Trip Advisor: Poolside predicament is for the birds
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Q: 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?
A: 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.
Q: What's the etiquette for using an outdoor barbecue grill at a motel?
A: Usually, grills are first come, first served, so if it's obvious the grill is in use every evening, you'll want to get there early. The last thing you want is to drive up from the grocery store on a 90-degree day with bags of hot dogs and hamburgers and find that you're not going to get to cook them for three hours. In fact, I'd make sure you have somewhere to put your stuff -- a room with a fridge or at least a cooler -- just in case you have to wait around.
You also need to be nice about letting others cut in. If a family wants to fix a couple of hot dogs for their kids, you should offer them a corner of the grill rather than making them wait till your elaborate barbecue is over. And make sure you leave everything neat and clean. Bring a wire brush or, at the very least, some heavy-duty aluminum foil to clean any charred stuff off the grill, and always throw away trash properly.
Q: Can you give me some etiquette tips for a destination wedding? My fiance and I live in California. My family is in Baltimore, his is in Texas, and our friends are scattered around the globe. Since most guests will have to travel no matter where we have the wedding, we're thinking of getting married at a fabulous resort somewhere in the Caribbean. But neither of us has been to a destination wedding before, so we're not sure of the etiquette.
A: You didn't say when you're planning on getting married, but my No. 1 piece of advice for couples planning a destination wedding is to give guests as much notice as possible. Some couples send out save-the-date cards a full year in advance. After all, people have to book flights and hotels, make sure they can take time off from work, etc.
It's also important to think about your guests when you're choosing a resort. Do any of your friends or family members have mobility issues? Then you'll want to make sure you pick someplace accessible. And it's thoughtful to have a few lodging options at your destination so guests can find a place that suits their budget. By all means, have your wedding at a fabulous, luxurious resort. But make sure there's a cheap bed-and-breakfast or two in town or a basic motel nearby.
Finally, remember not to get too upset if people don't come. Not everyone you invite will have the time or money to attend, even if they'd like to, and it would be bad manners indeed to give anyone a guilt trip about it.
First Published June 3, 2012 12:00 am