Newport Manners & Etiquette: Doggy Bag Etiquette, Fender Benders, Hospitality Etiquette + More

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Didi Lorillard, GoLocalProv Manners + Etiquette Expert

Summers always stir up a frenzy of dating and hospitality etiquette questions from guests and hosts to Didi Lorillard at NewportManners.

How do we ask restaurant waiters to be less rude? What about doggy bag etiquette? Etiquette for fender benders and loaning money to your boyfriend.

To ask or not to ask for a doggy bag

Q.  My wife and I recently visited an old friend in Northeast Harbor, Maine, for a long weekend. One night we took him out to dine at a restaurant of his choice. When the bill came, I paid it and I asked for our leftovers to be packaged up to take back to his house. The portions had been huge and as a European, in good conscience, I could not bear to think of good food going to waste. Our friend, however, was mortified. He said I had embarrassed him because asking for a "doggy bag" was bad etiquette. What's your opinion, Didi? Do I need to apologize for supposedly embarrassing our host?  Name Withheld, Far Hills, NJ

 

A.  You said it all. If you didn't tell him at the time what you wrote to me, that "The portions had been huge and I cannot stand to think of good food going to waste," mention it again. In your thank-you note to your host for the marvelous weekend, say, "As a European, I cannot get used to the huge American portions and I cannot abide seeing good food go to waste."

Some restaurants are refusing diners' requests for doggy bags, either because the restaurant considers itself too formal, or there is too little on the plate to bag. Then there is the liability issue of health risk. There definitely is a stigma attached to requesting leftovers at fancy eateries. In France, for instance, the home of gourmet cuisine, it isn't the sophisticated thing to do.

There are two sides to the doggy bag issue:

  • Interestingly enough, Gen Y is less apt to ask for a doggy bag. A fourth of 18-26-year-olds in a recent survey answered that even if they wanted to ask for one, they wouldn't.
  • We're seeing a trend in restaurants refusing point-blank, or simply telling diners to bring their own containers and pack them themselves. Some restaurants will even ask you to sign an indemnity form.
  • On the other hand, consumer food waste is a bigger pollutant than cars and industry.

 

Here is a short list of doggy bag etiquette guidelines:

  • Doggy bags are inappropriate to ask for at business meals and social events where you are a guest (such as at a wedding or dinner party). On the other hand, if the hostess offers you the rest of the Key Lime Pie, let her wrap it up for you.
  • Also, never ask for a doggy bag at a four- or five-star restaurant because they won't have a container and you wouldn't bring your own.
  • Never take someone else's leftovers home.
  • Even if you paid for your date's dinner, don't ask to take his or her leftovers home, as it will make you look like a cheapskate.
  • Furthermore, if you take home a doggy bag and reheat it two days later, don't go whining on social media that the food from that restaurant made you sick, because it's unfair to the restaurant.

 

Rude restaurants

Q.  Our friend owns a popular upmarket restaurant where we dine frequently. The food is as excellent as one can expect in a resort town. The service is over the top. When I say over the top, I mean the service is too intense. I know that sounds utterly amazing for a resort restaurant, but hovering service can be extremely annoying. Every time we dine there, with friends or without, the waiter or busboy tries to remove our plates before everyone has finished eating. Much to my husband's amusement, I speak up and say, "No, go away" before rushing to explain: no plate should be removed before the last diner has stopped eating. It is rude of the waitstaff to pressure diners to hurry through an expensive meal and puts a damper on what should be an utterly pleasurable experience. When we signal that we are now through eating, the waiter stacks three or four plates, which is also tacky! Any suggestions?   MV, Newport, RI

 

A.  Don't make a point of this by sending a text or an express letter to your friend the restaurateur. But next time he stops by your table, or if you run into him socially or at the dry cleaner, mention your pet peeves. Ask him how you should signal your waiter that you don't want the plates removed from the table until the last person has laid down his/her fork. A good restuaranteaur will see to it that a notation of your requirements are made on the computer. On your own, in the future tell the waiter in advance that you do not want any plates removed until the last person is through eating. Let your waiter tell the busperson. A good gratuity should encourage better listening.

 

What to do about a fender bender

Q.  As I was getting into my car in the parking lot of our country club after a festive lunch, I heard a crash. Looking over my shoulder I could see a well established and respected member of the elder set pulling away from the car directly in back of the parking space he had just backed out of. He stopped and asked if I thought it a problem. He said it was nothing. There was a smudge of beige paint on the rear of the scraped black car left by the rear end of his beige car, but there didn't appear to be an actual dent to the fender. I didn't give an opinion either way. As the only witness, was I responsible for telling the owner that his car had been slightly damaged? Or should I have encouraged the driver to report the incident to the owner, whom we both know?  JS, Watch Hill, RI 

 

A. It is too bad the elderly driver didn't try to wipe the beige paint off the fender to ascertain whether or not a dent had been left. Nonetheless, the outcome would have been the same whether you had heard the crash and responded, or had not been on the scene at the time. He left without trying to find the owner and didn't leave a note. When parking in a public or private parking area one is always at risk of getting a nick or two here and there. If your response had been that the car was damaged, you should have encouraged him to report the scrape. But you didn't. The timing is such that you would risk becoming a tattletale, if you told on the elderly driver after the fact.

What about a boyfriend asking for a loan

Q. My boyfriend and I have been dating for the past six months and recently he asked me for a loan. As much as I love him, it only makes me think that loaning him money will complicate our relationship. What advice can you give me?  LC, Providence

 

A.  Loan nothing to a person you are dating. It is as simple as that. Loaning someone you are romantically involved with - but not legally bound to - can change the dynamics of the relationship. However, if you need to show your love and support, protect yourself. Loaning him money shouldn't be fear-based. You shouldn't loan him money because you think you might loose him if you don't ante up.

 

Take precautions:

  • Be sure of the specifics and know exactly why your boyfriend needs money.
  • Only lend money for paying rent, buying food, and paying bills, including money owed for child support.
  • Never lend money for luxuries, vacations, and vanities such as plastic surgery.
  • If you don't agree with the reason, don't give him a loan..
  • If you argue about money now, then loaning him money will only increase the stress.
  • If he is starting a business and you loan him money, be sure to put the terms of the loan in a formal agreement or contract, and have your signature witnessed by a friend of yours, or a lawyer.
  • Be sure to include a repayment schedule and be wary if he doesn't make payments on time.
  • Keep in mind of the fact that all texts and emails are legally binding.

 

Didi Lorillard researches manners and etiquette at NewportManners.

  • Cliff Walk

    Newport, RI

    The Cliff Walk is one of Newport’s most famous attractions is its gilded age mansions lining the coast. Entry to the mansions will cost a fee, but with the Cliff Walk, you can enjoy views of the mansions with amazing views of the water all for free.

    The 3.5 mile long path runs behind the mansions on the eastern shore of Newport. It is a National Recreation Trail – the first in New England! The majority of the walk is easy, but be sure to wear good shoes; the sand can make the path slippery. 

     

    PHOTO: Connie Ma/flickr

     
  • The Freedom Trail

    Boston, MA

    The Freedom Trail is a two and a half-mile walking tour that connects 16 significant Boston landmarks.

    Interior access to the Freedom Trail's sites is also free, except for the Paul Revere House, the Old South Meeting House and the Old State House.

    The Freedom Trail is a great way to get exercise, explore Boston and learn about history, all at the same time.

    If you buy tickets online they are discounted at $12 for adults, $10 for students and $6.50 for kids ages 6-12. 

    Photo: Wikipedia

     
  • Explore the Site of Paul Revere's Midnight Ride 

    Boston, MA

    Old North Church, located on Salem Street, is Boston's oldest surviving church, and it's also the place where Paul Revere gave the signal that the "British were coming," on April 18, 1775.

    Once he gave the signal, two lanterns were raised high, meaning that they were coming by sea to Lexington and Concord, not land. 

    This event began the American Revolution. 

     
  • Waterfire

    Providence, RI

    Providence WaterFire has grown to be an iconic Rhode Island event. Starting out in 1994 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of First Night Providence, it has grown to run continuously, once a month, from May-November and boasts over 80 blazing fires in the middle of the Providence River.

    WaterFire is a not-for-profit organization that aims to creatively transform Providence – and they do! Each event is accompanied with music by artists from around the world, varies food stands and art stands to browse as you stroll along the river. 

     
  • Visit Acadia National Park

    Maine

    People have been drawn to the rugged coast of Maine throughout history. Awed by its beauty and diversity, early 20th-century visionaries donated the land that became Acadia National Park.

    The park is home to many plants and animals, and the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic coast.

    Visit Acadia and hike granite peaks, bike historic carriage roads, or relax and enjoy the scenery.

    The park entrance fee is FREE from August 25th to the 28th. 

    Besides that, admission is $12 while those 15 and under are FREE of charge 

     
  • Anheuser-Busch Brewery and the Clydesdale Hamlet 

    Merrimack, New Hampshire 

    The Budweiser Clydesdales are the most recognizable mascots in the beverage industry and a visit to the Clydesdale Hamlet at the Anheuser-Bush Brewery will get you a free meeting with them. 

    For this 21 and over, you can take a tour of the brewery and see it result in free beer at the end. 

    If you have kids who are not 21, they can visit the horses who are there year round. They will get a huge kick out of it. 

    PHOTO: Billy Zoom/flickr

     
  • Purgatory Chasm

    Sutton, MA

    Take a hike at Purgatory Chasm and see the unique landmark that formed naturally approximately 14,000 years ago. Theory has it that the chasm was formed near the end of the last Ice Age with the sudden release of glacial meltwater that had been dammed up. Pretty neat! The chasm is ¼ mile long and runs between giant granite rock, sometimes standing at 70 feet high! You do have to pay to park ($5 MA residents, $6 for out-of-staters), but exploring the reservation is completely free. 

    Photo: MHarvey/Flickr

     
  • Ben & Jerry's Factory Tour

    Waterbury, Vermont 

    Take a 30 minute tour of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream factory in Vermont and see where your favorite flavors of ice cream are made. It is just about ice cream season after all. 

    The factory is open year round and admission is just $4 for adults, $3 for seniors and kids 12 and under are FREE.

     
  • Royalston Falls

    Royalston, MA

    If you want a little bit of an outdoor adventure, hike to Royalston Falls in Royalston, MA. The hike itself isn’t too long, but it can be challenging. It leads you to a remote gorge created by prehistoric glacial meltwater and 45 foot plunging waterfall within a half-hidden ravine. If you’re up for the adventure, the destination is far worth the trek. 

     
  • U.S. Navy Submarine Force Museum and USS Nautilus 

    Groten, Connecticut 

    See a replica of the world's firs submarine and learn about it through films before heading about the USS Nautilus for a free audio tour. 

    Nautilus was the first nuclear-powered submarine and the first vessel to travel 20,000 leagues under the sea. The ship is now open to the public year-round and is free.  

    PHOTO: Facebook

     
  • Independence Trail

    Providence, RI

    Rhode Island’s own version of Boston’s Freedom Trail, follow the painted green line for the Independence Trail. The 2.5 mile tour of historic Providence “takes you over four centuries of history, architecture, culture, and folklore.”

    Don’t worry about where to begin, the route is circular so you can start anywhere! Along the painted green trail on the sidewalks you’ll find red emblems with a phone number and a location number.

    PHOTO: Indepencetrail.businesscatalyst.com

     
  • By the Canal Tour

    Worcester, MA

    Worcester’s Canal District is home to eleven buildings that originate from the early 1800s. Preservation Worcester wants you to enjoy the history available to you, for free! They offer a Canal District Walking Tour, By the Canal, to expose you to the stories of the people and historical events that created Worcester. You can pick up a free tour brochure at the Preservation Worcester office on Cedar Street, download a printable version of the tour and tour map, or download audio files to phone to do an audio tour. 

     
  • Blackstone River Bikeway

    Runs from Worcester to Providence

    The idea behind the Blackstone River Bikeway was to create a bike path running 48 miles, from Worcester to Providence along the National Heritage Corridor. It links the Blackstone River and the Blackstone Canal and will eventually connect with the East Bay Bike Path in Rhode Island. The path isn’t completed yet, but riders can enjoy the segment that is, free of charge.

     
  • NIMFest Concert Series at King Park Beach

    Newport, RI

    Listen to some great music during the NIMFest Concert Series at King Park Beach in Newport. 

    NIMFest concerts are held Sunday afternoons from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the King Park gazebo on Wellington Avenue.

    Concerts are presented free by the City of Newport featuring the best in regional and local talent.

    The 2017 series celebrates women artists in folk, bluegrass, jazz, blues, rock, and everything in between. 

     
  • Visit Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

    Concord, MA

    Head to Concord, Massachusetts and then to the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery where you will find "Author's Ridge."

    Author's Ridge marks the final resting place of legendary writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott. 

     
  • Take a Tour of Yale University 

    New Haven, Connecticut 

    Take a free tour of Yale University and while you are there be sure to walk through the Yale Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art. 

    If you time it correctly, you might even get to attend one of the Yale School of Music’s nearly 300 annual performances. 

     
  • The Sprinkler Factory

    Worcester, MA

    The Sprinkler Factory is not actually factory, but rather a gallery. Though, its namesake does come from the real-life sprinkler factory started by Howard Freeman in WWII. Why? Because he embodies “the spirit of innovation.” With the aim of providing the public with a place to display and enjoy the visual arts, the Sprinkler Factory hosts exhibitions once a month, and they’re always free.

     
  • Browse Yankee Candle Village 

    South Deerfield, Massachusetts 

    Yankee Candle Village headquarters are located in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, where they call themselves “Scenter of the Universe.” 

    Walk around the store for hours, exploring all the different showrooms with varying scents. The complex is something to see. 

    Be warned though, you may be tempted to buy a candle or two. 

     
  • East Bay Bike Path

    Runs from Providence RI to Bristol RI

    If you’re looking for a dose of natural beauty and healthy activity, try going for a spin on the East Bay Bike Path. The first bike facility to be under the State, it is a 13.8 mile trail that connects 8 different parks from Providence to Bristol. Do the whole thing or just a stretch and cross over bridges and by coves on the Narragansett Bay shore. The bike path is open year round. 

    Photo: Michael St Jean/Flickr

     

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