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Pot. Kettle. Black.

This is one of those submitted stories where the story writer does not appear to understand that their actions are just as rude and entitled as the people being complained about.

My husband was scheduled for surgery that was going to take at least 5 to 6 hours, not too mention all the diagnostic tests that were scheduled to be run prior to surgery (add about another 3 to 4 hours). Knowing that I would be at the hospital all day, I came prepared with plenty of magazines, plus my portable DVD player and some movies. I read the magazines during the test period, then when they took DH to surgery, I chose to get lunch and then return to watch movies. Before leaving for lunch, I scoped out the location of the only power outlet in the waiting room. The reason why I chose to leave for lunch was the large signs on each wall asking that you please not have food in the waiting room, to be courteous to the other people waiting.

I returned an hour or so later and plugged in my DVD player. I did not have headphones, but at the time that I started I was the only one in the room. The TV in the room was also on, but there was no one watching. About a half hour after I started the movie, a pregnant woman and her 2 companions entered, and turned up the volume on the TV. TV is to my left, and they are on the next wall over where they could see the TV. If they were watching it. Instead, they are all talking. Every 10 minutes or so, one of them would go turn up the volume on the TV, then they would all resume talking. Not one of them is actually watching the TV.

Then after about a half hour, one woman came over and asked if I could please turn the volume down on my DVD player, as it’s disturbing them trying to watch TV. I admit that I had the sound turned up during the quieter parts of the movie, because the speaker on my DVD player is not good. But that meant that the louder parts were inadventently loud as well (the DVD was Fellowship of the Ring – think Hobbits talking quietly, then suddenly, screetching Nazgul). I promised to do what I could, so I spent the next half hour alternating the sound level so that I could hear it but try not to disturb them.

Then they all leave, only to return in about 15 minutes with large bags of fast food (at the time, hospital had a Wendy’s inside). Then, sitting directly underneath one of the large signs asking that you not have food in the waiting room, they proceeded to eat. The pregnant one joked out loud that she was pregnant and she didn’t care, she was going to have food. And they turned up the TV again. At that point, I ceased mitigating the volume on my DVD player. And if they complained again, I was going to politely point out that there were no signs about loud DVD players. 0923-08

Psst…your failure to bring headphones/ear buds does not constitute an obligation of others to accommodate your viewing enjoyment.

{ 84 comments… add one }
  • Just4Kicks October 31, 2017, 2:02 am

    “I did not have headphones”….uh oh….I knew where this was going as soon as I read that.

    Having four children fairly close in age, and taking vacations at the shore each year which is a good three hour drive each way from our home, we have gone through 3 or 4 of those portable DVD players.
    Every one we had, and maybe they are all different, had closed captioning capabilities so the kids could watch a movie with the sound down fairly low but still able to enjoy the movie.
    My daughter, when she was younger, used to ask if it was her turn to “read a movie now”.

    Also, aren’t most of the diagnostic tests run a few DAYS before surgery, not hours before???
    Just curious as most of the back surgeries my husband has had that was the case.
    One of his five procedures over the years was postponed a week because of something a diagnostic test showed.

    • A different Tracy October 31, 2017, 1:12 pm

      “Also, aren’t most of the diagnostic tests run a few DAYS before surgery, not hours before???”

      Not sure if you’re accusing the OP of lying, or what, but it depends on the type of surgery you’re having.

      • Just4Kicks November 2, 2017, 10:21 am

        No, @Tracy: Not at all am I accusing OP of lying, genuinely curious.
        I’ve had three surgeries in the past ten years for female troubles….ovaries removed one after the other one and then an emergency hysterecotmy.
        My diagnostics were always a few days before…I was just wondering.

        • Just4Kicks November 2, 2017, 10:23 am

          My husband also, as mentioned above, has had several back operations for disc removal/repair.
          Every person and surgery are different, I stand corrected.

  • Reaver October 31, 2017, 3:06 am

    I think the eating directly under the sign that asks you to please not bring food is a worse offense than “The OP’s volume might have been a bit loud”

    • iwadasn November 1, 2017, 8:59 pm

      I don’t think it even matters how loud the movie was. Playing a video on your laptop in a public place without headphones is rude, period.

      • Briar November 7, 2017, 7:24 am

        Agreed, especially where you’ve got a somewhat captive audience, like in a waiting room or on public transit.

  • Aleko October 31, 2017, 3:16 am

    I’m simply gobsmacked (as we say this side of the pond) by this post. OP was sitting in a public place playing movies with the sound on? I would have thought that everyone old enough to be married knows not to do that. In the trains I travel on to work, people scowl at you if your headphones are leaking sound. (And not even a nice quiet movie, but LOTR, yet!)

    I wouldn’t say the other women were doing anything wrong by putting the TV on and then talking over it. I personally never have TV on unless it want to give it my full attention, but many people do keep it on even when they have visitors and are chatting, so for them it’s the accustomed background to ordinary home life. And if there’s any environment where it’s understandable for people to want the comfort of a homely sound, it’s a hospital waiting room. (As for repeatedly turning up the volume, presumably that was so that this homely sound could compete with the Nazgul shrieks et cetera coming from OP’s speaker.)

    Of course eating their burgers in the waiting room was a discourtesy: but if they felt that OP by her discourtesy to them in producing a constant auditory nuisance to them had forfeited any right not to be subjected to an olfactory nuisance, I have a certain amount of sympathy with that. (Yes, I know they shouldn’t have done it, but still I sympathise with the impulse. OP doesn’t mention there being anyone else in the waiting room.)

    As for OP planning to say self-righteously “there are no signs about loud DVD players”: that does rather remind me of an old news story of a school teacher who was caught having an affair with a girl pupil. When the school proposed to sack him, he appealed on the grounds that the girl was over the age of consent (which made it not actually a crime) and that there was nothing in his contract of employment that specifically said ‘and you will not shag any of the pupils’. The school simply said, in effect, that there are certain things that grown-up people are expected to know, and sacked him anyway.

    • Wendy November 1, 2017, 3:22 am

      Just one point an out how the other were rude. The requests that you not eat food in hospital waiting rooms is not for other visitors but patients who are nil by mouth.

  • Maggie Levine October 31, 2017, 4:34 am

    I’m still trying to figure out when it became acceptable to play movies, games, etc. with sound in public. It’s everywhere lately, and it drives me nuts. My games are on mute, and I would never watch a video without earphones. Just seems like common courtesy.

  • Anonymous October 31, 2017, 5:23 am

    The OP was probably worried about her husband, so I can see how she might have forgotten to bring headphones, and she did adjust the volume of the movie to accommodate the people who were (not really) watching the TV, without complaining–the fact that she THOUGHT of (politely) pointing out that the hospital waiting room doesn’t ban loud DVD players, doesn’t matter, because she never actually said it. Maybe, for whatever reason, OP wasn’t able to pick up a pair of headphones when she stepped out to get lunch–maybe there was no place nearby that sold headphones, maybe money was tight, whatever. Anyway, the other group in the story brought greasy, strong-smelling fast food into a place where food was clearly not allowed, and they were being loud by talking loudly, turning the TV up, and talking over that. Yet, when they asked the OP to turn down the volume of her movie, she did. Maybe she would have been better to switch to reading magazines once the other people showed up (although, magazines aren’t going to fill eight hours like the Lord of The Rings Trilogy could), but I don’t see this as egregiously rude and entitled behaviour–I see it as a person forgetting something on a stressful day, and just trying to deal. I’ve definitely been in public places where people were using laptops, movie players, et cetera, without headphones, and while this isn’t ideal, I don’t think it’s awful, because the maximum volume on devices like that isn’t usually that loud. Another thing–I think it’s possible for different parties to have conflicting desires, but that in itself doesn’t mean that anyone is necessarily being rude. As between forgetting headphones for a portable DVD player, and violating a stated hospital rule by bringing food into the waiting room, and turning a communal TV up to an unreasonable volume without even really watching it, I wouldn’t say that the OP was “just as rude and entitled” as the Fastfoodersons.

    • Leigh October 31, 2017, 12:47 pm

      But they were *all* in the same waiting area; which means the OP wasn’t the only one who was most likely experiencing a stressful day.

      And, while rude, it isn’t the OP’s place to enforce the no eating policy; that’s the job of the staff, and if they chose not to do so for whatever reason, OP isn’t the food police. She could have asked the staff to say something to the others waiting along with her.

      I would say that, perhaps no one was acting their best that day, but if the OP can be given leeway because she was being stressed by her husband’s surgery, the others in the waiting room should be given the same leeway because we don’t know what their stress was that day, and it could have been much worse and much more stressful than the OP’s situation.

      Most people don’t hang out in a surgical waiting area in a hospital for fun, so prioritizing one’s own ordeal over and above that of others is rude, and perhaps the OP maybe forgot that, as my dad always liked to put it, “That big, bright ball in the sky doesn’t shine just for you.”

      If you want others to be considerate of you, start by being considerate of others. It doesn’t always work, but it’s better than the constant one-upping of rudeness that seems to be the norm in our culture these days.

    • Danielle October 31, 2017, 12:56 pm

      The other people were in the same waiting room, and I wouldn’t normally expect a pregnant woman to be in a surgical waiting room unless there was a good reason for her to be there. Maybe her husband was having surgery and her companions were there to keep her from getting too nervous / worried, so that’s why they were talking and had the TV on, to distract her because the father of her child was having surgery. She was pregnant, so she probably needed to eat but didn’t want to leave the waiting room for fear she’d miss getting news about her husband. If you’re going to give the OP a pass because she was having a stressful day, I’m not sure why that same courtesy wouldn’t be extended to the pregnant woman and her companions.

      Unless the other party made a mess of their food and left their trash lying around, I’d much rather have dealt with their unauthorized food than someone who decided to force me to listen to their movie.

    • Ange October 31, 2017, 10:34 pm

      They said they had to turn the volume of the TV up to hear over the DVD player so that is OP’s fault. Besides lots of people can watch TV and have conversations all at once, my mother and I are masters at it. If you don’t like noise pollution don’t contribute to it yourself. The rest about the food was neither OP’s concern or her place to police and it was clearly said to vilify the other people.

    • fountainog November 1, 2017, 10:05 am

      I am sure she could have bought headphones at the gift shop, headphones are sold everywhere, sometimes even in vending machines. Baring that as others mentioned she could have used closed captions. I just don’t think you should ever be playing volume on your device in public. The food sign is probably more about the mess, there are often signs to dissuade people from eating as allowing it causes people to think they can leave their garbage. Anyway it is hard to take her complaint seriously when she herself was behaving badly.

    • Semperviren November 2, 2017, 2:58 pm

      I agree, that was pretty much my take as well. I really can’t understand why the OP is taking such a pounding for forgetting/ not thinking to bring headphones (I see that the other waiting room occupants are being given a pass on their behavior on grounds of “stress” and “worry” over their loved one’s surgery. We can’t cut the OP a bit of slack for not remembering headphones? He/she was, after all, in the exact same situation).

      IME, most devices before the iPhone didn’t have really great speakers; it’s hard for me to believe a standard DVD player was loud enough to overwhelm the television in the room. I note that the other waiting room occupants turned the volume up without asking if the OP minded (wouldn’t it be basic courtesy to check with others before taking it upon oneself to up the volume of a shared TV?)

      Ignoring the posted request about food? I find that far more entitled and rude.

      I’ve been the lone person in a waiting room when a group came in and basically acted like it was their home. It sounds very much to me like that’s what this group did.

  • tessa October 31, 2017, 5:30 am

    Another alternative would of been to go to the chapel and pray for her husband during his surgery. Seems like she forgot about him in her tv volume squabbles.

    • Kirsten October 31, 2017, 12:28 pm

      Not everyone believes in supernatural beings influencing events on earth depending on how fervently people ask them to.

      • Toni November 18, 2017, 7:59 pm

        Thanks for speaking up for us “non-prayers”

    • A different Tracy October 31, 2017, 1:10 pm

      I’m not sure why you would assume everybody prays, or that the OP had forgotten her husband simply because she chose to stay in the waiting room, where she could easily be found.

      • staceyizme October 31, 2017, 2:10 pm

        Sorry to pile on here, but could you be any more judge-y? It isn’t that there’s anything wrong with praying (there isn’t!), but the whole “gotcha” analysis on this isn’t nice.

    • Anonymous October 31, 2017, 4:04 pm

      Maybe the OP already went to pray for her husband, and now she wants to think about something else–not because she doesn’t care, but because, well, worry can be all-consuming if you let it. Also, maybe the OP isn’t religious, but I don’t want to get too far into that, because I don’t think we’re allowed to debate religion on E-Hell.

  • Vic October 31, 2017, 7:50 am

    Admin has already commented on your lack of earbuds. So I’ll leave the battle of the volume for someone else to talk about. What I don’t understand is why you seemed to take the food situation so personally. Yes, they broke the rule and you didn’t. But, this is one of those times when their rule-breaking didn’t impact you. You didn’t say anything about the smell bothering you. You were just annoyed that they didn’t follow a rule that you did. If it’s not affecting you, let it go and accept that it’s for the hospital to decide how and if they want to enforce their own rules. I think maybe this was just a really stressful day for you, understandably so, and you let one of life’s little annoyances bother you to a disproportionate degree. Hopefully your husband is all better now. So, stop dwelling on this day. Force yourself to laugh it off, put it behind you and move on. You’ll be much happier in the end.

  • Kelli October 31, 2017, 7:57 am

    Seriously? You can’t bring ear buds? OP is just as guilty as the other party.

  • pennywit October 31, 2017, 8:19 am

    Yeah, bring your own earbuds.

  • Huh October 31, 2017, 8:24 am

    People watching videos on other screens – computer/tablet/whatever – without headphones while someone else is in the room watching TV is a huge pet peeve of mine. My DH and stepkid are bad about this. To be fair, it doesn’t seem to bother them any, as I’ve seen them do it to each other without the other complaining, either with the TV or even dueling tablets. And yeah, I crank the TV louder. My kids have been taught that when you are in a common area, whether in public or in the house, you plug in headphones on your device.

  • Susan. Haverland October 31, 2017, 8:28 am

    I think I would tell someone, she is eating food in the waiting area . Yes you should have brought ear phones . I would not have a problem saying , oh I see you are not watching your show but I am .

    • Aleko November 1, 2017, 1:29 pm

      They may not have been *watching* it, but they were clearly *listening* to it, in the interstices of their conversation (as I said further up, I can’t do this but I accept that some people can and do), as witness their repeatedly turning up the volume to compete with OP’s DVD player.

  • Lacey October 31, 2017, 8:41 am

    Haha this is amazing! It is never ok to listen to a portable device of any kind without headphones in public. I love how people don’t seem to understand that being oblivious to other people = being rude.

  • Lolkay October 31, 2017, 9:14 am

    I respectfully disagree she was as rude since she was willing to work with requests the first time around.

    However, always always always bring headphones anyways.

    • mark October 31, 2017, 6:54 pm

      No she was rude. Using electronic devices without headphones in a public waiting room is inconsiderate.

      • Lolkay November 1, 2017, 11:00 am

        I put ‘as rude’.

        As in, she was rude, but I don’t think she was equally as rude.

        • mark November 2, 2017, 5:20 pm

          Sorry, I should have read more carefully.

    • Kay_L October 31, 2017, 9:18 pm

      No one should ever have to request that you turn down your portable entertainment volume in a public place like that .

  • Anon October 31, 2017, 9:45 am

    Oof yeah sorry. Always have headphones. I know how hard it can be when your head and ears don’t like most types (I absolutely can’t use earbuds, short ear canals make it so that they literally start giving me earaches no matter the volume and larger headphones give me headaches) and it can be hard to find the right ones, but if you don’t have headphones, it would have been better to bring books instead or a game that you could play without the sound.

  • LadyV October 31, 2017, 10:27 am

    Yes, OP is definitely clueless, in more ways than one. If you KNOW you’re going to be stuck somewhere for 5-7 hours, how do you forget to bring headphones? Did she just assume she would be the only person in the waiting room, or that because she was there first, her needs came first? And while the other people WERE fairly rude, OP was equally ill-mannered. If she couldn’t hear her DVD player, she could have told the person who asked her to turn it down that she was sorry, but she could not hear the movie over the TV and tried to come to some sort of compromise. And if she was really that upset about the food in the waiting room, she could have brought it to the attention of a staff member. Rudeness all the way around in this scenario.

    • mark October 31, 2017, 6:57 pm

      How do you forget? That’s not hard. I recently took a trip to the grand canyon. We managed to forget to take our fancy dslr camera.

      • Marketeer November 1, 2017, 9:28 am

        There are a lot of people, possibly even the majority, who, if they forgot their headphones (because, hey, it happens to the best of us), would have say, “Oh well, I guess that means I can’t watch a movie like I’d planned to. I’ll have to figure out something else.” If forgetting is enough to give people a pass, you’re going to have a lot of people “forgetting.”

  • Kiki October 31, 2017, 10:28 am

    I’d be way more annoyed with the person listening to their personal dvd than with the person who ate in the waiting room (not that that’s ok). That’s a big pet peeve of mine. It irritates me when people watch videos, play games, listen to music, etc in a public space like a waiting room. I was once stuck in a small ER while someone gave their child a tablet to play games with the volume turned all the way up. What took the cake is when the caregiver began playing the game and left the child to figure out how to amuse him or herself.

  • Semperviren October 31, 2017, 11:27 am

    I’m not seeing the “just as rude and entitled” part. Yes, it would have solved the issue if the OP had remembered headphones (always bring headphones!)

    But it seems that the other visitors pretty much took over the waiting room, commandeered the television and its volume, brought in food against the rules, talked over the TV and demanded that the OP moderate his/her volume with zero regard for how their behavior (or volume) was impacting the other person in the waiting room.

    The OP at least made some effort to accommodate THEIR viewing enjoyment.

    • Lerah99 November 1, 2017, 6:25 am

      I think the other party could have written their own letter.

      “I’m 7 months pregnant and my loved one was having surgery.
      Two family members agreed to hold my hand while I waited.
      But when we got to the waiting room there was this woman who had camped out near the only electrical outlet.
      She was watching one of those handheld DVD players without any headphones. It was some sort of endless fantasy movie with screaming monsters and battles.

      My friends and I try to do our own thing. We turn up the TV a little to drown out the noise from her movie and try to talk amongst ourselves.

      This lady just keeps glaring at us, huffing, and turning up the volume on her DVD player.

      We try to ignore her. Turn up the sound on the TV. Eventually my friends bring me some food.
      DVD lady pointedly looks at a “no food” sign and glares at me. At that point I am done.

      I’m exhausted. I’m worried about my loved one. I’ve been having issues with low blood sugar due to my pregnancy. And I have a massive headache from this lady’s DVD player blaring away for the last several hours. So I simply say “I’m pregnant. I don’t care what the sign says. I’m eating.”

      At that point, I would have LOVED to have a staff member come in to say something about my food so I could complain about the endlessly blaring DVD player. It’s a public waiting room in a hospital, not your own personal living room. Who does that?”

      There is absolutely bad behavior on both sides.
      Sitting there with her movie playing out loud and shooting dirty looks at another group DARING to use the waiting room is not ok.

      • Aleko November 1, 2017, 1:30 pm


        • Dublin November 5, 2017, 11:56 am

          Totally this!!

  • Lady Phoenix October 31, 2017, 11:35 am

    Yeeeeaah, I love Lord of the Rings and all, but I would not want a shrieking Nazgul to startle me if I was in a hospital and pregnant.

    This is the equivalent of some jerk that would play his obnoxious music on a boombox in a subway. You either bring your headphones, or you leave the DVD player at home.

  • lakey October 31, 2017, 11:56 am

    I keep a set of earbuds in my purse. Due to upgrading iphones, laptops, and having various electronic devices I have about 5 sets of earbuds. Seriously, just keep a set in your car.

    • Rattus November 1, 2017, 8:07 am

      Agreed. I have the bud (just one – deaf in one ear) permanently attached to my phone. I also keep a spare in my purse and a spare in my bike bag. Also, I keep a few of the little rubber thingies that go in your ear in my purse just in case the one I’m using pops off and disappears. The world we live in today is built for headphone/earbud usage and people should behave accordingly.

  • J October 31, 2017, 12:04 pm

    This hit a nerve with me. I really struggle with people that bring noisemaking devices and fail to use headphones to listen. I was recently in an airport lounge for several hours (the ones you pay a fee to enter or get passes from credit card companies, etc.). There was a person there watching YouTube videos on their cell phone with the volume loud enough to disrupt the whole room. They were watching some of the same clips over and over and over again. It really was ruining the relaxing mood of the lounge and you could tell the attendants were not sure how to address.

    I was pretty shocked that they didn’t realize they are the only ones making loud noises. All the other patrons had headphones, were trying to sleep, eating quietly. Luckily this person’s companion finally got their attention elsewhere.

    I would never even think to bring a noise making device without some type of headphones so that I’m the only one listening. Was it wrong for this family to keep adjusting the volume, sure, but the TV is part of the waiting room, the DVD player is not.
    In regards to the food, if the staff didn’t say anything about then it might not have been a concern to them.

  • L October 31, 2017, 12:37 pm

    I’m with the admin here; you were both rude. And why? Because apparently you both wanted to do what you wanted to do without thinking there might be others in there who were also anxious.

    I think it’s fortunate that no one else was apparently in the waiting room that day; between the player, the television, the talking, the (I’m guessing sniping at each other), and the food smell it would have been a very unpleasant place to be.

    And, OP, just because someone needs to make a situation unpleasant doesn’t mean you need to match it.

  • Charliesmum October 31, 2017, 12:46 pm

    I agree that it wouldn’t even occur to me to watch a movie or anything in public if I didn’t have headphones, but seriously the ‘turning on the television and then not watching it’ thing drives me mad, so I can’t blame her there. It ties into the ‘use headphones’ thing because I really dislike being forced to watch/listen to a show I have no desire to see. Waiting rooms are the worst because they tend to be on those horrible day-time chat shows.

    • Lacey November 1, 2017, 10:53 am

      They might have wanted to drown out her DVD player. A communal TV as background noise would be way less distracting from a conversation than random loud sounds and music from a movie you aren’t watching. Also, at least the waiting room TV is expected to be used and was being used by a group of people. Again, headphones were the answer for the OP.

  • A different Tracy October 31, 2017, 1:13 pm

    Sounds like everybody was a little thoughtless in this scenario.

  • Shoegal October 31, 2017, 1:25 pm

    Not to be off topic. But why does there have to be a tv in every public space? A noisy restaurant ….a tv, a quiet waiting room. . . a tv, and neither space is great for tv watching – in a restaurant the noise level is such that even if the volume were turned way up I wouldn’t be able to hear it – and in a quiet waiting room the volume is never up high enough to hear it. I have a hearing problem – but even with hearing aids it just turns out to be annoying background noise that just makes me angry. I would be happy to sit and wait or eat my meal tv free. I also know people who keep their televisions on all the time and don’t even make a pretense of actually watching any of it. So why have it on? Can’t any of us actually just sit there without the need to be constantly entertained? It’s like we’re all toddlers who need to be amused 24/7.

    • TracyX October 31, 2017, 2:06 pm

      I want to see what you do when you’re left in a waiting room for 5-6 hours. Do you just stare blankly at the wall for that whole time?

      As other’s have stated, some of us like the background noise. It’s not really different from listening to music in some ways.

      • Vermin8 November 1, 2017, 7:31 am

        The answer to this one is easy – reading or puzzles.
        And if one has a smartphone or notebook, there are plenty of these activities available.
        But please, everyone, when playing games, please turn the sound off!

      • Kiara November 1, 2017, 7:38 am

        Read, knit, read some more, listen to my iPod, play games on the iPod (with earbuds in, of course)….that filled up the last waiting room time I had pretty easily. I don’t mind background noise, but it’s not required.

      • Shoegal November 1, 2017, 7:39 am

        Well, goodness what did people do when they had to wait when there were no TVs in the world?

      • TracyX November 1, 2017, 1:16 pm

        Vermin8, Kiara, and Shoegal:

        All of those suggestions are means of being entertained. Per Shoegal’s initial statement: “Can’t any of us actually just sit there without the need to be constantly entertained?” That means no entertainment, not just no noisy entertainment. Did you know, there was a time when people got offended that someone else dared to read a book in a public area and it was considered rude to do so if there were other’s around.

        Mostly my response was to the judgmental tone of the initial response. As Lady Pheonix pointed out some people like the white noise a quiet TV provides, especially in a stressful environment like a waiting room.

        But I do agree that not everywhere needs a TV.

      • Fmark November 1, 2017, 6:52 pm

        I’d watch the wall for hours before I watched 5-6 hours of daytime tv.

    • Ernie October 31, 2017, 4:23 pm

      I’m with you on this. If it isn’t a sports bar or something like that, I don’t see why there has to be some TV blaring some bland general interest program at me. People can do that on their phones now if they want it (with ear buds in).

      My grandmother has hearing aids, and if she happens to come to a casual dining place with us, I feel bad for her because I know that all these useless cross-noises keep her from being able to hear the conversation fully.

      In this situation that the OP describes, maybe some people would just like to, if they have to be there, just sit and read or whatever without having to vaguely track some news story they aren’t interested in.

    • Vermin8 November 1, 2017, 7:29 am

      Like Shoegal, I would prefer no gratuitous noisemakers. I can bring my own (with headphones) or engage in something that does not generate noise (like reading, which is my preference).
      I don’t understand having the TV on if one is not concentrating on it. It’s habit and it may be comforting to some but it’s annoying to others. And if you are sitting there chatting with someone I would think the increased comfort level due to the TV is pretty miniscule compared to the comfort level of the conversation.

    • Lady Phoenix November 1, 2017, 8:22 am

      In waiting rooms, TV’s make for a good source of white noise. It can be unnerving being in a room for up to an hour with no sound (sans thenoccassional cough and such).

      In restaurants, it’s for the sports. Good chunk of restaurants make their money on game days. And really, as long as you can see what is going on — you don’t need the sound.

      • Shoegal November 2, 2017, 8:34 am

        All I’m saying is that for me – I don’t need the tv. I don’t want white noise. I don’t want background noise. I understand that some people need that but I’m not one of them.

    • NostalgicGal November 9, 2017, 9:21 am

      I just got back from a trip, and it was an ordeal. During it I did get to stay at a resort place (to attend something, part of the trip only) and the ONLY tv in the entire place (and I was all over there so I should have found…) is in one pub bar in the basement. So yes. This is possible. You can live without a TV going. (they have also no in-room phones… just a house phone to the desk only on each wing/floor–everyone has their own cell phone so it’s moot).

      I have done plenty camp-in-waiting-rooms and I have bags of zero-time things that need doing ready to grab. I can be self amusing for several hours at stuff that does NOT make noise. Or take my earbuds and use my portable electronic device. I usually prefer the bag of stuff.

  • Gabriele October 31, 2017, 1:27 pm

    I wonder if the group was increasing the volume to try to drown out the dvd player noise. Also, some people in groups use tv to cover their conversations, give them a sense of privacy. I have an old-fashioned set of headphones (used at home) that fit over my ears. I may not be listening to anything but it does block outside sounds and certainly deters unwanted conversations. People can easily ignore ear-buds and talk at you (often louder and louder) but not the big ones.
    As far as the food, I know it wasn’t allowed but again I go back to the ‘group’. Eating together is a way
    to share and probably something they’re used to. It could also be that with the number of people they may not have been able to have a meal and all get to the hospital on schedule.
    My late husband was in the hospital for knee surgery. We had to arrive early and he couldn’t eat so
    I’d brought trail mix which I could nibble on…not that my mind was on food.
    I knew I couldn’t read (and I’m someone who can read anywhere) because my mind would not be on it. I had a pre-stamped linen tablecloth and the design matched that on some Corelle dishes good friends had. They had entertained us and had a long table, but no table cloth. It was a single color (blue) cross-stitch so I didn’t need to focus completely on the stitching. I thought of the friends (a family of 4, loved their children as well), good times, great meals (sharing), Christmas eve helping them wrap presents when the kids had gone to bed….all the small things (and big) that my husband and I had shared with them.
    I knew the surgeon was good, the hospital was as well, I didn’t have any big concerns but at the same time, our life was on hold. Some of the nurses would stop by to see the progress I was making and one said that maybe a small stitchery kit would be a good item for the gift shop, and time passed. Operation went well, then waiting for after. More stitching. By the time he was ready to go home I confess I was sick of that tablecloth but it did get finished and was tucked under the tree the next Christmas.
    Me, I’d rather collect and revisit remembered blessings than go looking for new complaints. I wonder if the OP told her husband in detail what she’d had to suffer in the waiting room.

    • Ange October 31, 2017, 10:38 pm

      Op says exactly that: they couldn’t hear the TV over her DVD.

      “Then after about a half hour, one woman came over and asked if I could please turn the volume down on my DVD player, as it’s disturbing them trying to watch TV”

  • Ernie October 31, 2017, 1:29 pm

    First, like most others are saying, playing a personal device without earbuds in public is always rude. Second, as an observation on the whole situation here, I know I’m obviously in the vast minority, but I’ve never understood the “visit and wait for extended periods of time” mentality of hanging out in a hospital waiting room, unless you have to be there to make decisions or answer questions during the surgery. It never makes sense to me when I see more than one adult in a group in a waiting room, and especially more than one adult waiting with children. The problems that the OP is describing is exactly why I’d prefer to be anywhere else, even if that means my car, a nearby coffee shop, a park, or if possible, home. Cell phones seem like the obvious answer to “but what if they need me”. I’m basically saying, I’m not a doctor or a nurse, I can’t actually do anything. I feel in the way and uncomfortable at hospitals. Expecting a waiting room to have the comforts and non-frustrations of your own familiar personal habits and spaces, for up to ten hours, seems to me like setting yourself up for failure.

    • Kitty October 2, 2018, 6:36 pm

      I was wondering that, too! When I went in for surgery, my mother did not come to visit me until the day after. We both knew that her being there while I was getting operated on wasn’t gonna change anything, and that I would likely be spending most of my time sleeping or dozing after anesthesia. Same when she gets surgery.

      It just feels like a waste of time to be there. If anything happens and they need to contact me, my phone number is on file, and I am very easily reachable. And that does not go into the whole fact that I find being inside hospitals or clinics, as a patient or guest, to be depressing.

  • Tmichele October 31, 2017, 1:36 pm

    So funny. I *just* submitted a story about a recent experience in a quiet restaurant and a table nearby that allowed their children to watch a movie on a laptop at top volume. I’ve noticed this becoming a trend more and more. I’ve seen it in airports, on airplanes, subways, restaurants, coffee shops, schools, workplaces and even church. People don’t want to hear your personal movie or music. It’s rude.

    OP, their refusal to abide by the no food rule does not make your rudeness any better. That’s like kids that say, “Well she did such and such” when getting in trouble.

    • bern821 November 1, 2017, 3:22 pm

      You know what else I can’t stand (as far as someone else’s personal noise)? When I go to my local nail salon for a pedicure, and the person in the chair right next to me spends the ENTIRE time talking on their cell phone. It’s a small shop w/only 2 chairs so you can’t spread out. I get so annoyed listening to someone yammer on while I’m trying to relax. I just don’t get people who have to be talking on their stupid phones CONSTANTLY.
      Ok, I’m done. 🙂

      • Shoegal November 2, 2017, 1:45 pm

        I never did like to listen to someone else’s music on a public beach. This used to be more common when everyone didn’t listen to music on their phones. People would bring down their boom boxes and play the music at top volume. No – I don’t want to hear it – more that likely it isn’t what I’d listen to. I also don’t want to hear your music when driving. Sometimes’s my husband will bring out a speaker and listen to music while we are out doing yard work. I hate that – I’d rather listen to the sound of nature around me than that constant noise.

        • Just4Kicks November 3, 2017, 5:26 am

          That happened to us this past vacation at the Jersey Shore.
          We like to go to the beach in the morning, since its less crowded and then head to the pool around lunchtime.
          Anyway, we get to the beach around 9:00, set up our chairs next to an elderly couple who smiled and said “good morning! Beautiful day, isn’t it?” Yes it is. Good morning to you!
          About half an hour later, a group of young 20 something’s (10 or so) set up their stuff and go running off into the surf.
          When they come back one them announces loudly “I THINK ITS TIME FOR SHOTS!!! Whoo Hoo!!!” It was one of the groups b-day, everytime they did shots, they sang Happy Birthday.
          Then comes the boom box, turned all the way up, playing electronic dance music.
          Okay, its a public beach and they had as much right to be there as the rest of us, but their music was really annoying and did I mention really LOUD?!?
          The elderly coupled asked them very nicely, in my opinion, to please turn it down a little.
          They said “we don’t want to ruin your party, but could you please lower the volume?!?”
          The group looked at each other, laughed and turned it up as loud as it would go.
          This couple looked at each other and got up and left.
          We did soon after as well….even our kids said later the music was obnoxiously loud.

          • NostalgicGal November 9, 2017, 9:31 am

            I do think there should be loud zones and jabber zones in public spaces as well as quiet zones, as so many do their noise and are totally oblivious to others.

            I’d ask the salon if I was a regular client if they would institute a policy of “All Cellphones have to be set on ‘Airplane Mode’ while you enjoy services in our Salon” This means no jabbering on them. Earbuds fine, you can survive for an hour without your phone glued to your ear and your jaw going.

  • staceyizme October 31, 2017, 2:21 pm

    This sounds like the battle of who gets to be accommodated. You’re waiting on a surgery, you were there first. She’s waiting (most likely) on a surgery and she’s pregnant. You both do things that you know aren’t acceptable. (Just because there’s no signage indicating that DVD players require ear buds doesn’t mean that you have license to inflict the sound track of the Lord of the Rings trilogy on anyone!// Conversely, they obviously could not have cared less about the rules that they wanted to flout. And no food in the waiting area isn’t just for basic sanitation and to avoid a mess, it’s also a hotbed of germs since it’s a public zone with a high density of use. People rotating through it who may have carried in any number of infectious conditions make it a bad choice for an impromptu meal.) Nobody comes off well in this anecdote. Both parties have a side of their story that is likely to incite sympathy, and both parties are not very good at sharing space considerately.

  • mark October 31, 2017, 7:23 pm

    For me eating food in a waiting room is so much a smaller sin than listening to electronics without headphones. I think restricting people from eating in waiting room where they may spend hours is a little ridiculous.

    As for no headphones, why not buy some? The OP managed to find a place that sells lunch. They may sell them in the gift shop at the hospital.

  • BagLady October 31, 2017, 8:40 pm

    Two old sayings come to mind here:

    1. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Just because Pregnant Woman and her companions were eating in the waiting room doesn’t give OP license to watch her movies without headphones. You don’t get to break Rule X just because someone else gets away with breaking Rule Y.*

    2. Walk a mile in his (or in this case, her) moccasins. For all we, or the OP, know, Pregnant Woman may have gotten permission to eat in the waiting room (gestational diabetes, or the nature of her loved one’s surgery required her to be nearby just in case, or numerous other reasons we and OP are not privy t0).

    *From the OP’s description, though, neither of these was a rule. There was nothing posted about using headphones/earbuds, and even the sign about food read more like a request than an actual rule.

    I can’t imagine *not* using headphones or earbuds in public if I am playing audio of any kind. Even without the distracting others factor, it’s hard for *me* to hear my music, movie or whatever without them when there’s ambient noise. Forget? You can buy them *anywhere* — even gas stations. Family Dollar sells a 3-pack of different styles (buds, phones and the kind that hook over the ear) for $5. Wouldn’t surprise me if the hospital gift shop sold them.

    On a “who was ruder?” scale of 1-10, I’d give OP a 9 and the Pregnantourage a 7.

    Oh, and just me? Or did anyone else do a double take at the idea of a Wendy’s *in a hospital*?

    • Shyla November 1, 2017, 2:31 am

      Many hospitals have a fast food option now. The children’s hospital for our area has a McDonald’s. I understand the incongruity but there is a choice between the McD’s and a pretty good hospital cafeteria. I suspect the rental money is too good to pass up.

    • Ernie November 1, 2017, 2:01 pm

      It’s probably right next to the smoking section and the bar.

      Kidding of course. Yeah, I caught that too. I think I’d bring it up the with the doctor if I was ever there and they mentioned me needing to lose weight. Not that it isn’t my own responsibility to watch what I eat, but I mean, come on… fast food in a hospital? I run an auto garage. We don’t sell bags of sugar for people to put in their gas tank.

    • Tanya November 1, 2017, 5:05 pm

      Yes, the idea of fast food in a hospital is really odd. Where I live you can’t even get chocolate, potato chips, lollies, soft drinks with sugar in them, or any other kind of ‘junk’ food, not even in the vending machines. It’s awful if you’re there for long hours and just need a cheap energy hit.

      As for the OP, it’s pretty blatantly rude to not bring headphones of some kind; that’s pretty much manners 101! And if she forgot, I sympathise; but there were other options (not using the DVD player, or taking it somewhere else). Yes, the second group shouldn’t have been eating in the room but I consider that a lesser faux pas. (Oh and to the poster who asked why TVs everywhere; I suspect they’re put in waiting rooms to act as background noise. Nothing worse than waiting in some quiet, white room when you’re stressed and anxious).

  • EyesToTheSkies November 1, 2017, 1:22 am

    Both sides suck, frankly. There is nothing more frustrating and rude than being forced to listen to other people’s games/tv shows/music etc because they failed to bring headphones (anyone who plays Peppa Pig for their child in a doctor’s office without headphones deserves a lifetime of walking barefoot on lego pieces). Most hospital gift shops will offer cheap earbuds for patients, so this wasn’t an unsolvable problem. Or, assuming that OP has no issues with her vision, the majority of DVDs offer subtitles so that you can mute the DVD when other people are using the room. To be totally frank, the sounds of LOTR would have driven me from the room quite quickly.

    When my mother went in for life-saving major surgery, my sister and I chose to spent several hours in the cafe, where we could talk and do uni work (and eat) without disturbing people in the waiting room. We returned to the waiting room closer to her assigned return time, where a family was waiting for a much less hopeful case. It would have been astonishingly rude for us to have set up shop in the waiting room for the duration.

    As for the food in the waiting room – whilst I am rather tired of pregnant women and mothers using their status to blatantly take advantage of the situation/break the rules, and the stench of fast food would have been so off putting in the waiting room, I am sympathetic that everyone in the room was waiting for news on a loved one in a miserable and tense situation. Surgical waiting rooms are hardly the happiest place on earth; they are a place of worry, sleep-deprivation and stress. Unless they had made an exceptional mess, I would have just let it go.

  • Erin T. Aardvark November 1, 2017, 8:41 am

    This is exactly why I bring headphones/earbuds (depending on if I’m carrying my purse or not) wherever I go so I can watch what I want on my phone wherever I go, because I know for a fact people may not want to listen to what I’m watching. I don’t know why it bothers me when someone is watching videos on their phones and don’t use headphones, but it does.

  • Lkb November 2, 2017, 1:52 pm

    I agree with the general thrust of the comments that the OP should have brought headphones. Just wanted to comment on the other issue:food in the waiting room.

    I think the general thought on banning food from the waiting room is both for cleanliness (staffing needed to clear out the debris afterward) as well as from protecting patients (who may not be permitted to eat before or after procedures) and protecting surgical areas that need to be sterile. There is also the question of the smell of food affecting others.
    Sure, a pregnant woman or a person with blood sugar issues should be able to eat as needed but in the hospitals I’ve seen, there is a vending area and/or a cafeteria nearby as well as a desk in which one could notify staff so they can be found easily if needed.

  • Cammy November 8, 2017, 5:54 am

    In the future just used closed captions. You forgetting headphones doesn’t give you a pass to be rude. Especially In a hospital.

    • NostalgicGal November 9, 2017, 9:34 am


      I also travelled all over recently and it was NOT hard to put a set of earbuds in my stuff that was easy to find and easier to use. And almost everywhere public I went there were places that sold earbuds and headphones of all kind.

      I agree in hospital, there are usually segregated places to eat, and ways to inform someone that you stepped to get a bite to eat so you’re readily findable if needed.

  • Kitty October 2, 2018, 6:25 pm

    My first question is why are *you* at the hospital all day, if you are not the one to get treatment or surgery? Unless you are going to be in the surgery with your husband, what will you wasting your time there do?

    My second question is, if you were so “prepared” to spend your entire day at the hospital, why did you not bring along some headphones, considering you already had DVDs, a DVD player itself, and other items?

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