Author Topic: Alton Brown's manifesto to fans  (Read 19507 times)

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Amaya

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Re: Alton Brown's manifesto to fans
« Reply #60 on: September 24, 2011, 02:33:21 PM »
(Full disclosure: I have very low tolerance for whining/screaming/tantruming children in public, especially if the parent doesn't take immediate steps to correct it, and *especially* if they and/or I am waiting in a long line.)

I'd be among the first to speak up if I felt there was any chance that groups with unruly kids were being "rewarded for bad behavior," but I really don't think that's what's happening here. Now the kids don't have to sit through what will feel to them like an endless, boring wait with no reward at the end (I highly doubt those of the tantruming age would wait eagerly in line for Alton Brown's autograph), and the people without kids can leave with their eardrums (and sanity) intact. Heck, if it meant I could chat with AB and get his autograph without shouting over miserable wails, I'd volunteer to be last in line -- and I'm not even a big fan of him!

Normally I'd agree with Wonderflonium that it's "unfair" to let groups with kids jump to the front of the line, but I think that, paradoxically, the opposite is true here. In order to avoid being unfair to everyone else who has the capacity to wait patiently, and to respect their right to minimal discomfort while waiting in line, AB is strategically letting the groups with kids go first -- and therefore, they'll finish and leave the line first.

And regarding the idea of "rewarding bad behavior": unfortunately, the offenders in this case won't magically "learn" that their behavior is obnoxious, or that the rule is meant to minimize their impact on those around them. And AB isn't in a position to "teach" them either. The best he can do in this scenario is minimize the damage, and that's what this rule does.

CuriousParty

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Re: Alton Brown's manifesto to fans
« Reply #61 on: September 24, 2011, 03:00:21 PM »
You know, I don't think this is "rewarding bad behavior."  In my mind, at least, that is what happens when, say, a child has a meltdown and then a parent (or celebrity) gives in.  Or someone waltzes in with unreasonable demands and expects to be catered to.

What Alton seems to be doing here is stating in advance what his preference is, so that everyone knows what the standard/expectation will be.  Furthermore, he asks (not demands) that his preference be respected, and acknowledges that it creates some inconvenience for others:

"I will often ask that families with small children be allowed to come to the front of the line so that they can get out and to bed at a decent hour. This means some of you will have to wait a little longer. Thank you in advance for your patience."

Then he promises the "reward" for the good behavior, if you will, of respecting his preference:

"What I promise in return for this consideration is to never sit at a signing (so my feet will hurt just as bad as yours) and to never leave until the last fan has been greeted and their goods duly signed. I never have and never will (unless I have a stroke or something) left fans in the lurch."

I think this is actually the height of good manners, the opposite of rude, and pretty good behavior management while we're at it.  I also think that it lets everyone know what the situation will be, so really they could plan.  If I were to attend an AB event without my small children (if I could go anywhere without my small children, which for a multitude of reasons, seems like a fantasy at the moment), I might plan to arrive a bit later (say 20 - 30 minutes), or to browse a bit longer before getting on line, knowing that I won't be first anyway.  I might get a coffee!  And drink it in its entirety! While it's HOT! (sorry, the fantasy took me away for a minute :) )

Fleur-de-Lis

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Re: Alton Brown's manifesto to fans
« Reply #62 on: September 24, 2011, 05:18:12 PM »
Why is going somewhere (as a general matter) without children so inconceivable? 

I cannot fathom that there are no longer any childcare options.

 And if one can afford a signed book, is lunch with a friend who doesn't care about the signing in exchange for the friend watching the child for an hour or so a complete non-option?
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CuriousParty

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Re: Alton Brown's manifesto to fans
« Reply #63 on: September 24, 2011, 06:03:11 PM »
Why is going somewhere (as a general matter) without children so inconceivable? 

I cannot fathom that there are no longer any childcare options.

 And if one can afford a signed book, is lunch with a friend who doesn't care about the signing in exchange for the friend watching the child for an hour or so a complete non-option?

Speaking only for myself, there are multiple reasons why obtaining childcare is an "easier said than done" proposition, though I don't wish to detail them here. 

Suffice to say that for many people it is quite challenging indeed, and since I find it difficult even with a fair amount of resources at my disposal, I would imagine that many people with fewer resources find it nearly impossible.  While I hope this is a temporary phase of my life that will change, I do find that I am more sympathetic to/flexible with parents who have children in public situations than I may have been previously, and I hope that I will retain that.

LibChick

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Re: Alton Brown's manifesto to fans
« Reply #64 on: September 24, 2011, 08:57:48 PM »
Why is going somewhere (as a general matter) without children so inconceivable? 

I cannot fathom that there are no longer any childcare options.

 And if one can afford a signed book, is lunch with a friend who doesn't care about the signing in exchange for the friend watching the child for an hour or so a complete non-option?

Speaking only for myself, there are multiple reasons why obtaining childcare is an "easier said than done" proposition, though I don't wish to detail them here. 

Suffice to say that for many people it is quite challenging indeed, and since I find it difficult even with a fair amount of resources at my disposal, I would imagine that many people with fewer resources find it nearly impossible.  While I hope this is a temporary phase of my life that will change, I do find that I am more sympathetic to/flexible with parents who have children in public situations than I may have been previously, and I hope that I will retain that.

I, too, used to be of the mind, "How hard is it to get a baby sitter" until my husband and I moved 1400 miles away from everyone we have ever known. Then I became that woman who has to bring her children everywhere; the dentist, the gynecologist, the store, etc. Thank goodness they are generally well behaved, but it really sucks not to know anyone well enough to babysit. Also, we are really picky about who we leave the kids with, so the majority of the time (unless family is visiting) we don't get any alone time at all.

That being said, we would probably skip something like a book signing if we thought it was inappropriate to bring kids.



Wonderflonium

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Re: Alton Brown's manifesto to fans
« Reply #65 on: September 24, 2011, 09:04:09 PM »
There are certain places where it's best not to bring children. If you can't get a sitter, don't go.
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penelope2017

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Re: Alton Brown's manifesto to fans
« Reply #66 on: September 24, 2011, 09:33:49 PM »
There are certain places where it's best not to bring children. If you can't get a sitter, don't go.

I don't see a book signing as one of them, though.

Wonderflonium

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Re: Alton Brown's manifesto to fans
« Reply #67 on: September 24, 2011, 09:46:31 PM »
A book signing at which you have to rely on the host to bring you to the front of the line so that your children can get to bed at a reasonable hour probably is one.

Also, if kids are being brought up to the front because they can't behave during the wait, they probably shouldn't be there either. Of course, every kid (and adult) can have a bad day, but for the most part, parents know if their children can tolerate certain things (like a long wait) and plan accordingly.
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CuriousParty

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Re: Alton Brown's manifesto to fans
« Reply #68 on: September 24, 2011, 10:14:53 PM »
As far as I can tell, they are being brought to the front because that is how the host feels he can best meet the needs of all guests, and that decision is his perogative.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2011, 10:21:06 PM by CuriousParty »

Twik

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Re: Alton Brown's manifesto to fans
« Reply #69 on: September 24, 2011, 10:18:16 PM »
A book signing at which you have to rely on the host to bring you to the front of the line so that your children can get to bed at a reasonable hour probably is one.

Also, if kids are being brought up to the front because they can't behave during the wait, they probably shouldn't be there either. Of course, every kid (and adult) can have a bad day, but for the most part, parents know if their children can tolerate certain things (like a long wait) and plan accordingly.

Quite possibly they don't *have* to do so. It's Mr. Brown's prerogative to do so, however. Perhaps he likes kids.
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penelope2017

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Re: Alton Brown's manifesto to fans
« Reply #70 on: September 24, 2011, 10:27:35 PM »
A book signing at which you have to rely on the host to bring you to the front of the line so that your children can get to bed at a reasonable hour probably is one.

Also, if kids are being brought up to the front because they can't behave during the wait, they probably shouldn't be there either. Of course, every kid (and adult) can have a bad day, but for the most part, parents know if their children can tolerate certain things (like a long wait) and plan accordingly.

Rely on?

Who said anyone was relying on it?

"I will often ask that families with small children be allowed to come to the front of the line so that they can get out and to bed at a decent hour. This means some of you will have to wait a little longer."

That's his choice. He doesn't even reference poorly behaved children or noise. It's his option to do so. This is not on parents or to be blamed on them. There's not even a reference to bad behavior, noise, etc. I don't see where you get anyone's relying on this, as this type of consideration isn't the norm.

Alton Brown's choice to do this shouldn't be blamed on parents. They didn't ask for it. It's his decision to do it. And his right.

penelope2017

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Re: Alton Brown's manifesto to fans
« Reply #71 on: September 24, 2011, 10:30:19 PM »
A book signing at which you have to rely on the host to bring you to the front of the line so that your children can get to bed at a reasonable hour probably is one.

Also, if kids are being brought up to the front because they can't behave during the wait, they probably shouldn't be there either. Of course, every kid (and adult) can have a bad day, but for the most part, parents know if their children can tolerate certain things (like a long wait) and plan accordingly.

Quite possibly they don't *have* to do so. It's Mr. Brown's prerogative to do so, however. Perhaps he likes kids.

Exactly. I'm not getting the references to bad behavior. It doesn't sound like that has anything to do with it. There was no reference to behavior in his post, just consideration.

Wonderflonium

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Re: Alton Brown's manifesto to fans
« Reply #72 on: September 24, 2011, 10:32:45 PM »
I have said repeatedly that it is most certainly his prerogative. That doesn't mean I agree with the policy.

Quote
I will often ask that families with small children be allowed to come to the front of the line so that they can get out and to bed at a decent hour.

To me, this implies that if he doesn't allow them to come to the front of the line, they won't be able to get out and get the children to bed on time.

I only brought up bad behavior because others did so. I was responding to that.
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penelope2017

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Re: Alton Brown's manifesto to fans
« Reply #73 on: September 24, 2011, 10:39:08 PM »
I have said repeatedly that it is most certainly his prerogative. That doesn't mean I agree with the policy.

Quote
I will often ask that families with small children be allowed to come to the front of the line so that they can get out and to bed at a decent hour.

To me, this implies that if he doesn't allow them to come to the front of the line, they won't be able to get out and get the children to bed on time.

I only brought up bad behavior because others did so. I was responding to that.
[/quote

And? It doesn't imply it. He says it out right. I don't know if he has kids or how old they are, but maybe he appreciates kid need to get to bed. You can disagree with his policy, but you implied that such a policy is a reason parents shouldn't have kids at book signings.

I understand people having a problem with his policy. But I don't see how that translates to parents shouldn't bring their kids to book signings. And them relying on him to cater to them. It isn't the parents' fault he chooses to operate this way. Blame him, not them.

Wonderflonium

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Re: Alton Brown's manifesto to fans
« Reply #74 on: September 24, 2011, 10:44:13 PM »
I have said repeatedly that it is most certainly his prerogative. That doesn't mean I agree with the policy.

Quote
I will often ask that families with small children be allowed to come to the front of the line so that they can get out and to bed at a decent hour.

To me, this implies that if he doesn't allow them to come to the front of the line, they won't be able to get out and get the children to bed on time.

I only brought up bad behavior because others did so. I was responding to that.

And? It doesn't imply it. He says it out right. I don't know if he has kids or how old they are, but maybe he appreciates kid need to get to bed. You can disagree with his policy, but you implied that such a policy is a reason parents shouldn't have kids at book signings.

You asked who said rely on, and now you are saying that yes, parents do have to rely on this policy. And if that's the case, then perhaps parents should rethink whether such a late-night event is the place to take their children. He did say he often does this, but he didn't say always. It might not happen. Then what?
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