by Christopher Foss
I am not a traditional Bryant University student. I am over 25, I do not live on campus, and I work full-time at a restaurant. Working at a restaurant gives me an opportunity to meet people from all paths of life. The best part about working in a restaurant is the relationships I am able to create. It is important to make a good impression on customers because they are more likely to return and share the experience with others. It is just as important to build and maintain good relationships with my co-workers. They will probably help me cover a shift or deliver food and drinks to customers if we have a good relationship. The relationships built at the restaurant are made through conversation and actions, almost entirely face-to-face. We have signs all over the kitchen reminding us to keep off our cell phones and to remain in the dining room. I think we should post one of these signs on the front door. My pet peeve is when people are on their smartphones or tablets while they are at dinner. We are all guilty of doing this at one point or another, myself included. This past weekend I waited on a family of four, and they were on their smartphones almost the entire time they were at dinner. They were checking Instagram and Facebook, and sharing pictures on Snapchat and even watching YouTube videos. When did all of these tasks become more important than going out to dinner with your family? I have always put a lot of value on the time I am able to spend with my family. Growing up it was unacceptable to wear a hat at dinner much less use my cell phone. I wasn’t even allowed to get a cell phone until I could pay for it myself. Having a cell phone and going out to eat are privileges that we are lucky to enjoy. When did we stop viewing them this way? I continue to see people socializing at a restaurant, but the people on the other end of the conversation seem to be elsewhere. The smartphone has forever changed the way we interact with one another. The first thing that most of us do after leaving class is check our cell phones. We want to know what we missed while we were busy in class. It is this fear of missing out that leads us to check our phones nearly every hour. There are campaigns to stop texting while driving, but the problem isn’t limited to driving. This addiction can be seen almost everywhere we socialize! Go to a concert or a sporting event and just look at the number of people around you using their smartphones to capture or share the moment. We need to make a better effort to share the moment with the people around us. Instead of immediately sharing with people who aren’t around us, make plans to meet up and share stories. Sharing doesn’t need to happen immediately and doesn’t have to include technology. Even though it is easier to do something one way doesn’t mean it is the way we should be doing it. Memories aren’t made through the posts we make on social media, but rather the time we share with the people important to us. Take the time and make the effort. Don’t let this wonderful technology blind us to the beauty around us.