Friday, March 17, 2017

Please Learn How to Behave in Restaurants

When I was a kid, meals were consumed at home. Today's kids grow up on Chipotle and Chinese takeout. In fact, Americans now spend more on restaurant dining than groceries.



With its growing popularity comes the realization that some human beings just don't know how to behave in public. So I've compiled a list of things you should STOP doing if you choose to eat your meals in public.

1. Blowing your nose



Sneezing and coughing you can't help, but blowing your nose? Puh-leeze. It's just disgusting. If you can't leave the table to blow your nose in the restroom like a civilized human being, stay home.

2. Showing up at closing time



If you've never worked with the public, I have a newsflash: employees hate people who show up at closing time. This is especially true at full-service restaurants where you'll be occupying someone's table long after the doors are locked. Before you enter a place at the last minute, ask if you could reasonably be out of there by their official closing time. If not, go somewhere else.

3. Refusing to tip



I've heard all kinds of excuses for not tipping. While I'll agree that it's gotten a little out of hand (i.e.: the tip question on the checkout terminal at Jersey Mike's), there's no excuse for not tipping when it's customary. No, you aren't making some fancy "statement" toward business owners who don't pay minimum wage. Tip or stay away from restaurants with servers. Those are your choices.

4. Complaining online



The internet has given customers a voice. We can give five stars when we love an establishment or one star when we hate it. Unfortunately, too many people abuse that privilege, firing off a missive about any imperfect situation. Consider that the restaurant you're bashing is filled with workers who rely on the money they make to pay the bills. If you have one bad experience, acknowledge that it may simply be an off night and refrain from telling the world about it.

What are your restaurant pet peeves?

My next Piper Morgan book, Piper Morgan Makes a Splash, comes out April 4, 2017. Sign up if you'd like to help out by posting on your blog about it!

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34 comments:

  1. First two things that come to mind - screaming babies and kids and people using their cell phones. What's really sad is watching a family of four and everyone is texting or talking.
    Going into any store at the last minute is just rude.

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    1. We were at Fleming's Steakhouse for our anniversary and a couple brought in two very young children. They were extremely loud. Luckily, they came at the end of the meal. If I'm at Chili's or Cracker Barrel, I get it...kids have to eat, too. But an expensive restaurant where people celebrate special occasions? I don't want to hear your poorly-behaved kids!

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    2. Better yet, teach your children how to behave when eating out, or stay home!!

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  2. Pet Peeve for dining out.....women who wear so much perfume you can taste it and it ruins your dinner....gorky old men who sniffle and snog all through dinner....kids that won't stay in their chairs.....yikes...I could go on but I beginning to sound like a crusty old lady here.

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    1. That reminds me of the time we were at a buffet in a mostly-empty restaurant and these kids had made the whole restaurant their playground. They were running and chasing and hiding...the whole meal. Totally bad parenting. Teach your children how to behave in public!

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  3. I once worked in a restaurant washing dishes. When the previous owner sold it, the new one turned out to be mean and yelled all the time, even at his wife and son. There have plenty of online complaints on Yelp.com about that. I have to say I agree with what the reviewers said. If anyone was misbehaving in this case, it was the owner rather than a customer. This was something I recalled in my memoir. It took place in summer 2001, just before the 9/11 incident.

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    1. I have seen complaints from employees on Yelp, for sure. I don't want to support a locally-owned place where the owners are mean. There's a barbecue place here where the owner hires attractive young women and sexually harasses them. It came out on our local community page and I wouldn't dare buy food from there ever! I hope it eventually takes that restaurant down, but I doubt it. Overall, people around here don't seem to care how women are treated.

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  4. Thank you! Especially the part about blowing your nose at the table. Gross. Also, I was once at an expensive restaurant celebrating a special occasion. We were served our entree at the same time a man at the next table lit up a cigar. Some people are more than rude. So glad smoking has been banned in most restaurants today. Now I can avoid the ones that still allow it and actually taste the food.

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    1. Reminds me of my early days of working for state govt. when a certain manager chain smoked all day. She'd call her pregnant employee in to discuss things and smoke the whole time. The woman came to me asking what she should do--she didn't want to offend her boss, but it was putting her baby at risk. We have to have laws because people are just rude.

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  5. I work in a restaurant and I can say number 2 YES. Heck, we complain when people come in an HOUR before closing. LOL

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    1. I just refuse, period. An hour, maybe...although I can't say I'm ever eating past 6pm these days! But I'm the same way about shops. I remember working in a mall when they'd put the gate halfway down at 9pm to let people out and keep new people from coming in--people would go under the gate and come in anyway. Payless was the worst--those rude people would stay an hour after closing without even apologizing about it.

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  6. Ugh. People act horrible these days in public! Can't take humans anywhere.
    Also...closing time. Now that song is stuck in my head. You don't have to go home but you can't stay here....

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    1. LOL...bars definitely have to get pretty aggressive about getting people out! I can only imagine.

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  7. I've got one. Turn your phone ringer off or at least lower the volume. At our last meal out, someone's phone kept blaring out a hip-hip song that was someone's ring tone. So obnoxious.

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    1. They do this at the gym, too...it's all quiet on the walking track and someone's phone blares. Worse? Sometimes they DON'T ANSWER IT! They just let it ring and ring.

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  8. I eat out so seldom I really don't have any complaints. I always give a good tip though, especially when the server is extra nice.

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    1. I don't eat out as much as studies seem to say other people do! When we do go out, though, it's pretty obvious more people than ever eat out, especially on weekends. You have to go at an odd hour or you're on an hour wait!

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  9. I do so love eating out, but not the cost. Cooking is kind of soured for me over the years, as it's rush home, slap a meal on the table, clean it all up (w/no help, grr!), and do it all over again the next night. If we do go out to eat, it's always on the weekends, and I so look forward to it! =)

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    1. The slow cooker is EVERYTHING! I have so many recipes where I can just throw things in around 9am and have dinner by 5! The odd thing is, when I worked in an office, it seemed easier to just pick up to-go food on the way home. Now it's a whole THING to get in the car and go out, so it seems easier to just cook!

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  10. Loud, obnoxious children who seem to be given free reign to run everywhere. I once saw someone picking their feet! Here's a thought, learn how to budget your food and start staying home and making dinner. One may actually not have to use their credit card.

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  11. In the deep south, the "ladies" seem to think that everyone enjoys watching them apply make-up at the end of their meal. I always thought that is what the rest room was for. My sister-in-law, who is a deaconess in the southern Baptist church, and fancies herself to be the self appointed manners coach of all humanity does this, while criticizing the other patrons relentlessly. You might note that she is not my favorite person?

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  12. I've run into a problem at my neighborhood diner. Some of the servers have become so accustomed to my good tips that they don't ask if I want change. Sometimes I need part of the change, so I solved it by taking smaller bills. I dined once with a woman who blew her nose in her napkin throughout the meal and continued to use it as a napkin. Ew!

    Love,
    Janie

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  13. Kids running around and folks who are extremely loud. I especially hate it when someone is on their cellphone and thinks everyone else in the restaurant wants to hear their business.

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  14. Yes to all of these. My pet peeve is people's kids running through the restaurant, screaming, throwing their plate in the floor. I now ask to be seated away from kids.

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  15. Truthfully my biggest pet peeve is the same as Megan's (above) I had 5 kids within 7 years and I can't tell you how many compliments we received from strangers at how well behaved they were in public. It takes training. And, believe or not, it's not the children's fault who misbehave, it's the parents for not disciplining them for acting up.

    I recently had an experience where 2 families were out with their kids and they thought it was okay for their 4 kids to go running around the table, playing tag.

    When we go out to dinner, it's a time of relaxation, good conversation, and enjoyment. It shouldn't be a fun house with kids running around. If I wanted that, I'd go to Chucky Cheese...

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  16. My biggest pet peeve is people who burp loudly in restaurants, it's such bad manners.

    Rosy | Sparkles of Light Blog
    My Instagram | Instagram

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  17. Hi Steph - just learning to respect others' space when eating out - not talking too loudly, or demanding too much of the restaurant or its staff ... being polite and being generous ... great post - cheers Hilary

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  18. You left out not to pick one's nose . . . lol
    I agree manners in restaurants leave a lot to be desired . . :)

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  19. I agree with everything you have said! I would like to also add very loud children/babies. Why don't the parents correct them? I never acted like that when we ate out! When we ate out, it was a treat! I hate when I see food all over the floor too! And, please put down your cell phones! Come on!

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  20. Bringing your kids WAY past their bedtime. It doesn't take a child development class to realize that at 9 or 10pm, your child should be in bed. I was at a steakhouse just last night, got there after 9pm, and there were two toddlers in the waiting area in their pajamas (footie, onesie type). So they hadn't been seated yet. And these kids were cranky AF, could totally tell they were sleepy.

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  21. I've never blown my nose at a dinner table in my life. Do people actually do that? Yes, those people should definitely stay home because eww. And the others are great advice too in order to just not be rude to the employees. People sure seem to love complaining online. But like you said, it could easily just be an off night or one not-so-good server. I don't really eat out anymore though, so I don't have any complaints to add.

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  22. Ill behaved children would be one of my number one pet peeves (or maybe I should say oblivious parents?). There's nothing more I despise than a toddler allowed to maul the people in the next booth. I would definitely agree about not posting a bad review over one bad experience. I wouldn't want to be judged by one my bad days...

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  23. As usual, you have the best topics! I used to go to restaurants all the time. Now I call ahead, get there to grab my food and I'm outta there. (lol) Even better, it's lot more frugal for me to cook at home, because you know I love my deals. (heh) Hugs, Steph!

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  24. I'm pretty sure I already signed up to help promote your book. I'm not by my day planner, but I remember signing up...I think. ;) If I didn't, let me know.

    My restaurant pet peeve is loud talking on cell phones. I can't stand it.

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