Things I Don’t Like That Happen in Restaurants

Man with sandwich board outside restaurant

1. When the server memorises your order rather than writing it down. It makes me nervous. Listen buddy, I didn’t come here to be impressed by your incredible feats of memory, I just want you to get our order right, and I’d feel much more relaxed about that if you wrote it down, ok?

2. When you finally decide what to order after having turned the waiter away an embarrassing number of times, and then it turns out they’ve now run out of that thing because you took so long, so rather than going to your second choice, you panic order something that hadn’t even made it into your final shortlist of five, something that you don’t even like, but once you’ve said the words it’s too late, you would look a fool if you said “No, wait! I don’t like that!” Far better to eat and pay for something you can’t stand.

3. When you order a load of drinks and they add it up in their head, far too quickly for my liking, and throw a random figure at you. Well ok, it’s probably not a random figure, but it may as well be for all the confidence I have in it. Again, I don’t need a demonstration of your impressive mental arithmetic skills my good man, I just want to know that you’re charging us the right amount!

Vanessa looking at drinks

Ok wait, nobody drink anything else until I’ve added this up myself…

4. When they think you’re stupid. I had a waiter in a restaurant once try to convince me that spinach turns white when you cook it. This was in response to me questioning why my spinach risotto was completely white. Seriously.

5. If you’ve gone to a restaurant with a group of people, and you deliberately only order a small bowl of soup and a glass of tap water in order to keep your costs down, and others have had lobster, filet mignon, a crate of wine each followed by aged whiskey, and then someone says “Let’s just split the bill equally, it’s much easier that way!” Yeah, much easier for you if I pay six times as much as my meal actually cost!

6. This is one for my fellow introverts – when you’ve gone to a restaurant because it’s your birthday, and despite you giving strict instructions to the people you are with NOT to tell the server it’s your birthday, they do anyway while you are momentarily distracted by a falling napkin, and next thing you know, you’re being forced to lead a balloon and pineapple dance around the restaurant wearing a penis hat and doing monkey impressions, whilst everyone sings a hilarious alternative version of Happy Birthday and throws peanuts at you.

7. When you’re with people who want to try your meal, and want you to try theirs, and they start shovelling forkfuls of their meal onto your plate and then they’re cutting bits off your meal and loading it onto their plate. No. I’ve ordered this because this is what I wanted. You ordered that because presumably that is what you wanted. If I wanted that I’d have ordered that and if you wanted this, then you should have ordered this!

8. When the meals arrive and you wish you’d ordered what the person next to you has got. But that doesn’t mean you want to start swapping some of yours for some of theirs, oh no no no, number 7 above still applies, got it?

I know at this point, you’re probably thinking “Gee that Vanessa sounds like a real joy to go out with!” so in order to redress the balance, I will finish on a positive note and tell you something that I DO like when I go out to restaurants…

– I like it when numbers 1 to 8 above don’t happen.

There, see, I AM fun to go out with after all!

Vanessa grinning

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photo credit (top photo of man with sandwich board) : pheezy via photopin cc

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113 responses to “Things I Don’t Like That Happen in Restaurants

  1. I hate it when I’ve finished eating and some one wants to swop plates so that what they can’t eat is sitting in front of me and they have an empty plate in front of them…. trouble being I want to finish their plate as well…. not funny…. yourr no1… I attended a party where there were 50 people sat around one table… the host knew no one and each was introduced to him…. he managed to remeber each persons name and occupation not failing once during the evening…. the waiter however took a drinks order without writing it down for 50 drinks…. I sat waiting for him to deliver the wrong drink to the wrong person… he never failed once… a half hour later the host called him over and said “same again” off he went and returned not failing once … now that impressed me

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m with you on these, especially the first one and the birthday one. I’ve told my family in no uncertain terms to never ever tell the waiter it’s my birthday. So far so good…

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  3. I never doubted that you would be fun to join for drinks and dinner!

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  4. Susie sent me to wish you Happy Halloween.

    Loved your post! My restaurant hates are screaming children whose parents do nothing about it. OK, I have four kids myself. I get it. But it always seemed cruel to have to fork over (sorry, couldn’t help myself) so much hard-earned money just to be tortured by other people’s kids, when I could have stayed at home and gotten screamed at for free.

    Also, I hate going with a group to a restaurant which serves family-style dishes (Chinese, Indian, etc.) only to be informed that people won’t share. Or to go to some fish/vegetarian/ethnic/specialty restaurant only to be told that the others don’t eat fish/vegetarian/ethnic/specialty food, and does this place have hamburgers? It makes me want to call the waiter aside and confide that we’re celebrating the birthday/anniversary/promotion of each and every one of them…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello from Susie’s place! I shall come and check out your post later. I know what you mean about screaming children, I too am a parent and so can sympathise, but if they just don’t seem to be trying to do anything about it at least it’s annoying!

      Oh yes, fussy eaters in general annoy me, they just want to eat something familiar rather than branching out a little!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I also don’t like splitting the cost. It’s more fair to pay for what you get. Well, it’s not fair and they know it.

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    • Yes, if I’m one of the ones who has had more, then I don’t mind saying something like “Maybe it’s fairer to pay for our own because some people have had a lot less” but if I’m one of the ones who has had less then it’s more difficult isn’t it because it makes you seem like a tightwad!

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      • That’s true…. but next time, I have to be frank before they order…. or else, I will just seethe with anger as I hear the same people ordering fillet mignon and a glass of wine while I have a bowl of soup and water. Let’s see if they will order fillet mignon. I had been in similar situation once or twice. Or maybe I’ll order fillet mignon too, teramisu, have a wine refill, and other stuff. I’m sure, next time, it’s Dutch treat.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I can’t stand number 5. I’ve even announced at the beginning of a meal that I’m only having water because I’m on a budget and people still have the nerve to suggest splitting the bill evenly – say what?

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  7. What exactly is a penis hat and where do I get one?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m with you on 8 out of 8. Let me tell you, if anyone was stupid enough to alert the server it was my Birthday (which, fortunately, hasn’t happened since I was about 14), I would run, not walk, straight out of the restaurant. No way am I leading that parade.

    Great post. Susie sent me!

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  9. I bet you are fun to go out with. I agree on all points and would add, I hate loud, overzealous servers who interrupt constantly!!!
    Thanks for bringing this to the party! Have fun meeting my friends!

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    • Yes, it’s good for the servers to be friendly and keen but some are so over the top and have no sensitivity to the fact that you’re trying to have a nice quiet dinner and a chat! I’m loving your party Susie, you get everyone talking to each other! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh god, the birthday thing is the worst! We have a moose-themed restaurant here and they make you kiss a huge moose puppet, which is probably covered in years worth of germs. Blech. Then the waiters dance around the table clapping and it’s mortifying. Which is why I made sure to tell the waiter it was my husband’s birthday last time I went.

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    • Oh gracious, moose-themed?! I think the over the top birthday things are definitely more prevalent in the states than here in the UK, over here they only do it to copy the americans! When I was living in Vegas I seem to think it was the Crab Shack that had some hideous birthday thing going.

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  11. Number 5 is so true!

    Number 6 makes me want to know what restaurant you are going to. I won’t tell them it’s anyone’s birthday, I just want to observe when it happens 🙂

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  12. Number 5 & 7 had me cracking up!! I couldn’t agree with you more!

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    • Ah thank you! When I do a post of this type I always have a little crisis of confidence just before posting where I wonder whether nobody else will feel the same way, so it’s always nice when I get the acknowledgements and people being able to relate!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I don’t like it when the food comes out for some people and there’s a big lag time before the rest of the meals are served.

    As for white spinach, sure, when you pour Alfredo sauce over it… 😉

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    • Oh yes, the time lag is rubbish, if you get yours first, you either have to sit and wait for the others while yours gets cold, or if the others say “You eat, don’t wait for us!” then you eat, but you’re not enjoying it because you’re feeling bad that they haven’t got theirs yet!

      By the way, I’m about three quarters through reading your Never Turn Back book, loving it! Haven’t had any inspiration yet about our “thing”, but let me just finish the book and then I’ll email you.

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      • Great! I’m glad you like the novel. I was hoping that I wove the fiction and nonfiction together well and that readers wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two. Also that the story had enough forward momentum to keep the reader engaged.

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  14. YUP! Numbers 1, 5, and 8. #1 always freaks me out a bit. How the heck do they remember everyone’s orders without writing them down? Yet, they get them correct.

    I am gulity of #7/8 though. Everything looks so good at dinner!

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    • I think you were commenting on here at the same time as I was commenting on yours! And both of ours were list rants of a similar nature – spooky! 😉

      Yeah, I can barely remember my own order, I can’t imagine remembering several other people’s!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Got a huge giggle out of this. You sound like the perfect company for dinner (and don’t irritate the waiter or they might spit in your food…)

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  16. You are such a riot. You totally got me with your “ending on a positive note” twist. And please tell me that birthday scenario didn’t really happen to you! That’s way extreme! Lord, don’t let anyone do that to another human being on this earth, please!

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  17. Funny. Immediately following this blog. You definitely are fun to go out with .loll. Susie was responsible for my visit.

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  18. You hit all my pet peeves. One more. The server who decides to tell you a life story.

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  19. I think that Sheldon smile of yours is the scariest thing on Susie’s party board. xD

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  20. My goodness Vanessa! It’s like you know me so well. I agree with every single one of those. And birthday thingys? Never, ever!! I would crawl under the table in embarrassment. Great post lady.

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  21. So may I assume that I am the only one who hates it when the waiter/waitress recites the specials of the day in great detail, expecting you to remember the first special after he/she has told you all five?

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    • Oh yes! That’s a good one too! I’m always like “What was the first one again? What was the one that was something with mushrooms? What was the second one?” I usually don’t order the specials though because somebody once pointed out that the general things on the menu are what they are used to cooking every day, so they know what they’re doing, whereas the specials might be a bit of an experiment, so more risky to order!

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  22. Oh, I am often guilty of #7. In fact, I get miffed if my wife orders the same thing I do. I want a little culinary variety, dagnabbit!

    On a very different note, I am not familiar with penis hat restaurants in the U.S. In other words, have never been more proud to be an American.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I’m with you on all of these PLUS, I want the server to write down what I ordered in case I forget and am sure that’s not what I ordered because I changed my mind so many times. Show me in writing! ^^’ ^^’

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  24. Oh Vanessa you are hilarious. A penis hat? Please tell me you made that one up. 🙂

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  25. Going out with large groups is a royal pain, isn’t it? It’s fun and everything, but it usually takes forever to order, to eat, to get your bill, etc. You better hope you’re drinking a lot then! I also don’t like when the menu is an absolute book and many items seem the same. I never know what to order in this case, Vanessa. I would just prefer it if someone ordered for me. I also don’t like when I ask for a recommendation from the wait staff and they suggest something awful! Of course, that’s really not their fault I guess. This is a fun game!

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    • Yes, and when there’s a big group I always feel the urge to take on the coordinating role and gathering the payments and everything, so it all gets too stressful! Oh yes, too much choice on a menu is annoying, I have enough trouble choosing as it is. I was going to include that one actually about when you as for a recommendation and then you don’t like it, but you don’t feel like you can say that to them in case they take it personally!

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  26. I always joke to the server, “Are you going to remember that? Heh-Heh.” But I’m not really joking at all. I think they can tell.

    My Bride TORTURES waiters over deciding what to order. She makes them stand there while she changes her mind as quickly as they can write it down. I always have to leave an extra tip because of it.

    #5 is an old favorite in New York. Some jack-off at the table always has to order multiple bottles of wine. We have to finance their problem.

    My Bride always ends up ordering something I’d rather have. Every. Time. Last laugh laughs best.

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    • Yes, I always repeat it a few times and make sure we go around repeating everyone’s to be absolutely sure they’ve got it – why can’t they just write it down?!

      I sound like your bride, I take forever to decide and keep changing my mine.

      I’m loving how everyone is relating to these things I’m listing!

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  27. Funny, Vanessa-Jane. Very funny. Your first photo of the drinks on the table is perfect for this blog, as is that of Larry David, of course.

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    • Thanks Bruce. That photo of me with the drinks on the table was from a night out about 3 years ago, I’m not sure what I was actually doing there, but I was trawling my facebook photos to find ones I might be able to use with this post, and was delighted when I found that one!

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  28. I am so with you here, especially on #1. Sometimes, if they’re very good, they do remember, but rarely. And even if they do, I’m paranoid until the food arrives. That seems to negate the whole idea of a pleasant meal.
    Food-swapping is a thing that should be negotiated in advance, as in, I’ll give you some of my oysters if I can share your artichoke dip. But DO NOT start dumping your food on my plate or reaching for mine, or I’ll stab you with my oyster fork.
    One of my un-favorites is going out to eat with people who say, as one of your readers pointed out, “Can I get a hamburger?” Well of course you can! You’ll just have to go to a different restaurant! The rest of us will see you later!

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    • I’ve found they generally do remember, but that’s not the point, they wouldn’t need to remember and I could just relax if they wrote it down!

      I agree about the food-swappming, if it’s an arrangement ahead of time that you’re going to share, then fine, but after it’s arrived, it’s too late!

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      • #1 is just fresh on my mind because I had a nightmare meal a couple of weeks ago. Brunch…I ordered the like, #4 special, but with extra cheese on the scrambled eggs, and the link sausage very well done. I got none of that and my server also forgot my toast and drink. When I complained, she whisked my plate away, added cheese and nuked it so that the eggs, which were already like little cubes of concrete they were so well done, were now inedible. (I ate the cheese.) She insisted on having the kitchen make more sausage for me, so I got that when I was almost done with my cheese and milk, only they were like exactly like the first ones, so I couldn’t eat them either. I complained again at the end and she said the hostess was going to give me a 15% discount, but something was wrong with the software in their computer so it ended up only charging me for the milk. I thought that was fair, because the milk was good 🙂 Actually I did try to argue a bit, I thought I should get a discount but not a completely free meal, but the hostess couldn’t make it work any other way.
        But I just thought of another thing to add to your list, sort of based on that experience–people who get adventurous and order things they’ve never tasted before (“I’ll have the swordfish tartare with Habanero sauce!”), then don’t think they should have to pay because they didn’t like it.

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        • Oh goodness, that doesn’t sound like a good meal out! Once a group of us from work went out, I think there were 8 of us, and one of our party found a used match in their meal. The manager came out and told us that he was giving us the full bill for free! That was all the meals for all of us, some had starters and desserts too, plus our drinks which included alcohol! Talk about making up for their mistake big time!!!

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  29. #1 is kind of bad form. I haven’t had anyone mess up an order in a while, but it still makes me feel better when they write it down. Especially if I’m in a party.

    My friends and I regularly pass drinks around the table. Once, we went out with a new dinner mate, and they pulled their drink toward them like a beaten dog, as though they were afraid we might steal it away. It’s cool, man, you don’t have to share if you don’t want to! 😀

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    • Yes I find number 1 kind of pretentious actually, it’s just showing off, like they want to indicate that they are so attentive and so in tune to your needs that they don’t need to write anything down.

      I’m not much of a sharer with my food and drink, I’d rather buy someone an extra thing of their own and get to keep all of mine! 🙂

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  30. Yes! I hate it when people start shoveling food onto my plate with the assumption they’ll be getting something from me. NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

    The bill-share problem is a universal issue as well. I usually drink and eat far less than others, and it drives me crazy.

    And that waiter who said spinach turns white when it’s cooked. Really? Take me to the kitchen and let me watch this happen!

    However, I would love to have been a fly on the wall when people were throwing peanuts at you. Notice that I, a fellow introvert, would be the unobtrusive fly on the wall. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, one way around the bill-share thing, if you know it’s a group that are likely to say that is to discretely ask the waiter to put yours on separate bill when he’s taking the order and then when the subject comes up later you just say “Oh I’ve asked for a separate bill for mine because I’m paying by card so it’s easier.”

      Yes, that spinach one was quite unbelievable, I was like “Right, so not only does it turn white, but it loses all it’s taste too then? Because I can’t taste any spinach either!” Once he realised he was beat on that one, he then said “Well spinach does cook down a lot” and I was like “Yes, but not to the point of completely disappearing!” I was kind of laughing because it was so ridiculous!

      Liked by 1 person

  31. On the bill-splitting front, that is like food sharing…it’s something that should be agreed to in advance. But I’ve kind of come to expect it, so I just shrug and consider it the price of spending happy time with my friends.

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    • Yes, if I’m with friends and we know we’re going to do that, fine, but the times it annoys me is if it’s maybe a group from work where some aren’t necessarily friends, and it’s one of the people who has had the most who says to split the bill like that, it’s not right for those who can’t afford it and have deliberately ordered less because of the cost.

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      • Ah, yes, I see your point. How about this: if you know someone in your group is like that, you say, Gosh, I’d really like to go, but I’m pretty broke right now. But I really want to spend time with you guys, so I’ll just have an appetizer and a glass of wine. Would that work, you think? Or would they sill be clueless?
        As for white spinach, maybe he had it confused with asparagus 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  32. On #7, just ask, but be prepared to get No thrown your way and on the bill splitting, it has to be worked out before, BEFORE you order, or when the invitation is issued. Not when the bill turns up. That’s just rude.

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  33. Hi, I came here from Susie’s blog 🙂 I must say, it sounds like you’ve had some pretty funny restaurant experiences – white spinach risotto? Seriously??

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  34. white spinach risotto? … oh yes, witnessed!

    Liked by 1 person

  35. I just spent three weeks with someone who did #7 both in the residence and at restaurants…all the time I was there. The setting made it inadvisable to object so I stayed mum…the request was more like a statement because as soon as it was made a fork or spoon quickly attacked my plate, moving food over to theirs…resenting it the whole time…naughty thoughts on uses for forks crossing through my mind. Oh, I did enjoy this little rant…:D I have to admit, that my first meal without this person was simply heaven.

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  36. Hehe I laughed at #6 – when it’s a family birthday out at a restaurant I sometimes threaten to have the waiter come sing to them 😀

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  37. You have pushed a button here – so many of our buttons! Thanks for the laughs. You should go out to dinner with my (90-year-old) mom. If a waiter tries to take any of our plates before she’s finished (and she believes in prolonging a meal for at least 2 hours) she slaps them on the wrist. With her knife.

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  38. Ha– okay, my biggest ange-inducing pet peeve is when they don’t refill my water. I drink a tooooon of water and will often need my glass refilled 4 or 5 times. If they let it sit empty forever, I start threatening all sorts of violence.

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  39. I would so be running out the door if I thought someone would start a round of “Happy Birthday!” I suppose it’s lovely to have such a wonderful memory for orders, but I’ve wondered how many mistakes have been made that way. Of course, I think every time the wrong order has come to me, the server had supposedly written it down!

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    • I know, the birthday thing is rough isn’t it! It’s definitely an American thing, they never used to do it over here, but now they do more and more – we get all the best stuff from you guys! 😉 Even my kids now say “Don’t tell them it’s my birthday!”

      Yes it annoys me if the waiters try and argue with you about what you ordered when they get it wrong, It’s not that customers can’t get it wrong too, of course they can, but like if they try to convince me that I ordered extra cilantro, then I know it’s not me that got it wrong!

      Liked by 1 person

  40. I would preface my comment with an apology. I didn’t actually bother to read the preceding comments from your loyal readers. Thus, I can be assured that someone probably already commented on # 6. Honestly, where have you been eating where they either allow (or have in stock) penis hats? And WTF is a pineapple dance? And I’m not even an extrovert.

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    • You’re right, others have commented on number 6 a fair bit – I had no idea that one would be quite such a talking point! Doesn’t every restaurant have penis hats and run pineapple dances then?

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      • Sadly, no. But you still haven’t told me WTF a pineapple dance is. Is it a Brit thing?

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        • Well actually it’s just something I made up for this blog post, I didn’t imagine that people would think I had experienced that exact scenario, it was just meant to be a funny exaggeration of various awkward birthday things I’ve seen in restaurants, but clearly a few people thought it was a recounting of a specific incident!

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          • Thank god!!! I was having zero problems envisioning a penis hat.
            Because, really, who hasn’t at least dreamed of a schlong sombrero? I was just having trouble wrapping my head around the whole pineapple thing. I mean was it whole? Had it been diced or merely sliced? And what about all the juice? But now that I know it’s just a figment of a rather ripe imagination I know it’s going to be all okay.

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  41. I loathe sharing my food with people. Okay, maybe my kids can share my food, but no one else. And, the no-writing waiters worry me too. Just scribble it down, no one will lose respect for you. And your tip won’t change, either.

    Like

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