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Outcry after restaurant Facebook-shames kids for making a mess

A restaurant owner posts a picture of the mess made by toddlers, accompanied by a few sarcastic words. But the kids' moms fight back and the owner now says she's sorry.

The offending photo. Q13 Fox screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I fancy if economists studied child production, they would find some overcapacity and a multitude of inefficiencies.

Kids can be loud, annoying, recalcitrant, uneconomic, and messy. And it's not as if things improve when they become adults.

Some people, therefore, find them a touch difficult to take at times.

A restaurant owner at the Rainy Days Caffe in Lake Stevens, Wash., clearly found a couple of toddlers a touch too much.

She reportedly removed the moms and kids from her restaurant because one of the kids kept screaming and there were scone crumbs on the floor.

But then Rainy McDuff leaped to the restaurant's Facebook page and posted a picture of the messy floor. (The post has since been removed.)

As Q13 Fox reported, McDuff's words were: "I'd like to take this time to thank our customers with small children who don't make messes."

You might agree or disagree with her sentiment. For myself, I suspect that if you let kids into your establishment, mess might be a part of the contract.

Still, one of the moms, Kellea Poore, saw the post and shared it. She and the fellow mom she was with that day are both military wives.

Soon, battalions of commenters, armed with the nerve gas of social media, pilloried McDuff.

One Facebook crumb: "You're lucky I don't live in Washington or I'd dedicate my entire week to make sure you lose as much money as possible for being a disgusting human being. Don't run a business if you can't take what comes along with it. I hope you don't have children. I hope your BS closes your doors."

McDuff, who is a military wife herself, told Q13 Fox: "It was supposed to be something snarky and funny and it didn't turn out that way at all."

It didn't indeed. She added: "Somebody threatened to drag me behind their truck." Now that would have made a mess.

Restaurant owners are discovering that social media is a useful outlet for their frustrations. Sometimes, it works, as in the case of a bar in Reno that posted an image of a man who allegedly skipped out on his $100 tab.

But then there was the legendary Amy's Baking Company in Arizona, which turned to Facebook and said to its critics: "You people are all s***. Yelp s***, Reddits s***. Every s***. Come to here, I will f***ing show you all."

Currently on Yelp, Poore's long 1-star review suggests that she tried to clean some of the mess herself.

She added: "My kids weren't throwing food, stomping on it (they were both still sitting), screaming, or anything."

The Rainy Days Caffe is enjoying some very supportive Yelp reviews too. For example: "Too many parents think that their precious children can make all the messes they want in restaurants and someone else will clean it up."

Some would say that such is the difficult life of a restaurateur.

However, I know more than one restaurateur who would dearly love never to allow kids anywhere near the entry door. What makes them feel this way is that some parents simply believe their children are, indeed, the apogee of charm.

The kids run around the restaurant as if it was their living room. No, Billy, I do not want to know what it's like to get stabbed in the eye with a chopstick.

What stops the restaurateurs from banning kids is the idea of legal action.

In this case, it's possible that McDuff simply found these particular cherubs annoying. She's since apologized and used the incident to try and raise funds for kids' causes.

Perhaps she has lost some customers. I wonder, though, whether she will gain many more after suggesting that there's no messing with her.