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Parents Balk After They’re Criticized For Ordering Takeout For Their Kids While Out To Eat With Friends

Sebastian Coman Photography/Unsplash

We’ve all been through one of those scenarios where we went out with a group of friends, and there were some newcomers.

Sometimes that can be fun and lead to new, long-lasting friendships, but sometimes it’s just awkward, admitted the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor tatatertotter was shocked after a friends’ dinner, when she was criticized by a new couple for how she orders her meals.

When her friend also came to the defense of the new couple, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was actually in the wrong.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for ordering meals for my children when we go out with friends?”

The OP had a special arrangement set for whenever they went out to dinner.

“My husband and I have two children (19 and 17). We go out with our friends (two other couples) every other week.”

“On the weeks we do not go out with them, we have a date night and then a family dinner out.”

“We always get separate checks, so each couple pays for their own food/drinks. We find it is just easier to do it that way.”

“On the weeks that we do not take the kids (or ask if they can come in the 19-year-old’s case since they work), we always have them look at the menu to see if they want us to order them something and bring it home.”

“We have been doing this for the last five years since the kids were old enough to not need a babysitter, and it has never been an issue, until now.”

“The only time we do not order them anything is when we have plans after dinner, such as a concert or movie.”

Not everyone appreciated the arrangement, however. 

“A new couple joined our group for dinner, they are friends of another couple we go out with, and we had never met them prior to Saturday night.”

“We decided on sushi for dinner, so we showed both kids the menu online and asked if they wanted us to pick them up something to bring home. They each decided on two rolls.”

“At the end of our meal, my husband ordered the rolls for the kids and let the server know that they were for takeout and to put them on our check.”

“The wife of the new couple got a little huffy and told us that it was rude of us to order more food when everyone was getting ready to leave, and basically said it was trashy of us to get doggie bags for our kids when none of the other couples had.”

“My husband told her that we do this all the time, and that if they wanted to leave, nothing is stopping them from doing that.”

The OP was surprised by who else didn’t support it.

“The next day I got a text from my friends, saying that this new couple did not enjoy going out with us, and that we embarrassed them (the new couple, not our friends) at the restaurant by ordering takeout food for our children.”

“I asked my friend if she had a problem with us doing that as they had never said anything to us before.”

“She said no, but she does not want fighting within the group, so she asked that we not order takeout anymore for the kids if this other couple was going to be dining with us.”

“I told my friend that it was rude to ask us not to do this, especially considering that we have always done it without issue, and that maybe we just did not need to go with them when they dined with this other couple, since they did not like being around us.”

“AITA for ordering takeout food for our kids when we dine out with our friends?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some said the OP did nothing wrong in regards to restaurant etiquette.

“Them ordering take out doesn’t mean you have to wait though? Why would that irritate you?”

“They obviously didn’t plan on going anywhere with them after, since it was noted that they only get take out for their kids if they’re going straight home.”

“I’ve never expected anyone to sit around the table and wait for me even if we arrived together and will leave together.” – RLKline84

“NTA. If you are ordering at the end when everyone is leaving and you are paying for it, why do they care so much? Do they need you to walk them to their car or hold their hands to cross the street?”

“It’s none of their business if you bring takeout home.” – MommaGuy

“I’ve been a server and preferred it done the way OP does it. I have a million things on my mind and I don’t want to have to run to the kitchen and try to time the to-go food appropriately, and have the kitchen also have to keep track of the ticket so that they can go back to it.”

“I would rather ring it in later so that it’s in their current tasks and keeps everyone in their normal rhythm.”

“As an expo person, I’d have also been frustrated at having to keep even more tickets aside because the flow of food from the kitchen is chaotic enough already without adding in another order that I have to hold tickets for and make sure I’m keeping track of even though it’s not on my screens at that time.”

“It’s a logistical nightmare, IMO (in my opinion), to ring it in before it actually needs to be made.” – leigh1419

“I am a single mom and if I go out to dinner I always consider my kid in the process, whether that is a meal if he doesn’t have anything planned or an amazing dessert I tried. If I’m going home after dinner, I think it’s just the right thing to do.”

“I have certainly never had anyone call it trashy and if they did, I would co sidereal never going out with them again.”

“NTA op, I think you’re a considerate parent.” – jojenboben

Others agreed and thought the other couple’s feelings were not the OP’s responsibility.

“Why in the world would anyone care? They (new couple) are not paying for it, nor is it affecting them in any way. This is just senseless idiocy. NTA.” – gordito_delgado

“NTA for taking extra food home and NTA for suggesting that their friends just see these people when OP isn’t there.”

“It seems so strange that OP’s friend wants to force all of these people to continue to spend time together when they don’t seem to get along. Why force it if the first interaction wasn’t great?” – wkippes

“I would be inclined to tell the ‘friend’ that they’re not welcome, either.”

“‘I know you’ve been in this group for 5+ years, and you’ve been ordering for your kids this way for 5+ years, but you need to stop doing it because a new couple doesn’t like it. Kthxbye.'”

“F**k that. Asking OP to change the way they order (i.e. ordering the extra at the beginning, so no one feels compelled to wait around) is fine. Asking them to stop completely is not.” – WolfShaman

A few thought the other couple had alternate plans for the group in mind.

“The new couple is definitely pulling a dominance move on OP’s couple’s boundaries by inventing some criticism based on some random condescending notion and using it to dictate norms in a situation involving them.”

“OP should tell their mutual friend that they aren’t comfortable hanging out with people who have so much class insecurity that they will be judgmental and rude to people over random socially neutral habits that they’re unfamiliar with, like ordering takeout for kids.”

“OP should say the other couple brought class insecurities and other social baggage to their outing, and aren’t worth a second dinner unless they recognize that their inappropriately critical behavior is poor social etiquette.” – rhetorical_twix

“At face value, it would seem that this new couple is trying to maneuver into a place either consciously or subconsciously of being higher in the pecking order of the group.”

“These people usually like to create little dramas that they think will put them in the light of deciding how the rest of the group should be, act, or be perceived.”

“It happens in cliques no matter the place. Friendships, work environments, office environments, PTAs, volunteer situations.”

“There will always be those who, for some reason, need to become controlling of whatever new group they walk into. These people tend to be terribly toxic, but hard to call out on their bullcrap (at least initially), because on the surface, seem to be nice, interesting, or charming.” – CatsSolo

Thrown off by her old friend’s reaction, the OP admittedly had mixed feelings about what had happened during what should have been an enjoyable sushi dinner.

The subReddit, however, felt the OP did nothing wrong in ordering food for her children, especially if she was paying for it herself.

In the very worst-case scenario, maybe her timing in ordering the food could have been a little better.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.