Darryl McEwen

‘Hats off’ is not a compliment

With lots of casino holiday parties taking place this month, maybe it’s time to review dress codes and table manners.

I attended three parties in Atlantic City last December and was appalled by the way many people dressed and acted.

Guys were the worst. Baseball caps and other headgear at a nice sit-down dinner? Shorts and t-shirts in December?

An invitation to cocktails and dinner on a Friday or Saturday night shouldn’t have to include a suggested dress code.

And then there were the atrocious table manners.

Many diners never bothered to place their napkins on their laps. If they used them at all, they simply wiped their mouths and put the napkins back on the table.

During one dinner, when their entrées arrived, two men immediately started cutting up every piece of steak and vegetable into bite-size pieces before beginning to eat. Maybe that’s how their mommies did it for them, but adults cut each piece as they eat.

Others around me began dumping salt (and pepper) on their food without even tasting it.

Some shoveled food into their mouths grasping the fork like they were making a fist.

Worst were those who didn’t finish what they were eating before adding more to their already stuffed mouths.

And many were the same folks who then continued to talk while they were chewing and swallowing. There’s nothing more disgusting than enduring a visual history of someone’s meal while they add their two cents to a conversation.

I wasn’t raised in the wealthiest of households, but my parents at least taught me basic table manners. And what I didn’t learn from them, I picked up as I grew older watching others.

Casinos don’t make it easy

Let me also take aim at the casinos that host these parties:

• If applicable, advise guests in the invitation that there’s a cocktail reception prior to the posted start of the event – not when they register (or show up to find out they missed most or all of the reception).

• Don’t set tables – meant to comfortably seat eight – for 10.

• Don’t cram so many tables in the ballroom. Guests and the service staff need space to maneuver.

• Don’t fill the tables with flatware, coffee cups and saucers, bread plates, bread baskets, water and wine glasses, napkins, and salt and pepper shakers. Leave space for someone’s cocktail or other beverage.

• Don’t hire a great band and then allow them to play so loud guests can barely talk to the person next to them, let alone anyone else at the table.

Guests at these sorts of parties long have voiced these complaints, but they continue to fall on deaf ears.

Maybe this year.

Recreational gambler Darryl D. McEwen, a former professional journalist, is president of his own consulting firm that manages several small national and international trade associations, and provides public relations and fundraising services for a number of charitable organizations. Have a comment on this or a question specifically related to an Atlantic City casino, players club or other promotion? Email Darryl at MrACCasino@gmail.com and he’ll try to respond to you personally. Your question – without your name – may appear in a future column. Visit his website, MrACCasino.com, and follow him on Twitter @MrACCasino. Your question – without your name – may appear in a future column.