Waitress Rant: Restaurant etiquette for dummies (from your favorite waitress)

Waitress Rant is a blog in which I document the daunting tasks of “walking in a straight line” and “not dropping things” at a semi-offensively-entitled-restaurant.

“You know... as soon as you started waitressing, your father started giving more generous tips.”- Mom

A few years ago, my dad nearly choked to death on a bit of his lunch. As you probably expected, I swooped in and saved him with my Heimlich maneuver knowledge (I would like to thank my seventh grade health teacher, and the academy). After this fateful day, he transformed into one of the world’s leading Heimlich maneuver advocates. He saw this rather traumatizing experience as life-changing.

These days, one of his favorite past times is sending out group emails, detailing the specifics of his near-death experience and advocating for Heimlich-maneuver-education. He is also a fan of quizzing various family members on their Heimlich maneuver knowledge. Jeopardy: Heimlich Edition. In fact, just last week, when my cousin admitted that he wasn’t familiar with the Heimlich maneuver, my dad forced my uncle to engage in a demonstration with him. Try to picture one grown man (my father) performing “abdominal thrusts” on another (less enthusiastic) one. Yep.

Anyway, I’m sharing this strange tale with you for multiple reasons. First of all, I think it’s entertaining. Second of all, the truth is, I no longer find my father’s constant Heimlich related PSAs completely ridiculous. I have had my very own Heimlich-maneuver-esque-moment-of-enlightenment (definition: one, of many, seemingly small moments in life… that change you irrevocably). I’m not going to claim that waitressing has shown me the light/made me a better person (if anything, I might argue the opposite). Or inspired me to embark upon some Eat Pray Love type journey. But it has taught me a thing or two about how to behave in a restaurant.

I can no longer enjoy a restaurant meal in a state of blissful restaurant etiquette ignorance. And so, being my father’s daughter, I feel the need to share some tips with you all (and seize this opportunity to rant about how $h#ttily people have treated me). Sidebar: If you are interested in some sort of demonstration and/or a game of Jeopardy… hit me up.

I Am Not , in fact, a Human Being

Sorry, Lil’ Wayne. I normally take your words for fact, but not this time. Yes, the job of a waiter/waitress is to serve you. However, kindly treat your server like a human being. Some eye contact is always nice. Maybe even throw in some smiles and thank yous. Hey, if you want to truly stun your server, throw in a compliment. (Ex. The blackness of your outfit really contrasts with the brightness of your soul). Please refrain from communicating with your server through various hand gestures. Firstly, it’s RUDE. Secondly, the dog-training studio is down the street. I ain't fetching a ball or doing some cool tricks for you.

I Am Not a Human Being Typewriter.

I promise that is the last Lil’ Wayne reference. But seriously.  Next time you place your order at a restaurant, kindly refrain from doing so at warp speed. Because then your order ends up looking like this:

Can you read my handwriting? Neither can I.

Can you read my handwriting? Neither can I.

And when I accidentally give you black bean soup instead of black beans and rice because all I could manage to write down in my panic was “BB”… well... then… IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT.

The World Is Not Your Waitress.

THIS IS THE WORST. You’re given one waiter/waitress when you are seated at the restaurant. Ya know, that person that introduces him/herself and takes your order…? So please refrain from treating the ENTIRE restaurant like they’re at your beck and call. Like, hey, I’m sorry your waiter forgot you exist… but that doesn’t mean you can direct your wrath at me. And you know what? NO, I will NOT go and get you a re-fill. (Can you feel my bitterness coming of the screen?)

Order What’s on the Menu, Fools.

So, just beef and onion? Okay. Screenshot by Sameet Dhillon/Gavel Media

So, just beef and onion? Okay.

Seriously. As much as I pretend I don’t mind telling the chef to make a beef + black bean + cheddar wrap without the black beans, cheddar or rice (sarcasm), I HATE IT/YOU. Don’t be a brat. If you’re trying to eat healthy or you have extreme dietary restrictions, do us all a favor and eat at home. Or go to one of the many hipster/vegan/farm grown products restaurants in this world (particularly in Providence, R.I.).

NEVER have this conversation (with your waiter/waitress):

Me: What can I get for you?

Customer: Hm, whatever you like.

Me: What?

Customer: Honestly, bring me anything. What do you usually order? I trust your taste.

I’ve had this exact conversation WAY too many times. There are so many things wrong with it. First of all, I’m not your BESTIE/significant other! I’m your server. Chances are, we don’t like the same things. Second of all, this is the perfect recipe for extreme amounts of awkwardness. When you don’t like your food… well… it’s all my fault… and you’re insulting my taste.  There was also that one time I ordered someone a dish with beef in it (because she insisted that she “trusted my taste”) and then I handed it to her and she informed me that she doesn’t eat beef. Awkward. Never trust me/servers around the world.

We get it, you’re on a date.

Whilst dining in a restaurant, please be sure to follow the universal PDA guidelines. It’s just really not that fun to serve you your food while you are making out. And it gets kind of awkward when I try to put a plate in the middle of the table but I can’t because your hands are intertwined there. Also, PSA to men everywhere: just because you talk to a waitress/acknowledge her presence doesn’t mean that you’re cheating on your girlfriend. So, next time I ask you for your order, try telling it to me instead of your girlfriend/the table/the floor.

P.S. This one's for you, Dad (EVERYONE... watch it):


Screenshot and photos by Sameet Dhillon/Gavel Media. 

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