Restaurants, part 2

This morning we were sitting in a restaurant near one of America’s big tourist attraction – Yosemite National Park – having breakfast.  The crowd was pretty international but from the look of it mainly Europeans,  a few Hispanics and of course Americas.   On the table next to us was a German couple.

After dinner drinks are the norm in Germany, pic: http://www.ausgezeichnet-geniessen.de

We had just settled in and finished half of the food we had gotten from the buffet when the waiter came and asked whether everything was fine.  We nodded and mumbled something affirmative between two bites of French toast and he produced our check from behind his back and put it on the table with the usual “whenever you are ready” or something to that effect.

We hardly noticed.  Then he did the same with the German couple and the woman got all upset, felt kicked out and insulted and commented in German to her companion that this wasn’t the first time somebody had treated them in this very rude way.   I almost intervened to tell them that this is the way things are done here.  It isn’t rude or unusual, you aren’t being kicked out you are simply spared the inconvenience of having to ask for the check.  In the US, unlike in Germany for example, you go to a restaurant, you order, eat, pay up, and get out of there.  No lingering at the table for another glass of wine or beer.   You don’t have to rush and wolf down your food but after you have finished your food and dessert you leave.  If you want to have another glass of wine you either get it at the bar or you go to a different place, like a bar and get it there.

In Germany and certainly any number of other European countries I have been to like Austria, Italy, Switzerland and Spain that is not the rule.  You eat, then you finish you wine, decide, get another glass, talk, laugh, have another and (until not too long a go) smoke a cigarette or two or three.  You might not leave for an hour or more after dinner is finished.

Not so in the US – just different customs, has nothing to do with rudeness, it is just the way it is.

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