I am an old man. And I am generally a mild-mannered, contented, happy, grateful old man. But there are some things in restaurants that really turn me into a Grumpy Old Man.
- "We". The server greets us in a condescendingly chipper voice, "Hi Folks, and how are we today?" They are really asking, "How are you today?" and so why don't they just ask that? This "we" nonsense really bothers me. I generally let it go, but sometimes either Ms. Eclectic or I will respond "We are fine. How are YOU?" But they never seem to get the message.
Ms. Eclectic threatens to respond, "What do you mean, 'WE'?"
My own preference, though I doubt I would ever do this, would be, "WE? Does that mean you're splitting the bill with us?"
The point is, why must servers say "we" when they mean "you"? It is rude, improper, incorrect and just plain stupid. Whoever started using "WE" when they mean "you" deserves a special place in hell.
- "How is everything?" Of course it is a good idea for a server to check to make sure people are happy with the meal. And of course it is likely to be the case that I have food in my mouth when they come to check (I'm there to eat, after all). But please try to act sincere about asking this question.
What I mean is look at us when you ask, wait for our answer, and give us time to describe a problem before scurrying away. Yesterday we had a server who not only used "We" in a far-too-cordial voice but who also committed this error: she stopped by our table and while asking if everything was okay, began looking and walking elsewhere. And as (not after) we were saying things were fine, she was moving away, saying "Great!". What if we had wanted to add that we wanted more butter or another drink or something? We'd have had to call her back or wait for her to return. Her performance seemed perfunctory, insincere, and disinterested despite all the fake vivacity.
- I know this is a losing battle and not everyone agrees with us, but please do not try to clear the table before everyone at the table is clearly finished eating. Clearing one person's plate while the others are still eating sends a signal that you want the other diners to hurry up. I might understand this if tables are at a premium, but rarely is that the case when we eat in restaurants. Higher end restaurants seem to understand this preference (and good manners), but the mid-range places do not. For more, see this.
I want to print up cards to distribute to restaurant servers:
We are generous tippers.
We usually tip between 20-25% of the bill, including taxes.
- if you say "We" when you mean "You",
- or if you don't look at us and wait for serious, full answers after asking how our meals are,
- or if you try to clear one person's plate while the other is still eating,
- or if you make us wait too long to pay and leave once we have clearly indicated we are ready to leave,
then your tip will be reduced accordingly.