Ban TV's In Restaurants!

No. No, no, no. TV has invaded my cute little hometown coffeehouse. I packed up my laptop this morning, eager to warm myself with a cup of coffee and hot buttered scone while I spent some time novel writing. The coffeehouse has a slow but steady trickle of regulars in the AM and I enjoy half-listening to conversations about the weather, local gossip, and debates over national politics as I do my work. 

Instead, I walked in today to find a huge flatscreen TV set up on a sideboard and the three customers in the store staring, hypnotized, at the screen. Fox news anchors brayed headline news and commercials screeched in the background as I half-heartedly ordered my coffee and slunk to a table in the far corner of the room, as far away from the shouting box as possible. 

Do we really need to never be more than 50 yards from a TV? They're in Wal-Mart, Pizza Hut, the local Mexican restaurant we love, and now in my beloved coffeehouse. I don't want to hear, listen to, or watch TV when I'm out. We can all stay home and do that. When TV's are in your face, as they are this morning, it's almost impossible not to pay intermediate attention to them. And the chattering and laughter of locals? Sadly missing this morning as I type these words. 

The thing is that I don't think anyone here really wanted TV. People seemed happy to come in and chat or just sit in companionable silence. I think merchants think they're adding a service when they provide TV. They are mistaken. Stores and restaurants have personalities and quirks all their own that customers are delighted to discover.

IF there's no TV to distract them.