Tenderblog is claiming responsibility for pulling Chron food critic Michael Bauers’ strings today — according to the anonymous blogger, he’s responsible for the letter featured in today’s BauerBlog (I think I ripped this nickname offa Eater, sorry, Paolo), which says:

My wife, who waits tables in San Francisco, brought to my attention how many people place their mobile phones on the dining table. Four people at a four person table typically means four phones, and it becomes difficult to set down plates and glasses. I’ve traveled in Europe, where having your phone out is insanely rude, and Africa, where it means it will get stolen. I keep mine in the pocket and use this miraculous thing from the 1990’s called vibrate.

Are people in food-centric SF so involved with communication that they’re unable to focus on a meal for an hour? Since she pointed it out to me, I now see it everywhere I go.

Gate commenters go predictably batshit (I need to make a macro for that phrase) all “I don’t have a cell phone and don’t understand why you need one too!” and going off on some tangent about loud cellphone talkers at meals or cell phones at movies. THIS IS NOT WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT. We are talking about putting your phone on the table.

Disclosure: before today, I was an occasional cellphone table person! I did not know that this was a big deal, besides how shit can get spilled on it which sucks. (Brock is a bump the table as he gets up and spill everyone’s drinks person, so I do practice care around him!)

But now I am quitting Table Phone cold turkey, because I might be offending Europeans, tempting those thieving Africans, or “discomforting” or “depressing” Bauer, who says the table phone “drives (him) crazy.”

What about you? Table Phone yea, or nay?

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

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  • bloomsm

    Pretty f-ing tired of being told what to eat, and now how to eat, by Michael Bauer. Tyranny of the minority. How about I pay the bill, get the food, and put what I want on the table? Glasses, for example. I wish Bauer would get off the high horse. It’s food, not church.

  • Brock Keeling

    I do bump the table. Because I have to pee a lot. Especially when I’m forced to drink beer.

    Also, phones should be left on the table, period. While I’m all for people not talking on the phone while others are trying to savor their offal-bacon-celery root cupcakes, or whatever, there are reasons to keep your phone on the table. What reasons? Like, not carrying a purse. And a religious-like refusal to wear khakis. (I wear pants the snug my every curve, thank you.) I refuse to appease a few critics who want every meal in the city to be like their families’ tables back in the day.

    So: no. Mind your business.

    Also, people in Europe poop into a hole in the ground.

  • Xenu

    Waiters bitch about all their customers behind their backs. It doesn’t matter WHAT you do, they will have something mean to say about you to their co-workers.

    Anyone who ever worked as a waiter or is friends with one knows what I’m talking about.

    So go ahead, leave your phone on the table or whatever and let them bitch. It’s fine.

  • fsharp

    I didn’t buy a $300 phone to sit on it. Before I could just leave it in my pocket until I got bored with everyone at the table and thought of someone to text.
    Everyone would notice my phone then and by their looks, they were envious.
    I think Bauer once said texting is not ok at the table so I can’t do that any more.

    Since there are no other use for them, phones should come out and be placed on the table. Just like guns were back in the olden days. It’s important to know who has the fanciest gun.

  • Burgos

    Interesting comments regarding Bauer’s remarks about cellphones on tables; endtime signs in each and every one of them.

  • cedichou

    How will people know you have an iphone, a sleek, shiny, polished, sexy iphone, an iphone that says look at how cool, savvy, sophisticated this person is and how great in bed he/she must be, if you can’t put it next to you on the table?

  • dantsea

    I keep my phone in my pocket, because I’m forgetful and don’t want to leave it behind.

    But I think it might be fun to start littering restaurant tables with broken secondhand phones in the hopes that it might give a few SF Gate commenters and diaspora’d have-nots aneurysms.

  • Andy

    My pants are too tight to put a phone in the front pocket, it would get smashed in the back pocket. If I have a jacket it goes in that pocket, if not either on the seat under my leg or somewhere on the table.

    I always found it hilarious that all my anti-cell phone friends only seem to call me from other people’s cell phones.

  • SF94122

    Definitely agree. Work in Eruope or Africa if you you’re so picky about what’s on a table you happen to be serving/expecting a tip from. Got some moxy complaining about this ish from a waiter’s perspective. Obviously, one should try to help the waiter find space for whatever they may be placing on the table..

    Now, I do think it’s rude for other people at the table, but it’s none of the waiter’s business.