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 8411 times)

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lowspark

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #30 on: June 09, 2014, 10:22:54 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?

Regarding the bolded, if it's super busy, it could be that there were no two-tops available at the time the single person arrived, so it came down to taking a four-top or nothing.

In the food court situation, or any situation where you select a table yourself after ordering your food as opposed to being seated by a hostess, I think it's understood that you make do with whatever you can find. So if the only thing available is a four-top, I'll sit there. If you need a four-top and none are available, you push two two-tops together. Or, if there's not a single empty table, you stand there and wait till one is vacated. What other choice do you have?

Harriet Jones

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #31 on: June 09, 2014, 10:25:45 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? 

I imagine that they mean not to hover so close you might be in someone's personal space bubble.   Or standing there and staring someone down in the hopes you'll make them uncomfortable enough to leave.

123sandy

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #32 on: June 09, 2014, 10:26:00 AM »
If I pushed two table together I move them back to their original place when I'm finished.

TootsNYC

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #33 on: June 09, 2014, 10:26:55 AM »
I would ask to share the table but I would not see this as a 'hint' that the original occupier should move.  In fact I don't see why they should move and any little nudges to give them a hint would be very rude.

I look at the seating in a shopping mall food court as being in one person blocks, you get the seat and, on a 'four person' table, the quarter of the table that is directly in front of you.  Everybody just wants to eat and move along, so who else is at the table is not an issue.

Ask to share the table.  If they refuse, not because they are waiting for others but just because they want all that space for themselves, they are taking more than their share of resources and are being rude.  If they say yes be careful not to spread into their space and everyone can eat and move along.

I'm with this. Of course, some of that is that I live in NYC, and we crowd into subways, park on the street, etc. We're very, very cognizant of what is and what is not private space. And food court seating is *not* private space.


(I want to do a study comparing what happens if you don't allow anybody to hold a seat until they get their food. All the food courts I go to have people holding tables while they wait for people to arrive, and people with food wandering around looking for a place to sit. It's my theory that if only people who -have- food are allowed to sit in the food court, that once you -get- your food, there will be a place to sit. But of course, I could be wrong, hence the wish for the study.)


I would say that it's rude to take a 4-top if a 2-top is available--but you don't really know what the conditions were when they sat down. At that time, there may not have been a 2-top available. And I also think they shouldn't have to wander the food court looking for an empty 2-top; it needs to be reasonably close.



And ditto this:

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.

And of course snitching a chair from another table and moving it to a 2-top.


I also don't think you have a given right to spread out non-food items in a food court. This is not a place to linger over your meal, or surf the web. This is a place for eating. And the more crowded it gets, the more that becomes the imperative, I believe.


If I pushed two table together I move them back to their original place when I'm finished.

I wouldn't. Maybe the people who come after me want a 4-top. They can move it back apart. But then again, that's in NYC. In some other place, I might, actually.

lowspark

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #34 on: June 09, 2014, 10:34:51 AM »
(I want to do a study comparing what happens if you don't allow anybody to hold a seat until they get their food. All the food courts I go to have people holding tables while they wait for people to arrive, and people with food wandering around looking for a place to sit. It's my theory that if only people who -have- food are allowed to sit in the food court, that once you -get- your food, there will be a place to sit. But of course, I could be wrong, hence the wish for the study.)

My theory too. But the second you have even one person who is still waiting for their food grab a table, the whole thing goes out the window because now it's imperative that everyone do so or they'll be stuck.

miranova

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #35 on: June 09, 2014, 10:37:02 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?

Regarding the bolded, if it's super busy, it could be that there were no two-tops available at the time the single person arrived, so it came down to taking a four-top or nothing.



That's why I specifically said "when there are many 2 tops available". 

Of course it goes without saying that if there are no 2 tops available, you have to just sit somewhere.

lowspark

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #36 on: June 09, 2014, 10:37:13 AM »
If I pushed two table together I move them back to their original place when I'm finished.

I wouldn't. Maybe the people who come after me want a 4-top. They can move it back apart. But then again, that's in NYC. In some other place, I might, actually.

Me neither. For one thing, by the time I get up, I've long since forgotten that I'd pushed the two tables together! But anyway, that's my whole point. It's the norm to move the tables around in food courts to suit your needs. So no biggie to put them together and no biggie to move them apart if you need to.

lowspark

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #37 on: June 09, 2014, 10:40:56 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?

Regarding the bolded, if it's super busy, it could be that there were no two-tops available at the time the single person arrived, so it came down to taking a four-top or nothing.



That's why I specifically said "when there are many 2 tops available". 

Of course it goes without saying that if there are no 2 tops available, you have to just sit somewhere.

Right. But my point is that you can't judge if someone else was rude unless you saw them take a four-top when twos were available. You can't just assume that because twos are available now, they were available when the other person sat down.

But thinking about it, even if there are a lot of twos available, I'm not sure I do think it's all that rude for a single to take a four. I just don't see it as being a big deal to shove two tables together. It's done all the time.

etiquettenut

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #38 on: June 09, 2014, 10:41:08 AM »

(I want to do a study comparing what happens if you don't allow anybody to hold a seat until they get their food. All the food courts I go to have people holding tables while they wait for people to arrive, and people with food wandering around looking for a place to sit. It's my theory that if only people who -have- food are allowed to sit in the food court, that once you -get- your food, there will be a place to sit. But of course, I could be wrong, hence the wish for the study.)


I would say that it's rude to take a 4-top if a 2-top is available--but you don't really know what the conditions were when they sat down. At that time, there may not have been a 2-top available. And I also think they shouldn't have to wander the food court looking for an empty 2-top; it needs to be reasonably close.



I love your idea for a study like that; I also think things would go much smoother if people weren't allowed to sit down until they had their food.

I agree with you on the 4-top/2-top thing. Generally, I think it's rude for one person to take up a 4-top but since there are so many different circumstances that make it "not-rude," I can't make a blanket statement about it.

I also would not appreciate being asked to share a table if there were others available and would say no. I hate sharing tables with strangers. It's odd and only done when completely necessary (in my experience).

I would push two tables together, watch for another to open up, or just have my kids sit while I stood and ate. I would not ask to share a table as I am not comfortable with it.

m2kbug

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #39 on: June 09, 2014, 10:45:11 AM »
I said "other."  I think, while a tight squeeze, you could pull up a third chair and make do, or if two smaller tables are close, push them together, or sit at your tiny table, and wait until a larger table or a second smaller table becomes available, and just make the best of it until that happens (if it does at all).   

TootsNYC

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #40 on: June 09, 2014, 11:00:59 AM »
Quote
I also would not appreciate being asked to share a table if there were others available and would say no. I hate sharing tables with strangers. It's odd and only done when completely necessary (in my experience).

I had a weird experience once.

We were at a food-court-type place when we were in Hawaii on vacation, and it was nearly empty. There were a lot of big tables, and my family of 4 sat down at a place that was for 8, I think. We may have been the only ones there; if anyone else was there it was 1 party, on the far side of the room.

The next party to come through with their food asked if they could sit at our table.

We were on the spot, so we just nodded. And they sat down. They didn't really make any attempt to be chatty (i.e., if they had intended to join us in all ways, incl. conversationally, in a 'tourists together' sort of thing), or if they did we weren't really welcoming.

I was a little miffed! And it was just so strange.

And it was funny, because when I've been out of NYC, I've been frustrated when my companions won't ask to join someone at a food-court table, but will stand there, or wander all around, rather than just say, "May we take these seats?"

jmarvellous

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #41 on: June 09, 2014, 11:07:50 AM »
I don't think there's anything odd about sharing a table and not befriending your tablemates.

blahblahblah

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #42 on: June 09, 2014, 11:08:07 AM »
I recall posting here about an incident years ago, where someone just randomly sat down at my table  (one of those tiny round tables that's ostensibly a two-top) at B&N without even asking. When another table opened up, he moved to that one, but he left his garbage (a pastry wrapper) on my table. IIRC the general consensus then was that he was fine to sit down without asking (which I don't really agree with, when a table's that tiny you could at least ask as a courtesy) but that he was rude to leave his trash behind (obviously).

Aquamarine

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #43 on: June 09, 2014, 11:14:08 AM »
I go with dragging an unoccupied chair over to the two top.  I think it's OK to ask to share a table with someone preferably someone who appears to be almost done eating when there is no other option.  If every table is full and there are a couple of tables with single people at a 4 top then it's OK to ask to share, those people have no business expecting to keep a four top all to themselves when the food court is very busy. 

This is at a food court, there really is no expectation of having or keeping a table all to yourself no matter what.  Everyone who buys food at the food court is entitled to a seat at which they can eat that food, even if that means sharing a table.

People who are already seated hopefully would offer people seats so as to avoid them having to ask to share which many people would find very awkward to do.
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Yvaine

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Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #44 on: June 09, 2014, 11:19:28 AM »
Quote
I also would not appreciate being asked to share a table if there were others available and would say no. I hate sharing tables with strangers. It's odd and only done when completely necessary (in my experience).

I had a weird experience once.

We were at a food-court-type place when we were in Hawaii on vacation, and it was nearly empty. There were a lot of big tables, and my family of 4 sat down at a place that was for 8, I think. We may have been the only ones there; if anyone else was there it was 1 party, on the far side of the room.

The next party to come through with their food asked if they could sit at our table.

We were on the spot, so we just nodded. And they sat down. They didn't really make any attempt to be chatty (i.e., if they had intended to join us in all ways, incl. conversationally, in a 'tourists together' sort of thing), or if they did we weren't really welcoming.

I was a little miffed! And it was just so strange.

And it was funny, because when I've been out of NYC, I've been frustrated when my companions won't ask to join someone at a food-court table, but will stand there, or wander all around, rather than just say, "May we take these seats?"

I don't quite get it?  :-\ I think I'd be glad they respected the "imaginary space" and left us be. That's the way it usually works at these food court type places in my experience--you might have to sit with strangers because there's nowhere else, but you kind of pretend you're at separate tables. Or did it only bother you because it was on vacation?