Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
May 16, 2013 10:29 AM

The Ten Most Annoying Habits of Fellow Diners.

I must admit, I truly hate the Chat and Cut!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I could put up with any of the other 9, but this one is my biggest pet peave:

    "--Mean People:
    Diners who are rude to waitstaff (this includes poor tippers!) count among the worst of the worst in our Book of Manners. Do us all a favor and stay home."


    1 Reply
    1. re: ttoommyy

      OK, that is my Number 8. Good one!


    2. OK, so, admittedly, I'm kinda a "caveman". Hell, I only pick up the knife and fork on a good day. But, that doesn't stop me from hating "tedious orderers". I'm more likely to ask a server to bring me what they "would eat if they were sittin' in my seat", than haggle over micro managing my dinner.

      25 Replies
      1. re: MGZ

        Just like the people I know and see looking at a 20 page menu and ordering off the menu or picking a dish and making several substitutions... and of course, dressing on the side! micromanage... yeah... microwave out to eat...

        1. re: Gastronomos

          If I am dieting and in a place where the salad is mediocre and just a choice is a bunch of bottled crap, I don't mind asking for it in the side.

          1. re: melpy

            I always ask for it on the side, even when I know the dressing is good. That shouldn't count as a special request.

            1. re: Isolda

              I do too - usually - but when I am at a really great restaurant where they know how to properly (I hate the use of this word in food descriptions, but I can't think of another one right now) dress a salad by lightly coating each leaf with a beautifully made vinaigrette, I have to forget the "on the side" thing.

          2. re: Gastronomos

            Except for Caesar salad (which I'll only order from a place I could trust to do it correctly) or perhaps a house specialty salad I'm trying for the first time, I will always otherwise order salad dressing on the side because most places just use way too much of the stuff. I want to taste the _salad_, not a (usually) cloying dressing.

            1. re: Gastronomos

              I always ask for dressing on the side if I'm getting a salad (even a side salad). Why? because most restaurants drown the salad in the dressing so by the time it gets to you, it's soggy.

              1. re: juliejulez

                exactly! I made the mistake of dining at Panera lately and ordered their asian chicken salad. The amount of dressing was disgusting, there was a pool of it in the bottom that was at least a 1/4 cups worth. Thankfully they took it back and replaced it with an undressed one but they gave me FOUR containers of dressing "on the side". Four?? yuck. I barely used half of one.

                1. re: foodieX2

                  That reminds me of a time ages ago when my sister and I both ordered a main course type salad at a diner/restaurant and happened to want the same dressing. We asked for it on the side and the waitress brought out a gravy boat full of it- and I mean full! We didn't use a third of it between us. We've wondered if she would have brought that much if we were thin.

                  1. re: janmcbaker

                    LOL! and she dumped the unused portion right back into the tub in the kitchen....

                    1. re: Gastronomos

                      I've taught my children that about pickles. EVERY time you eat in a Diner, bite your pickle! Because if you don't, back in the barrel they go!! I'm serious.........if you could perform DNA age testing on pickles I GUARANTEE you there are pickles still in circulation from the Nixon administration. Stop the pickle recycle, bite your pickle people!

                        1. re: Firegoat

                          You can relish in the fact, I'm not gherkin your chain.

                          1. re: jrvedivici

                            Well I am glad to hear that. I'm kind of a big dill.

                            1. re: Firegoat

                              I prefer pickled onion slices, but to each there own. . . .

                              1. re: MGZ

                                I prefer pickled cherry tomato's better known as tomalives! Garnishing my VODKA martini of course! :-)

                                Sorry Firegoat I'm outta pickle references. On a side note; I know a girl from Jersey named Snooki who might be right up your ally.

                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                  Man I hope you're referrin' to the original Snookie at Nunzio's:


                        2. re: jrvedivici

                          at least the pickle was made in a factory... the coleslaw... is made in a large tub not dedicated to food prep... and is ALWAYS recycled back into the bin.
                          "If you don't eat it, the next guy will"
                          I've made many posts on this subject on these boards. I'll stop by the local diners and take pictures next time and post those.
                          Oh, btw, why bite the pickle? Just cut it up ... don't actually put it your kids mouth....

                          1. re: Gastronomos

                            I didn't want to go there but in all honesty the general public has no idea how much of unused food is recycled. You are 100% correct regarding the coleslaw as well as virtually everything else that can be recycled. In my opinion it is the diner that has perfected this method of recycling products. You walk into any diner's kitchen and at the dish washers station will be anywhere for 6-12 white buckets that the recycle-able items will be tossed into from the bus buckets or tray's brought into the kitchen.

                            I remember years ago having a conversation about food waste/cost etc. with a gentleman who owned a few Chinese restaurants. His comment was something along the lines of "Our costs are so much lower because we don't need the use of a garbage can in our kitchens".

                            Regarding why bite the pickle, you have to add a sense of mystery and adventure to it for the kids. Just cutting it is rather anti climatic when your think about ending a tour of duty that could have spanned 10-20 years!! Bite the pickle, let it's end of service be the way it was naturally designed.

                            1. re: jrvedivici

                              I seriously want Chinese buffet right now.

                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                thank you for your thoughtful reply.

                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                  Going back to my days in the US Army, we had a breakfast one day, and a table-mate broke off his fork in the sausage, which was inedible, and not able to be cut with the plastic dinnerware we had. He dumped the whole thing in the trash bin, when done.

                                  The next morning, another table-mate got a sausage with a plastic fork tine embedded in it. We all assumed that it had been retrieved from the trash, and reheated, to be served the next day... but maybe the cook had lost a fork tine in a fresh sausage... or maybe not?


                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                    I am positive the fried rice is made from recycled white rice off of customers' plates.

                                    1. re: John E.

                                      eh, it's been fried at high temps.

                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                        I still don't want restaurant food from somebody's plate later ending up on my plate.

                                      2. re: John E.

                                        I used to deliver food from restaurants many years ago and the rice is truly recycled from customers plates to make fried rice. Although fried rice is traditionally made from leftover rice, it doesn't mean that I gotta eat someones leftovers at a premium price.
                                        It's been many years and I still don't order fried rice in these places. And I usually avoid these places in the first place. Much like the diner...

                    2. 1. People who do each part of the 'having dinner' activity in short but disruptive bursts. They'll talk to you (more commonly at you) for ten minutes, then take a break to furiously pile food into their mouths wordlessly, and then at a distinct but unexpected moment pause eating again to begin a new conversation. Difficult.

                      2. Vicarious eaters. People who convince you to get the double-brownie with extra ice cream, saying that you only live once and go on, it's worth it, and then order a fresh mint tea for themselves and spectate.

                      3. People who order stuff 'to share' or 'for the table' without asking if the others want it first - of course expecting the cost to be shared when paying the bill...

                      Frankly I'd happily take a few loud kids or a picky orderer over these specimens!

                      15 Replies
                      1. re: Elster

                        Food voyeurs are the worst.
                        "I don't know if I really want dessert"
                        "Oh but you HAAAAVE to, the triple fried chocolate cream pudding tart brulee bomb here is the BEST, you'll spend your entire life wondering what went wrong, fixated on this moment of decision, ruing the day if you don't order it."
                        "oh, ummm... ok"

                        Waitress brings dessert, two spoons, food voyeur pushes theirs away and stares at you as you very self-consciously take a bite.
                        And god forbid if you don't moan in ecstasy after.

                        1. re: hyacinthgirl

                          Actually, what's worse is when someone says they don't want dessert, but then proceeds to attack yours when it comes. Get your own if you think it's so delicious!

                          1. re: Isolda

                            You don't enjoy the one dessert four forks method?

                            1. re: Isolda

                              To quote comedian John Pinette,

                              "Oh I don't want a dessert, I'll just try a little of yours."
                              "Yeah and lose your hand in the process!"

                              1. re: Isolda

                                Yes!! Or any other part of the meal for that matter - appetizers and entrees included. I often have friends who will have "just ate" if we go out for happy hour or a quick lunch break and then proceed to eat off of everyone's plates.

                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                  LOL. I know a foodie who does this. His defense is that he is a foodie and wants to try everything, not just one thing. But he never chips in on the bill!

                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                    Ohh yeah, I love that - I have a bunch of friends who will organise lunch meet-ups - i.e. inviting me along - and then when we get to looking at menus they'll all start preaching about how they ate a big breakfast and they're not really hungry and maybe someone would like to share a starter with them for a main course...

                                    But they knew they were coming out for lunch, so I'm not sure I buy the idea that they'd have a huge waffle bonanza just an hour before, somehow... :P

                                    1. re: Elster

                                      Oh yes I hate when people ask to share but I'm an only child who just has a thing about that more so when I know that I'm hungry and the meal will barely keep me full and realize they will like enjoy at least 1/2.

                                      1. re: Elster

                                        I get so much of the I had a big whatever meal... So I'll just a small salad and water. If you knew about this days ago why?
                                        Also tedious orders are annoying however indesicive companions are more annoying. They can take time to plan their order, but holding the server because you won't admit indescion or change the your order multiple times.

                                        1. re: holypeaches

                                          I would absolutely place indecisive orderers high above tedious orderers on the annoying scale. "Can I get egg whites in the omelet, no cheese and substitute fruit for the potatos?" is far easier for me to handle than "uhhhh.... well.... you said the french toast has cinnamon? huh... ("sir, I can come back")... no! I'm ready, I'm going to go with the- what did you get X? Oh, right... ok, well, maybe I'll do something different then. Do you think the granola or the yogurt is better? The yogurt? Ok, I'll get the.... granola. No! I'm going to do the pancakes. Yeah. I think."

                                    2. re: Isolda

                                      Is having "just a taste" -less than one spoonful, and naturally only with the explicit permission of the other person- considered "attacking"?

                                  2. re: Elster

                                    Yes Eister...your number 3 frosts me. We have some friends who do this. They'll select and order 2 or 3 starters for "everyone to share" without asking others what they would like. I generally hate sharing, except occasionally with my partner. I've recently spoken up and say "count us out" when they do this.

                                  3. I am sure that I am on somebody's list. I make an "mmmmmmm" sound whenever I eat something that I am truly enjoying. In my defense, it is not my fault, it is something that I've literally done since birth. Usually I am not even aware of it. Ocasionally, especially when we are out to dinner, my wife will look at me and say, in a loving way of course, "you're making that sound again".

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: PotatoHouse

                                      "Kama" is a sound you make while you eat?

                                      1. re: Jay F

                                        so much for voice recognition software. It doesn't know the difference between a diety from India and a punctuation mark. I usually catch it during proofreading. I usually only say kama when I'm singing along to an old Culture Club record.

                                        1. re: PotatoHouse

                                          Oh, "comma." I wouldn't have gotten that in a million years. That's so funny.

                                    2. Children who cannot be restrained from making extraneous noise.

                                      Slurping. Any mouth noise, really. Eating really doesn't sound that good.

                                      Cellphone addicts, as well as anyone at another table who generates digital noise.

                                      Rudeness to waiters. I broke up with someone over this, or at least, that's how he sees it. But it was really just the tip of the iceberg of other narcissistic, sociopathic behavior.

                                      Cheap tippers. I have a friend who prides himself on his cheapness. I always ask for separate checks when we eat together.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: Jay F

                                        I've unfriended people for cheapness and chronic lateness but rudeness to waiters is one I can not abide by and I will speak up to my dining companions if they pull it.

                                        1. re: southernitalian

                                          I had a first date with a guy I'd known for years at a restaurant that I patronized regularly. He paid and got the tip. I was horrified and found and excuse to run back inside the restaurant and added more to the tip. Never saw him again.

                                        2. re: Jay F

                                          A great cure for the cell phone addicts,,,, everyone puts their cell phones on silent and stack them all face down in the center of the table. First one to pick up their phone, pays the check for the entire table!! As for cheap tippers,,, having worked in the restaurant business, I am probably more likely to over tip on marginal service, but never to under tip good or great service.

                                          1. re: KowboyK

                                            Hey, I like that - ante up, then the looser pays!

                                            Why did I not think of that?

                                            We are fortunate, in that we dine with people, who respect other diners. My poor wife is on call 24-7, but will always excuse herself, before taking any call. That is just how it is. She also knows that the entire table is likely to stop, waiting her return, so she keeps, all but the most urgent calls, to an absolute minimum. Now, the bad news is that when she leaves the table, and heads out the front door, there are likely to be 2-3 people, who will try to grab her, and talk, as she heads back.