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Cell phones and food

Is it ever ok to talk on a cell phone while at a casual dining place? How about a coffee shop? What if I'm alone at a table in Starbucks? Do you think that's acceptable? How would that be different than if I were having a conversation with someone in person?

Looking for feedback.

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  1. Jfood's position has been stated many time in the past and he usually gets bombarded but here he goes again.

    - It is up to the table participants to set groundrules for cell phone chatter at the table. When jfood goes out with his friends, usually someone gets a call from one of the kids. Always acceptable at Table Jfood for someone to recieve a call. With caller ID each person respects which calls s/he picks up. Everyone is very mature about knowing only certain calls are answered.
    - For the surrounding tables. Speaking on a cell phone, just like speaking to a person at the table should be handled at the correct and respectable decibel level. And keep the conversation in check. Too loud in either case is not proper. If jfood is alone at dinner on the road and is speaking at the same or lower decibel level than the people at surrounding tables, leave him alone. I don't stare at you for speaking too loudly, please do not stare at me for speaking softer on a cell phone.
    - Cell phones should be turned to vibrate while eating out.

    There is the Jfood feedback. He imagines he will be in the minority on these views.

    19 Replies
      1. re: jfood

        We're often out with people with children, and there are also times when my husband or I (or others) need to keep the phone on, sadly, for business purposes. I agree that the phone should be on vibrate. I also think the phone should not be on the table - I tuck mine next to my leg. If the call comes in, I excuse myself from the table to go somewhere discrete to take the call, and wish others would do the same, as I find it hard to continue the table conversation while that call is taking place. For some reason, most people talking on cell phones do seem to be louder than they would be in a conversation at the table.

        My strong feelings may well be coloured by too many experiences with visiting in-laws who have extended overseas conversations in loud voices at the table, and where there are five phones sitting on the table, with the ring tone on. It particularly bothers me in places where the restaurant has written on the menu "No cell phones in the dining room please."

        1. re: MMRuth

          A follow up thought: To me, the at-the-table cell phone conversation is somewhat akin to the arrival at the table of say a friend of one of the diners who comes over to say hello from another table. A quick hello and an introduction is fine, but an extended conversation becomes rude and an interruption to the dining experience, unless that person is invited to join them at the table. The difference with the cell phone is that you actually can get up and go elsewhere to take the call, whereas it would be odd to do so with this hypothetical passerby.

          1. re: MMRuth

            Great analogy MM. The friend showing up. Make the point, thank everyone for allowing the interuption and go back to the fellow diners.

            Soemtimes it is hard to get out of a table in many restaurants.

            1. re: jfood

              And your point about it being hard to get out of a table is a good one too - I know if my husband is expecting a work call that he has to deal with, he tries to sit in a seat at the table that he can easily get out of. And I guess, to finish the analogy - the quick call from the kid asking where the fritos are could be answered with a quick "in the cupboard next to the fridge" and hanging up. I do wonder though - when I was a child, my parents would leave the number of the restaurant with the babysitter - in case of emergency - and though I don't have children, I do wonder about the need for calls from children during the meal, other than an emergency.

            2. re: MMRuth

              Perfect answer, IMHO! Rudeness is always inappropriate, but there are times when the phone needs to be picked up and the matter dealt with. Quickly and quietly shows respect for everyone else within earshot!

          2. re: jfood

            Pretty much on the money. I think some people get so hypersensitive that one is on a cell phone that they don't think about all of the other people who are talking around them at higher decibel levels. I remember this happening to me once on a bus (I was talking at a very low level) when this woman kept asking me to keep it down. After the third time, I asked her if I was talking to somebody sitting next to me would she have done the same thing? She realized her error and apologized.

            1. re: Miss Needle

              There jfood was in a Boston steak house eating solo, reading his book. The mother-daughter to his right are discussing the new husband's inadequacies (OMG) and the couple to his left have come to the conclusion, between the appetizer and the entree, that divorce is the topic of conversation (bookend OMG's). Jfood feels that little vibrate on the belt, thankfully answers the cell phone and quietly says hello.

              The four surrounding customers give jfood "that look." Jfood's ready to introduce husband on the left to unsatisfied wife on the right. A true Seinfeld moment.

            2. re: jfood

              jfood, your last point should be first, and it should be in bold, underlined, capitalized, etc. this is my biggest peeve with phones anywhere in public; i don't have any desire to know when someone is getting a call or what they consider to be the coolest ringtone (nor do i wish to hear the entire effing sample play out before it's answered).

              otherwise, i don't have a problem with it if certain niceties are obeyed: a real person in front of you takes precedence over your call (especially if that person is anyone other than an understanding friend or family member and/or is trying to do something for you and get on with his own life/job); pick it up on the first ring/vibrate; if you aren't going to pick it up, then silence it immediately; use your indoor, polite voice and recognize that, if you are alone, there are no bodies at your table to deflect/absorb your sound waves, meaning that privacy is unlikely, and i have no desire to know anything personal about you; pay attention to yourself & surroundings, if you find yourself yelling to be heard over the ambient noise, then it's an inappropriate place for a call.

              like jfood, i think if it's a quiet, polite conversation that does not compete with any of the face-to-face ones around you, then no problem.

              1. re: mark

                jfood ..... as always, your stories are classic and well told. I am loving this one!

                Cell phones are a fact of life, and sometimes the call must be taken. But in social situations I always turn mine off, because honestly, nothing is more important than who I am with at the time. If there IS a reason I MIGHT need to take a call I leave the phone on, and tell everyone around me that this might happen. If the call DOES come, I say :"Oh, here it is .... excuse me" and leave the table as I am answering the call. I've even occasionally scoped out our restaurant for a potentially quiet and unobtrusive place to go for the durating of the call, so as not to bother others.

                I am oh so tired of listening to other people's conversations. I find this most annoying in airports. If we're all together, waiting for our plane, and you need to talk loudly to your BFF about nothing at all, yes, I will stare at you. If Im not part of the convesation, please don't share your half of it with me.

              2. re: jfood

                I agree with jfood's take on this: it's about conducting oneself in a way that respects those nearby. Hold a conversation at a reasonable level.

                I reject the "never acceptable under any circumstances" argument separately from the previous belief because I can think of many examples of a time when it should absolutely be not only permissible but encouraged to answer the phone. For instance, I'm on oxygen all the time, I can't get up very quickly nor move very quickly anymore once I am on my feet. If I were to get a call from the transplant center, I'm taking the call no matter the restaurant (or movie theater or bus or what have you). Unless one wants to argue that I should stay home at all times so as to avoid taking a cell phone call in a restaurant (and I don't think anyone is actually going to argue that) then in order to stick with the "never under any circumstances" argument, you'd have to argue that such a call would not be worth taking/important enough to warrant answering in a restaurant because of the possible intrusion upon others.

                All of this to make the point: sometimes it is OK. At which point it comes right back to individuals making reasonable choices about what times those are and under what circumstances. Rather than a blanket "rule" about what is and it not ever acceptable ,we should urge decorum and awareness of those around.

                1. re: ccbweb

                  Amen. I don't mind people on cell phones if the volume is the same as an appropriate level of conversation. What is unacceptable is loud conversation, whether on a cell phone or otherwise. It does seem that cell phone talk is more prone to high volume levels, possibly because of technical issues, but the user should be sensitive to that.

                  I was once part of a very heated exchange in a casual deli where a woman was on her cell phone for a full 10 minutes, speaking at a very loud volume that would have been offensive whether or not she was on the phone. A diner closer to her than we were asked her to keep it down and the man she was with got nearly violent...... saying something inane like "open your own restaurant, if you don't like it!". Several surrounding tables chimed in with a chorus of boos and the guy just got angrier. Could have been really ugly but the woman finished her call just then and the two left. Some people just don't get it. Or they DO but they get embarrassed and lash out.

                  On that same subject...... I find it odd how some people just talk in an extremely loud voice and seem to have no clue how loud they are. I really don't care to know every detail of someone's day just because I'm seated across an aisle from them at dinner. Hard-of-hearing I understand, and I guess you can never really be sure, but you'd hope people would be considerate no matter what the reason.

                  1. re: Midlife

                    I tend to get loud, especially if I am excited about something or find something funny. It's not intentional and my Dh constantly pokes me or gives me the look, but I am not being intentionally rude or invasive.

                2. re: jfood

                  OCAnn is w/jfood 100%...

                  ...and thinks that jfood should write a book on his food related experiences.

                  1. re: jfood

                    I agree, jfood.
                    -cell phone set to vibrate
                    -speak softly... this seems to be the part that many find challenging... I will give u "the look"
                    -Do Not be on the phone when the server is trying to take your order - rude!


                    1. re: lynnlato

                      Right. Moderation. I'm sure all those who carry their cellphones into restaurants will be happy to cooperate from hereon.

                      1. re: lynnlato

                        oh, i've got to say how much i hate it when a customer wants you to wait for them while they are on a call, but if you have to take a sec to do something that someone has asked you, while you were waiting for the said 'customer' they get all pissy for you not waiting on them right away. double standards...blech

                      2. re: jfood

                        I agree with you, too. Why do you think you'd be in the minority? I'd certainly prefer not to be interrupted by anyone's (mine included) cell phone at dinner, but let's face it, they do exist, everyone has them, and so long as people are reasonably civilized about using them, there are worse things about which to get one's knickers in a twist.

                        1. re: jfood

                          Jfood, I would agree with most of what you say if I ever encountered anyone who could have a cell phone conversation anywhere near the decibel level of a normal dinner table conversation. Simply doesn't happen. The one sided shrieking is totally unacceptable. That being said, if I get a call from one of my kids while dining out, I will certainly answer it... and then make a beeline to either the front door or the men's room for the conversation.

                        2. I think when at a restaurant, and you are eating, it is not ok to talk or answer your cell phone. heck, I hate hearing someones phone ring when I am in a restaurant.

                          But, I often go to coffee shops if I have a phone interview to do, I am a journalism student, and I am not at home. I go sit near the back, alone, get a coffee, my pen and pad and talk on my phone there.

                          If with company, I never think it is alright to speak on your phone for an extended period of time. If it rings, sure answer it, see who it is, say your busy and hang up. If it is urgent, excuse yourself from the table, and head outdoors for a second, but please, please, don't be gone for more then 5min.

                          Just my thoughts on the subject.

                          1. I don't think it is ever ok to be on a cell phone while ordering. I think it's rude to the person you're talking to and the person taking your order. Other than that, I agree with the original reply.

                            1. never acceptable, I always either dont take the call, or get up, and go outside.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: swsidejim

                                even if it's just an empty hole in the wall place and you're by yourself? is it also unacceptable to read the paper or a book in such cases?

                                1. re: luniz

                                  yep, unacceptable at a hole in the wall, no one is that important that they cannot either put a call to voice mail, or step outside, even though some in todays world some seem to think they are.

                                  as far as a book or a paper thats fine, unless you read outload you are not impacting those around you.

                                  I am curious how does reading a paper or a book have anything to do with this topic?

                                  1. re: swsidejim

                                    to me talking on the phone would be pretty much the same as reading something. it wouldn't be because it was important, just for the entertainment.

                                    you would never be able to hear me talking on my phone from another table, so i don't see how it would impact anybody. also, i don't see any reason for a phone to ever *not* be on vibrate.

                                    1. re: luniz

                                      someone reading vs someone blabbing on a cellphone at the next table are not even close to being the same thing.

                                      For the record, my phone is on vibrate all the time, and I take work calls from 4 a.m. until midnight somedays, and if I am out, I look at the number, and either pop the call to voicemail, or answer, get up, and go outside to take the call.

                                      I think it is just rude to sit in a restaurant, or a bus, or a mens room, and talk on a cellphone , so I dont do it.. Just my humble opinion.

                                      1. re: swsidejim

                                        If you are by yourself, and If the volume of your cell phone conversation is unobtrusive, what's the difference between that action and quietly conversing with someone eating with you at your table?

                              2. To those who yak away endlessly on cell phones in public places, e.g restaurants, buses, about topics that are not life-threatening or world-changing (I've heard hundreds of them), please know that those condemned to hearing your babble are quietly hoping that lightning will strike your fly.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: Veggo

                                  I'll just add my 2 cents which will reinforce much of what has already been said. If you are alone and you are somewhere casual, what is wrong with having a cell phone conversation at or at a lower volume than those surrounding you? As a parent, wife, sister, friend, whatever-what is wrong with receiving a call and briefly answering? It is definitely rude to be amongst a group socializing and carrying on a phone conversation. It is definitely rude to be on the phone while placing orders (unless the person you are on the phone with is being ordered for). Loud and obnoxious ring tones are...obnoxious. The thing is also not to get too unhinged over it. Say something if you feel it is safe, otherwise, do what makes the most sense.

                                  1. re: Veggo

                                    What Veggo, swsidejim and Ashlyn819 said. It's never acceptable. Not ever.

                                    1. re: Veggo

                                      Bus/airport does not equal restaurant. You are stuck at table at a restaurant. You can always walk away at the airport and find another seat.

                                      For those whose spouses travel for a living, that 'babble' is the most important topic and is life-saving (ok, as a working mother of toddler, mental health saving). And it often can only take place in public areas.

                                      Yes, be smart, be considerate when on the phone, especially in a confined space...but don't be so presumptuous that the conversation is useless.

                                      1. re: Veggo

                                        unless you dine in different restaurants than jfood, there are very few conversations between to people in chairs that are any more "life-threatening or world-changing" than those that people have on cell phones.

                                        It should be the decible level and consideration, not the topic that should be key.

                                        1. re: jfood

                                          If the decibel level were curteously low, I would never know the topic, which would be my preference. Lovers' cellphone quarrels are predictably the loudest and often the longest, sometimes a couple thousand words, contrasted with the Declaration of Independence, which is 1322 words. The next most offensive topic is having to hear about a person's ailing health and all their recent or upcoming medical procedures, while I'm dining. But then I do dine in different restaurants than jfood here in Florida, sometimes called "Heaven's waiting room".

                                          1. re: Veggo

                                            At least once a year jfood does the Delray/Boynton shuffle. Jfood performs a self-lobotomy before going out to dinner. Be there by 530 wait 60 minutes out by 745 and there is no one waiting. You can show up at 730 walk right in have a nice leisurely dinner, Never could figure this paradigm.

                                      2. and how about my favorite, the walkie-talkie conversation so now you can hear both sides! Sorry, just a pet peeve of mine!

                                        All of the above responses are great, I wish more people would use common sense and common courtesy when in restaurants with their phones. I have to admin though, over the past couple of years people do seem to be "catching a clue" and getting better at being polite with their cell phone.

                                        One last thought, don't you love the couple out to dinner together, both talking away to other people on their phones?! Cracks me up!

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: jodymaryk

                                          When I lived in Polanco in DF Mexico City, the slick restaurants with alfresco dining were largely along Avenida Masarik. One of my favorite photographs from that experience is of 4 nattity-attired ladies seated for lunch at a 4 top covered with food and beverages, and ALL FOUR were on their cellphone. I wish it were digital so I could post it.

                                          1. re: jodymaryk

                                            I never ever did understand why some phone companies promoted the walkie talkie thing. What the heck???

                                            I once had a friend who took me out for a "thank you dinner" to thank me for putting her up for the week, training her for free, and shuttling her around for free, only to have her spend the entire dinner on the phone, while I sat there basically eating alone. Needless to say, that was the end of things. Not just the call mind you, as that was indicative of the core.

                                          2. Someone posted jfood's favorite cell phone in resto story a few weeks ago.

                                            He called the restaurant and asked when the freakin' server was going to show up at the table.


                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: jfood

                                              J - i once got a call from a restaurant host at 8:45 asking if i was still coming for my 8:30 reservation. waving, i told him to look over his right shoulder, and please ask the waiter where our drink order was! if i didn't answer, we'd still be waiting for those drinks!

                                            2. There's a time and place for everything, and like so many things in life, this is not a black-and-white issue in my book. I think it's acceptable to have the phone on, on vibrate. Since we all have caller IDs nowadays, it's easy to see who calls. Reasonable people (yes, I know that's a loaded word) would know which calls to take, and if the conversation is going to last more than a couple of minutes, excuse themselves from the table and not disappear for so long that a search party has to be formed.

                                              The key here is to not abuse it and to always keep in mind that the person (or people) in front of you deserve your attention and courtesy.

                                              1. I don't think it's ever ok to take a call in a restaurant, whether it's fine dining, or your local shithole, if you're with someone. We all lived without cell phones until a few years ago, and all cell phone have caller ID and voicemail. If the call is important enough they'll either leave a message, or you can step outside and call back.

                                                When I'm out for dinner, my phone is silent, not even on vibrate. I check it once I'm outside again. I do have a very ill parent, and he'll be just as ill whether I finish my meal or interrupt it, and still in the care of his doctors and nurses. Nothing at my job takes precedence over friends and family... or food. How on earth did people that are attached to their phones 24/7 cope before we were in an age of instant availability?

                                                15 Replies
                                                1. re: irishnyc

                                                  Exactly, irishnyc, and good for you. I have yet to hear a conversation, loudly and rudely shared, that couldn't have waited until the person got home. Or at worst, outside.

                                                  1. re: dolores

                                                    100% agree.

                                                    Also, from a service point of view, your table may want something (another round of drinks, more dressing, a second napkin), but since someone at the table is yammering away on the phone, your waiter is not only not coming over, he's probably amongst the many glaring at you.

                                                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                      Amen! As a server, if I approach the table and you are on the phone, I will pause for a minute to see if you have the manners to stop your conversation so I can take your drink order. If not, you will be waiting while I go do something more important.
                                                      You would be shocked by how often people expect you to keep standing there while they finish up.

                                                      1. re: ndcaligurl

                                                        I'm with you 100% regarding phone use during ordering! And I don't respond to the gestures given in place of speech while they are on the phone.

                                                        1. re: meatn3

                                                          Thank the deity. When did we turn into a nation of people who cannot be "out of touch" for an hour or two while we dine? (Yes! I understand emergencies. It is my well-grounded belief that in true emergencies for much of the past centuries, people were reached - yes, even whilst dining in restaurants - when there were urgent reasons for them to be reached. (and parents, I hate to note this, but I'm just guessin' that finidng the fritos isn't an emergency with the kids. You business spouses - call before dinner. Or after dinner. Or at bedtime, breakfast time...and take your business calls, oh, I don't know - during business hours. Yes. I have great sympathy and even empathy for everyone who's in wildly differing time zones from business contacts and sources. This can still be worked out so you needn't be on a cell phone when you should be paying attention to people in front of you. As for dining alone and chatting away...well, would you eat dinner at your table at home and cht onyour land line the entire time? (So yes - at a coffee house, alone with a cuppa or a coffee and a call..a different matter altogether)

                                                      2. re: invinotheresverde


                                                        Never heard that one before. Once again thanks for the insight.

                                                        Jfood does not see why a server would not approach a table just because one of the custos is on their cell phone. It should not be any different than if two people are engaged in a non-cell phone conversation. Hundreds of servers have approached while jfood's table was in conversation and a simple "excuse me" seems to have worked for 30 years.

                                                        And that is jfood point, if people on cell phones treat that call with the same diligence and respect for the surroundings as people who are having a conversation face to face, then the servers should treat them the same as well. There should not be a separate "politeness" or "approachability" standard between nose-to-phone and nose-to-nose conversations.

                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                          My guess is that servers won't confront a table of people on cellphones, they will just walk away.

                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                            While I generally agree with the "respectful talker" approach (although I lean to the "take it outside" approach), I must take issue with one point; nose-to-phone is rarely the same as nose-to-nose when the server is there. When everyone is at the table, almost all the time people will suspend their conversations to listen to the specials, order, ask questions, etc. If some people were to ignore the server and continue a conversation it often would be considered rude. It would be perfectly acceptable for the server to tell them that he or she will come back when they're ready to order.

                                                            The person on the other end of a cell phone conversation can't see the server or feel the change in the present diners' focus. The on-site talker needs to immediately pause the phone conversation ("Excuse me, the waiter's here") and stop wasting the time of everyone there -- not just the server's. Also, the person on the other end of a cell phone conversation isn't going to order (well, maybe sometimes, so they need to be talking about that) and so won't sense the need for the diner to interact with those actually present.

                                                            1. re: Richard 16


                                                              well put on all accounts. The cell-talker has the same, or a higher standard, if the server comes to the table and everyone is ready. The celler must either say (a) i'll call you in a minute or (b) hold on, the server is here. It is completely unfair to everyone at the table, server included to hold up the process. One time a Mom at jfood's table was handling a child situation and just leaned over to her husband and whispered "order me the ceasar and the salmon." The call should not interupt the ordering process.

                                                              And there is the possibility that the person on the other end of the phone would say "Oh man, you're at such and such. can you bring me home a piece of chocolate cake." And yes it has happened.

                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                Another point about being on the phone whether land or cell:your perception is altered. Although you think you are aware of your surroundings (as in waiter standing there waiting to take your order) your response time really is slower than someone not engaged in phone conversation. As you will see by my previous posts, I am not against cell phone use in restaurants. I am however against discourteous behavior whether intentional or incidental.

                                                                1. re: Fru


                                                                  jfood smiles. Response time slower on a phone. You have not dined with our normal 8-some. You have no idea how hard it is to stop some of the conversations that are going on. The rule is no pointy shoes since a lot of kicking goes on when the server arrives.

                                                                  Discorteous is discourteous, correct.

                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                    >>Discorteous is discourteous, correct.


                                                            2. re: jfood

                                                              Polite guests will simply stop talking to one another when the waiter approaches. That isn't as simple to do while talking on a cell. "Margaret? Margaret? Are you still there? I can't hear you...MARGARET!!!".

                                                              When I was waiting tables, we never approached a table with someone on a cell because it was pointless. That person isn't going to listen to what the serever is saying/asking, and the server will just have to make a second trip. Ergo, just wait til the creep is off the phone and make one trip.

                                                              Really, can't people just excuse themselves for five minutes and take care of the call? Everyone wins that way.

                                                              1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                agree with invino. people making conversation at the table will be happy to pause and get their ordering done, food on the way, etc.-- it's part of the established pattern of eating out. someone on the phone is communicating in a different way, with someone who can't see this interaction, & the server doesn't usually attempt to interrupt. a dinner patron in the company of others, talking on a cellphone, is generally presumed to be involved in an important exchange (getting a call from the hospital, the sitter, a relative, business partner, etc.) if the call is important enough to interrupt dinner/dining/present company, the server assumes that something important is occurring, the patron's attention is elsewhere, & it's not a good time to approach the table.

                                                                a good server will absolutely avoid a table where a cellphone conversation is taking place, unless the dining companions are motioning frantically for needed service, which i've seen, while the phone user obliviously chats away. i've also been a phone user in restaurants (5pm-10pm being absolutely "business hours" for me). if tact and consideration of others is employed judiciously, taking a brief call during the course of a meal is absolutely no big deal.

                                                                part of eating out is being among others eating out. give me a seat next to the guy who takes a 3 minute business call between the apps and the mains, vs. 25 mins of someone's screaming whining brat, or 30 mins of senior citizen "organ recitals" or 10 mins of the couple verbally leading up to a domestic incident, any old time. but keep it brief, businesslike & quiet, with the phone on vibrate & off the top of the table, please.

                                                        2. re: irishnyc

                                                          Hear, hear. Perhaps because I was brought up to equate mealtime and phonetime as wrong (we did not answer the telephone during dinnertime at my house, although person to person dinner conversation, regardless of the content, was encouraged), I find people who talk on the cell phone while seated at the table in a restaurant rude, self important, and downright narcissistic. Voice volume and topic notwithstanding, dining and yakking on the phone spoil the ambiance for me. If the call is so important, please take it outside of the dining room.

                                                        3. Just today I entered a restaurant where you place your order at the counter and they bring the food to your table. There was one register open, and six people waiting- not really in line, but spread out sideways a couple of feet back from the counter. I thought that they were all trying to decide what to order from the large menu behind the counter, and I guess that they were- but four out of the six were also having "important" conversations on their Blackberries- the counter person stood there waiting for a minute or so, and then finally moved down to another register down the line, looked at me and said "Sir, are you with them?"

                                                          When I said no, she signaled me up and began taking my order...

                                                          Unfortunately, some of the Blackberry people had finally managed to put in their orders at the same time at another register, so once again I had to wait for them to figure out how to dispense their ice into their glass with one hand while holding their phones to their ear with the other.

                                                          I came pretty close to saying something rude, but refrained…

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Clarkafella

                                                            Those cell/mobile phones, Blackberrys & PDAs clog up counter lines just as badly as checks do @ grocery store checkout stands.

                                                          2. I recall purchasing my first cell phone the same week that I got reservations at an exclusive restaurant in Philadelphia. I could not resist calling my other foodie friends after each course to give them an up to the minute update. I must have looked like such an asshole.

                                                            1. Pardon the interruption folks, but please keep the discussion focussed on cell phones in food establishments. General ranting about cell phones is off topic. Thanks!

                                                              1. I think it's fine, provided one follows the jfood first post: talk in a "regular" (or as I told my kids: "indoor") voice. Beyond that, I don't see what the problem is.

                                                                I take lunch in various coffee shops from time to time. I typically have a book as my companion. I don't look askance at the group loudly discussing potty-training in detail, or someone's recent divorce - in more detail- , or the latest Oprah Book Club Selection. I try not the bat a lash at a 10 person afternoon birthday tea with balloons and some (a gentile amount) confetti.

                                                                But should my cell phone ring (child or husband, answered swiftly), I will get frowns all around. I speak quietly and swiftly, -- I don't care that the coffee shop knows that my daughter needs a ride, or my husband will be late-or-early. Still, it seems that the CELL conversation is much more irritating to others. My quiet "yes, I'll pick you up at 7" is much less intrusive to a cafe environment than a toast to Bill Jr. pooping in his pants or Bill Sr. being the biggest philanderer on the planet. Yet, the inverse seems to be true. Go figure.

                                                                Let's all get a grip on cell phone usage. Language and loudness is more the problem in restaurants and cafes. The presence or not of electronic devices is really irrelevant.

                                                                Two cents,

                                                                1. Hey everyone. It seems we've covered just about every possible permutation of the cell phone issue, and we're now getting repetitive. It's time to hang up our phones and move on to something delicious. Thanks, all.