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by Abigail Van Buren

Friend Who Pockets Server's Tips Deserves Dressing Down

DEAR ABBY: I belong to a group that meets weekly for potluck dinners. Several guests regularly help themselves to two servings of an entree and several pieces of bread before everyone has had the opportunity to get a first serving.

Because of this, there is often no meat or bread left for those at the end of the line. Others eat quickly and get back in line for second and third helpings before some have had their first!

This can only be described as gluttony, and it has upset members of our group. Should we appoint a leader and announce the buffet-line rules before the dinner begins, or should we speak to the offenders individually? -- OFFENDED IN TEXAS

DEAR OFFENDED: I think an etiquette lesson is in order. Don't single out the culprits; it would only embarrass them. Make a general announcement of the rules before dinner. Alternatively, designate members to "serve" sensible portions. That should put a stop to the pigging out.