Poll

What is the eHell-approved method of dealing with this situation?

Ask politely to share the 4-person table, and hope that they get the hint and move to an available smaller table
45 (17.8%)
Ask politely if they would mind moving from the 4-person table to a smaller available table
13 (5.1%)
Find 2 smaller available tables and push them together, even though this may mean dragging tables across the seating area
110 (43.5%)
Let your dining companions sit down at a smaller table, and watch like a hawk for a bigger table to open up
48 (19%)
Other (explain)
37 (14.6%)

Total Members Voted: 253

Author Topic: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table  (Read 8089 times)

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browzer11

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2014, 03:35:38 AM »
It's perfectly okay to ask if you could share a table. Most people would say no problem.

But don't expect me to move to a different table. Not going to happen.

Don't start dragging tables together. That's rude. Chairs are one thing. Tables are a different matter.

Don't ever ask a person to move to another table. That's beyond rude.

You're only going to be there for a few minutes. A shared table is not the end of the world.

kherbert05

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2014, 03:53:17 AM »
If it was crowded, I would assume that the person at a 4 top alone
1. was waiting for other members of their party to return from one of the other windows.
2. That was the only open table they could find.

So I would ask if we could share - not to be PA and expect them to gather their things and move but simply because in that type of set up I expect to share. I've actually been the 1 person at a 4 top and invited a group of 3 to share with me.

I've also been the person with 2 - 6 kids (2 yo - 10 yo now). I will often seat them while I pick up the food with either Loren 9 or J 10 helping me carry the food. Then though you have the SS that demand the kids move and let them sit down. Almost every single time that has happened the SS did not have their food yet because another member of their group was getting the SS their food. They could never explain to me or the managers they summoned why it was ok for them to save seats but not the kids. Other than I'm a grown up they are (Rude word for kids). Apparently kids with nice shiny polite spines are automatically (Rude word for kids).

Honestly if your kids are school aged (can't remember) I would try the stake out a table with them sitting there while you get their food. Our older crew (the 5 - 10 yo) take turns going to the various counters themselves, while the grown ups get the food for the littles. Every once in a while one of the grown ups will have to step in because the people at the counter keep skipping the kids, or grown up push pass them.  Usually the problem is simple - the people in front think the kids are with the grown up behind them. The grown up behind them assumes they are part of the group in front. Once the kids speak up there is no problem.
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Margo

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2014, 04:49:34 AM »
If there were two small tables near one another I would use those, and if the small tables were large enough that it were practical, I would simply pul a third chair up o a 2 seater table.

However, if neither of those options was possible, I would politely ask whether we could join the person at a 4 seater table, and would accept their response whether that was yes or no. I would not hope, expect, or hint that they should move elsewhere.

kudeebee

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2014, 05:02:28 AM »
I chose other.  Around here the mall seating is usually fixed seating, so tables can't be moved and neither can the chairs.  Even if the tables can be moved, it could be hard to do as there usually isn't a lot of room between tables, so you could possibly be bumping into people, having to ask them to move and then it would make the seating area around you tight.  Plus, are you going to move the table back or expect someone else to?

I would make do with the two-top.  Your two kids could share a seat or one could stand, the other sit or one could sit with you.  If a larger table opened up that you were able to easily get to, you could move to it if it didn't create a lot of commotion.  it would be bad to start to move, only to have someone else grab the larger table and then you turn around and find your table is gone as well.

The joys of eating at food courts!

purple

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2014, 05:07:45 AM »
I think you should either drag a third chair to a two-person table or just wait for a 4-person table to become vacant if you don't want to sit all three at a two-person table.

Food courts are first come - first served.

nayberry

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2014, 06:14:44 AM »
I chose other.  Around here the mall seating is usually fixed seating, so tables can't be moved and neither can the chairs.  Even if the tables can be moved, it could be hard to do as there usually isn't a lot of room between tables, so you could possibly be bumping into people, having to ask them to move and then it would make the seating area around you tight.  Plus, are you going to move the table back or expect someone else to?

I would make do with the two-top.  Your two kids could share a seat or one could stand, the other sit or one could sit with you.  If a larger table opened up that you were able to easily get to, you could move to it if it didn't create a lot of commotion.  it would be bad to start to move, only to have someone else grab the larger table and then you turn around and find your table is gone as well.

The joys of eating at food courts!

i was wondering if the seating was fixed too, depending on where you go a lot of the time the seats are bolted to the floor.

i have no problem however dragging tables over if they are movable. 

i'd say you can always ask a single on a 4 top if they will share but have to accept they may not want to.

Sharnita

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #21 on: June 09, 2014, 06:18:49 AM »
Move the tables or pull up a spare chair.

cicero

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #22 on: June 09, 2014, 06:40:17 AM »
i voted other because my reply is sort of a mix

let's start with what i wouldn't do:
i wouldn't ask to share the bigger table and i wouldn't "hope they get the hint" - that's PA and it's annoying. I'm sorry that you don't have a table but i got there first (and who knows - maybe i'm waiting for someone, or need a bigger table, or when i got there there were only bigger tables, etc. )
I also wouldn't ask them to move - that's also annoying. I'm there, i'm situated, it's a food court so it's not like i'm going to be there all day - i don't want you to interrupt *my* break.
and I wouldn't "hover" either - that's rude.

I would:
*bring another chair to a smaller table OR push two adjacent smaller tables together.
*consolidate our food so that we don't need so many trays (when it's just me i discard the tray altogether, though with little kids this may not be the best options if they tend to make a mess).
*if another table opens and you want to grab it - go for it.

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camlan

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #23 on: June 09, 2014, 06:46:23 AM »
Those two-top tables can be tiny--just barely large enough for two trays. So even when I'm eating alone, I might go for a four-top, so I'll have room for my book or laptop.

If you asked to sit with me, I'd be surprised, if there were empty tables available, whatever their size. Around here, you only ask to share a table if you can't find any other place to sit.

It makes a difference to me how many people would be sitting at the shared table. Two people, four places--there's still a bit of empty space at the table and the couple could talk to each other and I could tune them out. I'd still have half the table to spread my things out. There's a small buffer zone.

Three people and I'm surrounded. There's no way to avoid their conversation, the fact that someone is either sitting on both sides of me or across the table (depending on the shape of the table). I'm now in the middle of whatever is going on with the other people at the table. And I'd be imagining that they are all sitting there wondering why I'm still there--clearly I should be able to see that they want the whole table.

I wouldn't move, but I'd finish my meal as quickly as possible and leave, thinking very poorly of the people who wanted to sit at my table when there were empty tables available.

In fact, I couldn't honestly give you an answer right now as to whether or not I'd let a group of three sit at a four-top table with me. Because the more I think about it, the more I'm inclined to refuse, unless there isn't any other table available. 

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perpetua

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #24 on: June 09, 2014, 07:22:02 AM »
Those two-top tables can be tiny--just barely large enough for two trays. So even when I'm eating alone, I might go for a four-top, so I'll have room for my book or laptop.

If you asked to sit with me, I'd be surprised, if there were empty tables available, whatever their size. Around here, you only ask to share a table if you can't find any other place to sit.

It makes a difference to me how many people would be sitting at the shared table. Two people, four places--there's still a bit of empty space at the table and the couple could talk to each other and I could tune them out. I'd still have half the table to spread my things out. There's a small buffer zone.

Three people and I'm surrounded. There's no way to avoid their conversation, the fact that someone is either sitting on both sides of me or across the table (depending on the shape of the table). I'm now in the middle of whatever is going on with the other people at the table. And I'd be imagining that they are all sitting there wondering why I'm still there--clearly I should be able to see that they want the whole table.

I wouldn't move, but I'd finish my meal as quickly as possible and leave, thinking very poorly of the people who wanted to sit at my table when there were empty tables available.

In fact, I couldn't honestly give you an answer right now as to whether or not I'd let a group of three sit at a four-top table with me. Because the more I think about it, the more I'm inclined to refuse, unless there isn't any other table available.

Your post seems to contradict itself a bit, Camlan. If you acknowledge that a 2-top is so tiny that you alone might occupy a 4-top just so you had enough space, then how would you expect a family of 3 to fit around one to the extent you'd be surprised if they asked to share your 4? There might be "empty tables available", but you've just stated as one person that they might not be sufficient for just you.

Perhaps because I live in a huge city where you take whatever seat you can find I'm not at all bothered by someone else asking to share my table. I don't see it as the kind of affront that some people seem to.

KenveeB

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #25 on: June 09, 2014, 08:33:08 AM »
The hazards of eating at a food court, I'm afraid. You might not be able to find a table or the type you want to use. I would say your options in order of preference are:
1. If the tables are moveable and there are two 2-tops near each other, move them together. Most food courts I've been to expect people to move 2-tops apart and together again for different configurations.
2. Pull a third chair up to a 2-top and watch for a bigger table to become available.
3. Ask to share a 4-top with someone else, but only if you can do so without conveying that you really expect the person to just let you have the table and move somewhere else. They have as much right to a table as anyone else, and you're not entitled to the table just because you have more people. There are a lot of reasons why someone might take a particular table, and expecting them to move for your convenience is rude.

123sandy

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #26 on: June 09, 2014, 08:36:42 AM »
If you got there and the only free table was for 4, would you move to a smaller table if one opened up?

Personally, I'd rather huddle round a smaller table than share with a stranger. Some peoples table manners are atrocious and with my luck I'd get a soup slurper, open mouth chewer or a nose blower.

lowspark

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #27 on: June 09, 2014, 09:13:21 AM »
In a food court situation where there's no table service, people pull two (or more) tables together all the time. It's the norm. I don't even see why it would be a big deal to do so. To me, it's the same as if you had a group of eight people. The food court doesn't have any tables for eight so you just pull two fours together or a four and two twos if that's all that's available nearby. I wouldn't even think twice about this.

jmarvellous

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #28 on: June 09, 2014, 09:32:18 AM »
None of the options but the second are rude (the first is only OK as long as you don't make your wishes about the person moving too obvious).

But I agree with others that I'd just pull up an extra chair to a two-person table. And dump the trays once the food was down, so there's more room for eating.

In situations where there are no empty tables and a few with some empty seats, I don't mind asking to share, but it's not my preference.

I'm not a huge fan of dragging tables because I don't like the racket it makes or the work it creates for the cleanup crew/the next people who want to sit there, but if the tables are right next to each other or only a couple of feet apart, I think it's a fine choice.

miranova

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #29 on: June 09, 2014, 10:17:22 AM »
I guess I'm the only one who thinks it is rude for one person to take a 4 top when there are many 2 tops available?  I eat alone frequently and would never take a 4 top during a busy time when a larger party might need it.  Having said that, if I were in your situation I would put my kids at a 2 top and look for a 3rd chair to squeeze into the table with them.  I would not ask anyone to move nor would I ask to share a table. 

I am so confused by some of the responses.  It's rude to hover?  What exactly are you supposed to do when you have 3 trays of food and nowhere to put it?