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US customer's worst conduct

post #1 of 59
Thread Starter 
One good turn deserves another, so in the name of equal time (from a former waiter):

US Restaurant Customers' Worst Behavior:

Snapping fingers desperately to get server's attention while they are taking another customer's order.

Grabbing server by the arm or apron stings as they walk by, particularly while they are carrying hot soup or cocktails.

Calling female servers "Honey" "Sweetie" or "Toots," or calling male servers "Buddy" or "Champ."

Ordering something that doesn't vaguely resemble anything on the menu.

Ordering Prime Rib or Ahi tuna well-done.

Ordering a Turkey burger medium-rare.

Asking questions about the food or wine that you already know the answers to, just to show off to your trampy date.

Making a big show out of sampling the cheap wine you ordered, acting as if you were an expert; making comments like, "Nice oaky undertone" or "I sense a hint of cherry" about a bottle of what is essentially fermented Kool-aid. (Dude, anyone can take a damn wine class at The Learning Annex, you aren't special-if you really knew wine you wouldn't have ordered the cheap shit.)

Lingering over an hour after the meal has been finished as the bill has been paid and the restaurant is closing for the night, even as you see busboys stacking tables and chairs all around you.

Not showing up for your reservation, or better yet showing up an hour late for your reservation and still expecting the next table available.

Asking to have the music or air conditioning turned up or down, as if you were the only person in the restaurant.

Expecting the waiter to wait for you to finish your cell phone call to take your order. For extra effect, grab a hold of their arm and don't let go indicating that you will be done with your phone call "in just a sec."

Making comments like, "There goes you tip."

Showing up to a busy restaurant across the street from a performing arts center twenty minutes before the curtain and attempting to order and eat a three-course meal (including a well-done sirloin) before your show.

Shoving your chair out far away from the table, thus blocking the path for the restaurant's staff.

Asking if you can order from the children's menu.

Going to a hip, urban restaurant and asking for Ranch or Thousand Island dressing on your baby greens salad.

Bringing a Vegan friend to a classic steakhouse and complain about the lack of dining choices.

Accusing the sever of giving you a regular instead of decaf cappuccino. Claiming you can "taste the caffeine."

Asking the server for a cocktail that is not in any bartender's guide and only made in one bar back in Hooterville where you are from. Expect the bartender to be able to figure it out just from you saying, "I think it has rum in it."

Putting your used plates and glasses on the clean table next to yours.

Lying through your teeth and exaggerating to the manager about a slight incident in hopes of getting a free dessert-never mind if it causes the server to lose their job.

Insisting on a table for six for your party of three at a peak time.

Showing up at a busy restaurant with a party of 15 without a reservation and wondering why you can't be seated immediately.

While at a banquet or reception with a pre-set menu and mass-serving of hundreds of people asking for a special meal (just for you) in the middle of the chaos.

Going to a four-star restaurant with the hottest chef in town and asking for one of the signature, work of culinary art masterpieces with "sauce on side" "truffle oil on side" "no frissee" and "can he sauté it in regular oil instead of olive oil" and "Make sure the smoked salmon isn't too fatty."

And let us not forget:

Experiencing flawless, personable, professional service and still leaving a shitty tip.
post #2 of 59
How about claiming to know the owner when you can't get a reservation?
post #3 of 59
post #4 of 59
Don't you just hate The Learning Annex?
post #5 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LabelKing
Don't you just hate The Learning Annex?

I'm just waiting for them to put out a course, "Make Your Own Bespoke Suits For Fun and Profit!!!"
post #6 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDaniels
One good turn deserves another, so in the name of equal time (from a former waiter):

US Restaurant Customers' Worst Behavior:

Asking to have the music or air conditioning turned up or down, as if you were the only person in the restaurant.

Making comments like, "There goes you tip."

Putting your used plates and glasses on the clean table next to yours.


It's the waiter's (or bus boy's) duty to pay attention to when a guest becomes uncomfortable with an excess of china etc. at their place. I've never seen this done unless it was an act of last resort.

I guess people should remain uncomfortable, just to save the service crew any burden.

If someone tells you they are not going to tip you at an American restaurant, I would take that as a very strong hint that your job performance is below standard.
post #7 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDaniels
I'm just waiting for them to put out a course, "Make Your Own Bespoke Suits For Fun and Profit!!!"
It's such a cynical enterprise, that Learning Annex. It's like Trump and Toni Robinson consipring together to create something ultimately useless.
post #8 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stach
It's the waiter's (or bus boy's) duty to pay attention to when a guest becomes uncomfortable with an excess of china etc. at their place. I've never seen this done unless it was an act of last resort.

I guess people should remain uncomfortable, just to save the service crew any burden.

If someone tells you they are not going to tip you at an American restaurant, I would take that as a very strong hint that your job performance is below standard.

So, I suppose then if one were a guest in someone's home and had finished a course and were annoyed at the sight of a plate before oneself, the proper thing to do would be to reach over and stick your plate on the buffet or breakfront, or perhaps on the head of a passing small child or pet. Proper etiquette dictates that one does not place elbows on the dining table, so it is troublesome to contemplate exactly why one would need to have china removed AT THAT VERY MOMENT to the point that one MUST REMOVE IT ONESELF-unless one of course was suffering from OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER or was just exceptionally ANAL RETENTIVE.

As far as mentioning the tip, unless a customer has developed a rapport with the server and makes a good natured joke, most etiquette experts would consider it exceptionally crass and classless to mention the tip at all towards the server. Yes, there are horrible servers out there that deserve to be stiffed, but they are USED to not getting tipped so there is no reason to lord it over their heads, getting stiffed will not suprise them. In practical application, I have found the "there goes your tip" comment to be used in regards to things out of the server's control or when a riddiculous request cannot be honored, such as, "What do you mean I can't substitute the baked potato for a lobster tail? There goes your tip!!!"
post #9 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDaniels
So, I suppose then if one were a guest in someone's home and had finished a course and were annoyed at the sight of a plate before oneself, the proper thing to do would be to reach over and stick your plate on the buffet or breakfront, or perhaps on the head of a passing small child or pet. Proper etiquette dictates that one does not place elbows on the dining table, so it is troublesome to contemplate exactly why one would need to have china removed AT THAT VERY MOMENT to the point that one MUST REMOVE IT ONESELF-unless one of course was suffering from OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER or was just exceptionally ANAL RETENTIVE.

Most of the behaviours you described in your opening post are indeed objectionable, but you're on thin ice here. In someone's home, one is not paying for seamless service -- in a restaurant one should expect much more. Expecting that a waiter anticipates a need for space on the table is certainly not unreasonable.

Interestingly, it is a peculiarly American custom that calls for a cleaned plate to be removed even whilst others are still eating that course. I'm not sure I like it. I suspect that it was insitituted to speed diners along and turn tables.
post #10 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by YoungFogey
Most of the behaviours you described in your opening post are indeed objectionable, but you're on thin ice here. In someone's home, one is not paying for seamless service -- in a restaurant one should expect much more. Expecting that a waiter anticipates a need for space on the table is certainly not unreasonable.

Interestingly, it is a peculiarly American custom that calls for a cleaned plate to be removed even whilst others are still eating that course. I'm not sure I like it. I suspect that it was insitituted to speed diners along and turn tables.

Fair statement, but just becuase someone is paying for something does not give
them the right to behave in a boorish, cruel and/or and obnoxious manner.
post #11 of 59
sorry, just like I disagreed with the other guy, I am going to argue that most of these are acceptable, under the right circomstances.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDaniels
One good turn deserves another, so in the name of equal time (from a former waiter):

US Restaurant Customers' Worst Behavior:

Snapping fingers desperately to get server's attention while they are taking another customer's order.

Grabbing server by the arm or apron stings as they walk by, particularly while they are carrying hot soup or cocktails.

Calling female servers "Honey" "Sweetie" or "Toots," or calling male servers "Buddy" or "Champ."

Ordering something that doesn't vaguely resemble anything on the menu.

Ordering Prime Rib or Ahi tuna well-done.

Ordering a Turkey burger medium-rare.

Asking questions about the food or wine that you already know the answers to, just to show off to your trampy date.

Making a big show out of sampling the cheap wine you ordered, acting as if you were an expert; making comments like, "Nice oaky undertone" or "I sense a hint of cherry" about a bottle of what is essentially fermented Kool-aid. (Dude, anyone can take a damn wine class at The Learning Annex, you aren't special-if you really knew wine you wouldn't have ordered the cheap shit.)

Lingering over an hour after the meal has been finished as the bill has been paid and the restaurant is closing for the night, even as you see busboys stacking tables and chairs all around you.

Not showing up for your reservation, or better yet showing up an hour late for your reservation and still expecting the next table available.

Asking to have the music or air conditioning turned up or down, as if you were the only person in the restaurant.

Expecting the waiter to wait for you to finish your cell phone call to take your order. For extra effect, grab a hold of their arm and don't let go indicating that you will be done with your phone call "in just a sec."

Making comments like, "There goes you tip."

Showing up to a busy restaurant across the street from a performing arts center twenty minutes before the curtain and attempting to order and eat a three-course meal (including a well-done sirloin) before your show.

Shoving your chair out far away from the table, thus blocking the path for the restaurant's staff.

Asking if you can order from the children's menu.

Going to a hip, urban restaurant and asking for Ranch or Thousand Island dressing on your baby greens salad.

Bringing a Vegan friend to a classic steakhouse and complain about the lack of dining choices.

Accusing the sever of giving you a regular instead of decaf cappuccino. Claiming you can "taste the caffeine."

Asking the server for a cocktail that is not in any bartender's guide and only made in one bar back in Hooterville where you are from. Expect the bartender to be able to figure it out just from you saying, "I think it has rum in it."

Putting your used plates and glasses on the clean table next to yours.

Lying through your teeth and exaggerating to the manager about a slight incident in hopes of getting a free dessert-never mind if it causes the server to lose their job.

Insisting on a table for six for your party of three at a peak time.

Showing up at a busy restaurant with a party of 15 without a reservation and wondering why you can't be seated immediately.

While at a banquet or reception with a pre-set menu and mass-serving of hundreds of people asking for a special meal (just for you) in the middle of the chaos.

Going to a four-star restaurant with the hottest chef in town and asking for one of the signature, work of culinary art masterpieces with "sauce on side" "truffle oil on side" "no frissee" and "can he sauté it in regular oil instead of olive oil" and "Make sure the smoked salmon isn't too fatty."

And let us not forget:

Experiencing flawless, personable, professional service and still leaving a shitty tip.
post #12 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by globetrotter
sorry, just like I disagreed with the other guy, I am going to argue that most of these are acceptable, under the right circomstances.

I'd like to imagine the right circumstances, could you give a hint on when any of the mentioned behaviors might be deemed acceptable in polite company?

By the way, women watch how guys behave towards the server. It's a great way to discover if he is prince or frog.
post #13 of 59
sure,


Snapping fingers desperately to get server's attention while they are taking another customer's order.

specfically while they were taking another customer's order, I wouldn't, and I don't snap. I have found myself desperatly waving at servers more than once in my life to get their attention.


Grabbing server by the arm or apron stings as they walk by, particularly while they are carrying hot soup or cocktails.

I can't rember doing this to anyone carrying anything liquid - but once or twice, I have, in desperation, either grabbed a waiter by the arm or put my arm in their way while they were moving.


Calling female servers "Honey" "Sweetie" or "Toots," or calling male servers "Buddy" or "Champ."

not exactly my style - by as I have been called, relativly often "honey" or "sweetie" by waitresess, I do not see why this should be a sin.


Ordering something that doesn't vaguely resemble anything on the menu.

I have no problem with this - you are in a service business, I am a customer. if I really want something that isn't on the menu, I will aks for it, and if you can't or won't provide it, fine. if you can, you will probrably guage me. I have been in several resteraunts, most often italian in america, where there was absolutly nothing on the menu that sounded edible, and I have had to basically ask "can I have your pasta alfredo, but without the mushrooms and the sausage and the basil and the shrimp and the pine nuts and the peppers? just pasta, butter and cream?"


Ordering Prime Rib or Ahi tuna well-done.

well, yes, here I would say there is no real wiggle room


Ordering a Turkey burger medium-rare.

serves you right if you serve turkey burgers


Asking questions about the food or wine that you already know the answers to, just to show off to your trampy date.

again, I don't do this, but what skin is it off your back if a guy can use you to look better to his date were I to do this, I would tip you well for your cooperation.


Making a big show out of sampling the cheap wine you ordered, acting as if you were an expert; making comments like, "Nice oaky undertone" or "I sense a hint of cherry" about a bottle of what is essentially fermented Kool-aid. (Dude, anyone can take a damn wine class at The Learning Annex, you aren't special-if you really knew wine you wouldn't have ordered the cheap shit.)

yeah, I hate this too


Lingering over an hour after the meal has been finished as the bill has been paid and the restaurant is closing for the night, even as you see busboys stacking tables and chairs all around you.

sorry dude, this is part of your life. my customers call me at 3 am on saturday morning, yours linger over coffee. life is tough.


Not showing up for your reservation, or better yet showing up an hour late for your reservation and still expecting the next table available.

no excuse.


Asking to have the music or air conditioning turned up or down, as if you were the only person in the restaurant.

I want to be comfortable. I am not thrilled about leaving after I have sat down. but if I am dropping more than about 3 bucks, I want to be comfortable. so I expect the temperature to be comfrotable, and the music to be low enough for me to hear. again, not your job as a waiter, but certainly the owner/managers job.

Expecting the waiter to wait for you to finish your cell phone call to take your order. For extra effect, grab a hold of their arm and don't let go indicating that you will be done with your phone call "in just a sec."

do you have anything better to be doing? sorry, this is part of life in a service economy. I probrably am just as thrilled about the phone call as you are.

Making comments like, "There goes you tip."

here's the thing - I have said something like that maybe 5 times in a life of eating in resteraunts. if I get to that point, you have pissed me off quite a bit, but not enough for me to not give you another chance.


Showing up to a busy restaurant across the street from a performing arts center twenty minutes before the curtain and attempting to order and eat a three-course meal (including a well-done sirloin) before your show.

this afternoon I had lunch someplace relativly nice in 50 minutes - I had to get to an appointment. When I was seated, before I ordered, I told the waiter what I was going to order, and I asked him if I could be out the door in 50 minutes. if he had had doubts, I would have gone someplace else. I think that this is fair.


Shoving your chair out far away from the table, thus blocking the path for the restaurant's staff.

depends on how much room I have been given, you have to admit that part of this falls on the design of the resteraunt


Asking if you can order from the children's menu.

yes, well, that is just silly

Going to a hip, urban restaurant and asking for Ranch or Thousand Island dressing on your baby greens salad.

perhaps you are too hip for a tip?


Bringing a Vegan friend to a classic steakhouse and complain about the lack of dining choices.

having vegan friends is simply unforgivable.

Accusing the sever of giving you a regular instead of decaf cappuccino. Claiming you can "taste the caffeine."

again, can't begin to address this one, all I can say is that I am glad I am not a waiter

Asking the server for a cocktail that is not in any bartender's guide and only made in one bar back in Hooterville where you are from. Expect the bartender to be able to figure it out just from you saying, "I think it has rum in it."

depends on what the drink is - I have been in pretty nice resteraunts where the bartender couldn't make pretty basic drinks.


Putting your used plates and glasses on the clean table next to yours.


If I get to the point where I am trying to figure out what to do with the dirty plates on my table, see the rule about the tip.

Lying through your teeth and exaggerating to the manager about a slight incident in hopes of getting a free dessert-never mind if it causes the server to lose their job.

unaceptable in any circomstance.

Insisting on a table for six for your party of three at a peak time.

the only reason I can see for doing that is if the tables are not set up comfrotably enough.

Showing up at a busy restaurant with a party of 15 without a reservation and wondering why you can't be seated immediately.

people are free to do that - doesn't mean that they will be seated.

While at a banquet or reception with a pre-set menu and mass-serving of hundreds of people asking for a special meal (just for you) in the middle of the chaos.

I actually did this a few months ago - a customer dragged me to a brussel sprout festival, 5 courses of brussel sprouts, from soup to dessert. I simply couldn't face it, and the, very helpful staff, made me a simple meal of cold cured meats, a rissoto and a nice little rack of lamb, while serving maybe 200 people a set meal. I was very grateful, and they recieved a very nice tip.


Going to a four-star restaurant with the hottest chef in town and asking for one of the signature, work of culinary art masterpieces with "sauce on side" "truffle oil on side" "no frissee" and "can he sauté it in regular oil instead of olive oil" and "Make sure the smoked salmon isn't too fatty."

I honestly avoid these kind of places just because of this attitude - I can understand your point, but I am there to enjoy my food, not live out the fantasies of the chef. he is being paid to get a nice meal to my table that I like, and if I would like one of the various parts of the meal to be taken out or added, in a reasonable manner, I think that that should be accomidated.




as you will note in some of the top rules - I think that it comes down to expected or perceived service. I am far from a tyrant, but if I find myself looking for a waiter 2 or 3 times, I will lose patience. I would like my waiter to look at me every minute or two, so that if I am looking for them, I will find them. I want all the things that I can reasonably expect to enjoy my meal delivered at more or less the same time, and I do not want anything more than is needed on my table. pretty simple needs. I won't freak out if these needs aren't met, but it may effect my tip, and I reserve the right to use extraordinary efforts to get your attention. my grandfather, rest his soul, used to balance a full glass liquid (often beer) on his head. I knew someone who claimed to have set a newspaper on fire in a crowded resteraunt to get the attention of a waiter.


I have eaten a lot of meals out, I am on the road about 120-140 days a year for the past 17 years, and probrably once or twice a week when I am home, and I have had to do any of the things listed above probrably less than 5 times. but, I could still see circomstances taht would permit some of them.
post #14 of 59
Thread Starter 
" I actually did this a few months ago - a customer dragged me to a brussel sprout festival, 5 courses of brussel sprouts, from soup to dessert. I simply couldn't face it, and the, very helpful staff, made me a simple meal of cold cured meats, a rissoto and a nice little rack of lamb, while serving maybe 200 people a set meal. I was very grateful, and they recieved a very nice tip.
"

Come on...you have to be putting me on!
post #15 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDaniels
" I actually did this a few months ago - a customer dragged me to a brussel sprout festival, 5 courses of brussel sprouts, from soup to dessert. I simply couldn't face it, and the, very helpful staff, made me a simple meal of cold cured meats, a rissoto and a nice little rack of lamb, while serving maybe 200 people a set meal. I was very grateful, and they recieved a very nice tip.
"

Come on...you have to be putting me on!


no shit - although I am not sure if the vegetable was brussel sprouts (and it didn't have dessert), it was something very similar. I was in northern italy, I had traveled all day to meet this customer, and he tells me that he has this great place to take me to. he has brought along his wife, for the free meal, and we go to this very nice place with a fantastic view, and old castle. anyway, when we get inside, there is a smell that I assosiate with sliimy green vegetables, and everybody is eating dark green stuff. my customer expalins that it is a special festival and this is a vegatable that they are very proud of in this region, and that all the dishes are made with it. so they bring out a thick green soup, and I could jsut barely get it down, and then a dish of shrimp smothered in a thick green sauce, basically a pureed vegetable and cream over the shrimp. now, I will tell you, if I thought that this guy was going to make a purchase, maybe I would have soldiered on, but he wasn't, and he was telling me how he wasn't able to pay some money he owed my company, as well, so I just thought "fuck it" and broke down and admited to the owner that I wasn't enjoying the star vegetable of the festival. they were actually pretty nice about it, even though I am sure I came out the fool - at that point I just had had enough. my customer and his wife went on to eat a rissoto made with it, a fish stuffed with the vegetable, and a fresh salad made with it. we converged again for the dessert.
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