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Obnoxious Restaurant Behavior: Not Just Kids


ingridsf
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Right, you can't tell the difference.  My husband is a cancer patient and has a tracheostomy as a result.  Someone with a trach has to cough to clear it out, and does that often when eating, and it sounds pretty awful.  He's been living with it for 5 years now, and I guess we're kind of used to it.  I'm sure that a lot of people have been offended in restaurants, but thankfully no one has ever suggested that cancer patients aren't allowed in any restaurant we've been in.

Cut people a little slack, folks.  Very few people really want to be offensive.  And as for those that do, I'm as likely as the next person to turn to the offender and ask them to take it outside, or subject them to a steady barrage of withering looks.

I'm going to get killed for this, but I think people with chronic medical conditions that cause disruptions, disturbances and disgust should eat in more private venues.

That means, yes, if your cystic fibrosis is severe enough or your trach cleanable only with disgusting noises, you should not dine out unless absolutely necessary, and then in the most private area of the restaurant possible, i.e., call ahead and ask for accomodation. I have had confining illnesses and I didn't see any reason to make others suffer from it when it was avoidable.

I don't think anyone has ever suffered listening to anyone clear their throat no matter how loud it might be. I don't want this thread to get off track ~ I've been enjoying reading it ~ and you are entitled to your opinion but I would never suggest that someone with an illness, medical condition or otherwise stay home so that they might not "bother" someone.

If you are high on drugs, drunk or just an asshole then that's another story.

Yes, you mentioned you figure you might "get killed for this" and normally I don't respond to posts that I disagree with but suggesting people who are ill stay at home so they don't bother anyone is one of the most outrageous things I have read in a while.

Edited by Della (log)
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Does this apply to missing or artificial limbs, those who can't feed themselves, scars...where do you draw the line? I have a visible scar from my thyroid cancer surgery. Should I be forced to dine behind a curtain if it makes someone else uncomfortable?

Those are visible disabilities. My kids' disabilities are invisible (developmental delays, mood disorder, ADHD). Should I be forced to identify that to everyone in order to be cut some slack for their occasional inappropriate behaviour? Would they then deserve compassion? Or do they just get condemned out of hand as "brats?"

"Choosing compassion" is an excellent way to put it, Karen. Tough questions.

Someone mentioned the drunk, or high on drugs...Yes, agreed, if that's the case you're just acting like a jerk. Not sure what we can do about those who are just natural assholes. Maybe a colony? :laugh:

Edited by hjshorter (log)

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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I dread eating out with one of my brother's sister-in-laws. She used to be a waitress and when we dine out, she makes the waitstaff practically jump through hoops. The silverware can't have waterspots, her water glass needs to be refilled NOW, etc. She has issues, I tell ya. :hmmm:

And since the service is always substandard in her opinion, she tips poorly. I always leave extra tip money on the table after she gets up and leaves.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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I dread eating out with one of my brother's sister-in-laws. She used to be a waitress and when we dine out, she makes the waitstaff practically jump through hoops. The silverware can't have waterspots, her water glass needs to be refilled NOW, etc. She has issues, I tell ya. :hmmm:

And since the service is always substandard in her opinion, she tips poorly. I always leave extra tip money on the table after she gets up and leaves.

How embarrassing. Is that unusual for former waitstaff? Nearly everyone I know who has ever waited tables, managed a restaurant, etc., tips very well and is usually understanding about FOH/BOH issues. Edited by hjshorter (log)

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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Two short stories, both involving my son.  When he was about 6 years old we were dining in a very nice restaurant in Virginia Beach.  A party of 6 men came in, obviously just off the 19th hole, and were very loud and occasionally profane.  My son, in his best manners, asked the matre'd if we could be moved because "those men have forgotten how to use their inside voices and it is spoiling our dinner ."  The gentlemen, who overheard, quieted down and as they left one came over and appologized to my son for behaving badly in a restaurant.

Now, 13 years later, we are at a restaruant where a man at the table next to us is verbally flaying the woman he is with.  She is hunching down in her chair, trying to sink thru the floor.  When he gets up to go to the bathroom she starts to cry.  My wife feeling sorry for her offers her a kleenex and invites her to sit with us.  The man comes back and starts to reach for the woman, my son plants his 260+ pounds between them and in a firm voice, suggests that he learn what is appropriate behavior in a restaurant.  The man, after realizing that he can't move the kid, says he is leaving and tells the woman to get up.  My son informs her that it is her choice.  She stays and we send her home in a cab. (They were not married, and I do not understand why she sat there and took the abuse, but that is not my business.) 

So I guess sometimes the kids can teach the adults how to behave.

What a family of sweethearts! I'm way old enough to be your son's....well, way old enough, let's just say .... but I'm already jealous of whoever he ends up with!

"Fat is money." (Per a cracklings maker shown on Dirty Jobs.)
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I dread eating out with one of my brother's sister-in-laws. She used to be a waitress and when we dine out, she makes the waitstaff practically jump through hoops. The silverware can't have waterspots, her water glass needs to be refilled NOW, etc. She has issues, I tell ya. :hmmm:

And since the service is always substandard in her opinion, she tips poorly. I always leave extra tip money on the table after she gets up and leaves.

The only cure for this is to look the waiter right in the eye next time and apologize on your sister-in-law's behalf. Something along the lines of "You'd think she'd be more understanding having stood in your well worn shoes before, but apparently the experience so scarred her, she feels the need to take it out on every waiter she comes across in life. Don't worry about the tip. I'll take care of it personally and make sure she doesn't stiff you after running you ragged. Consider it Hazard Pay." Say this all in your sweetest and most patient voice, at a volume that nearby tables can overhear and then stare daggers at your SIL.

Getting called out on it in public usuallly solves the problem once and for all.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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The only cure for this is to look the waiter right in the eye next time and apologize on your sister-in-law's behalf.  Something along the lines of "You'd think she'd be more understanding having stood in your well worn shoes before, but apparently the experience so scarred her, she feels the need to take it out on every waiter she comes across in life.  Don't worry about the tip.  I'll take care of it personally and make sure she doesn't stiff you after running you ragged.  Consider it Hazard Pay."  Say this all in your sweetest and most patient voice, at a volume that nearby tables can overhear and then stare daggers at your SIL.

Getting called out on it in public usuallly solves the problem once and for all.

And the feud will begin. Unfortunately there is nothing like embarassing an in-law to get the family choosing up sides. I have learned to either not eat out with them or to ignore them and quietly take the server aside and add to the tip. (Yes I have an in-law who is obnoxious and rude to servers.) Having been a waiter in my younger years (many, many years ago) I find that I will put up with a lot if I think the server is trying. And I always tip well and try to place blame where it belongs, whether it be the server, the kitchen, or management. But I never, never, say anything about my in-laws because I am usually the only one who doesn't have someone mad at them (after all, even after 22 years of marrage, I am still the outsider) and I like to keep it that way.

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Two short stories, both involving my son.  When he was about 6 years old we were dining in a very nice restaurant in Virginia Beach.  A party of 6 men came in, obviously just off the 19th hole, and were very loud and occasionally profane.  My son, in his best manners, asked the matre'd if we could be moved because "those men have forgotten how to use their inside voices and it is spoiling our dinner ."  The gentlemen, who overheard, quieted down and as they left one came over and appologized to my son for behaving badly in a restaurant.

Now, 13 years later, we are at a restaruant where a man at the table next to us is verbally flaying the woman he is with.  She is hunching down in her chair, trying to sink thru the floor.  When he gets up to go to the bathroom she starts to cry.  My wife feeling sorry for her offers her a kleenex and invites her to sit with us.  The man comes back and starts to reach for the woman, my son plants his 260+ pounds between them and in a firm voice, suggests that he learn what is appropriate behavior in a restaurant.  The man, after realizing that he can't move the kid, says he is leaving and tells the woman to get up.  My son informs her that it is her choice.  She stays and we send her home in a cab. (They were not married, and I do not understand why she sat there and took the abuse, but that is not my business.) 

So I guess sometimes the kids can teach the adults how to behave.

Here's to your son . . . and his parents.

Eric

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Other people only truly bother me when they are terribly loud. People I'm dining with, on the other hand, only bother me when they either have the picky palate of a four year old or try and stiff the server. I had a boss who was a terrible tipper, and I hated going out with her. I always had to pull the "sneak a few extra dollars on the table when her back is turned" trick. Ick. Hate that.

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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Right, you can't tell the difference.  My husband is a cancer patient and has a tracheostomy as a result.  Someone with a trach has to cough to clear it out, and does that often when eating, and it sounds pretty awful.  He's been living with it for 5 years now, and I guess we're kind of used to it.  I'm sure that a lot of people have been offended in restaurants, but thankfully no one has ever suggested that cancer patients aren't allowed in any restaurant we've been in.

Cut people a little slack, folks.  Very few people really want to be offensive.  And as for those that do, I'm as likely as the next person to turn to the offender and ask them to take it outside, or subject them to a steady barrage of withering looks.

I'm going to get killed for this, but I think people with chronic medical conditions that cause disruptions, disturbances and disgust should eat in more private venues.

That means, yes, if your cystic fibrosis is severe enough or your trach cleanable only with disgusting noises, you should not dine out unless absolutely necessary, and then in the most private area of the restaurant possible, i.e., call ahead and ask for accomodation. I have had confining illnesses and I didn't see any reason to make others suffer from it when it was avoidable.

I don't think anyone has ever suffered listening to anyone clear their throat no matter how loud it might be. I don't want this thread to get off track ~ I've been enjoying reading it ~ and you are entitled to your opinion but I would never suggest that someone with an illness, medical condition or otherwise stay home so that they might not "bother" someone.

If you are high on drugs, drunk or just an asshole then that's another story.

Yes, you mentioned you figure you might "get killed for this" and normally I don't respond to posts that I disagree with but suggesting people who are ill stay at home so they don't bother anyone is one of the most outrageous things I have read in a while.

It's wonderfully politically correct for you to say this, but I think Sarah has a point. There is no real necessity to eat out in a restaurant. What if, instead of loud coughing, the sick person were to suffer from copious flatulence? Or constant sneezing? When do the interests of the rest of the dining room out-weigh that of the sick person? Dining out is a luxury, why should the so called healthy people be forced to deal with the loud and/or off-putting bodily functions of the infirm? Sure, the sick deserve our compassion, but not wanting to experience the ills of the sick is not a lack of compassion. Forcing others to listen to loud, mucusy coughing is rude.

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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I dread eating out with one of my brother's sister-in-laws. She used to be a waitress and when we dine out, she makes the waitstaff practically jump through hoops. The silverware can't have waterspots, her water glass needs to be refilled NOW, etc. She has issues, I tell ya. :hmmm:

And since the service is always substandard in her opinion, she tips poorly. I always leave extra tip money on the table after she gets up and leaves.

The only cure for this is to look the waiter right in the eye next time and apologize on your sister-in-law's behalf. Something along the lines of "You'd think she'd be more understanding having stood in your well worn shoes before, but apparently the experience so scarred her, she feels the need to take it out on every waiter she comes across in life. Don't worry about the tip. I'll take care of it personally and make sure she doesn't stiff you after running you ragged. Consider it Hazard Pay." Say this all in your sweetest and most patient voice, at a volume that nearby tables can overhear and then stare daggers at your SIL.

Getting called out on it in public usuallly solves the problem once and for all.

i disagree. people don't generally react well to being taught lessons, especially in public. if there is something in you that thinks you need to change someones ways, it's almost always best to attempt to do so in private, rather than by some obnoxious embarrassement tactic.

people who try to teach me a lesson in public get told to go eff themselves in public. clearly not a "win-win", which is presumably the goal.

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my dad favors the "air check signal" at times...which, while very effective, makes me want to slide under the table.

dining companions i'd just as soon avoid - the host who discusses the wine prices with the staff (as in, "in the *real* washington, this wine is $x cheaper.") he was joking. i know, i didn't get it either.

or the know-it-all who likes to quiz the server to see if he can prove he knows more than they do. you go, big man!

and the most repulsive actually goes to my otherwise awesome sister. if she's got her kids with her, she will bring food from home and place it *directly* on the table. the kids are definitely old enough for a b&b plate - some might even argue they could probably handle cutlery, but it is a serious appetite killer to watch her rip up a piece of deli ham and lay it on the table. not having kids i would just never say anything to her. but it's wrong. so very wrong.

from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

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I can't remember too very many sick people being in-your-face obnoxious in their sicknesses in restaurants.

I can remember very many very healthy people being in-your-face obnoxious in the surety of their presumptive rights in restaurants.

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"The quality of mercy is not strained.

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes."

- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

“Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.”

- Jack Handey

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Obviously, the discussion of someone who is sick -- differentiating between someone who has a cold, flu, etc. and someone who has a medical condition, and other situations, being that they bring about different coversations -- meaning they have a medical condition, there may not be a definitive right or wrong. Different people will have different feelings, reactions, etc.

I tend to be on the side of compassion and understanding. That's the way I am wired.

I remember years ago, I was in a nice restaurant in NYC. A group came in, about 12 people -- 3 adults and 9 children. The children all had various developmental, muscular, etc. conditions (MS, other conditions -- forgive me as I am not well versed in that arena). It was a monster effort just to get all the children to the table, seated securly, and settled in. I could tell from the look on people's faces -- people who were sitting around this group -- that they considered the entire process somewhat disruptive. A few people had to move their chairs, slightly, just to make the effort somewhat easier. While I did not think this was disruptive at all, I was one of the people who moved their chair.

Anyway, the adults started having some problems, kind of like spinning plates, running from one child to another. I watched. As the problem progressed, I got up from my table and went over to see if I could help. The adults quickly accpeted my help and now 4 of us started to make some progress. Another patron came over. And another. And another. After what seemed like just a few minutes, all the children were settled into their chairs.

What I realized, when the children were all seated, was nothing short of amazing. I realized that part of what made it somewhat difficult to seat the children was their utter excitement and enthusiasm -- just in being given the chance to go out to a restaurant to eat. It was really incredible. I learned a lot from from this. To this day, I was glad to be part of it.

I didn't consider it disrutpive. But if in some demented way I did -- well, it was worth it. For me, it's about compassion. Even though it hasn't happened to me, if by some chance something or someone, or some situation takes something away from my experience -- I am OK with that. I'll have another experience the next night, or the night after, or next week, month, etc. Maybe the other person won't. That's just me.

Eric

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"The quality of mercy is not strained.

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes."

- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

“Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.”

- Jack Handey

Nice post.

Eric

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I dread eating out with one of my brother's sister-in-laws. She used to be a waitress and when we dine out, she makes the waitstaff practically jump through hoops. The silverware can't have waterspots, her water glass needs to be refilled NOW, etc. She has issues, I tell ya. :hmmm:

And since the service is always substandard in her opinion, she tips poorly. I always leave extra tip money on the table after she gets up and leaves.

The only cure for this is to look the waiter right in the eye next time and apologize on your sister-in-law's behalf. Something along the lines of "You'd think she'd be more understanding having stood in your well worn shoes before, but apparently the experience so scarred her, she feels the need to take it out on every waiter she comes across in life. Don't worry about the tip. I'll take care of it personally and make sure she doesn't stiff you after running you ragged. Consider it Hazard Pay." Say this all in your sweetest and most patient voice, at a volume that nearby tables can overhear and then stare daggers at your SIL.

Getting called out on it in public usuallly solves the problem once and for all.

i disagree. people don't generally react well to being taught lessons, especially in public. if there is something in you that thinks you need to change someones ways, it's almost always best to attempt to do so in private, rather than by some obnoxious embarrassement tactic.

people who try to teach me a lesson in public get told to go eff themselves in public. clearly not a "win-win", which is presumably the goal.

I suppose Toliver is lucky to be the only one in his family that no one is mad at. If he chooses not to deal with said SIL then perhaps simply opting not to dine with her might be an option in the future.

But I'd bet if he did say something, he wouldn't be the first one in his family that's been embarrassed by her. The closer family members that have to deal with her more frequently are probably just as embarrassed, or perhaps even more so by her high maintenance antics and bad tipping tendencies. I'd be willing to bet on it.

Tommy, perhaps you're right. Maybe having the very same conversation I outlined would be better served in private. But I'd still say how surprised I was that she gives the servers such a hard time, having been one herself. Is the presumption that she was such a flawless waitress that her customers never had water spots on their silverware in her station? Did she religiously fill her guests water glasses herself so that no former customer of hers had ever found fault with her service? I have to wonder if she was such a superstar at it, why she's no longer in the business. If she's that good, she'd be in high demand and be making oodles of money. And then she wouldn't be stiffing the servers that are waiting on her. :smile:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Obviously, the discussion of someone who is sick -- differentiating between someone who has a cold, flu, etc. and someone who has a medical condition, and other situations, being that they bring about different coversations -- meaning they have a medical condition, there may not be a definitive right or wrong. Different people will have different feelings, reactions, etc.

I tend to be on the side of compassion and understanding. That's the way I am wired.

I must admit, I am not naturally wired that way. It takes an effort for me to be compassionate and understanding, but I make a point of making that effort in the types of situations being described in this topic.

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my dad favors the "air check signal" at times.

What is an "air check signal"?

A wave of the hand to indicate to the waiter that you want your check, and I can't see a single thing wrong with it!

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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my dad favors the "air check signal" at times.

What is an "air check signal"?

A wave of the hand to indicate to the waiter that you want your check, and I can't see a single thing wrong with it!

really!? how fabulous! different strokes!

i've always thought of it as being really rude...rather than waiting patiently until the server has a chance to get over to your table, it's basically an announcement to the restaurant that you are not being attended to properly. it depends on the ambiance of the restaurant, but in a nicer (quieter) place, a flailing hand motion will draw more attention than just from the server, and i can't help but think that that is part of the point. certainly though, in a busy, bustling kind of place - a discreet wave can sometimes be required.

from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

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my dad favors the "air check signal" at times.

What is an "air check signal"?

A wave of the hand to indicate to the waiter that you want your check, and I can't see a single thing wrong with it!

really!? how fabulous! different strokes!

i've always thought of it as being really rude...rather than waiting patiently until the server has a chance to get over to your table, it's basically an announcement to the restaurant that you are not being attended to properly. it depends on the ambiance of the restaurant, but in a nicer (quieter) place, a flailing hand motion will draw more attention than just from the server, and i can't help but think that that is part of the point. certainly though, in a busy, bustling kind of place - a discreet wave can sometimes be required.

As both a waiter and a customer I've always found it to be not only a time saver -- the server doesn't have to wade across a crowded dining room and you don't have to wait for him or her (see also the overhead circling finger that indicates "another one all around") -- and understood in many languages.

They key to pulling it off with aplomb is to 1) meet the server's eye casually but directly as you would if you were asking them to come to the table and 2) do it with a minimum of flourish -- you're asking for the check, not conducting Wagner or making a statement.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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