Is the economy that bad? Six doggie bag stories.

6. The diner at the next table

Lucas Jackson/Reuters/File
Waiter Sayed Islam (center) speaks with two patrons at The Plaza hotel's "Palm Court" restaurant in New York in 2008 after the hotel reopened following extensive renovations. If a patron at an adjoining table asks to bag up your food, it's OK to say no.

New York comedienne Leighann Lord was dining with friends in New York in June when the waiter asked if she wanted a doggie bag for her half-eaten meal. Ms. Lord declined, but the diner at the next table piped up: "I’ll take that doggie bag."

“He wanted it not for his food, but for my leftovers,” Lord recalls. “He told me he hated to see food go to waste. So do I, but I never thought to take scraps of food from a stranger’s plate. Perhaps there’s something to be said for mooching off other people’s leftovers. But this guy was eating half of my meal. Shouldn't he have offered to pay for it?”

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