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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.

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  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!

        2 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.

          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!

                6 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: Angela Roberta

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

                  3. when I go to a restaurant which makes really good creamed spinach as a side, I tell the whole table beforehand that I am ordering this for myself and will NOT share it with anyone.

                    I also hate the hovering fork attached to a fellow diner near my plate.

                    1. DO NOT MAKE A SCENE!!! Move on.

                      Then the next time you have your antennae on "high" and when the dish is delivered calmly state, "people please, no one grab anything from my plate." or ask ms/mr grabber, "would you like a little taste?". Deflate the issue before it becomes one.

                      These are friends and family, and one scallop is not worth a fight.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: jfood

                        Oh I know it is not worth a scene, especially with friends and family, but it still is so irritating. This certain diner decided they wanted an enormous platter of meatloaf adn potatoes, I am not much of a beef eater but I love seared scallops. Kinda stinks when someone takes 1 of 4 scallops, when they have over half a pound of meat before them.

                        1. re: jfood

                          Whooieee! Jay, sometimes you and I do disagree, and this is certainly one of them! There's an old saying that you can choose your friends but can't choose your family. When either friend or family is so disrespectful and inconsiderate as to help themselves to your food without so much as a "by your leave," "losing" someone like that because of a scene may well be worth a scollop! Unless, of course, your objective is to be their doormat. THEIR behavior is rude. Telling them to leave your food alone is not. What kind of person has to be told?

                          1. re: Caroline1


                            jfood thinks there is a whole range of solutions between doormat and loose a friend for a scallop.

                            So everyone at the table sees this event. Most have already included in the car discussion agenda on the way home, "do you believe Jenny just reached over and grabbed a scallop?" But jfood just can;t buy into escalating the situation, creating the last nail in the buzz-kill event and then becoming part of the car-discussion for others. Not his style.

                            One would hope the SO of mr/ms reach would say something to the reacher. And if not jfood still believes in not escating bad manners, do not throw someone under the bus at a meal manners and if it is something that you feel needs addressing, make a phone call the next day to discuss. It's all about timing and delivery. If you move the situation from the gutter into the storm drain, you have sunk to their level. Jfood preferes to take the high road and not get messy with the sewage.

                            And jfood also thinks that the terms "doormat" and "rude" are way overused on these boards (not you Cee, just in general). Why is not getting into a cat
                            fight in public the same as being a doormat? handle it off-line.

                        2. i can understand your annoyance - but to me, food is best shared between family and friends.

                          of course them asking would be good. your offering even better

                          1. Wow, I've never had someone try to taste my food without asking. Okay, maybe my husband once or twice, but even he would announce it beforehand.

                            Generally, I don't like to share my food, nor do I want to taste other people's food. One of my pet peeves dining out is when my dining companion asks if I want to try whatever h/she is having. Then I feel obliged to offer likewise, when I don't want to.

                            Another pet peeve is when someone keeps on insisting "Oh, you HAVE to try what I got!" Um, no, I don't. Sometimes they become even more insistent and take it as a personal affront.

                            It's funny b/c I come from a culture that's all about family-style eating. And when I'm eating, say, Chinese food, I have no problem with sharing, which is the whole idea. But otherwise, keep your fork out of my plate!

                            1. It all depends on your relationship with the person. With DH and my sister, we are very open with our food. But with friends and, of course, even more with strangers, I find that it's nice to either ask or wait for them to offer. I just wait for them to offer because I know some people are particular about sharing food. If they didn't want to share, they won't offer and I'm fine with that -- well, perhaps a bit disappointed as I'm always curious to know what the other person's eating.

                              1. We had a housemate in college who did this to everyone else at every meal- drove us all BANANAS! I love sharing food, but not when someone can't bother to ask first. I'm surprised she didn't get stabbed with a fork, come to think of it. :)

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: sfumato

                                  she probably ate other housemates' food from the fridge and cupboards, i'll wager! sel-fish!

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    You BET she did! That was the tip of the iceberg, though, with her. Needless to stay, we haven't stayed in touch with her.

                                  2. re: sfumato

                                    I've actually "forked" more than one person in my time for stealing food from my plate simultaneously with the warning "DROP IT NOW!!" I then push that bite aside and refuse to eat it nor allow them to retrieve it. Stealing from another person's plate whether the thief is friend, family, or stranger or the setting is high-, mid-, or low-end is hugely rude and the behavior needs to be nipped immediately. No one in my party has ever been upset by my defense (except the thief) and usually approval is expressed because they've been victims too but too polite to stop the thief. Results are the thieves stop stealing and learn to ask if they wish to sample. I have no problem whatsoever in sharing a taste when asked but I will control it by cutting the sample from my plate and letting them spear that bite with their own fork, not allowing them to freely select. I don't want the utensil that's been in their mouth in my food unless it's my husband's with whom I already swap germs on a regular basis.

                                    Edit: Let me add that I'm very quick, have never pierced skin, and the touch of tines resting on the offender's hand has had the "deer in headlights" result- an immediate freeze of motion and look of shock.

                                    1. re: morwen

                                      so you won't eat that piece but won't let them eat it either?

                                      that seems wrong

                                      but wasting food makes my skin itch anyway

                                      1. re: thew

                                        Better to "waste' the food than reward the thief! As morwen said, someone else's fork in your dinner after the fork has been in their mouth is not the most hygenic thing possible. For example, I have a compromised immune system. I don't share forks or glasses and hopefully, not germs.

                                      2. re: morwen

                                        Do you then get a fresh fork since it has touched them? If you are "very quick" how did they get to your food in the first place? Keep practicing!

                                        1. re: Scargod

                                          As a matter of fact I do get a new fork. And they may get a bite speared but their hand is beneath my tines before they withdraw it. Thus the about to be purloined morsel remains on my plate set off to the side. And you can bet the offender never tries it again with me and hopefully with no one else.

                                          Just like Caroline1, I have a compromised immune system. In the past when someone helped themselvf uninvited to my plate I've let the whole dinner lay resulting in my being angry, hungry and an entire meal wasted. Better to waste a morsel than a whole dinner.

                                        2. re: morwen

                                          We were young and stupid college students and had NO idea how to handle this (or her).... but now we know better. None of us stay in touch with her! :) (she was a huge problem in many ways... the food thing was the tip of the iceberg)

                                      3. In my experience it is usually a fairly good friend who thinks they can get away with such a rude maneuver. I keep an eye open for friends who look like I have out-ordered them, and they may make the "Good, Bad, and the Ugly" first move toward my plate. My response is that while I eat with the fork in my right hand, I clutch my knife in my left, poised menacingly point down over the middle of my plate, daring anyone to try.
                                        But if Sharon Stone were at the table, I think I would dollop up a scallop:)

                                        1. I have assumed the position of fixin' to stab them, but didn't. I think a facial expresion is worth a stab or a thousand words. I won't let it interfere with my meal or evening but it is someting that makes you wonder whether youwill ever eat with them again. Some people have subtle and not so subtle ways of expressing repressed anger. I would file it away as they do not have respect for you. Stabbing them will not improve things.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Scargod

                                            I agree, scargod. this scenario, while seemingly trivial and familiar on the surface, smacks of a deeper lack of respect and, possibily, passive-aggressive anger. Many would scoff at this suggestion and chalk it all up to bad manners, but I would probably take it way worse than that if it happened to me.
                                            still, I am not a fan of confrontations at the restaurant dinner table, and would not make a scene. But the offending friend would probably pick up on how I felt by the look on my face.

                                            I have forked some food from people's plates- when I was invited to. Or, maybe with my mom, I can get away with jokingly "warning" her as my fork lands in her dish. Of course, at that point, she knows she has the green light to do it to me...

                                            1. re: Scargod

                                              Since others have picked up on a similar theme I will reiterate that since it was FRIENDS or FAMILY that OP referred to, I think there was an agenda. A relative of mine pinched me on the leg (and it drew blood), with needlenosed pliers and used to hit me on the shoulder, etc., etc. till I told them to knock it off... I said, "if you have an unresolved issue from the past, then lets deal with it."
                                              I suspect you have something like this going on. It could be as minor as petty jealousy.
                                              Some of the other scenarios people have referred to ARE NOT necessarily someone you know, or, are they close friends. If you don't know them I would stab them or give them a knuckle sandwich. ;)

                                            2. Ok, I'm a food sharer and dabbler myself, but wow. That's rude. I mean, sometimes I feel rude even asking--especially if there are only 4 scallops. But I'd only take a bite (after asking, or more often, after being offered. I only ask with people I've had a history of sharing, b/c I've dined w/ people who don't like to share.)

                                              Today, I went with my friends to one of these places where they serve meals in several small courses, and for desserts, they gave each of us like 3 pieces that were all 1-1.5 square inches. There were 3 of us, and we each offered each other mini-pieces of the 3 already-small pieces. We each got to taste half-bites of 9 different desserts, which was fun, but I have to admit, I can only do this with people who I know won't mind this sort of sharing.

                                              And ok, taking a dessert off of a total stranger's plate is never ever ok. (I mean, what if I had mono? :))

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: anzu

                                                I kind of like that idea! After the theft of an item, mention to the table later that the doctor just told you that you have mono! Take that, thief!

                                              2. I don't think that I know anyone rude enough to do this. When dining with friends, I always offer tastes of whatever I order, as does everyone else; we spend a great deal of time passing the bread plates around and commenting on the food.

                                                As for the stranger strawberry thief, definitely speak to the manager ASAP!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                  I'm with you, pikawicca. Nobody I know would be this crass. In my family, it's common to pass a butter plate with "tastes" of others' dinner, if people want to share/sample. But never would somebody just take their fork and stab food off of another's plate. Yikes! I don't know how I would handle that if it happened to me.

                                                2. a former boss once reached over and took the green peppers that my coworker had removed from a dish, and we were pretty taken aback by it, but it all chalked up to a very good laugh afterwards....considering she hadn't witnessed the removal of said item to begin with, and for all she knew it had been taken right out of my coworker's mouth.

                                                  I've only ever witnessed this with fries myself. And i'll tolerate it if that person is waiting on a late arriving meal, or is trying to stick to a diet....as long as i've got plenty. Even still, i don't think i'd kick up a stink with someone I knew. Why send a message that I value my food more than their friendship. That being said, family and friends usually know OUR food quirks (like sharing drinks as an example), and will recognize "the look". Otherwise it can only backfire.

                                                  People can be pretty territorial about food, so i'm surpised the person took the risk (cmon admit it, you've probably also felt a deep twinge when someone's eating WAY more than their share of a shared appetizer or dessert).

                                                  Just take them aside at a later date and show them the episode of Friends with Joey and his fries, lol.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: im_nomad

                                                    Actually, ok, I partially take back what I wrote earlier. I forgot (until I read this post) that whenever I eat, I usually pick out the meat pieces from a dish. If I'm dining with certain friends when I do this, they pick the meat pieces I've picked out and eat them. They never ask, and the first time one of them did this, I saw the fork meandering to my side of the plate and kindof wondered where it was headed (since we had the same exact food!), but then I saw that she was just going for my meat pieces, so I didn't mind it one bit.

                                                    I mean, this is obviously different from picking 1 of 4 scallops, but I guess it depends on the circumstance.

                                                    1. re: anzu

                                                      problem is, boss walked in after the stuff had been laid plateside, no viewing the actual extraction....besides, this was at work, lol.

                                                  2. Next time, respond with an open-mouthed stare of abject amazement, horror, and loathing. Hold the look without making a sound or moving for a long time. When my almost five year old gets that look, she's properly embarassed and shamed, but amused.

                                                    [The perplexed and incredulous look also works in professional meetings]

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                      haha... perfect !!! humourous stance trumps all former answers.

                                                      1. maybe you can drool over or otherwise "mark" your plate, and maybe backwash into that wine.

                                                        1. Yes we had a guy at work that whenever we went out he would swipe something out of everybodys plate sitting around him especially fries, I think he thought it was cute, I always sat as far away from him as possible. Now to the wife - I also sit as far away from her as I can if possible, she always wants some of my food and offers some of hers in return, but if I wanted what she ordedred I would have ordered it myself, drives me crazy and if I tell her to get a salad, of course she does not and then goes ahead and mooches mine, oh well

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: malibumike

                                                            When my sister got married, her husband said "What's mine is hers, and what's hers is hers."

                                                            1. re: miss_bennet

                                                              my mom says something like that all the time "what's yours is mine , and what's mine's my own". lol

                                                              1. re: im_nomad

                                                                Hey, thats MY line with my husband... LOL!!

                                                          2. I always steal from my husband's plate. And when I go out with my sisters, we steal from each other. But that's just how we are. I'd never do that to a friend or stranger.

                                                            1. It is rude to eat someone else's food without permission (and I wouldn't even ask for permission unless I knew them very well) but it is ridiculous to make a scene over it.

                                                              1. Chips (fries) are fair game, in my world. A whole scallop is quite another matter!

                                                                1. Dh and I will snitch as will our daughter, but beyond family if someone snitches without asking, I get peeved. One funny story is we went to Flemings with a group of people and for my meal I got a salad and an order of their chipolte mac and cheese, which is one of their side dishes. I went to the rest room and came back and my mac and cheese was gone. Someone thought it was a side for the table and passed it all around and there was none left. I ordered it again and made sure not to leave the second order unattended.

                                                                  1. ok, here is my brilliant idea: small pocket-sized chain link fence you can unfold and install around the perimeter of your plate. low-tech, higher security option: tiny razor wire add-on. optional AAA battery pack attachment for the shock treatment, and top-of-the line perimeter motion detector and flashing alarm. my trademark: "plateguard ('cause your food can never be too secure!)"

                                                                    for a less hostile threat environment, pocket-picket. tm.
                                                                    small folding white picket fence. good in small towns.

                                                                    my product line is rapidly expanding: "the taster-taser" tm. "when the fence just gets in the way of dealing with the miscreant."

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                      Wow, that's much better than the sneaky arm hovering around the plate - this is only around my mom...especally when she's eyeing the shrimp from my har gow (shrimp dumpling).

                                                                      1. re: manda

                                                                        actually, i've never had anyone do this to me. even mr. alka will offer a french-fry to me before i take it; or i ask. i CANNOT imagine others just "forking" something on my plate. i'm southern-bred, so maybe that has something to do with with my experience.

                                                                        how many "forkers" are yankees?

                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                          Ok, my dad is about as southern as you could get, but he's a definite "forker" - at least within our close family. It's just how he's always been. My brother picked up the habit as well. Neither of them, though, would do such a thing outside of the immediate family, and never with strangers.
                                                                          Worse was what he used to do to my older sister's school lunches - my mom would make the sandwich, cut it neatly in half, and put it in my sister's lunch bag. My dad would sneak in after and take a single bite out of each half, so that when the halves were put back together there was a perfect circle missing from the sandwich. It absolutely drove my sister crazy, which is why he did it.
                                                                          Now the rest of us - we're usually so excited about what we're eating and wanting to share it that any "forker" would have a mouthful of food before he had a chance to steal anything!

                                                                    2. gryponskeeper, hilarious post. your scenario reminded me of eating over at a friend's house when we were kids. he grew up in a family of five brothers and all of them would eat as fast as they could at dinner time so the other siblings wouldn't poach. my buddy was the skinniest of the bunch because he ate more slowly than the others and always had whatever he couldn't finish quickly enough taken off his plate right under his nose! i was astonished the first time i ate over -- in part because the parents didn't do anything to stop it and in part because the same thing happened to my food. i think i must've taken about three bites of dinner before the rest of it became subject to redistribution. according to them, it was all in the spirit of friendly competition...

                                                                      the upside, though, is that these days, my friend is the only one of his brothers who isn't overweight!

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: cimui

                                                                        Ah, what a friend of a friend (1 of 7 kids) said, "If you don't eat fast, you don't eat!"

                                                                        1. re: cimui

                                                                          I would starve to death in that family because I like to eat slowly and enjoy my meal with conversation and wine...

                                                                          1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                            yes, i'm pretty sure i would never have survived beyond infancy. those boys were human piranhas. fun human piranhas who toughened me up. but i'm really glad i didn't live with them.

                                                                          2. re: cimui

                                                                            I grew up relatively poor with an older brother, two younger brothers and a little sister. I may be blocking, but I don't think we had this "competition" at the table. My mom taught us to not put more on our plate than we would eat, and we had to share, so plates usually ended up clean (not necessarily a good habit later in life). If we wanted more we went back for seconds, if there was any. I can remember negotiations over the gizzard or chicken back, towards the end of the meal.
                                                                            I was always skinny and yet had "hollow legs". I've always tended to eat slowly. There were times, as an adult, that I've growled (like a dog), when someone made a move or suggested they were going to help themselves to food on my plate... They were people I knew and they knew I was kidding (that I might snap at them). '-)

                                                                            1. re: Scargod

                                                                              you were well brought up! i think about 99% of it had to do with lack of parental regulation.

                                                                              incidentally, tho i only grew up with one older sister and one younger brother, whom i never had to fight for food, i think i'd growl at poachers, too -- and, if necessary, chomp their hand. i'd almost certainly share if asked, but it's the principle of it. plus, it annoys me that a good deal fo the time would-be poachers precede their attempts with a comment alluding to my scrawny build and how i must not be hungry (because i also eat slowly, esp. if i need to stretch out my stomach, first, to make room). grrrrrrrooowwllll......

                                                                          3. I grew up in a family where food was shared at restaurants, because it gave everyone a chance to experience the food on offer ("You've got to taste this!"). Fighting over food, at a restaurant or at home, was considered a big no-no (I can still see my father narrowing his eyes at a whining sibling; enough to stop all complaints instantly!) On the other hand, we were also raised to think of it as polite to ask for a taste, rather than just take. But I acknowledge that this is how I was raised, and wouldn't expect other diners (whether close friends or not) to agree with me.

                                                                            That said, I'll eat from my partner's plate without asking, and he'll eat from mine. Although it usually works better if we swap plates halfway through the meal (less risk of spillage). But I know the difference between having a little taste, and eating half his food, and we decide what we're doing when we order.

                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Gooseberry

                                                                              ah, but the difference here was I had a mere 4 scallops. the pilferer had over half a pound of meatloaf (which I would not eat) and a huge mound of potatoes on the platter before them, yet they felt the need to steal one fourth of my meal in a single bite.

                                                                              1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                In your particular situation: I adore scallops, don't like meatloaf and you have my sympathy. Out of interest, what would you have done if he'd said "Could I try one of your scallops?".

                                                                                1. re: Gooseberry

                                                                                  I would have cut one in half and offered it. That is how I ate them after all. Then I would have said, "I would like to try some of your wine" when he says "I don't have any" I would have suggested a nice glass.... muhahahaha.

                                                                                  no seriously I would have offered him half a scallop and pouted about it.

                                                                                  1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                    heehee. half a scallop is generous! i'd start the negotiations at like 1/16th of a scallop.

                                                                                    1. re: cimui

                                                                                      Y'all are nicer than me. I would be negotiating nada...LOL

                                                                                    2. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                      You could've called the server over and loudly asked to have 1/4 of the offender's meat loaf packed up for you to take home to your DOG!

                                                                                      1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                        I think I'd have probably done that too.

                                                                                        Now I want scallops...

                                                                                2. It's only food. Not all have the best manners, but it's not my job to teach them manners by stabbing them or otherwise. That job belonged to someone else. Anyone who would perform this type of behavior will be at a loss (IMHO) for any type of 'lesson giving' by me. It's just food. I'm not starving. 'Nuff said.

                                                                                  1. I am surprised this is a common occurance. I guess people know better than to try to grab food off of my plate, they would end up with a fork protuding from their hand, being knifed, or bit. ;-D

                                                                                    I will sometimes share something on my plate with others, only when asked though. I also very, very, rarely ask to sample off anothers plate. If I wanted what they ordered I would have orderd it myself.

                                                                                    1. That's so funny! I have that happen quite frequently with the wife of a good friend of mine. We dine out often as two couples, sometimes three couples, and if I'm sitting within arm's reach, she will almost always stick her fork into something on my plate. She eats so fast that inevitably, she's done before I am and will sample whatever I've not put into my mouth yet. The last time I dined with her, she took an entire cup of coffee from me after lunch that I hadn't had the chance to drink yet.
                                                                                      My take on this: Yes, it is rude. No, I would not say something blunt and outright about it. I've just come to expect it when I dine with her. Maybe I'm a wuss. But really, it's been acknowledged by her husband on several occasions that she stop, but she still doesn't. Just part of dining with her/them.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: maddogg280

                                                                                        You could try showing up for your next couples dinner with one of those long extendable marshmallow toasting forks and offer it to her as soon as she starts reaching for someone else's food. Risky though - it might embarrass her into behaving herself, but on the other hand she might actually use it!

                                                                                      2. I assume this is either a fairly good friend or relative who did this, and they assume that their privileged position entitles them to get away with this rude behavior? If so, all you need to do is jokingly say "Keep your fork to yourself and eat your own dinner" with a grin and or a giggle. You can follow it up with a joke about how their taste is obviously not as good as yours. Keep smiling and joking, but be stern underneath it all. After all, they are doing this in spite of the fact that it is bad manners and expect to get away with it. Your goal here is to set limits and retain the relationship (or so I assume). This should never happen with business associates or casual acquaintances. That would really cross over the line.

                                                                                        My husband had a bunch of friends with the table manners of a herd of buffalo. Everything on it was fair game. Even when they came to dinner, they and their ill-behaved children would practically hurdle over the table in order to stick their fingers in the birthday cake to "taste it" before it was sliced. This was not only unsanitary, but it was appallingly rude. I used to get ready for them by sternly and jokingly telling them, up front, to keep their dirty fingers out of my cake. They eventually got the message. I also used to warn their little kids about the same -- but I admit I wasn't the most popular Mom in the room for that maneuver. However, it never affected the relationship and I did finally get some control over the situation.

                                                                                        BTW, what worked best with this group was the Chinese restaurant plate pass. It was just their style.