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Observations From Dining at a Chinese Restaurant

Updated on August 4, 2022
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LA is a creative writer from the greater Boston area of Massachusetts.

Are you respectful of other diners when dining out?

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Inspired By A Hairy Man With A Big Mouth

We all have a restaurant that we go to only when we’re in a particular area. It’s got okay food. However, the food just isn’t good enough to inspire one to drive out of their way to get to it. This having been said, I went to my version of this restaurant recently. While there I encountered a diner who inspired me to write this hub. I give you the following ten tips (in no particular order) on how not to act when dining out.

  1. Talk Loudly

    My grandmother is infamously hard of hearing. It is embarrassing to have to yell so that she can hear me. It is more embarrassing when she says an unkind thing about a stranger (or about someone who she knows quite well) “under her breath” when this means that people across the room can hear her. Because I love my grandmother and am defensive of her, I will never criticize someone who is hard of hearing for speaking too loudly. However, when I overhear a conversation between people who have no problem hearing, but still speak too loudly, I get annoyed. Far too many times, I have been seated at a table near such people. Even though I don’t want to hear these things, I know intimate details about these people. While it may not be embarrassing to them to know that others know that they are cheating on their spouse, it’s embarrassing to me to hear the dirty tidbits. Being that I’m an insanely private person, I couldn’t imagine discussing anything of major importance in a public setting. Still, I’m aware that many people use restaurants to reconnect with people and to talk openly. Even so, there is no reason why they have to be said at the top of one’s lungs. I didn’t care to know what the diner behind me did in Mexico or how his young friend impregnated the girl he’s casually dating. I wouldn’t have known these things either if he had kept his voice at a lower level. The next time you’re dining out and others are seated near you, remember to keep your voice down. The most important thing you could say to your guest is just an annoying, overheard item the guy four tables over didn’t want to hear. By the way, this goes for cell phone conversations too.

  2. Harass Your Waiter/Waitress

    Whether it’s for another drink or to check on the status of our meal, we all have had to bug our waitress or waiter for something. While it’s their job to wait on you, it isn’t their job to take your abuse. Case in point, the aforementioned diner asked his waiter for another item every other minute. When he received the items, he would either throw them under the table or mix them with something else so that the waiter would have a mess to clean up later. If this wasn’t enough, he also teased the waiter about the way he spoke, walked and waited on him. Though it would’ve lowered him to the guy’s level, I sincerely hope the waiter spat in his food. The next time you decide to dine out, be polite to your waiter. He works for measly pay and doesn’t need your crap.

  3. No Tipping Here

    I’m sure this waiter held his temper because he thought he would get a good tip. In hindsight, he should have let the guy have it because he wasn’t left a tip. Having gone to the restaurant many times and had this particular waiter, my guest and I can read his body language quite easily. It clearly said, “Ladies, they left me nothing and, if I wasn’t so tired from waiting on that jerk, I would be running out to the parking lot with an ax to do some damage.” When it comes to tipping, I tip fairly unless I receive poor service. If my waitress or waiter takes forever to wait on me in an empty restaurant and is rude to me despite being treated politely, they will receive little to nothing. On the other hand, if my waiter or waitress never lets my water glass be empty and treats me with respect, they receive a large tip. Good service deserves a good tip. Plain and simple.

  4. Make Rude Comments About Other Diners

    There are many judgmental, ignorant people out there who will do anything to make themselves feel better about their lowly lives. If they see someone who doesn’t look or act “normally” they will point it out to their guests and make sure the abnormal diner knows they are being spoken about. The stranger or deformed you are, the louder they will laugh and the more enthusiastically they will whisper. This man and his friends were no exception. They pointed out at least one defect in each diner presumably to make themselves feel better about their own defects. Had I encountered them as a young teenager, it would’ve sent me into a deep depression. Yet, as an adult, I was able to see it for what it was. In general, members of society like to people watch. It doesn’t matter if you are a twig or a pile of boulders, a sparkling gem or a dusty rag. Someone will always be there to take note of you and to characterize you in their own way. It’s not fair, but it’s how our world works. The next time you’re at a restaurant and you see someone who doesn’t look as healthy as you want them to look, try not to notice it. Regardless of how good intentioned you’re trying to be, they are not your concern and you’re being rude. Always remember the situation can easily flip and you can become the one underneath the magnifying glass.

  5. Chew With Your Mouth Open

    When I see someone chewing with their mouth open, I always wonder why their parents never took the time to teach them to chew with it closed. Seeing their food scrambled in their mouth makes me sick to my stomach. Hearing them chew drives me nuts. Yes, there are days when your nose is so stuffy that you feel you must chew with your mouth open or risk dying of asphyxiation. However, I doubt you’d be dining out on such a day anyway. Be respectful of your guests and of other diners and chew with your mouth closed. If you are unable to do this, cover your mouth with a napkin. No one wants to see or hear what your saliva does to your food.

  6. Throw Food

    Admittedly, I enjoy an occasional food fight. For me, it usually begins as an accident (For example, I’m pouring flour into a bowl and accidentally pour it on a friend or family member’s leg instead.), but it quickly escalates into a fight. Still, all of my food fights have taken place at home where a stranger can’t get hit by a flying meatball. When you’re dining out, you must resist the urge to start a food fight. Not everyone enjoys getting hit in the face with ice cream.

  7. Bug Your Guests

    Getting back to the man behind me, he kept bugging his guests to eat their food his way. He liked putting duck sauce on his chicken wings and wouldn’t stop being annoying until his guests tried it too. One of his guests dared to tell him they did not like it this way and he made a huge stink about it. When you’re dining with others, it isn’t polite to force them to try out something just because you like it. If you want someone to try something, you need to first ask yourself if you’d be willing to try an item, they might offer you. Unless the answer is yes, don’t hop on your soapbox and begin your speech about why corn tastes better with butter on it. You might end up having to swallow a wiggly worm and that’s not appetizing at all.

  8. Drink Heavily

    I’m all for having a glass of wine or beer with dinner. However, you’re asking for trouble when you can stack your empties to make a fort. The man in question loudly went on and on about how much he enjoyed his Mai Tais. Obviously, with such a low tolerance he should have only had one. The fact that he had four explains why he behaved so badly. When you’re dining out, you should keep the drinks to a minimum. Not only does it keep you from doing something stupid (dancing on a table, kissing your friend’s spouse, dumping out your wallet in the bathroom, etc.) it also keeps you from getting killed or killing others. Besides, few people make cute drunks.

  9. Disgusting Bodily Functions

    I’m aware that in some countries and social circles burping and flatulence is not only seen as a compliment, but also as a form of entertainment. In my circle, it’s rude. If you feel the urge to release some gas, please make every effort to go to the bathroom. No one wants to smell what your food smells like once its started to be processed.

  10. Fight! Fight! Fight!

    Too often I’ve seen verbal battles break out in restaurants. Someone has said something dumb and instead of apologizing they’ve decided to keep the remarks coming. Though you may want to get things settled immediately, a restaurant in which you’re not the only guest is not the place. Your opinions and feelings are important. However, the dining enjoyment of other diners is just as important. Save the battle for the car ride home like the rest of us.

Personally, I have been known to do a couple of these things. I’ll be so into telling a story that I won’t realize that the volume of my voice has risen to the point that diners in neighboring restaurants can hear me. And I’m sure that there are waiters and waitresses out there that are scarred for life by my incessant request for more iced tea. However, I never intentionally try to do these things. Giving the inspiration of this piece the benefit of a doubt, he may not have meant to do these things either. As I said, he was drunk, and drunk people tend to do things they don't mean to do. By writing this, I am judging someone I do not know which is in violation of tip number four. Still, when one’s behavior detracts from the dining experience of others you are giving them the right to criticize you. The next time you dine out, try to remember that you’re out in public and that your "private" behavior may be deemed unacceptable by others. Don't be the person everyone hates to be seated nearby.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2009 L A Walsh


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