The Phone Stacking Game: Let’s Make This A Thing

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I’m A New York Times Subscriber, So Where’s My Tote Bag?

So it’s Saturday night and you’re out with friend. Are they the inconsiderate jerk who can’t stop checking their smartphone? Or is that you?

Either way, here’s one way to make dinner a little more interesting.

I’ve seen/heard this described as both “The Phone Stacking Game” and “Don’t Be a Dick During Meals”. It’s been mentioned on a couple of blogs, but a quick  straw poll of my friends suggests that it hasn’t become widespread yet, at least on the West Coast. Which is a shame, because it’s perfect for folks in tech.

Here’s how it works: At the beginning of the meal, everyone puts their phone face down at the center of the table. As time goes on, you’ll hear various calls, texts, and emails, but you can’t pick up your phone. If you’re the first one to give in to temptation, you’re buying dinner for everyone else. If no one picks up, then everyone pays for themselves.

You can explain the game in a few different ways. Most obviously, it could be a protest against the incessant, unthinking use of cell phones during social gatherings. Or maybe it’s a game that acknowledges the new reality and tests your willpower accordingly. Personally, I like to think of it as a free market exercise. After all, people love to say, “Sorry, but I have to take this.” Do you have to answer it? Really? Is it that important to you? Great, then you can pay.

No matter what the explanation, it could make for a tense meal. And I look forward to defeating MG Siegler.

[image via Kempt]