A loud guy has everybody in the restaurant wincing and making eye contact.
What do you do?
My good blogging friend Ann Koplow brought up that scenario yesterday in her wonderful post on Years of Living Non-Judgmentally. You can check it out here.
In her sticky wicket, everybody else in the restaurant just toughed it out. Since Ann and her BF Michael were seated closest to the bellower, she even shared a ‘Dorothy Parker moment’ with the loud one.
Her story led me to comment that I think a staffer should have politely mentioned to the man who well his voice carries in a restaurant, and tip-toe to the suggestion that he lower the volume level.
But that suggestion brought to mind the five nights my dear wife Karen and I spent on a Royal Caribbean ship going from New Jersey to Bermuda and back. It was my first cruise. My not-yet-dear-wife and I were two of 20 or so cruisers from Syracuse, split into two tables in the dining room.
On Royal Caribbean they assign you tables, where you sit with the same folks every night of the cruise. (We’ve done the free-stylin’ manner on Norwegian afterward, and I like the assigned seating better, as an aside.)
On this cruise, the party at the table next to us appeared to be a big, happy family.
One couple brought their toddler along, a kid who hadn’t yet picked up enough words to join in the conversation.
So this one-plus-year-old shrieked instead.
Every couple of minutes, his little but loud voice pierced the air between our tables. The first night. The second night.
On the third night, the couple and the kid did not come to dinner. Oh, how glorious it was, to talk amongst ourselves in peace. I felt like a big boy at the adult table. We all left to attend that night’s show with a bigger spring to our steps.
Night four, the kid was back. And he seemed louder than ever.
We called the head waiter over and politely pointed out the din. We wondered if he could ask them to take the child to eat somewhere else. The a la carte restaurant. The chairs next to the pool. A lounge. Their state room. Anyplace where we couldn’t hear that on-the-minute shriek in the formal dining room.
The head waiter would not.
Come dessert time, the gentleman in our group seated to the left of me had his eardrums pierced by one shriek too many. He wheeled around and did what the head waiter would not. Only he was way beyond politeness. Shouting ensued. Karen kept a tight grip on my arm and stare into my eyes to keep me rooted in my chair.
The family stalked out.
Several tables of strangers around us clapped.
Several other tables around us pointed and called us baby-haters.
That was not pleasurable. And we still had two more nights of dining next to this family and the shrieking kid.
I blamed the head waiter for avoiding his duties. I gave his tip at the end of the last night to our waiter, who was wonderful, had to endure the loud baby, and whispered how he was on our side in the matter.
What would you have done in this situation? What do you do when you encounter loud people in a restaurant?