What would you have done? (a matter of politeness)

I went to the doctor today and was waiting for some time in the front room. A woman, sitting 2 seats down with her husband, was chewing gum quite loudly. Sucking, smacking, popping, making little bubbles, all very much with her mouth open. The sounds were soooo irritating. I wanted to ask her to stop or be quieter but I could not think of any way to ask without essentially saying STFU. I made a few dirty looks but not really in her direction. At one point the other side of the room opened up and I could have gotten up and moved over but I thought that would be equally obnoxious. (Thinking of it now, what the hell did I care what they thought if I moved?)

Anyway, is there any tactful way I could have handled that? What would you say to make the person not chew and smack so loudly?

If she were alone, I’d suggest just striking up a conversation.

Otherwise, I think you’re out of luck. I can’t think of a kind way to say “Shut up shut up shut up!” which is what I’d be thinking.

Dirty looks and moving to the other side of the waiting room is the limit of what one could do politely, I’m afraid. You could ask her to stop if she was spraying you with spittle, perhaps, but unless you were her mother, if it was just annoying you, it would be impolite of you to tell her to CLOSE HER FREAKIN’ MOUTH AND CHEW QUIETLY.

Then again, you might ask her if you might trouble her for a stick of gum, then park yourself in the chair directly across from her smack away at it obnoxiously to give her a taste of her own medicine. :slight_smile:

Because I don’t like to confront people, I would have said nothing, but given disapproving looks in their general direction.

I had an incident similar to this past Friday at a doctors appointment. There was a couple there with their young child, maybe 2 years old, The kid was shrieking and running around the waiting room, the parents did nothing, the staff said nothing, no one said anything… including myself. They did get lots of dirty looks though. I my head I was cursing them. I just couldn’t bring myself to be “The Bitch” that told them to keep their precious child quiet.

I would have gone with your own ultimate solution and simply moved. I don’t mind asking people to quieten down in a movie but a doctor’s waiting room …I doubt it.

I’d’ve buried my nose in a magazine or book and made a mental not to be sure to bring an iPod next time. Unless provoked myself, I rarely confront someone.

“I’m sorry. I hate ever so much to say this, or even bring it up. I feel just horrible. But you see, the reason I’m here to see the doctor today is we’re trying out this experimental hearing implant. And well, gosh I hate to say this, but it needs adjusting because for instance, the sound of your chewing is causing me excruciating pain.”

Yeah I know, correcting someone’s manners is generally considered a breach of etiquette itself, and I probably wouldn’t have done it either. But then again, if I really did have a migraine or something…

I might approach the receptionist and just loud enough for the CHOMPER to hear, inquire as to whether there were some place quieter to wait? You know, since I’m not really feeling very well and all.

I have nothing helpful to add, because I’m rather non-confrontational, too, but I’d like to see some of the replies. The gun thing would have totally grossed me out, because I hate gum. I hate that smacking and slurping and popping.
I would have moved - who cares what they think?

I was in a similar situation last week in a doctor’s office. At my daughter’s therapist’s (she’s being treated for depression), the waiting room is usually pretty quiet. It’s a medium-sized practice, several psychiatrists and psychologists and the tone is usually pretty calm and serene.
Last week a couple came in with their daughter, the daughter went back to see the therapist, and the couple proceeded to have a loud, raucous conversation, complete with loud, braying laughter, the occassional swear word and even making a couple of cell phone calls to include friends (or whoever) in on their fun. I know all about their weekend plans, their plans for a party next month, what they’re having for dinner, and all the funny things that happened to both of them at work.

I know all the doctors have those white-noise machines, so maybe they didn’t hear it, but out in the waiting room, it was loud. I kept thinking the receptionist would say something, and didn’t really feel it was my place to tell them to shut up. I did feel like saying, “You’re sitting right next to each other? Do you really need to talk so freaking loud?” but I didn’t. It was just so out of place there - it’s usually such a calm and cool place, but that day, it was not.

“You know, I’ve got this new policy: Instead of silently enduring everything, from now on I’ll say something when I’m bothered. So! Would you do me a favour and tone down the gum chewing? I’m getting a headache from this. Thanks in advance.”

I don’t think there is a polite way to tell a stranger to shut up.

Long time sufferer from the hordes of bovine chewers here.
I find that sitting there, occasionally staring at them whilst you go nigh on purple with rage is pretty much the only thing you can do. Sometimes, if it’s really bad, I’ll start imitating them. This may end up leading to violence, but at that point I’d rather be beaten into a coma than endure another minute of it. My walkman/iPod is my saviour - I’ll not get on public transport without it.
Well, unless I manage to catch a glimpse of them doing it, in which case I can;'t help but look and begin the inevitable purpling.

Hmm. I’m tempted to start a pit thread on chewing gum…

Thats right how dare they let a toddler act like a toddler. That baby should be kept at home and not let out until he is 18. Seriously I don’t know how you keep a two year old quiet. Sometimes they are and sometimes they are not. I have one child who was almost always well behaved in public and one that was (and still is) a maniac. Sometimes attempts at keeping them quiet makes it turn into a full tantrum. Those parents might have been happy that the baby was acting as good as it was, it might usually be worse. And yes sometimes tantrums happen and its not the parents fault. There is a reason why it is called the terrible twos. I may be overreacting here. I have seen plenty of parents who let their children run wild. I have also see lots of dirty looks aimed at kids who are acting like kids.

I think I would have picked my nose and looked at my finger like I was contemplating sticking it in my mouth. That might curb the output of her salivary glands a bit. :eek:

Indeed, but in a doctors waiting room? People are there because they are sick and would understandably not want a little kid running about - what if they had splitting headaches or broken toes, for example?
One of the parents could have taken the kid outside and let it run about doing whatever.

Wow, I was thinking the same thing. But the best part would be when she turned to her husband and said, “Uggh, how rude? Can you believe some people?”

The worst part would be if she turned to you and asked, “Excuse me, could I borrow that? My gum has lost it’s flavor.”

I’m cooking, but have suddenly lost my appetite…

Wonder why? :slight_smile:

Ah, my weight loss program is a success. Now to get it as a bestseller on the NYTimes list.

This one I’ve had some success with. (I strongly agree that there are situations in which it’s not acceptable for parents to take the line “It’s just a kid being a kid.” The kid needs to be taken outside, which restores decorum, says that the parents care about the rest of the world, and tells the kid he needs to shape up if he wishes to be in the company of others.)

It helps if you’re quite close to the problem child; if he runs right into you, it’s perfect. You simply take hold of a wrist or other appendage, and grasp it quite firmly, but without causing any pain. Some experience will tell you for how long - you want the kid to have the standard shocked expression, but not to start howling. After the right delay, you then say, slowly, and in a soft and very polite voice: “Excuse me - could you possibly be a bit more quiet?”

You probably are scoffing, but this has worked well on several occasions. The parents may have a quietly hostile reaction, but the kid will usually get the message, and the other sufferers will send you looks of deep appreciation.

Running around and shrieking in a doctor’s waiting room is not acceptable behavior, no matter how old you are. If you have a rambunctious toddler, you bring along some quiet toys or a coloring book or some books to read with him or her.
There’s playground behavior and then there’s waiting room behavior.
One of the parents should have taken him outside and let him get some fresh air and take a little walk to burn off some energy and explained that he couldn’t act like that inside, then come back in and try again.

Normally, gum smacking drives me nuttier than any other behavior in an enclosed area. I would have been jumping out of my skin.

However, when it’s a doctor’s office, I’m willing to give the chewer (or person doing a similar obnoxious behavior) the benefit of the doubt that she was really nervous about something health-related, and using up nervous energy on the gum. I know I’ve probably tip-tapped annoyingly.

In all likelihood, I would have mentioned quietly to the receptionist that I was going to hang out in the hall or outside for a bit. Sorry, that doesn’t answer your question at all. :smack: