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What is your “grace period”?

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I am one of those annoying always on time people. I feel like I often need to manage my own expectations.

For example if you have dinner reservation for 8:00 and are running about 15 minutes late do you call the restaurant and let them know or do you expect a 10-15 minute grace period and assume they will hold your table? Anything more than 10 minutes I call. My friends think nothing of showing up 20 minutes late with no call and expecting their table to be ready.

What about a sit down dinner party? How much leeway should a host give or when should they expect a phone call letting them know you’ll be late? I have had guest show up 45+ minutes late with nary a call. I don’t mind holding dinner at all, my timing is never that exact that I can’t flex because god know things happens. It’s the not knowing which is frustrating for me and the other quests.

If it’s a casual event- backyard BBQ, cocktail party, etc does the grace period change? Unless I am told “come any time” to an open house type event I will always call and let the host know if I am running late. However for more casual event that goes from my regular 10-15 call to 20 minute call.

Lastly- do you find it annoying when guests do call to let you know? Do you expect your guest to be 20-30 minutes late as the norm even for a sit down dinner party and don’t “worry” (for lack of a better word) until 45 min/hour that they aren’t going to show?

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  1. If it's a restaurant, I always call if I'm running even 10 mins late. A dinner party, I'll wait 20 mins before I begin serving. A BBQ, if you show, you show, if not oh well!

    1 Reply
    1. re: treb

      I agree with all of this.

    2. I had just such an issue this past Saturday. We were scheduled to go out to a "good" restaurant where the hostess had made reservations for 6 p.m. We would be going with three other couples, one of whom we were riding with.

      DH called me from the road, saying that there was a massive traffic backup due to an overturned vehicle, and he was probably going to be late. I called the couple we were riding with (45 minutes before our pickup time) and told them we would just drive ourselves. (It was only a few minutes away from both of our houses, we were car pooling because of lack of close parking.)

      I then called the hostess and told her the time problem, but assured her we were coming, and would get there as soon as possible. She appreciated the call, and thanked me.

      It turns out, we got the the restaurant 2 minutes behind them, they were just parking their car. So we weren't late at all, but I was glad I called anyway, just to avoid any worry and be polite.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Heidi cooks and bakes

        Interesting chain of events.

        Many years ago, we had reservations for lunch in Chinatown, Honolulu. Well, we were cabbing it from Waikiki, but that was the day that the manhole covers all blew off, downtown, and all streets into Chinatown were shut down. We were on the phone, the entire cab ride, and the restaurant understood, since four manhole covers, right outside, had blown off too. We arrive 45 mins. late, after lunch, but our table was ready. We were seated, in an otherwise empty restaurant - all patrons had run screaming from the restaurant. The staff was being fed, but they did not miss a beat, and we wanted for nothing. A really, really interesting afternoon, but my hat was off to Indigo. They covered us 100%.

        Hunt

      2. I don't expect a restaurant to hold my table for more than 10 minutes. Having said that, I look at a reservation as an appointment, and we just are not late for reservations and appointments.

        When friends have us over for dinner, and say '6:00', I usually arrive about 15 minutes late, to give the host a couple of minutes. I don't ever walk in exactly at the invited hour. Not exactly sure why, one of the things my mom taught me. It seems to be a common sentiment, because I generally arrive near the beginning of the arrivals.

        11 Replies
        1. re: jeanmarieok

          Restaurants usually book tables in 15-minute increments, so I think 15 minutes is the grace period.

          Ten minutes is the grace period for meeting friends in public or at their home for a formal occasion (i.e. a dinner party). For an event like a BBQ, it really depends on the structure of the event and your relationship with the host, i.e., for my best friend I'm likely to give her an "I'm on my way do you need me to pick-up anything" call.

          With cell phones there's really no excuse not to at least call. After being lectured by both her daughters and her friends, my mother (who has a cell phone but never turns it on) is finally starting to catch on to the fact that 21st century etiquette mandates that you keep your cell phone turned on when you're going to be meeting up with someone, because people are going to be working under the assumption that they can call you and give you a head's up if they're running late.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            If I can be on time in LA....to the minute, then everyone else needs to be also. I've heard waaay too many excuses where I live from people who live close to me. "Running late" doesn't cut it....and the 'grace period' for me is what I think is appropriate for the given situation and how irritated I am that someone has been rude and kept me waiting. I usually know the offenders from past experiences and if my confronting them hasn't worked then I'm, most likely, not going to meet them for anything that requires promptness.
            My time is just as valuable as another's.
            Allow yourself the time, leave from your destination in order for you to be on time. Plan ahead, in other words. I do.
            Anything other than that then there needs to be a call saying something came up that was beyond their control with a note from their mother.

            1. re: latindancer

              Yes. The not-so-secret secret of prompt people is that we provide ourselves room for delays on the front end. That is, if I am going to a dinner in Boston (which takes 20 minutes for me to get to by car in light traffic), I tack on 20 minutes for unexpected traffic delays and finding parking except in the lightest of traffic times. So I leave 40 minutes ahead, rather than 20. I am always amazed by people who LEAVE home at the appointed hour (or even 30 minutes after - the appointed hour is merely the point when they start getting ready for the engagement), and due to delays and finding parking, show up 60-90 minutes late. Chronically.

              1. re: Karl S

                On the other hand, my mother chronically shows up early, which either catches me taking a last-minute shower or feeling guilty because she's been waiting for me, even though I'm on time.

                I was also raised to believe that one minute late is late, but I've gotten more relaxed because no one else seems to care, and sometimes things just happen, like being ten minutes late for a doctor's appointment because I didn't realize my friend who borrowed my car had brought it back with no gas AND a flat tire (I would have made it if I'd only needed gas).

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  The other secret of the prompt is to bring something to read, knit or play if you get somewhere early, so that you can wait until five or so minutes after the witching how before knocking.

                  1. re: Karl S

                    Yep. Thank goodness for smart phones.

                    1. re: Becca Porter

                      To further explain the Dark Ages to younger folk:

                      What you had to do was agree on a third party phone number who would be home to take your calls and who would receive your message and be able to relay your message to the other party when and if they called. There were no answering machines or voice mail. So, when I stood around Penn Station waiting for my friend on the train after getting in from LI, and there was no sign her train from NJ was late, we'd have to do this dance. It was much saner than waiting forever.

                      1. re: Karl S

                        Reminds me of the time 20+ years ago when I was meeting friends on a street corner in NYC to drive to a wedding rehearsal in NJ. We were all members of the bridal party. Turns out their car got towed, they didn't know the license plate number of the rental to retrieve it, yada yada. Talk about when a cell phone would have been nice! I spent two hours on that street corner!

                2. re: Karl S

                  My Mother! Every single day of my life as a kid... Therefore, 10-15 minutes early is on time or me. Yes that's my secret. I allow room for delays.

                  1. re: Karl S

                    Also a Bostonian and I agree, but .....

                    I'm exactly the person that you describe, and it'd infuriate me that my friends would be more than a minute late, particularly when they'd laugh about how much padding I give myself when going place.

                    But then I moved a but further out, transportation becomes less predictable. I do kind of get where they're coming from now as there have been times where I've been 5-10m late despite leaving oodles of time in padding.

                    So yes poop happens but you're also right that people should give themselves more padding

                  2. re: latindancer

                    We've fixed a few such friends of ours by giving the offenders an earlier start time than reality. Eventually they end up early once or twice, get annoyed and then realize how everyone else feels

              2. For a reservation I call if I am going to be one minute late, and give as accurate an ETA as I can. If I know ten minutes before my res time that I am running ten minutes late, then I call ten minutes before the FOH is not wondering if/when I am showing up.

                The exception to this is when I am delayed on the subway and can't call.

                4 Replies
                1. re: LeoLioness

                  I am so with you but friends act like I am crazy. I know that it takes aprox X time to get there so If we haven't left by then I call. If we are on the road and get stuck in traffic, etc I call.

                  My family is chronically early. I have driven around the block a few times when to going to someones home..

                  1. re: foodieX2

                    Do you friends not understand that being late means they may lose their table or else, it risks pushing the next res back 20 minutes?

                    Do they just not care?

                    1. re: LeoLioness

                      They assume their table will held and then are amazed when they have to wait. Then again the ones i am talking abut are huge cocktail people and have no problem waiting in the bar.

                    2. re: foodieX2

                      I'm just like you and my own family thinks I'm crazy. I hate being late to anything and will always call. And just this weekend, my son made us sit in the parking lot and wait before sending him into a birthday party at a sports facility because he did not want to be early.

                      And I appreciate it when people are early to my house, esp. if they are the helpful sort who can do last minute tasks. When we hosted my daughter's graduation party a few weeks ago, I was so thankful for the friends who showed up early and helped me put out the chips while I was awaiting the food delivery.

                      Oh, and I always leave on time and love it when others do, too!

                  2. Sigh. To me, "on time" is 10 minutes early. I'd call a restaurant or a hostess if I'd be even 10 minutes late (not that I ever have been, though).

                    For guests coming to my home, I recall other loooooong threads here with various horror (to me) stories. I'm fine with guests being 15-20 minutes late. Longer than that, and I begin to fret.

                    Sadly, I've had guests as late as 1 hour, which really had me steamed. One, who called repeatedly to keep bumping ahead her arrival (for an appt. she had booked knowing it would conflict), I finally said, "let's just get together another time," and ate her portions.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: pine time

                      +1 I'm with my Pine cousin on this!

                    2. I think that it is very important to call in a restaurant if you are running late. Most do allow a grace period, but after 20 minutes there is no guarantee after that especially during a busy night. And I work as a hostess right now, so I do feel like I have some expertise at this moment.

                      1. My mother's side of the family came from Germany in the 1860s. It was drilled into us from the time we were young children that Late is NOT acceptable. In fact mom's attitude is that "if you're not 20 minutes early you're late." We always arrived early, waited in the car to the appointed time and rang the bell exactly at the witching hour. If dinner was called fro 6PM, it meant 6, not 5:59, not 6:01.

                        For years, bro and SIl would arrive late at mom's in New Haven when invited for a holiday meal. Mom always called for the meal to begin at 1PM. That meant sitting at the table at 1 and starting the first course. At 1:20 the phone would ring and Bro would announce, we're in Fairfiled, we'll be there in 25 minutes. After the third time, momjust started serving them whatever course we were oin when they arrived. They were not served the earlier courses. They quickly leaned be on time or don't eat.
                        I always call a restaurant if I'm going to be late for a reservation. But this has only happened twice in the past 20 years and both times a plane landed late. I also call hosts if traffic causes me to be delayed, but with planning to be 20 minutes early, I don't think I've had to call more than 2 or 3 times in my life.

                        1. Related questions... For the sit down dinner party, how long after the invite time do you sit down for dinner (assuming apps and drinks first). Same question for the casual BBQ...

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: jbsiegel

                            I admit to being too lax on the sit down dinner time since apps, drinks and visiting is too pleasurable to rush unless I have something in the oven which can't wait. We don't usually have guests with strict time limits. Babysitters were a lifetime ago

                            When we are the ones invited no more than 10-15 later than said time

                            For restaurants I will call if I will be even a few minutes late

                            1. re: scubadoo97

                              So, what you're sayin' is that time is relative? That idea, somehow, in some distant way, seems familar to me.

                            2. re: jbsiegel

                              40-45 minutes.

                            3. As is evident by the responses so far, everyone has different ideas about what on time means. I've adopted the approach of telling my guests something like: "Come anytime after 6:30, and we'll be sitting down to eat at 7:30." Doesn't leave a lot of room for misinterpretation.

                              Re: resos, I call if I'm not going to be there at the time I agreed to. It's my responsibility to be punctual. If my arrival time is within 15-20 minutes of the appointed time, I would expect to have the reservation honoured, provided I had informed the staff of my impending lateness. Any longer than that and they may not be able to turn the table again that night, which isn't fair.

                              Since I am scrupulous about letting restaurants know of changes in my timing, I have a pretty low tolerance for places that keep ME waiting for more than a quarter of an hour for a table I've booked.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: grayelf

                                I like the idea a lot of giving an initial grace period of when to arrive followed by when eating will happen. While a number of commenters on these posts seem to have no trouble being very punctual - and personally I am as well - my mother can not be relied on to be anywhere on time. But if there's a time range of when to arrive (i.e. 6:30-7:30), then there's a far better chance of her arriving within desired expectations (definitely on the 7:30 side of things - but still).

                                Though I have to admit, I always think that threads like this end up being the "on time" crowd getting a chance to vent. Of all of my friends who all have diverse and wonderful qualities, only one can truly be relied upon to arrive on time.

                              2. A restaurant reservation, I call if I am not on time.
                                A sit down dinner with friends, the same. An informal dinner, then 15 minutes late is an acceptable arrival time without a phone call. Over 15 minutes, I call and let them know when I will be there and what happened to delay me.

                                When hosting, I want people to call me if they are over 15minutes late.

                                My friends (like myself) are in the emergency healthcare field and often things come up at any time of the day or evening. It is easy to give a phone call. We are all used to eating things cold and missing out....just life. Getting upset over any of it is just not in my reality.

                                1. Well, I learned the 20-minute social standard* over thirty years ago, and that was in the era when you had to find a pay phone to alert someone to your lateness!

                                  * That is, if you agree to meet someone at Time X, and you are more than 20 minutes late, they should feel free to leave. A similar rule obtained to honoring reservations: if you didn't show within 20 mins of the reso time, you shouldn't expect that the reso would be held, and vice versa.

                                  As for home entertaining: as a host, you need to know your guests and they need to know you. I learned to let people know when I was planning to have people seated to begin eating dinner ("Come by X time; we will be seating down to eat by Y time") and also to indicate an end time (which influences how flexibly people interpret the start time).

                                  I do find the mismatch of prompt-vs-nonprompt people most common for people before midlife; by midlife, the groups have tended to sort out socially (family excepted) - each group tends to find the other a bother. Rarely have I seen prompt people switch to the other side; much more I have seen nonprompt people switch. But this is in the US Northeast, in a culture where the dominant presumption is that promptness=courtesy. That presumption does not obtain everywhere.

                                  1. Restaurant reservations -- we are always early or at the very least on time. If we are going to be late due to getting stuck in traffic, I will call to let them know just how late we will be.

                                    Dinner parties (including holidays) -- if not exactly on time, we show up within 10-15 minutes of when we are told to show up. It goes back to knowing your hosts and what their expectations are.

                                    When I host a holiday dinner, I always say "come at this time, this is when we are sitting down at the table." There is usually 1/2 hour to an hour in between, depending on the holiday.

                                    I host a Passover seder every year. We have a friends that always join us and they are always late. It used to bother me but now, we just start the seder and they generally show up by the time I am serving the soup.

                                    We also host a July 4th party. This is clearly more casual and outside. I give a start time and everyone knows we me well enough to know that if they show up too late, they will miss the pigs in blankets! I don't care so much what time people show up, but there is no excuse for not showing up at all. And my guests all generally show up within 30 minutes of the start time.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: valerie

                                      I had a friend who was chronically late, so I always told her the start time was an hour earlier than it actually was. This worked beautifully until we hosted a surprise b-day party for her at another friend's house, and she, for the first time ever in her life, showed up at the time we told her. It gave everyone a good laugh, although it did ruin the surprise.

                                    2. it all depends on the guest.
                                      some of my friends are ALWAYS on time or early. if one of them doesn't show when they said they would, it's probably time to call the local hospitals and file a missing person report.

                                      for people who are chronically late and don't call, i only ask them over for relatively unstructured get togethers--NEVER for a sit down dinner.

                                      1. I'm an almost pathological "on time" guy. A firm I used to work for would bill clients for our time startin' from when their appointment was scheduled, regardless of whether or not they were there. That sorta reinforced the concept to me.

                                        A coupla months ago, me and Mrs. Z aew invited to my cousin's place for dinner. "5 o'clock for cocktails."

                                        I ring the doorbell at 5.

                                        "Oh my God. I'm so sorry. I still need to get in the shower. Fred's still getting dressed. Nobody's ever 'on time'!"

                                        "I'm really sorry. I didn't think this was gonna be a 'fashionably late' affair. Maybe we should go someplace and get a drink?"

                                        "Absolutely not!!! I think it's awesome! Besides, I got a bottle of Cabo for you guys."

                                        "I always loved you."

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: MGZ

                                          Awesome! Can we extend the idea of billing people for being late to social life?

                                        2. 15 min

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Gastronomos

                                            That t is so reminiscent of the "Teacher is late" laws in college. If it was a GA you gave 'em ten minutes before you could leave. An adjunct or associate got fifteen. A tenured prof you had to permit twenty minutes.

                                            That's what they used to say, at least, I didn't go to class much.

                                          2. Is it sometimes the hosts fault?
                                            How about a summer BBQ on a Sunday at hosts home at 12noon?
                                            The host eats his main meal at 12 noon daily and expects that when guests are told 12 noon on a summer Sunday, they will come very hungry for BBQ/Grill food and not be late.
                                            Everyone shows up late. The earliest at 1pm. Bleary eyed and droopy tailed.
                                            The party gets going after a few beers, and goes past midnight, but the host was reeling about it for over an hour before anyone showed up.
                                            I thought 12 noon on a Sunday was too early to expect people to show up, but this was back in the mid/late 80's, annually

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: Gastronomos

                                              See I don't get this. If noon on A Sunday is too early for you why go? Or if it's a good friend why not just say so?

                                              We planned a casual dinner party recently and I scheduled it to start early evening, selfishly because I hadn't worked that day. 2 of my friends said they couldn't make it that early because the Friday night commutes were a nightmare with Cape traffic so I switched the dinner part until to later. Much rather that than have them show up hours late.

                                              1. re: Gastronomos

                                                Reservations at a restaurant:
                                                I consider this much the same as a business appointment. For me it might be a pleasureable experience, but I am transacting businees when I am asked to pay for what is provided. Generally the establishment has rules and policies for both guests and employees. In my own business (Licensed Plumber), we often make appointments for our services. I expect it to work both ways. So if a restaurant is running late, I expect them to call me too.

                                                Entertaining at home:
                                                Know your guests and plan accordingly

                                                Attending a function as a guest:

                                                I always call if i am not going to be there at the requested time.

                                                I try to adhere to the needs of the host.

                                                One holiday meal (Passover) called for 6:30 PM, my step sister and her husband showed up at the home of her uncle two hours late, stoned out of their minds. The host would not start until all the family was there. My wife and I went into the kitchen, served our then 8 and 6 year old daughter a plate of soup and we left, because it was anow 9PM and they had been up since 6AM, it was past their bedtime.
                                                Sometime later I sat down with this uncle and explained to him that Step sis's reason for being late was traffic from their house to his. At the time, my office was ten blocks away from her house. My family was on time. He commented that he really thought it was rude when people show up drunk or high...but that is for another discussion.

                                                1. re: Gastronomos

                                                  I guess that host's plans would not work if his guests were largely comprised of night owls who party hard on Saturday night. Otherwise, though, this is not the host's "fault".

                                                2. According to my husband, the Marine- 30 minutes early is early, 15 minutes early is on time, and on time is late. My family is a lot more vague about time and it makes him nuts. In somewhere in between. I don't show up late but I try not to be more than a few minutes early, either.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Hobbert

                                                    Maybe I was a Marine in a prior life...

                                                    1. re: Hobbert

                                                      Semper fi! I love the Corps.

                                                    2. While I'm not always on time, I generally try not to run too late.

                                                      For your first two examples - restaurant reservations and sit down dinner party - I call as soon as I know I'm going to be more than 5 minutes late.

                                                      Casual event, I give myself 15 to 20 minutes.

                                                      I never find it anything other than thoughtful if someone calls to let me know they'll be late.

                                                      *ETA: But for a sit-down event, if it's passing the 30 minute mark without any notice, I'm probably going to start serving in 10 minutes regardless of what they do at that point, though I might text them to make sure they're ok.

                                                      1. Yes, call a restaurant if you're going to be late for your requested reservation time.

                                                        As for a sit-down dinner party? 15 minute wait to serve, unless I'm running late with getting everything done. But usually the invite is "Come around 6:00 or so; we'll be eating around 7:30."

                                                        Backyard BBQs I look at at mostly as a catch-as-catch-can, but there would be an approximate stated time as to when things would be coming off the grill, and let them know to come earlier for drinks and nibblies.

                                                        But waiting 45 minutes for someone who hasn't called to say they're going to be late? Absolutely not.

                                                        1. For a formal reservation, the grace period is five minutes to allow for traffic... ideally you should be getting there at least five minutes EARLY and that gives ten minutes leeway for traffic/parking hassles. People's income depends on your being reliable and showing up when you said you would.

                                                          For a formal or sitdown dinner that's supposed to start at a set time, the grace period is a bit longer. If I was doing the planning, I'd plan to serve 30 minutes after people arrived so if somebody arrived 25 mins late they'd just have to take off their coats and sit down and eat immediately.

                                                          For a more casual event, with a large group or a buffet, if you show, you show... the food doesn't have to be served at any particular time, but if you don't arrive till we bring out the dessert, well then you're just in time for cake and coffee and whatever's left over.

                                                          1. I call the second I believe there's a possibility I could be late by even a minute for any reason......it's simple courtesy.

                                                            1. I'm usually on time. SO is very diligent about this. Because of this, if I even think I'm going to be late I call before hand. I don't have guests over often but I usually double check to make sure they're coming the day of.

                                                              1. Even if it looks like we will be on time, but there IS traffic, we call.

                                                                I always want to arrive on time, or a bit early, when I have restaurant reservations.

                                                                I have never been comfortable, being late for anything. My wife does not feel the same way, but over the years, I have mostly won out.

                                                                Also, if I have to cancel reservations, I will do so via telephone, even if it entails a dozen international calls. I have only "stiffed" two restaurants, and both were just flat mistakes. In one case, I confused a restaurant in Chicago, when it was in New York. We canceled New York, and assumed that we were still good for Chicago - not so, and I apologized. The other was in San Diego. I had the dates confused, and we showed up the next night - not the night of our reservations. I had flowers delivered for my wife, the restaurant stored them, and then we synced up, the next night. My bad!

                                                                Hunt

                                                                11 Replies
                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                  I agree with you completely Hunt, but am curious...how do you handle it when your guests are late? As I said above, I'm not terribly forgiving...especially if it is chronic, without good reason...and especially if there's no phone call.

                                                                  1. re: josephnl

                                                                    I am far more tolerant of guests, than I am, for my lovely wife, and myself.

                                                                    "Stuff" happens, and I try to roll with those punches.

                                                                    Some typical guests might be in "life-saving" surgery, and have to wait until it's safely completed. Others might be in government, where Senate meetings, and the like, can run over. Some are just in business, and cannot leave with a client in their office. I understand, and try to accommodate all such issues with tardiness.

                                                                    In a worst-case scenario, if we are seated, without the full party, I will start digging deeply into the wine list, and get the "welcome wine" on the way.

                                                                    It can boil down to "how many are expected, and then "who are those, who are expected?"

                                                                    I just NEVER want to be the "late one," and work very hard to keep that from happening. I will deal with others, as required.

                                                                    Imperfect, but that is the best that I can do.

                                                                    Hunt

                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                      But...do you not expect both a good excuse and a phone call? Folks on this thread are talking about guests being habitually an hour or more late. This I find astounding! I'm a retired physician...and yes I had to deal with emergencies, but patients who had an appointment in my office were generally seen within 15 minutes of their appointed time (or otherwise were apologized to and offered another appointment) or if possible were contacted prior to their leaving home. If an emergency forced me to be late for a social engagement, I would without exception get a message to the other party explaining the situation and apologizing. I guess I expect the same courtesy from others that I try very hard to extend.

                                                                      1. re: josephnl

                                                                        I hope to hear an excuse. However, as I force my wife to be on time, and as we are not big on cellphones at the table, that might, or might not be the ultimate determining factor. Still, a text message would be appreciated.

                                                                        Hunt

                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                          Even way before cell phones, if need be I would call a restaurant and ask them to tell the other guest(s) to start without me if I had an emergency. Just showing up an hour or more late (as others say happens to them regularly) is in fathomable to me.

                                                                          1. re: josephnl

                                                                            Obviously, back before cell phones, you had better communications, than I did. Pulling off of a clogged Interstate, to find a pay phone, to call, was just not something that I did. Instead, I drove as fast, as I could.

                                                                            Hunt

                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                              As a retired physician, most of my delays were the result of emergencies either in my office or at the hospital (rather than on the highway), and thus it was not difficult to get a phone message out.

                                                                              1. re: josephnl

                                                                                I understand. Probably half of our guests are also physicians, and the other half politicians. Most of those do have cell phones, though if still in surgery, they would also have to take the time to send a scrub nurse, or other, outside the OR to call.

                                                                                Guess that I am just more lenient (so long as I am on time, or even a bit early), than many, but that is probably due to the folk, who are often dining with us?

                                                                                Hunt

                                                                        2. re: josephnl

                                                                          You know, that's reasonable. On the other hand, being upset by what you perceive as other people's rudeness or lack of consideration only hurts yourself and makes your whole day more unpleasant. Yes, if someone is chronically very late, you need to decide how to deal with it (everything from fudging on times to stopping making plans with them). But for a few minutes now and again, not imputing intentional rudeness to your associates and learning to relax and "roll with the punches" is much is much healthier, happier way to live.

                                                                    2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                      Hunt I too have a obsession to arrive on time. Not too early and certainly not late. Like you wifey is more lax with her time frames.

                                                                      1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                        For me, the parking lot (or a near-by parking lot), can fill in, should traffic be lighter, than I anticipated.

                                                                        If that does not work, then 5 mins. talking to the valet, or sitting at the bar, will usually hide my early arrival.

                                                                        That is better, to me, than arriving even 2 mins. late.

                                                                        Hunt

                                                                    3. There is one side of the family that is chronically/pathologically late. An hour late is good for them two to three hours not uncommon. A phone call? Will never happen. And they know they are like this.

                                                                      It has gotten to the point where if an event is held at one of their houses you call to verify the time then plan on arriving an hour later and chances are you will still be early and nothing close to being cooked.

                                                                      1. I am essentially always on time, and I expect that of my guests. Of course, stuff happens, but for me it's pretty unusual...when going anywhere, I usually allow more than enough time. If I'm early when visiting someone, I'll sit in the car around the corner and then arrive on time. If I run into unexpected traffic and expect to be more than a few (2 or 3) minutes late, I'll always phone.

                                                                        I expect the same courtesy from guests. When I invite folks to the house for cocktails or dinner, or arrange to meet for dinner at a restaurant, I expect them to be on time, or at least call if they are running a bit late. If a guest showed up 30 minutes late without a phone call and/or a very good excuse, that would be the last time they'd be my guest!

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: josephnl

                                                                          <<I'll sit in the car around the corner and then arrive on time.>>

                                                                          You are not alone in this. I have been known to camp out in the bar, drive about for a period of time, enter and sit at the host/hostess stand, while I read the wine list, or similar. I just cannot stand to be late, even by a few minutes.

                                                                          Hunt

                                                                        2. It's funny but I'm a notorious "late" person except in certain situations. If I have reservations I try to arrive 15 minutes early. If I'm going to be more than 10 minutes late, I'll call and I also wave my right to be pissed if my table has been given away.
                                                                          At a dinner party, I shoot for 15 minutes after the "start" time. I actually feel it may be more rude to show up 15 minutes early for such an event than a few minutes late - I don't want to be there before the hosts are ready. Depending on how formal the event is would determine just how late is too late. If I'm hosting a 6 o'clock dinner I usually plan for a 45 minute cocktail hour to allow for people to show up without feeling the stress of having to be there at exactly such and such time.
                                                                          More casual events like BBQ's tend to be "stop by whenever" type of deals. I'll usually let the hosts know first: if I'm coming and second: an approximate time when to expect me. If either changes, I'll call.

                                                                          1. As a habit, I'm a very punctual person. But now and again traffic or something will getcha. Reservation, no grace period for me, if it's for 8 and I'm held up, I'll call right then. Dinner party, the same. Cocktail party, I'll let it ride for about 10-15 minutes or so.

                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                            1. re: alliegator

                                                                              I had a good friend who insisted on leaving 15 minutes before she needed to leave, no matter where she was going, "in case there was a freight train." When it was pointed out that in certain cases there were no tracks between her origin and destination, it made no difference.

                                                                              1. re: marcia

                                                                                I can relate. My wife likes to "cut it close," but I do not. Just "different strokes?"

                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                1. re: marcia

                                                                                  This is great! In my family, the motto is: "You never know when there will be a tree down across the road." This literally happened to me once. Since I'm a ridiculously early person, I was right on time anyway!

                                                                                  1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                    Back when we had swing bridges across the Intra Coastal Waterway, you could always use the excuse that the bridge was open. Or you got trapped by a train. But this was only good for 15 minutes max.

                                                                                    1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                      Once, some years ago, my wife called one of her Drs., who she was picking up. "I think that I will be a bit late." "Why is that?" "Well, I can't get out of my garage, because a hot-air balloon is sitting in my driveway."

                                                                                      That was 100% true. As my wife was about to back up, out of the garage, a voice, from above, shouted out, "Don't back up! We'll be out of here in a moment."

                                                                                      She looked up, through the sunroof, only to see a hot-air balloon, hovering over the driveway. As we live in a box canyon, such things are not THAT uncommon, but usually not when my wife is leaving for the hospital.

                                                                                      "Stuff happens."

                                                                                      Hunt