Why are restaurants so tame with spicy?

Do they just assume that most of us do not enjoy the heat? Visited a new Thai restaurant in town last night and the dishes marked spicy were not. Why even use the term if they will not apply it. Perhaps I should just ask about the level of heat when ordering. Have had many other experiences like that at other eateries, too.
Just as a point of location I should say I am posting from the New York metro area...

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