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April 8, 2012

Using Your Phone While Eating - No Longer Rude?

I love my phone. As a social media junkie (Seriously! I've been to the meetings. Everybody's on their phone Tweeting their comments), I love the ability to get on it at any time and connect with people. During intermissions at the hockey games, the wife and eye are both checking out Twitter and doing other things on our phones. Don't worry, we talk during the game, so it's not like we're not communicating.

That's why it doesn't surprise me that more and more people are using their phones while dining out. Getting on your phone or listening to the baseball game clandestinely during a dinner out used to be considered the height of rudeness. Is that no longer the case in our internet-smothered society?

(Thanks to Impact Lab)

According to an infographic put out by market research firm Lab42 (shown on the Mashable social media news site), apparently it is.

The numbers are actually kind of staggering when you put them all together.

There are some interesting stats on that infographic, so I encourage you to go take a look at it. Here are a few of the things that stood out to me, though.

1) A whopping 85% of respondents trust online reviews from fellow diners over food critics and professional reviews on food sites and the like. That floored me because I know what a lot of people think about the general public. I hope that those who answered this in the affirmative actually take all of the reviews together and use their brains to sift through the idiots out there. I think this shows that the "common" people actually trust their compatriots to steer them right more often than they do their "betters" who are being paid to put this stuff out there. This might get blurred a bit when you talk about smaller sites who may not fall into either category easily (I know somebody who does this, and I would say she would fall into the group that's more trusted, even though I believe she's getting paid for it).

I wonder whether this is true for book reviews as well? I could be sitting on top of a gold mine!

(Thanks to Bucket & Boomers)

2) The primary reason for using your smartphone during dinner is taking pictures of your food.

Really? Taking pictures of your food is the most popular? That seems to be true, at 24%. A full 19% post Facebook updates (doesn't mention Twitter, so not sure whether that's factored in or not). I would bet that a good number of those food pics are actually posted as part of the updates, too. When you're eating out, you have to share with everybody what you're eating! Boy, doesn't this look delicious?

I found doubly hilarious that 13% of people are spending their time on their phones while eating by looking for someplace to go afterward. I guess it's too much to ask to have made plans in advance? The truly funny part, though, is that 70% of these people are men. I guess that just makes sense, doesn't it?

3) It's almost a majority! Fully 49% of people consider their phone at least somewhat important to their dining experience. This doesn't necessarily mean using it during the meal, as I'm sure this includes those who used their phone to find a good place to eat at moment's notice and looked up user reviews and all that. Still, how far have we come where almost half of the population sees their phone as an important part of the eating process?

I'll bet these guys would be shocked now (thanks to Spacecoast Medicine)

So what do you think of all this? Do you find your phone important for dining out? Do you use it while eating? How about setting up your dining out plans? Do you post status updates of your food?

Us curious people want to know.


  1. Cue predicted commenter in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.....

  2. I'm still in the minority and do not own a smart phone. Yes, *gasp!*, quelle horror and shock! It's true. And the amazing thing about this fact is that I haven't perished. Nor have I been rude whilst dining with friends because I was on my stupid phone checking emails, Facebook, Twitter or texts. My phone does receive texts, but when I'm having a meal with friends, I turn my phone off. Nothing is so urgent that it can't wait for 1-2 hours, and people can leave a message that I'll receive when I turn the phone back on.

    I've come to accept that the majority of adults simply have abandoned the manners with which they were raised when it comes to cell phone etiquette, because cell phone etiquette is a MYTH! People just appear to embrace the concept that rudeness with cell phones is acceptable. I disagree, and I behave differently than most.

    My question is this: WHY take time to plan an outing with friends if you plan to spend that whole time ignoring them and being excessively rude by sticking your head into your cell phone??? You could stay home and do that and not waste other peoples' time.

    You knew this topic would produce a Dawnie Rant, right?! Yep, it did. The erosion of manners and common courtesy is just sad.

    - Dawnie

  3. Yeah, I probably should have started my countdown a bit later, though. LOL

    I would have been interested in more of a breakdown on whether they considered the phone important for the experience (i.e. setting it up, checking the place out, etc) and actually using it *during* the meal (which I agree is the height of rudeness unless there's some kind of necessity for it).

    We need to absorb you into our smartphone cult, though, Dawnie. You will be one of us soon... :P

  4. It won't be happening anytime soon, more for budgetary reasons than anything. I just can't absorb the increase on my cell phone bill, in addition to what a smart phone costs, even w/ the discounts I would get. Anahid and Marticus have been trying for three years! ;-)

    Btw, I get pulling your cell phone out to share photos or a website, or something on FB with your friends. I don't get, or like, people sitting at a meal completely ignoring their companions w/ their heads stuck in their phones. Don't even get me started on how it affects dating!

  5. I think most people would probably be in the "take it out to use for something specific and then put it away" group of people, though I know some are just unbearably rude and on it all the time too.

    Are you saying you've had guys do that to you on a date? If so, point me in their direction and I'll give them what for. :)

  6. LOL...yes, it has happened on a few dates. For the record, those experiences were a one time deal on my end. I think the way people behave with cell phones in public is a big red flag for how they'll behave in the context of dating, so I have cut my losses w/ those types.

    Btw, you're my hero for being willing to give said ill mannered types the stink eye! ;-)

  7. Yeah, while "one strike and you're out" seems a bit harsh, in this case I think it's a safe option. It's a good indication of what type of person they really are.

    And I'll be your hero anytime you like. :) I'll do more than give them the stink eye! I'll....ok, I'll probably just give them the stink eye. But it will be a mean one!


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