Why is it that we can’t forget our phone for the duration of just one meal? Just one measly hour. Has our sense of self-worth become so inflated that we think someone is writing on our wall, tweeting, texting, or emailing us every minute of the day? Even after doing it all day, is it really necessary to check facebook, twitter, and email during a meal instead of engaging in face-to-face conversation and maintaining human eye contact? Is it really that hard?
Well for some, it really is difficult. So difficult that one restaurant in Los Angeles found the need to offer discount incentives to its customers in exchange for surrendering their phone at the door. Chef Mark Gold of Eva Restaurant maintains, “We’re trying to create an ambience where you come in and really enjoy the experience and the food and the company.” Gold offers a 5% discount on meals if you check-in your phone at the front. This may not sound like much, but when price tags are in the 40s and 50s, the discount can certainly add up.
Call me old-fashioned, but I enjoy phone-free time, especially during meals. It feels liberating, and allows me to concentrate on one thing at a time. As it is, our culture is such that we’re juggling a million different things at once, so sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the buzzing, flashing, tapping, and pulsing of technology that consumes much of our day. It also gives my poor little fingers a break. More restaurants should offer these kinds of incentives; it may bring human communication back.
Would you surrender your phone for a 5% discount?