A delicious-looking Mexican meal with a QR code menu

There’s a concept known as “app creep,” where every aspect of our lives is slowly becoming tethered to our smartphones in one way or another. If you spend a day at Disneyland, you must download an app to reserve your spot in line for certain attractions. Many kids’ toys now require an app to operate them or for you to download one to get the instructions. And good luck getting into a concert without transferring your tickets from your Ticketmaster app to your iPhone wallet.

Before the pandemic, we could all go to restaurants to relax and have face-to-face conversations without any help from technology. But after COVID-19 arrived, many restaurants replaced menus with a QR code on a sticker in the middle of the table.

Time previously spent poring over a menu was replaced with people staring at their phones, sometimes squinting at the text. What about a second cocktail? How about dessert? Time to fish the iPhone out of your purse or pocket to see what’s available and hope the site loads.

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Thomas Hunter II / Twitter

Imagine you're in line at a coffee shop. You order your usual cappuccino and swipe your credit card to pay. Then the cashier swivels a little screen that prompts you for a tip – before the espresso shot is pulled or a drop of milk steamed.

Do you tip more, perhaps hoping that it will lead to a better drink? Or less or none at all, peeved at being asked to reward service that hasn't happened yet? Do you feel pressured into tipping the suggested amounts, which can equate to more than half the price of the drink?

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When Busboys and Poets first opened in Washington, D.C., in 2005, restaurant-goers had no idea how much the establishment would shape the city.

All photos courtesy of Busboys and Poets unless noted otherwise.

Home to a bookstore filled with literature from writers of color alongside Middle Eastern and soul food, this restaurant-bookstore-spoken-word-activist-safe space-cafe hybrid is anything but ordinary. And for D.C. residents, it totally works.

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Brave knights. Fair maidens. A damsel in distress. That is sooo 476 AD. At least, we'd like to think it is.

Let's face it: The Middle Ages is one of our favorite periods of history to relive. And what is it often chockfull of? Dudes with swords who kick butt and helpless princesses who need saving.

Out of date, right?

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