How Should You Signal To Your Waiter You Are Finished Eating

After giving it lots of thought (untold nights tossing and turning), I have decided I fall firmly into the “cross knife and fork” camp when it comes to removing empty plates. Here’s my logic:

I tend to eat fast, though I have slowed down as I’ve entered my er… waning years. Most of my dining companions eat much more slowly. If the server whooshes away my plate, I’m afraid everyone else will feel the need to rush. I know – I should slow down, but the food just seems to vanish.

On the other hand, there are those people who take an incredibly long time to finish anything. You all probably know someone who picks up individual peas, and then chews each 30 times? By the time they are finished, I’m asleep, face down in my empty plate. It’s not pretty.

So here’s my proposal: leave the plate until everyone is done, OR until I cross my knife and fork. That way, I can send a secret signal to the waiter, and pressure someone who won’t shut up long enough to eat. It’s my first step towards world domination, and you all can be part of it. Here are the final results:

Removing Plates

Total Votes: 193

Your thoughts are welcome

  1. onetart says

    In Europe, if you cross your knife and fork on your plate – say the fork at 7 o’clock and the knife at 5 o’clock – it means the opposite of being done. It means “don’t you dare take my plate, as I am planning to gnaw that last bit of duck confit right off of the bone.” Laying both the fork and the knife at the 5 o’clock position (not necessarily crossed, just lying side-by-side) means that you have finished. If you want your plate to sit there allllll night long, just try it the other way. The server won’t touch the thing.

  2. ATrain says

    I was thinking the same thing as onetart. Even here in the US, I was taught that the “done” signal was to lay both fork and knife together at the 4:30 position. Crossing the silverware is too close to the V position that onetart describes which is the signal that you’ll be continuing to eat. As such, the crossing of silverware has mixed meanings.

  3. one swell foop says

    While it’s nice to have a diner that understands that here crossed silver in certain positions means you are done, so many people have misinformed opinions on the “proper” way to do it. Many of these people simply don’t make a habit of dining out, at least in the sort of place where a server is really expected to know what that means. I’ve had a lot of people put their silver together in the 4 or 5 position to signify they were done, some crossed at 5 and 7, and others put them where ever they feel like is out of the way.
    It all comes back around to being able to understand what your guest wants rather than what they are actually saying according to your definitions of a specific language as it relates to a specific culture.

  4. says

    Well, it is obvious here that PFD should lead the world in deciding on specific standards. Perhaps a combination tip calculator that doesn’t go below 20% and protractor to get the angles just right, is in order. I’ll see if I can get a complete guide posted by, oh, say April 1st ;)

  5. says

    Regarding the press releases: I think it was a great idea — and generous of you — to run this section for a good long time. It was good synergy and made sense. However, since it’s now a lot of work for you, and since the people who send them, some I might add daily, feel no compunction about tossing anything your way, I do think you need to do what works for you. This means either charging them a small fee to post whatever it is you want posted; creating a way where they do the work (obviously, while safeguarding your admin); or otherwise making it win-win.

    It’s self-evident that people like having the opportunity to have their events/menu changes/classes/whathaveyou on PFD; they are targeting exactly the audience they want, and that’s great. But it also has to be great for you.

  6. Suds Sister says

    RE: Press releases.

    I love the press release section. Yours is the only site that lists them. The press release section is the reason I click onto the site daily. I think that you should keep it if only for the fact that it means that the site has new content daily.

    If you are having trouble keeping up with them, why not farm the work out to a few of your contributors? I’d be happy to help, and I am sure others would too.

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