In these our Edison-bulb-lit gastronomic times, proper service has all but been stabbed in the neck repeatedly, chopped up into bits, and left in the freezer for dead. But you know exactly what? Oh, you know exactly what, you. Your manners are also dying a slow death, especially when it comes to dealing with the waitstaff (or, in your case, "the help"). Let's break it down.

Michael Bauer has an excellent piece in today's Between Meals section. It's all about bussers who clear the plates too soon. And this is a problem, especially when you're not finished. "Plates should remain on the table until everyone is finished," Bauer urges. He also offers a suggestion as to why this OCD-like early plate clearing happens, explaining, "The problem is that at many places the staff isn’t very well trained. I think in many cases the people removing the plates think they're on top of things because they've never been taught otherwise."

Hear, hear.

In related dining etiquette, we have a question for the SFist audience: How do you deal with rude dining companions? We don't mean first dates that act out or fart out loud or, far worse, cry at the table. No, we mean close friends who are habitually rude to the waitstaff. Because, sweet Jesus, it really does suck sucks. We are then guilty by association. A prickly pal makes for a far worse dining experience than a rude waiter since you have no one with whom to commiserate about the former (at least until you get home to IM your other friends about the uncomfortable dinner you just had).

Anyway, we'd love to know how you circumvent this problem, aside from black balling that pal from public dining arenas.