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December 2, 2013

Man Wearing Google Glass Ejected From Restaurant

Google+ image — A model wears an early version of Glass, Google's wearable computing device.

The first Google Glass wearer was ejected from a public venue recently for refusing to remove his headgear.

Nick Starr, a video teleconference network engineer, wore his wearable computing device to The Lost Lake Cafe & Lounge in Seattle, which is owned by the same man who enacted a Glass ban at his bar, the 5 Point Café.

Owner Dave Meinert has stated in the past that he has privacy concerns about Glass, a wearable computing device that can take video and photos.

In a post on the Lost Lake Cafe & Lounge’s Facebook page, the restaurant says it “recently had to ask a rude customer to leave because of their insistence on wearing and operating Google Glasses inside the restaurant.”

“So for the record, here’s our Official Policy on Google Glass: We kindly ask our customers to refrain from wearing and operating Google Glasses inside Lost Lake,” the post continues.

“We also ask that you not videotape anyone using any other sort of technology. If you do wear your Google Glasses inside, or film or photograph people without their permission, you will be asked to stop, or leave. And if we ask you to leave, for God’s sake, don’t start yelling about your “rights”. Just shut up and get out before you make things worse.”

Starr also took to Facebook, to offer his side of the story.

“A woman who works there comes up to us and tells me that the owner’s other restaurant doesn’t allow Google Glass and that I would have to either put it away (it doesn’t fold up btw) or leave,” Starr writes in his Facebook post.

“I inform her that I am well aware of the policy at The 5 Point Cafe but asked to see where it was policy for Glass to be disallowed at Lost Lake. She said she couldn’t provide any and when asked to speak with management she stated she was the night manager. I again inform her that the two venues are different and have different policies. She refuses and I leave.”

His post also insisted he deserved an apology from the establishment. But that’s not all. He also demanded the employee who told him to leave be reprimanded.

“I would love an explanation, apology, clarification, and if the staff member was in the wrong and lost the owner money last night and also future income as well, that this income be deducted from her pay or her termination,” he wrote.

Jason Lajeunesse, who co-owns the restaurant with Meinert, told Forbes Starr’s demands are ridiculous.

“Should someone lose their job over this?  No way. Right or wrong, there’s no way we’d fire one of our employees for something like that. We’d much rather 86 an entitled-acting tech nerd.”

Meinert added that the restaurant is not discriminating against Glass with its policy. Rather, the restaurant is trying to protect users’ privacy.

“If you walked in here with a video camera we’d ask you to stop,” Meinert told Forbes. “If you’re speaking too loudly on a cellphone we’d ask you to leave. That should be obvious. With Glass, there should be etiquette around its use, and we feel that in a setting like a café or bar they should just be taken off and not used.”

The owners also pointed out that while it is easy to see if someone with a Smartphone is snapping pictures of patrons, it is not so easy to determine if Glass is filming, which could make some patrons uncomfortable.

The law is on the restaurant’s side in this case. A business has the right to eject patrons for their own reasons. The only time a business cannot get away with it, legally, is if the request for a patron to leave is based on race, gender, sexual inclination or appearance.

The actions of the café are, largely, being lauded, judging by the responses underneath the post by the Lost Lake Cafe & Lounge.



Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.