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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Stop Posting Your Big Macs On Instagram!!!

On this edition of WHO AM I WEDNESDAY, I'm going to be doing a diary entry.  It's been a while since I've done one. 

Besides, I forgot to charge my iPad, so my video camera is currently out of commission, so I really have no choice but to write an entry rather than film one.  It's just as well anyway.  I don't really feel as though I have much of a camera presence.

Besides, I feel as though I express myself better through written word rather than spoken word.  So this is going to be an easy one for me to write.

In fact, I'm going to go right ahead and thank my friend Jenn for being the inspiration behind this diary entry, as I saw an article she posted on her Facebook page.

July 23, 2014

I honestly don't remember the last time I went out to eat at a restaurant, but if I had to make a guess, I'd say that it was at least a couple of months ago.  Maybe sooner, maybe later.  Funny thing is, I could probably tell you what I ordered that night (I think that it was one of those buffalo chicken sandwich combos from a neighbourhood bar and grill just a block away from where I live).

But this is not a diary entry about my memory.  Instead, it's a blog entry about social behaviour.  And as it so happens, I came across an article online that a friend posted on her Facebook page.  And the subject was all about restaurant dining and customer service.

It certainly interested me because although I have no experience in the dining industry, I do have a lot of experience in customer service.  So, I clicked on the article, and read it.

Here.  Before I continue, why don't I post the link for you HERE.  I want you to read it and hold on to your thoughts until the end.

This restaurant is based in the New York City area, and when it first opened, it received rave reviews and was one of the quintessential hot spots in the entire city.  But recently the restaurant had been given some not-so-nice reviews by customers who had dined there.  Too many bad reviews to seem like a coincidence.

So this restaurant decided to do a little investigating.  As it so happened, they had security footage from July 2004 in storage at the restaurant.  They compared that tape with the security footage from July 2014 to see what the number one problem was to warrant customers leaving bad reviews.

What was interesting about both tapes were that each day's footage had approximately the same amount of customers on each given day.  But there was one major difference between the 2004 footage and the 2014 footage.

The people in the 2014 footage had more access to smartphones and tablets than ever before.

Now, I remember 2004 well enough (I was 23, so it wasn't that long ago to me even though I realize that it was an entire decade) to realize that cell phones were still a novelty back then.  Sure, a lot of people had them, but they weren't as fancy as they are now.  Back in those days, text messages were still billed by the letter, and I don't believe that people could access the Internet with them as of yet.  I don't think that started happening until at least 2008.  But then again, as someone who currently doesn't own a cell phone, I have absolutely no idea when wireless connection exploded in popularity.  I'm just guessing at this point.

The point is that in the 2014 footage, it seems to make it clear that the reason why people were complaining about the service was that they felt it was much too slow.  The problem is that a lot of the people weren't aware that they could have been part of the reason why they were backing up tables. 

I mean, think about it.  If you were a waiter or waitress at a restaurant, and you had people demanding to change tables so that they could access a better WIFI hot spot, spend ten minutes on their phones without even opening up their menus to play a round of "Guess The Movie Title", or taking snapshots of their meal so they could post them on Instagram, I would think that it would be quite frustrating.

And, while some of you might be looking at this article that I've posted and thinking that the stats in the article are false and made up, I can safely say that I've seen this happen a lot in my own personal experiences to know that this isn't an isolated incident.

People already know how I feel about smartphones in the first place.  I think if they are used correctly, they can be valuable things to have in case of emergency, and I think that in the long run, using a cell phone would be a lot cheaper than operating a landline these days.  But when people get so obsessed with having smartphones that they have to take them everywhere they want to go, it gets to be a bit much.

I mean, it's one thing to use your phone to take pictures while you're sightseeing.  I get that.  I used the video camera in my iPod to bring you exclusive footage from the Relay for Life event at periodic intervals.  But I honestly draw the line at people taking cell phones into restaurants with them.  There's no need for it.

I hear people arguing that they need to have their cell phones with them in case they get a call from work.  Well, perhaps I can maybe understand if you have a job where you are always on call (a doctor, cop, or fireman for instance).  But any other time, I would leave the phones at home.

I remember one of my friends telling me that they have heard of people who go out to eat at restaurants as a group and they have a rule that states that the first person to reach for their cell phone has to buy everyone else's meals.  A nice gesture with good intentions...but personally speaking, I think that the phones should stay home...or at least be switched off.

Here's some harsh reality.  None of us care that you ate the best chicken cacciatore at the bistro down the street.  Why would you then post a picture of your meal for us to see?  Unless you are posting a recipe for that dynamite meal with your pic, I don't see a point to it. 

And, I'm sure that waiters and waitresses would love to be able to serve you better, but they likely get frustrated when they have to wait for you to make a decision over what appetizers you want because you can't be bothered to end your text conversation to care.  You do realize that every minute you make a waiter or waitress wait, that's potential tip money that they could lose.  And let's face it.  Some people need those tips to keep up with bill payments.  Try looking at it like that.

And I guess on a purely selfish note, whenever I get invited out to eat with friends, I don't go with the intention of being ignored while my friends sit around a table and play with their cell phones.  I would want to catch up with them, ask them about their day, and tell jokes.  I love deep conversations with people, and frankly, it's hard to do when they seem to give more attention to a lifeless hunk of plastic and glass. 

I'd rather eat alone than go through that.

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