The Salty WaitressSalty Waitress is The Takeout’s advice column from a real-life waitress that will teach you how not to behave like a garbage person while dining out—and maybe in real life.  

Dear Salty,

When my husband and I dine out, I usually have water to drink, if I don’t have a cocktail. I’m off soda; iced tea doesn’t sit well on my stomach; and hot drinks are out. Water is the best option for me—it’s not just me being cheap. My question is, do I get some internal side eye from my server that I’m choosing an option that doesn’t add to the bill? I always start the tipping at 20%, but have wondered about this for years.

Signed,

H2Oer

Dear H2Oer,

We’re all supposed to get our 72 ounces of water daily or whatever, but if Diet Coke doesn’t count, I drink about one ounce of water and that’s from brushing my teeth. So yeah, good for you.

Your question reminds me of the email I got from Blandy McBoringface, the guy who always orders the same thing and was worried that his servers were judging him. Neither of your “quirks” are all that strange or annoying.

Plenty of people just order water, for a million reasons: They don’t like soda; they’re recovering alcoholics; they’re the designated driver; maybe they’re just freakin’ thirsty. Fancy restaurants will give you the choice of still or sparkling, bottled or tap or reverse-osmosis or raw water, but you shouldn’t feel guilted into ordering the expensive stuff if you like tap.

You also included the line “if I don’t have a cocktail,” which means you sometimes order a cocktail. But even if you didn’t occasionally order some booze, choosing water is fine. It’s a free country, lady, and you shouldn’t think twice about living your hydration truth. You probably have amazing skin.

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If you want further reassurance, here you go. An iced tea costs what, $5, tops at an expensive restaurant? If you tip 20 percent, I’m only missing out on a dollar if you just order water. That’s really not make or break for me. It’s more important that you have a comfortable dinner, which includes enjoying your beverage of choice. Plus you need to stay hydrated to wash down all this Salt, sugar.


Got a question about dining out etiquette? Or just a general question about life we can help you with? Email us: salty@thetakeout.com

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