Susan Morrison: When is it out of line to get parked up for your food?

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THE Botanics incident led me to ponder, how far back in the queue are you allowed to be before you can park a husband/child/grandparent at a table and thus take possession?

Is it acceptable as soon as you walk in? Should you wait in the queue until you reach the hot food section? Do you all have to be in the restaurant before table-bagging can be done?

Is it an acceptable reason to actually have children, since there’s no doubt that the most successful seat-securers are little people who won’t be challenged by large adults and the little tykes can manoeuvre swiftly under tray height?