Must You Do That? A Simple List of Manners

Categories: Top Five

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stevenpolo
Emily Post? Who the hell is that?
Dining out is something we all love to do. I would have a hard time imagining the reader of this blog who is an exception.

My manners, at least when I'm at home, fly pretty fast and loose. Get it? I fart at the table. So what, who cares? When I'm in public, though, I tend to try to turn up the etiquette just ever so slightly.

Things like chewing with your mouth completely full of food whilst simultaneously pontificating upon Darfur is off-color in every possible way. I only say this because I once saw a guy doing this at a Quizno's, and I thought the same thing you are thinking right now: Quizno's sucks. You are right. Also: That guy is a fucking asshole. Also right.

There are very simple things you can do to avoid affronting the finer sentiments of your dining companions or host. Here is an easy list of five things you can do to stay off everybody's shit list when dining out.

1. Say "Please" and "Thank You."

I don't care who it is or where you are. In life, things are so much easier when you just adhere to some basic principals of politeness. I'm not saying you have to let every dickhead in a minivan into your lane every time you are driving, but these three words can get you pretty far in life. At a friend's house? At work? At the car wash? All good times to let someone know you are appreciative.

And at restaurants, more often than not you are sitting on your ass and someone else is doing everything for you. That's why you are out at a restaurant -- you are too lazy to prepare food and would rather just skip that step completely, getting right into the putting-of-food-into-your-mouth part. It's a great part.

That being said, people work very hard to get that food into your dumb mouth, so the least you can do is say "please," and fucking "thank you," whenever it's appropriate. In fact, when I dine with people who do not do this, it irks me, because it's such a simple and easy thing to do, which brings me to my next point.

2. Do Not Be a Dick to Your Waiter.

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emilio labrador
Oh, $5 on a six-top. Thanks
Seriously. Don't.

Atticus Finch once told Scout that you "... never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."

Imagine, seriously, what they do for a living. No, it's not aerodynamics or neuroscience, but a waiter is a necessary and vital cog in the wheel of the food service industry, an industry that provides a job and identity for millions of Americans. Being a dick to a waiter is just about the lowest on my totem pole of behavior. It's disrespectful, abrasive and totally uncalled for.

I once saw a group of ladies-who-were-lunching absolutely destroy this young man waiting on them. He'd gotten their entire order right, and he hadn't written anything down, either. I can't remember what I did with my car key every morning, let alone seven orders with special requests.

Yet, he'd forgotten one extra side of salad dressing, or something dumb that could have easily been asked for. They just roasted him over the coals for it, as well as called over his manager to complain of the lack of service.

Just ask the dude for a side of dressing and move on.


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30 comments
Chocovine
Chocovine

 Thanks for the great information. Varietal wines are made predominantly from a single-grape varietal, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay.

SirRon
SirRon

I tried pho for fk's sake. What the hell else do you want from me? Thanks.

Quiznoooooooooos
Quiznoooooooooos

Quiznos is awesome! What do you consider a good sandwich?

You sir, have the green bean and ketchup eating tastebuds of a dog's backside.

csoakley
csoakley

Can I make a request from the customer side to waitstaff? Please, when you are taking our orders - write them down. I'm not sure where the trend of not writing down orders started. Is this the waiter equivalent of the hibachi guy who flips a shrimp up into his chef's hat? If this is meant to impress your customer by showing off your amazing memory, all we do is wonder who will have their order come out incorrect because the waiter missed something. Not the kitchen's fault. Not the customer's fault.

When the order is wrong we can either: a) accept the wrong thing and be all pissed off while we eat because we're hungry, dammit! b).send it back to the kitchen. We sit and wait while everyone else is eating and worry that the kitchen is going to retailiate against some picky a-hole customer when the kitchen likely did nothing wrong.

Waiter/Waitress, please stop doing this. The upside is minimal, the potential downside is enormous.

Doc05
Doc05

First, let me say that you should always treat waiters with the utmost respect.  Their job is not easy, but why do some waiters insist on not writing down your order?  Seriously, it is not impressive and I would rather have the impression that a waiter is going to get the order right rather than trying to display their impressive memory skills.

Ohyes
Ohyes

in the dating realm, how someone treats a waiter, grocery bagger, shop keeper, etc. is a great asshole litmus test.

Daniel Castillo
Daniel Castillo

This article is fucked up.

I can't believe you ate at Quizno's.

Terry Alexander
Terry Alexander

While still on the subject of being a dick to waiters, now would be a good time to remind diners that 9 times out of 10 it's not their fault that your meal is taking an hour longer than it should. Incompetent kitchen staff have caused many a waiter to miss a tip and receive an unwarranted ass chewing.TA

timidstrudel
timidstrudel

Having worked as a server for many years, and like most fellow servers, I have horror stories. No matter how nice you are or how great the service is, some people are just total dicks. My theory: people who treat waiters like crap have absolutely no authority in their daily lives and finally get the chance to boss someone around, so they take full advantage of the opportunity. And yes, most of these people were women. I honestly didn't believe in most stereotypes until I started waiting tables. But hey, stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason, right?

I like to remind people of the line from the movie "Waiting". "Don't fuck with the people that handle your food."

MadMac
MadMac

An adendum to the last one to the waitstaff. We're out to enjoy ourselves. If my Mrs. asks for a glass of Reisling, (sp?) at $12 a glass, as a pre-meal drink--don't educate me you a55--get the booze. We're in our 40s. We're paying $40/plate. We've both worked crap jobs, (I've worked the fry line while my old man poured shots) so we tip. Arrogance in waitstaff sukks.

The most consistent, stand-out-best service we've EVER had, anywhere in the country, is at Mark's in Houston. True professional waiters.

Oh, BTW, thanks, Mr. Brown. Good article.

TQro
TQro

It never fails when we eat out, tables with a party of 4, 5, 6, etc merrily enjoying their dinner conversation and just then the bus boy fills their glasses of water and not one stops to say 'Thank you'. 

Jamie Duffin
Jamie Duffin

that's funny!  don't be a dickhead hahahahha

Minnesota
Minnesota

Green beans and ketchup? That is depraved, sir. Also, does Andrew Zimmern wear glasses? 

jellowhead
jellowhead

Do manners apply to being offered fruit Jello?

Sam Brown
Sam Brown

How about some money, the cure for most infectious diseases and my name on the list for a Playboy Mansion party?

csoakley
csoakley

Oh man. You beat me to it while I was writing the same thing. I just don't know why they want to make a hard job harder (that's what she said).

Sam Brown
Sam Brown

I've watched YOU eat at Quizno's, so don't try that line on me, jive turkey.

MadMac
MadMac

You know, I've never gotten that either and not just b/c my mom waited tables. With respect to timidstrudel, above, chewing out the waitstaff, even when I've encountered rude and/or over their head (I refuse to use the term incompetent for someone bringing me food) makes no sense. You didn't hire them, you can't fire them and, as you say, they're not responsible for (and they're usually affraid of) the kitchen folk. That's why God (or Oprah) gave us restaurant managers.

A good manager can make or break a shaky customer/waitperson experience. The worst I saw was at the old Sierra Grill and the best was at Mario Batali's pizza joint.

Can't get your waiter/ress to get their butt out of your face or address your concerns? Call the manager. We couldn't get a manager to our table at Sierra, (which might be one reason why the place went belly up). So we expressed our concern with the poor service on the CC slip and with a $1 tip.

At Batali's, the manager quickly addressed the waiter's pointed refussal to send in our order, as ordered, (we weren't asking for Mario's toe jam, we just wanted basil on a pizza) by delivering the pizza, as ordered. With no other issues, we tipped 15%.

For good-to-great service, we tip 20-25%.

Dwilkinson
Dwilkinson

As long as the waiter is proactive and gives me an idea of how long it's going to be, I (and most people I know) am fine waiting longer.  Just swing by after 15 minutes and tell us it'll be another half hour or an hour, that's fine, we'll get another drink order or maybe add an app if it can be sent out quickly.  What's really irritating is having a waiter that drops off our drinks and then doesn't come back to check on us for 90 minutes because the food hasn't come out yet.

Great article, though, I agree on all points.

Sam Brown
Sam Brown

Arrogance in all things sucks. Thanks for the compliment, Mr. Mac.

Corey
Corey

 Depends on where you are.. :)

SirRon
SirRon

Too freaking demanding. We are blog readers and writers.

The way I see it, you are making money doing this, and you are accumulating a bit of fame by publishing for the online side of the city's only major news and entertainment weekly as brash and freewheeling as Houston itself, so you are part way to your goals anyway.

Sam Brown
Sam Brown

Imagine if your surgeon walked into your waiting room with nothing in his hands.  Did not mark up your leg like they do, didn't write which side to operate on.  No pad or paper.

"Left knee?  Sure.  Got it.  Noooononono, this is my job.  I will remember.  That's one new medial collateral ligament for your left side.  Roger dodger."

Whoops.

SirRon
SirRon

Chin up homes, you are living the dream. ish

Sam Brown
Sam Brown

This will in no way get me into outer space, Jay-Z's inner circle or onto Obama's cabinet, so I don't see it as part way to my goals, but I'm doing OK, sure.

csoakley
csoakley

The sad part is, that has actually happened. Go search for "wrong amputation". When the doctor removes the wrong foot (then still has to go back and remove the correct one) it's a bit worse than a wrong ligament. And I suppose a little bit worse than not having your butter cream sauce prepared "on the side".

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