The MAtH (man about the house) notice that Dianne Isbell has turned from doing etiquette classes for "young ladies" to speaking to a group of "very professional wait staff" for her Monday Etiquette column in the Belleville News-Democrat.
Me: Dianne spoke to a group of waiters.
MAtH: Her iced tea on the wrong side of the plate?
Me: No, she got together with some professional wait staff to ask them to share some of the improprieties, if any, they experienced over the years from the diners they were serving.
MAtH: Improprieties? What does that mean? What irritates them about the people they serve?
MAtH: Could they think of anything?
Me: Oh, yeah.
MAtH: Let's hear it, I'm curious about what they might have said since we go to so many banquets.
Me: Here's the first one. "Diners who enter a banquet room before the scheduled time and lean chairs up against a table to reserve a seat for themselves."
MAtH: I see that all the time. All the time. I even see that sort of seat saving in church these days, especially for weddings.
Me: I have to admit, I haven't done the chair thing, but I have put my purse or something on the table where I want to sit.
MAtH: Why do people do this, everyone will be getting the same meal.
Me: They do it to get a table closer to the speaker or closer to the restrooms. Or, to make sure they get to sit with all their family or friends.
MAtH: Closer to the exit. Ha.
Me: More and more I've seen groups heading up these dinners beginning to use namecards on the table settings so everyone has an assigned place.
MAtH: Much better, but frankly, us guys don't like having to roam around looking for our name on all the tables.
Me: Women like doing that. I don't know why, but it's fun to go round to all the tables looking for names.
MAtH: That's why us guys have wives. What other things do people do to irritate waiters?
Me: "Diners who blow their nose in their napkins and those who put their
napkins in the middle of the plate, like one that has gravy or syrup
still on the plate."
MAtH: Blow their nose in the napkin? Don't they have a sleeve they can use?
Me: Hahaha. Or, Mucinex before the meal?
MAtH: Putting a cloth napkin in syrup seems pretty dumb. Do they do that at home do you think?
Me: I doubt it, maybe they are used to paper towels as napkins at home.
MAtH: Anything other troubling things?
Me: "Trying to clear dirty plates when diners don't know how to place their fork and knife on the plate indicating they are finished. We don't like having to interrupt a diner who is talking to ask them if they are finished, and we don't appreciate being yelled at with, "No, don't take my plate; I'm not finished yet!"
MAtH: Now I know the answer to this one thanks to all the etiquette dinners we've held at the seminary.
Me: I know it too and it's amazing how observant wait staff people notice how the fork and knife are placed and how quickly they remove the plate. Sometimes you don't even know they're around and all of a sudden the plate is being taken away.
MAtH: Place the fork and knife in the middle of the plate at 11 and 5 as though the plate were a clock face.
Me: Correct! And I thought you weren't listening.
MAtH: You'd be amazed at what I know.
Me: Getting back to that napkin laid in the syrup, what do you do with your napkin when you're done eating?
MAtH: Leave it on your lap til it's time to leave and then put it at the side of the plate.
Me: Which side of the plate?
MAtH: Now you've gone too far.
Me: This is the part that confuses me a little. The napkin is supposed to be put on the left side of the plate when the meal is over.
Me: Well, if you remember the drinking glasses and cups are always placed on the right side of the plate?
MAtH: I do remember. Make the ok sign with both hands and the left hand forms a b for bread and the right hand a d for drinks. That is so you know who's glass is who's.
Me: Ok, then. When you're at a banquet, often times the napkin folded into the coffee cup which is on the right.
MAtH: So you're thinking the used napkin should go back on the right?
MAtH: I think you're thinking too much.
Me: I just hope the people who blow their noses in dinner napkins are reading this column today, that's what I'm thinking.
MAtH: Maybe this type of information would be good conversation starters at the next banquet we go to.
Me: Hey. Good idea. A working dinner.