FOOD + DRINK, RESTAURANTS | January 16, 2008

Faux-Pas at the Communal Restaurant Table

my husband at the father\'s office

While we were at Father’s Office, the guy next to us put his half-full plate inside the plate of my husband because he did not like having his plate in front of him.

He did not ask if my husband has finished his plate, he just assumed. Frankly, he acted like a thoughtless guy who just thinks about his small person. Let’s make it clear. In no circumstances whatsoever can that behavior be acceptable. Even with your close friend or a relative, it is not tasteful to act that way.

What did I do?

I was astonished by his behavior; I never seen that before. I did not want to start an argument but I want to send him the message that it bothered me. So I pushed back the two plates on his side a few times until his girlfriend took the plates away from us. She put the plates against the barman’s bar this time. They did not even talk to us to say they were sorry and it was their mistake.

Reviewing the applicable table manners

Always remember that etiquette is based on the principle that your behavior should not disturb the well-being of others. Having said that, the etiquette rules when you are eating at a restaurant counter are:

  1. You do not invade someone else’s space. Depending on the design, you are usually allowed about 18-20 inches of counter space.
  2. Ask the waiter to take your plate away
  3. If you see that you seem to have offended someone or touched them inadvertently, say I’m sorry. It does not cost anytime and you acknowledged the other person’s concern. If you do not understand why the other person was upset, simply ask them politely what you did wrong? Do not forget that etiquette changes between regions and cultures.
  4. If you need something from someone, always ask permission first. Acknowledge that the other person has the right to refuse. So wait for the answer and make sure to say thanks before you act. If the person refuses, you should not look offended. Just answer that it is OK.

That is all for today’s lesson.

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3 Responses to “Faux-Pas at the Communal Restaurant Table”

  1. 1 Bettina said:

    Unbelievable! That guy owed you at least a desert for depriving your husband of part of his meal.

  2. 2 At Home with kim vallee said:

    Bettina: My husband had finished eating but there was food on his plate. So the guy could not be sure that Jerome had finished eating.

  3. My other no-no, which drives me crazy – when you’re out to dinner, and your friends will start picking things off your plate – like french fries. They get salad because they are on a diet, and then randomly pick at my meal. I want to have an invisible sheild around my plate.