And, at last, we have a winner, a Pet Peeve that trounces all others in Etiquetteer's Spring Madness of Pet Peeves:
TABLE MANNERS/DINING OUT: ILL-MANNERED CHILDREN WITH COMPLACENT PARENTS
Powerful, isn't it? And Etiquetteer is impressed that, of all the Pet Peeves in the grid, a selection that didn't specifically mention technology made it to the top.
Why don't today's parents realize that no one else cares about their Precious Snowflakes as much as they do - and never will? Are these parents absorbed in their own technology? So afraid of daily confrontation that they give in to the threat of any tantrum? Or simply blind to the fact that any children, even their children, will quite naturally behave in a way that is not Perfectly Proper?
Of course Etiquetteer must hasten to acknowledge all the good parents out there - surely there are some left, yes? - who are raising their children with Perfect Propriety (which is always better than Discipline Mixed with Love.)
But these Complacent Parents could use some Discipline Mixed with Love from the maitre d'. Years ago Etiquetteer was dining in a family-friendly restaurant (with, in fact, family members), and witnessed two parents with two children approximately age five, who were not only barefoot, but also using their banquette as a jungle gym. The parents were, Etiquetteer recalls, even worse than complacent; they were amused. And while Etiquetteer hardly advocates for that sort of behavior in the home, the home is an infinitely better place for it than out in public, where total strangers have to witness it.
One has only to do an internet search for "waitress blog" to find many stories of ill-mannered children dining out with complacent parents. Etiquetteer is eager to hear your own experience, should you be inclined to share it, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Etiquetteer would like to thank all the readers who participated in this interesting little experiment. Let us now proceed into the summer, a summer without a pet peeve.