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Annie’s Mailbox: Foul-mouth diners leave bad taste

Mon., Nov. 1, 2010

Dear Annie: Last night, I opted to eat dinner at a local chain restaurant. I always bring a book to read when I dine alone, so I asked to be seated somewhere “quiet.” I was put in a booth behind two young women in their early 20s, and across from us was a couple with a young child.

As I waited for my server to take my order, I was appalled by the conversation going on behind me. Every other word began with “f” (I think you get my drift). After a minute or two of this, I turned around and politely asked her to please dial down the profanity, as there was a young child right across the aisle. Her response was, “He can’t hear me, and mind your own (expletive-deleted) business.”

I wanted to ask whether she kisses her boyfriend with that mouth, but worried I’d end up with slashed tires. So I moved to another booth on the other side of the restaurant. Do restaurants have the right to ask diners to tone down their language or leave? – Mortified in Michigan

Dear Mortified: If diners are disruptive and loud, management will often ask them to be quieter or, in extreme cases, to leave the premises. However, the use of profanity would generally not be sufficient cause to evict them, especially if the parents of the young child in question did not notice or complain. In most instances, the best you can do is ask to be moved – which you did.

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