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My Share of the Bill

 
Ms. Terre Layng Rosner's picture

As the new school year approaches, I am contemplating social media. Notice I say, “contemplating” not using social media. As I watch everyone around me in every public place imaginable, I see them glued to their mobile devices…it used to be exclusively digital phones but now I see the iPad and iPad minis all over just as frequently.

Recently, a commentary came out, ironically from a social media site, (http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2014/07/viral_craigslist_post_on_smartphones_in_restaurants_is_tech_ruining_the.html) and it questions whether dinners out with the family as well as the “dining out” experience as a whole was being ruined by the use of digital devices to access social media. People were going out to dinner but they were not talking with their face-to-face dinner companions – they were surfing, texting, insta-graming, tweeting, facebooking, pinteresting, tumblring, etc.

I have witnessed this first-hand many times. Looking around while dining at TGIF’s with my family, I noticed that the entire restaurant area in which I was seated held a group of people using their digital devices…not just a few, not just some but ALL the patrons with the exception of my family were digitizing. (BTW, I forbid anyone, including myself, to use digital media during dinner out or at home – if they use digital stuff then either pay the bill at the restaurant or have to make the dinner at home. I have found it to be a very effective practice.) And they didn’t just use the devices for a quick minute but some the entire time eating while they were seated (and most of the time when they stood too). I thought, this begs the question, why go out at all? Why sit with people you care about and then proceed to ignore them?

However, after reading this blog about the “dining out demise”, I have come to realize that it may be more the fault of what is allowed by our companions. Didn’t the ubiquitous Dr. Phil say that you teach people how to treat you? I think this may apply in my case at TGIFs and any other place where one allows others to ignore them. I think a fair solution would be to walk out unannounced or start talking to the neighboring table without preamble…aren’t these actions equally as rude as digitizing while eating?

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