The Phone Stack. It's a game where table mates who are out grabbing a bite to eat stack their cellular devices on the table in plain sight, face down. Sounds like the ultimate in dining/phone etiquette. In reality, it's one of the coolest (or stupidest*) pieces of socially engineered live gaming I have ever heard of.
The rules are simple, as the meal progresses, you will all inevitably hear phone notifications going off. Texts, calls, Tweets, Facebook Notifications. But you're not allowed to check your device.
If you're an addict, the noises will drive you crazy. You'll want to reach for your phone. You'll be asking many internal questions, some may materialize into mumbled inquisitions under your breath. Who called? Was it my mom? Is she okay? What if Jessica Tweeted at me? Or if Monica tagged me in her new Facebook album?
You'll spend all dinner almost-reaching for your phone. What's holding you back from picking up your machine and checking it?
The punchline that is: first person who touches their phone, picks up the tab for the entire table.
In this day and age, when it comes to dining out, or pretty much doing anything in general, our cell phones play a big part. When it comes to sitting around a breakfast, lunch or dinner, we pay equal amounts of attention to our smart phones than we do to our table company.
And if your date was as awkward as mine was last night, you might have spent your entire evening texting your friend back home about how little action you're getting when you drop her, and then Tweeting to the rest of the world some sly, vague 20-character line about you'll surely be "Getting it in, tonight."
The reality is, even with the most comfortable of company and the most lively of conversation, our dinners are bound to be interrupted by our joint addiction to the digital.
Did so-and-so text me back? Wait, who @mentioned me on Twitter?
Our eyes are constantly darting between our glowing screens and the people around us. But could Phone Stacking be the temporary, fleeting savior to such #FirstWorldProblems as simple as not using your cell phone during dinner?
I'm not sure what type of affect Phone Stacking could have on the future of dining, but if you plan to abide by the laws of Phone Stacking, I only have one question to ask you...
Is that text message worth the cost of everyone else's dinner?