Ask Tom, Answer Gansie


Washington, D.C.: I know you’ve mentioned your dislike of waiters “auctioning plates,” but I’d like to raise the issue again — with a twist.My boyfriend and I eat at restaurants pretty regularly — 2-3 times a week, at a mix of price points. But one thing that’s become pretty constant lately is waiters delivering our food and automatically assuming the salad or the fish goes to me — when 9 times out of 10, it’s what my boyfriend has ordered.

He’s the health nut. I’m more apt to order something involving pork belly or red meat.

It would be funny if it wasn’t happening so often.

Tom Sietsema: Restaurant Rule No. 234:

Never assume! The same goes for who gets the wine list and who gets the bill. A good server will ask who the host is.

gansie: What especially gets me is the check.  Typical scenario: The check will be placed towards the man’s side of the table.  I will pick it up and put my credit card down.  The card reads MY name, not the name of a man.  Server picks up fold, runs card (assume looks at card and name.)  Puts down card in front of man.

It’s 2008.  It’s time for a change.

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  • JoeHoya September 29, 2008  

    It’s even more amusing when the card in question has a photo of the cardholder on it, like my wife’s does.

  • BS September 29, 2008  

    My libido will, never, ever, let me stop a woman from buying me food.

  • Britannia September 29, 2008  

    I rarely go out to dinner with just a woman (or a guy come to think of it) so I have never really thought about it.

    Good point though, although I’m not a huge fan of identifying a host of the table. Seems very out dated.

  • Camille September 30, 2008  

    As a former waitress, I’ll admit I very rarely looked at the name on the credit card given to me, although I generally made a point of placing it equidistant from the diners. (i.e. Not in fromt of anyone in particular.)

    The thing with the wine list is a not-uncommon occurrence when my husband and I go out to eat. He glances at it, then passes it to me to make the decision.

  • Yvo September 30, 2008  

    Haha, this reminds me of going to eat at an upscale steakhouse that I shall not name. The waiter consistently served me the “delicate” dishes; I was handed the shrimp cocktail (my male dining companion’s), then the crabcakes (my other male dining companion’s) when I’d ordered the steak tartare; I was given the smallest steak (again, my companion’s), and it was a big fussy to do to switch the damn plates around.

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