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Apr 7, 2010 10:50 AM

Laptop slide show at a restaurant -- rude?

My SO wants to take his laptop to a restaurant where we are meeting his mother for lunch, so that he can show her some vacation pictures while we wait for our food. This will be at a fairly nice, quiet, uncrowded place, not a cafe with wireless internet. He thinks that the fact that it will be uncrowded and at lunchtime, makes it okay. And of course he'd close it and put it away when the food arrives. Still, it seems rude to me. I understand that he wants to have a topic of conversation while we wait, and we've certainly passed around photographs before -- but a laptop? Am I being silly?

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  1. As long as proper decorum is adhered to and the photos are PG rated, you're being silly.

    1. Seems ok to me. Same thing as passing around pictures, or even a solo diner reading a book. I don't see how it would bother anyone else in the restaurant. What about it seems rude to you?

      2 Replies
      1. re: carolinadawg

        I guess I'm (overly) sensitive about using electronics in public. Thanks for the quick reply.

        1. re: Glencora

          As long as your SO doesn't have these photos set to a soundtrack featuring Ted Nugent in a live performance of "Cat Scratch Fever" playing at full volume (because your SO insists that Ted and "CSF" must ALWAYS be played at full volume) then I think you're fine... ;-D>

      2. I can understand why the OP feels self-conscious. Some of us are reminded of work when we see the little screens at other tables. That being said, if the overall atmosphere of the restaurant compensates for the discomfort of the screen being displayed discreetly, I'd probably not mind at all.

        1. This may be obnoxious since others have already said that you can do this if you want but-I'm kind of sensitive to lights in a dark room. I don't usually confront anyone, but I'm usually doing an internal sadface about someone texting in front of me at the movies. But I wouldn't be bothered at all in a restaurant if you tilted the computer slightly away from the floor (toward the wall). Most laptops don't cast a wide swathe of light, and I wouldn't be bothered by your family showing pictures. I would say enjoy your family gathering.

          3 Replies
          1. re: ErnieD

            I would find it fairly obnoxious. Will you not be able to go elsewhere like either of your homes to view pictures?

            1. re: ErnieD

              Well, it's lunchtime so I doubt the dining room will be overly dark.

              To foodsnob, I see no difference in this and passing printed photos around. What IS the difference? And, no, one can't always go to someone's home.

              1. re: ErnieD

                I am sorry, but what place do you dine in that is so dark that a laptop casts a bright light, especially during lunch hour?

                I would find nothing wrong with showing some pics on a laptop, if it makes you feel better, pretend he is CEO and showing Powerpoints.
                yeah I think your're being silly about this. I can't see how it would be rude or to whom it would be rude to, but if he wants to walk around the room showing everyone your morning "Wakee!: face then I see an issue. :-)

              2. I think it might be an infringing distraction for diners seated close by. It certainly has the potential of being perceived as one. It doesn't matter what Chowhounders think. It matters to you what the diners at the resto think. Sounds like you'll be self conscious about coming across as rude. So to avoid, request a corner table in advance or have the resto seat you away fr other diners or or get a private room at the resto.

                Also, there's a possibility the resto may object. Ask in advance.

                2 Replies
                1. re: ilikefood

                  I am not sure how this is any different from a person coming in alone reading a book, paper,or looking at your iPhone. People do business lunches all the time and that has the potential to be a bit more distracting than a few people quietly looking at a laptop. It's one thing if you're going to a busy place in the evening, but this is a daytime lunch in a restaurant that isn't very busy.

                  1. re: queencru

                    queencru, If you can't see the difference, in terms of distraction, between a 15" "TV" on the table next to you and a book, I'm not going to debate the point. But that wasn't my point. My point was: there IS a possibility it might seem an improper distraction to a nearby diner, and the resto might not approve (small chance perhaps but why not easily avoid). Plus the OP, Glencora,seems self conscious about that. What's wrong with taking 1 or more of the easy steps I recommended to avoid any chance of taking away from what should be a totally enjoyable lunch?