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Waste not, want not – even dining out

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My family went out to dinner and really enjoyed the variety of delicious breads that were served in a breadbasket at the beginning of our meal. Between the four of us, we finished the basket, and after our meals were served, the waitress replaced the breadbasket, filled with more of the delicious bread.

Since we also enjoyed our meals, the second basket of bread didn’t get eaten. We asked the waitress if we could take the bread home, and she said yes and gave us a take-home container.

In the past, when faced with a similar situation, we had been dining with friends who considered it rude and tacky to take home more than we could eat at the restaurant if we didn’t pay for it. We disagreed: The waitstaff throws out uneaten bread anyway for sanitary reasons, and we didn’t want the bread to be wasted.

Were our friends correct in thinking it was rude, or is our family right in wanting to save the bread from being thrown away?

GENTLE READER: Accompaniments to the meal are indeed intended to be consumed – or not – on the spot. But as you made a special fuss about the bread, rather than merely sweeping everything into your pockets, Miss Manners will defend you as flattering the restaurant, rather than fleecing it.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My son is invited to spend time in the home of one of his classmates. The classmate’s parents request that I sign a release of liability before my son arrives. I think this is unbelievably rude – as if to imply that I would sue them if there is an accident or injury!

Am I overreacting, or has our society really come to believe that anyone who visits your home, and is injured, will sue?

GENTLE READER: Well, there is an awful lot of suing going on. But that is all the more reason to be wary of people who harbor anticipatory litigious thoughts about their children’s playdates.

However, that is not the only worry that Miss Manners would have if she were you. What goes on in that household that such a precaution is necessary?


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