Social Question

Feta's avatar

What's your opinion on cell phone usage in restaurants?

Asked by Feta (773 points ) March 23rd, 2014 from iPhone

The other day my stepmom started a phone conversation with her friend 2 hours before we left for dinner. The conversation continued for 20 minutes in the car ride to the restaurant (upon arrival at the restaurant she complained because it wasn’t where she wanted to go). Then it continued as we were led to our seats and when the waiter arrived to take our drink orders.
He said he would return when she was done talking and he did.
But as he came back, my father answered a phone call from my brother and ignored the waiter by talking over him.
And the rest of dinner my stepmom was on her phone texting her friend.

I was thoroughly embarrassed and this isn’t even the first time.
We’ve been out to dinner before where she was on her phone talking to her friend the entire time and even after we left. Me and my dad just sat in silence so as not to interrupt her conversation.

So, what’s your opinion on cell phone usage in a restaurant?

I find it very rude and feel particularly bad for the waiters because I’m not sure how I would handle someone who would rather be on their phone than order food.

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22 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

You and your stepmom have intractable issues in
every part of your conjoined lives, it seems. I can’t think of any new solutions that have not be offered already.

Of course it is objectively rude. How soon before you can leave home?

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I agree, I don’t remember when this idiotic love affair started with the damn cell phone,but wish it would just end and people started talking and interacting with the people they are with instead of the people they are not.
For the most part my cell phone is off,it’s for me to get in touch with people that a have to not the other way around.

Coloma's avatar

I’m in my 50’s and have never used a cell phone. I may, eventually get one, but, personally, I’m of the generation that can live without being tethered and a slave to constant communication. My opinion, cell phones should only be used for quick contacts, not some sort of lifeline 24/7.
I find talking in public, in general to be rude. Do you really need to be babbling with a friend while grocery shopping, in a restaurant, waiting in line at the bank, walking through a parking lot?

I am not a slave to my phone, infact, I let most calls go to voice mail, I will return them when I am damn good and ready. I have even told my daughter and others to not wake me up, that if you dead at 2a.m. you will be just as dead at 7a.m. I don’t need to know until a decent hour.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Coloma I love your answer, if I didn’t need my cell for work I probably wouldn’t own one.

hominid's avatar

If someone is conversing with someone on the phone, there needs to be nobody else in the room. That may mean leaving the house, sitting in the car in the driveway, or sitting in the basement. A phone call is like masturbation. It’s best done in private.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I refrain from cell usage in restaurants, primarily because I have this thing about wanting to eat my food while it’s hot. But I don,t care if others talk, text or whatever. Now a theater is an entirely different matter. To my mind, if talking is permitted in a restaurant, why should I care if it’s on the phone.

johnpowell's avatar

I have a iPhone that given to me by the wonderful Dog. It can’t make calls since I am not paying 80 bucks a month for a voice/data plan. But it works great as a iPod Touch on steroids.

I have a old Nokia candybar phone that is pay as you go for calls. It is 10 cents a minutes so most of my calls are E-mail me.

Judi's avatar

I think it’s rude. I also think, in a casual restaurant, it might be OK to text as long as no one else seems offended. Sometimes hubby and I will play games on out iPhones while we are waiting for food but we put everything down when the server shows up.

Feta's avatar

@gailcalled My stepmother and I do have issues but I wasn’t looking for a solution with this question, I was searching for public opinion because those around me don’t seem to think it’s rude even though, to me, it clearly is. If it were anyone else talking on their phone and blowing off the waiter, I would still think it was rude.
I have another year before I can leave.

@Coloma You say, “I’m part of the generation that can live without being tethered and a slave to constant communication.”
I didn’t mention, my parents are pushing 60.

Coloma's avatar

@Feta Oh sure…most people I know, even a 94 yr. old have cell phones…just that there is a division to a degree in the 50 and over crowd. I’m a bohemian type, love my laptop but not so much the phone thing. haha

Pachy's avatar

A cell phone almost got me killed me yesterday in a parking lot! I was walking from a store to my car when a large utility vehicle, which should have given me the right-of-way because I was in the middle of the street, just kept rolling at me. I yelled and he squealed to a sudden stop, maybe two feet from my body. He was a young guy, and I could see he was holding a cell phone and looking down at it. I yelled at him that he’d almost hit me and he mumbled a half-hearted “Sorry.” I replied, “You’d be a lot sorrier if you’d hit me.” His reply to_that_ was, “Hey dude, I said I was sorry.”

But there’s more…

I heard somebody yell at me and I saw that another utility vehicle, which had been pulling out of a parking space a few yards away, had stopped and the driver (another young guy) had stepped and was shouting at me in defense of the guy who almost hit me. He yelled, “Why doncha won’t where you’re going, dude?” I was stunned. Not only had I almost been hit by one idiot, I was being yelled at and mocked by another.

That wasn’t the only time I’ve almost been hit by somebody in a parking lot using a phone, but it was my closest call yet. I simply can’t fathom how people can have so little common sense, let alone social responsibility, as to talk and text anywhere they want without regard to the privacy and safety of others—worst of all while driving in an area specifically designed for pedestrians.

CWOTUS's avatar

I love “having” my cell phone. It’s available as a tool when it’s needed, either by me to call someone (or text) when a landline is otherwise unavailable or email isn’t the right tool, and I keep it on for the few people who have the number and might need to call me with their own emergency – or good news. I might even get a smart phone one of these days (my current phone is nearly as dumb as a phone hanging from a wire), because there are times when it would also be helpful and handy to carry “the internet” as a tool, too. But so far I have resisted that lure.

But that’s the thing: It’s a tool. I carry it with me in the same way that I sometimes carry a knife, or a flashlight (the phone makes a passable light, too, in certain situations) or a gun, for that matter. Not that I’ve carried a gun, but I have no problem with people who carry that tool, as long as they know how to use it, and do so appropriately.

Tools are for use in the proper manner and at the proper time and for reasons that make sense.

I’m sorry to say it, but the cell phone is not so much of your mother’s problem as her overall and general rudeness and sense of entitlement.

GloPro's avatar

Wow. If I was the waiter my opinion of your parents would be that they are both inconsiderate rude assholes and I wouldn’t be expecting much of a tip.
If it’s a child under 6 with a video or something on while sitting with a table full of people able to hold a conversation I am more understanding.
Bottom line: enjoy the people you are with.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I think it’s rude to talk on your phone when someone is trying to provide a service to you (of any kind). Whether it’s the server at a restaurant or the cashier at a store. When you are talking as a group at the table and the server comes up, generally you stop talking to listen to the server, so why should a conversation on your phone be any different. Same thing with talking when the cashier is talking to you. If the phone rings while someone else is talking to me, the phone can wait. The caller can leave a voice mail and I can call them back in a few minutes at a more appropriate time.

Coloma's avatar

@Pachy Yikes….classic crap, and I love how the defensive other driver jumped to a conclusion based on blind ( and apparently deaf ) loyalty. haha
So glad you lived to tell the tale.
Funny, because JUST the day before yesterday I yelled at a young couple with their faces both buried in their phones, texting, while walking along a busy street with a little, maaaybe, 2 yr. old toddling along behind them.
They were walking about 6 feet in front of the child, who was bobbling all over the sidewalk, and glancing over their shoulders on occasion as if they were watching to see if a dog was following them.

I was at a stop sign and couldn’t stand the fact that they were endangering this little girl who had poor coordination and was inches from perhaps toppling off the sidewalk into traffic.
I shouted ” You need to be holding on to your child!”
Of course they both immediately cursed me and sarcastically waved “bye bye.”
Unreal!

ibstubro's avatar

I have a cell phone and I enjoy it. However, I will not answer the phone if I am already talking to someone. Obviously, if they’re present, they are more important.

I miss calls all the time, and I couldn’t care less.

There’s a lot of security in a cell phone, though, @Coloma. You should get one. People are no longer good about stopping for a vehicle on the side of the road because they figure everyone has a cell. I used mine to back off 2 rather belligerent boys that were trying to intimidate me from another car. I just held it up with my finger over the buttons – they knew if they started out of the car I could get their license plate to 911 faster than they could get to my car. It was wonderful!

dxs's avatar

@ibstubro “I have a cell phone and I enjoy it. However, I will not answer the phone if I am already talking to someone. Obviously, if they’re present, they are more important.”
AMEN! Talking to someone on the phone is just like talking to other people, they’re just not there. When people interrupt a conversation to answer the phone, it’s like they’re cutting me off to talk to someone else. I hate that. Even texting when I’m talking to people annoys me.
I prefer it when people excuse themselves to talk on the phone because if you’re in a social setting, it’s like you’re selfishly talking to someone that nobody else can talk to.

ibstubro's avatar

Even is I’m in the middle of a HUGE story, if the phone rings, my S/O answers it, regardless of who it is. It infuriates me.

Another thing I find annoying is the people who walk through the store with the cell on speaker, talking at the phone, not into it, so you’re forced to hear both sides of the conversation at near double-conversational volume. I’m always tempted to join in just to embarrass them.

Coloma's avatar

@ibstubro Yes, I hate people that just unconsciously act on rote programming, you CAN CHOOSE whether or not to answer your damn phone. As I mentioned, I will probably get a cell one of these days, just for emergencies, but so far, I don’t feel deprived.

ibstubro's avatar

I think they’re a valuable resource, @Coloma. I have an extremely “dumb” phone (a Razor that’s at least 7 years old) and don’t have texting, much less internet. I’m perfectly satisfied with the service I have.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Probably the only sane justification for the concealed carry laws. At the least, I’d get up and walk out if someone did that to me. They’d get the message in a hurry, and I’d find another place to eat by myself. You have another year before that would be allowed for you, but if they’re that into the other person let them spend the time with them. I’m not wasting my time or the waiter’s time. Life is too short for that bullshit.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It is so ridiculous. My daughter in law used to answer the phone while they were visiting us. She’d carry on this loud conversation with the unknown party, effectively ending any other conversations we would be have in the room. Finally, the last time she did it, I turned the TV off and told her I did it as a courtesy to the person she was talking to, so they didn’t have to compete with the back ground noise. She was bright enough to realize that turning off the TV affected every one else. After that she started taking her phone into the kitchen to have her conversations.

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