A restaurant in L.A. recently announced that patrons who dined without their cell phones would receive a
discount on their bill.
The promotion caused foodies continent-wide to sweat through their lululemons, as they tried to picture a dining experience not being interrupted by a plethora of photos.
When news spread to Calgary of this new dining concept, frustrated food fanatics took to Twitter to celebrate the mere idea of a phone-free eating experience. Unfortunately, for now, the Glencoe Club seems to be the only any establishment that forbids the use of cell phones.
Maybe it’s because I tend to be more tuned into social media than the normal person, but I can’t help but notice that we spend more time taking pictures of our food, than actually eating it. Admittedly, this is something that I’m guilty of.
As soon as that dish is served in front of me, instead of reaching for my cutlery, I almost immediately go for my camera, to share with my social network the picturesque details of what I’ll soon be eating. Even though, I’m certain, no one cares.
There used to be a time when restaurants frowned on photos being taken, but I think those same restaurants figured out something we haven’t yet. Why would the new and trendy restaurant not want the free word of mouth advertising that comes with patrons posting pictures of their dinner?
It’s not like we are getting a discount for sharing their tasty dishes with our networks on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. So while our food is getting cold, businesses are raking in free advertising, all because we’ve convinced ourselves that people are genuinely interested in what we’re having for supper.
What if Calgary not only embraced a cell-phone-free dining experience, but expanded it to include all facets of our life? Imagine how much more enjoyable concerts at MacHall would be if we could trade in our phone for a comfortable seat? Or if tickets to the movies were cheaper if you could prove you left your phone in the car.
In fact, fixing many of our bad habits should be rewarded. Those people who are cool enough to pick up their dog’s poop on someone’s lawn should get a discount on dog food at the pet store and if you’re responsible to wear your lifejacket on the Bow, you should get some money back on your raft rental.
Calgary’s never really been at the forefront when it comes to innovative city initiatives, but I think we should own this one. Welcome to Calgary: A city where you’re rewarded for not being annoying. It’s pretty catchy.