Paying customers get to stay and eat

On a recent trip to an Everett McDonald’s, I was disgusted. Not by the food, but by a policy of discrimination.

A group of children came into the restaurant at 7920 Evergreen Way shortly after school let out Dec. 9. The students were energetic, but not disruptive, and many of them went immediately to registers to order their burgers, fries and sodas.

After a few minutes employees managed to catch up with the rush of business the kids brought. As soon as that happened, one staff member announced that all children would have to purchase food or leave.

Immediately after most, if not all, the children complied and made purchases, the same employee told the students they would have to go. They had their food at the tables and should have been allowed to enjoy it like any other customers. They hadn’t been yelling, swearing or disrupting, yet they weren’t even allowed to eat their food while it was hot.

Almost all the other customers in the restaurant had been longer than the children, but none were asked to leave. These young customers were singled out by restaurant management because of a factor beyond their control: their age.

No doubt, some children misbehave or make trouble, but that doesn’t mean all young people should be treated with contempt. Would it be acceptable for McDonald’s to apply a “buy food and get out” policy to any other group of customers in its restaurants? Rejecting children, paying customers, from eating in a McDonald’s is age discrimination.

I asked management for an explanation. Other customers in the dining room joined me in objecting to the treatment. A manager or senior employee tried to explain the policy to me, but she couldn’t really do so. She said something about it being initiated in cooperation with the Everett police. I found it hard to believe my city’s police force would encourage local businesses to practice discrimination. I hope that isn’t the case.

Everett businesses should be partners in the community. While sometimes teens and preteens can be boisterous and possibly annoying, each child should be treated as an individual and conduct should be addressed as it occurs. If McDonald’s is comfortable marketing to children and taking their money, then it should treat those customers with the same dignity afforded to any other.

Children and teenagers have very few place that are fun and safe to congregate. I would rather have them having clean fun in fast food restaurants than under bridges or on street corners. We, as a community, should let the McDonald’s at 7920 Evergreen Way know that policies of discrimination will not be tolerated.

I’ve contacted the company with hopes of receiving a satisfying explanation for this restaurant’s employees’ behavior. Until then, I’ll think long and hard before spending money at place that discriminates against its customer base.

Mike Dwyer


More in Opinion

Players’ protest honors rights our flag represents

Editorial: More than a few veterans view the protests as honoring one of the things they fought for.

Editorial cartoons for Tuesday, Sept. 26

A sketchy look at the day in politics.… Continue reading

Daydream is over; GOP must work with Democrats on ACA fix

Editorial: The Senate should end its latest ACA repeal effort and continue bipartisan talks.

Editorial cartoons for Monday, Sept. 25

A sketchy look at the day in politics.… Continue reading

Editorial cartoons for Sunday, Sept. 24

A sketchy look at the day in politics.… Continue reading

Saunders: Trump’s success may hinge on GOP battle in Alabama

Unless Sen. Luther Strange retains the nomination, Democrats may have a shot at the seat.

Robinson: Trump’s race-baiting rhetoric shows who he truly is

We also have a president who, if he’s not a white supremacist, does a convincing impression of one.

Harrop: A financial disaster would swamp many of us

Some 46 percent of Americans say they could not scratch up $400 in ready cash to meet an emergency.

NFL players’ protest shows disrespect for veterans

Tonight the brave, valiant and courageous Seahawks shunned the American flag. Tonight… Continue reading

Most Read