Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Jul 4, 2008 03:51 PM

Stop Thief! Keep your fork to yourself please!

Has this ever happened to you? You are at a restaurant with family or friends, and all of the sudden someone in the party reaches over to YOUR plate and stabs a bit of food with thier fork and takes it, saying something like "wow this looks good" or "Oh I have to try that" Not asking permission, but stealing a bite.

OH I HATE THAT!! I don't even like it when they ask if they can have a taste unless they offer a taste of what they have in reciprocation, in fact that can be very fun.... but to reach across the table a stab a scallop (when I only get 4 per entree) to me seems not only tacky, but downright selfish.

What do you do when this happens? Personally I wanted to stab them with my fork in the hand I was so irritated, but me being the person I am just gritted my teeth and quickly ate the remaining 2 scallops I had left before the roaming fork came attacking my plate again.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. ROFL!!

    This isn't a problem for me and mine since probably 99% of the time we eat out, we always turn the meal into family style dining, even in "American" restaurants.
    Each person orders a different dish then everyone shares everything.

    1. I'm with you gryphonskeeper, I hate snatchers. My brother is one who thinks he has a right to a one-way sample. No wonder we don't go to a restaurant for dinner often! It's a whole other thing to have a group decide to sample, that's fun.

      1. You would probably hate to eat with me and my husband! We're pretty equal when it comes to sharing, but I would never steal 1 of his only 4 scallops- that's for sure! However, I can totally top you on this one! I took my dad to a special dinner at the local culinary center, and we sat at a table with two couples that we didn't know- the center always has the seating decided ahead of time. The couples had obviously had WAY too much to drink beforehand, and there was a lot of weirdness and ugliness going on the entire night. Anyway, we were served two gigantic chocolate-covered strawberries with our dessert, and I set one aside to bring back to my husband. One of the ladies reached over and said, "If you're not going to eat that, I am!" and proceeded to shove it in her mouth! I was so beyond shocked that I didn't even know what to say or do! Of course, the night got much worse after that, but I won't go into that. But, two years later, I'm still pissed about that strawberry! And so is my husband!

        3 Replies
        1. re: Katie Nell

          That's really obnoxious.Too bad I wasn't there with you. I have extremely fast reflexes and do not easily tolerate that sort of rudeness. I'm sure it didn't occur to you at the time, but if something like that were ever to happen again, just say "Actually I AM eating it...Later" If the person were to snatch it from your plate so quickly that you had no time to react, simply announce to your Server that one of the strangers at your table removed some of your food without your permission and you'd like it replaced..... Amazing what sort of unacceptable behavior too much to drink will produce

          1. re: Katie Nell

            this is definitely a speak with the manager for a re-seat and if not the manager must take the drunks aside or ask them to leave.

            1. re: Katie Nell

              "Get your f*cking hands off that strawberry" is what I would have said. Then had them bounced from the restaurant, or at least my table.

            2. I'm probably in a pretty bitchy mood today. "Happy 4th of July" phone calls totally wiped out my nap. But.... Confessions out of the way, if someone did something like that to me, I would probably totally humiliate them by picking up my plate and scraping it all on to their plate, then calling the waiter for the check.

              Yeah. That kind of behavior really gets to me.

              But the big question is, would I ever have the nerve to really do it, or is this just sort of a "taxi cab remark"? Something you delight in thinking about, but are kind of greatful you didn't think of at the time?

              4 Replies
              1. re: Caroline1

                I was SO hoping you'd respond to this post lolol!

                1. re: Tay

                  Oooh, Honey Bunch, you're a sick puppy! '-)

                  1. re: Caroline1

                    I do hope you know I mean that with great affection.

                2. re: Caroline1

                  "I would probably totally humiliate them by picking up my plate and scraping it all on to their plate, then calling the waiter for the check."


                3. Sorry, I think you could have calmly and rationally taken down the scallop stealer right then and there. "I do not like other people touching my food. I had only four scallops, and I would like you to make this right." Something along those lines, then order more food.

                  When someone asks for a taste, use something similar. "Sorry, I'm not into sharing my food." Case closed.

                  Don't be a doormat!

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Angela Roberta

                    You can do that when it's a complete stranger sharing a communal table, but it's not that easy when it is a relative/friend./work associate. Your suggested retort would probably elicit a wounded "Gee I'm sorry" and before you know it, In everyone else's eyes, YOU look like the over reactor AKA: Cutthroat B***h, and the food stealer looks like the 'victim.'

                    1. re: Tay

                      "Gee, I'm sorry"? That sounds about right.

                      As for friends and family, I don't care what they think. My reacting--in a calm tone of voice--does not qualify as overreacting in my book.

                      All this said, I've never experienced someone stealing food off my plate.

                      1. re: Angela Roberta

                        "As for friends and family, I don't care what they think. My reacting--in a calm tone of voice--does not qualify as overreacting in my book."
                        See?... That's the point. Most of us would care what friends and family thought. I'm just saying that some people were not raised well, or come from family environments where sampling a family menber's or friend's dish is perfectly acceptable. Do I agree with that?. Of course not, but I wouldn't want to embarrass someone I like/love, who was unintentially rude.or ignorant, especially in front of others, I might make a friendly/ half joking (not really) comment, hoping the person would get the hint . Additionally, at future gatherings, you better believe I would make sure not to occupy the seat next to that person. :-}
                        As for the overreacting remark.I agree that speaking in a calm tone would always be the better choice. I'm saying that some people, especially if they tend to be manipulative, can easily turn around a situation and before you know it, you're the 'bad guy' for intentionally embarrassing them and they appear to be the wronged party.
                        JF is correct (Big surprise) None of this is worth having a disagreement with family/friends. It's a situation to be circumvented or
                        I've too have never had someone remove food from my plate, though I have been asked by someone if I would mind offering a taste of my dish. As a 'preemptive strike' as soon as I receive my dish I usually offer before anyone asks. It's a neat little maneuver. Very few people will be interested in trying someone'else's food when their own plate has just arrived, so they will usually decline. Yay! More for Me! :-}

                        1. re: Tay

                          I totally concur. I care about what friends and family would think, and wouldn't want to embarrass them. With complete strangers at a restaurant, I really don't care too much and would assertively tell them to keep their hands to themselves.

                          1. re: Miss Needle

                            I cannot even imagine something like that happening. I'd be stunned if a complete stranger just reached over and took something from my plate. I'd probably think it was one of those 'punked' Girls Behaving Badly, skits lol!
                            Seriously, if something like that were to happen, I think I'd have to ask to be relocated to another table.

                      2. re: Tay

                        Not to me, it wouldn't look that way.

                      3. re: Angela Roberta

                        My response is far less eloquent, but usually effective: "HEY, give that back!!"
                        I bet crying would work, too. :)