Author Topic: s/o Sharing an appetizer - What about dessert?  (Read 9135 times)

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DottyG

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s/o Sharing an appetizer - What about dessert?
« on: February 22, 2013, 09:02:00 PM »
Decided to go ahead and make this into its own thread to avoid confusion.
 
Original question and followup answers thus far are posted in this thread:
 
http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=125048.120
 
Start with Reply #134
 
 

DottyG

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Re: s/o Sharing an appetizer - What about dessert?
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2013, 09:05:02 PM »
Here's the last part of that discussion in that thread to go off of:

Quote
The desserts OTOH usually seem designed as a single portion, at least in presentation (restaurant desserts often seem quite large). I'm thinking in terms of pie, cake, ice cream, a brownie, etc., which is the kind of thing I'm used to seeing in restaurants.

But go on the updated information that I'm not talking about pie, cake and ice cream but desserts that have "pieces" to them.  What then?


Quote
I hope I'd say something like "Oh, no thank you. I don't need any extra forks."

Can you do that, though?  I mean, if he's already putting down forks at each person's place, it seems really awkward to say, "Oh no, take all those back from everyone.  I'm not sharing."  It just seems kind of touchy when it's already in the works.
 
Sharnita says she takes it as a divine sign that she doesn't need the calories.  But, darn it, sometimes I want my own dessert.   Especially, like I said above, when it's my birthday, and they bring me out something special to celebrate it.....and then tell everyone they can have some, too.  I should get to make that decision - not the restaurant.
 
 
(ETA:  Is this "waiter makes assumption that it's going to be shared" thing a US one, maybe?  Maybe this doesn't occur in other parts of the world.  If so, I wish you'd come over and educate our servers that it's not a nice thing to do to us.  It puts us on the spot.  Seriously, it's all happening so fast, there isn't time to catch them before everyone has a fork at their side - sometimes the forks/spoons are passed out even before the dessert is placed on the table.)

*inviteseller

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Re: s/o Sharing an appetizer - What about dessert?
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2013, 09:27:36 PM »
I don't get dessert (not a fan of sweets), but my kids do, and usually my sister and StepMom.  If a waiter would put down one of their desserts along with extra forks to share, I would not pick one up..not because I don't eat sweets, but because it is not the waiter's place to decide if that dessert is being shared.

Softly Spoken

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Re: s/o Sharing an appetizer - What about dessert?
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2013, 09:31:41 PM »
You know it's weird but this post reminds me that I have never had this happen to me and I've eaten out a lot. I guess it's because when I'm out with others, we usually seem to communicate fairly well when we order: I will say "I'd like to have a piece of carrot cake." Then, if my friend hasn't already said "Nothing for me thanks," the server will look over to them questioningly or say "And are you going to share / And for you?" etc. They may even make a joke like "Are you going to order dessert too or just steal some of hers?"
Conversely, if we agree to share a dessert we will say "We are going to finish things up with a piece of carrot cake," or else whoever orders it tells the server to bring an extra fork/spoon. FWIW we also do this when ordering other parts of the meal: "We'll start by splitting the loaded potato skins." / "We'll have the special with an extra plate."

I think some restaurants make very large desserts and it is assumed you will share because of the sheer size - ironically they are swinging back the other way now and making "mini" versions of everything.

I've never ordered a "regular" size dessert (even one with 'share-able' pieces) and had a server assume that I was sharing; they might have asked if they needed to bring an extra fork but that's about it.

I always figured that servers took their cues from their diners, and if there was any problem it was up to the diner to specify what they wanted or didn't want. I would think that unless the situation is unique, like a grown up ordering for a child or a restaurant that does family style, that everyone would "own" whatever they ordered unless specifically stated otherwise. Given that the server knows nothing about the relationship between the people at a table, their food history or their eating habits, any assumption beyond "Food goes to person who ordered it" seems very inappropriate. Sharing should be sorted out by the diners, not the servers. Servers may ask but they should never assume.
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JenJay

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Re: s/o Sharing an appetizer - What about dessert?
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2013, 09:36:32 PM »
I'm one of the people who said our family shares apps. We do not, however, share desserts. Exceptions will be made for "Bite for a bite?" :D

DottyG

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Re: s/o Sharing an appetizer - What about dessert?
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2013, 09:47:36 PM »
Quote
any assumption beyond "Food goes to person who ordered it" seems very inappropriate. Sharing should be sorted out by the diners, not the servers. Servers may ask but they should never assume.

Oh, I very much agree!  Unfortunately, that's not always the case.


DottyG

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Re: s/o Sharing an appetizer - What about dessert?
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2013, 10:30:35 PM »
Trying to find you an example of a "pieces" dessert.  Usually, desserts are on a dessert tray, so they're not always listed on a menu.  But here's an example I found - I've actually been to this restaurant before, and this dessert, while could be shared if you desired, is a size that one person could eat without sharing.  Yet, forks were brought for all.

And to address a comment above, the ordering of it was done in such a way that it was clear this person was ordering dessert after the rest of the table said they weren't having dessert that day.  The others were given the option to get something as well - and this person ordered it as an "I will have...." type of thing.

Quote
Mexican Donuts

Traditional Mexican pastry filled with our homemade sweet cream, topped with powdered sugar.  Served with our homemade Kahlua fudge sauce.


Softly Spoken

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Re: s/o Sharing an appetizer - What about dessert?
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2013, 10:46:27 PM »
Trying to find you an example of a "pieces" dessert.  Usually, desserts are on a dessert tray, so they're not always listed on a menu.  But here's an example I found - I've actually been to this restaurant before, and this dessert, while could be shared if you desired, is a size that one person could eat without sharing.  Yet, forks were brought for all.

And to address a comment above, the ordering of it was done in such a way that it was clear this person was ordering dessert after the rest of the table said they weren't having dessert that day.  The others were given the option to get something as well - and this person ordered it as an "I will have...." type of thing.

Quote
Mexican Donuts

Traditional Mexican pastry filled with our homemade sweet cream, topped with powdered sugar.  Served with our homemade Kahlua fudge sauce.

Okay this made me chuckle because I'm in a good mood tonight and was able to give the server the benefit of the doubt. Here is how I imagine the scenario unfolding in my head:
Diner #1 orders a yummy dessert that is easy to share. Server imagines the wistful looks and exclamations that will arise when they bring it to the table - "Oh that looks good...could I try one?" "Yeah I know I said I didn't want dessert but those look pretty awesome...can I maybe try half of one?" "Dude I'm completely full and even I want to try that."
Now D#1 could hiss at them and shout "No, these are my precious!"...or simply say "Well, why don't you get your own?" OR if they don't feel like sharing but are feeling generous maybe they turn to the server and say "I guess we're going to need another round of these donuts." Or maybe another diner says this. OR (and most likely) D#1 resigns themselves to sharing and then has to ask the server for extra forks...but what's this?? The server, having already anticipated the request and wanting to expedite, has placed several forks unobtrusively to the side where the diner could hand them out. Wasn't that thoughtful of them? ;)

Now, if the server had placed the forks in the middle and/or next to the dessert that wouldn't have been as great. But think about it - how many times have no-share desserts turned into shares? Maybe the servers notice the pattern and are playing the odds.  ;D

So it's not as horrible if they're going from experience I guess? IDK, I'm getting sleepy and less coherent by the minute.  :-[

And worst of all...now I want those donuts. :'(
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DottyG

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Re: s/o Sharing an appetizer - What about dessert?
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2013, 10:55:31 PM »
Quote
The server, having already anticipated the request and wanting to expedite, has placed several forks unobtrusively to the side where the diner could hand them out. Wasn't that thoughtful of them?

Very thoughtful! :D  However, these forks aren't, usually, placed unobtrusively to the side like that - they're put down at each person's plate with a grand announcement that the diner's going to share, so they'll definitely want a fork to make it easier to get some!
 
You know, I'd think it was just a weird thing that happens at one restaurant if I didn't find it happening so often!  It happened at my going away party for my old job, it's happened at birthday celebrations (mine and others), it's happened in various cities (so it's not like a location thing), it's happened to other people that I'm not with (so it's not just me), it's happened at fancy places and chain places,....  I don't know what the deal is!

And don't want those donuts.  They were ok, but they weren't something that you'd drag out-of-towners to get because "these things are to DIE FOR and you HAVE to try them!!!!" :D



« Last Edit: February 22, 2013, 10:57:15 PM by DottyG »

DottyG

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Re: s/o Sharing an appetizer - What about dessert?
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2013, 11:01:17 PM »
In thinking about your example, I guess one thing that could be done is combining several of the thoughts here into one response.

When "the great announcement" is made, the diner could say, "Oh, we're going to need some additional plates of it, then.  I didn't realize others were going to want some."  (Frankly, though, what I want to say is, "Well Mr. Server, it looks like YOU will be paying for these additional plates, because you're the one who offered it to everyone.  Neither I nor the people I'm with will be charged for what you assumed would happen with this dessert.")


doodlemor

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Re: s/o Sharing an appetizer - What about dessert?
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2013, 11:02:19 PM »
I think that waiters are very rude to assume that a diner wants to share dessert, especially when it is ordered as......I will have the XXXXX.

This happened to me just once, when I was out with my husband.  The waiter put the dessert I had ordered in the middle of the table with two forks.  When I pulled it towards me the waiter made a remark in a snotty tone about my eating the whole thing.  I honestly don't remember if we left him a lesser tip for this or not.

I'm not sure exactly what to do in the situations that you have described, Dotty.  Perhaps I would say something like......

I didn't realize that everyone has ordered dessert.

If the waiter makes a remark about sharing my dessert I would laugh and jokingly say something like.....

Yeah, like that would really ever happen.

Perhaps some of the ehell standards could be used when the waiter offers one's dessert to the table, such as ......What an interesting assumption......Why would I want to do that......I'm afraid that won't be happening[slight variation]......or a *stonecold* stare with silence [in honor of Yarnspinner.]

DottyG

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Re: s/o Sharing an appetizer - What about dessert?
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2013, 11:03:56 PM »
Quote
Perhaps some of the ehell standards could be used when the waiter offers one's dessert to the table, such as ......What an interesting assumption......Why would I want to do that......I'm afraid that won't be happening[slight variation]

Oooooh.....now why didn't I think of my EHell training with this?  You're right - those are good to use.


misha412

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Re: s/o Sharing an appetizer - What about dessert?
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2013, 11:09:10 PM »
Usually, when I am with a group and want to order dessert, one of three things happens:

1. I eat a light meal with the full anticipation of eating dessert. I do this on a rare occasion as a treat. That dessert is not for sharing. (A bite if asked, but no one is getting more than 5% of it).

2. Several people at the table want dessert, but not necessarily wanting a full sized dessert. Many times, the group will order 2 or 3 desserts with the anticipation of everyone sharing if they want.

3. Only a couple of people want dessert. They order with the intention of splitting it between the two of them.

In all scenarios, I make it known to the waiter what the spoon/fork situation is. If the dessert is for me, I am the only one who needs one. If the table is sharing, everyone needs one. If the dessert is for two or three of us only, that is how many we need.

I have seen waiters bring a couple of extra just in case someone wants a nibble, but that is different that handing everyone a utensil. If a waiter presumed to hand every person at the table a utensil and announce that MY dessert is up for grabs, his tip just went down drastically. I will politely correct him and tell the rest if they want a dessert to order their own.

citadelle

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Re: s/o Sharing an appetizer - What about dessert?
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2013, 11:32:03 PM »
Maybe if the server brings extra utensils for the table share your dessert, you could tell them to bring another plate of dessert as well. That way, you can have your cake and share it, too!  :)

DottyG

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Re: s/o Sharing an appetizer - What about dessert?
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2013, 11:35:13 PM »
Who pays for it in that case, though?