Does that headache come on the side?

I don’t often get bad service at restaurants — and it’s not because they know I blog about food.

I think it has more to do with my attitude — I’m here to eat, not be served! — and my inability to notice when service is, well, not so stellar. (I can be a bit distracted, especially when there’s a plate of food in front of me.)

But there have been times when I’ve noticed outstanding service. Case in point: Nobu Yoshida, above, who runs a tiny lunchwagon in Lahaina, Maui. Despite a long line developing behind us, he still took the time to explain his business and recommend what I should order. (No wonder he’s been around for almost 20 years.)

But I do remember times when I’ve been treated ridiculously badly at restaurants: completely ignored for 30 minutes before ordering, got the wrong order and was told it was really what I had ordered. We’ve all been there, hated that.

What I never considered was that our bad experience may affect other diners.

On Eatocracy’s Lunchtime Poll on yesterday, that topic was posed as a poll:

Does the way your fellow diners are treated have an effect on your dining pleasure?

Nearly half of respondents — 47.14 percent — responded that if a meal and companionship are great, they don’t even notice what’s happening at other tables. Another 27.42 percent said, “Life’s too short to get worked up over things like that.”

What about you? Do you get upset when you notice other patrons getting bad service — and does it affect your experience there, too? Or can you focus on your own table and ignore the rest?


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