A busy public park with large trees and a few picnic tables with tablecloths on them
reddit | AV16mm

Note From 'Entitled' Parents Claiming Public Bench For 4-Year-Old's Party Sparks Debate

To what extent are you willing to inconvenience others in order to do things exactly the way you want to do them? One pair of parents is being slammed as "entitled" after attempting to reserve a public bench in a public park for a private birthday party.

The situation came to light in a Reddit post that's attracted nearly 5,000 comments to date.

Public parks are just that: public.

A public park
Unsplash | Ignacio Brosa

The history of urban parks is fascinating, and the scope is a little too large for the focus of this article. In any event, most of us probably live near a park that's accessible for everyone, paid for by tax dollars, and not private in any sense of the word.

What about benches in public parks?

A park bench
Unsplash | Metin Ozer

Park benches are there for anyone who might want to sit on them. It's kind of a first-come-first-served situation. Of course, some benches are examples of hostile architecture, modified so they're difficult to sleep on, but in general, benches are there for all to enjoy.

A Redditor found this note in a public park.

Note reserving public bench for kid's birthday party
reddit | AV16mm

In a post on r/mildlyinfuriating, Redditor u/AV16mm shared two pics along with the caption, "Busy public park on a hot Saturday / Labor Day weekend. Seems super entitled. Park has been open for 4 hours and no sign of them. All the other tables are full."

The area was set up for a party.

Public park with area reserved for kid's birthday party
reddit | AV16mm

The note on the bench read, "Reserved for a birthday party. Please respect the space we've set aside (and) do not use our tables. This is a 4 yr. old's party. Don't be the only to mess it up."

There was no ongoing birthday party.

A toddler's birthday party
Unsplash | Douglas J S Moreira

Despite the setup and the note, the area was deserted. This means that someone tried to reserve public space for a private function, and then didn't even use said space. This entitled attitude meant that others wouldn't be able to use the space or the tables.

OP provided more context.

A public park
Unsplash | Kumar Vivek

In a follow-up comment, they noted that there are no reservations at this park.

"I am also here with 10 kids doing a party, and we got here when the park opened to make sure we had space for all our guests. Silly me," they wrote. "Also, [for what it's worth], we are in a totally separate space. It's the fact that this note was written aggressively while also depending on other people's decency to allow them to bend common courtesy that I found annoying. It's rude and mannerless. I would not respond in kind of course."

Is this acceptable behavior?

"Reserved" sign
Unsplash | Alfred Quartey

People are free to use the park's amenities, of course.

"They could have at least put the time of the party so that people could use the tables up until then and then just clear out for the actual party time," suggested one commenter.

Maybe they should have opted for a different venue.

"Private" sign
Unsplash | Pierre Bamin

"If having a designated space is that important, secure a private venue," wrote another commenter. "Or, you have a handful of people actually there to hold it down. Can't just drop [stuff] off and act like it's there to be reserved. Most cities have areas that can be reserved on the cheap specifically for the purpose of not hogging public picnic areas that are available on first come basis."

Redditors agreed: this was entitled and inconsiderate.

A picnic table in a field
Unsplash | Taylor Vick

The photos were posted to r/mildlyinfurating, so it's safe to say that commenters were already primed to be, well, mildly infuriated. The problem wasn't that people were using a public park for a party — it was the way they tried to reserve part of the park as theirs.

How would you have handled this?

Happy birthday balloons
Unsplash | Morgan Lane

If you were putting on a party for a four-year-old at a public park, how would you have handled things? Conversely, if you came across this note, how would you react? Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments section.