1. When you drink more than two glasses of water. This isn't the Sahara Desert, and I know you have access to water 24/7 just the like rest of us. If you come into my restaurant and make it your personal goal to get your full recommended 8 glasses of water in one day, I will judge you and I will hate you. Also, if you're drinking a lot of water, it means you're not eating. Which means I'm going to have box that giant, giant dish of food up for you in about five minutes. Ain't nobody got time for that.
2. When you roll your silverware at the end of the meal. You do realize that we have to just unroll it and separate it, right? I don't know what you're thinking, but we do not have magical laundry-dishwasher combinations that wash the whole set, together. So knock it off. And if the sight of your own silverware grosses you out at the end of the meal...then keep the tip and seek therapy, you little psycho.
3. When you chug your soda. For the love of God and my feet, PLEASE stop chugging your pop as soon as I set it down. If I can't even make it through setting your three friend's drinks down before yours is gone, we have some issues. Now I want you to sit quietly and think about the sheer amount of corn starch and sugar that you just INHALED.
4. When you camp out. This isn't the Ozarks, and I am not your camp facilitator. You bought dinner, not a table. Now get up and leave.
5. When you stop speaking as soon as we come up to the table. If I'm just refilling your water, you don't really need to stop speaking. It makes us highly uncomfortable. Ignore us or engage us, but don't just suddenly turn into mutes. It also makes us highly curious as to what insanely sensitive topic you were talking about that you felt you had to go silent mode, which means we will probably just keep harassing you with water refills hoping to trip you up and hear.
6. When you confuse us with servants. I was clearing a table once, and a man went to hand me his plate when his wife promptly slapped -- yes, slapped -- his hand and said "That's her job, Richard." Hold up. I know it's a thin line between servant, slave and waitress...but let's respect that thin line.
7. When you awkwardly stack things. Bowl, plate, large plate, bowl, plate. Really? Is that how you would stack your dishes and try to carry them at home? Do not build me your own personal Jenga tower. If you want to help, stack like dishes with like dishes. Or just leave them, like Richard, and let me stack them for you.
8. When you suffer in silence. Once in a blue moon, you'll get someone who waits until the end to tell you everything you did wrong. Oh, I asked you five times throughout the course of dinner if you had everything you needed and you kept telling me yes, thank you? But really you were wondering where your ice tea was? Or that you needed a third fork? And now you're just going to list them at the end and take it out of my tip? Speak up. We're waitresses, not monsters. We want you to have what you need for dinner.
9. When you push everything off the table so you can lay your menu flat. This is by far probably my greatest pet peeve. If you come in and immediately push everything on the table -- centerpiece, appetizer plate, silverware roll -- just so that you can lay your menu flat on the table I instantly know you're going to be high maintenance. Usually, a waitress will be approaching your table with something --bread, rolls, dipping sauce, etc. -- and as soon as I see your flat menus I start thinking: 1) where am I supposed to set this now?; and 2) do you even deserve this bread, or are you just going to carelessly shove it off the table like the centerpiece and your silverware roll? Plus, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOUR WRISTS THAT YOU CAN'T HOLD UP A .00010 LB MENU AND HAVE TO LAY IT DOWN?
10. When you tell us you "don't want everything at once." Hard to believe, but there are a few skills involved with waitressing -- memorizing orders, pacing your food so it doesn't come out at once, juggling, rolling silverware, etc. This is our job, so we don't need you to remind us how to do it. We will obviously not send everything out at once. And don't hoard your menus and say you'll order dinner after the appetizer. Because guess what? Then you're just going to get hangry waiting for your entrees to be made after the 20 tables who already let their waitress put it through for them on time. But oh no, you wanted to pace the meal yourself, I forgot. Hope the weather is going crazy, because you just bought yourself 20 minutes of small talk!
11. When you threaten our tip. I once had a customer who was extremely annoyed at a $1.95 upcharge. She ended with "well, it doesn't matter, I'll just take it out of your tip." I make $2.25 an hour. You're really going to start threatening me over an upcharge that I had nothing to do with?
12. When you steal from other tables. If you need an extra plate or silverware roll, ask for it. My job is busy enough without having to restock tables you're stealing from. And likewise, stop putting your things on other tables. Don't put your purse, coat, umbrella, dirty plate, empty glass, or -- worse of all -- your BILL on another table next to you. WHY would you think I would look for your bill at ANOTHER TABLE?!
13. When you mistake us for contortionists. Hello. You there. Sir busy reading every detail of the menu, even though you're going to order the same thing you get every single time. Yes you with the plate pushed away, silverware roll, wallet, iPhone and sunglasses spread around you with both elbows up on the table. You. I need to set your water down, and there is literally no room left. I'm not going to move your wallet, phone and glasses out of the way to make room. That's on you. So stop pretending we have rubber arms that can find imaginary empty spots on your table and help us out. Don't be above taking your own glass from a waitress. (Also...our arms are never going to be as long as an average restaurant table is wide...so seriously, we're not contortionists. Help us out. Grab a glass.)
14. When you ask us why the restaurant isn't more full. We get it, we'd like to be making more money too.
15. When you order coke, and water. This designates that you are insanely high maintenance. Eighty percent of the time, this also means that you plan on sharing the luxurious coke between two people. And if you're cheap enough to split a coke, well...