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Save a Waiter: Rules for Dining Out

Do they really spit in your pasta?
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I've just finished reading Steve Dublanica's new bestseller, Waiter Rant. Dublanica made his name by blogging about his experiences at an unnamed, upscale Italian bistro in Manhattan, apparently to the delight of a million readers -- the site was such a success he got a book deal out of it ("Kitchen Confidential" for the front of the house.) Dublanica doesn't have Anthony Bourdain's talent as a writer, and the book is only intermittently amusing, but one thing he does brilliantly is describe how hideously some customers can behave in a restaurant, as if all rules of social decorum evaporated at the coat check. As an appendix, he gives 40 tips for being a halfway decent customer when you're dining out instead of acting like a raving asswipe, and I think it would behoove all of us to remember a few of them.

Dublanica explains the following in much more detail, but for our purposes, here's a summary:

1. Make reservations and keep them.

Don't be one of those insufferable douchebags who make multiple reservations and then don't even bother to cancel the ones you don't plan to keep.

3. Never say, "I'm friends with the owner." or 8. "Do You Know Who I am?"

4. Sit where you're seated!

Stop whinging about wanting a table in the other room or by the window or in the front of the house -- unless you're sitting where you're getting your ass whacked by the kitchen door, get over yourself.

9 & 10. Do not snap your fingers to get a waiter's attention. And put the cell phone away.

19 &20. Know your limits with alcohol. Don't order off the menu.

23. No hand jobs under the table or sex in the restroom. Eeeeewwwww.

35. Tip at least 15 to 20 percent and no more than 25 percent. and 36. Tip on the whole bill if you have a gift certificate.

7. Be polite. Say please and thank you. Waiters and waitresses are real people with real feelings. If you treat them like dirt, believe it, they'll figure out a way to get you back.

-- Gail Shepherd

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