Make a Discount: Here's How You Can Solve Problems With Cell Phones Addiction
NEW JERSEY — September 4, 2018
We are all used to using our cell phones wherever we are. We use them for communication, for sharing jokes, opinions, for social networks, for navigation, for music, movies, for health and much more.
Developers create many ways to ensure that we always keep in touch, and to always use cell phones. If before there was an iPhone 1 and iPhone 2, now there is an iPhone 10. The same situation with Android platforms. We can choose a phone from thousands of options. With or without a large screen, with a camera with different megapixels, we can choose the most convenient connection, buying a SIM card with unlimited calls and the Internet. Sometimes we plunge into the deep end and forget about real communication at all.
Studies show — as addicted to our phones as we may be — we actually might agree with these bans.
Although 89 percent of mobile phone owners said they used their phone at their most recent social gathering, 62 percent said it is generally not okay to use their cellphones at a restaurant, and 88 percent said it wasn't okay at a family dinner, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center study.
Experts in this regard say that in the coming years we will cease to communicate in real life, and will only do so via the Internet.
For example, now several restaurants in New Jersey have solved this problem in a more radical way and completely banned the use of mobile phones in their establishments.
So, even before cell phones became our constant companions, Manager Nel Lally felt she had to ban them from her restaurant.
Lally's 15-year-old no-phone policy at the Harvey Cedar's Clam Bar Shellfish Co. in Beach Haven was a trendsetter. A number of New Jersey eateries are now restricting patrons' use of technology. Some managers cite cash-flow problems from customers lingering too long at a table as they cruise the internet, while others, like Lally, say yakking on the phone or posting to Instagram is just plain annoying.
Customers who sat at the u-shaped Clam Bar chatting into their early-2000s flip phones disrupted the strangers sitting on the nearby stools, Lally said.
"People did not understand how to talk in a normal voice," she said. So, at the request of her customers, Lally banned the devices and posted a sign on the front door to drive home the point.
A decade later cell phones have transformed into mini-computers, but Lally's injunction stands.
"People love it," Lally said, adding that she doesn't even act as a phone patroller; Clam Bar regulars pipe up to reprimand the newbies if one is caught tapping away at a glowing screen.
However, due to the fact that recently there have been many bloggers who take pictures of their food and drinks, who take pictures all their lives, fans of Instagram channels, restaurant owners do not always have an easy time of enforcing such bans. In particular, they have to have a social media presence to attract more business or negotiate with such users in advance about using their mobile phones in establishments.
Another restaurant Fascino also tactfully bans cell phone use, noting this fact at the bottom of their menu. Customers are encouraged to take their cell conversations outside to preserve the fine dining experience, General Manager Chris Pavone said, and phones are banned — unless patrons are posting photos of their plates.
A coffee shop Boro Bean in Hopewell is not banning cell phones, but it has a strict policy about laptops. Co-owner Ellen Abernathy explained her cafe can seat up to 50, but people working on computers often claim whole tables for hours, making it hard for other customers to find seats and ultimately stifling her business.
In addition, Abernathy implemented a policy that prohibits laptops on weekend and holiday mornings. The policy encourages people to sit and enjoy their breakfasts, but then move along after they're done.
"Customers absorbed behind their computer screens can make the cafe feel "anti-social," but when families or groups of friends occupy those same tables while playing board games or chatting, it feels like a warm, community-centered business," she explained.
Abernathy has no policies about technology during the weekdays and even on slow Saturday mornings, and she's been known to bend the rules for her early-bird customers hoping to be productive on their screens.
One more Hoboken eatery managed to marry business-savvy discounts with a social experiment. The Sushi Lounge started giving out a 20 percent discount to customers who were willing to put their phones away once their food is served.
Manager Stacy Oriente noted the staff noticed people came to the restaurant but wouldn't engage with their friends or family member across the table. Now, the restaurant has Tuesday night regulars who embrace the discount and each others' company, in what Oriente described as a positive change.