Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Table manners

With pubs and restaurants in England reopened for food yesterday, Guardian food critic Grace Dent offered a timely "refresher course" on behaviour and etiquette. She summed it up as "show up on time, be nice, tip your server" - things that you would hope would not need saying, but the sad truth is they really do.

Turning up (even if late) is the very least you can do. No-shows were the scourge of the industry before lockdown, and will be even more disrespectful, damaging and downright infuriating as restaurants try to get back on their feet. Hopefully, the prospect of being "punished for eternity in the afterlife by Satan himself playing 'Show Me Love' by Robin S on a very out-of-tune accordion" might curtail that egregious practice.

And then there's being nice. Just because you're paying for a service doesn't give you the right/entitlement to behave obnoxiously. We found that going out for dinner with another couple became so unbearably uncomfortable, because they were so inexplicably demanding and rude to serving staff, that we simply had to stop. If everyone had just a little experience of working in restaurants or cafes - or in the service industry more generally - then there would be a greater understanding of what that environment is like and therefore (you would hope) more empathy and courtesy.

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