Ms. Post, Miss Manners....Where Are You?

The other night, our friend Jon & the lovely lady he is dating, came over for dinner. At the end of the meal, a 'debate' arose about proper table manners. I had stated that, if there were a pie on the table (or any food - pie was just the example) and everyone had pie, that it is rude to just take the last piece. I believe that, for example, if I wanted the pie I should say, "Does anybody else want some pie?" And if so, the proper thing to do is to share. I feel that it is rude to just take it without thought or consideration to anyone else. And this is where the debate began. It seems that I was minority. That everyone else thought that it was acceptable behavior.
I'm not trying to say that my way is 'right' or that in viewing someone as having bad manners means that they, in turn are bad, just that the 'behavior' itself is bad. I am just simply stating my personal view & the view that I was taught to believe as being 'proper'.
I've done some research on the 'net and have yet to find any clear-cut answer. I have found that Chinese custom dictates that it is considered extremely rude to just take the last serving and on an etiquette website it was stated that, "Courtesy should always be exerted when eating with others."
So, to you all, I pose the question: Is it rude to just take the last serving of something without asking others if they would like some??

8 ripples in the pond:

maggie said...

I agree with you. I grew up being taught Never Ever take the last piece of something. You always offer it and even if everyone says no you are not to take it cause they might change their minds. I don't go to that extreme now but you are right.

Ravioli said...

First of all, I would like to throw out there that thia "debate" arose because I have taken the last serving of things at times. I think Tabba would be the first to say that our discussion was not about right and wrong, it was simply about the differences in ettiquette or manners from one family to another. I'm sorry but I think it is absolutley ridiculous to not take the last serving in case someone else wants it. If everyone acted that way, the last serving would always be the last serving because no one would eat it. I admit that I am a pie-pilferer, a sweet-scoundrel if you will, and i am not ashamed!

slackermommy said...

This is a tough one because in my house when hubby asks if anyone wants the last of something it's because he really wants it. He's just asking so he doesn't come across as rude. I personally don't like being the one to take the last of anything so even if I want it I won't do it. What can I say? I'm a martyr.

Hev said...

I was also brought up never to take the last piece. If you want the last piece it is OK to ask, just don't just take it.

Pippajo said...

Hmmm...I never really thought about it before, but whenever I'm in that situation I always ask first, and I guess I would expect anyone else to do the same. I would probably even scold the children if they just up and took the last piece of something.

I don't know if this applies when it's just the family at home though. I know my kids are always heard wailing from the kitchen, "Who ate the last granola bar/fruit snacks/marshmallow/cookie" like it's a crime of high treason. So apparently, it happens a lot, but the kids have learned enough about this "rule" to know it's not a "good" thing.

Now this is going to bug me and I'm going to have to ask my mother. I bet she'll know.

How about a "rule" about not opening a new jar, bottle, box or package of something until the old one is empty? Is that etiquette too or just my mother's pet peeve? Committing THAT crime would result in a major tongue-lashing when I was growing up!

J said...

Hmmm. Your house, so you're the host...you should definately offer. If someone wants it, and so do you, badly, then you can split it (if it's family and informal) or suck it up and give it to them (if it's more formal like the boss).

If you're the guest at someone's house, you wait to have it offered to you. Unless you're me, and then if no one is offering, and I really want the pie...I'll ask. But at least I KNOW I'm being rude. ;)

That's my thoughts...

Max said...

You always always ask before taking the last piece of anything. It is nothing more or less than common courtesy and good manners. If someone else admits to wanting some, then you share it.

Ravioli, I don't even know you, but I'm surprised at you. If you take the last piece without asking, even when it's just the family around the table, you are missing an opportunity to demonstrate to your children how to be thoughtful and courteous.

Tabba, you win.

Tabba said...

Thank you all for your insights. I appreciate your thoughts & opinions.
I know....my dear Ravioli...he's still in training ;)!!