’Tis the season to knock you all down a peg. What a magical time of year this is! As always, I’ve enjoyed answering your many interesting questions about how to be a damn adult when you go out to eat. But then there are the rest of the questions I receive, and the less said about those (and in response to those), the better. Here they are below, for your reading pleasure. I would say these are all “from readers like you,” but I hope that there aren’t too many of you like this.
At the end of a restaurant meal do we request a check or a bill. I’ve always asked for a check but have noticed on most modern movies it’s referred to as a bill.
As long as you add a decent tip on the end of it, you can call that sucker whatever your heart desires. I’ll gladly bring you the thingamajig.
I work in a restaurant, and know how to gracefully deal with most situations. My restaurant serves a lot of pasta dishes. Literally several people ask me if we have “fettuccine sauce”. This angers me to no end because these cretins obviously mean Alfredo but care so little about anything that they don’t know the difference between a noodle and the cheese sauce they devour. Please help me be nice to these people, or at least more understanding.
Angry About Alfredo in St. Louis
“Help you be nice to these people”? What do you think I am, the travel agent who can book you a much-needed vacation? The wine shop purveyor who can give you a little something to take the edge off? I’m just a humble waitress who’s heard menu items butchered by diners in the ordering process since before you were born. All I can say is, it sounds like your restaurant’s got some mighty fine pasta sauce. Bring me a jar?
I was in a casual restaurant this morning and my waitress was very visibly pregnant and this got me thinking about how it might affect the tips she receives. Do pregnant waitresses get bigger tips? I tipped beyond the norm this morning because this particular waitress was also doing other people’s jobs such as mopping up a spill, packaging a large to-go order, and bussing tables while the other waitstaff and busboy were standing around talking.
Here’s a woman who’s dealing with squashed internal organs, swollen feet, and at least 20 extra pounds, doing the jobs of three other people? You bet your sweet bippy she deserves an extra-big tip. But also, there’s no need for you to be thinking too hard about this.
Gonna leave it there,
My spouse and I dine out regularly. Where others would prefer to buy a new television, we’d prefer not to cook. Both of us have been servers in the past, which makes us respectful of the service we receive.
Unfortunately, there is a seemingly undying trend in restaurant servers that makes me cringe. When checking on our progress toward the end of the meal, many have asked us, “Are you still working on that?”
I’m normally pretty chill, but when a server asks that question, I would love to reply (in a lowered voice, of course), “I’m not building a house dear, I’m finishing a meal.”
I imagine this isn’t the first time you’ve heard this complaint, but a decade has passed at this point, and the time has come to retire that phrase.
Maybe next time we should leave our tool belts with the hostess.
It’s a meal, not a car
My fragile friend,
This letter is a real gift. It lets me look at the world through someone else’s eyes—in this case, someone who thinks that it’s a common complaint among diners that their servers don’t treat them with proper dignity and use terms that are simply too pedestrian to be tolerated. You’ve taught me so much!
I can assure you that this is the first time I’m hearing this complaint, and thank god for that. I’m sure that if they knew how much their simple question bothered you, your servers would be more than happy not to approach your table at all.
Will you marry me?
Sorry, Solid. I’ve pledged my heart to another. Chris Hemsworth, I’m still waiting on you, honey.
Got a question about dining out etiquette? Or are you a server/bartender with a horror story the world needs to hear? Email us: email@example.com.