Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What Would You Do?

After a long week I had been looking forward to heading back to one of my favorite spots to enjoy a nice Easter meal with my girlfriend. We've never had a bad meal at this particular spot and since we couldn't be with our families on the evening of Easter Sunday, we figured we might as well spend the night in a place we really enjoy.

That was until the couple we were seated next to decided to put a serious damper on our evening. The restaurant is not a huge space so tables are pretty close together. I was a bit startled by the volume of their conversation and hoped that they couldn't keep pace for the entire meal. At this point the dining room was only about three-quarters full so I thought about asking if we could be moved - I didn't think it was being over dramatic as they were essentially shouting at each other and her cackle was getting to me. I thought they'd settle down once their food came and its arrival did provide us a brief reprieve from their conversation. However, a few minutes later the couple grew increasingly loud and obnoxious (gentle terms) to the point where I couldn't even hold a conversation with my companion. It suddenly became apparent that the only way we could enjoy each other's company was to move. I looked up to survey the room and realized that the place was full to the gills. We were stuck and our starters had just arrived so even if we could have moved it would have caused a fairly obvious scene.

The couple was probably in their mid-thirties and I was absolutely embarrassed for their behavior. The man had no problem licking his fingers and rubbing a certain area of his chest several times during the course of their meal - classy. He also was a fan of the term "butt-naked" and had no problem loudly admitting that he liked playing with "Double Ds" even to our waitress- he seemed truly cultured. Needless to say the family sitting next to us was not impressed either. What might have been worse then his complete lack of maturity was the fact that his companion seemed so overtly entertained by his behavior. The food was great as usual and the service was spot-on, but the fact that our conversation was interrupted with an episode of vulgarity every few moments is unfortunately what sticks out in my mind.

As we left the restaurant my girlfriend and I were able to laugh about how sad it was that two people of their age could behave that way in public, but I was still a bit hacked off. What could I have done though? I had my window to move and I let that slip away. Should I have asked to be moved anyways? Should I have said something to the staff? What about the couple? Would it have been possible for me to have been blunt enough to ask them to tone it down? Awkward - especially that early in the meal.

I guess I'm posting this as an open forum for suggestion. What would you do? I unfortunately chose to do nothing - a mistake I'll never make again, but I certainly wasn't helpless in the situation. I didn't think it would be fair to put the problem on the staff, either, but I think at the end of the day they'd want to know. Any thoughts? Suggestions? Opinions? Or other tales to tell? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Happy (peaceful) Eating,



kat said...

It seems I've read a few posts about this problem lately. I'm not sure there is anything you can do since the restaurant filled up. Its a tough one because you don't want to complain to the restaurant since its something they caused & you know if they asked the people to quiet down it might be even worse.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I think it would depend on the type of restaurant you were at. I might expect behavior like that a certain dive bars but not at a high end restaurant. At a high end restaurant, I would certainly consider talking to the host.

Although it has not happened often, I've had the opposite experience...hmm...opposite is not the right word. Anyway, I've been to events or restaurants where people show up overdressed. This years Winterfest comes to mind. Too many people, in my opinion, wearing fancy dress clothes. I dunno, maybe beer is getting too snooty for me.

Regardless of the above paragraph, I feel for you. I've had similar experiences and I know how uncomfortable it is.

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