On taking exception to the ageist thought with regards to dining out in the Globe and Mail

As far as prejudices go, Ageism is a mild one. Perhaps that’s why the Globe and Mail thinks it’s ok to write about it, especially on the topics of food and restaurants. This entire article, Young, hip restaurants? No thanks, I’m happy being the unwanted oldster – The Globe and Mail, is a rant filled with generalizations. While it is fun to read, it is also lazy and indulgent, like much ranting about prejudices is.

It wouldn’t be nearly as interesting to have an article that took the time to separate the fashionable restaurants that are good and professional from those that are fashionable and pretentious. Ranting gets more viewers, I suppose. Taking the time to better understand the motivations of restaurants takes longer.

There will always be places that cater to specific groups. And when it comes to new and hot restaurants, there will always be those that appeal to young people. Just like there are very established places that appeal only to an older clientele, or a business clientele, etc. And for every restaurant lucky enough to have the attitude of the customer isn’t always right, there will be many many more that strive to meet your needs as a guest.

Restaurants are social businesses, and as Adam Gopnik explains in “The Table Comes First”, part of what some restaurants sell is exclusivity. How they exclude, be it price or demographic or social status, is part of their overall strategy to be successful. Some of that exclusivity will eventually filter you out somehow. If you don’t like it, take your business elsewhere. There is a wide range of establishments in Toronto: it’s not a simple divide of either trendy gem or fast food joint. Do some leg work: there are plenty of web sites that provide more information on places to eat. Check out how the restaurant uses social media.

I don’t believe every new restaurant in Toronto has a strategy of excluding everyone that doesn’t fit a younger demographic. If they do, then all the power to them: unless they are a pop-up restaurant, they will be joining the deadpool of former restaurants very soon.

As far as older people go, I recommend you hold your prejudices to them the same way you would hold your prejudices to any other group, which is to say, you should abandon them. You will be doing so for your own benefit as much as theirs.


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