Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Laptops Require Courtesy, Common Sense

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Laptops Require Courtesy, Common Sense

Article excerpt

Q: What is the etiquette for using a laptop while dining alone in a restaurant?

A: First, we need to talk about what kind of restaurant where it's appropriate to use a laptop at all. If the restaurant actively promotes the fact that it has free Wi-Fi, I think they're expecting - - even trying to attract -- customers who want to have a bite to eat while they use a laptop. Most coffee shops and quick-service chains fall into that category. But if you're at a more formal restaurant, leave that laptop in its bag. The couple at the table beside you at Le Bernardin are probably expecting a romantic dinner -- someone sitting there typing away would ruin the ambiance.

But if you are at a restaurant where laptops are OK, make sure you use yours politely. Take the smallest available table (this is true whenever you're dining alone, actually). Do not hog the power outlets. These are usually few and far between, so if you arrive with a full battery, leave the tables near outlets for someone else. If you want to watch a video or listen to music, wear headphones, and don't sing along with what's playing or tap out the beat on the table with your pen.

And do not linger for hours over a small coffee if other customers carrying full trays of lunch are waiting for tables.

Q: What do you do if you have a very chatty child and you have to fly with him? My son is very verbal (he's 4) and isn't afraid to start a conversation with anyone. He's not going to cry or scream or kick seats -- but can he ever talk! Most people think it's cute, but he can go on and on and on. If the person beside him were trying to get work done, it would be pretty annoying. If we were in a group of three seats, I'd just put myself between him and the other passenger, but we're on a big plane and have two middle seats, so someone will definitely be next to him. …

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