Interaction with Waitstaffs: The SmartPhone Generation

I am not that old, but I didn’t grow up with a smart phone. I don’t know if it is just me but I see some people are very much consumed by the smart phone-like technology and are constantly interacting with the phones instead of the people around. People have said such things about people don’t talk to each others on public transportation (subway…etc) anymore because they can interact with the gadgets instead of talking to strangers.

Recently, I was at a restaurant, and noticed a young man with his smart phone and did not interact much with the waiter much. When the waitress bought the food to him, he was looking at his phone. He moved his hands and his phone, so the food can be placed on the table, and he continue to do his own thing. His eyes didn’t look up to make eye contact with the waitress or even the food. He didn’t say thank. I suppose he did acknowledge by making a sound of “Hmm”

Seen this trend?

Did you catch this in the Times?

Unless I were dining with this person, I wouldn’t care.

and of course there is the opposite situation.

sitting in an eatery, looking for your waitperson - ah! there they are! hiding in the alcove, face plastered to their phone - no - they can’t fake it - the luminescence from the phone screen is reflected on their face . . .

perhaps one should ask who the so fascinating smart phone girl/boy is and whether as a paying diner one could arrange a convenient “hook up”?


Absolutely. What a great counter example.

Ah the “participant trophy” generation…Sullen, emo, can’t look folks in the eye when talking. At least he wasn’t yapping loudly and self importantly. Staff messing with phones is a problem, don’t know why managers allow it

Because (and I am serious) some time the managers also mess with the SmartPhone. You led by examples. You cannot ask your staffs to do one thing and then do another thing on your own.

Alas I have seen this, both with waitstaff and even between people dining together. The modern equivalent of bringing a book to dinner, but that was only acceptable when dining alone. Now everyone has their phone with them.

As I recently reminded my 20-something son (and as a former bartender can confirm): you can tell a lot about your date by the way they treat the waiter/waitress.

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Hi, Chem:

This is bad–and getting worse.

I recently had lunch in a nicer SoCal eatery in an upscale mall. Technically, we had a server, but her only role(s) were: (a) to drop off a wireless POS touchscreen terminal; and (b) bring us our food.

For anyone who’s yet to suffer this pain, I heartily recommend RUNNING (not walking) to the nearest alternative restaurant. First, the ante is to swipe your credit card. THEN you must wend your way through a myriad of counterintuitive variable choices and special instructions. THEN you have to hope you and the kitchen are on the same page. THEN, after it becomes obvious the order’s wrong, the server needs to do what he/she should have done in the past–take the order. THEN the transaction needs to be canceled at the table, and the adjustment made wirelessly. THEN, when you can’t do that, the server needs to do it FOR you. THEN your food arrives after your companion(s) have finished eating.

In my case, I just wanted a cheeseburger. But the POS (how apt, you say?) made me choose between NINE different bun choices, 7 patty meats/grinds, TWELVE cheeses, and probably FIFTY condiments. Nevermind all the choices for sides and beverages. Unbelievably, stultifyingly stupid.

The coup de gras was the automated tip choice at the end, which STARTED at 20%. For what? The privilege of diddling a sticky, fecally-contaminated touchscreen?

It all made me wonder if this was VIPGeorges’ big achievement before he got his gig at Chowhound. Come to think of it, the server DID resemble Marssy…


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Oh I have seen that. I don’t know if mine was an upscale mall, but certainly the customers were expected to punch in the order on a touchscreen terminal. I was a bit intimidated too. The waiters/waitresses were there to double check and made sure the orders were indeed correct. (kind of pointless if they have to ask us again anyway).

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Yes, so true. I don’t think it will tell everything, but it can be a “warning” sign if the date has a habit of mistreating the waitress/waiter.

I say if it doesn’t bother the people actually involved and it doesn’t effect me, why should I care?

In San Francisco it’s becoming more common now to be able to pay your bill via smartphone without having to wait for the waiter to give you the check.

I find it really convenient. With the check, you have to wait for 1) the waiter to bring you the check, 2) the waiter to pick up the check with your credit card, and 3) the waiter to come back with the credit card processed.

There are new services now where you get the bill on your phone directly from the restaurant’s systems, you pay yourself and the waiter is notified. So technology can be a good thing.

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There’s something kinda twisted in the fact that technologies that save us so much time, somehow make us feel like we have so little of it.