Please allow me to vent about restaurants with the television volume set to eleven

Friends invited us to dinner Saturday. The restaurant has approximately 3 million televisions, all tuned into college football games. This was, by far, the loudest restaurant I’ve ever been in. I felt as if the game announcers were sitting on either shoulder and screaming in my ears. We could not converse without shouting.

Mentioned it to the waiter whose only response was “we usually turn the volume down when the (local team’s) game is over”. Gee, thanks for that.

Also, the speaker was directly above and behind our table. The place was packed, couldn’t re-locate. We were the guests, couldn’t leave. Other couple didn’t seem to notice/care.

What a miserable experience.

This is intentional. Restaurants that are too noisy for conversation are restaurants whose management doesn’t want you to sit and converse.

I’d back this argument up to “restaurants with televisions.” What in the screaming name of Jesus on fire are TVs doing in restaurants, anyway? (Don’t answer; I know all the ostensible reasons. I just loathe the practice so much I can’t believe it’s become so widespread, and so obnoxious in terms of multiple placements so you can’t avoid seeing them, and, yes, the ones that are turned up to conversation-crushing levels.)

But the solution is simple: walk out. If that’s not really practical, complain (won’t do any good but grains of sand add up, eventually) and never go back.

Ask for TVs to be shut off when it’s not a mob scene. If they won’t be reasonably accommodating with volume or viewing or seating, leave and make sure they know that’s the reason.

ETA: Don’t bother if it’s a “sports bar” kind of place - and if this was, it was your mistake for selecting it at all. Those places exist to have a dozen TVs blasting game coverage.

I also don’t get restaurants that are carefully crafted to maximize noise levels, so that even a few tables of people create a deafening WAH WAH WAH din. (Again, I get the ostensible marketing/appeal reasons, but. Jayzuss.)

With some restaurants it doesn’t even need to be TVs. Chipotle and Five Guys are two places I can think of right off the top of my head where the music is always blaring, and tends to bounce around a lot off of all the hard surfaces, making it almost impossible to have a conversation with someone two feet away from you.

They don’t want you to be too comfortable, you may never leave.

There’s a certain amount of truth to that for the “one meal” places - mostly fast food or fast casual food places where you make one order, eat it and leave. It’s like playing Mantovani loudly in front of a convenience store. We gotcher money, now geddafuk outta here.

But increasingly, it’s “better” places that are doing it, that want you to stay an optimum length of time to order appetizers, meals, dinners, drinks etc. (But, of course, not too long, which is why they have other tricks.) The first time I saw a TV in a white-linen restaurant I would have walked out had other people not already been seated. Just so inappropriate on so many levels.

Oh, yeah? Go to the vet and put up with Fox News/WSJ. Oh, and screaming animals, too. A pleasant time is guaranteed for all.

Had my car into the dealer for a factory recall recently. The waiting area for customers to sit is in the middle of the showroom, they have a very “open” showroom design. Anyway, there is the usual flat panel television there and volume was turned up to 11 for one on the 24 hour news channels… As I was the only customer there, and I did not especially care to hear the talking heads blather away, in addition the remote was right there within reach, I turned it down.

10 minutes later one of the service advisors walked over from the service desk area, which was 30-40 feet away, and asked if I had turned the volume down. I confirmed. He casually said they “sorta” had it that loud so the guys at the service desk could hear it.

I smiled nicely and said “Wow, way over there, huh? You guys should really get them to get you a tv of your own.”

Remote was still sitting next to me, I was making no move for it and neither was he.

i hate televisions in public areas. At least let the “public” control the damn volume.


And before someone comes along and says they probably did something bad to my car while it was out of sight, I know the service manager personally. I’m sure the tech working on my car knew to get it right.

Yep, waiting areas, airports, all those - and usually to an obnoxious news channel, not even necessary Faux. Or just “TV” - I took a family member to therapy for a few months and the therapist’s HIPPA device for her small office as a TV at moderate volume. My experience with afternoon crap TV was forcibly increased by many thousands of percent, since I’ve seen nothing but brief snips for decades.

Again, Jeebers Creebers. Who ITF watches that shit?

“[W]e usually turn the volume down when the (local team’s) game is over” is a gentle way of saying “that’s not a bug, it’s a feature.”

And that’s fair. You’d get the same response if you complained about the noise level at a concert or night club or racetrack. It sounds like you’re not going back, and that’s the solution.

Sometimes I want to hear what’s on the TV and can’t because the bar is too loud. The Solution: Turn the volume down and use closed-caption so I can read what’s being said and everyone else can have a conversation. Win-Win.

In a bar or other social setting, maybe. Sports bar, fine. Restaurant? Screw that. Even as a family that loathes television in general, it’s impossible for everyone to keep from being distracted by it. And god help the conversation if someone’s “show” is on.

mmm mentioned that friends invited him. Apparently they were the ones who choose the place.

Yeah, there’s that. (I didn’t mean he was individually at fault there; that generic you problem again.) Nothing new about good manners and putting up with hosts’ choices. But choosing a quiet place the next time everyone gets together and noting much easier it is to, you know, talk… perfectly good tactic.

We have some visitors coming next month who are lovely people but also love that whole “deafening fun” sort of milieu, so if they take us out to dinner I will have to remember my earplugs. (My ears are not visible except in hurricanes.)

It’s also a thing where lots of drinking happens.
When my ex wife worked as a (daytime) bartender, at the beginning of the day, the jukebox would be at a nice decent level, as the day progressed into night, the juke box kept getting louder, and louder, and louder. So the next day, when the opening bartender would turn the jukebox on, they would get their eardrums blasted out. It’s at this point when they usually scramble to the volume dial to dial it down a several notches.

There’s an even simpler solution: turn it off.

A small group of us meet weekly for lunch in a nearby chain restaurant. After a recent remodeling, they added TV’s in the dining rooms. Playing basically an ad for the chain, pretend cooking shows & recipes from their menu. Usually, they have the volume off & closed captions on. But it’s still distracting, when you are looking across the table at friends and there is a great big flashing screen a couple feet behind their head.

So the second time we were there, I felt around the edge of the TV screen until I found some buttons, and pushed buttons until the TV went off. Several other patrons looked approvingly, and our waitress (same one, for several years) just smiled.

I would strongly recommend against this if alcohol is being served and people are watching the game.

Sure, we’re talking about TVs specifically in this thread, but the bigger picture is the idea that TV volume causes distraction that stifle conversation.

I’d agree with that, particularly the volume, but regarding distractions, how many here take their smartphones to restaurants and play with them while someone at your table is talking? I’d bet a non-zero number.

You could say, “But smartphones don’t distract the restaurant as a whole like TVs turned up to 11 do,” and that part’s true. But some are complaining about the overall distraction and hindrance to natural conversation, and that’s where smartphones can come in.

My family and I go to dinner, and 3 out of 4 of us are on smartphones. I don’t bother trying to talk to my own family during then because I get shut out. And I look around the restaurant, and at least 75% of the other patrons are on smartphones at some point during their meal.

Instead, what I’ve discovered is what Vicsage said about the bar being too loud. It’s not the TV, or even the music so much (although one of the last restaurants we went to had the music on at concert hall volume), but the fact that “noise = fun!” “Don’t be a downer! Quiet is for funerals! You want to have fun, you gotta get loud!”

That’s the long and the short of it. They want you to have fun, so they design it to be sound reflective, regardless of the source. TV volume and smartphones being distractions are really secondary when you get to the bottom of it.

Did you read the OP? There were 3 million screens, all turned to the big game. I would have taken me an hour to turn them off, made even more difficult due to my ten broken fingers and pool cue-whacked kneecaps.

We don’t go to my favorite place to get crab cakes anymore because it’s just too loud because of the TVs.