Metro-East Living

It’s okay to avoid technology when ordering at a restaurant

Q. My husband and I go out for dinner quite often since we are now both retired. We like to have a relaxing time and enjoy our meal. Now a lot of restaurants have these little techy gizmo boxes, or whatever they call them, sitting on the table on which you can play trivia, order your drinks, your meal and dessert. My husband I don’t think that is relaxing if we have to fiddle with these things so we don’t use them.

We especially don’t like it when the waiter or waitress tells us to order from this gizmo and gives us a weird look if we say we would rather not. Aren’t they (the wait staff) there to make it easier for their customers? So, if we have to do all their paperwork for them, shouldn’t we cut back on their tip? Furthermore, it’s often a person from the back who brings out our food anyway, not even our waiter or waitress.

A. Technology is definitely taking over wherever we look. Restaurants apparently are no exception, and they actually make money from these little techy devices when customers play trivia, etc. I, too, do not feel it is relaxing to have to place beverage and food orders using these technological devices. It remains the customer’s decision whether to use it or not.

Cutting back on the waiter or waitress’ tip, however, is inappropriate and very unkind if you choose to use the device because the waiter or waitress is still responsible for your overall satisfaction with the food and the service. Whether you need another napkin, a refill on your beverage, or getting an explanation of an item on the menu, the waiter or waitress provides it for you; therefore, they need to be appropriately compensated.

Q. Is it passe to expect to hear a “No, sir, ...Yes, ma’am...” in today’s “slippery slope of declining civility”? Is it proper to respond with a “No problem” when someone thanks you?

A. It is still considered good manners to say “No, sir. Yes. ma’am.” Doing so shows respect for others.

Responding with a “No problem” rather than “You’re welcome” is not appropriate.

Q. Is it proper to eat large whole, unhulled strawberries with your fingers?

A. Yes, definitely.

Dianne Isbell is a local contributing writer. Send your etiquette questions to Dianne Isbell at Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427, or email them to