Would You Boo Bad Service At A Restaurant?

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Booing is the standard way for audiences to show their lack of appreciation for a sub-standard performer. But could the practice also be extended to other situations where you’re not getting what you expect?

In a BBC News piece on the history of booing triggered by Amy Winehouse’s recent shambolic performance in Belgrade, comedian Jenny Eclair argues that booing provides a constructive form of criticism and should be used elsewhere:

There should be more booing in shops and restaurants and places like that when when the service is bad. If you’ve had a poor breakfast in a hotel, you should put your knife and fork down and boo.

I don’t like poor service, but I can’t quite imagine myself booing at a really bad meal. Could you do it?

Amy Winehouse: To boo or not to boo? [BBC News]


  • I think at the end of the day, booing as a crowd provides some form of anonymity, which allows people to be more vocal with less inhibition, without feeling they’re drawing attention to themselves.

    Booing at a restaurant? C’mon, EVERYONE is going to stop and turn and look at you and wonder which mental asylum you’ve escaped from.

  • Booing is a way for a crowd to voice displeasure when no single voice could be heard clearly. Doing it as an individual where you can get personal attention is just ridiculous.

    Why not just politely inform the staff that it’s not acceptable?

  • There is no need to boo at a restaurant, you boo at a concert/sporting event etc because if you try to get close to the person who you wish to convey your disappointment to (assuming you even could) you’d get your ass handed to you.

    In a restaurant/shop you can politely inform the waiter/owner/anyone that works there that there is an issue, and discuss it with them.

    Booing at a restaurant/shop is not useful.

  • last week I went to my usual chinese restaurant, and ask for dumplings.

    Later realized there was a small cocky in the chilli sauce.

    I was so dissapointed, I didnt know what to do, so I mentioned it quietly, and they gave me the meal for free.

    Not good enough, as I’m not keen on those extra “proteins”

  • I’d suggest some of the waggly-fingered posters above actually read the article and have on hand a rather large piece of salt about the booing at restaurants comment. Jenny Eclair is a very funny British comedian, best known here for her ‘Grumpy Old Women’ appearances. She goes to wry tongue-in-cheek extremes of comment to elicit a laugh 😉

  • I often say “Oh, Boo” to my companions when at a restaurant and I’m disappointed, but never to the staff.

    If it’s a dodgy meal, “constructive criticism” from one person isn’t going to make them change their menu – it takes a lot of people not returning with their business before they take note.

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