell others how they should be parenting without actually being one themselves. I should know because I was the perfect mother before I had a baby.

  13. halothane says:

    You know, I do sympathize with parents– your kid is cranky, you just want to get your coffee and leave, it’s only 5 minutes of them bawling, whatever. But people do like go to coffee places to read/study/work on their laptops/converse, and a crying kid isn’t conducive to that. Lots of parents act like it’s a personal affront to them if someone asks them to quiet their kids– “oh, it’s just a couple minutes of crying, deal with it!”– Sure, it’s only 5 minutes of YOUR baby crying… then it’s 5 minutes of someone’s 8 year old whining for a cookie, then 10 minutes of a surly teenager blasting her headphones… you get the picture.

    Not saying that physical assault is justified in any case, but let’s admit it, we’ve all wanted to do it.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      Personally, I find Starbucks so freaking noisy I find it hard to believe you’d be able to hear a shrieking baby (let alone a fussing or whining one, which implies far less volume) over the incredibly loud sounds of the coffee-making machines and the SHOUTING OF THE OTHER PATRONS over the machines. I can’t freaking stand trying to work in a Starbucks.

      One of my roommates got a cappuccino machine when I was in law school and I about throttled her before the week was out. GAAAAAH.

      • yagisencho says:

        True, that. If I can’t hold a conversation at normal speaking volume, I don’t bother sitting down, let alone try to concentrate on reading or work.

        As for the crying baby, it’s annoying, which is why crying is effective. Take a deep breath, count to ten, get over it. Babies cry, birds fly, fish swim, etc.

      • halothane says:

        Maybe I’m just lucky, but the ones by me are reasonably quiet. A lot of people go there to read or write or have short business meetings (they’re freelancers.)

    • matt1978 says:

      So what do you do when people talk too loud? Stare at them SO HARD over your laptop until they understand that you’ll never be able to finish your livejournal post because they are enjoying themselves?

    • yevarechecha says:

      Maybe your coffee shops are different. But generally when I go out in public, I have no expectation of it being quiet. Human beings make noise. When there are many of them, they make more noise. People talk. People listen to loud music. Children cry. Cell phones go off. Cars honk and screech. If I want my world to be quiet, I sit by myself in my apartment.

      • halothane says:

        Like I said to a poster above, I’m not expecting it to be dead silent in there, but I should be able to have a conversation with someone without other noise (e.g. a screaming child) drowning us out.

    • senior chick says:

      You should live in Utah. You get this all of the time, but of course not Starbucks because Mormons don’t drink coffee. But they insist on taking their whole families, toddlers, babies and such to movies and restaurants so they can ruin your evening.

      I don’t think that the dad should have been smacked though, although I do wonder why he took the baby there in the first place! If you want your coffee, make it at home. It’s cheaper, and then if the baby cries, it’s only you who hears it.

      Now I just think when a kid is acting up, at least I don’t have to put up with it at home. And I didn’t drag my daughter everywhere I went either. When we did go somewhere, if she acted up out of the store she went, and depending on her age, she got a little talking to when she got home.

      People generally should not take cranky babies (who need sleep) and toddlers everywhere they go. I could go on and on but libraries are another hot spot. People go there to read and study, not to hear crying babies and toddlers running around.

    • BarbiCat says:

      If only there were some place where a person could go and read, study, work, or listen to music without being inconvenienced by others…

      Oh yes, there is.

      It’s called your own home.

      Get over yourself, please. Coffee shops are public places, as are libraries, grocery stores, and any other apparent bastions of silence. If you absolutely can not stand any sort of noise, stay home. The rest of us will be living our lives like normal people, and not having temper tantrums simply because we think people making noise are out to get us.

      • halothane says:

        Because I’m totally having a temper tantrum. Way to project there, buddy. I don’t mind background noise, in fact, I like it better than dead silence. But there is a difference between a bunch of people conversing around you and a screaming child. If you can’t see that, well, I don’t know what to tell you.

    • kaceetheconsumer says:

      So when my quiet knit group used to meet at a particular coffee shop and then one month a religious group started meeting there at the same time and were pretty loudly enthusiastic about their newfound faith – not in any illegal-noise-level way but REALLY annoying – could we hit them? Because I’m pretty sure based on the stuff they were talking about, they’d have to take it and not hit back.

      Or when I’ve been to other coffee shops and someone has a loud cellphone conversation?

      Or someone’s personal music device is so loud that I can hear it out of their earphones? What about when I find the music offensive, going on about bitches and hos and other misogyny?

      Or what if someone is swearing a lot and someone else is offended?

      Sorry, but no…when you go to a public place, you have to deal with noises and sounds that maybe aren’t your favourite things to hear. If you want to control who gets to make what noise, go somewhere private that you own.

  14. TabrisLee says:

    It’s hard to know what to say to the parents of fussy children. There are times they fuss just to make noise, and after meeting all their needs, sometimes they still cry. I can’t say “Dad” is in the wrong; I’d do the same thing. Granted, a fussy crying child is annoying and we’re hard-wired to do something about it, but most parents can’t wave a magic wand to keep the kid quiet. Ignoring a fussy kid for two minutes doesn’t constitute crying child abuse and going straight for a smack on the back of the head. Dude obviously needs to learn to tune some things out.

  15. ovalseven says:

    Off topic, sorry. Does anyone know how to access the stories from December 5th – 7th? If I click “2” or “Next” at the bottom of the main page, it skips 3 days.

    • katstermonster says:

      It was a known bug with the old design, it may have carried over to the new. Stuff gets lost between page 1 and page 2, I dunno what the solution is, though, unfortunately.

  16. Ilovegnomes says:

    Should you do something if a kid is doing something that you don’t like? Yeah, move away from the kid!

    Whether you agree with this guy’s parenting method or not, it is not a confined space and he’s entitled to the product that he paid for. Plus, even if I order something crazy like a Frap-a-lap-a-ding-dong (or whatever they are serving at Staryucks these days) and people ordered ahead of me, the wait is generally about 2-3 minutes… at the most. I’m not sure about other locations but the ones near me, the employees must drink the coffee because they are moving like a movie, set to fast forward. If someone loses their cool over a minute of a kid fussing, they’ve got bigger problems than just that kids and that kid was probably was the last straw that set them off. Is slapping other, random people in public okay? Nope.

    • ConsumerWolf says:

      You’re right, it’s not a confined space and the person making the disturbance should leave.

      • Ilovegnomes says:

        I feel the same exact way about adults who stand in line behind me yelling into their cell phones (especially un-caffeinated business executives)! Does that mean that they are going to wait outside because they are causing a disturbance? Nope! I get my coffee to go and just deal with it… like people should.

  17. Red Cat Linux says:

    Sometimes fussy children need to be ignored. I don’t get what the smacker was on about, except that it’s hard to tell the difference sometimes between Starbucks and a bookstore reading room. Actually, some bookstores have the Starbucks built right into the reading room.

    Anywho, the point is, unless the kid was being something other than a noise nuisance, (strapped into the stroller like that how could he be?) the smacker was out of line.

    Now actively misbehaving children being freaks while their parents pretend they don’t see them tossing food at other patrons or running folks over with shopping carts, or other mischief those I direct a suggestion to the parent, or if they refuse take the coward’s out: I request management to correct the situation.

    These days people rarely take it well when you suggest that their misbehaving child perhaps should not be allowed to continue what they are doing.

    • ConsumerWolf says:

      If people can train dogs, why can’t parents control their kids? Why do parents think that ignoring bad behavior is the solution? If your kid can’t behave in public, leave the freaking coffee shop and let the rest of us have our peace.

      • ben says:

        Because people aren’t dogs? And you might be able to train a dog, but a dog still has a mind of its own. You can train one, but unless it’s a robot dog, you can’t control it.

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        Well, if you’re trying to train the child a la training a dog, ignoring bad behavior IS the solution!

        • Sanveann says:

          Precisely! When my dog was a puppy, we trained him not to whine by ignoring it. We do the same with our kids now :)

      • rondalescott says:

        What do you think is the solution?

        • ConsumerWolf says:

          For the dad to take his kid and leave the coffee shop. Simple enough, right? But that would mean that he would have to acknowledge that the world does not revolve around him and his child. So I’m sure he never thought of that option.

          • BarbiCat says:

            So, does he get his money back? Does he get to take his coffee, that he was waiting for? Or do you think he should just be forced out on to the street without either?

            iIt seems literally impossible to move a fussy child, fast enough, for the comfort of random strangers. You know what else is a solution? The person upset over the child’s fussing could have left.

          • ScarletsWalk says:

            But the world apparently revolves around you. Because god forbid a child make noise in an already loud public place for 5 minutes. Children need to be tranq’d or left at home, lest you be disturbed with your biscotti and espresso.

            Maybe if YOU can’t stand to hear the occasional child act up, maybe YOU should stay home instead of making everyone else accommodate you.

  18. MikeB says:

    Fussy /= Crying.

    From the blog
    [quote]I have seen frequent out-of-control behavior there, but this child was not crying, just looking cranky, when I saw him and he was in the stroller.[/quote]

  19. katstermonster says:

    He obviously should have smacked the child instead.


  20. tbiscuit360 says:

    Hence why you don’t want to be in the same Starbucks as Leroy Jethro Gibbs when he is out of coffee

    • ArcanaJ says:

      Naw, Gibbs would have quietly talked to the baby and convinced it to stop crying… THEN smacked the dad on the back of the head.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        One look is all it takes. Gibbs and Jack Bauer could run a parental training course. Parents would be too terrified not to comply when those letters get sent out, inviting them to a free class.

  21. diasdiem says:

    I’m sorry, noisy child or not, but if some guy smacked me in the back of the head, he’d very likely get punched right between the eyes.

  22. MaytagRepairman says:

    I think I once found myself in line while the person in front of me had a crying baby on their shoulder looking back at me. In a moment of whacky ingenuity I vaguely remember crying back at the kid. It freaked out, stopped crying, and just stared at me. Wouldn’t have worked in this case because the kid was in a stroller.

    • webweazel says:

      In this case, it probably would have worked. Distraction sometimes helps them to forget why they’re cranky.
      When my son was a baby, he would fuss rarely, mostly when naptime was close, but if I was in a store busy at the checkout or something, and he started to get cranky, someone nearby would talk to him, or a young child also in line would come over and talk to him or show him a toy. That usually quieted him down. And I always appreciated the help.
      But any of that would require a bit of compassion, helping out a fellow man, rather than being a jackass, and smacking someone.

  23. rondalescott says:

    I wish I could say I enjoyed the discomfiture experienced by other people back when I had kids that young and they acted up, as kids will, in public. In my mind, there’s this confident, widely grinning father, looking around defiantly as hipsters with soul patches and $7 grande Pumpkin Spice lattes glare and frown and text their friends indignantly.

    However, the reality is that I was always mortified when my kids were fussy and rushed them away so that nobody was bothered. In retrospect this seems rather limp-wristed and pathetic. Then again nobody ever had to smack me in the back of the head to teach me a lesson.

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      A friend of mine is always quick to stop her kids from behaving in a way that is disrupting to others. This is why she gets free childcare from me whenever she wants or needs it — the kids know how to act in public. I tell her it’s her reward for helping create well-behaved kids that will turn into well-behaved adults.

      • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

        We’ve got five of the little buggers, and they know damn well not to act out in public. If they start up, it’s out to the car with Dad…and outside, there are no witnesses (cameras notwithstanding). We’ve tried hard to teach them to be considerate of others while in public but unfortunately, we sometimes see adults acting worse than the kids would ever dream of. /sigh

  24. Kid Awesome says:

    How do you deal with people who assult you over a crying kid rather than politely ask them to address said child first?

    Kids cry people, and while the parents should do what they can to stop that, slapping a mom/dad because of it is completely wrong and childish in itself.

    • tonberry says:

      hello police? yes i was just assaulted at Starbucks. yes the person is still here, yes i would like to press charges.
      this is how you handle a person who thinks they have the right to hit you.

      i cannot stand screaming children, but i would never hit the child or parent. i simply walk away from them if possible. if the child is being that disturbing, i might ask the parent if there is anything they could do.

  25. H3ion says:

    You can get a lot further with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone. The guy should have shot the kid, shot the father, and taken the stroller to sell on E-bay. After all, this was Brooklyn Heights.

    • MaytagRepairman says:

      If you don’t have a gun and are willing to go for broke you can always mutter something out loud such as “Glad I stopped paying my child support. Serves her right for filing those charges against me that turned me into a registered sex offender.”

    • azntg says:

      It’s Brooklyn Heights, not Crown Heights. Two different neighborhoods there.

  26. bitmover says:

    In this case, if I was sufficiently annoyed, I’d just get out of line and get a coffee elsewhere. (Possibly at the theoretical Starbucks just down the street.) No slapping, no being a jerk, no cops, and hopefully no more screeching kids.

  27. mk says:

    There seem to be a lot of people who feel children should be “seen and not heard” I am sure they also think that people should show common courtesy when they bump into you. They think people should not play their music on their headphones too loud or have noisy cell phone conversations. They think drivers should actually “stop” at stop signs instead of rolling through and actually let pedestrians through the cross walk before beginning to move. They think drivers should respect bicycles as a legitimate mode of transportation and give them the same respect and right of way as you would any other car.

    I am sure that all those people who think children should be “seen and not heard” were either (a) perfect children or (b) born as upstanding citizens as adults. They are always polite, never late, know how to share, hold the doors for other people, give up seats on the bus to those in need, never say a unkind word about anyone and generally are people we should all strive to be. Those perfect people who would never in a million years even begin to think about imposing for one second on another person, even if they have every right and even if it means actually means basically not existing as a person to do so.

    If they weren’t these perfect people then clearly they wouldn’t feel entitled to a world filled with such perfect people as them.

    • jesusofcool says:

      Great comment!
      I knew there’d be one child-hating crankpot commenting on this article (here’s looking at you ConsumerWolf) and you’ve addressed their idiocy perfectly.
      Nobody was born a perfect child. Frankly, if this man tried to quiet his child and it didn’t work, he shouldn’t have to forfeit the money he has already paid for his coffee, even if its taking the barista a bit to make it, to bring the kid outside so that no one has to witness it be a typical irrational *gasp* child.

      • bdgbill says:

        I would describe us as “Lazy parent hating” rather than “child hating”.

        When my brother and I acted up in restaurants or other public places we were promptly dragged outside by the hair by my mom and made to understand that our behavior was unacceptable. Once, she pulled us out of an amusement park about 15 minutes after we got there and took us straight home. This only had to happen a few times for us to get the idea.

        My parents were by no means perfect but they were equipped with an emotion that has since gone out of style. It’s called shame.

        • jesusofcool says:

          I’m not defending the lazy parents because I’ve seen them before, but at the same time, I’ll give you an example from my childhood too. Around age 5-6, right after my younger brother was born, I was apparently a terror. I was upset by this “thing” stealing all the attention from me and I’d occasionally do things, as children will to get attention. And with some kids, attention is attention, whether it’s positive attention or negative attention. So sometimes the best thing to do, depending on the child, isn’t to drag the kid out of the store, it’s the let them bitch for five minutes, realize they’re being ignored, and shut up. I can remember my mother doing that to me on occasion and it was always worse than being dragged away – I wasn’t getting what I wanted. In retrospect, she’s always told me how mortifying it was, but because she ignored me rather than rewarding me, I fell out of that habit fairly quickly.
          Ignoring a freaking out child can be a way to train them that freaking out gets them no rewards. Its exactly the “treat them like a dog” training that ConsumerWolf is advocating.

  28. 2 replies says:

    Just like crime, don’t go vigilante, respect the chain of command.

    If the kid is physically attacking you, that’s one thing, but just being disruptive to others? complain to management.
    Management is responsible for providing you with reasonable service (which in many places includes hospitable atmosphere), so it’s management’s responsibility (not yours) to quiet down rowdy/disruptive customers.

  29. RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

    I would have grabbed the child by the ankles and dashed it’s brains out against the flagstones, yet at the same time I would have struck the hand that smacked me from the wrist of my assailant, had I been the one hit in the back of the head. I take my own personal space very seriously, while having no concern for that of others.

  30. seaanemoneman says:

    Not an eyewitness account. Dude says the slapper was gone by the time he got there.

  31. malarkey21 says:

    Walking on the streets of Paris with my 4 year old son after a rainy day, he was stomping on some puddles. I wasn’t paying attention as a man in a nice business suit talking on his cell phone came near. My son jumped, and perfectly splashed the man’s pants. We both stopped and looked at his pants, I started to apologize, but he just looked at my son (already onto the next puddle), shrugged and smiled, and continued with his call and on his way.
    And they say the French are rude.

    • Alter_ego says:

      No fair! When I was in Paris, a French man yelled at me because my flip flops were flip flopping too loudly. Why did I get the stereotypical Frenchman?

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Honestly, though – flip flops are beachwear, and that’s it. Terrible. I hate flip flops when they flop loudly.

        • Alter_ego says:

          Wow, we can pretty much never hang out then. I wear flip flips until there’s enough snow on the ground that it would get my feet wet. If I could I’d go barefoot, but flip flops are my closest alternative. I hate having my feet constricted.

  32. bdgbill says:

    Oh man, if the smacker has setup a legal defense fund, I will be the first donor. I don’t generally condone hitting people but that doesn’t mean I have not dreamed about doing it myself.

    Remember when Starbucks was a quiet oasis in the Urban Jungle? When it was worth paying five bucks for a coffee to have nice quiet place to read? First the homeless took over the restrooms then the soccer moms discovered the billion calorie blended drinks.

    • BarbiCat says:

      I don’t know where you live, but here, Starbucks has NEVER been quiet. Then again, they only started popping up in the last six years, but even so – it’s always been filled with loud customers. And those are the adults, not the children.

  33. SaraFimm says:

    I was in the public library yesterday when I heard a toddler size child crying. There were two adult males and several toddler size children I could see. Maybe a woman, too, if she was kneeling. I wasn’t sure. I heard a smack and then the child cried even harder. The librarian and I looked at each other and then back at the child (who had a male adult next to him) and she asked, “Did he just hit him?” I shrugged since I hadn’t actually seen the action and wasn’t sure of the Parent to Child situation. Suddenly, a man wheeled a large stroller with a toddler size child crying out of the Library. Was he chastised by anyone? I never found out, but that same man and another where outside the library smoking and the child was asleep in his stroller when I left. As a mother, I would put it down to a frustrated Father and a fussy and over stimulated child who needed a time out and/or nap. Women usually realize that hitting a child in certain situations never works. This was one of them.

  34. Pencreus says:

    Stone Cold Stunner: Done

  35. Gorbachev says:

    How do you deal with non-parents who go about assaulting others over a child crying? Should you do something?

  36. checkcard2009 says:

    @consumer wolf

    Ask your parents what kind of kid you were. I bet you were a little whining s*@t ball. Yeah, you didn’t sign up for kids, but it is in public. If you don’t like kids, then stay home and make yourself a cup of coffee. Oh yeah, tell your mom I said hello and I will see her on Friday.

  37. cordeliapotter1 says:

    I’d rather be smacked in the face than have cigarette smoke blown into my face. But I can only press charges against the former and not the later. And sometimes I think I’d rather a physical assault than an aural one…depending on how long the noise lasts and how confined the space is. But clearly I’m in the minority, otherwise it would be a crime to assault someone olfactory or aurally and not just physically.

  38. lucasbeth says:

    I you want silence that badly, visit the public library. Some of them even have — gasp! — coffee shops in them!

  39. RandomHookup says:

    Buy the kid a coffee and leave. Caffeine is great for misbehaving kids.

  40. john says:

    Obviously the assaulted father should have turned and planted a foot right in the assaulter’s family jewels, thereby preventing an idiot like that from reproducing. I give kudos to the father for keeping his calm.

  41. JamieSueAustin says:

    Why do people always assume taking the crying child outside is a good idea? Sometimes kids fuss because they are bored and they WANT to leave. Rewarding that is just as bad as doing nothing.

    I know most people here were perfectly behaved little snowflakes when they were children, but real human beings start off as fussy babies, grow to fussy toddlers, and transition from rambunctious grade schoolers to douche bag teenagers before becoming perfect non-child having adults. There’s almost always more going on behind a parent’s choice to discipline or not discipline than your holy eyes perceive. Don’t think so? Go have a kid or two and come back and tell me if I’m wrong. Besides, if all these “seen and not heard” children are never brought into public they don’t learn how to act in public… and acting poorly in public is just what this Daddy whacking asshat did.

    So instead of declaring your almightiness for not cursing the world with another living breathing human being try to consider this: if we all stopped having those fussy babies Starbucks would be quiet and flights would be dreamy…but there’d be no one left to wipe your ass once you get to the old folks home. The parent you scowl at today might be raising the compassionate creature that serves you pudding through a straw years from now.

  42. morganlh85 says:

    I’m usually rather passive aggressive and will remark, blatantly quite loudly, “What’s with the loud ass baby?!?” I do the same when people are blocking aisles at the supermarket – “…Standing all up IN THE MIDDLE OF THE AISLE BLOCKING EVERYONE’S WAY…” I do that a lot, it’s gonna get me in trouble one of these days.

  43. Lowcifur says:

    I read the blog entry and I’m a little confused. At first, it sounds like the “eyewitness” (who didn’t see the actual event, so I guess that moniker is used loosely) is saying that the child was crying and the Dad was ignoring it instead of seeing why it was crying. At his point, it seems like the Non-Dad was just trying to get Dad to see what was wrong with the child. The “eyewitness” even says that a woman was concerned for the child.

    Then, the “eyewitness” says the kid wasn’t crying, just “looking cranky”. I’m also a little unclear on how far the stroller was from the Dad while he was waiting at the counter. If he left the stroller unattended at a table while he waited at front of the store, then he’s an idiot. If he left the stroller unattended *and* ignored a stranger recommending he pay attention to his child, then he’s a negligent idiot.

    I don’t have children, and I don’t like calling someone a bad parent, but I’m not talking about this from the silly noise pollution standpoint: I’m saying that if you’re a parent with a small child in a stroller, you should probably keep the stroller close at hand. If your child is crying and you aren’t paying it any attention even when *strangers* are worried, you *are* being a bad parent.

    He was waiting for a damn drink, there is absolutely no reason he couldn’t be waiting *with* the stroller. When his drink is ready, he can go to pick it up and be on his way. None of this excuses one adult striking another, but I get the impression that half the story is being completely glossed over in the article.

  44. menty666 says:

    If I were to guess, I’d say the parent was probably as annoyed, but what are you supposed to do? The kid’s going to cry regardless of what you do, so are you supposed to just abandon the cup of coffee you paid 5.00 for? No, you wait it out and then get yourself, the screaming demon, and the coffee out of the store.

    I know when my kids are acting up I’d love to reach for a glass of wine, but that’s not exactly healthy or always practical, so I get a cup of coffee.

  45. jayde_drag0n says:

    I don’t agree with hitting other adults over a fussy child.. nor hitting the child for it. But really, if i WANTED screaming children I would have them.. when you are out in public keep your kids quiet if its not a designated play area. If you are in a coffee shop, or grocery store et cetera.. and your child starts screaming, throwing a tantrum,, or being a very vocal hungry baby.. leave. Either leave your kids in the car when its not hot or too cold, or don’t go shopping until you can leave them at home.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Pretty sure it’s a bad idea to leave your kid in the car, regardless of how perfectly fine the temperature is outside.

      • jayde_drag0n says:

        Istayed in the car many times as a kid because I didn’t want to go in.. i just listened to the radio.. or did my puzzles and games.. I’m fine

  46. locakitty says:

    I’ve been known to make a comment like, “Sounds like someone needs a nap.” or “My sentiments exactly.” Sometimes, it reminds the parent that they aren’t in the car or at home and maybe should see to getting the kid some attention. I only do it though if I notice the parent is playing the “let’s ignore them” game. Sorry, that doesn’t fly in my book. I may not have children, but I’ve helped raise quite a few of them, they tend to behave around me. If not, out we go, no more funtimes in the public arena.

  47. winstonthorne says:

    Yet another argument for a vasectomy.

  48. SteveinOhio says:

    Man, that’s crazy. I don’t have kids, but if somebody smacks me in the back of the head unprovoked, it’s probably on like Donkey Kong. Not sure how I’d weigh the competing desires to be a good dad and not get in a fight vs. kicking the backside of the guy who thought it was ok to hit me.

  49. mrmcd says:

    As a Brooklyn Heights resident, I find this, and the inevitable BHB commenter bickering, very amusing.

  50. The Commenter Formerly Known as StartingAces says:

    Fussing != crying. Ignoring a tantrum != bad parenting.

    Then again, when I see a parent giving in to a tantrum, I want to hit them.

  51. PsiCop says:

    I am, as it turns out, one of those horrible, cruel, vicious, evil, anti-kid, “children should be seen and not heard” people. But that said, I would NEVER hit someone over their kneebiter’s caterwauling.

    As for children hitting me or running into me in public, I say something to the parents. “Did you know your child just [hit me/ran into me]?” Usually I get an apology; rarely, the parents tell the child to say s/he’s sorry; a few times I’ve just gotten excuses for why the child acted up, as though the excuse somehow justified the hit/collision. (Those parents, I’d argue, are the truly “evil” people … they refuse to discipline their children, and that’s to their detriment, since they will never be able to control themselves.)

  52. grapedog says:

    You know what bothers me more than a crying baby? A crying adult…of which there are plenty of in this thread.

    I’m sorry, you DO NOT have the right to impose upon me, your cranky misbehaving child. I don’t care what I was like as a child, that has absolutely no bearing on what someone else is doing with their children in public.

    I DO NOT CARE…keep your untrained child in your own home if you can’t raise him properly.

  53. axiomatic says:

    As the “smackee” I would have accidentally spilled my HOT COFFEE on the “smacker” in retaliation.

  54. Naame says:

    “How do you deal with parents who ignore fussy children? Should you do something?”

    Simple. Offer to help. Whether or not they refuse your help it will indirectly inform the parents that their fussy child is drawing unwanted attention. Most of the time, the parents will act after that.

  55. rwalford79 says:

    I hate kids..period.

    I think parents with screaming children need to make sacrifices. That means, you DONT get to go to Starbucks and wait while your child is screaming. No you DONT get to go to a mall store and try to “reason” with your screaming child. No you DONT get to go to a movie theater and let everyone see your insubordinant child stand up and down on the seat in the front and block peoples views…

    Sorry parents, but when you have a child, you sacrifice some of your life which you take for granted, and is “routine”. Thats the price you pay if you want to pro-create and bring a life into the world.

    So do I think some guy should have hit another guy for it? No. I think telling him was good enough. What pisses me off is how complacent most people are. They all are thinking the same thing, just no one wants to confront and say something, so people just get away with screaming brats running around destroying other peoples peace and quiet.

  56. AdviceDog says:

    Apparently, you forget the fact that children are unrepentant sociopaths.

    Source (

  57. idontknow82 says:

    Yeah, the screaming children in walmart is popular. They scream at the top of the lungs. If they want something to cry and scream about maybe the kid and the parent need to be smacked.