Etiquette When Eating In A Public Place

I wonder if there is a proper etiquette or decorum when eating in a public place such as in a fast-food chain?

This question has been bugging my mind ever since earlier tonight when we had a very unfavorable experience while dining in a local food chain. Some college students were seated in a table next to ours and they were so noisy. A few of them were talking at the top of their lungs (or maybe I am exaggerating a bit), but really, they were so noisy we can hardly hear ourselves in our own conversation.

This is me wearing the red sweater ...

I wonder if they were conscious that they were very noisy and that they were already disturbing the other customers of that fast-food chain?

I remember a few years ago when I was still teaching in a local university, one fast-food chain manager (she was a student of mine when she was still in college) came up to me and told me about their persistent problem – of our students overstaying in their fast-food chain, staying longer than necessary (to study and do group discussions) – disturbing other customers with their very loud voices. I asked her what they have done so far, and she told me a few: they turned on the music louder so that the students will not be able to discuss. What happened? The students spoke even louder. The manager said they turned off the aircon so the place will be a little uncomfortable – the students brought fans. They dimmed the lights – they students found the place conducive to taking naps. In short, it was never resolved.

So, back to my question: is there proper etiquette when dining in a public place?

I told my children one very simple lesson: how they act in public will reflect their values as a person. It will also show if they were taught properly at home by their parents. I asked them if they liked what they saw – the students who were laughing boisterously and speaking at the top of their lungs, unmindful and disrespectful of the other people in the place – they said no.

Finally, the loud students left; and we felt peace and quiet.

I would not want to be in that situation where people will feel glad I’m leaving so they can have peace and quiet.

How about you? What do you think?

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2 thoughts on “Etiquette When Eating In A Public Place

  1. Hi Maam Tin,

    This is the reason why I no longer eat at fast-food chains especially that in front of the university. I had the same experience and it was very traumatic for me… especially these are our students…. it gave me goose bumps. Only when I am with my kids, I will have to go with them inside the fast-food chain… but if possible not the one right in-front of the campus… I remembered there a move to transfer some activities of Night Cafe because it was too noisy for the university, I wonder if the university can something for the customers at the food chain…. really these are mostly our students… Eating should be a comforting experience even at fast-food chains…tsk..tsk..tsk

  2. Hi Ms Lucille! Thanks for the comment. I’m sure with the new Magis Building, the students will have a good place to stay with their friends – to chat, eat, and study. I heard the place is huge and beautiful and entirely dedicated to meet the needs of the students. I also heard it now houses the old Book Center and will soon open the 3rd University canteen. Hopefully the students will find the Magis Center more cozy than the fast-food chains directly in front of the University.

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