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 8629 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Jones

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2669
Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #60 on: June 09, 2014, 04:41:17 PM »
In my experience, you don't necessarily have to rearrange furniture. Often the two tops are so close together that we can sit at separate tables and still touch our companions, and speak without raising voices.

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 31748
Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #61 on: June 09, 2014, 04:53:26 PM »

In this case, being prepared to eat with the stranger means respecting their personal space/that they got there first and are entitled to at least a quarter of the time, but not ignoring them if they start a conversation. Depending on my mood, if I tell someone that yes, the other seat is available, I might want to just dive back into my book or focus on my soup, or I might be in a mood to chat. I would be miffed if someone asked to sit at my table, ignored my overtures about the weather or activities in the area, and chatted with their companions. That would feel like an invasion in a way that neither sitting quietly nor including me in conversation would.

But I would think that *you* need to respect *their* personal space. The fact that you got their first doesn't entitle you to their time and attention.

I don't think they're required to respond to your overtures of friendliness. They didn't ask to join you (and I don't care what the actual words they said were); they asked to use those chairs.

If you don't know them, you shouldn't be expecting them to make conversation with you as though they do.

And they shouldn't have to refrain from talking to one another just to keep you from feeling rejected. They aren't your social circle, and they aren't in your home. They're strangers who are sitting at the other half of the food court's table.

stargazer

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5479
Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #62 on: June 09, 2014, 06:56:04 PM »
I would sit at a four-top by myself for security reasons.  Where do you put your purse at a two-top? If in the seat across from me or on the table, it's easily grabbed.  I don't want to put it on a dirty food court floor out of sight.  Slinging it over my chair means it is out of sight. If it is on the seat beside me I can comfortably keep my arm through the strap and keep it in sight.

I understand the desire to do that, but if someone needed to sit down to eat their food, would you move it?

I wouldn't.  The floors at the food court generally are very dirty and I'm not putting it over the back of my chair where I can't keep an eye on it.  Not to mention if I'm at a food court, I'm probably at a mall and have other shopping bags that I wouldn't want getting dirty either.  So they either go on the table or on another chair.

I would not be comfortable at all sharing my table with another family I don't know either.  I am a very private person and if I don't know you, I certainly don't want to eat with you and your kids.  When I have given in (rarely), I always seem to end up with the worst eaters (loud, messy, etc).  Just push two tables together or grab another chair.

MOM21SON

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3070
Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #63 on: June 09, 2014, 07:44:46 PM »
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.

The food court at my mall advertises free wifi and wants people to feel free to relax and eat.

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 31748
Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #64 on: June 09, 2014, 07:55:54 PM »
Do they usually have tables available, even in the rush?

I've never seen a food court that wasn't glommed out at almost all times, but especially during mealtime. Maybe you guys have more elbow room.

MOM21SON

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3070
Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #65 on: June 09, 2014, 07:59:40 PM »
Do they usually have tables available, even in the rush?

I've never seen a food court that wasn't glommed out at almost all times, but especially during mealtime. Maybe you guys have more elbow room.

There are a lot of tables of all kinds, round, square, etc.  But yeah, its pretty big, but quiet and most of the time not busy.  Seriously though, it's one of the "selling" points the mall advertises.  And it happens to be right by the college campus.

Yvaine

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9085
Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #66 on: June 09, 2014, 08:05:55 PM »
Do they usually have tables available, even in the rush?

I've never seen a food court that wasn't glommed out at almost all times, but especially during mealtime. Maybe you guys have more elbow room.

I've rarely seen a mall that was booming enough to fill its food court, honestly, at least in the last 10 years or so.

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 31748
Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #67 on: June 09, 2014, 08:10:17 PM »
You need to go shopping with me!

but anyway, I think that when the place is really, really crowded, the wifi offers are sort of disqualified

MOM21SON

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3070
Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #68 on: June 09, 2014, 08:13:28 PM »
You need to go shopping with me!

but anyway, I think that when the place is really, really crowded, the wifi offers are sort of disqualified

Oh, I would LOVE to shop at a huge mall!  I think they are on their way out here.

Yvaine

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9085
Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #69 on: June 09, 2014, 08:14:51 PM »
You need to go shopping with me!

but anyway, I think that when the place is really, really crowded, the wifi offers are sort of disqualified

My guess is that MOM2's mall is having some troubles and is using the wifi as a way to draw young customers.

Around here, the whole mall concept is sort of sputtering out. People are switching to the kind of shopping center where there's a whole block of stores but all of them open to the outside instead of to a "hall," and there's no food court, just scattered individual restaurants. Most of the malls have a lot of vacant stores. I could totally see wifi as a good gimmick to get people in. I don't think I've had to wrangle for a table at a mall in ages. Cafeterias at places of work and/or academia, sure.

TeamBhakta

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2686
Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #70 on: June 09, 2014, 08:59:55 PM »
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 don't see it as rude. For example, I am not usually a fan of other people's children. I don't want some random stranger to stick their kids at my table.

ishka

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 96
Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #71 on: June 09, 2014, 11:11:22 PM »
I think a food court is different to a restaurant.  In my opinion you are entitled to a space, one seat and the table area in front of it, not a table.  It may be more comfortable for one person to use two chairs, or the space intended for four, but it is still taking more than a "fair share" and if the place is crowded I think it is rude to leave others without seating.


sammycat

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6214
Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #72 on: June 09, 2014, 11:59:14 PM »
I think it bothered because there were many open empty tables to sit at.  I would have told the people to sit at one of the empty tables.  I am not going to share a table with strangers when there is absolutely no need to do so.  I think was those people did was rude, creepy and intrusive.

I agree!  Given a choice, I prefer to sit as far away from strangers, particularly when eating, as possible, especially when I'm with a group/another person, so that we may converse without eavesdroppers.

We were on holiday in a different country recently and went to the food court in a shopping centre. Most of the tables were long, and seated about 30-40 people. I understand that it is the norm there, but the first time we sat down we found it very uncomfortable. We made sure to sit at the end so that we only had people on one side of us (and if our food and trays were a little spread so as to discourage complete strangers from sitting right in our laps, then oh well; luckily it worked. Must have been a slow time). 

The following night, we were lucky enough to snag one of the few 4 seaters (there were 4 of us).
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 12:02:04 AM by sammycat »

perpetua

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2212
Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #73 on: June 10, 2014, 03:20:59 AM »
I would sit at a four-top by myself for security reasons.  Where do you put your purse at a two-top? If in the seat across from me or on the table, it's easily grabbed.  I don't want to put it on a dirty food court floor out of sight.  Slinging it over my chair means it is out of sight. If it is on the seat beside me I can comfortably keep my arm through the strap and keep it in sight.

I understand the desire to do that, but if someone needed to sit down to eat their food, would you move it?

I wouldn't.  The floors at the food court generally are very dirty and I'm not putting it over the back of my chair where I can't keep an eye on it.  Not to mention if I'm at a food court, I'm probably at a mall and have other shopping bags that I wouldn't want getting dirty either.  So they either go on the table or on another chair.

I would not be comfortable at all sharing my table with another family I don't know either.  I am a very private person and if I don't know you, I certainly don't want to eat with you and your kids.  When I have given in (rarely), I always seem to end up with the worst eaters (loud, messy, etc).  Just push two tables together or grab another chair.

I guess I was thinking in cases where there was nowhere available to sit, rather than the scenario posted in the OP: if someone was waiting to sit down with their food going cold and the only available place was taken up by your bag, you wouldn't move it? I do think that's rude, unfortunately.

I'm trying to think what I do with my bag in this situation. I would probably wear it across my body like a satchel so it's still close to me but it's not taking up space, or place it on my lap under the table. Also, some places here have hooks underneath the table that you can hang your handbag on which solves this very problem.

I'm also not really understanding the 'eating with other people' argument that people are putting forward. You're not doing that. It's not a social occasion. There's a sort of invisible line down the middle of the table in situations like this. Ditto the argument that your shopping bags might get dirty. You're only going to throw them away (or recycle) when you take your shopping out of them.

I think a food court is different to a restaurant.  In my opinion you are entitled to a space, one seat and the table area in front of it, not a table.  It may be more comfortable for one person to use two chairs, or the space intended for four, but it is still taking more than a "fair share" and if the place is crowded I think it is rude to leave others without seating.

This is absolutely where I fall (perhaps through necessity given where I live, I don't know). I see it like a bus seat. One person, one seat, and your bags haven't paid for a seat and aren't entitled to one.


Psychopoesie

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 977
Re: Etiquette of Asking for a Bigger Table
« Reply #74 on: June 10, 2014, 05:19:22 AM »
I voted other.

I'm not usually hitting the food court with kids but do occasionally with other adults, so have ended up casting a desperate eye around looking for space.

If there are ways to accommodate me and my companions without disturbing other diners, then I do that.  For example, add an extra chair to a table or move two tables together. If I need to borrow a chair from another occupied table, I ask first.

If there is absolutely nowhere else to sit, I might ask the solo diner if it's ok to share their table but be prepared to take no for an answer. I'd be more likely to ask someone who seems close to finishing their meal.

No way would I ask someone else to move so I could be seated. That seems rude. My response as a solo diner would be a flat no.

If I was the solo diner being asked to share, I'd be less likely to say yes if there were other tables free. Plus, some days I've had as much interaction as I can deal with and just need a few quiet moments to collect myself.

Also much less likely to say yes to someone with kids, unfortunately. Too many bad experiences with misbehaving kids in food courts and fast food courts to want that happening at the same table where I'm trying to have a quiet meal. No way of telling till it's too late so I tend to err on the side of caution.

Also less likely to say yes to someone who made me feel uncomfortable.

If I was almost done with my meal, I'd be more likely to say yes.