TV Remote Wars In The Waiting Room

by admin on April 1, 2013

Today I was waiting at the auto repair shop and I was the only one in the waiting room along with the manager who was busy.  The TV was set on a talk program and I was crocheting and keeping an eye on it. A man came in with his DD about 10 and the kid went over and started flipping thru the channels until she got what she wanted to watch. I can’t stand Sponge Bob. I was very tempted to say,  “Yes I was watching that, please put it back.”  Or, “Yes I was watching that but I don’t mind if you change it.”   But I decided to keep the peace and said nothing. I thought it was better not to take the chance on a hissy fit or glare from the dad on his parenting style. Would you speak up or shut up? 0325-13

Since I do not own the business nor own the television in the waiting room, I view it as merely a nice perk of being a client of that establishment but not one I am entitled to control in any way.   I do not need a television in a waiting room and if there happens to be one, I might partake of the benefit.  More likely I’ve come with my own reading material or Kindle to preoccupy my time.


{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Ergala April 1, 2013 at 9:05 am

I guess I’m odd because when we are in a waiting room with a TV I absolutely do not allow my son to change the channel without asking permission first. I ask the office staff/receptionist and then I ask the other person waiting if it is okay if we switch the channel. If they say no then I give him a magazine for his age that I brought or he plays on my phone. The wants of my child does not trump the comfort of the other patrons waiting. As his parent it is MY job to make sure he is entertained while we are waiting.


JC April 1, 2013 at 9:12 am

Personally, I’d have just shut up. I agree about it not being worth the hassle if indeed the child or parent got shirty about it, and you already had something to keep yourself occupied. I remember being the 10-year-old in that situation and I remember frequently being bored out of my skull in situations like that, since auto repair shops usually didn’t stock reading material geared towards my age or interest, and back then morning/daytime TV was still mostly soap operas and talk shows, so now being the adult in similar situations, I’ve actually told kids that I’m not really watching it and to go ahead and change it, although I’m totally with you on the SpongeBob hate.


L.J. April 1, 2013 at 9:14 am

I agree that it’s best to bring your own reading material or other entertainment. I’d have let the kid watch the cartoon, because kids have less control over their own lives. Adults are usually able to know if they’re going to be stuck in a waiting room and for how long, and better able to bring things to amuse themselves. That kid might have been dragged around on errands all day, not allowed to bring a book (“You’ll just forget it somewhere, I’m only going to be a minute.”), and have no idea when he’s going home.


Shoegal April 1, 2013 at 9:15 am

Frankly, I hate the TV in the waiting room. It would be a great distraction if I could watch exactly what I wanted and could hear it. Usually, the volume is turned way down or off and the channel is always set to a sports event and the remote is not available. I wish that it just wasn’t there. Everyone seems to have electronic devices (their phones) to keep them busy – playing games, checking messages etc – that I think it is pretty much unnecessary anymore.

The courteous thing for the girl to do would be to ask you if you were watching the program and if you didn’t mind if she flipped – or for her Dad to remind her of her manners. I think people have long sinced stopped worrying about instilling good manners in their children. I’m actually amazed by this – since my mother tirelessly worked to teach us good manners you would think her children would instill it in theirs but sadly that isn’t always the case.


Anonymous April 1, 2013 at 9:22 am

I never understood TV’s in public places like that. If the people in the waiting room don’t get to control it, then who does? The people in charge of the venue? That’d make sense, except they’d presumably be too busy working to watch TV. Another variation of this is the communal video games they have in some McDonald’s indoor playgrounds, pediatricians’ waiting rooms, and other kid-oriented places, with signs on them that say “Play Fair, Please Share.” If I had my own business (completely hypothetically), then I’d probably put some magazines in the waiting room for adults, and paper and crayons for children, and call it good. When I’m the one in the waiting room, my standard entertainment of choice is either a book if I know I’ll be waiting, or my iPod if it’s a spur-of-the-moment thing, because I never leave the house without my iPod.


Green123 April 1, 2013 at 9:24 am

Hmm… if an adult had asked others in the room politely if they minded him flicking channels, that’s fine. But a kid of 10 should not be changing channels without permission – a lesson needed that she can’t always get what she wants when she wants it I guess.


Brian Katcher April 1, 2013 at 9:25 am

I’ve often wondered about the etiquette of that. Is it permissible to change the channel in the waiting room if the show is especially annoying?


admin April 1, 2013 at 9:47 am

So you can change it to another channel that may be as equally annoying to another client of the business? I figure that the business owner has the right to decide what television content he/she wishes to have displayed in their waiting room.


Mae April 1, 2013 at 9:38 am

The father or the kid should have asked BEFORE changing the channel. Since you were crocheting, they most likely thought you were not watching. I love to crochet myself and quite often work on a piece and watch TV at the same time. My husband will come in and change the channel and I have to remind him that I can do 2 things at once.

All in all, I think it was just a misunderstanding and I think you made the right choice. If you had requested the channel to be changed back, you would have had to a) explain even though you were crocheting, you were watching the TV and can in fact do 2 things at once, b) listen to the dad explain how “mean” you were while doing the death glare, c) listen to the dad explain why you must let DD watch SB (she’s just a kid, etc) and d) listen to the child whine and moan until you left.

I understand your frustation; count me in as one who cannot stand Sponge Bob. I know that the program is for young children but I loathe it and of course, it is my nephew’s favorite show. Even if you have another way to entertain yourself, any TV program could, particulary the loud and annoying Mr. Square Pants, could disrupt you.


Rap April 1, 2013 at 9:40 am

The father should have reminded his kid to ask you if you were watching that since you were the only one there. But… he might have assumed that if you had your head down crocheting, that you weren’t watching it.

Children do need to learn that the world doesn’t revolve around them but because of how, forgive me, virulently some parents respond in these situations, I think you made the right choice in letting it go. if it is a more long term situation, I’d say something to the parent.


girl_with_all_the_yarn April 1, 2013 at 9:43 am

Honestly? Just my humble opinion, but I’d rather have a kid watching Spongebob than what’s on some talk shows. Heck, I don’t like Spongebob and I’d rather watch that then some of those talk shows (Dr. Oz, I’m looking at you).

I agree with many of the other posters in saying it was totally not worth it, and I’d like to drop in my two cents. Too many parents don’t let kids bring along their own entertainment because they don’t want to pack the kid up during all the errands. Then kid gets bored and, as kids tend to do, kid starts driving other people crazy by running around and getting whiny. Fact is, kids have a much lower threshold for boredom than adults. Remember when you were a kid and Mom said “I’ll just be a minute” and you totally knew that was code for “This is gonna take all day?” That hasn’t changed much.

Now my mom was smart. Each kid got to take along one book and one toy on errands. Two books if we were close to the end of the first one. But – and this is the important part – once we hit about 8 my sister and I were 100% responsible for those things. We left them behind, we were done. They weren’t coming back cos we weren’t going back for them.


Lo April 1, 2013 at 10:02 am

I’ve never in my life touched a TV in a waiting room.

Not even the time we were stuck at a car repair shop and the TV was blissfully silent and once the waiting room filled up an employee switched it on and left it on a cartoon and maximum volume for a room full of adults. That was a miserable experience but since no one else bothered to touch it I wasn’t about to be the first one.

I agree with L.J. here that it’s kinder to let the kid just have at it. I rarely sympathize with children in situations like these but I remember being a kid and bored and having been raised not to make a fuss or touch anything that wasn’t ours. I would have appreciated being given control of the TV.

If you had your crochet they may have simply assumed you were working on that too intently to care about the TV. I know people can crochet and knit while multitasking but lots of people don’t.

Additionally I’d much have to tune out a TV program I dislike than be bothered by a bored child. Kids can get up to serious shenanigans when they lack stimulation. Keeping children quiet and out of my personal space is a much bigger priority for me.


Ally April 1, 2013 at 10:06 am

I think what girl_with_all_the_yarn was referencing is that some of these talk shows can cover information that isn’t appropriate for kids. If there’s a kid in the waiting room, it might make sense to change that or turn it off for that reason. I think not-wanting-your-kid exposed to talk about sex, strange disorders, or surgery on tv trumps the other person’s right to watch tv in a waiting room.


Library Diva April 1, 2013 at 10:11 am

I hate the communal TV too, especially when the signal is weak. I recently had to endure a soap opera that would get interrupted every few seconds by horrible static noise. That was the worst. I usually try to come prepared to those places also — I’ll bring a book or a magazine or something. If someone else is in there, I’m the type of person that just wouldn’t ask to change the channel, unless it’s a situation where the signal is so horrible or when it’s showing something like a test pattern or infomercial that’s unlikely to interest anyone. I do normally assume that it’s there for the use of the customers unless there’s specific signage indicating otherwise, though. I never thought about the business owner having strong feelings along those lines.


Coralreef April 1, 2013 at 10:13 am

Most (all?) of the waiting rooms with TVs around here are on the 24/7 news channels. I’ve never heard of anyone wanting to change it. At some point, when the same group has been watching long enough and the news feed loops back to the begining, discussions may start about the different news stories.


Cathy M April 1, 2013 at 10:15 am

To the Spongebob Haters,

You know you sound like Squidward, right?


Bibianne April 1, 2013 at 10:23 am

And this is why I ALWAYS bring a book/knitting project/iPod. I find most programs totally annoying and the commercial even more so. I tend to block them outwith a combination of 2 out of these 3 😉


Bibianne April 1, 2013 at 10:25 am

I also find that a lot of parents lack backbones when it comes to their kids. (yes, I am totally aware I opened THAT can of worms.)


WildIrishRose April 1, 2013 at 10:25 am

I’m in the I-hate-TVs-in-the-waiting-room camp. I nearly always bring a book with me if I know I’m going to be stuck in a waiting room for any amount of time. I can usually tune out a TV, but that’s not always possible, and most TV isn’t worth much of my time anyway. And it’s been my observation that kids aren’t the only ones who will change a TV channel without asking.


Mr. Z April 1, 2013 at 10:26 am

Similar experience, while in the hospital waiting to meet with donor organization as my wife had just passed. A father and son came in, kid (age 8-10) grabbed the remote and found MTV and cranked up the volume. I feel that MTV is not appropriate for a child that young, (not good for anyone but that is another story). A friend of my son was there at the time and he promptly went over, recovered the remote and put on a more appropriate program. The father started to object, however a quick explanation and a promise to toss sthe tv out the window halted all objections. The father and his kid left soon after.


hakayama April 1, 2013 at 10:35 am

TV in a waiting room is a “perk”? Puhleeeze. I’m inclined to call it a “curse” of inexcusable, useless noise pollution. But then, this is April Fool’s Day. 😉
It’s there along with TV in the airports, annoying too loud music in stores, even outside of them, sounds blaring at fuel pumps, neighbors amping up music in their homes loud enough to be heard across the road.
I feel that sounds of construction or demolition are a necessary evil, and therefore bearable. Sounds of someone else’s musical, or visual, entertainment invading my personal space are an abomination. Too bad that ear plugs don’t help much… 🙁


Carol April 1, 2013 at 10:39 am

I hate waiting room televisions because they are almost always tuned to one of those particularly horrible chat shows, Maury or whatever, and those shows just make me cringe. That being said, I never would have thought it okay to flip the channel as it isn’t my television, and I wouldn’t let my kid do so unless given express permission.

So, I do think it’s a bit rude that the child did that, but on the other hand, since the child clearly didn’t have any thing to do, I’d rather she was occupied and quiet instead of bored and whiny. I don’t blame you for being annoyed, but I think you did the right thing in not making it an issue.

They can be a pain sometimes, but as a mother, I’m mostly grateful for all the hand-held gaming systems. Kept my son occupied and happy when in waiting rooms.


NostalgicGal April 1, 2013 at 10:41 am

The local medical clinic is like that, has a TV going all the time and it always seems to be on Judge Judy or a similiar program. The remote is hidden and the tv controls disabled. I’ve been tempted many a time to wander by the backside of the TV and take the cable off the back (it’s phone company provided basic cable) just to get some PEACE. I don’t know of anyone that ever watches it, and it would be nice to at least be able to turn it DOWN… I’d welcome Mr. (yellow and square pants) over some of the totally brain dead fakodrama being rolled over the TV….

As said, usually when TV is provided for customers, the establishment sets it and the volume and hides the remote, or it will go walking and then there is NO control other than on or off on a lot of TV’s now…


ElizabethD April 1, 2013 at 10:44 am

Daddy is the rude one here. He should have told the child, ‘this lady is already here – you need to ask her if she is watching that program of if you may change the channel.’


Sansa April 1, 2013 at 10:47 am

You should had at least been asked if you were watching the program before the child changed the channel but I think you were smart not say anything.

I’m on the fence on this one. I can see the OP (and maybe other adults) not wanting to listen to Sponge Bob, as I don’t particularly care for him but I can also see the kid being bored to tears from being trapped on errands all day.

Admin is totally right that the business owner has the right to decide what he/she wants to show in the waiting room. However, if the remote is left in the waiting room, that seems to suggest that clients can change channels if they want to and that is when situations such as today’s post occurs.

I remember being in the waiting room a few days before Christmas 2 years ago while my youngest had his wisdom teeth removed. The TV was on a college football game. I love college football and the game on was one I wanted to watch but thought I was going to miss due to the surgery. A father that was waiting was whooping, hollering and commenting (sometimes curse words) so much after each play that I would have rather missed the game than listen to him. The staff noticed but I guess they did not want to say anything for fear of him really getting out of hand.


Kimberly April 1, 2013 at 10:50 am

At first I was going to reply something along the lines of you possibly saying, “Wow. Nice way to teach your girl manners, dad. I was watching that show” (Of course, this one is sarcastic and I would probably never say anything like this), “Or excuse me, I was watching that show, would you please turn it back to the channel it was on?”.

But, if I walked into an establishment with a tv, and the only person in the room was obviously otherwise occupied with their knitting, kindle, laptop, whatever, I might have assumed also that you were not watching the tv and therefore might have changed the channel.

Although, honestly, I have never changed a tv or wanted to in an establishment as I also bring my own kindle to keep me occupied.

I also probably would not have minded the child changing the tv, because I would hate more to deal with a bored child than somethng on that I do not care for.


Harley Granny April 1, 2013 at 10:55 am

I would chalk this up to not sweating the small stuff.

If a program keeps the child occupied I’m all for it.


Hilary April 1, 2013 at 11:26 am

Reminded me of a similar experience. Last year, my husband and I took a trip to Paris and unfortunately contracted food poisoning. We ended up in the emergency room, where a television was showing “127 Hours,” a film about a man who gets injured while hiking and cuts off his own arm to escape from under a boulder. There were several EMTs standing in the waiting room and watching it. Also in the ER were a man with a gruesome eye injury, and elderly lady accompanied by her son, and my husband and myself, sick to our stomachs.

My French is not good enough to ask someone to change the channel, but I really wasn’t looking forward to the part where James Franco removes his arm with a pocket knife. When the stomach-churning scene began, the young man with his elderly mother stood up and said loudly in French, “Will someone please change the f*$&@ng channel?!?”

Not the most polite way of getting it done, but you better believe the receptionist changed it quickly. I am eternally grateful to that guy. I guess my point is that waiting room TV programming should be decided by the group. If the kid really can’t take the talk show, it would not have been rude for her to ask courteously if she could change the channel. Likewise for Sponge Bob. Or 127 Hours. But she should have asked. Preferably more politely than the guy in my story. 🙂


Jane April 1, 2013 at 11:45 am

I agree with the others – letting is go is the best thing you could have done.

I have to share a funny about this: When I was around 8 or so, my mom had to go to the ER. I rode with my dad and sat in the waiting room. There was some random 90s talk show on the TV. The topic that day: the details of a young boy’s molestation. The gruesome details.

Since there was no remote (or way to change the channel), all my dad could do was to tell me to “go get a magazine to read.” It was very awkward, and I still remember it to this day!


--Lia April 1, 2013 at 11:45 am

I entered a waiting room with 4 other patients and a television. The patients were all seated as far from the t.v. as they could get. All were reading or on their phones. None was watching. I asked if anyone minded if I turned it off. All nodded their consent. I turned it off. Two said something along the lines of how nice it was with it off. The clinic assistant came out to call the name of the next patient, stopped, looked at the t.v., and had the most surprised look on her face. I quickly explained that we all wanted it off. Then she looked relieved. Seems that she was afraid that it was broken.

I’ve turned off t.v.s when I was the only one in the hotel lounge or exercise room. Always it turns out that the MANAGEMENT has a policy of leaving them on. I have to do some explaining that I’m the customer, the only customer, and I want it off.

Would I have said something about a kid changing the channel. Maybe. If I did, it would be on the basis of 2 people, 2 votes, not on the basis of what’s appropriate for a child to watch. From the father’s point of view, it didn’t look like you were engaged so it seemed alright to do. If there are any arguments, I’m with the admin. Let the people who run the establishment decide.


Jane April 1, 2013 at 11:47 am

Ooops, hit sent before proofreading – replace the word “funny” with awkward! Didn’t mean to imply that topic was “funny.”


Jenn50 April 1, 2013 at 11:49 am

While I agree that it’s rude to change the channel without asking, I’m squarely in the camp of returning to you handiwork and letting it slide. I agree that the child is probably being dragged on a deathly boring errand against her will, has nothing to occupy her hands, and has had less time to learn etiquette and self-distraction techniques than you. Simply put, her need is much greater than yours. Her dad, on the other hand, should really insist on her asking you.


Angela April 1, 2013 at 11:57 am

Yes, the kid should have asked and her dad should have prompted her to ask, but if the OP was crocheting they may have thought that it would bother her more to be asked. I would not speak up, myself, unless I had my kids with me and someone changed the channel to a wildly inappropriate show.
I agree that if the remote is in the room, the auto shop must not mind if the channel is changed.


Bint April 1, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Someone crocheting is not someone you’d assume is watching the TV, any more than someone reading. If you want control over what’s on, make an effort to look as if you’re watching it. If you had said something, that father could have said something like, “Oh, I’m sorry. Given your interest in your crochet, I had no idea you were interested in this programme.”

If the remote control is out there, the TV is up for changing. If it’s not for changing, the remote should be elsewhere.

Funnily enough, kids managed absolutely fine when TV wasn’t in these places though, so I’m sure she would have survived.


Anonymous April 1, 2013 at 12:44 pm

I don’t think the girl in the story should have been automatically denied SpongeBob (or whatever she wanted to watch), to “teach her a lesson that she can’t always have what she wants,” but I think it would have been polite of her to ask before changing the channel.


Tracy April 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm

I agree that it’s kindest to let the child pick the channel, since they have less control over their lives and schedules. And that a remote in the waiting room means customers are welcome to choose a channel. And that they probably assumed you were not watching, since you were otherwise occupied. And that a lot of you sound like Squidward. 😉


Jess April 1, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Yeah, this one I’d just let go. I’m with most people here; I don’t like the whole TV-in-the-waiting-room thing, because 1) the volume is usually off or very low and/or 2) the channel is usually something that I find either incredibly boring or annoying (like talk shows, sporting events, or one of the hideously obnoxious children’s cartoons where the characters enjoy yelling at each other at the top of their lungs). However, I usually bring a book with me whenever I’m in the waiting room, or I flip through the magazines that are always there, so I don’t have to watch the TV. If the OP was crocheting, the girl and her dad probably thought that she wasn’t watching the TV. Of course, the polite thing would have been for the girl or her dad to ask if they could change the channel, but unfortunately the world doesn’t work that way. Still not a reason to say anything though. Really, it’s not that big of a deal. This is one of those times when the phrase “Pick your battles” is revelent.


The Elf April 1, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Harley Granny nailed it. Yes it would have been polite if the child (or the child’s parent) had asked first. But it isn’t worth getting worked up over, and if the alternative was a misbehaving loud child, then all hail the SpongeBob. It’ s not like the OP owned the TV or that it was in OP’s residence or business.

In waiting rooms all over, I prefer to ignore the TV and read instead. It seems that TVs are everywhere; my preference is to turn it off.


Miss Raven April 1, 2013 at 1:24 pm

I think it was definitely rude to change the channel without asking. I would never let my kid just walk into a waiting room and start messing around with things, especially if there was someone else waiting. Dad should have asked you first, or at the very least said something to his child. Lazy parenting.

That said, you were right to keep quiet. You don’t know these people, and while the response may have been, “Oh gosh, how thoughtless, I’m so sorry,” it could just as easily have turned into something ugly. Not worth the risk.


Stacey Frith-Smith April 1, 2013 at 1:28 pm

If you have a kid of any age on errands with you, why not just talk with them? Kids like attention and need the bond that unstructured time spent together generates anyway. Grocery shopping and many other errands are a natural “fit” for involving kids instead of making them superfluous. And with a little humor and creativity, even getting the oil changed or shopping for tires can include the shorties as your product selection and “thinking” are explained. Kid “hears” you and you “hear” kid. Better bond- free bonus.


Stacey Frith-Smith April 1, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Sorry, that last comment was off-topic. Guess my thinking was along the lines of “how to be nice to your kid so the rest of the world doesn’t have to deal with their crankiness because you as a parent don’t engage them.”


Abby April 1, 2013 at 2:00 pm

I think the argument “I was here first” is a pretty prevalently accepted notion in most social situations, so I do believe someone should ask if someone is watching the current show before flipping the channel, and if they don’t, the first person is well within his or her rights to say-politely- excuse me, I was watching that, could you please flip it back? Of course, if the second person refuses, I don’t think anything can be done, but I certainly don’t think it’s wrong to ask. Provided though, that the first person was actually watching the show, and not just trying to avoid a replacement program they did not care for.

However, OP, there is a difference between having a polite spine and being passive aggressive. “I was watching that, could you please turn it back?” is acceptable, a, “I was watching that, but it’s fine” to me just screams passive aggressive. You don’t want them to remedy the situation, you just want to let them know they have wronged you.

Anyways, I doubt I would have said anything. Maybe if there was like, three minutes left in the last quarter of an NFL game and the score was close, and I knew I’d be done watching in a few minutes. Otherwise, not worth it. I certainly wouldn’t get into a confrontation with someone having no intention of asking them to switch it back, just to let them know I was annoyed.


Eccentric Lady April 1, 2013 at 2:30 pm

I remember having to take my MIL to her appointment for she couldn’t drive due to recent surgery – and they did have a TV in the waiting room, but seemingly at an odd angle where I was sitting. While I was waiting for her appointment to be finished, some parents came in with kids and they kind of got bored fast. However when I brought out origami paper and the kids were entertained as I folded animals and the such for them – they were fascinated to see how square paper can be something else by folding.

I usually do carry origami paper with me for it seems fun to give them away, I’ve even had adults watch and ask for the just folded critter too! 🙂


TylerBelle April 1, 2013 at 2:38 pm

In the clinic my mom goes to, there’s a TV in most or all waiting rooms (at least the ones I’ve been in), and they all have a little printed sign taped at the bottom of the screen, ‘Please do not change the channel.’ There will be a news station on one, the Food Network on another, etc., and I’ve never seen any one try and change any of them. I bring reading material or puzzle books to keep occupied as I wait for mom.

I am with the ones who say if I saw someone doing an activity other than watching the television, such as crocheting, I’d think they wouldn’t be paying much attention to it. And also I’d prefer a probably bored child having something to occupy them than for me to continue with a program I was only partially watching.


lakey April 1, 2013 at 2:44 pm

I don’t think that this is about the tv being a perk that the business provides. I think this is about a tendency for some parents, certainly not all, to raise their kids to think that they are automatically entitled to have the choice THEY want. I’ve seen this in homes where children will go to a relative’s tv and change the channel without asking, open the refrigerator and help himself/herself to snacks, dig through drawers and closets. There are a few parents who really believe that the world revolves around their children. It doesn’t. That being said, l hate most of the junk on tv, so when I’m in a waiting room I ignore the tv and have a tablet full of books, music, games, and apps to occupy myself with.


Goldie April 1, 2013 at 2:50 pm

I have TVs in waiting rooms with a passion. Have to confess, when there’s nobody else in the room, I turn the volume off or, if possible, turn the whole thing off. (Then when someone comes in, I tell them that they’re welcome to turn it back on to any channel they like.) Other than that I treat a blaring TV in a waiting room just like I do noisy kids on airplanes – earbuds and an MP3 player. Agree that the dad in the story should have asked the OP’s permission to change the channel, since she was there first.

I have to add that, when my kids were young, I tried to bring something to keep them entertained when I had to bring them along on errands, rather than counting on their favorite TV channel being available,


lakey April 1, 2013 at 2:53 pm

“admin April 1, 2013 at 9:47 am
So you can change it to another channel that may be as equally annoying to another client of the business? I figure that the business owner has the right to decide what television content he/she wishes to have displayed in their waiting room.”

My auto dealership lounge has the tv already on some channel that has non-descript show like Rachel Ray’s and no remotes in sight. Probably deliberate. The tv is on but there is none of that disgusting reality stuff. I especially hate talk shows and reality shows that feature people who are grotesque caricatures.


Maargaret April 1, 2013 at 3:33 pm

I have changed the channel in a car repair waiting room after asking other people if they minded (no one did.) Apparently no one else wanted to watch Kathy Lee and Hoda either. If there’s a remote and no one there, I think a customer can put any programming he or she wants on at a reasonable volume. If someone else is there, ASK before changing channels.

There is a particular doctor’s office I go to that has Fox News on one day and Headline News the next. Apparently this office thinks this is equal opportunity programming. They say they can’t change the channel even if asked. I always bring a book and stay as far away from the TV as possible. I have no idea why a television must always be present but it might be better than having to listen to other customers / patients /what have you drone on and on about whatever fascinates them while I’m trying to read.


LawGeek April 1, 2013 at 4:29 pm

When I am alone in a waiting room, or the other person is very obviously not watching, I actually ask that the TV be turned off. I would much prefer to read my Kindle, which is hard if the TV is a listenable volume. Of course, if the staff is within watching or hearing distance, I wouldn’t make this request, since it might be a nice way to break up a tedious job! But I spend so much time in doctor’s waiting rooms, I would waste a lot of good reading time if I never spoke up.


Anonymous April 1, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Another thing–if the girl in the OP is ten years old, why are people assuming that she’d throw a tantrum if she couldn’t watch SpongeBob? I think the more likely outcome is, she’d sit quietly and be bored, and maybe sigh a little bit, but that’s it. I think there’s probably some grey area between “brat” and “perfect, adult behaviour” with young people, and it’s not fair to accuse them of being the former, if they fall short of the latter.


Goodness April 1, 2013 at 6:18 pm

I have very limited TV tastes, so I assume if there’s a waiting room TV it’ll be something I don’t like and bring alternate time-fillers. But I get very annoyed-bordering-on-offended when it’s set to a religious channel. I’m there to get my teeth cleaned, car repaired, whatever, not be bombarded with threats of damnation and pig-ignorance passed off as the word of God. I suspect the business owners who play those channels do so as a way, since open discrimination is against the law, to narrow their customer base down to fellow travelers.


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