How to be a Decent Human Being at a Restaurant


Ah the restaurant. Where bread is broke amongst friends and memories are made. It’s that special place where first dates take place and lovers are popping the question. Birthday wishes are bestowed at one table while a new business is being created at another. Restaurants are sacred in the respect they are the temple of celebration.

Then the ass hole enters the picture. They range in age from 0 to 100 and know no sex or color. Short of being an alien, restaurant ass holes come in all forms. Growing up in the restaurant business and waitressing for years, I’ve encountered all sorts of savages that I’d like to discuss with you.

How to be a Decent Human Being at a Restaurant

Hostess Stand Hayseed

I used to have middle-aged men come up to the podium and stand so close, that I could smell their black coffee breath. They would then pretend I’m invisible, lean over and look at where their name was on the list. Standing behind the podium while this went down, their gaze would meet mine  as we both looked up simultaneously and I would make sure to look long enough in their eyes to make them feel stupid.

“What’s your game plan here?” I wanted to ask them. Do you think that by monitoring the list, I’ll seat you quicker? And another thing, if I tell you it’s a 15 minute wait, don’t come up 7 minutes later and ask how much longer.

‘Well if you take 15 minus 7, that equals 8. So ma’am, you have 8 more minutes or so you can better understand, this many,’ is what I wanted to say while holding up 8 fingers like a kindergartener.

Table Nazi

At the ripe old age of 90, my grandfather would enter the Cracker Barrel (for all my non-US readers, click the link to understand the restaurant), by-pass the huge line waiting at the hostess stand to be seated and sit down at the first clean table he found. What was beautiful about this was everyone understood he was just obliviously old and no one ever demanded he get up and wait his turn.

This is different from the table nazi. The table nazi usually demands another table if they are sat next to the kitchen, next to the entrance, too close to everyone, too far from everything or pretty much any table. I think it’s a control freak thing or something. I’m not saying there isn’t a reason to request a different table sometimes, but you know when you are being ridiculous.

Dining Diva

OMG, there are just some people who suck to eat dinner with. Sometimes I want to save the server the step and just spit in this person’s food for them. Because this person feels they are the server’s only table, they take their sweet-ass time ordering and it usually sounds like this:

“What’s your special? What do you recommend? What are your salad dressings? Were the cows grass-fed? Was the chicken cage free? Hormone free? Do you offer parakeet? What jungle is the parakeet from? What gluten-free and nut-free deserts do you have?’

‘FUCKING ORDER!’ I scream in my head and it’s so loud, my eyeballs are bulging from my head from this explosion.


I have my head down, shaking it right now in disbelief of this person. They will find something wrong, ALL THE TIME.

“This wasn’t suppose to have tomato.”

‘Fucking pick the tomato off.’

“This came out too quick. I haven’t even had time to enjoy my salad.”

‘Do you intend to take a fortnight to finish your salad? No, so place the dinner by your salad till your done stupid.’

The Slobs

When working at my father’s restaurant, we allowed mothers to order spaghetti for their toddlers. They’d cut the spaghetti up to what could only be described as DNA segments so their baby wouldn’t choke. This was really a non-issue as the stupid babies would throw 95% of the spaghetti on the floor. I would have to say only 15% of the moms would make an effort to clean it up. I vowed to never be that mother and I never have. When my sons were little, I would always do a check of the table and the floor and clean it up. It’s called being a decent human being.

The Cheap Tipper

My first table as a waitress stiffed me. I’ll never forget it because the man was a well-known Optometrist in my home town. He had a huge practice and was loaded and that son of a bitch stiffed me. Talk about a way to start out my waitressing career. Here is my guideline when tipping and remember, if you can’t afford the tip, you can’t afford to eat out.

15% Tip: 3 or more of the following happened: we waited too long for refills, to place an order or the check. You had an attitude. The plates were never cleared. You kept forgetting things.

17% Tip: Adequate service. It wasn’t great. It wasn’t bad.

20%-22% Tip: You were amazing. 0 complaints. This warrants finding the boss/owner and praising this server.

So what did I leave out folks? Many of you have had the pleasure of working in the restaurant business. If you did work in the restaurant industry, how did it change your approach when dining out?

P.S. If you’ve enjoyed this post, you can check out my other posts on how to be a decent human in…..

At Work

In the Restroom

At Grocery Store



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