Picture the scene. You’re eating at a restaurant with a friend. You’re telling them what you consider to be a pretty interesting story and, just as you’re about to deliver the climactic line, your friend’s phone starts vibrating.
“Just hold on,” they tell you, reaching for their device. Unable to close your story, you’re left staring at them like a dog that’s been shown a card trick. The moment has passed. The story is ruined.
Since the invention of the mobile phone, all around the world fun and fascinating anecdotes have been interrupted and messed up by devices going off at inopportune moments.
The problem became so annoying for Californian Brian Perez that he came up with a game to encourage his friends to refrain from answering phones and responding to messages when eating out.
Called Phone Stack (though initially named ‘Don’t Be A Di*k During Meals With Friends’), at the start of the meal diners place their mobile device face down in a pile on the table. The first person to grab their phone, for whatever reason, loses the game and has to pay for everyone’s meal. If everyone resists the temptation for the duration of the dinner, then the check is split.
Explaining his reason for coming up with the game, 25-year-old Perez told the New York Daily News, “I didn’t want to be that person who is going out to meet people and be on my cell phone the whole time.”
Perez posted the idea for the game (presumably not while he was in a restaurant) on his website over the New Year holidays and it soon started to get attention. It seems more and more diners are taking up the game in a bid to have a meal where conversations can proceed uninterrupted.
A college student in New York, Sarah Barjum, told the NYDN, “It gets really annoying when there’s one person on their phone. It’s like, why are we even here?” She gave Perez’s idea the thumbs-up and hoped it would make dinners more enjoyable.
If you’re someone hooked on your phone to such a degree that not even the penalty of picking up the tab will deter you from reaching for your vibrating device, better make sure you have enough funds before agreeing to a game of Phone Stack.