I’ve been thinking about this for years…as it is something that I’m conscious of and pretty particular about each and every time we go out to eat….especially with the kids. So, here’s the question… Do you clean up the table to help out your waiter or waitress or do you leave it as is? Or does it depend on the degree of the mess?
I’m a big fan of doing what I can to make order of the mess. I am admittedly more than a bit obsessive compulsive, so it is probably 60% because I feel like I honestly should and 40% because I can’t bear to not do it.
I’m a big fan of wiping down the table, stacking plates, placing silverware neatly on one dish….and even scraping leftover food onto one dish so that the wait staff doesn’t have to scrape each individual plate. I’ve been told that I go too far on more than one occasion.
I should also add that with a very brief exception (one summer vacation), I’ve never worked in a restaurant so it isn’t out of any kind of kinship…I think of it rather as common courtesy.
On that note, when the boys were smaller…and hence messier, I was known to pick up the debris that lay like shrapnel all over the floor after the breakfast battle of pancakes and scrambled eggs. How could I not? But I can still hear my friend’s voice saying, “Could you please stop doing that?” as I was under a high chair picking up scraps of rejected food.
So, by the end of a fantastic evening at the Studio the other night our table was covered with no fewer than 25 dishes. With three adults and four children..with pretty refined palates…we managed to knock down one salad, one bowl of chowder, one pizza, one fish and chips, one order of edamame, one order of chicken dumplings, six platters of sushi (don’t forget the 4 little bowls of soy sauce), four desserts (might I add those were a lovely surprise, on the house, delivered by the manager especially for the kids), tons of silverware, and a bunch of glasses.
Even with well-behaved kids who are old enough to not make any extra or over-the-top kinds of messes, the table was an absolute disaster. I could never, in a million years, have felt ok about simply sitting there as things were cleaned up around me. I made a meek attempt to stack, straighten, consolidate, and wipe….while simultaneously being told nicely to leave it alone by our waiter. It is worth mentioning that the same waiter and a co-worker of his shooed me away repeatedly as I tried to help clean up the chocolate milk that Finn had spilled on the floor. OK….I realize I just said that the kids are old enough to not make any extra or over-the-top messes….but, that was a total accident and it was a really big glass compared to his little hands! Bygones. In case the picture isn’t painted well enough….allow me to make it clearer….that is a FANTASTIC staff over there at the Studio. But, I digress.
What’s your Modus Operandi when it comes to post dining dish etiquette? I’d really like to know. Anyone in the restaurant business care to chime in also?