Manners 2.0: is it rude to watch your iPad at a restaurant?



Since we can no longer carp about people smoking, it would seem we have to find some bone to pick with fellow diners in restaurants.

Case in point: a server in a busy San Francisco restaurant (where else?) wonders if it is a breach of etiquette 2.0 to bring your own mobile entertainment to the table.

“I am a server at an extremely busy restaurant in San Francisco. The proliferation of technology and our lack of etiquette has reached an all-time high! This evening at work, a table had their iPad propped up in the center of the table and was watching the U.S. Open throughout the course of their meal. This seemed completely insane!”

So the restaurant is busy, so you’re trying to get people in, get them fed and get them out: not provide what amounts to an evening’s entertainment as they watch a movie or entire sporting event.

“I noticed a few other diners noticing the broadcast (of the tennis match on the iPad). The tennis enthusiasts were at the table for quite a bit longer than our typical diners. They were cordial, but from my vantage point, somewhat oblivious to the effect their actions might have on the environment, atmosphere and experience of others.”

I get it. Still, an iPad or Game Boy (on mute!) to keep the kids entertained — for example — would probably be welcome by fellow diners and staff, not discouraged.

It seems a suitably Emily Post-type issue for the digital age. It’s generally not considered too rude to bring a book to a restaurant. But is it a question of how long you read said book — or the fact that unless you launch into an impromptu staging of Shakespeare you’re not reading aloud?

And with restaurants using iPads for menus and wine lists, it seems kind of silly to discourage you from pulling out the same device — or perhaps they should consider loading some entertainment on the house devices.

What do you think?

Via SF Gate. Hat tip to our own Traci Dauphin, who always comes correct.