DEAR MISS MANNERS: It appears that servers at casual-dining establishments are not trained to remove trash from tables. Every time I dine at one, my companions and I are soon faced with a pile of trash on the table and no place to put it: paper straw wrappers, creamer cups, used sugar packets and the sticky papers that are used in place of napkin rings.
Either I gather up this debris and dispose of it at the hostess stand or in the restroom, or it sits there the entire meal.
Yes, I can ask the server to take it, but I feel awkward holding onto small handfuls of trash and handing them to a server. What does Miss Manners advise? Am I doomed to look at trash for my entire meal?
GENTLE READER: Although the availability of non-casual dining declines every day, Miss Manners would like to believe that there is limited overlap between restaurants with paper napkins and those that employ roving waitstaff. As she waits for it to disappear entirely (the use of paper napkins, not formal dining), she has no objection to your pushing the detritus into a neat pile under the shade of the artificial floral centerpiece.