10 Reasons Why Your Waiter Is Judging You

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10. You ask for drinks without ice.

Unless you have an awful toothache or other predisposition against cold beverages, a waiter will take this as you being cheap, trying to get more bang for your beverage-buck by leaving the ice out. Oh, you want your cocktail without ice, or with "just a tiny bit of ice?" That's cool, the barkeep will be happy to pour the same six-count of vodka he'd normally pour, top it off with tonic and a lime, and watch you enjoy a tepid, weak-tasting drink. Whatever you like, but gross.

Here's some cold hard truth: Your waiter is judging you. And it's not because you scanned our restaurant's list of preachy, precious dishes made with esoteric (but local!) ingredients and then asked what celeriac or chimicurri are. Waiters don't care about that. Answering questions like that is their job. No, it's not about what you know, it's about how you act, and your waiter is surveying you to determine whether you're a badly behaved diner. How do they know? Presenting the 10 most obvious signs. By Hannah Palmer Egan. Follow her! @FindThatHannah

All illustrations by Kevin Cannon, cartoonist

See also:
5 Drink Orders That Let Everyone Know You're an Asshole
The 10 Worst People in NYC Restaurants

Published on September 16, 2013

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I admit to asking for substitutions at times within reason (example: will not eat American cheese and will ask for cheddar if it's in another menu item)


As a former server, I cannot tell you how many times I have had to tell parents to keep their kids from running around restaurants with wait service. And I still do it all of the time. The most common excuse? "My child is only doing twirls/expressing him/herself/being a kid (in the middle of the server highway). People who don't like it just don't understand children."

Uh, yeah ... until the child is covered in scalding hot vegetarian curry and sizzling rice. In the otherwise empty restaurant. 

I have seen the third-degree burns first hand. And been asked to ride in the ambulance. I don't care how "creative" your child is. Or if they are the lead in the Moscow ballet: ALL diners need to stay seated in restaurants with wait service. 

And if your child is NOT the kind of kid who can stay in his/her seat (this is NOT a bad thing - we all have those kids. It's okay, I swear. The greatest achievers we know were kids who couldn't sit still), let them enjoy and experiment with great food at the hundreds of OC restaurants where you order and pick up at the counter. You can let your kid thrive AND eat great food safely. If if you really want a meal with wait service, get a sitter or wait three years. I swear, you won't die of lack of fine dining in the meantime.

And yes, I am a parent. And I didn't eat at fine dining establishments for a few years while my kid was young. And I survived. I even lost a few pounds.

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