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Vote: Is it stingy to ask for a doggy bag?

Or is it a sin to bin your uneaten food?

Published on February 10th 2011.

Vote: Is it stingy to ask for a doggy bag?

TO throw or not to throw? That is the question.

When you finish a meal in a restaurant, but there’s plenty left on your plate, do you take what’s rightfully yours, or is it degrading to ask for a doggy-bag?

There are no rules that damn you for gingerly approaching the restaurant staff and politely requesting a little brown bag or white polystyrene box to slap your slice of pizza/steak/special chow mein in and take away.

Surely we shouldn’t feel cheeky over wanting to keep leftovers? They are rightfully, legally, ours to do with what we please. After all... we’ve paid for it.

Moyo and Gordo went out for a late night (or early morning, depending on your view) Chinese recently. Gordo ordered half the menu, ate some of it, then asked the waiter to take the rest away. Moyo wanted to bag the substantial remainder up to take home for the rest of the week. Gordo went into shock and pulled a face.

Many of us starve ourselves before we go out for a meal, saying to colleagues in the office: “I’d best skip mid-afternoon coffee and cakes - I’m saving myself for tonight.”Then we find ourselves sat at a table after half a bottle of house white, stuffed to our inner core after eight mouthfuls, and having to endure the heart-wrenching moment when the waiter remorsefully bins our food.

Whether we’re at a swanky restaurant or our local McDonald's, we should lift our heads proudly and ask for a doggy-bag.

We’ve all had that stab of hunger that strikes just before bed, when your appetite comes back with a vengeance. The perfect time to finish the meal you actually went out for in the first place.

But some people are too polite, too shy or think it unacceptable to have that slab of chocolate gateaux boxed up for later.

And what about the food we buy and chuck out of our own fridges, just because the sell-by date is up? It's a slightly different argument, but it's waste in a time of frugality, isn't it?

So... is it stingy minge-bag to ask for a doggy bag? Or are we wrong to not ask? Or are there more important things in life than all this? Vote somewhere on the homepage.

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8 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

LazFebruary 9th 2011.

Of course we should ask for doggy bags if there is enough food leftover. Actually in some of today's posh eateries with their minimalist portions, when I've finished I'm more likely to say to the waiter/waitress ..... it was alright that, I'll have it.
For Chinese people taking the leftovers home is second nature. And they certaintly don't describe it as a 'doggie bag'. Their poor hounds would get nowhere need this food. And indeed Chinse restaurants accept as absolutely normal, being asked to put food in containers. Some even charge a small amount for the cost of the containers.
Of course if you go to a Korean restaurant take care if dog is on the mention. Asking for a Doggy Bag there could well be a case of dog-eat-dog.
In Asia the custom of taking uneaten food home stems from their tradition of eating as much of the animal as possible, there are virtually no leftovers. I've seen young boys being handed the head of a boiling fowl so he can scoop out the brain (very yummie) on the basis eating brain will help him become clever.
I remember some years ago going to St John's Market with a couple of visiting Chinese professors, and they asked one of the butchers for the cost of chicken feet. He said they could have them for free as he usually chucked them away. Of course Chinese people adore Chicken feet and duck feet. I've eaten both many times but I would say they make me run any faster.
Perhaps we should be more honest and instead of asking for a doggy bag, start asking for the leftovers to be bagged for us.

Bloated egoFebruary 9th 2011.

It is quite frankly obscene to let food go into the bin because you were too pissed up to finish it. Never mind pulling a face.

Normal PersonFebruary 9th 2011.

Just like buying food to eat at home, when in a restaurant I don't order what I can't eat.

Anne ThropologistFebruary 9th 2011.

After a slap-up feed in a proper restaurant the last thing you want is a bag of leftovers to lug around the pubs with you.

Doggy bags are popular in the United States where the portions of junk food in "restaurants" are gigantic and the 'diners' don't go out afterwards, they just waddle straight to their cars to drive home to their reinforced easy chairs where they can eat their leftovers with their greasy fists.

saladdazeFebruary 9th 2011.

Standard procedure in the US of A. But they're all fat bustards. Has anyone asked the Cunard Yanks? I'd like to stuff a few left-overs into the stupid smirk on George Osborne's spoilt gob.

saladdazeFebruary 9th 2011.

Where's the voting buttons? Is this what they call AV?

Editorial personFebruary 9th 2011.

It's straight down the home page just under Health and Beauty. Yes, I know.

AnonymousFebruary 10th 2011.

If you smelt my dogs farts you'd say no.... what? Oh....

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