Was this acceptable cafe behaviour or a big faux pas??

(218 Posts)
AHardDaysWrite Tue 18-Mar-14 20:45:58

We're having lunch in a busy cafe (me, DH, two dcs). We ordered a main meal each plus two sides of chips to share. All the chips were soon polished off. On the next table was a woman and her son. She ordered chips for him, but when they arrived he only ate a couple and refused the rest. They left soon afterwards. My DS wanted more chips, so I gave him the (largely untouched) portion from that table. DH was aghast but my reasoning was that the waiter was only going to bin them anyway - why waste food? Was I BU?

Sirzy Tue 18-Mar-14 20:47:38

well its not something I would have done personally!

JesusInTheCabbageVan Tue 18-Mar-14 20:47:52

I'm just perplexed at the idea of a child who only eats a couple of chips. Was it some kind of cyborg, do you think?

WorraLiberty Tue 18-Mar-14 20:48:53

But you and your family wouldn't have been wasting the food because it wasn't yours to waste.

It's the kind of thing I'd allow my kids to do if we were starving/on the bread line I suppose.

But not after eating a meal with a side order of chips - no.

iliketea Tue 18-Mar-14 20:49:15

I think YWBU, but that's more a gut reaction of taking uneaten food of someone else's table a bit bleurgh. And having someone else's fingers in the food and then you take it and eat it <boke>

AHardDaysWrite Tue 18-Mar-14 20:49:41

No idea, Jesus. Sirzy, I wouldn't normally get random leftovers from a table, but I knew these chips were barely touched.

SaucyJack Tue 18-Mar-14 20:49:41


pussycatdoll Tue 18-Mar-14 20:49:57

Cheeky ! And unnerving that you were watched the other people so closely
Because you wouldn't have taken them if you'd seen anything untoward going on with them like loads if salt etc

TeaAndALemonTart Tue 18-Mar-14 20:50:32


grin @ Jesus!

Yuck - no, wouldn't have done it myself!

furlinedsheepskinjacket Tue 18-Mar-14 20:51:27

big faux pas


expatinscotland Tue 18-Mar-14 20:51:29

How do you what they were going to do with the chips? Totally unacceptable.

SackAndCrack Tue 18-Mar-14 20:51:55

I used to regularly go to the pub with my friends on a sunday. On arrival if my friend saw any roast dinner left overs on a table near by she would eat them.

That I couldnt get my head round. What if they gobbed/sneezed/retched into it?

At least you witnessed the previous owners of your second hand chips.

Despite this, it made me love my crazy friend even more.

Its not for me. Neither strangers, cold, left over, retched up roast dinners, nor unloved and rejected chips.

But if thats what you want to do, then go for it.

Ive eaten food from skips before though, thats a proper waste.

dyslexicdespot Tue 18-Mar-14 20:52:03

I admire you for taking them, although I would not have done so myself!

AHardDaysWrite Tue 18-Mar-14 20:52:28

Why eeew, though? They were chips in one of those pretentious little baskets. It's not like a half-chewed sandwich or something. He literally had two of them (I wasn't watching obsessively, but he made a big fuss about not wanting them and pushing them away).

Beamur Tue 18-Mar-14 20:53:17

My first reaction was yuk, but then I can see the logic of your decision! Don't think I'd do it myself though.

WorraLiberty Tue 18-Mar-14 20:55:50

So while you were eating your own meal and a side order of chips, you never took your eyes off the child's food on the other table?

No wonder they left grin

AHardDaysWrite Tue 18-Mar-14 20:56:19

Expat, what else would a cafe do with leftover chips? I rather hope the only other option is that they would have been thrown away!

Latara Tue 18-Mar-14 20:56:51

But they were breathing on them... yuck!

ArtexMonkey Tue 18-Mar-14 20:56:54

Why not?

I wouldn't, but I can't get worked up about it. but then i can't get worked up about much that gets people on mn frothing righteously though, I'm beginning to realise grin

AdventColander Tue 18-Mar-14 21:10:45

I would polish off family members' leftovers but not those of total strangers. You don't know anything about these people, if they've got a virus, if they washed their hands after using the loo. YABU.


I think it's appalling that you helped yourself to leftover foid from another table.

Not only have you given the green light to yoyr children to carry on eating regardless [ after a full meal each] you've made it clear to them there are no limits.

I'm stunned at your boldness.

phonebox Tue 18-Mar-14 21:13:09

Lol. I've done similar before, just not for quite some time.

FGS I hope people aren't being serious about the potential "germs". Everyone encounters far worse in their daily lives out in public.

Kif Tue 18-Mar-14 21:13:49

I wouldn't.

The price of eating out being what it is compared to buying the same food in Iceland it's more about the experience and the style than the nutrition. Nicking food is a bit uncouth and it would take the shine off the treat for me.

vestandknickers Tue 18-Mar-14 21:14:01

Bit disgusting. Not a hugely big deal though.

FlumpieWumpie Tue 18-Mar-14 21:14:09

Couldn't you have just ordered your table more chips?
I do see your point completely. Yep the chips would have been bin-bound. BUT, they would have been breathing on them (YUCK - I remember being offered my nannies roast potatoes when I was little and although I said YES PLEASE, they always smelt different/weird). And surely they would have been cold? Chip/fries not an issue here as DC not big fans.
We wouldn't have done. But can't argue - you were there.

Sparklingbrook Tue 18-Mar-14 21:15:04

That's all kinds of wrong. Big faux pas. Huge.

usualsuspectt Tue 18-Mar-14 21:15:07

I wouldn't do it. Not unless I was mega skint. Then I probably would.

LittleprincessinGOLDrocks Tue 18-Mar-14 21:15:14

You don't know why the child left them though. Maybe he didn't want them as he was starting to feel unwell (i.e D&V bug brewing)?
I wouldn't have risked it to be honest, but then I am a worrier.
Also I bet the café owner would not be too impressed either.

BrianTheMole Tue 18-Mar-14 21:16:02

Crikey, if they were hardly touched then no harm taking them. They would have probably ended up in the bin anyway.

littlewhitebag Tue 18-Mar-14 21:17:02

I would have taken them and eaten them no problem.

usualsuspectt Tue 18-Mar-14 21:17:31

I don't think the cafe owner would care tbh. They would just get chucked away.

I work in a cafe and would probably just laugh if I saw someone chip nicking.

Sparklingbrook Tue 18-Mar-14 21:17:42

I have just run this past DH. He just said 'pissy fingers in the chip bowl'. shock grin

OhGood Tue 18-Mar-14 21:17:53

furlined hilarious

Macocious Tue 18-Mar-14 21:18:05

I would love to do it but would feel too embarrassed.

shouldnthavesaid Tue 18-Mar-14 21:18:41

My mum worked in a hotel in late 80s. Leftovers were taken off people's
plates, microwaved and served up as a new dish. This included veg, soup, all sorts. Think veg if a bit saucy was washed too. Reckon that can't happen now but you don't want to chance it wink!

PoppettyPing Tue 18-Mar-14 21:18:44

I don't really see it as a big deal personally. "Breathed" on them? The people serving them to you probably breathed on them loads anyway

Never understood the food from skips thing.Surely they don't have a skip for the nice clean food and then another skip for food that's gone bad/wascovered in maggots/general waste including people's snotty tissues etc. Or do they?

TooBusyByHalf Tue 18-Mar-14 21:19:14

Totally up to you. If you felt comfortable doing it then why not? Where to people get off telling you it's totally unacceptable? Unlikely to catch anything from a few chips. Everything you touch outside your own home has been touched, breathed on, maybe even spat on by someone else's dirty paws. But if you thought about that all the time you'd never go out or do anything. Luckily we are a pretty tough species. Yanbu.

AHardDaysWrite Tue 18-Mar-14 21:19:51

I don't get the logic of "but they'd been touched". Well, yes, a little bit - I'm not sure you really paw all over chips just to eat a couple. But also, what happens when you order any food in a cafe? If you order a sandwich someone's touched it to make it. If you eat from a buffet you don't know who's put their hands in the food. Obviously I would never eat leftovers that had been in contact with someone's mouth, like a sandwich. But seriously, how germy do you think chips are?

usualsuspectt Tue 18-Mar-14 21:20:08

It doesn't happen where I work.

All leftovers are binned.

phonebox Tue 18-Mar-14 21:21:13

Well the food is usually still packaged when they throw it into the skips, Stealth - so wouldn't be likely to get massively contaminated with bogeys.

Sparklingbrook Tue 18-Mar-14 21:22:20

But seriously, how germy do you think chips are? This all depends on the personal hygiene of the previous owner of the second hand chips.

BrianTheMole Tue 18-Mar-14 21:22:42

Its about timing stealth. Hanging round at the end of the day and then quickly retrieving food that has just come out of the store.

Yes, but do you wash the packs first?> Would you want to eat a sandwich from a cardboard sleeve that was nesteld up against a dirty nappy?

WeAllHaveWings Tue 18-Mar-14 21:23:07

I wouldn't have taken them, aside from the fact it's pretty minging, I like my food hot and by the time they'd left I imagine the chips would have been stone cold.

BrianTheMole Tue 18-Mar-14 21:23:16


Sparklingbrook Tue 18-Mar-14 21:23:57

Mmmm. Stone cold pre-owned chips. grin

It's not the risk of picking up a virus/ germs/ whatever.

It's the actual going over to tbe table and helping yourself because you think ' why not' then demonstrating to your kids that anything goes.

It was a terrible example to your children.

ah thank you Brian! Yes I can see that, so grabbing stuff from the top
I accept I have bin/germ isues. But seriously eating stuff from skips has become quite fashionable (not talking about people who have no choice btw sad) and yet here we have a thread of people ewwwing at some little boy breath germs.
I wouldn't have done it. But not because there was another human being within the vicinity of the chips.

redrubyindigo Tue 18-Mar-14 21:24:46

Going off thread slightly but this reminds me of a story I heard. Not a joke.

A woman walked into a café on a horrible rainy day and ordered a coffee and a Kit Kat. The café was crowded so she sat down at a table opposite a man and opened the Kit Kat and ate one finger of it and had a drink of her coffee. He reached over and snapped off a piece and ate it. Outraged she pulled it back snapped off another piece and ate. He did the same until it was finished.

The woman finished her coffee and told the man how rude he was and stalked out.

Whilst outside she reached into her coat pocket and.........pulled out the Kit-Kat she had bought.

Sparklingbrook Tue 18-Mar-14 21:25:29

Can you imagine if the family suddenly had a thought to return for the uneaten chips. shock

AHardDaysWrite Tue 18-Mar-14 21:26:03

YouStay why, though? Why is taking something that would be thrown away so wrong? It's not like stealing from a shop.

BrianTheMole Tue 18-Mar-14 21:26:13

Whoops. Try again. Unlikely to be a dirty nappy in there, I can't see someone going out of their way to go round the back of the store to put one in. Possible, but not likely. But if the food was nestled up against a dirty nappy then no probably wouldn't eat it.

exactly classy, and fitting name ;)

hmm but surely the skip is just the dumping ground for all the bins in the place. Food scraps, fine and off, anything that's contaminated, snotty tissues, the odd nappy someone has put in a normal bin etc

Georgina1975 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:27:19

I would not have done that. The hygiene thing doesn't bother me too much. But I just wouldn't give DC extra portions of something relatively unhealthy.

BrianTheMole Tue 18-Mar-14 21:27:34

Can you imagine if the family suddenly had a thought to return for the uneaten chips.

Now that would have been funny. And very embarrassing grin

BumpyGrindy Tue 18-Mar-14 21:27:46

Sparkling that's what I thought! Imagine it!

"We forgot our chips..."

"We ate them."


shouldnthavesaid Tue 18-Mar-14 21:28:14

Would be horrified if it did to be honest. Then again, most of mums hotel tales horrify me. Every time I enter one I have to remind myself of health and safety laws. Mum - who was one of the head chefs - distinctly remembers cooking breakfast whilst bladdered and vomiting into a bucket, washing and microwaving broccoli 3 times for 3 successive plates, watching her boss smoking whilst frying stuff and flicking ash into the tray, stealing the empty bedrooms for boozy nights in... This was a naice hotel as well at the time apparently, popular with people on Scottish whiskey/castle trail.

So as I say I would be bloody horrified if it still happened - recooking stuff - but you never know ;)

My mums a good person to go dining with as if there's a problem, she's quite happy to tell the staff how to improve whether they wish to hear it or not. But scarred as well and very quick to check if things are freshly cooked!

That said, I couldn't eat off someone's plate if they weren't related to me.. Otherwise I finish everything oink.

exhaustedmummymoo Tue 18-Mar-14 21:28:37

Hope they hadn't just recovered from a bout of D + V, apart from that can't see the problem, but from infection control point of view and all those lovely pathogens not something I'd do myself, (but almost certainly would have in my student days!!)

AHardDaysWrite Tue 18-Mar-14 21:29:11

Why would you come back for chips? It wasn't a takeaway. You'd assume your table would be cleared pretty quickly after leaving, no?

BrianTheMole Tue 18-Mar-14 21:30:03

I never noticed anything like that when I bin surfed. There seemed to be different bins for different things. Not sure how easy it is these days anyway, as some stores crush it to prevent people taking the food.

I don't actually know why it's so gross, but it is.

Sparklingbrook Tue 18-Mar-14 21:30:22

No Hard DS2 would do something like that, then go back to wrap them up for later.

SinglePringle Tue 18-Mar-14 21:30:35

RubyRec, don't understand?!

Georgina1975 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:31:23

Oh god...parental tales of food prep/hygiene. My dad's tales of making pork pies have damaged us all for life (not that I needed much help avoiding that particular foodstuff). It has made me quite weird about sausage rolls too...

Sparklingbrook Tue 18-Mar-14 21:32:24

Urgh Pork Pie Georgina. That vile jelly. <vom>

MarianneM Tue 18-Mar-14 21:33:16

What ninnies people are with all this "but people breathed on them"!!!

No wonder we are so wasteful of food!

I don't really get the problem, not at all.

So, so silly.

If it went to the skip isn't the issue.

You had already fed yourself and your ds who then complained he was still hungry despite a full meal being provided.

Would you have paid for more chips if you hadn't noticed the potential free ones on offer?

That isn't really the point, you've given your dc permission to take something that isn't his because you did it with the chips , he saw you do it.

Joolsy Tue 18-Mar-14 21:34:15

Terrible example to your children?? Really?? How is eating leftover food that would only go to waste a terrible example? I think that's a total over-reaction. I'm going to defend the OP and say I would probably let my kids eat the food if they were still hungry and I was sure it hadn't been touched by the previous owner. But my kids probably wouldn't eat someone else's food anyway (I probably would though if I was on my own!) grin

FreudiansSlipper Tue 18-Mar-14 21:34:17

it is a skanky thing to do

eating a strangers left overs when there is no need to other than greed

I am having such a visceral response to this I cannot entertain the question rationally.


Sparklingbrook Tue 18-Mar-14 21:35:35

It's not the breathing that bothers me. It's dirty hands. But they could have been breathed on if they were particularly hot I suppose.

AlpacaPicnic Tue 18-Mar-14 21:35:41

My dad once pinched some 'leftover' chips from the table nect to his in a pub, when he was out with my mom... But the person sitting there had only gone out for a cigarette or something!

Luckily he didn't catch my dad in the act but my mom has never forgiven him grin

SirChenjin Tue 18-Mar-14 21:35:48

I wouldn't have done it - but I don't know why confused. The illogical part of my brain is screaming "GERMS", the logical part is going "meh".

Sounds ok to me so long as there was ketchup. Can't bear chips without ketchup.

WorraLiberty Tue 18-Mar-14 21:36:29

Yes for me, the greed is an issue too.

He'd just eaten a main meal and half a portion of chips

He couldn't have been that hungry, so it's really not something I would encourage.

Notcontent Tue 18-Mar-14 21:36:34

It's definitely not the done thing.
But actually, I kind of admire you for doing it. Because it makes sense not to waste the chips. And people who are worrying about germs, etc should never eat out!

"some stores crush it to prevent people taking the food."
What an awful waste. I really don't see why good food has to go in skips. I hate throwing out food and on the rare occasion I do, I remember how much must go from most restaurants and supermarkets every day sad

And yet I have nothing against, and even on occasion, freeganism.

I have to tell myself that the OP was merely preventing wastage.

And yet I still want to boke. confused

redrubyindigo Tue 18-Mar-14 21:36:58

She bought and Kit-Kat put it in her pocket and forgot. When she sat down at the table she was actually eating the Kit-Kat that the stranger opposite had bought and bollocked him for being rude.

The Kit-Kat in her pocket was hers that she had bought minutes earlier.....................it was funny when I heard it.......hmm

Sparklingbrook Tue 18-Mar-14 21:37:27

I am just going to order a cup of tea and ask for an empty plate when I am in a cafe from now on. Quick sweep of the tables-feast fit for a king. smile

SinglePringle Tue 18-Mar-14 21:39:15

Oh! I see! Ha!

steff13 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:40:59

For me it's a no-no because of the germs; how many did that kid touch, and when was the last time he washed his hands? What if he doesn't regularly wash them after using the toilet? Yuck.

BrianTheMole Tue 18-Mar-14 21:41:56

I know stealth, It is really sad.

hiddenhome Tue 18-Mar-14 21:41:58

The child will have had threadworm eggs under his nails 'cos kids are right scruffy little buggers. They'll have been transferred to the chips and.......well.........just watch out for an itchy bum grin

SirChenjin Tue 18-Mar-14 21:42:44

<boak> and <vom> at threadworms. Why did you have to say that???!

I hate food waste but I think YABU because it's just greedy. Nobody needs 'extra' chips. Are you overweight OP?

Joolsy Tue 18-Mar-14 21:43:19

Slightly off topic but we went to the Toby Carvery one Sat night recently and at the end of the evening there were still 3 of the leftover joints of meat on the counter with lots of meat on them - I asked the manager what they did with them and he said they threw them out - health & safety meant they couldn't even give it to the local RSPCA sad. If I'd had some bin bags on me I'd have taken them!

WorraLiberty Tue 18-Mar-14 21:44:54

Joolsy my mate works in a Toby Carvery and she and the rest of the staff get to take the leftovers home.

NoodleOodle Tue 18-Mar-14 21:44:54

I would love to do it but would feel too embarrassed.


Not something I can get worked up about.

I've worked in a few restaurants waitressing when I was younger and if I'd seen the untouched basket of chips on the empty table still warm I would have cleared the table and cracked open some mayo in the kitchen and tucked in.


TeaCupCrazy Tue 18-Mar-14 21:45:15

Freudian Skanky - one of my favourite words grin.

Joolsy Tue 18-Mar-14 21:45:58

"I hate food waste but I think YABU because it's just greedy. Nobody needs 'extra' chips. Are you overweight OP?"

It wasn't for her, it was for her DS

Sparklingbrook Tue 18-Mar-14 21:46:27

Was that allowed HM? confused Bit unprofessional?

Nanny0gg Tue 18-Mar-14 21:46:33

Not yours to take imo.

Not the best thing to show your children.

Joolsy Tue 18-Mar-14 21:47:16

WorraLiberty - that's good to hear, I hate the thought of all that lovely meat going to waste!

I've worked in a few restaurants waitressing when I was younger and if I'd seen the untouched basket of chips on the empty table still warm I would have cleared the table and cracked open some mayo in the kitchen and tucked in.

That's different. Waitresses tend not to earn much and have to interface with Joe Public <shudder> into the bargain. They can do pretty much what they like in my book, so long as it doesn't scare the horses.

Sparklingbrook Tue 18-Mar-14 21:47:56

OP next time you go to a cafe your DC will be eyeing everyone up to see what they leave then rush over and get it. shock

usualsuspectt Tue 18-Mar-14 21:48:38

I've worked in catering for years and I've never eaten a customers left overs.

Totally allowed, and not unprofessional in the slightest.

Free food, perk of the job in my book.


FreudiansSlipper Tue 18-Mar-14 21:51:42

TeaCupCrazy it's my word of the moment smile

op you are teaching your children that it is ok to be greedy, they had eaten and yet you thought it was ok for them to finish a strangers food that had been left because they wanted more. what happens when they see a child not finish their ice cream are they going to approach them asking if they can finish it

teach your own children about not wasting food not encourage them to finish off the food of others

Sparklingbrook Tue 18-Mar-14 21:51:51

Shame it wasn't free, brand new food though HM. sad

usualsuspectt Tue 18-Mar-14 21:52:45

I get plenty of free food at work, I just don't eat customers left overs and don't know any one who does.

Sparklingbrook Tue 18-Mar-14 21:53:49

That's what I thought usual. You don't have to eat customer leftovers as a 'perk'. sad

I don't see the need for sad faces.


Looby12 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:54:26

I once saw a work colleague drinking from someone else's left over beer bottle in a bar, she just lifted it off the table and started swigging, now that's disgusting. I did a double take thinking where on earth did she get that drink from as we had been dancing together for a while without going to the bar.

On the food issue I've seen people in the food court in manchesters arndale centre loitering until someone gets up and leaves food. I presume they are homeless or struggling for money so don't have an issue with it in that scenario but I personally wouldn't do it unless that was my own situation.

CuntyBunty Tue 18-Mar-14 21:54:40

It's just manners, isn't it? Enjoy your own meal out, don't be greedy, consider other diners. That's all part of the experience for us, especially with the DSs, so taking food from another table doesn't exactly re-enforce those lessons. It's grabby.

usualsuspectt Tue 18-Mar-14 21:55:40

Free food is a perk. Free food from the kitchen though, not customers leftovers.

Sparklingbrook Tue 18-Mar-14 21:55:55

I do HM. hmm You described eating customer leftovers as a perk of the job. That's pretty sad if you think about it.

LumpySpacePrincessOhMyGlob Tue 18-Mar-14 21:55:56

If you wanted more chips you should have bought more chips. Small businesses are struggling and they could probably have done with the extra business.

When you are out you pay for what you consume.

Twighlightsparkle Tue 18-Mar-14 21:56:57

I wouldn't but I have a germ phobia!

Good on you, waste not, want not.

I'm not snooty about perfectly good food.

It's there, it's quality food that would otherwise be wasted.

Stupid to bin it if it's perfectly edible, all this hand wringing about 'brand new food' and 'leftovers' is laughable really.

<hands out grips>

AHardDaysWrite Tue 18-Mar-14 21:58:50

Blimey. No, I'm 5'7" and 8st 11lb, not overweight. None of us are, actually.

For the record, the chips were small portions, and we had two between four of us. Not one each. DS had had a healthy main course (tuna salad). Obviously we don't make a habit of taking food from other tables. But it seemed daft to let perfectly good chips go to waste.

Sorry, I can't believe that was more of a threadworm risk than just being at nursery/school is and touching door handles etc.

GimmeDaBoobehz Tue 18-Mar-14 21:59:53

I wouldn't but I get a bit ick touching other peoples food.

I just don't like other peoples bodily fluids, for the most part.

I see no problem with it though.

usualsuspectt Tue 18-Mar-14 22:00:54

Eating someones left over food is hardly a bloody perk.

Sparklingbrook Tue 18-Mar-14 22:01:04

Oh no the thread has reached the 'handing out grips stage' already. grin

WorraLiberty Tue 18-Mar-14 22:02:11

I'm not getting the 'waste' issue

He didn't eat them because they were going to be wasted, he ate them because after eating a tuna salad and chips he was still hungry.

So the subject of 'waste' is a red herring salad

Aeroflotgirl Tue 18-Mar-14 22:02:18

They left, waste not want not and all tat. Yanbu at all! It's not like you grabbed them off the table when they were there. They were going to be binned anyway.

usualsuspectt Tue 18-Mar-14 22:02:20

Handing out grips is sooooooooo last year.

Sparklingbrook Tue 18-Mar-14 22:02:43

How much leftover food did you get through HM?

mercibucket Tue 18-Mar-14 22:03:30

definitely skanky behaviour

WorraLiberty Tue 18-Mar-14 22:03:31

Yes, we should be handing out little wooden chip forks, not grips grin


I guess everyone has majorly differing viewpoints here, really not something I would give a second thought to. Let alone get sad about. V strange IMO.


IAmNotAPrincessIAmAKahleesi Tue 18-Mar-14 22:03:56

Thinking about it rationally there is nothing wrong with it

If I saw someone doing it I would think they were really skanky

If my DH or dc did it I would probably disown them

But I'm not sure why I find it so shudder inducing

LadyBeagleEyes Tue 18-Mar-14 22:04:56

Hadn't you all just eaten though?
Unless you were broke and hungry it just sounds a bit greedy to me.

CuntyBunty Tue 18-Mar-14 22:05:29

Because it's rude and grabby Iamnotaprincess. And yes, I feel the same as you about it.

Sparklingbrook Tue 18-Mar-14 22:05:41

Just thought it would be nicer if the catering establishment could feed the waiters/waitresses some nice fresh food rather than let them eat leftovers HM.

Stop handing out grips! , it's bollocks advice and who actually takes hold of one?

Just don't pinch food off other tables,it's grim.

Quite often some toff would send back their steak dinner!

Too well done, ra ra, I said rare, ra ra

That got bloody scoffed and I got free lunch. Saved me a few quid, which when you're a student counts for a few drinks on a night out. All good to me.

Nah, no free brand new food for wait staff. Not even a discount! The cheek. envy

CuntyBunty Tue 18-Mar-14 22:08:45

I'm holding eight grips, YouStayClassy. One between every finger on my hands. It still doesn't feel like enough for me.

Sparklingbrook Tue 18-Mar-14 22:09:22

That's pretty poor HM. Miserable buggers.

missingwelliesinsd Tue 18-Mar-14 22:10:01

I get it and I think you were practical...but then I also instinctively think "Oh No!" My friend's husband is a chronic scooper-upper of leftovers. He'll take our leftovers/uneaten items from our plates with a cheerful "I'll take care of that for you"!! There's nothing terribly wrong with him doing it, after all we will have/indicated that we are finished but then again it seems so cheeky...and weird!

Sparklingbrook Tue 18-Mar-14 22:10:12

The only thing getting a grip is the OP's DS-on the chips. grin

serin Tue 18-Mar-14 22:11:21

They interviewed a little girl on Radio 1 this morning who survived by scavenging in markets in Kenya, she had caught typhoid from eating infected food.

So sad.

Half the world starving and us lot fretting about perceived germs and social niceties.

The only place I ever worked where you got a free freshly made meal with every shift was feckin McDonalds!

Was shit working there though, middle of Maryhill in Glasgow, rough as you like. Horrible place to work! Didn't stay there long.

BumPotato Tue 18-Mar-14 22:12:52

My five year old is a manky little beggar. She's a nose picker, doesn't wash her hands after the loo unless I ask her to, likes a knee scab to pick, has recently had nits and behaves as if she's allergic to baths.

I always have her in neat, clean clothes and brush her hair so she looks ok. I'm her mother and I'm not sure I'd eat her leftover chips.

Sparklingbrook Tue 18-Mar-14 22:15:14

Oh no HM the only place to get a free freshly made meal and it's not in the least bit appetising.
Sounds very character building as a job though, bet you saw it all.

redrubyindigo Tue 18-Mar-14 22:15:52

Ok I have read the thread all the way through and I will be the threadkiller/misery guts/hoiking up judgey knickers to her armpits, bitch from hell.

I once spent a year in the Laos/Chinese border and got used to seeing toddlers eating noodles from a downpipe from a café sink whilst batting away rats who were trying to snatch the food from their fingers.

I ate there several times a week.

What is a few deep fried chips in a clean café with clean people in a clean country?

PeaceEagle Tue 18-Mar-14 22:17:36

confused as to why so many people on this thread seem to have a view on what the OP's child should or shouldn't eat. How the hell do you know what his calorie needs are and what else he'd eaten that day?

No I wouldn't have taken them myself because of the other boy's hands touching them - but if they had been totally untouched I might have considered it - not sure.

IamInvisible Tue 18-Mar-14 22:18:35

I think it's really grim, tbh. Not only that I think you are sending out the wrong message to your DC. It's greedy to finish off leftovers, imo.

I saw scary glaswegian mothers who demanded I just get the box of happy meal toys on the counter so they could choose ones their kids didn't already have.

I obliged, smiled, and said thank you very much. grin

Does anyone else envision little hair clips when people start talking about grips?

I won't drink my own glass of water if any of the DCs have drunk from it...I can taste even microscopic amounts of backwashed saliva. Ew.

MarianneM Tue 18-Mar-14 22:21:09

Half the world starving and us lot fretting about perceived germs and social niceties.


BumPotato Tue 18-Mar-14 22:21:32

I used to work in an Indian restaurant and we got a curry at the end of each shift. I was sad to give up that job.

Boris13 Tue 18-Mar-14 22:21:59

I would just like to know why u ordered a main meal each and chips as extra..

Then let your son eat more chips.

If he was Hungary still then maybe you could of offered a yogurt, some fruit or something..

Next time if you think the meal isn't going to be big enough, how about ordering extra vegetables or something...
Better than a main meal, extra chips then more chips again....

How old is your son?

Sparklingbrook Tue 18-Mar-14 22:22:18

shock Are you still in catering HM? Sounds like you have lots of experience. grin

usualsuspectt Tue 18-Mar-14 22:23:21

The OPs child wasn't starving though.

If he was, no one would have said she was wrong.

ShatnersBassoon Tue 18-Mar-14 22:24:01

It seems very greedy, taking a stranger's leftovers just to stop them going in the bin. The kid could have sucked a few chips and put them back.

TheArticFunky Tue 18-Mar-14 22:25:52

That's awful. I would never do that. I feel nauseous just thinking about it.

It reminds me of a time when I was about 7 years old and we were having lunch in a cafe. There was a bomb scare and we were evacuated for a short while. The family on the table next to us didn't return and my mum and sister were umming and aahing about whether to eat the families fresh cream cakes which hadn't been touched. Eventually temptation got the better of them and they tucked in. The family returned. I wanted the ground to swallow me up
and I wasn't even guilty. blush

MarianneM Tue 18-Mar-14 22:26:53


The child may not have been starving, but the point is that it feels wrong to be so prissy and wasteful about food when there are so many people who don't have enough.

brdgrl Tue 18-Mar-14 22:27:12

I did the same thing at Ikea recently. DH asked DD if he could have her chips as she hadn't eaten them yet. She said no. Then I took her to the toilet and when we came back he had eaten her chips. Cue the 3-year-old outrage. I gave her a couple of chips from the (looked untouched) tray left on the table next to us.
DH wasn't impressed, but he'd just stolen his daughter's food, so what was he gonna say? ;)

brdgrl Tue 18-Mar-14 22:28:02

arctic, I'm sorry, but you have made me laugh...that poor family.

No, I was a manager at a learndirect centre where they taught maths, english and IT courses before I had my daughter. I am a SAHM for now.

I have worked in a lot of restaurants and hotels and pubs though. I remember when I was in highschool I was told that because I had been excluded from school for 3 days (for fighting with a boy) that I would not be allowed to go in for the 2 weeks work experience placement.

I had to laugh at my guidance teacher then, I had 3 jobs at the time. I worked in my mothers health shop after school, waited breakfasts at a poncey golfing hotel and did evening waiting at a local restaurant. Didn't need any bloody work experience!

manicinsomniac Tue 18-Mar-14 22:30:10


Personally, I wouldn't have the guts but that's because I've absorbed what society thinks and wouldn't dare. There's logically nothing wrong with it at all.

And I also agree with redruby - we're squeamish out of luxury. I've seen street and favela children in Brazil swarm around a delivery of rotten fruit and massively out of date yogurts in delight - huge treat for them. Which my daughters turned down. I couldn't blame them but it was embarrassing.

Boris13 Tue 18-Mar-14 22:31:03


Bomb scare = Cake coming with me! wink shock

MorrisZapp Tue 18-Mar-14 22:32:59

I would do it if nobody was looking. I may have done it in the past.

Old student trick was 'mine sweeping' abandoned looking drinks as the night wore on, but I drew the line at that.

I think.

usualsuspectt Tue 18-Mar-14 22:34:55

Too right, cake on the go.

tethersend Tue 18-Mar-14 22:35:05

My friend used to work at Wimpy.

They used to chuck all the leftover chips back into the fryer <grim>

usualsuspectt Tue 18-Mar-14 22:39:03

No wonder they went out of business.

WorraLiberty Tue 18-Mar-14 22:41:20

I don't know why people are bringing starving children from other countries into this.

The OP (I assume) is in Britain.

Her child had just eaten a main meal and half a portion of chips.

The two are not comparable

One is starvation and the other is greed.

whois Tue 18-Mar-14 22:41:30

Family and friends on the same table - ok to eat their left overs.

Random people who left stuff on another table - not ok unless you're starving or something.

Sparklingbrook Tue 18-Mar-14 22:45:08

Thanks for saying what I was thinking Worra-didn't know how to say it.

ThistleVille Tue 18-Mar-14 22:45:30

Wouldn't have done it personally - but out of embarrassment, not the bleugh factor. After all, at weddings and parties everyone helps themselves from the same plates at the buffet table don't they?

Don't get MN'ers started on buffets thistle..

Can of worms right there.

Sparklingbrook Tue 18-Mar-14 22:49:40

Yes they do Thistle, double dipping and everything.

Beamur Tue 18-Mar-14 22:51:28

I ate a piece of scone off DP's plate at the weekend and then asked why he'd left it.
'Because it had fallen on the floor' he says....shock
I am still alive and well.

Sparklingbrook Tue 18-Mar-14 22:54:56
nooka Tue 18-Mar-14 23:04:47

If the OP would otherwise have ordered some more chips because the portions were small and her children were hungry then why is it greedy? This was food that was otherwise going in the bin.

My mother was a post war baby brought up during rationing and to her waste was a cardinal sin. We waste a huge amount of food. I think that is a much bigger issue.

SergeantJarhead Tue 18-Mar-14 23:16:34

I wonder if any of the previous posters who say the OP is BU have ever experienced real hunger?

Just saying ...

Sparklingbrook Tue 18-Mar-14 23:19:15

Bit irrelevant Sergeant. Nobody in the OP was experiencing 'real hunger' were they? The DS had already eaten one meal.....

SaucyJack Tue 18-Mar-14 23:20:21

The child may not have been starving, but the point is that it feels wrong to be so prissy and wasteful about food when there are so many people who don't have enough.

Love it. This is gonna be my new excuse for eating ten meals a day.

"I'm just eating it for the starving Africans"

cake cake cake cake cake

ThistleVille Tue 18-Mar-14 23:20:40

Ooh, I see. Thanks Sparkling ......

Kaekae Tue 18-Mar-14 23:22:15

Ewww....I would never do it, I would rather buy enough food for my kids to eat and if I couldn't afford to, then I wouldn't eat out.

defineme Tue 18-Mar-14 23:28:39

In the vast scheme of things-no I don't really think it matters.

However, I have a ds with asd and he will happily eat any food from anywhere-old chewing gum off the path or pop out of a bin. It would be very hard to draw the line with him if I was nicking left overs.

I think it's a very strong social rule actually and I did recoil when I read what you had done -just like when I heard that my ds's preschool assistant was eating the left overs off the kids' plates. I've obviously been conditioned not to this at a young age.

My kids are gannets and anything left on our table is fair game, but I have explained that we don't do that with visitors plates-just seems rude and wrong.

I think it's difficult and it's probably a good idea not to- it's probably not often possible to tell if it's germ free and it's a bad example for that reason.

Kif Tue 18-Mar-14 23:35:08

I think skip surfing is fine. There are ways to choose - and there is a genuine issue with food waste.

But scrounging off someone else's table is just not restaurant behaviour.

KatoPotato Tue 18-Mar-14 23:43:22

Back in the day my friend and I used to go on a night out with no money and get drinks bought for us.

When the chaos weren't quite so generous, we'd sit ourselves near quarrelling or snogging couples then neck their drinks when they left...

WorraLiberty Tue 18-Mar-14 23:43:29

I wonder if any of the previous posters who say the OP is BU have ever experienced real hunger?

What does that have to do with anything? confused

Are you suggesting that after eating a main meal and half a portion of chips, the OP's child was experiencing real hunger?

Seriously, some of the posts on this thread are so far off topic they're couldn't get back with a satnav.

KatoPotato Tue 18-Mar-14 23:43:33


aurynne Wed 19-Mar-14 05:56:21

I actually did this once myself... not with chips, but with hand-made chocolates in a "chocolate high tea" experience.

The chocolates were uber-amazingly delicious and the couple behind us left half theirs uneaten in their plate (oh the heresy!!!).

I brazenly and unashamedly took their plate when they left the chocolaterie. My DH was horrified. I said: well, I'll eat them all myself to save you from the yuck factor.

They were delicious :P

I would have knowingly risked D&V for them.

Wuxiapian Wed 19-Mar-14 05:58:27


That is my gut reaction.

JapaneseMargaret Wed 19-Mar-14 06:10:12

This reminds of the 'adjacent to refuse is refuse' episode of Seinfeld when George takes an eclaire with a nibble in it out of the bin to eat.

But it's OK because it was above the rim, and he knew who took the bite (an aunt).

You, my friend, have crossed the line that divides man and bum.

mercibucket Wed 19-Mar-14 06:32:53

my mil was a war baby born into rationing. she thinks wasting food is sinful. she is morbidly obese

not that that has anything to do with the op's post either, but as we are now moving on to world hunger and possible solutions (we eat more food - brilliant shock )

just sayin'


World hunger and the taking unwanted chips from another table to pacify her child don't equate.

*OP taking unwanted chips.

HippyPottyMouth Wed 19-Mar-14 08:02:41

I'd rather see food enjoyed than wasted. I'm a size 12, so not obese, by the way.

LouiseSmith Wed 19-Mar-14 08:20:15

I personally wouldn't have done it, but I can see OP's point. I defiantly wouldn't have done in front of anyone else..., shudders grin

As for skipdiving, when I worked in Iceland. The Salvation Army used to be outside at closing time, waiting for the damaged out of date food and bits. Ok some of it was stuff that's packages had broken and couldn't resell, or one can in a twelve pack was broken, so no harm. But meat that had been left on the side un chilled for most of the day to. No thanks x

Marylou62 Wed 19-Mar-14 09:05:23

I n my travelling days, I was in Athens and awfully hungry, having ran out of money. There was this little café and I would sit with a coke and wait...always got something to eat. Wouldn't do it now though...

Floggingmolly Wed 19-Mar-14 09:14:33

That is really awful hmm. Your kids now think it's acceptable to forage through other people's leftovers like starving mongrels...
Jesus hmm

Throughthelongnight Wed 19-Mar-14 09:18:44

I agree that this just goes against social convention. I doubt the OP would have asked the the people for their left over chips if they were still there, and had clearly finished.

I also think that excessive consumption of food (ie more chips after a main meal and side order) is just as wasteful as chucking them in the bin.

dustarr73 Wed 19-Mar-14 09:19:29

No i wouldnt do it,you dont know where the kids hands have been.He could have mauled and licked all the chips.You dont know.
I just think its disgusting to eat off someone elses plate i dont even eat my kids leftovers.Its just wrong.Ugh.

LokiDokey Wed 19-Mar-14 09:28:47

My mil is borderline obsessive overt wasting food. On holiday one year (all inclusive I add) the kids wanted a kfc for a change. They gave them a little pot of coleslaw, which neither dc like.
A few hours later we had this smell lingering, after some debate it was discovered mil had said pot of coleslaw her bag and it had burst. When asked why she just said she didn't want to waste it. God knows what she was planning on doing with it but on the same holiday she saved left over bread rolls to feed to the camels...

She also saves leftovers at home and thinks nothing of re frying chippy chips for several days after. I've always found it incredibly ott.

melika Wed 19-Mar-14 09:32:58

Wasting food on our own table, yes, I agree everything has got to go.

But from someone elses table, no, how do you know if they had touched them, infectious diseases etc.


Joolsy Wed 19-Mar-14 09:43:11

"That is really awful hmm. Your kids now think it's acceptable to forage through other people's leftovers like starving mongrels...
Jesus hmm" - yes of course they do, one day eating some chips from the next table, the next scavenging through people's bins because their parents don't feed them! hmm

How do you know the reason the other child hadn't eaten the chips, was that he had been ill, or was feeling ill? That would be my first suspicion, and for that reason alone I think you were BU. ewww

But also it is just really grabby...makes me think of someone I know, (she wouldn't do it with food) but she would take something that had been left behind just to make her own grandchild happy, oh look here's the thing you want no need to get upset oh here look have this one, there there darling hmm

Sparklingbrook Wed 19-Mar-14 11:14:15

Yes Daryl they may have rushed off because 'chip leaving child' had a dose of D&V. shock

FrankCarsonsDressingRoom Wed 19-Mar-14 11:16:09

Grabby, skanky, greedy behaviour.

It's not a good lesson for your kids either.

oakmouse Wed 19-Mar-14 11:18:50

It's not done, but I bet the boy and his mum would have been perfectly happy for you to have them.

I don't feel either disgust or moral outrage. I'm quite surprised by the depth of feeling on this, to be honest. It seems like an unconventional, but essentially harmless action.

Ploppy16 Wed 19-Mar-14 11:20:04

I saw this a lot at the restaurant I worked at grin, usually customers would ask if the other table were leaving the food though. It was quite a posh place as well, full people who could easily have ordered another plate of chips or whatever if they wanted, but free food is free food!
It will have been binned otherwise and that much left over food will have more than likely pissed off the chef..
Can't really get that worked up about it and I certainly don't see that you were teaching your children to scavenge for food or to eat until they are sick tbh. You were doing the staff a favour by clearing plates.

MatryoshkaDoll Wed 19-Mar-14 11:36:46

Although I can see all the rational arguments for this, my gut reaction is that it's greedy and grabby.

Can't put my finger on why though. Will have more of a think about it.

BrianTheMole Wed 19-Mar-14 12:33:55

Well if the people on the table next to me wanted my bowl of barely touched, unwanted chips, I would be more than happy to let them have them. Not mumbling to myself that they were grabby, skanky, and whatever other unpleasant names have been used on here. Who would have known some unwanted chips would cause so much angst. grin

dustarr73 Wed 19-Mar-14 12:45:55

Its different if the food was offered ,it wasnt.Im not some germ phobe but some things to me are ick.And taking leftover food from another table is up there.
If you are eating out and someone said there is a plate of chips to many nobody touched them would you like them is completely different to going over to someone elses table helping yourself to food left behind.

drnoitall Wed 19-Mar-14 12:54:16

Ewwwee. Really? You took a random persons leftovers?
Can't explain why but it reminds me of a tramp taking a burger from a bin that he saw someone drop in there moments earlier. Yukkk!
Id be mortified if I saw my dc do what you did, you have demonstrated that this is ok to your dc.
How did you know the other person hadn't been picking their nose, or have worms!!!

Amber76 Wed 19-Mar-14 13:00:42

I worked in restaurants for years and can honestly say I never, ever saw or heard of anyone doing this. I think I would be a bit "ugghhh" if I did see it. Yes, there is nothing wrong with the chips but I would class it as unacceptable café behaviour.

mercibucket Wed 19-Mar-14 13:13:46

asking is not skanky

being genuinely in need of food makes it fine too

but this is just socially unacceptable, hence all the shock

MajorGrinch Wed 19-Mar-14 13:18:17

Loving all the people on here who must never eat from a buffet or go to a BBQ at a friends house - what with "all those people near & breathing near the food".

I think it would be different if you'd nicked the tip, but food - fair game if you fancied it.....

Well done for your commitment to recycling grin

manicinsomniac Wed 19-Mar-14 13:19:02

The starving children aren't being brought into it because they are ths same as the OP's son wanting more chips.

The are being mentioned in response to the hysterical action of 'omg germzzzzz'! Our visceral reaction to taking food from someone else's table is only possible due to the luxury we live in. It actually won't do us any harm.

The social unacceptability argument is different.

Sparklingbrook Wed 19-Mar-14 13:20:16

I don't eat from buffets. <shrugs>

BBQs-the meat is either burnt to a crisp or still alive, so I will only join in if DH is in charge. But TBH I prefer my salad indoors without bugs in. grin

Kitsmummy Wed 19-Mar-14 13:24:20

I just think it's a bit scummy tbh

PuppyMonkey Wed 19-Mar-14 13:25:31

You've got a nerve - well done I say.grin

Sparkling, you don't eat from buffets? What, never? confused

(Love a buffet)

Sparklingbrook Wed 19-Mar-14 13:27:41

No, never if I can avoid it Puppy. I know it's probably weird. But it's ok, I don't go to many things where buffet eating is required. smile

dustarr73 Wed 19-Mar-14 14:14:52

See i have no problems with buffet or bbqs as they are communal.But eating leftovers that other people have eaten from is just wrong.

amicissimma Wed 19-Mar-14 14:20:08

My first reaction was to laugh.

My second to think 'I wouldn't do that'.

My third to think 'Why not?'

Perhaps we should start a trend. Obviously excluding those who are scared of other peoples' breath and so on.

SometimesLonely Wed 19-Mar-14 14:22:01

Taking other people's leftovers is not the done thing, really. I suppose you could have asked for a doggy bag but might have been refused.

My advice, in the circumstances, is always to take a plastic bag with you when you go to a restaurant. You can then take the leftovers surreptitiously home or back to the car where they can be eaten.

WorraLiberty Wed 19-Mar-14 14:49:56

My advice, in the circumstances, is always to take a plastic bag with you when you go to a restaurant. You can then take the leftovers surreptitiously home or back to the car where they can be eaten.

You mean go round and clear the tables?

SirChenjin Wed 19-Mar-14 17:49:44

No, not clear the tables - just take the stuff you fancy grin

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