Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How To Be The Perfect Diner

In the "You're the Boss" section of the New York Times yesterday, a fellow by the name of Bruce Buschel wrote an article titled, "100 Things Staffers Should Never Do." It seems he is opening a seafood restaurant and posted this list to his real-time staffers.

While it was a great list, it reminded me of a humor column I wrote back in '02 titled "How To Be The Perfect Diner" written completely tongue-in-cheek, but after 25 years waiting on tables, you'd understand...and while you're reading it, hum the theme song from "Cheers" to yourself for effect...

How To Be The Perfect Diner

Attention Ladies and Gentlemen, Children, and Others:

I am your server. I am paid to tend to your every wish, get your meal to you on time, and clean up after you. I am paid way below minimum wage, but your tips help me pay for my brand new car outside. I have a family to feed and depend on you to help with that.

I am courteous, friendly, and go that one more step above and beyond to make your dining experience a happy one. I enjoy my job, meeting new people and having a roof over my head.

There are only a few rules I ask you to go by:

1. When you come into the restaurant, abide by the sign at the door that says, "Wait to be seated." It's very hard for me to find you if you have seated yourself. Do not be rude when I finally come to you.

2. I know you are hungry or have driven long distances, but please do not shout at me.

3. When I take your order, please do not stare out the window, talk about the latest party at Ralph's to your partner, or ignore me.

4. Do not expect me to know what you want. I am not you. I do not have the same taste buds as you.

5. Please refrain from calling me, "Hey You!" I have a name as my name tag clearly points that out for a reason.

6. Do not yell at me if it is the kitchen's fault they lost your ticket. I can't be everywhere at one time.

7. Do not blame me if there is hair in your food. It is not mine. Honest.

8. Do not allow your kids to take the straw wrappers and make spit-balls out of them.

9. Do not allow your kids to run around the restaurant, jump up and down in the seats, and make loud farting noises with their armpits.

10. Do not bring a sleepy, tired, cranky, well you get the picture, child in the restaurant because you couldn't find a sitter.

11. Do not bring your kids.

12. If I am very busy, please don't annoy me with your pleading for refills. I will get to them when I have time.

13. Do not call me from across the dining room if I am waiting on another table. I have special talents that you wouldn't want to find out.

14. Don't try to talk to me if another server has emotional problems and needs my shoulder to cry on. This could get ugly.

15. Do not make me do a million things for you and tip only a dollar. Or nothing. I will follow you out of the restaurant and write your license plate down. I have friends in the Mafia.

16. Do not call the 800 number on me. I will swear it wasn't me.

17. When it is time to leave, tell me how much you enjoyed my service and will ask for me next time. This will save you from buying new tires after you leave the restaurant.

18. Don't take me personal when I say, "Have a nice day."

© Dorothy Thompson 2002

Mr. Buschel, am I hired?


  1. The wait staff at restaurants do have it difficult. I usually tip 20% now unless the waitress/waiter completely ignores me. It's good to read something from the other side. I've never been a waitress, but it seems like a job from hell. I'm sure I'd screw up the orders and couldn't carry all those plates to the tables either without dropping them.

    Morgan Mandel

  2. Thanks for your comment, Morgan! You can't imagine...

  3. Mr. Buschel was on NPR today! I heard part of his interview on the way home. IT was one of those interviews I enjoyed because it's about something we all do every so often--eat out.

    I have to say I agree wholeheartedly about "Don't bring your kids." Seems most people basically ignore their children when at a restaurant, and it drives me friggin' nuts!

    I, too, usually tip 20% of the subtotal, but if the service was lackluster I'll drop to between ten and twenty percent.

  4. Thanks for your comment, Jeff! I hope he has a sense of humor if he ever reads this, lol.

  5. Great list! I worked as a waitress and I agree with them all!

    Hope you had a good Thanksgiving!


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