Going Mobile

| April 14, 2010 | 2 Comments

About a week ago a minor accident at work caused me to be sans cell phone for four whole days. It was the most stress I have experienced in years. It really made me think about cell phones and our immense dependency on them. Women are giving birth these days and babies are popping out Blue Tooth ready. It’s borderline obsessive.  Because of my heightened awareness of cell phones and cell phone usage, I started wondering, when did it become socially acceptable to use your phone in a restaurant?

I had a table of six come in last week for dinner and, just as a point of reference, I would put them anywhere from twenty five to thirty five years old. I went over to refill waters and as I filled the first glass I noticed the customer’s iPhone sitting dangerously close to the splash zone of my water pitcher. Major tragedy averted, I moved onto the next glass. Same thing, but this time it was a Blackberry. Blackberry, iPhone, iPhone, Droid, each and every one of them had their phones poised next to their plate, face up, I’m assuming waiting for some life altering text message. Seriously guys, I think you can suffer through a whole meal without updating your Facebook status.

The art of conversation seemed completely lost on these people. When I was growing up it would’ve been a major faux-pas to answer the land line during family dinner, so why is it okay now to text at the table? This wasn’t a business meeting where an important client may call at any minute, but friends going out to dinner together. I don’t get it. How can this possibly be the norm? What is this world coming to? Eventually, if we want to talk to the person next to us, we’re going to have to text them.

From a server’s perspective, I’d like to provide some cell phone etiquette to all of you consumers out there. If you have to make a call, go outside or do it on your own time. Not only is it disrespectful to your server and the rest of the people at your table, it is disrespectful to all the other customers in the restaurant. Having your hands-free device turned on does not make it any more acceptable. Turn your ringer off. No one wants to hear your phone ringing incessantly, playing the Sex in the City theme song, while you spend hours trying to dig it out of your gigantic designer purse.  That’s why phones have a “vibrate” option.

The worst is when a cell phone-wielding customer shoos you away from the table or gives you that “can’t you see  I’m on the phone” look. Yes, I see you are on your phone, your highness, but do you see me? You’re in a restaurant, not a phone booth. I’m not interrupting you, you are actually interrupting me.

I was talking to a barista friend of mine and asked him what his biggest pet peeve was about customers. Shockingly, he said “customers talking on cell phones while placing their order”. Your barista is not on his phone when he makes your coffee, so show him the same respect by not being on yours. Just make it a habit that if you find yourself in an establishment with counter service, i.e. a coffee shop, sandwich place, ice cream parlor etc., show a little courtesy to the people handling your food and drinks. You never know, one day your double shot macchiato may turn out to be decaf.

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Category: OPINION

About the Author ()

I graduated with an Art degree from a small liberal arts college, did a bit of traveling and moved to Annapolis from Baltimore about seven years ago. I currently manage a well-known Annapolis restaurant, serve and bartend. I live downtown and I like sunsets and long walks on the beach :)