Parents are changing baby diapers in booths. Besotted pet owners are trying to sneak in small dogs. Smartphone addicts are ordering meals while chatting on their phones.
The spoiled are threatening to rant on Yelp if (unreasonable) demands aren’t met. They’re sending back dishes because a pal’s entree looks better, and storming out if they’re not seated immediately. Boors are calling servers “Yo,” boasting about their wine cellars, demanding to switch tables. Locavores are interrogating servers about sourcing. The particular are using the menu as a list of ingredients, or claiming food allergies they don’t have. And the inconsiderate are skipping out on reservations.
And: “No groping, . . . mauling, sucking face, canoodling or heavy petting.”
There is no manners index tracking diner behavior, but Patrick Maguire, an industry veteran who’s writing a book called “Server Not Servant,” says a survey he conducted of more than 200 current and former service industry workers found that almost one out of five customers is impolite, disrespectful, or downright rude.
“Some [patrons] are not happy unless they’re miserable, or making someone else miserable,”
“Are you familiar with a ‘love sheep?’ ’’ Doyle asks, recalling a group of guys who installed a crude, inflatable sheep as a centerpiece at a high-end Boston restaurant, to the dismay of co-diners. “There are rude people in all aspects of life,” he says, “but in a restaurant you can be stuck next to them for hours.”
Marblehead-based etiquette consultant Jodi R.R. Smith says the problem may not be that customers are getting ruder, but rather that we’ve become increasingly intolerant of others’ behavior. “Everything we watch on TV is about judging others,” she says, mentioning, “The Bachelor,” “So You Think You Can Dance,” and “The Voice.” “That’s what we do for entertainment — judge others. When we turn off the TV we continue doing that.”
Are you a besotted, 'Yo' _ canoodling locavore or heavy petting 'sucking face' who compares the size of your portion dish with other diners at restaurants ?