Ask The Salty Waitress: Someone’s vaping next to me on the restaurant patio

The Salty Waitress
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The Salty WaitressThe Salty WaitressSalty Waitress is The Takeout’s advice column from a real-life waitress that will teach you how not to behave like a garbage person while dining out—and maybe in real life.

Hi Salty!

I’m lucky enough to live in a big city with a ton of restaurants that have outdoor seating options (patios, roof decks, sidewalk seating, etc.) available. I love to sit outside when the weather is nice, but lately I’ve noticed that a lot of people who vape like to sit outside too.

I just looked up my city’s smoking ordinance, and smoking and vaping is prohibited in public places and places of employment and within 15 feet of entrances. That says to me that people shouldn’t be vaping around other diners, even if they’re outside. It does really bother me to smell someone else’s grape-flavored second-hand vape, especially when I’m trying to eat my burger. So here’s my question—when people are vaping within the confines of a restaurant, would it be appropriate for me to ask a server to ask the vaping diner to cut it out? Or is it best if I do the dirty work myself? Or is there an option I haven’t considered?

Appreciate the insight Salty! Hope your next shift is a lovely one :)

Sarah

Hi Sarah,

Thanks, doll! And thanks for sending me such a softball of a question.

If someone’s vaping bothers you, tell your server and she (or, better yet, her manager) will do the dirty work for you. That’s it. The restaurant is our place, and we want everyone to be happy there. The same would go for screaming kids and jerks. It’s also our job to enforce the rules—and the rules are that if someone’s vaping makes other guests uncomfortable, the vape has to go. If you want to speak to the vaping person first, go ahead, but I’ve found people tend to listen better to authority figures like me or my manager.

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Now a note to the rest of you: For the love of god, don’t vape in the restaurant. Don’t vape on the patio. It doesn’t matter if your vape smells like grape, which is a food, which people eat in restaurants. It doesn’t matter that it’s not technically smoke. You are up in other people’s space. Vaping on restaurant patios may be legal in some areas and illegal in others; regardless, in my Salty opinion, it’s not a good look either way.

Unlike a fussy baby, this is something you can control. So just don’t do it. Let other people enjoy their meal and save the grape stuff for your own damned patio.

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Got a question about dining out etiquette? Or just a general question about life we can help you with? Email us: salty@thetakeout.com

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