I’m not sure this “study” can be used to peg the fact that dinner times are doubled by cell phone use

You people are ruining it for the rest of us.
I am on my phone a lot – probably too much. Some of it is work related. I can shoot and post a video to our website without ever opening my laptop now. I can do almost anything I used to have to do at the office from anywhere in the world and that is convenient.
I also spend more than a few minutes a day checking our newspaper’s social media footprint and checking our web traffic through Google analytics.
The rest of the time is just my way of passing time and entertaining myself.
One restaurant in New York City, which the stories surprisingly forgot to name says it did a comparison of security videos from 2004 and today and found out why patrons were spending double the time in each visit to the location. If you guessed the reason was mobile phones, give yourself a pat on the back.
It is probably true that mobile phones are irritating in restaurants, but I’m not sure this “study” can be used to peg the fact that dinner times are doubled thanks to their use.
This story has gotten a lot of traction since it first appeared. You can find it on more than a dozen sites.
I think this restaurant story is like many of the “it sounds true so it probably is” internet stories.
Here is the setup. An anonymous restaurant in New York City that is “popular with tourists and locals alike” posts a rant on a Craigslist message board. Why would the owners of a popular restaurant feel the need to rant on Craigslist?
At the end of the anonymous rant, they tell their customers how much they appreciate them. We have no idea which restaurant appreciates us, but I guess it still feels good to know they do.
Couple the unlikely delivery method with the unlikely “facts” and you will see why my cynic alarm was triggered.
The anonymous, popular NYC restaurant has a lot of digital security cameras now. Fortunately for the fairy tale, they also had a system back in July of 2004 – amazing that it was exactly 10 years ago - that they just happened to have left the final tape in so they could find a data set for another anonymous firm to study to tell them why their service was slower now.
Believe it or not, they are just as busy now as they were in 2004. They were able to find 45 customers to document on the 2004 video tapes and found 45 from today.
What they found was that they are just as good as ever but their customers’ mobile phone use for email, social media, selfies, groupies, and food porn, all totaled meant that what was an hour long dinner event has become almost a two hour endeavor now.
The firm’s “study” revealed that people wasted five minutes trying to connect to the WiFi, 20 minutes playing on their phones rather than looking at the menu, more than half spent more than three minutes taking photos of the food, four more minutes taking photos of food with people at the table, another five minutes asking the waiter to take a group photo of the table and then more time is wasted as the food has to be reheated after the photo session.
Then another 20 minutes was wasted after eating before requesting the check.
Does anyone else smell a big fake rat?
We all have horror stories of people wasting our time in one or more ways in a restaurant. But three minutes to take a picture of a plate? That’s absurd. Four minutes taking photos of each other? Seriously?
People tend to be on their phones a lot now and can even be rude at times. But if you can prove this story about the mystery restaurant with miraculously preserved 10 year old security videos is anything more than a hoax, I’ll buy your dinner.
But we certainly won’t spend two hours eating it, even if I am on my phone too much.

Kent  Bush is the publisher of the Butler County Times Gazette and can be reached at: kbush@butlercountytimesgazette.com