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An etiquette question

Time: 9:00PM
Location: Small South End restaurant, very popular and crowded with people waiting for tables (w/reservations)
Scenario: sitting next to a man and woman who finish dinner and tell the waitress that they will be having a cigarette outiside and then ordering dessert, they return in 15 minutes (9:15PM).

My question: is this OK?

(note:this scenario actually played out a bit differently but those of us at dinner discussed the ethics of the scenario under these circumstances)

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  1. well, better than a few years ago when they may have had it in the restaurant.

    Though it may seem inconsiderate, I don't think that anyone should feel rushed through their meal. Suppose it was a slightly different scenario, where they had finished their entrees but wanted a bit of time to settle before dessert, maybe ordering coffee first. Or, what if they simply asked for a slower pacing to the meal?

    I think I'm okay with it. What was your table's consensus?

    1. I think that is incredibly rude. What makes them more important than all the people waiting? If they must have a leisurely cigarette break before dessert, they need to take their dessert to go. They are hogging highly wanted real estate

      1 Reply
      1. re: trishalikespie

        which they paid for, as did everyone else. the next table might decide to sit there and have coffee or a digestif after dessert. just because people don't approve of cigarette smoking doesn't make the behavior rude.

        if they were told to make it quick by the server, then they should just have their dessert and go smoke after. if the server told them, "you're fine!" then the server knew there would be enough time that it would not impinge on other customers' rights.

        and yes i smoke socially and no i've not done this.

      2. they have the table..they want dessert..........the law requires them to go outside to smoke........sounds fine by me..........If the place had a nice lounge area, the wait-person (how PC is that???) might have suggested moving to a couch for their dessert.

        and..if iot was THAT busy.........the WP might have wanted to comp the dessert so they could turn tables

        1. If the restaurant was okay with it, and they didn't come in dragging a cloud of smoke....doesn't impact me or my meal or my experience.

          (if I were the one waiting for a table, I might feel differently, but it's really up to the restaurant to approve or disapprove)

          1 Reply
          1. re: sunshine842

            Spot on, their table for however long. To linger for 45 minutes over a cup of coffee perhaps no, but this seems fine.

          2. Yes, that is absolutely fine. If the reservations are too closely stacked, that is on the restaurant. They should account for faster and slower diners (unless they don't care just trying to cram as many covers as they can).