Wednesday, November 25, 2015         


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Dining outside carries risk from above


Question: I was recently at a hotel and ordered a burger and fries from the restaurant by the pool. A waiter delivered them to me, and I started eating in my lounge chair. The pool area was crowded, so when I got a call on my cellphone that I needed to take, I decided to get up and move to a walkway where I wouldn't be bothering anybody while I talked. Well, I finished my call and returned to my chair -- there was a bird perched on my basket of food. It flew away with one of my fries.

Now, there were people sitting in lounge chairs fairly close to mine -- one appeared to be asleep, but one guy was just hanging out, watching the bird eat my food. He actually started laughing when he saw me wave my hands at the bird. I'm sorry, but that's just not nice.

Shouldn't you shoo birds away if you see them going after someone else's unattended food?

Answer: I understand why you're mad -- birds are such a pain when you're trying to dine outside. Wouldn't it be nice if poolside bars like this served food under those little mesh-screen covers you use at picnics to keep flies away? But I digress.

I don't think it was anyone else's responsibility to shoo the birds away. It's just one of the risks when dining outside. If it had started raining, you wouldn't have expected a stranger to grab your food and move it under an umbrella, right?

But it was rude of him to laugh at your predicament. That's not nice at all.

Email travel etiquette questions to Lesley Carlin at

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