As a waitress, I am continually dumfounded by the stupidity of the general public. I’ve seen everything from a sudden loss in the ability to read, namely the menu, to the inability to understand that food needs to cook before you serve it, in my clientele. Hunger actually stimulates certain hormones, causing humans to focus more acutely and act quicker according to an article in the New York Times magazine, so the dichotomy here makes little sense. This attribute in human biology doesn’t shadow the fact that when most people go to a restaurant they suddenly lose their faculties and ability to speak articulately to friendly strangers. Here are four stupid things you say to your waitress….
1. I’ll Just Have Water
The dialogue usually goes something like this…..
Server: “May I get you something to drink”?
Customer: “No, I’ll just have water”.
When did water cease to be a beverage? Water is in fact the quintessential beverage, the one everyone needs to drink in order to survive and everyone likes. Just because water is free doesn’t mean your server doesn’t have to prepare it and bring it to you beautifully garnished with a lemon wedge, the same way she does all the other drinks on the menu. Just because water is free doesn’t mean you’re not going to drink and enjoy it. Water is most certainly a drink. Its popularity creates work for the server just like anything else, keeping water pitchers full, glasses stocked etc. So order water, with conviction. It is a beverage and it dirties a glass just the way everything else does.
2. You Order Your Eggs “Dippy”
It goes something like this… You order the “two extra large eggs, any style”, and your waitress politely asks “what style would you like your eggs to be”, and you reply, “I don’t know, dippy”.
I asked you how you wanted your eggs done, not for an adjective to describe your personality. What the hell? Dippy? You mean eggs you can dip your toast in? Well, there are several variations on the runny yolk egg: over easy, over medium, sunny side up, poached easy, poached medium and basted, to name a few. If you don’t know how to order you’re eggs, simply describe to waitress how you like them. For example….
You: “I like the whites cooked but I want the yolks runny”.
Server: “I see, you want over medium”.
Another example of egg ordering befuddlement is from those of you in the to cool for school club. You know who you are….
You: “I’ll just take a couple of eggs over with bacon and wheat toast”
Over how? Nine times out of ten you mean over easy but really, how on earth are we, the order takers, supposed to know that? Just because the jukebox plays Little Richard when you tap it in just the right way and when you snap your fingers a gaggle of giggling girls appear from thin air, doesn’t mean you have the capability to transmit your thoughts telepathically and a server can read your mind. Please, just order eggs like a normal person.
3: What’s in That?
I’m sorry, was the menu unclear when it, quite literally, listed every ingredient in the entrée you are pointing at? Seriously, people? Is the ability to read a menu lost on you? Is it really necessary for you to hold me up at your table while I list a slew of ingredients to you even though they are all clearly formulated, right under your nose?
Really people, I couldn’t stress this more, READ THE MENU! I realize it’s our job to accommodate you, but come on, is it really that hard to take just 20 seconds out of your day to read the specials, the soups of the day or the ingredients in a particular sandwich? In reality, it takes longer for us to recite the menu to you than it does for you to read yourself. Let that sink in a bit. Menu illiteracy does not look good on you.
The worst offenders order from the menu without reading it first and then complain about their entrée once it’s arrived.
Terrible Customer: “Oh, I didn’t know this had mushrooms in it. I’m allergic to mushrooms. Can I get something else”?
At this point your server wants to smack you with the menu. If you have an allergy, an aversion, a dietary specification, if you have any special need really, please tell us. We are happy to accommodate you vegan, you diabetic, you with the gluten allergy, you with the fear of onions, any of you. We can do nothing, though, if you don’t first make clear your dietary needs.
4: Do You Have a Bathroom?
“No sir, we are the only restaurant in existence that does not have a bathroom. We’re going to have to ask you to move your bowels in the hole we’ve provided outside, if that’s okay. There is a nearby bush with large durable leaves that you can pick from to wipe yourself. Beware of the poison ivy though”.
Of course we have a bathroom. If you need to know where it is, ask that. Don’t ask if we have a bathroom. It is obvious that we do.
I am aware that my gripes may sound a bit petty. I am writing this mostly to be tongue in cheek but also to make it known that servers answer all sorts of dumb questions throughout the day. It can be taxing at times, especially at our busiest times. So please, don’t leave your brain at the door when you go into a restaurant. Thank you and have a great night.