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Thread: tap the table

  1. #1
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    tap the table

    Dear teachers,

    The following is from a text:

    He tapped on the table for the waitress.

    My quesiton is:

    Instead of calling the waitress he tapped on the table. So is it a custom to tap on a table for a waitress? Or does it mean the person has a high social status so he can do so?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang

  2. #2
    Mister Micawber's Avatar
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    Re: tap the table

    .
    Where and when is the scene set, Jiang?
    .

  3. #3
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Re: tap the table

    Hi,

    It didn't indicate clearly. But I think it is coffee shop or restaurant because people could order coffee and fruit etc. I don't understand what your 'when' mean. Could you please further explain it?

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Micawber View Post
    .
    Where and when is the scene set, Jiang?
    .

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    Ouisch's Avatar
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    Re: tap the table

    It depends upon where the story is set, I suppose. In North America, it is considered extremely rude to tap the table, whistle or snap your fingers in order to get a server's attention.

    (Remember, it's never a good idea to upset someone who is responsible for handling your food!)

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    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Re: tap the table

    It would really help to have the full context of the quotation. What goes before can be a good indication of what the writer is intending.

  6. #6
    Mister Micawber's Avatar
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    Re: tap the table

    .
    By 'when', I meant historical period (1890s, etc), Jiang. I thought that might help the decision.

    Offhand, if it is a contemporary informal setting, I can see the customer tapping the table to get the waitress's attention if he is a regular customer, is in the midst of a conversation, and is sitting near her. I can't see that that would be particularly rude or imperious.
    .

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    Re: tap the table

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Micawber View Post
    .
    By 'when', I meant historical period (1890s, etc), Jiang. I thought that might help the decision.

    Offhand, if it is a contemporary informal setting, I can see the customer tapping the table to get the waitress's attention if he is a regular customer, is in the midst of a conversation, and is sitting near her. I can't see that that would be particularly rude or imperious.
    .
    Ask a food server. Trust me, whether a regular or a first-timer, it is extremely rude for a customer not to take a moment from his conversation in order to get the server's attention in a respectful manner. Likewise, once she does refill your coffee or whatever, you would certainly take a second out of your table chatter to thank her. It's common courtesy; she is not a servant or an underling, just a working person like the rest of us.

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    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Re: tap the table

    Dear Quisch,

    Thank you very much for your explanation. Now I see.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by Ouisch View Post
    It depends upon where the story is set, I suppose. In North America, it is considered extremely rude to tap the table, whistle or snap your fingers in order to get a server's attention.

    (Remember, it's never a good idea to upset someone who is responsible for handling your food!)

  9. #9
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Re: tap the table

    Dear Anglika,
    Thank you very much for your reply. The following is the context:
    A DILL PICKLE
    by Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923)
    AND then, after six years, she saw him again. He was seated at one of those little bamboo tables decorated with a Japanese vase of paper daffodils. There was a tall plate of fruit in front of him, and very carefully, in a way she recognized immediately as his "special" way, he was peeling an orange.
    He must have felt that shock of recognition in her for he looked up and met her eyes. Incredible! He didn't know her! She smiled; he frowned. She came towards him. He closed his eyes an instant, but opening them his face lit up as though he had struck a match in a dark room. He laid down the orange and pushed back his chair, and she took her little warm hand out of her muff and gave it to him.
    "Vera!" he exclaimed. "How strange. Really, for a moment I didn't know you. Won't you sit down? You've had lunch? Won't you have some coffee?"
    She hesitated, but of course she meant to.
    "Yes, I'd like some coffee." And she sat down opposite him.
    "You've changed. You've changed very much," he said, staring at her with that eager, lighted look. "You look so well. I've never seen you look so well before."
    "Really?" She raised her veil and unbuttoned her high fur collar. "I don't feel very well. I can't bear this weather, you know."
    "Ah, no. You hate the cold. . . ."
    "Loathe it." She shuddered. "And the worst of it is that the older one grows . . ."
    He interrupted her. "Excuse me," and tapped on the table for the waitress. "Please bring some coffee and cream." To her: "You are sure you won't eat anything? Some fruit, perhaps. The fruit here is very good."
    "No, thanks. Nothing."
    ......
    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.
    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    It would really help to have the full context of the quotation. What goes before can be a good indication of what the writer is intending.

  10. #10
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Re: tap the table

    Hi,

    I don't know when the story was written. I only know the author was born in 1888 and died in 1923.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Micawber View Post
    .
    By 'when', I meant historical period (1890s, etc), Jiang. I thought that might help the decision.

    Offhand, if it is a contemporary informal setting, I can see the customer tapping the table to get the waitress's attention if he is a regular customer, is in the midst of a conversation, and is sitting near her. I can't see that that would be particularly rude or imperious.
    .

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