Social Question

LornaLove's avatar

Anyone been to dinner or lunch where the table next to you destroyed the ambiance?

Asked by LornaLove (9926points) February 13th, 2018

I think this could be a fun question or even a rant, it’s up to you.

Have you ever been to lunch or dinner in a restaurant and had the table next to you ruin the whole lunch by ‘just being themselves’?

At one such lunch, my partner and I were seated in a mostly empty restaurant next to a couple who nearly drove us mad. We were about 2 ft apart. The steak was delicious, however, the female of the pair was so loud and chatty her partner was utterly embarrassed and we gave up trying to speak to one another.

She even knew she was embarrassing as she kept commenting loudly “I am embarrassing you aren’t I?” giggle, laugh, snort.

Today, two teenagers, probably late teens, plonked themselves down and proceeded to photograph the entire table ensemble including the knives and forks, the menu and the serviettes. They then ‘chatted’ to each other via text. We could tell as they would laugh as each commented. The flashing light from the photographs was driving us batty. Who does this?

Then they proceeded to stare into the mirror app on their mobiles, pursing their lips and admiring their beauty.

Care to share some odd, funny, weird stories of forced intimacy with a table that just happens to be next to yours?

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17 Answers

Zaku's avatar

Men speaking in really loud voices… usually it seems to me like they’re talking about their work, although annoying “outspoken manspeak” tends to be the hardest for me to ignore, at any volume.

Hyper-“outgoing” people loudly talking as if they are entertaining everyone who can hear them.

Happy Birthday serenades by the restaurant staff – the last time I was out to dinner, there were at least three of those at different tables.

ragingloli's avatar

for me, anything above a whisper destroys the ambience.

Jeruba's avatar

Shrill or screaming kids will do it without fail. It doesn’t have to be the next table. Anywhere in the restaurant is too close. How the parents can tune it out and act deaf baffles me. I’d rather be next to a party of drunks or a couple fighting.

And there’s nothing funny about it. Something that’s funny doesn’t ruin things.

Loud adult conversation can be annoying, too, especially since some people always speak at announcement volume (including in workplace cubicles, where everyone’s sanity depends on a little bit of courteous restraint); but kids’ shrieks are significantly worse, even when they’re not running around among the tables.

Darth_Algar's avatar

The couple across the aisle from us who were arguing with each other the entire time, doing that angry shouting-while-whispering thing.

filmfann's avatar

I am embarrassed to admit this.
We went to a nice-ish Mexican restaurant for a dinner with friends.
At the next table, one of the customers had an artificial larynx speech aid (those microphones throat cancer victims hold against their throats to make mechanical sounding words). This guy either wasn’t good at using it, or it needed adjustment. Anyway, when he tried to talk, the noise was jumping octaves, and making a horrible squealing sound.
Well, at my table, all it takes is one person to start laughing, and everyone loses control. I felt horrible for this poor guy and his party, but I was unable to stop laughing.

Demosthenes's avatar

I can immediately recall a situation in a Korean restaurant where a group of young drunk guys at a table were talking VERY loudly and obnoxiously. I was under the impression that the entire restaurant was loud, but it turns out it was just that one table. When they left, the entire restaurant seemed to breathe a sigh of relief. A few of us at different tables even laughed a little to ourselves when they were gone.

YARNLADY's avatar

Good, this is in Social, so I can reverse it. I am sorry to say that my table is the disruptive one. I always ask for a table as isolated as possible, but often the host doesn’t believe me. My two youngest grandsons are close to unmanageable. My most memorable event was a very special birthday for the oldest adult in our family at a very fine restaurant.
Due to my request , we were seated at the next to last table in a hall-shaped area, About half way through our dinner a couple was placed at the last table. After a few minutes they requested another table.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Every table with drunkz or smallchildren. We ask the hostess after scoping things out but a crying child is the worst. We’vw got to the point we will get up and move if the parents allow crawling screaming fits. Take them to McDonalds not a decent restaurant, smh. I love well behaved kids!

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Yarnlady I have to ask why not pay a sitter if you know they are unruly?

chyna's avatar

Screaming kids gets me every time. If they don’t stop within a few minutes I usually have to leave. It’s not that I’m furious about it. I just start having a panic attack. My brother, who knows me better than anybody will start getting a look of fear on his face and start looking for the waiter so we can either move or get our food to go.

YARNLADY's avatar

@KNOWITALL Generally, I would stay home with them, or, in this case, the motel with an indoor pool. This was a demand from Great, Grandma, since she surmised it would be her last special dinner with the whole family. We did have one last family dinner, on my 40th anniversary. It was in a private room at her senior living center.
We often take them to Olive Garden in one of the alcoves, with the game consoles on the table.
Thank goodness for ds games and tablets, we can now sit an entire meal with very little distraction.
When their dad was little, each family member would take turns going outside with him.

MrGrimm888's avatar

When I was a waiter, I remember one table specifically. I had five tables, and these six wanna be gangsters were sat in my section. I wouldn’t call them maliciously rude, but they were extremely loud, and rowdy. All my other tables were upset.

They amassed a $600 tab. This was not a fancy place, they just ordered lots of drinks. I tolerated them, because gratuity, we’ll normal gratuity, was going to be big. I was expecting at least 10%, the way they kept assuring me that they’d tip well. They all paid from giant wads of cash. My tip? A $10 bill… My other tables stiffed me, as they had horrible experiences…

And yes. Crying children have no place anywhere, unless the guardians can control them.

Demosthenes's avatar

^The restaurant I worked at included gratuity in the bill for parties of six or more. (I was a cook, not a waiter, but still).

Love_my_doggie's avatar

We were having dinner at a very upscale restaurant on St. Martin. The middle-age couple next to us spoke so loudly, we weren’t able to talk to each other over the noise. To make matters worse, this couple was discussing some personal matters, which we didn’t want to hear, and arguing about them.

Paul discreetly went to the maître d’ and told her about the situation. She approached the husband and wife and asked them to lower their voices. When they became offended, she pointed to Paul and said, “This gentleman said you’re disturbing him.” Yeah, great move for someone who should know how to be discreet and handle a delicate matter…

They spent the rest of our meal saying nasty things about us, in the same loud tones so that we could overhear. When we finally walked out, the wife yelled “Thank you for leaving!”

We spoke to the manager and got our meal comped. But, what should have been a special, pleasant evening had been completely ruined.

MrGrimm888's avatar

@Demosthenes . I worked at a corporate restaurant. If I added gratuity, the customers usually just asked the manager to remove it, and they would. The result then, was an even smaller tip….

ragingloli's avatar

That is one of the things that I think fast food joints do better.
The chart says the burger costs 4.49, and that is exactly what you pay.
I hate tipping, it is the single reason why I do not go to restaurants.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ragingloli But extra great service deserves a reward because so many people are terrible at it, just imo.

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