10 Reasons Why Your Waiter is Judging You

Illustration by Kevin Cannon

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.

See also: St. Louis' etiquette masters tell us how to mind our manners

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.

Illustration by Kevin Cannon

9. You say you know the chef.

If you know the chef, odds are, s/he knows you're coming, because you texted before you came and s/he told us to expect you, where to seat you, and to notify the kitchen immediately upon your arrival so s/he could come say hi. If you're trying to be cute and make a surprise, you should know that restaurants do not do well with surprises.

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