Let's express it in a different way, and I think we'll get more buy-in. If you know there are vegetarians in the group, it is considerate to avoid the vegetarian options until you are sure that they have had enough (at least one serving).
If you are unaware that a specific dish is there because it's all one person can eat, and no one tells you that until you've eaten most of it, it's not really your fault, but the fault of the organizer.
That's what I'm saying. If it is known that there are vegetarians at this party (and in every circle that I move in, it's a near certainty that there will be at least a handful), then it would be nicer if people avoided the more limited veggie options until everybody had had a chance to take their first serving.
Certainly at this particular party, it was known that there were at least 4-5 veggies.
But the point others are making is just because one choice is nicer, doesn't mean the other choice is rude.
If I get to "seat yourself" performance first and choose the best seat in the house, and then someone comes later and is shorter then me, it would be nice for me to move and give them my spot, but its not rude for me not to.
If I bring my lunch to work and pack a bunch of awesome home made cookies for myself as dessert its nice for me to share but not rude if I eat my lunch and don't share.
Being nice is great, but its not the exact same thing as being polite.
Well, in the theatre example, you've paid for the seat and gone out of your way to get there early. It's a business transaction, not a hosted event, so I think your obligations to others become different. Like, it's not rude for me to buy the last iPhone in the shop, because I'm buying it, with my money, fair and square.
Similarly, there's no expectation (by most reasonable people) that you would share your packed lunch. In a communal eating situation, the whole point is that the food is shared. The whole nature of the scenario is different.
I didn't say a paid performance. It could mean free theater in the park, or a street performer, or story time at the library.
The point is, just because it might be nice to do something doesn't mean its rude to not do it.
Knitterly just wrote a whole long thing about ethics and eating.
Well I do eat meat. But I choose what meats to eat based largely on ethics and on health issues. I eat venison my husband and or one of his friends shot, but grain-fed beef is not something I choose to eat. I recently went camping with a group and specifically brought free range, nitrate free chicken dogs because I'm pregnant and while I always tried to avoid nitrates, now that I'm pregnant I absolutely unconditionally avoid them - and when the chicken dogs ran out (because they were awesome and delicious and plenty of people who could eat regular dogs simply preferred them) I didn't pout, I dealt with the situation. In fact I was happy to have exposed a new and awesome food to people who were used to regular hot dogs.
The thing is I don't necessarily voice all my reasons behind my food choices. I'm not going to say I'm a vegetarian because I'm not, but I am not willing to eat all meat choices out there. I don't like to casually talk about my ethical reasons behind my food choices. I simply make my choices, sometimes missing out, and deal with it. Because they are my choices, and any consequences should be mine to suffer.
I make my personal limitations my issue to deal with. I don't expect others to cater to my quirks - they are mine. And while I feel very strongly about them, I recognize they are mine, and mine alone to manage. And I expect every other person out there who make personal choices about their food (whether they make the choices based on religion, or ethics, or whims) to do the same.