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Disruptive Crowds at a Restaurant

So, we just got back from dinner at a local restaurant that we frequent a lot.l We were seated a few tables in front of a crowd of 8 plus a baby. There were others in the restaurant, and two other couples outside with us. This group was very loud, which wasn't so bad, but one guy the one doing most of the talking(yelling) kept dropping the f-bomb. It was very annoying, the man in front of us was getting up to say something to them, but his wife stopped him, and another couple kept looking back at them. One of the waitresses walked up to us , and I asked her to say something, she went over there but I don't know what she said or if she even understood what I said.

Anyway, as we were leaving I walked over there and said that it was great that they were having a nice time enjoying themselves. I then said it would be nice if their friend wouldn't drop the f-bomb all the time as it made our dinner not enjoyable. I was very nice and quiet, one guy just got so defensive and said that this was a public place and that they could do whatever they wanted and I could have just gotten up and left. There were eight of them and they just went off, and these two guys wouldn't let up.

Grant it, I probably shouldn't have gone over there, but I was very nice, and they just got so nasty. What would you have said or done?

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  1. I would have asked for the manager, told him/her that I was a regular, and if they couldn't seat me somewhere out of the area of the boisterous, trash talker I would not come back again.
    Was the party drinking heavily which lead to the loudness? This happened years ago to my family. Nobody did anything, just let it go and quietly endured the situation. One of the members of the party got into the car, after drinking and making a scene, and promptly caused an accident that resulted in major injuries. Perhaps more people need to speak up.

    5 Replies
    1. re: latindancer

      They were drinking, and they had a new baby, which was the child of the most obnoxious one. Unfortunately, the restaurant is an ethnic one and the people working don't understand a lot of English, didn't want to deal with the situation.

      1. re: paprkutr

        All the more reason to make sure the obnoxious drinker didn't get in to a car and drive away with a new baby. What if....? Regardless of whether they don't 'understand alot of English...
        there are lots of avenues to go down with this one.

        1. re: latindancer

          i'm not clear about how confronting an obnoxious drinker would prevent him/her from getting into a car with a baby and driving away. (oh, that it would be that easy)

          1. re: latindancer

            Dear dancer, "Lots of Avenues" , well you have mentioned none. Lets be careful here that we, you do not make the injured and innocent party responsible for mitigation of the situation. Exactly westsidegal, I am not clear on that either!

        2. re: latindancer

          I agree -- I think it's the job of the restaurant manager to make sure customers are taken care of. Let him or her be the "bad guy."

        3. You gotta be able to read people. If you sensed that they were approachable then you did the right thing. On the otherhand some guys are what they appear to be and are best left alone. When I'm in this situation I'll often utter a sharp "YO!" to get the party's attention that they've crossed a line. If that doesn't help change their behavior I leave it alone.

          1. That sucks paprkulr. Makes me glad I cook more at home these days. This has happened to me many times over the years and so I've gotten very picky about my table. It's become almost a strategy game for me. If I think a group is likely to get out of hand I simply won't be seated near them, I'd rather leave if that is my choice.
            I've learned not to bet on a loud group leaving soon just because the waiter is clearing away their dessert dishes. Big mistake. The last time I got trapped in a bad situation was not an f bomb but an aftershave bomb.
            After my friend and I were seated and had ordered, an elderly couple was seated in the next booth and the old guy must have dumped some men's cologne or aftershave over his head. Our food came shortly after and it was one of those rare times when we really had to eat and get on to the next thing on our quest log or I would have tried to pick a little and then get it to go. I couldn't taste my food because of the cologne in the air. It was a small place and I don't know if another seat would have helped. I just had to do the food as fuel thing and move on. As for confronting them, sounds like they all packed up on you like wolves. This is probably not a good idea but I wonder what would have happened if you had pretended to make a u tube of their behavior? Probably would have incited a riot or something.
            If it wasn't so loud you could have pretended to complain about them to someone on your phone. Probably would not have worked either. Sorry that happened to you.

            1. Sorry to hear about your experience. You're not the first, you won't be the last.

              1. I would have been that woman who stopped her husband if he tried to say something. Not a good idea to confront an obnoxious stranger who has been drinking. Especially one in a Party of 8..:-) You may have thought you were being nice about it but he not so surprisingly didn't did he. Considering how the staff neglected to handle the situation (your being regulars and all) it's up to you whether to go back or not.

                4 Replies
                1. re: miss_belle

                  She didn't talk to the manager. She talked to a female employee.

                  Sadly, there are lots of people who do nothing in any circumstance. This includes watching, and walking away, from lots of horrible things. It seems to becoming customary to 'not getting involved', not say anything for fear of something or another, no matter what the problem.

                  1. re: latindancer

                    I absolutely agree. Not wanting to get involved is not a sufficient excuse, if you have the ability to prevent a possible tragedy. Obviously you need to use common sense (do not go over to a strangers table and begin yelling at them nose to nose), but if you see someone drinking excessively, say something to a manager to at least make sure that the drunk does not get behind a wheel. If everyone assumes that someone else will say something, no one will.

                    1. re: NicoleFriedman

                      That's quite a reach...who said a drinker was driving

                    2. re: latindancer

                      "She talked to a female employee" does the fact that it was a female negate the complaint??? I think not. If the situation was not abated that female employee had the obligation to tell her management. It is a management problem. Obviously by the reaction of the offenders to the complaint anything more assertive would have increased the danger for all parties. If the manager got no results then to the police. It is called disturbing the peace.

                  2. Also, concerning the Youtube comment. This whole youtube/cell phone camera thing has gotten way outta hand if you ask me. Or maybe I'm just getting old..

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: miss_belle

                      Question: in regard to "YouTube/cell phone" thing do you mean in regard to dining or in general?

                    2. A related nuisance - crying babies/baby - and one scenario that happened: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/artic...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: huiray

                        OMG, quelle nightmare. Poor baby, having a thug like that for a Dad.

                      2. That was a terrible dining experience.

                        I would have called the manager over and asked him to do something. What I do next depends on what happens next. You all were outside, I gather? If the manager would not intercede or nothing came of his/her intercession, I probably would have strongly requested to be moved inside the restaurant.

                        1. Thank you for your replies. Funny thing is the guy that was making all the noise wasn't even at the table when I went over. They seemed like reasonable people otherwise I wouldn't have gone over

                          1. I have never complained to, or about, people who have upset me in restaurants. I have already been upset by them and have no interest in being further upset by a possible confrontation. Mercifully this sort of crap happens rarely.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Harters

                              " I have already been upset by them and have no interest in being further upset by a possible confrontation."

                              Harters, what a brilliant and logical perspective to have on the situation. No sense in letting the people cause more aggravation.

                            2. I too am sorry about this.

                              The problem is that everyone seemed to expect someone else to do something in the OP's scenario.
                              Certainly, the manager should have been called; given his/her position, I'm sure s/he can speak English well enough. If you frequent the restaurant a lot, s/he probably knows you at least by sight.

                              I don't buy the line that the rest of Joe F-Bomb's group were reasonable people. Reasonable people don't drop a stream of F-bombs in front of a baby, nor do they allow their dining companions to do so.

                              The fact that no one did anything--even request re-seating--allowed it to continue.

                              Perhaps because DH and I dine out so seldom, I have not hesitated to request another table when something/someone truly obnoxious threatens to ruin our meal. I'm not a prude or a princess---the only times I've done it have been when we were next to a table of drunks on cell phones, and the other time was next to a woman who was drenched in cologne. We had to summon a manager on the latter, since our server was apparently too busy to tend to it.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: pinehurst

                                I agree that they were not reasonable people if they were cursing loudly in public. People who are ruining other people's experience and don't care are selfish jerks, and that isn't in the least bit reasonable.

                                I do think that the manager has an obligation to make sure that all diners are able to have a pleasant experience. I feel like the manager shouldn't wait for people to complain about that behavior.The manager or assistant should be on the floor at least intermittently making sure everyone is happy. If they aren't willing to address that behavior and stop it, then they aren't cut out to manage a restaurant.

                              2. If they were drinking heavily and were noticeably intoxicated I would have gone outside and called the cops and warned them that there may be drunks driving. I would have said I would watch who was getting into the drivers seat and taken the license number. If some one who was drunk did in fact get behind the wheel I'd again call the cops and follow the car. One thing to remember is that EVERY call to the cops is recorded and if a citizen calls warning of a possible crime about to be/being committed if the cops don't react their jobs are on the line if anyone gets hurt/killed. I'd never go back to the restaurant under any circumstances and I'd contact the owner, NOT the manager and explain why. I won't abide bad behavior in public.

                                2 Replies
                                  1. re: Puffin3

                                    I could see taking down the license number and calling the police, but there is NO WAY I'd follow them. I'm not a cop, I'm Joe Citizen, I have no power or authority to do a single thing after making the phone call, and the best turnout is if I manage to NOT get involved in any accident the guy causes...or with anyone else because I'm so busy following the goon that I'm not paying full attention to anyone else.

                                    Not to mention that I have now allowed this shitrag to interrupt my meal and my evening with my friends/family.

                                  2. Unlike some posters perhaps I am picturing a cheap and cheerful ethnic restaurant in a large metropolis. So the assumption about driving doesn't hold. Also, I don't expect small restaurant owners barely scraping by to always handle every drunk situation with finesse. They need that bill paid especially when it's a large group. Of course, other patrons who don't like their way of handling things have the option to tell them so and not come back... perfectly valid reaction.
                                    OP, I think they were terribly rude and defensive. Perhaps should have had the grace to apologize for their friend. But if you wanted to confront, you should have confronted the perpetrator.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: julesrules

                                      I was picturing same, and coming from a family that used to own one of them, I would agree with jules' assessment.

                                      Depending on the day, and in this particular type of environment, I might also have made a single mention during the meal to the offender the way one might address that person in the movie theater who won't STFU while everyone else is trying to watch. Just a quick "Keep it down!" in the general direction of the offender, which I find is usually more effective than being totally direct with them, speaking at length, and/or being particularly polite or genteel about it.

                                      It doesn't always work, but it seems often to have the effect of a command at some subconscious level where they can process that it might have been for them and adjust accordingly without rising to the level of confrontation which calls attention to them, bruises their ego, which then leads to a fight.

                                      If that doesn't work, I might ask to be moved if it looked a feasible thing to do. But if it is indeed a restaurant like the one jules described, and I liked the food, I wouldn't avoid going there again. Stuff like this when it happens is extremely annoying, but statistically doesn't happen all that often in my experience.

                                      1. re: inaplasticcup

                                        Looks like we're the only ones and the OP never really clarified. The type of restaurant I am picturing does not have a "manager" and the servers would look at me funny if I asked to speak to one.

                                        1. re: julesrules

                                          am picturing the same kind of place and there are a lot of assumptions running around in here.

                                          how do we know the loud guy isn't also a regular?

                                          how do we know the staff/owners don't know that group or some of its members? that their business isn't also valued? their money is just as green.

                                          just because he was loud does not automatically mean he was drunk. not everybody is sufficiently well-bred to be mindful of others in public. lots of folks just don't get out much.

                                          how do we know he was driving? some people overindulge, thinking it's ok, because they have a designated driver.

                                          i don't see the point in scolding the friends when the f-bomber wasn't even there. if they didn't know or care enough to shoosh him during dinner? what the what?

                                          if the guy WAS drunk? confronting him could have quickly progressed to something more dangerous than hurled f-bombs. like a fist in the face.

                                          it's never the server's job to be running interference between tables. she works for tips -- on both sides.

                                          if this is a local place you usually enjoy, consider it a one-off and forget it.

                                    2. Interesting behavior, and not one that everyone would agree with.

                                      We were dining at a higher-end Nor-Cal restaurant, and one group of about 8 was way, way over the top. The management spoke with them several times, but the kept screaming and shouting. Finally, the management told them to pay and leave. They complained, but finally did so. When they departed, the entire dining room stood and applauded the decision.

                                      I have had to grade down some dining experiences, due to such patrons, though basically they are not a problem with those restaurants, just those evenings.

                                      Some people just lack class, and are all too quick to point that out to others - unfortunately.


                                      1. I am the person who speaks up and requests that foul language be curtailed, epecially if there are chidren around. Most times, it stops; however, on the ocassions when it doesn't, I ask to speak with the manager. If the manager is unable/unwilling to reign in the offending party and/or is unable/unwillng to seat me at a table out of earshot, I have gotten up, told the manager that I will be unable to remain in their restaraunt because of the hostile environment and that he should cancel my order. I also tell him that I will not be returning.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Vidute

                                          Any resturant manager/owner who would allow that sort of behavior is in and probably will be in the wrong business. Too many people in too many businesses do not comprehend the notion of developing a 'customer base'. The manager/owner must have recognized you a regular customers. He ought to have taken the idiot outside and informed him he had one opportunity to smarten up. If this idiot continued he would be told to leave. If the idiot refused I would tell him the cops are on the way and charges could be filed against him for causing a disturbance in a public place and possibly being drunk in a public place. That's 'one way' of dealing with idiots like that..

                                        2. "one guy just got so defensive and said that this was a public place and that they could do whatever they wanted and I could have just gotten up and left."

                                          A restaurant is not a "public place" and you should have told him so. A park is a public place. A restaurant is a private establishment owned by a person/persons/entity. The owners/managers have every right to ask disruptive customers to stop their disruptive behavior or even to leave. Just the fact that the disruptive guy in question used the "public place" argument shows how belligerent and immature he really is. I remember using that kind of reasoning when we were children playing outside. You just can't win with these type of people. Unfortunately, if the owners do not want to do anything about that type of behavior, then it really is best to get up and leave. I know if seems defeatist, but it will save you from having a bad experience and hours of aggravation afterward.

                                          1. Many years ago we were at the beach having an early dinner (my son was about 6 at the time) when a group of 8 guys came in, obviously just off the golf course. They were a bit drunk and very loud and somewhat profane. After several dirty looks didn't have any effect, my son walked up to the hostess and within their hearing asked "Can we move to another table, those men don't know how to use their inside voice and they are using words my Mommy doesn't like." You never saw such shamefaced folks in your life. They quieted down right away and as we were leaving one of them apologized to my wife for the profanity.

                                            2 Replies
                                              1. re: dinwiddie

                                                from the mouths of babes...

                                                and it probably hit them far harder than any harsh words from adults would have done.

                                              2. I would have called the manager and insisted I be moved. If I weren't moved, I would have taken my food to go and left, or I might have told the manager to keep his food, and I would have left and gone elsewhere. When you pay to eat somewhere, they have an obligation to provide you with a pleasant dining experience for the money you are paying, and since it is illegal in many places to curse in public places, and they allowed it to go on, then they weren't providing you with a pleasant dining experience.

                                                I also would not have said anything to the group. It isn't because I am a whimp, but because people who behave that way don't tend to admit they are wrong and take responsibility for their actions. It is a complete and utter waste of time.

                                                1. can't win a pissing contest with a skunk

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: sal_acid

                                                    Great observation; may I use that one?

                                                  2. The other night, I went out to a nice local restaurant with my parents. We were seated up in the balcony which was U-shaped over the main dining room. There was a very loud man with his kids and grandkids at the table next to ours. We were hoping that they were about to leave, but one of the grandkids returned from running around the restaurant to ask if the food had arrived yet.

                                                    We couldn't hear ourselves conversing, so I pulled the server aside and asked if we could move to the other side of the room and explained why. She got approval from the manager, and we picked up our stuff and moved.

                                                    I think the guy asked her about it, or she asked him to keep it down, because as we were moving, I heard him defending his grandkids as just being kids. Clearly, he didn't get it.

                                                    They were still there when we left after a great dinner, and had loaded up the next table with gifts, so they were parked for the long run.

                                                    1. Just got back from one of our local Mex places and the 10 top behind us, were talking loud and proud how to kill and dismember a rat.

                                                      They went into the noises the rat makes before it meets its demise, how they killed them and all the proud moments that go with it...disgusting.

                                                      It is not fun to try and enjoy your meal while hearing the intricacies of the demise and dismemberment of the rat.

                                                      We got our stuff to go and I so wanted to go over and kick every one of their asses for the sheer ignorance of being stupid and not realizing that other diners really don't want to hear their hillbilly mantra..(sorry, no disrespect to the wonderful hill people)

                                                      First, I cursed at them under my breath in Spanish, since I was using swear words and I wanted to ream them a new one but when they all in unison said 'Wut?'..walking out, I did let out softly 'You all are a bunch of losers'..'Nobody wants to hear all of you talking about how you kill a rat'.

                                                      LOL..all they could say, was 'Damn City Folks'.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Beach Chick

                                                        Damn city beach folks. "Wut", awesome response.

                                                      2. Sorry about the baqd experience, but I have to ask- what were you expecting when you approached a loud, vulgar crowd of drinkers after the fact to tell them that their behavior was unacceptable? Doesn't matter how "nice" you think you were being, you were countering rudeness with rudeness and put people on the defensive. Drunk, vulgar people don't always take insults well.

                                                        Have the manager speak to them, leave, or put up with it, but you don't get to critique them on their behavior, especially if you want to believe you've taken the high road.