I like to talk with waiters and waitresses (and cashiers and sales clerks). It’s a habit I picked up from my dad. But my humor is unfiltered. I especially get a kick out of oversharing. It is always intentional. Some of my friends love when I do this and some friends hate it. The ones that hate it believe I’m antagonizing the waitstaff.
It’s insulting not only to the waitstaff but to my intelligence (and my ego) when I hear this. The accusers must believe that I have so little self-awareness that I completely misread the server’s non-verbal cues. Waiters don’t get short with me, they play along. Whether they’re fishing for a nice tip or genuinely interested in going back and forth with me, they play along. In fact they often linger by my table for whole minutes. And when I return to the restaurant weeks or months later, they remember me. What do my accusers know that I don’t?
I feel that I genuinely make the person’s job more enjoyable when I banter with them.
Overtipping is another habit that’s been drilled into me by my father; one that will see us both dying penniless, I’m sure.
There are no I’ll-have-the’s or let-me-get’s from me either. I always say, “May I please have?” when I order. I smile. They smile. I’ll admit my style of banter is unorthodox, but then so am I.
Sometimes, I get scoffs and moans from friends before we’ve even sat down at the table. The host or hostess says, “How many?” and instead of answering with just a number, I’ll say, “Three. Jerm was at the doctor’s office and then he had to rush home to feed Leo, but he’s on his way now. So three.”
Maybe that seems obnoxious to you. Just let them do their job. They don’t need you being a smart ass. Like hell they don’t. 99 times out of 100, they smile. And they’re either brilliant actors in addition to being able hosts and hostesses, or they’re entertained. A lot of them will say something clever right back to me.
Let me be clear. I do this for my own amusement more than anything else. I enjoy the hell out of it. We all crave human interaction, and this is my favorite kind.
You should try it sometime. Engage your waiter or waitress. Tell them about your day. Ask about theirs. Overshare. Be zany. Don’t hold back.
Recently I’ve taken to asking servers what car they think I drive based on my appearance. It’s a great icebreaker and it immediately lets them know that I’m not an uptight elitist who won’t even look them in the eye when I order.
At the end of my meal, the waiter might say, “Man, that guy was wacky. But at least he left me a big tip.”
Is that really such a bad thing?