I object to cell phone use in restaurants for two reasons. First, people using cell phones eschew any discretion about their conversation and just talk too loud. The volume nearly always exceeds normal conversational levels. Second, I don't believe people are able to fully enjoy the dining experience and the enjoyment/escape it is designed to provide, whether it is release from the kitchen or the office. As for those ringing phones--it's a conditioned reflex that we jump up in alert when the bell tolls. The whole situation is called "overconnectedness," and I refer you to Thomas Friedman's astute Aug. 10 column in The New York Times for his take on this fin de siecle phenomenon. What it boils down to, he says, is this: "You can never stop and relax....what happens when we're always connected is that the boundary between work and play disappears." The work station encompasses the people unfortunate enough to be dining nearby. As for those purely social calls: pay attention to the person you are dining with. Or are they on the phone, too? Cell phones are the scourge of the highways, as well, because we have lost all sense that anything matters outside of our own personal sphere.
Leslie Sternlieb, Coral Gables, FL
On the issue of "cell Phones" We cannot get so crazy as to want a "bill of rights" to ban cell phones as so many legitimate reasons for having one today out ways the negative. Certainly people should keep the volume down and their voices while conversing as well, but I have been in some terrifically wonderful dining restaurants where the pleasant eating atmosphere was disturbed by "rowdy" individuals, and not a cell phone user; or "screaming" babies or "bad mannered young children"; etc. etc.
Personally, I have no problem with the cell phone situation as most people are considerate and are doing something important and legitimate. We cannot take away yet another "freedom" and cause people to spitefully use them just to press a point. After all I must agree that most cell phone users are also caring amex cards and lots of cash and frequent these restaurants like all of us and should be left alone to trust that they will be discrete in their use of the cell phone.
RoseMarie - firstname.lastname@example.org
Why would anyone be upset by a person speaking on a Cell phone? If you are with good company and carrying on your own conversation or just sitting alone in a restaurant why would this bother you. I was just in the UK last week everywhere we went someone was talking on their Cell phone. I think it is great that you don't have to stay in and wait for that phone call whether it be shopping or in a restaurant or else where more power to you! I think people that complain about these sorts of things need to really get a hobby or a life!
Good Day...I read with interest and a bit of wry amusement the many responses on the issue of cell phones in restaurants. I have to agree with the reader who wrote of the inflated self-importance of those with cell phones. I believe, perhaps in an old fashioned way, that dining out is supposed to be a relaxing break from ones life. It can't always be like that. But that is the ideal. Nothing detracts from a meal more than listening to an egotistical moron rambling on a cell phone about inconsequential events strictly so he or she can somehow impress those around them.
From a service standpoint there is nothing more frustrating than attempting to wait on a party where one or more members are speaking on cell phones. It's sometimes an impossibility to get a word or a food item in edgewise. Should they be banned? No. There will always be emergencies which can be addressed more quickly via cell phones. Hence they do sometimes perform a valuable service.
The problem lies with an prevalent attitude toward showing off and grandstanding within the States. That brings me to smoking in public and specifically in restaurants. And believe me...this is one of the few times when I am on the side of the owner. The current tightening of regulations and laws regarding smoking in restaurants and bars is nothing more than feel-good hogwash. It's discriminatory and it's against the very American idea of freedom of choice.
Now before y'all jump to your computer keyboards...let me say I am a former smoker having finally quit smoking Christmas Eve 1998. I am definitely better off financially and spiritually by not smoking. But the whole idea of a capitalist economy is consumers voting with their pocketbooks as to what they like and what they DON'T like. If a certain bar and grille has designated smoking areas, one has three choices; sit in the smoking section, sit in the non-smoking section or patronize another establishment which more suits your needs. If enough customers stop dining at the bar and grille, along with making the owner aware of the reason for their not coming in, then the owner will make a decision based on his/her best financial interests.
I can pass on a good example I have read a bit about. To the best of my knowledge, it is illegal to smoke in restaurants in the state of Vermont. After the law was passed not only did restaurant owners suffer decreased revenue but, and this is key, the state of Vermont received less in revenue from meals taxes. So tell me where the hallowed public benefit is?
The outright banning of smoking is coming and coming fast. But smoking isn't the real issue. If an adult, notice I wrote adult, chooses to smoke tobacco products or use alcohol...that is their choice. It may seem like small issue but it relates to the larger issue of the freedom to live ones life as one chooses. That may be ultimate victim in this rush of feel-good activism. I always enjoy the newsletter and I thank you for your time and as always peace to all.
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