When can we eat? 20-40-60 etiquette answers
YOU ASK! WE ANSWER! YOU DECIDE!
QUESTION: At a fund-raiser luncheon recently, I was seated with a table of ten people. Everyone was served his or her plate after the salad was taken away, except for one person. Everyone seemed to have good manners and waited for that person to be served. However, time went on, and the plate did not arrive. Everyone started eating. Finally, the plate came.
Should we have continued to wait, or in the interest of time and food getting cold, should we have eaten when almost everyone was served? Or should we have just begun eating when we got our own plate?
CALLIE’S ANSWER: Most of the time when something like that happens the person without their food will tell everyone to eat without them. This is not impolite for you to start eating when they have told you to do so.
It is impolite for the person without their food to not tell the others to start eating without them.
LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: It’s still nice to try to wait until everyone has been served. However, at some point, when it becomes clear that waiters have overlooked a spot at a table, I think it’s OK to flag down a waiter and tell him that your table was missing a serving.
Also, the person who is waiting extra long can tell people after a certain amount of time to go ahead and eat, especially as that person realizes she (or he) has been overlooked temporarily.
HELEN’S ANSWER: Good manners dictate that we wait until everyone is served before we start in on our plate of food, but, when it is a large table of people and the servers are slow, it is also good manners for those who don’t have their plates to say to the others…”please go ahead, before your food gets cold.” That is particularly important if it is a hot- plated meal.
Recently, I was at a fund-raiser luncheon where there were 12 women seated. One person did not get her food and everyone waited for her. It was very awkward because the people did not know each other and the lady did not say “go ahead and eat.” Finally, after many attempts to get a server to bring the late plate, one woman said “I have to leave early to go back to work, so I need to go ahead,” and everyone else also picked up her fork.
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