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Sep 15, 2008 11:22 AM

Eating meals with the tv on

A lot of people I know love to eat meals wit the tv on. When I eat a meal alone I get tempted sometimes, but every single time I try it a gross commercial or part of a show always comes on! I end up diving for the off button. Plus I think watching tv distracts me from the taste of my good food. So it doesn't work for me. I figure what people do in the privacy of their own homes is their own business. But I am wondering what people do when one person wants the tv on and the other doesn't? Seems like it would be hard to compromise and stil eat together. More and more I see restaurants with tvs on. I was eating breakfast with a friend in the non smoking section of the Dublin Diner and there was a big tv with the news blaring. I negotiated with the waitress to please turn it off but I had to explain that we would be leaving before the morning show that her and the hostess always watched came on at ten am. On the other hand there is a bar I go to for the french dip sandwiches, and the tv is on during sporting events and that doesn't bother me at all. There is an electic energy in the bar during a Phillies or Eagles game that makes the experience all the more enjoyable. In other words I think it would be the height of stupidity to go to a sports bar or even a local bar and complain about the game being on. But tvs are popping uip in a lot of my favorite eateries, with just banal shows up. I like to eat out with friends and converse and enjoy the food. Is anyone else experiencing this disturbing trend of having tv rammed down your throat with your meal? I had to leave my favorite restaurant in the whole world on friday because I begged the lady twice to please please change the radio station, they were doing a fundraiser for a good cause but sad stories of poor sick kids were bringing me to tears. She would not change the channel. My friend and I were the only customers because we went at an off time and I left fuming and frustrated. Anyone else having issues or is it just me?

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  1. I too agree whatever you want to do at home is fine, but I absolutely loathe the presence of TVs in nearly every restaurant. It used to just be confined to "sports bars" but where I live, the sports fans are particularly rabid and now there are TVs EVERYWHERE. I cannot think of a restaurant I can go to where there are not TVs blaring, at least in the bar. And it's ALWAYS sports, always. Not everyone likes sports! this is yet another reason I don't like eating out.

    Edited to add: another curious trend is places that have a TV playing but the sound turned down while they play music overtop. Come ON. Is it so much for people to be expected to sit and make conversation while they wait for their food, instead they have to have a TV to stare at?

    4 Replies
    1. re: rockandroller1

      Love drinking. Love bars. Love food. Love restaurants. Not intereseted in sports. Shouldn't the sports TV be contained in the zillions of sports bars? And why should there be sports on TVs nearly everywhere, and TVs -- and numerous flatscreens -- everywhere? I just don't get it. Bars and restaurants are misinformed that they must have TV to be competitive. Sometimes people aren't even watching them. That's when my TV-B-Gone comes in handy. You can turn off the TV and usually nobody even notices.

      1. re: Up With Olives

        Wow! I am so buying one of those. Did not know it existed. Probably some of the staff would notice. Often the tv is for them. But it is so worth a shot. Too bad that wouldn't fly in my own home. He he!

        1. re: givemecarbs

          Great! That and a portable cell phone jammer and I'm all set!

          1. re: roadfix

            Absolutely. All things should be only as you wish them to be all the time. More points if you take a holier-than-thou attitude about it.

            What do you do if someone is watching the TV? What if that someone isn't on staff?

            You can't turn the TV off in your own home but feel that you should be able to in a restaurant? Really?

    2. My senior year of college my roommate and I were just beginning to develop our cooking skills, so we ate a lot of lousy food. It was common practice for us to watch Food Network during meals and pretend we were eating what was on the screen. It made the Totino's frozen pizzas and boxed wine more enjoyable.

      In any other circumstance I am against TV while eating, especially in a restaurant. However, I love to enjoy a fine meal while reading a good novel.

      1 Reply
      1. re: RealMenJulienne

        I am with you on reading. I don't know why, but i love to dine solo and read. In fact, if i am eating alone, i'm pretty much always reading something. It makes my food last longer, too.

      2. I admit, I am bad, after a 12 hour day of working and commuting, and then making dinner, I have only a few hours to relax, before starting the process over the next day. I do watch t.v. while I am eating on some nights while sitting on the couch, especially during baseball season, and the White Sox are playing a dinner time game. Other times the t.v. is left on in the other room while we eat at the table, especially if it is a meal that can be messy(ribs, pasta, etc).

        Dining out, at a white table cloth restaurant, there shouldnt be t.v.'s in the dining area, but in the bar area is ok.

        1 Reply
        1. re: swsidejim

          Ditto this post--all of it--except sub the Yankees (me) or the Phillies (DH) for the Sox.

          My place is so small, though, you're pretty much in the same room with the tv whether you're in the kitchen, dining area or living area :-/

        2. I've read this a couple of times and it comes down to you want what you want when and where you want it. Who doesn't, really?

          I can think of dozens of restaurants in my small-ish town of Charlottesville where there are no TVs. I can think of a handful where there are TVs, some of them showing sports, more of them showing 24 hour news.

          I also don't think one need admit to being bad if one watches television at home or at a restaurant while eating. What does it honestly matter? It doesn't, by itself, tell us anything about an individual.

          1. I usually have something on during dinner and sometimes have the weather on during breakfast. I usually have to read or look at something during my meals at home if I am alone, be it a book, newspaper, computer, or TV.

            As for restaurants, I am fine with them in the bar area or in more sports-bar/diner type places.

            The weirdest experience I had recently was going into a bar that had a big flatscreen up over the bar with the surveillance video of the sidewalk outside showing. It was a little too creepy for me.