Service of Where Have All the Manners Gone?

April 11th, 2024

Categories: Empathy, Etiquette, Manners, Rude Behavior, Sharing

You don’t have to go to etiquette school to avoid behaving boorishly. A tad of empathy often helps. Here are some examples that I suspect happen too often.

You’re sitting in the lobby of your hotel with friends and relatives the day after a family and close friends event. You order drinks for your wife and yourself and some relatives also sitting in a wide circle, but you skip a couple in this group. Adding insult to injury, next, as you guzzle, you discuss the quality and aroma of the whiskey chosen. I think that’s rude.

You’re at a workshop where lunch is served. The waiter puts a basket of bread on the table. Some of the others take two pieces so the basket is empty when it gets to you. Taking two of anything before everyone has been served is rude.

A trade magazine publisher who became a dear friend told me, years ago, about a business meeting he had with an advertiser. It was in the client’s office. The client was munching away on his chicken salad sandwich and could easily have asked his secretary to order something for the publisher, but he didn’t. He wasn’t offered a glass of water. Eating in front of others like this is rude. I remember once hiding a burger in my desk drawer when an editor popped into my office unannounced. Waiting to finish lunch until the person left wasn’t written in a manners guide. It just felt right.

Is selfish/clueless behavior acceptable today or are these instances anomalies? Do you have examples?

8 Responses to “Service of Where Have All the Manners Gone?”

  1. Loretta Adams Said:

    Loretta on Facebook: Hmm….I think table manners should be taught at home and reinforced at school from
    Pre-k on. One of the things that irks me is when guests take their helping, but fail to pass the bowl/platter. To circumvent this I often place the platter of meat at opposite end of the table of the meat lovers…

    I also believe that everyone should wait to start until everyone is seated at the table. (I am
    last to sit,lol). I also have one guest who starts to clear the table while the rest of us are still eating….🤦‍♀️. Drives me crazy!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Such good examples! At summer camp we would eat at long tables and if you were late to a meal you ended up in the middle, which meant all you did the whole time was pass dishes left, and right!
    Certain repeat guests, known for never helping, while glued to their dining room chair or once everything is done will say “anything I can do? “

  3. Loretta Adams Said:

    Loretta on Facebook: Overall, I love entertaining….but yes, I do strategically seat guests based on who is a helper. I have one person who always wants a seat across from the China cabinet so he can see himself in the mirrors in the cabinet! 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️

  4. B.C. Said:

    There are several at a table, and one or two start eating immediately.

    Other pet peeve- eating with your elbows on the table.

    AND- worst-talking with your mouth full of food.

  5. Deb Wright Said:

    They have been raised by wolves? No, that is an insult to wolves who are disciplined as cubs. It does seem to be more acceptable to see boorish behavior and shrug. People cutting in front of me in line, saying they are in a terrible hurry. This happened to me in our local post office. The postal worker behind the desk waited on her and didn’t reprove her or say anything. When I finally got to the counter, I asked why she allowed that woman to rush in front of me. She replied that this customer always does that!

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I agree about waiting until everyone is seated. Loretta did too. An exception: You’re at a restaurant with uneven service and one person’s food is getting cold while waiting for mine to come. I ALWAYS encourage my friend[s] to start eating.

    Mouth full of food while talking is not fun to look at.

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Cab drivers say nothing when one customer swats away a weaker one. It has happened to me so many times over the years. I didn’t even try to get a cab if it was raining when I wore a boot for a broken foot a decade ago. People would leap ahead of me and grab the door first. When my husband was so very frail, we’d wave for a cab and I cannot count the number of times people–even old people–would jump ahead of us and grab the next one. Waiting in a line of people waiting for taxis across from Grand Central one evening it started to rain. A young woman jumped ahead of me to try to grab the next one. I told her I was next. She said F___ you. I got in the cab.

  8. Martha Tepper Takayama Said:

    Unfortunately good manners and consideration seem to be totally out of fashion currently. Of course, the Trump effect on all manners and civility cannot be ignored! In my opinion good manners or polite behavior are actually quite political ways of making things go smoothly. Waiting your turn in a line or for a service, not elbowing ahead to take someone else’s turn, asking if a space or a seat is available, or deferring to people who obviously have more needs, waiting politely for all to start a meal unless otherwise indicated because service is erratic, not talking with a mouth full of food, not spending your meal on the cell phone or texting all make for a more pleasant environment. Hopefully the lack of good manners will be missed and at some point, in the not-too-distant future there will be a movement to restore them!

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