My GF and I had lunch at a mid-scale pizza place today: GF immediately liked the place because there were a number of good-sized tables, well-spaced, and the ambience was nice, with soft jazz and low lights (in contrast to the unfortunate Vegas trend of bright, specular lighting and screaming music). We were looking forward to a pleasant lunch out.
Since it was not quite noon, the place was empty -- I mean *empty* -- and soon after we seated ourselves, a group of five middle-agesters a few years older than us arrived and sat down right at the next table. To make matters worse, the alpha male was a blowhard who droned on about his important connections at some corporation he used to work for, so the women had to pipe up just to be heard by each other.
Question: why did this happen? Why would a noisy group of five enter an empty restaurant and sit down right next to a couple having a quiet conversation? But never mind: it's a rhetorical question.
Later, my GF, who is hearing-impaired and could not understand me very well once the racket at the next table began, posed the question: why shouldn't we have simply picked up our pizzas and moved to another table? This sounded unacceptable to me at first -- I was concerned about offending the people at the other table -- but on reflection, why should I care what that bunch thought? Besides, they would probably have been oblivious to our moving.
So: When is it OK to change tables, or, in a higher-end restaurant, request to change tables?