Smart-Generation: Dining


Mobiles at the table: a user’s guide

NOT long ago, I went to a nice restaurant with five friends. Good food. Better cocktails. But at some point late in the meal, before dessert, I looked around the table to see the world’s most obnoxious etiquette violation: six dinner guests staring at their smartphones.


Yes, including myself. It was path­etic. Mercifully, the restaurant didn’t call the police on us.

Smartphones are clearly (sadly?) a significant part of modern life, so it’s probably helpful to create some rules for their use at restaurants and other mealtime occasions.

 Here’s a proposal for 21st-century dinner-time phone protocol:

1. The Golden Rule: Nobody is allowe­d to look at a smartphone during dinner. Nobody!

2. If somebody is caught looking at a smartphone at dinner, the first person who notices the offend­er is allowed to check his or her smartphone for one minute. The next person to notice can check his or her phone for one minute, too. This can continue for a maximum of 200 dinner guests and 200 smartphones.

3. If a smartphone is set on the dinner table, it must be placed face down, where it may be stared at longingly, but never touched. If the waiter asks to move the phone to place a food item on the table, the owner of the phone may check the phone for 30 seconds.

4. Only parents whose small children are at home with babysitters are allowed to keep smartphones face up on the dinner table. The child must be younger than nine years old, and the babysitter must be recently released from prison.

5. If the babysitter calls and the parent must pick up, everyone at the table is permitted to look

at his or her phone for three ­minutes.

6. If a person at the table asks, “I am sorry, can I just take a minute to send a quick email?”, the other diners at the table must vote on whether or not to permit this. If they agree to let their dinner companion send a quick email, everybody else at the table can send one quick email too.

7. If this person is discovered to have sent two emails, then everyone else at the table can send three emails.

8. If anything funny just happened on Facebook, you must share this with your dinner guests, and then everyone at the table is allowed to check Facebook for something great, too.

9. You are not permitted to Insta­gram your food. What is this, 2012?

10. Nobody is permitted to go to the restaurant bathroom with a smartphone. If someone is caught leaving for the bathroom with a smartphone, all guests at the table can check their smartphones until the person returns from the bathroom.

11. You may not hide a smartphone in the bathroom like you’re Michael Corleone in The Godfather.

12. If, at any point in the dinner-time conversation, a question that can easily be solved using Google arises — for example, who played Woody Harrelson’s wife in True Detective? — one person at the table is permitted to Google.

13. The person who Googles the answer is also allowed to check email, Facebook and Twitter for two minutes.

14. Everybody sees you trying to check your phone under the table. Come on, Slick.

15. Photographs of babies or weddings may be shown on a phone for three minutes. If you do not have a baby, or have not recently attended a wedding, you may take out your phone and Tinder for 90 seconds.

16. If someone takes out a smartphone to show photographs of his golfing holiday to Scotland, you are permitted to quietly watch one episode of Game of Thrones.

17. A die-hard sports fan may be allowed to check the score of the big game. Everyone else is allowed to go on to TMZ.

18. Secretly texting the person across from you at dinner is rude but also hilarious.

19. If you bring your smartphone to dinner with my father-in-law, my father-in-law reserves the right to take your smartphone out to the street and back his Subaru over it.

20. When dinner is over and you need to go home, you are allowed to use your smartphone to Uber a ride. While you are explaining what Uber is to the table, everybody is allowed to play Candy Crush for two minutes.

21. You are allowed to check your smartphone during lunch. It’s lunch. Who cares?

June 30, 2014 | Jason Gay | The Wall Street Journal | Original Source: "Mobiles at the table: a user’s guide"


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *