Waving is probably my number one pet peeve when waiting tables. I know where you are, I can even see you, but there is a reason that I am not hovering over your shoulder at this very moment asking in which way I can serve you. I can guarantee that if you try to flag down a busy server with a hand gesture, he or she will add at least three minutes on to their return time to your table. The only reason someone should ever wave at a server is if they are saying goodbye or are in an emergency situation and need to leave the restaurant immediately, like a woman in labor, or something of that caliber.
2. Extreme Modifications
Basically when someone picks an item off of the menu, let’s say a chicken salad, and changes it into a steak sandwich, using avocado as the similar ingredient. Which means, that I will have to spend at least five minutes typing a paragraph into the POS and will then have to run down to the kitchen to explain the guest’s creation to the cooks who will respond with rolled-eyes and shit-talking in a language that I cannot understand. Restaurant owners and chefs work hard to create menu items for their guests. Try to keep your modifications down to no tomatoes or no onions, if you please.
3. Bad Timing
Asking for something new every time a server comes to your table really is a gigantic pain in the ass. I bring you ketchup and you ask for mustard. I bring you mustard and you ask for mayo. I bring you mayo and your buddy asks for another beer. I bring another beer and someone else asks for more pickles. Get it together, people. You are not the only table I am waiting on.
4. Asking About Tattoos
Is that a birthday cake on your arm? Yes. Is that a bite mark? Yes. Is that Jesus’ crown of thorns? Yes. Oh wow, you must really like that to have it tattooed on your body forever. What do you mean this is permanent? Are you in a gang? Uh huh. And I’m going to kill you and then dump your body in the river if you don’t shut the hell up.
5. Complaining About The Ambiance
I do not own this restaurant, I only work here. I have absolutely no control over the lights or the volume of the music. I can slowly but surely feel myself growing deaf and blind working here every day, you are lucky that you only have to be here for what is (hopefully) and hour dining experience. And no, we do not offer menus in Braille, but you, you are super funny!
6. Alcohol Insinuations
This is when people try to make jokes about the lack of alcohol in their drinks. Like, “Hey, tell the bartender to make it with alcohol this time.” Or, “Try not to make it so girly this time.” Or when they ask for less ice as if that would affect the amount of alcohol poured into the glass. If you want a stronger drink ask for a double. Our bartenders use jiggers for an exact pour.
7. Stating The Obvious
A single person sits at a candlelit table set for three. I approach, introduce myself, and ask if I can bring the guest some water. They almost always respond: “I’m waiting for my friends.” Obviously, I didn’t really think you required three copies of one menu to decide on what you want to eat. Also, when delivering let’s say, pork tacos, when the guest says, “Are these the pork tacos?” Yes, it sure is the pork tacos, the pork tacos that you ordered from me, not too long ago, you know, with the pork?
8. Ignoring Your Server
Ignoring your wait staff is a surefire way to get on their bad side almost immediately. Look, I don’t want to come up to you, introduce myself, ramble through a few minutes of specials that aren’t even specials because they’ve been the same for two months, and wait on you hand and foot, but I do, because this is my job, and I do it with a smile because I want to keep my job. Sometimes, I’ll approach a table, say my name, and ask if anyone wants something to drink and absolutely no one seems to hear or even see me. So I kind of laugh to myself, feel dumb, and walk away. Sometimes, I’ll go up to a table and ask how everything tastes, if anybody needs anything, etc., and then no one will look at me, I’ll remember that I’m invisible, feel dumb again, and walk away.
9. Grabbing And Giving
I can remember the first time I ever used a tray, and how I spilled water all over an elderly couple. It has taken years to become comfortable wielding a tray full of martini glasses through a crowded bar area without knocking them over. Carrying drinks on a tray is a balancing act, so when a customer gets overzealous and tries to “help” by grabbing their drink off of the teetering piece of circular plastic, things naturally go awry, and the guest puts him or herself and their pals in the splash zone. Part of a server’s job is to clear dirty plates off of the table when guests are finished eating. The thing is, I only have two hands, and they’re not that large, (my hands are small I know, but they’re not yours, they are my own, but they’re not yours, they are my own) so don’t hand me shit that I obviously cannot carry. I promise I will come back for your plate full of chicken wing bones.
10. Asking About Things Not On The Menu
“So, uh, you got any chicken fingers or cheese sticks?” Are they on the menu? Did I tell you about them when I was going over our specials for the first three minutes of our acquaintanceship? Were you even listening to me? Are you listening to me now? We do not have them.
11. Entering The Server Station
Although, the server station is a small and often stressful place where servers, busboys, bar backs, and managers trip over each other, knock people in the face, fight over the soda machine, wait in line to use the computer, and have a difficult time getting in and out of the area in general, it does offer some tiny semblance of peace, because you, as the customer, cannot go there. SO GOD, PLEASE, FOR GOODNESS SAKE, DO NOT GO IN THE SERVER STATION. It is cramped as it is, and it is the only place that we as your wait staff can get away from your never-ending demands. How do people even think that this is okay? Employees only.
12. A BAD TIP
We deal with all of this nonsense for a reason, the tip. So please, tip your servers and bartenders. Tips in a restaurant are shared among many different people, and we did put up with all of your shit after all, am I right?