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Happy feet in the booth behind you--what to do?

Immediately after sitting in a booth for lunch at the local brewpub, my seat started shaking. I mentioned in a slightly elevated tone that someone had had way too much caffeine for breakfast, to no avail. When the waiter came by and asked if he could take our drink order, I mentioned that I was having a bit of trouble due to Mr. Happy Feet behind me shaking the table. The waiter looked perplexed, and said he would come back in a few minutes. I switched sides with my husband, who wasn't experiencing the same. After the food was served, this side of the booth was shaking. I couldn't enjoy eating because it felt like I was on one of those motel beds from the 70's with quarter slots.

Behind me the first time was a booth of 4 people in their mid-20s; the second one, a 60-something male (just to clarify that these weren't children).

Obviously, the booths should be more stable. They're tall, so you can't turn around to say something to the person behind you, but would have to get up.

What is a polite but effective way to ask someone to stop rattling the booth?

(if this has already been covered elsewhere, apologies!)

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  1. You're starting to make me laugh - people shaking booths, people with thick lower lips who might drool in your food, and people (like a lot of southerners, e.g., fence = fay ence) who add in sylables to words. You better go back to bed.

    There is probably nothing polite that can be done. It is the same with people kneeing or jerking your seat back in a plane; and what can you do with those people who, walking down the aisle, have to use your seat back as a crutch? Nice if you're sleeping.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

      I once witnessed a rare, all out food fight one late night in a Denny's over just this issue of booth bangers. Grand Slam sausages were flying like bullets; shrapnel from fried eggs and pancakes was everywhere.

      1. re: Veggo

        You reminded me of Kathleen from Oklahoma who used to live with us in the Echo street house in Fresno and who worked as a server ("waitress" back then) at Denny's and who said in her thick accent that she could always tell when there was a full moon out because it brought out all the weirdos and the weirdness in otherwise ordinary people.

        1. re: Veggo

          Sam: You forgot that I find ketchup overrated
          Veggo: Food fight? I guess I could have tossed food over the back of the booth, as I wasn't able to eat much of it anyway.

          1. re: Veggo

            Eggs flying like shrapnel? Must have been over hard instead of sunny side up.

            1. re: Veggo

              Fried egg shrapnel.. Monty Python instantly came to mind...

              Captain Snapper-Organs: What news from the patrol, Sergeant?

              Sergeant Mucilage: We encountered the enemy in Sector 6, sir.

              Captain: Any casualties?

              Sergeant: Just one, sir.. Billy.

              Captain: Not Billy!

              Sergeant: Yes sir.. 'e got a full barrage of Oeufs Mornay.

              Captain: Good God!

              Sergeant: Oh, it was 'orrible, sir - the Bechamel au fromage just drippin' off 'im as 'e laid there..

              etc., etc.

          2. I feel your pain. I think the easiest thing to do would be to ask to move tables if it is possible.

            If this is not possible, I guess you just have to screw up your courage and politely ask the other table to stop shaking their feet. I don't know how effective that would be, as some people shake their feet as an unconscious reflex. Just a bad habit they have developed. Even if you ask them to stop, and they agree, they will almost certainly start again without even realizing.

            Worse would be if the shaking was due to some medical reason, like Parkinson's. Then the person really can't help it. Then I would feel terrible if I had asked them to stop.

            Personally, I would not ask them to stop, I'd just suck it up, and chalk it up as a bad night. I'd either ask to move, or I'd deal with it. It is not worth asking them to stop, in case of the scenarios above, or in case they react badly and get angry with me for asking. But I know how annoying this can be, and I sympathize.

            Oh to travel with Veggo and witness late-night food fights! My meals are never so interesting...

            1. id say to ask them nicely if there is any way they could stop it.

              3 Replies
              1. re: thew

                Unfortunately you run the risk of that person's not actually being able to control their movements -- Parkisons or the like. A kid is another thing altogether because that's just usually bad behabvior, but you need to tread lightly with adults because of potential disability issues. It is odd that you would get to different hyperkinetic parties in a row, though. I'd just ask to change tables.

                1. re: PattiCakes

                  why is that a risk? if they cannot control it they will tell you so. people with disabilities know they have them, honestly they do. and every one i have ever known would rather people acknowledge them than pretend they dont exist. If you ask nicely, they will usually explain nicely, and then you can decide if you want to stay or move afterwords.

                  1. re: thew

                    Sorry if that seemed condescending. That wasn't my intention.

              2. Thanks for the responses.

                I should have simply asked to move, because its ridiculous to sit at a table to eat and be unable to actually eat.

                (and Sam, there are plenty of people with mighty purty lips who don't speak as though they're about to drool and most of the southerners I know--in laws included--do not add additional syllables to words unless they're doing exaggerated Minnie Pearl/Gomer Pile imitations)

                8 Replies
                1. re: Caralien

                  Be grateful it was not flatulence... I had the misfortune to sit 6 inches from a man at a restaurant who must have eaten burritos earlier, and was singing its praises from his posterior orifice for my entire meal. It made it very difficult to enjoy my dinner.

                  Looking back now it seems almost comical.

                  1. re: gryphonskeeper

                    Was that my husband??? I am so sorry for his aria at dinner. He likes to do that in the grocery store too, about six steps ahead of me. I do not find it funny when he does this.

                    1. re: tmlarsen

                      I think we married the same man! My husband will do that...and quickly walk away/// with this look on his face like... OOOOps!

                      1. re: gryphonskeeper

                        the correct terminology for this move is "crop dusting". Yes, the gene that finds this entertaining is found on the Y chromosome. Also, doesnt seem to deminish in entertainment value as one gets older, so welcome to the rest of your life!!:-)

                        1. re: nkeane

                          Oh thank you all, tears of laughter are running down my face-Happy Holidays

                          1. re: BeefeaterRocks

                            To you as well! Indulge and enjoy! There are no calories at Christmas!

                            1. re: gryphonskeeper

                              I do find farts funny because I have a 3 year old's sense of humour; my husband shares the same gene, and made an iPhone whoopie cushion app. The smell, however...

                              Not fun, however, when moving through places, ie airport. Walking, eh. Move around, then it's still ahead. Try to move past. SO doesn't get why you're moving so fast, but you can't explain.

                          2. re: nkeane

                            I'm laughing - yes, out loud. When we were kids and we were out in a department store, my older brother used to say "Let's go!", then move quickly out of the immediate area. I'd ask "Why?" Well, he only had to answer the first couple of times (always smirked). After that, it was "Let's go!" and immediately both of us were on the move (both smirking). We couldn't tell Mom, she would never have approved. I'm sure he still does it but he lives so far away now. Must be entertaining his kids the same way.

                  2. Ask for another table. If not there is nothing wrong with asking the person politely to stop after explaining the situation. Sometimes jfood does this when he crosses his leg at the knee and does not realize it.

                    If you are nice to them they should be nice to you.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jfood

                      Whenever I USED TO encounter an annoyance as kicking the base, nervous leg syndrome or kids jumping.....I simply turn around and say "Excuse me, but would you please not do that....worked every time for me.....but I actually found I had more problems in movie theaters with the person sitting next to me with this problem

                      As for my for my comment to "USED TO"......Whenever I get seated in a restaurant, diner and etc.......if the host/hostess gives me a table at a booth, I always decline and ask for a four top table.....if one is not available, I will patiently wait. For me, I just find booths uncomfortable.

                    2. I feel your pain! I'd try to politely ask them to stop, or I'd ask to move because I have a problem with my inner ear and jiggling like that makes me ill! I have a girlfriend who does that -- it makes me kind of nuts when she's in that kind of mood. Fortunately I can just look at her and tell her to knock it off.

                      1. The passive-aggressive approach -- mentioning the over-caffeination loudly -- never works and is kind of rude. You don't want to match rude with rude.

                        Ask the waiter extremely politely if you can move to another table or booth. You do not have to say why unless the waiter asks and he shouldn't. Just smile nicely and ask for another booth

                        if you can't move, leave and go to another restaurant. It's not worth the aggravation.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: taos

                          The 20-somethings were probably jumpered from their afternoon IV-romp at $tar$, completely entertained by Caralien's indirect aerial strafing. Speaking to the waiter didn't help. Swapping sides only provided another sewing machiner an opportunity to annoy her.

                          Asking for a new booth, or a table, was the only other option.

                          My wife also is very sensitive to transfer tremors, from feet under the car seat to the type Caralien mentions. I've learned it's better to ask the host/ess for another seat if she starts to frown and then prairie dog it.

                          1. re: The Ranger

                            and of course once you start to notice something annoying like that, you just start to notice it more and more until the annoying thing just takes over your brain.....

                            1. re: PattiCakes

                              My lead dense posterior doesn't allow for such things. :)

                            2. re: The Ranger

                              There was always the option to leave.

                              1. re: taos

                                If that were a viable option, then more would take advantage of it (being the least confrontational and possibly the most passive-aggressive response).

                                1. re: The Ranger

                                  Ranger--I must be like your wife, as I notice things and my husband doesn't.
                                  Taos--We really should have asked to move, but it was supposed to be a quick lunch when Jim had to work during the weekend (hence, let's not try to be a pain in the behind because we're already stressed and this was supposed to be a relaxing but quick break in a place with great burgers...

                                  Thanks all, and I hope you had a great holiday!

                          2. oh my.....i feel your pain. I've always thought i've had a touch of ADHD because i'm SO easily distracted by that stuff, particularly those kind of repetetive motions like the back of seat kickers and knee jostlers. Once I notice it, I have a hard time ignoring it. I don't know how i got through university with all the pencil tapping and knee shaking and shuffling that went on during exams.

                            You could always push back? Then again, some people like that stuff, I have a friend who says she finds it relaxing if someone is shaking her chair or poking knees into her back on the airplane. I wish !

                            1. What great and sympathetic responses. It seems everyone can relate. I play cards in tournaments and sometimes my opponents try to distract me in various irritating ways. I just grin but who needs that when out for a relaxing meal? I've been lucky lately, nothing except an after shave attack after my food had just arrived and I was pressed for time. I had to suck it up that time. In these hard economic times it is one more reason to eat at home more or get take out. Less randomness I like to think, but at my house, maybe not. :)