Etiquette Tuesday: On Your Own Dime

[ 2 ] October 5, 2010 |

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Remain frugal.  Unless it is on your dime.  Etiquette is not only about where to place your napkins, elbows and spoons after you eat…it is also involves the tab you build at the end.  Last week, I talked about the person that overeats but underpays.  Today, I talk to the diners who know that the tab is taken care of and they take full advantage of that opportunity. 

It is always lovely (*well, to me anyway…) when the person sitting across from me states at the very beginning of the meal “Order what you want, it’s on me”.  The golden words everyone wants to hear especially when those words sound off at a restaurant like Café Milano or Citronelle.   In my mind, I’m saying “I want one of everything”…in reality and in good etiquette “I’ll have the house salad and the stuffed squash ravioli”.  Why?? Well this person was nice enough to pay for the meal, why should I go overboard specifically where I would not do this with my own funds??

Again, I always bring out those exceptions: 

1. It’s your birthday (*I’m a huge birthday person, it’s your day, live it up!)

2.  The person insists and proceeds to order half the menu (*hey, if they like it, I love it…”I’ll take the surf and turf alongside the best bottle of red you have in stock”) and/or

3. You are out with one of these people:  Your parents, your significant other or someone who makes it clear the budget is bottomless and you should take pure advantage of that.

Other than that, you are officially the person at the table that has no home training.  Order an appetizer and dessert in addition to the entrée but do not go overboard with it.  Ordering the top shelf bottle of Grand Marnier 150 will make you an unattractive candidate for the next dinner date…unless it is on your own dime.


Category: Food.Fun.Stuff.

About the Author ()

Johnna French is a Harlem NY native with deep roots in Panama, Washington, DC and North Carolina. All four places have heavily influenced her life and the foods she loves today. After graduating Howard University School of Law and beginning her life as a young professional in the city she was led to start Johnna Knows Good Food in November 2007 to keep family, friends and colleagues updated on where to go and what to eat while dining in the nation’s capitol. French, who still practices law, leads a team of three writers to cover the ever expanding Washington, DC food scene. French has been featured in print and television, appearing in Washingtonian Magazine and is a regular contributor to various local TV affiliates including WUSA 9, FOX 5 DC and WJLA (ABC Affiliate) News Channel 8. During the 2016-2017 football season, Johnna aired on Comcast Sports Mid-Atlantic (CSN) show, Redskins Life, as the weekly tailgate host. Johnna is currently a regular contributor to the FOX Baltimore Weekend morning show.

Comments (2)

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  1. Even with my parents or my significant other, I think its just polite to not go overboard. The only time I really let myself go overboard on menu ordering is if I’m travelling for work and have a per diem (which is usually way more than I would normally spend) or if the place I’m eating at is CHEAP. If I’m at a place where the appetizers are $4, I might get a few. 😀

  2. Mary says:

    I think no matter what, you should at least offer to pay, even as a gesture. Or be sure to treat the person just as generously the next you eat out together. Or, offer to leave a (generous) tip! Moral of story, never underpay.

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