I Hate This

From City Journal:

Restaurants supply physical nourishment, but their ultimate contribution to life is spiritual. From the bonds forged with dining partners to the camaraderie shared with fellow patrons to the banter exchanged with staff, dining out is a social, aesthetic experience. But QR codes are ruining it. More than a superficial nuisance, they are a sign of cultural decline.

Whenever I go to a restaurant and am confronted with this nonsense, I ignore it and demand to get a paper menu.  Usually, I get strange looks from the staff and eventually get a plain photocopied list, with no pictures of the dishes.

Suits me fine;  I know what a burger looks like, ditto schnitzel, ditto spaghetti bolognaise, ditto pretty much everything I care to eat.

Although it hasn’t happened yet, if I’m ever told that I can only order a meal through my phone, I’ll get up and walk out.  I hate using my fucking phone at the best of times, and to sit there squinting at a list of dishes in tiny type with microscopic pictures is guaranteed to put me  in a terrible mood — not the ideal customer a restaurant wants, because then I’m going to find fault with almost everything that happens thereafter.

I’ve already griped about concrete walls/floors and loud music, so I’m not going to repeat it all here.

I know all about the cost of labor and the difficulty in finding decent waiters and waitresses nowadays, and I don’t care.  I want the personal touch when I go out to eat, and you can forget that drive-through shit, too — hell, if I ever go to a fast-food restaurant (a highly infrequent event), I park the car and walk inside to place my order.

I was never a fan of “casual dining” to begin with, other than as a family/friends event, or being out of town where I have no option.  But as this move towards impersonal- and remote service seems to be growing, the less likely I’m going to be found eating out.

A pox on all of them, and on this so-called modern life.


  1. If ever I’m called upon to order in a restaurant by phone, I too, will walk out.

    1. Last ate in a restaurant in March 2020, probably never will again.
      1. The cost is unforgiveable.
      2. The quality is deplorable.
      3. The hygiene of the employees is horrendous.
      4. The average fellow human is an absolute animal.
      We’ll just stay here on the compound where all of the above are very manageable and enjoyable 100% of the time. In short, we’ve moved on.

  2. If you cannot discuss your prospective meal with the waiter, you’re not in a restaurant, you’re in a food shop or a luncheonette.
    I don’t own a cell phone. Anyone who wishes to give me an electronic message can mail me an eight-inch floppy.

  3. Preach it, brother!

    When they invite me to use a QR code, I tell them my phone won’t do that. Who knows? It may be true. I’m so uninterested in QR codes that I’ve not tried to see if it will.

  4. Sorry, Kim, but we just got off a cruise ship where this is de rigeur. You must use a phone app and a “medallion” you wear for everything … to lock/unlock your stateroom, identify yourself to go ashore/return on board, order a drink, order room service, log into ship’s wife/internet, book excursions … you name it.

    It regarded industry-wise as a huge “step forward”.

    1. A “huge step forward” for them, maybe.

      Yet another reason for me never to go on a cruise ship.

      1. “… a huge step forward”

        Sorry, mate, I should have made it clearer I was being sarcastic.

  5. I refuse to scan QR codes for ANYTHING. Ever. no one has been able to convince me that the QR box won’t open up every bit of information that’s on my phone. While I do not have missile codes or plans for world domination hidden away on my phone, what I DO have is for ME, no one else.

  6. I completely agree regarding the QR nonsnese, although I’ve been known to frequent a drive through or three. But at least I’m dealing with a quasi-human there, albeit with an ambient temperature IQ most of the time.

    Unless I will be penalized by law or denied medical treatment for failing to do so, I refuse to use my phone to digitally communicate with customers, vendors, or anybody else. I prefer email correspondence for anything business-related, and a telephone call is also just fine, but I will not text, will not reply to texts, will not scan QR codes or anything else. Nor will we dine in anyplace loud or where mystery concoctions are served at the price point of a gold brick.

    1. Oh, do *not* get me started! Every time I hear some lid chime in with “Please Copy” I want to remotely shove a 43′ vertical straight up someplace warm and moist on the varlet. But the dirty little secret is I’ve been doing more FT8 than CW lately .

  7. It pisses me off to no end. MY phone is supposed to be a freakin phone.
    I’m tired of it being every extra thing under the sun just because I have one.

    ,”Get the app!” Fluck off and die. So. I’m what, a second-class citizen if I don’t have a phone to join in this stupid party?

    “I forgot my phone” or “I don’t have a cell phone” always enters my mind when I see QR codes laminated to a tabletop.
    Right up there with making me scan my own damn groceries.

    But since you’re in Plano, if you want a nice breakfast/lunch place where friendly service and “family” is part of your meal, check out
    up in McKinney.

    Owned and run by one of the nicest guys you’ll ever want to meet.
    I haven’t been up that way in about 6 months, but they had nice, printed menus and no GD QR codes when we went there last, and even if they did have QR codes available, the wait staff wouldn’t look at you like you were a deranged three headed nuisance if you were to ask for a menu.

        1. Heh, probably in England.

          No doubt a small village founded in ’43 by some Texans encamped there while waiting to go lookin for trouble over yonder in France (snort, chuckle).

  8. Honestly, I can prepare better food myself, in most cases (only fair at Sushi)….

    So, I go (at my own instigation) to restaurants to be SERVED. If I wanted self-service, theres always In-n-Out, which still manages better service than most restaurants do. Using a phone? Call me old fashioned but using a phone at the dinner table is rude.

  9. If I wanted to use my phone to order food, I’d be sitting on my couch watching a good movie and waiting for the Pizza delivery guy to arrive.

    1. Now there’s a thought. If a restaurant insists you order by phone, just say OK, then order out for for a delivery pizza. Sorta like when I’m in a big box store and can find no floor help. I call the store from inside.

  10. The missus and I went to a Cuban restaurant that had us order online then the cook brought out our dinner. We haven’t been back. It was such a pain the neck to use the online system. a couple of places near us use the QR code and it is annoying.

    Loud restaurants, strike one, QR codes or ordering online, strike two. This isnt baseball so they’re out


  11. I have to agree with most here. I need a PHONE in my pocket,
    NOT a full blown computer with a continual internet connection
    so that i can check my bank balance while I wait for the walk/don’t walk
    signal to change !!!
    Some of these ( mostly young, to me anyway ) cretins should have their
    phones surgically attached directly BETWEEN their ears !! They go around
    like a monkey with a coconut in it’s hand, scared to death that they might
    miss a message. Grow up kids, you and NOTHING about you is that damned important !
    Watch the trends. Between the growing capabilities of ‘cell phones’
    and other things like ALEXA, eventually people will want to be connected
    ALL THE TIME, 24/7, ‘just in case’, and, over time, they will HAPPILY
    surrender any trace of the privacy they once had, all in the name of
    convenience !!
    Sorry, not for me.

    1. At the risk of p*ssing off the computer gods, here is my current saga:
      Last Friday afternoon, I got a notice from Fazebook that they were blocking my account because of “unusual activity.” no heads-up, no warning. I am still cut off.

      The unusual activity? I bought a new phone (long, sad story there,) and the “activity” was the phone store tech working to recover the info from my old dinosaur phone that would otherwise have been lost. He found all sorts of stuff that he accessed and transferred to my new phone, and I thank him deeply.

      but some bot somewhere, following some algorithm or other, saw that as “evil,” and blocked me. How do I fix it? I don’t. That’s up to the bot. Who can I call to have them help me through it? Nobody. Facebook doesn’t have a help desk. Yes, they have pages and pages of information that really doesn’t do anything to help, because only the bot dan decide to lift the ban.

      Yes, I would like to have everything back as it was. But I’m way old enough to remember what life was like without even ANY phone in my pocket, let alone a full-blown computer, and I can go back to life as a caveman again. If anything, there will be a lot less SPAM in my life.

  12. ^^”They go around like a monkey with a coconut in it’s hand, scared to death that they might miss a message.” Great simile! That image is a perfect fit for the phone crutch brain dead!

  13. ” . . . eventually people will want to be connected ALL THE TIME, 24/7 . . .”

    Eventually? Now, for anyone under 40.

  14. I agree with the sentiment but I’m not as absolutist as some of you. QR code menus are indeed shite, but most good restaurants have something wrong with them. If the food and service are good enough to overcome the QR evil, I’ll still go

    I will be sure to tell staff how much I dislike the QR codes and ask for and tell the manager the same thing. Requesting a change politely with reasons is often a useful tactic. It has worked often for me in Restos with the muzak volume up way too high. You’d be surprised at how many restaurateurs have no idea how many people dislike something they do without thinking.

  15. Actor Michael Tucker — L.A. Law, among others — is a wonderful author.
    His 2007 autobiographical ‘LIVING IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE: A Memoir of Food, Wine, and Love’ discusses buying a home and orchard in Italy.
    After some years there, he and wife Jill Eikenberry returned to Marin county, north of Frisco, California.
    They describe eating at a Sausalito restaurant, order and out in thirty minutes.
    Compared to their descriptions of sharing meals in Italy — three community hours to prepare, three hours for the community to consume — they stood on the Sausalito sidewalk, bewildered…
    “What just happened!”

  16. The attraction of QR codes is it allows the restaurant to change the prices with a simple keyclick on the computer, and I’m sure the chain restaurants are considering “congestion” pricing. Just like how the toll changes on the high speed lane on the highways, depending on how congested the highway is.

  17. I use my phone and computer far too much for the internet. Something catches my eye or piques my interest and I’m quick to look up information on it whether it’s a song, musician, book, location event etc. Recently I visited a relative that until recently did not have internet access at their summer house. I found i read more, had good discussions and enjoyed the environment more. The day or two before we were leaving my Aunt gave me the internet password and I was able to get online. Since I am back from vacation, I’m tempted to have my wife change the internet password from time to time until I develop the habit of reading more.

    LargeMarge, I never gave it a thought to change prices during busy times at a restaurant like they do at toll booths. I’m sure that printing menus can get pricey for a restaurant but with today’s word processing programs and printers, I’m surprised that any restaurant would send out their menus to be produced at a printing company.


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