But I can say that some of the dining public have no sense of tact. A loud ring is bad enough, but I truly realized the negative effects of improper usage of a cell phone when a guest was conversing on his cell phone while all ears were to be on the attention of the MC as he introduced the guest chef at a restaurant where I worked. Not only is that rude, but disrespectful.
Cell phone bans are not the answer though. The restaurant industry adapts to technology all the time, and living and dining with cell phones is just another one of those adaptations. Subtle hints about cell phone usage on the menu right next to the "refrain from cigar smoking smoking" note may be a way of curving undesirable usage, and with time may come common sense for the common senseless.
Matthew O'Brien - firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm not really involved in the restaurant industry, other than as a frequent patron. But I do have an opinion on cell phones in restaurants (or in virtually any other arena). I don't like them. Pure and simple.
It's not so much about people talking, although I don't appreciate sitting through a meal while having to listen to one end of an inane conversation. It's more a slight variation on Steven Shaw's argument. He says, toward the end of his piece, that people who dislike cell phones in restaurants have an inflated sense of self because they believe the restaurant meal is somehow sacred. I don't have any such expectation of restaurant food. I do, however, believe 95 percent of chronic cell phone users have extremely high opinions of THEIR self worths, otherwise they wouldn't take it out at such inopportune moments (i.e. at the gym, in a hotel shuttle, during dessert, etc.). I have heard more ridiculous cell phone conversations on the floor of the gym than I care to recount. Not a single one of them couldn't have been delayed 45 minutes until he or she was safely within the confines of a car.
Are you that indispensable that you must be on-call at all times? If you are that important, then more power to you. And please do exactly what Mr. Shaw does and excuse yourself from the dining area. If you're not that important--and most of us are not, but think we are--then you must be like the rest of cell phone civilization. You must believe that by pulling out your cell phone in public, you are somehow impressing upon the rest of the population that you are ESSENTIAL to your business.
There's a reason that much of America looks amused when watching a businessman drive by in a convertible BMW while talking on a cell phone. It's because we understand that this person has lost touch with who he is, and thinks he must regain it by purchasing pretty toys and using them in public.
I know I'm probably in the minority in this one, and I know I digressed from the original argument, but it's hard for me to take this whole thing seriously just because I think cell phones are so ridiculous. I value my free moments, and I love the fact that I can't be reached much of the time. Mind you, I do believe cell phones are useful in certain situations, particularly emergencies.
I don't think cell phones should be banned from restaurants; that seems a little restrictive. I just wish people would take a step back and look at cell phones with a critical eye. When our biggest concern is that we'll lose the right to look like a self-important buffoon in front of a restaurant full of diners, it's clear our priorities are out of whack.
Sincerely (and in anticipation of some heated cell phone defense),
I have been in the business for the last 20 years and a restaurant is no place for a cell phone. Secondly, I think Mr. Cellphone is a little high on himself being in "business " and all. Finally, the average customer in the industry is John Q. Public. The man who pays our salaries.
Communication is the key to success in any business and in LIFE...we should always take advantage of communication and improvement in technology...as a multi-unit operator, a cell phone is a necessary tool...just buy a phone that vibrates instead of rings.
Smokers said that if they could not smoke in a restaurant that they would not eat there. Well here in Maryland there a plenty of restaurants that do not allow smoking and they are doing just fine.
I am sure that if Cell phones are banned from restaurants that a few people for a short time will protest, but it would not last.
I am self employed and have several cell phones, however when in a restaurant, library or other such place, I set my phone to vibrate, and then go to a more private location to talk. I believe that it would be rude and ignorant to disturb others with my business.