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Air conditioning in the restaurant.

What *is* it with some people and air conditioning in restaurants? I understand that some are prone to getting cold (they should keep a cardigan in the car) but for goodness sake, what about the comfort of *other* diners.

It was a terribly hot July, last year, and I'd not been into the rear dining room of our restaurant for about an hour and a half. I walked in to see how everyone was doing, and what they were doing was sweating!

Now, I'm fat, so I become uncomfortably hot rather quickly. I asked a table of six if they were comfortable and they were glad I asked -- they were indeed sweating. I apologized, and asked if they'd like to change to a table in the larger, main dining room. I told them that there must be something wrong with the air conditioning unit in the dining room they were in -- and that's what I believed (I'd set the entire restaurant's generous compliment of air conditioning on 70 degrees that morning).

To my shock and amazement, the customers pointed to another table and said, "nope. there's nothing wrong with your air conditioning. The lady over there got up and turned it off."

When I went to look at the thermostat, indeed, it'd been messed with. In fact, the "heat" setting switch had been turned *on.* Now, in summer, the heat doesn't come on when the a/c units are powered up, but I was astounded that someone had actually put their hands *on my property.*

I set the unit back on, with the fan on "high" so the room would cool down. No sooner did I leave the room than the lady got *back up* and turned it off again (one of my servers told me about this).

When confronted about the second time she turned the a/c off, the customer blew up and started screaming (something I certainly wasn't ready for). She later placed a horrible, false story on CitySearch about our restaurant and how "roughly" she was treated. Her complaint? Her mother was cold. They didn't say anything to me nor the servers.

Now, this story is a "worst-case" scenario. However, I find it insulting when 80% of my diners are comfortable and yet one individual must complain about the air conditioning. We'll move people out of the way of vents/ducts, but heck, when it's 95 degrees out, and you "lose your cool," it's hard for the system to recover.

Do chowhounds have something to say about too cool/too hot in restaurants? And what're your favorite anecdotes.

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  1. I can't imagine taking it upon myself to turn up or down an AC/heating unit in a restaurant. I might ask the server for assistance IF there truly would be something that could be done about temperature but I'd be more likely to ask for a cold beverage or a hot cup of tea to bring my body temp to a comfortable level.

    What you describe above shaogo is just crazy nonsense and entitlement at its worst.

    1. Definitely, one should carry a wrap. I would rather put on a sweater, than have the AC turned down. However, if it's blowing so mightily that the food is being cooled off, I always ask the server - politely - to please turn it down.

      My favorite story is unfortunately at the expense of my sister - in - law. She starts out ALWAYS wearing a cardigan in a restaurant, shivering away, while the rest of us are quite comfortable. After she has a little wine and some dinner, her hot flashes kick in, and she is peeling off the sweater, and turning bright red and sweating. More than once, to her embarassment, the server reacts in an alarmed fashion! I'm much more sympathetic than her children, who can actually time when her hot flash will kick in!

      1. Three steps into a joint and it's hot(that includes too much heat in the winter) I'm out of there, don't care how good the food is.

        1. I am always cold in restaurants. Occasionally depending on where we are going to be eating if I am freezing when walking in and we are taken to a table that does have draft I have apologized and asked if we could be moved to another table if one is available. i only mention the temperature to the server is asked or if I see a lot of people shivering also.

          The one time that my husband was cold in a restaurant we actually asked if the temperature could be turned up a bit. he is NEVER cold and always looks at my like I am nuts though he has gotten used to it.

          I do however keep a blanket in the car for both movies and my legs in a restaurant if necessary.

          The place that about kills me though 9and most people see to feel the same way) is cruise ships. We are fans of cruising, but they are definitely a cold woman's worst nightmare!!!

          Shaogo, it must be the same in a lot of restaurants though. I have seen many establishments with clear plastic but locked boxes over the temperature units to prevent people from touching them. You may wish to consider one after this. I have also seen signs asking people to "not touch please." At the very least you may want to consider placing a sign that instructs people to ask their server for help if they are uncomfortable.

          Shaogo, I would have actually considered asking the woman to leave it if was my establishment! if she couldn't keep her hands to herself and let someone know there was a problem then it is a liability for you. If touching the temperature wasn't an issue for her then who knows what else she touched that day! NO ONE, absolutely no one has any business in any business establishment aside from a hotel room of touching.anything.

          It's sad, but you unfortunately need to treat some small groups of people out there exactly like the crazy warning signs on products!

          5 Replies
          1. re: Allice98

            Alice, I feel for you. I'm always cold -- in the wintertime. And it's hard to try to enjoy what one's doing (having a meal, shopping) when icy-cold.

            1. re: shaogo

              It's not really a big deal over all. I am rather used to it to be honest. Well, except the cruise ships. Brr!!

              Over all though I could never in my life imagine just going over and changing something that I didn't like is a restaurant myself just like if I were in someones home - except the toilet paper rolls that aren't rolling out in the right direction in peoples homes. It's the one thing I just can't keep my hands off of and have to change it! I just CAN'T control myself.

              1. re: Allice98

                just don't do that in a home where people have cats... its too long to explain, and off topic, but google it, you will understand.

                a friend has a restaurant and for some reason the thermostat is in the warmest corner in the dining room. people are always messing with it. he finally got one of those plastic covers, and has only had to replace it once so far.

                1. re: Allice98

                  Oh.. I do this too. And I judge them if I have to do it. Srsly.

                  1. re: Allice98

                    Which way is the "right way" for you? It varies. Luckily, the gf & i have 2 bathrooms so we do one in each direction. ;)

              2. I'm always cold, even with a cardigan. My husband and I frequent a nice restaurant with delicious food and very attentive servers. I once mentioned to the server that it was a bit chilly. He quickly ran over to the other servers and asked them to ask their tables if the temp was ok for them. Several tables mentioned it was chilly, and they raised the temp a bit.

                The server mentioned that they rely on the customers to tell them if it's chilly, because they're running from the tables to the kitchen, and are usually warm.

                21 Replies
                1. re: cheesecake17

                  I realize this is a generalization, but in my experience people from Western Europe are not accustomed to air conditioning the way people in the U.S. expect it to be--they seem to prefer the clammy sensation of perspiring...it doesn't sound, however, as if the lady in question was a tourist...

                  1. re: penthouse pup

                    It varies even within the US. I know plenty of people from the upper Midwest who don't really care for AC at all because they don't need it that much where they're from. I'm from FL and we always want it to be 72 or so inside. However, we don't get why when it's cold out, it's always 80+ with the heat on (or so it seems).

                    1. re: penthouse pup

                      You betcha. While I am much more of a convert to a/c than I used to be, I still find the level of cold in restos (or, much worse, huge-ass stores like Lowe's, or Home Depot -- what a massive waste of energy) ridiculous.

                      Why people feel like restos need temps near refrigeration indoors during the summer is beyond me. But hey, I'm German.

                      What about setting the a/c to the reasonable temp of 73 or 74 -- just like you would your heat in the winter?

                      1. re: linguafood

                        Some of us don't set the heat to 73-74 in the winter ;) I usually have mine set to about 65, which happens to be the temp I often set things to in the summer. Heck, I start whining about "the heat" when it gets above 70 outside :)

                        1. re: jgg13

                          Ha. I must be one of them cold women, then. My husband thinks 73 is too warm. OTOH, any self-respecting German keeps the bedroom window open, even in the deepest winter. Which my man hates.

                          Ah, different cultures '-D

                          1. re: linguafood

                            Hah. I once had a roomate who was my exact opposite. She's not digging summer until it passes 90, she likes to keep things in the mid-70s at least inside. There were many times when I was in shorts & tshirt and she was all bundled up. Luckily, we were extremely close friends, otherwise we probably would have killed each other.

                            1. re: jgg13

                              I'm like your roomate. I am always running cold. If the a/c ihas to be on, I like it about 78 or 79, DH likes it much lower. I prefer hot weather over cold and take a jacket with me everywhere. Especially if I'm shopping, going to the movies, or eating out. Even if it's 90 out, most places have the a/c cranked up way to high for me. My oldest daughter on the other hand runs hot, she hates wearing a coat in the winter and her & DH have the worst disagreements about it, he doesn't understand people have different internal body temps.

                            2. re: linguafood

                              That explains why my Dad and I both do that. It really bugs my Mom, who's always cold, but luckily my SO of French heritage is perfectly fine with fresh air!

                              1. re: linguafood

                                You're so right! My German-born husband insists on having the bedroom window open no matter how cold it is outside. I guess I just never slept with an open window growing up. After 26 years I have to say that not only have I gotten used to it but I actually miss it when he's out of town. (I know its silly but when I'm home alone overnight I don't like having the window open.) There's just something about that cool (cold!) fresh air in the bedroom while you're all snuggly warm under the comforter. Aaahh...

                            3. re: linguafood

                              linguafood, while I don't care personally for air conditioning it is often set a a temperature that the servers find comfortable while running around. They can't stop to cool down for a bit like you could at home.

                              I try to grin and bear it for the servers sake.

                              1. re: Allice98

                                That's a good point, Allice. Hadn't thought of that.

                                My first encounter with a/c was in Florida in 97. It was a very pleasant 80˚ out, and we went to a Perkins (no comment) for lunch. I had been wearing shorts and a tank top, and the second we stepped inside, I thought I had just entered a freezer.

                                Then again, I get cold at Wegmans in the meat & fish aisle. Brrrrrrrr.

                                1. re: Allice98

                                  good point Allice98, and I can relate in a different environment, which is why I also sweater up unless everyone else seems to be freezing too. Until recently I was working in a training environment, and rooms that would be comfortable to the audience, could be mighty hot for those up on their feet in front of the AV equipment etc. Didn't stop people from complaining about how cold it was on super hot days though.

                                  1. re: Allice98

                                    Not too mention if it's a bit cool it discourages "camping". :)

                              2. re: cheesecake17

                                I'm always cold too. It's a miserable way to live. I bring sweaters and coats with me everywhere. i hate a/c. But unless I see other people shivering or hear people talking about how cold it is, I don't say anything because everyone else seems to enjoy their beautiful, hot summer by turning the a/c down to like 60 degrees. I don't get it.

                                1. re: rockandroller1

                                  Those are always the same people proclaiming how much they love summer and they look at me in disgust when i say summer is by far my least favorite season. I don't like hot weather at all. They then look at me in disgust again when I say that I happen to enjoy winter. "But it so cold then!" they proclaim!

                                  I don't get them, they don't get me. I love cold weather - just not air conditioning. The cold air from air conditioning feels far different to me and real cold weather.

                                  1. re: Allice98

                                    Florida summer is pretty miserable and in some parts lasts a good 5 to 6 months. I also lived in southern Japan and worked in a school with no AC and lived in an apartment with a bad AC. I joined a gym just so I could experience cooler weather. It was just so exhausting to be hot 24/7 with no real relief.

                                    I agree that the real cold is a different feel- like I can wear short sleeves in the high 60s on a sunny day and feel warm, but that temperature inside during the summer is pretty unpleasant.

                                    1. re: queencru

                                      I don't ever want to be in FLA in the summer. We were there late April / early May, so it was nice and pleasant, and not humid at all.

                                      Here in PA, the humidity drives me crazy, much more so than the heat. So I do appreciate the idea of a/c... just not the extremes to which it is taken.

                                      1. re: linguafood

                                        I think part of the problem is that thermostats are often set in areas that tend to be cooler (away from windows). Often times you have to set them much lower in order to account for the sun beating in. I lived in one place where I had to set the thermostat at 70 just to keep the upstairs below 80 in the afternoon/evening. When you have one unit cooling a large area, often parts end up being very cold while others are slightly too warm.

                                    2. re: Allice98

                                      Allice, we should start a club. We have had a less than hot summer and I have been enjoying it. I have actually been able to sit out on my balcony and walk around the neighbourhood without wilting. When it turned hot, some people in my office were saying, finally, summer, while I was getting grumpy. Of course, those are the same people that look at me like I have two heads when I walk to work in the depths of winter (and enjoy it).

                                      That being said, I hate overly cold indoor spaces in the summer.

                                    3. re: rockandroller1

                                      I am with you, rockandroller1. I don't understand why after 6 months winter, people turn the a/c to the same temperature once it's getting a little bit warmer. I have, yet to enjoy summer here, in Toronto. It may never happen, though.

                                      If it's too cold in a restaurant, I leave.

                                    1. I absolutely hate it when people take it upon themselves to modify the environment of a shared space, and triply so if it was not truly "shared" as in your story. At my work cafeteria, they have a few TVs on all the time, usually showing CNN. It seems like at least once a week I'll see someone walk up and just change the channel, change the volume, or turn it off. Hey, I was watching that! ... It just strikes me as extremely self-centered and rude to modify a shared group environment to suit your own whim.

                                      25 Replies
                                      1. re: jgg13

                                        I'm with you, jgg13!

                                        I believe that those who ask servers/managers to alter the temperature of a room, *just for them,* are committing the same transgression that you've described with the workplace television sets.

                                        One thing I must add, by way of qualification: like I said, I'm kinda fat, so I've got plenty of insulation. In the summer I like the a/c in my office to be set at 68 -- but in the winter I set the heat on 72! Crazy? Yep. But that's me.

                                        1. re: shaogo

                                          On the asking the server front - I like what someone else mentioned above, where that led the server to ask the other servers to ask their customers. The server can always go back and diplomatically say "it's just you, sorry"

                                          1. re: shaogo

                                            thing is, hot and cold are subjective, turning off a TV while there is someone directly looking at it, not so much.

                                            I see a problem with the original situation where the diner took it upon themselves to adjust the restaurant's temp without asking (although who knows why she did it, maybe Mom just got out of hospital or something), but asking a server/manager.....no insult there as far as i'm concerned. How exactly is the diner supposed to know that 80% of other diners are too warm ? Should one stand and holler in the restaurant, and take a poll, before proceeding to ask the server? If I feel really cold, how am I to know that no one else feels that way. I could be seated directly under a heating/air vent, and my senses are altered as a result.

                                            I once went on a first date with a guy and sat in his car as we drove to our destination while I wondered incessantly why I was so hot, and whether there was something wrong with me, I felt like I was on fire, and not in a good way. He had put the heat and heated seats on my side on blast on his way to pick me up, and forgot to turn them off. I suffered in silence and I think I came close to a butt burn, until I couldn't take it any more and spoke up.

                                            Just sayin' you never know. And if never hurts to ask.

                                            1. re: shaogo

                                              People who are cold-sensitive know it and can always dress accordingly. Those who are always too hot (like me) can't strip down when they're only wearing one layer. I wear shorts once it hits 60 and don't own a heavy coat (I live near Boston). Anything over 65 degrees and I'm too hot. If I walk into a hot restaurant I do a U-turn and leave - otherwise, I ask to be seated in the coolest spot. No reason why those who are always cold can't ask for a table in the warmest location in the restaurant. And they should NEVER ask the heat to be adjusted to their liking, as they can compensate with clothing.

                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                "And they should NEVER ask the heat to be adjusted to their liking"

                                                What's the harm in asking?

                                                1. re: lisavf

                                                  Very simple: to turn the heat up or AC down, as the case may be, will make it too hot for those who can't adjust their clothing. Common courtesy would be for the person who CAN to be the one to adapt to the preference/need of the ones who can't.

                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                    If you go into a restaurant when it's 95 degrees out and it's 65 degrees inside (which is cold even for restaurants) how are you going to be prepared to put on a sweater? I think once you get to the restaurant, everyone is in the same boat with you in terms of possible clothing changes. There's no harm in asking the server if he feels it's a little cold. I know I've had servers ask me what I think of the temperature, and I can only assume it's because someone else in his section made a comment about it and he's polling to see what others think.

                                                    1. re: queencru

                                                      Worked in a recording studio where it was better for equipment to be at constant temp. Rule was if you are cold, put something on, if hot take something off. Temp was around 70 at all times.
                                                      When running a marathon then perfect temp in shorts and shirt is 55 degrees.

                                                    2. re: greygarious

                                                      W/ the roomate I mentioned above, that was basically the deciding line. I'd point out that I could only remove so many clothes while remaining decent, while she could always add clothes.

                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                        I have a fair question though - it is OK for you who are always warmer to request that the temp be truned down for you? I am not going to bash you for your response. I am just curious to know if this goes both ways.

                                                        1. re: Allice98

                                                          I have never asked - but as I said, if it's hot when I walk in, I ask for a table in the coolest spot and if I arrive at the table and it's still too hot, I nicely explain that I will not be staying, and why. No restaurant has ever offered to lower the temp. I don't expect them to cater to my internal thermostat, much less would I want other people to be uncomfortable when I'm the one with the atypical comfort level. So it bugs me even more when people who COULD carry a sweater instead disregard the comfort of others and expect their own to take precedence.

                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                            I carry a sweater. Even keep a blanket in the car. I dress appropriately for restaurants that I at least ahead of time I know I will be going to.

                                                            I even carry a bag with me when I travel around that has a sweater in it so that I am prepared. friends all make jokes about it.

                                                            Still sucks when you are cold and your fingertips turn blue while eating.

                                                            For the record I keep my house temp much lower in winter then any restauant. I promise that I don't expect any restaurant to cater to my temperature needs. I will ask if iIcould please be moved and have only ever asked one time for the temperatue to be turned down - when my never ever cold husband was freezing to death.

                                                            1. re: Allice98

                                                              Well, you're doing the best you can then, and I can sympathize with your discomfort when you're still too cold. Too bad not everyone is as thoughtful as you are:-D. BTW, I set my thermostats at 62 in winter but I have electric heat and a dog door which leaks air, so if it's single digits outside, even cranking the heat all the way up to 85 leaves me wearing
                                                              sweaters and blankets, and the dogs wearing coats 24/7.

                                                        2. re: greygarious

                                                          I understand what you're saying, which is why I generally carry a sweater with me, even in the hottest days of summer. But I don't think there's any harm in asking. It may be that everyone in the restaurant is cold, but no one wants to be the one to complain. Or the server may offer to seat you in a different section. I don't see the harm in asking. The servers can always decline. Now, demanding, on the other hand, would be wrong.

                                                      2. re: greygarious

                                                        I am getting a headache when it's too cold in the room. How can I put a sweater on it?????

                                                        1. re: blue bike

                                                          please, sweaters are so last year. Your headache needs a Snuggie.

                                                          1. re: im_nomad

                                                            Ha! im_nomad, I think you've stumbled upon the perfect answer for me! I'm usually cold in restaurants, movie theaters, etc., and I always take a jacket along, especially when its HOT outside because that seems to be when everyone turns the AC up even more. Now I know I need a Snuggie! It's a jacket, it's a blanket, it's a head scarf, it's a shawl!! Perfect! :o)

                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                              No hats at the dinner table! I am sure I am not the only one who grew up with that rule.

                                                              1. re: babette feasts

                                                                Heck, no hats indoors. Jfood takes off his baseball hat if he is wearing one when he enters a clothing store.

                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                  I salute jfood's impeccable etiquette, but the "no hats indoors" rule is rarely observed anymore, and never applied to women, who seem to be the ones most troubled by cold.

                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                    What about at a birthday party? No hat?

                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                        I lived in Dallas for three years, in graduate school. Land of big hats and belt buckles. They do not take off hats even at movies.

                                                          2. re: shaogo

                                                            A restaurant I worked at for many years kept the thermostats under lock and key. Only management could adjust the temp. Servers used to get bar straws and stick them in the vents on the thermostat covers and try and adjust the temp.

                                                        2. Wow! I get cold really easily, and i know this, so it is much easier for me to just bring a light sweater in with me as opposed to finding a remedy for my husband's getting hot too easily. I cannot believe the lady did that!

                                                          1. Restaurants are almost always freezing... but I'd never go fiddle with the air-conditioning! Or for that matter, expect them to turn it down on my behalf. I take a light jacket with me and all is well. That woman was beyond rude!

                                                            1. Ok, I confess...you've hit a nerve. I am almost never too hot..even though I am at the age where hot flashes are supposed to occur. I have other symptoms of my years, but rarely do I feel excessive heat. I live in Las Vegas, remember? And I don't even start thinking its hot outside until it hits the triple digits...

                                                              But unfortunately I DO get cold easily...and have been known to ask a restaurant if they can turn down the AC. I wouldn't do it myself.

                                                              BUT that being said, I do have a pet peeve...more like an obsession: fans. I HATE fans and/or vents that are blowing directly on me. I have been known to take a fan in a health club and turn it around so that it won't blow on me. The first thing I do in an airplane is turn off the fan thingie overhead. So if I'm seated at a table where a fan is blowing nearby, I WILL ask to be moved. Sometimes just changing seats with DH is all it takes...its not the fan I mind, its the fan blowing ON me. Gives me the willies. And yes, I'm vocal about it. So I have to confess: if you seat me near a fan, and won't move me so that it's not blowing on me, I'm likely to leave. And I might not be horribly nice about it...like I said, fans give me the creeps if they blow on me. But I won't turn off someone else's A/C unless its a private dining room. And please forgive me if I AM less than nice about it. I am not responsible for my actions when a fan blows on me. I wonder if this woman has a similar problem with cold.....

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: janetofreno

                                                                "Chaconne a sa gust"! ;-) The ceiling fan hasn't been turned off (except for cleaning the blades) since it was installed 25 years ago, and I am not happy unless there is at least one fan blowing directly at me. I even carry a tiny battery fan in my purse. Between us, we keep the universe in balance....

                                                              2. Asking for the temperature to be increased or decreased but be prepared for either answer to this question, yes or no. But NEVER touch a thermostat anywhere other than your own home or your hotel room.

                                                                1. This is appalling behavior on the part ofthe customer. I am of the always hot variety and what drives me crazy is restaurants which do not turn on the AC until it's absolutely necessary, or unless there are a good number of patrons in the place. This is commonly done in NYC at regular-level restaurants streetfront -type and I hate it. Turn on the damn AC already!

                                                                  1. I would never presume to get up and change the temperature in a restaurant. BUT .... without exaggeration, 90% of the time, I am freezing in restaurants. Even when I bring and wear a sweater. When it is particularly bad, I ask the server if anything can be done. Again, 90% of the time, the answer is no. Sometimes, it has been so bad that I've left without ordering or before finishing my meal, or have decided to forgo dessert. It sucks. :-(

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                      It's an American thing. No such issues in Europe, generally. Of course, there you often have the reverse problem...

                                                                      1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                        My wife is the same way, and always brings a shawl or something to throw on if (as is usually the case) the AC is cranked up too much for comfort.

                                                                        1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                          Like you charmed, I am also always freezing in restaurants, winter through summer. When its just a pub or a neighbourhood place, I anticipate the cold and always wear a couple extra layers or a sweater, but sometimes if I'm going out on a "date dinner" to somewhere more upscale and I have taken the time to pretty myself up in a little dress, theirs sometimes less I can do to warm up (even if I wear a shall or little sweater, my legs are generally bear and cold). It really is a frustrating thing for me as I would NEVER sit down to eat if I were the least bit cold in my own house. I just can't enjoy it.

                                                                        2. The AC in restaurants is only sometimes a bother to me. I’d rather be a little chilly than sweaty eating a meal. I rarely complain and usually carry a sweatshirt in the car. Fancier places I’ll be collared up and jacketed so being cold is not a problem. Ceiling fans are what bug me the most when they’re turned up full blast.

                                                                          I remember dining one night when seated underneath an AC duct. It dripped on a lady in the party and we asked to move, but there was no where else to go. We understood but vowed not to be seated there the next time.

                                                                          (They did, accidentally, try to warm her up by spilling a little hot tea down her back. It wasn’t the most pleasant dining experience, but we chalked it up to “just one of those days”. They were very accommodating about the whole thing and IIRC they comped her meal.)

                                                                          1. At the country club I used to work at, Weekends were the busiest times, especially Sundays. After a long day, some members simply refused to leave the dining room. To get them out, we cranked up the AC on full blast HIGH and froze them out. Some would always request to have it shut off, but I would tell them we were preparing the room for a party and flowers were being brought in. Worked every time.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: fourunder

                                                                              Might have backfired with my family.... we love flowers and might have tried to stick around to see them! LOL!

                                                                              1. re: Allice98

                                                                                Sorry Allice.....just in case, I guess I should have been more clear....I was lying...I was just fibbing to get them out....but I';I guess again and state you already knew that. :)

                                                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                                                  I know that you were lying... But if I was a guest and didn't know I might have tried to stay. We really are suckers for arrangements.

                                                                            2. I think it is incredibly rude to get up and alter the air/heat yourself when it is clearly not your property. However, I am a healthy 29 year old woman and I must say that in general, I find most restaurants far too cold. I almost always bring a sweater with me when dining out because I assume the air will be unreasonably high. However, there have been times when I have been so cold (even with a sweater) that I have had to ask the waiter to turn down the air. Should a restaurant put the needs of one customer above those of all their patrons? Probably not. But at that point I would probably just leave, rather then sit through a meal shivering.

                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                                Ms. F

                                                                                I applaud you for your recognition of the house will most probably have the AC on and have the foresight to bring the sweater should it be too uncomfortable for you to enjoy your meal otherwise. I can tell you from experience, you are in the minority.

                                                                                It is my belief being too hot (and perspiring profusely) is the most uncomfortable feeling in a restaurant and also the most unappealing site to see and be next to....reasons why I am sure the restaurants keep the temperature down in the warmer months.

                                                                                A question for you out of curiosity. Instead of leaving the restaurant, would you consider staying if the house offered you a hot beverage, e.g., tea or coffee, for you to sip or hold? Gratis of course.

                                                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                                                  Why a resto's a/c would *have* to be so cold as to necessitate a hot beverage to warm up (while it's summer outside) is something I will never, ever understand. Ridiculous.

                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                    Why a resto's a/c would *have* to be so cold as to necessitate a hot beverage to warm up (while it's summer outside) is something I will never, ever understand. Ridiculous.
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                                                                                    The restaurant's HVAC system is what it is. 70* is 70* and 65* is 65*. The patrons react to climate and temperature differently. What's cold to one is comfortable for others. Most larger framed people tend not to feel cold....like svelte framed or the elderly. Ms Friedman admits to being cold when the AC is on.....who knows what temperature the dial is set on. When a customer is cold, you do your best to make here feel better and or more comfortable....what's ridiculous about that. Even Ms F points out she may be the only one who is cold and not others in the place.

                                                                                    Offering a hot beverage is a compromise for customer service and hopefully satisfaction.

                                                                                    There are many like myself, who will not eat in any restaurant that does not turn on it's air conditioner during the summer months....I can only surmise to save on utilities....Now that's ridiculous.

                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                      Because sweaty servers aren't exactly appetizing.

                                                                                2. You need to get yourself one of those plastic lock boxes to go over your thermostats: they require a key to open and change the settings. I would've tossed that person out on the street. The nerve!

                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                    FYI pikawicca.......you can easily adjust the temperature setting with a butter knife through a side slot in the plastic cover in most cases. The lock box is a security product that really doesn't work.

                                                                                    1. re: fourunder

                                                                                      You can also do this with the handle of a plastic fork. Most diners will not know this, and even if they do, only the most shameless would care to be seen in public attacking a thermostat with a piece of cutlery.

                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                          I don't think these creeps are Chowhounds, but if some are, mea culpa. (And I know that you post in jest, jfood, even without the (double!) smiley.)

                                                                                      1. re: fourunder

                                                                                        OMG pikawicca! I used to do this all the time at work, but I used a long metal letter opener! I became such an expert at it! Thankfully, they finally removed the plastic cover and just let us control the temperature in the offices. We'd had a maintenance/property guy at our workplace who was a little bit of a control freak and he was the one who installed all those security covers. He was the one who decided what temperature he thought would be good for all us women in the office. We were pretty happy when he left for greener pastures...

                                                                                    2. I am one of those native midwesterners who really doesn't care for A/C. The only problem is that now I live in Houston where everyone seems to LOVE their A/C. Thankfully this summer it has been so hot here for so long (worse then usual), and with the economy being down a lot of places have had to turn up the temperature to something that actually seems reasonable to me. Funny thing is a lot of stores like Target have resorted to posting signs on their doors apologizing for having to turn up the temperature to conserve energy. Personally I've thought it was great not having to spend my entire summer with goosebumps or wrapped in a sweater.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: cycloneillini

                                                                                        Oh my gosh- reading this makes me swelter! When I was 24 I went to visit an old roommate in Alaska, and spent two weeks eating king crab and caught-that-day salmon, and razor clams. The odd thing is, I've never been cold since. Fast forward several years, add some weight and hot flashes, and I've really gotten averse to being over-warm in a breeze-free place. When I get hot, my head sweats and it runs down my face and I find that humiliating. One can't always put on a headband. Food warms me up, even if I did get cold- a cocktail and some food is the cure.

                                                                                      2. The issue isn't whether or not the room was too cold for a particular patron, the issue is that the patron took it upon herself to adust a piece of equipment that clearly belonged to the restaurant. Maybe it's in the restaurant's best interest to keep a few shawls available for chilly customers, but it should have been made abundantly clear to the patron that under no circumstance was she to touch the thermostat. I can hear my mother saying "can you imagine the gall?".....