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Nullo's avatar

TV etiquette question: is "I'm enjoying the quiet" equivalent to "I'm watching that" when asked if it's alright to change the channel?

Asked by Nullo (21978points) July 21st, 2011

Yes, the battle for the hell-box rages on. Today I muted and CCed Judge Judy, and subtly sabotaged the remote control.
Ten minutes later, one of my co-workers – rather senior, and about four departments over – came into the peaceful break room and, taking the remote, asked if anybody were watching what was on. I replied that I was most emphatically not watching TV, and would like to keep it that way, tyvm.
She replied to the effect that she could watch TV if she wanted to, and to emphasize her point started trying to work the sabotaged remote. We went back and forth for a few minutes, me arguing the unfairness (there is but one break room, and it’s a million degrees outside), she emphasizing that the break room had a TV so that people could watch it (leaning on one of the remote’s buttons the whole time). Honestly, the hardest part was keeping a straight face. Baffled by my foresight, she eventually abandoned the TV-watching.
But I ask you, dear Jellies: is “not watching TV” effectively the same as “watching TV that you don’t like”?

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12 Answers

jerv's avatar

I think that in such a situation, a coin-toss would be appropriate, Now, i there were more people on one side of the “quiet vs TV” debate then I would go with majority rules. However, I would have reminded her that the break room is there for people to take breaks; watching TV is merely how some people like to spend their break time.

Of course, I personally never use the break rooms any place I work simply because I like having a quiet place to enjoy a bit of solitude and get away from the masses. I would rather sweat my balls off than be in the same room with the people I need a break from just because there is A/C. I also have a smartphone, so I can watch stuff even when I am not inside ;)

woodcutter's avatar

It was one on one there. What if two or three or four came in and just wanted to look at TV?. Would you still be prepared to stand your ground? In my opinion even having a TV in a break room is a potential problem. It’s a break room not a lounge or is it?

Hibernate's avatar

No it is not. Not watching gives you time to focus on other things. I cannot stand people who make me watch / listen to what I don’t like when I ask them friendly not to do so. It is rather annoying.
I have to agree with @woodcutter Is that a break room to take a break or a lobby of some sort where one can switch the channels freely.

marinelife's avatar

I find TV almost assaultive. I hate it when they are in public places and you cannot control what is on or what volume it is at. (Had this in a doctor’s waiting room yesterday). I was longing to turn it off.

I would petition management to remove the TV from the break room.

JLeslie's avatar

Hysterical that you sabotaged the remote. Love it. What also entertains me is that she gave up when the remote did not work. I would think there is still a power button on the TV? U less it is locked in a glass box or something? I would say wanting the TV off is similar to you watchng a show I don’t care about, and so I would be ok with leaving it off if you requested, but not if it was a regular occurance. i would expect a compromise that sometimes the TV is on if we wound up in the break room together quite often.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think that she can watch the TV if she wants, but the volume should be very low. It’s called a compromise. Really…what gives your preferences priority?

flutherother's avatar

It is not equivalent. If you are already watching a programme you have a right to be allowed to continue to watch it. If you come in to a quiet room and want to switch the TV on then I think you have a right to do that as well. Having said that the scene you describe so well would have been more amusing than anything the television had to offer.

jerv's avatar

@flutherother What if you are already watching silence and someone else comes in? Do you not have the same right to continue that as well? Part of it depends on who was there first. Even then, I think compromise is a better solution. You seem to be saying that the TV should be on unless everybody wants it off. Did I mis-read?

JLeslie's avatar

Here’s the thing, the tv room is the one place the tv is at work. Silence might be found in other places.

flutherother's avatar

I was thinking of a situation with two people. If there are more people you have to respect the majority. The majority are going to get their own way (unless someone cunning out foxes them.)

Dutchess_III's avatar

But, if there are only two people, a male and a female, the female gets her own way.

SavoirFaire's avatar

If the co-worker is asking if it’s okay to change the channel, she has already implicitly expressed a willingness to defer to whatever previous television-watching decision was made. It seems to me, then, that “I’m enjoying the quiet” is just as legitimate a response as “I’m watching that.” Both responses say “no, it is not okay to change the channel (or anything else about the current television situation).” If she was just going to impose her will on the room anyway, she shouldn’t have bothered to ask.

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