Patron peeves, the sequel

We know you've been waiting with bated breath, people, and here you go: the final five readers' additions to Kathryn Robinson's famous (or infamous) list "Are you being served? Ten things I wish every waiter would stop doing" [Dining issue, 4/20]. And as promised (or threatened), look out next week for the revenge of the waiters! Hi ho, hi ho: "'ARE YOU STILL WORKING ON THAT?' My husband, my daughter-in-law, and my son have all forbade me to launch into my lecture when confronted by that question at an otherwise very good restaurant that has provided us with quite acceptable service. I have never, ever 'worked' on my food. I know of no one who 'works' on their food. Is there some very esoteric law that prohibits a waiter from inquiring, 'May I remove your plate?' or 'Have you finished eating?' Do you think there is even the remotest possibility that waiters could be trained to recognize the signal of the knife and fork turned over, laying across the plate, signifying one has finished eating?"—Nancy A. Manno The Houdini: "Don't disappear after the food is there. I mean, isn't that when you really need them to ask if you need anything else? So many times I can think of sitting there waiting to eat this delicious food but can't because the waiter forgot to bring a certain condiment or something important like, oh, a fork!"—Lainy Beitler and the Friday Night Foursome The ruining of the mixture: "I use a little cream and a little low-calorie sweetener in my coffee. I get the mixture just right, have consumed maybe a third of a cup, and BOOM, before I can stop them, somebody fills up the cup, destroying my mixture. This happens almost everywhere. Very few waiters or attendants ask if you want more coffee, they just pour."—Leo Levitt The name: "Don't read my credit card and call me by my first name. I'm not your pal, I'm your customer. If you want to call me by my name, call me Mr. Dow. For some reason, this practice is most common among younger people in the service industry—perhaps they feel that calling someone Mr. or Ms. is stuffy, dated, overly deferential, or insufficiently familiar. It is none of these; it simply shows the proper respect for someone whom you are serving."—Mike Dow Be mean to me! And shush! "My own preference is to be treated rudely. Not that I am a sadist, but if the waiter or waitress is 'playfully' mean, while still providing good service, I will be a captive customer for years to come. Also, having worked in a number of restaurants, usually cooking, the absolute last thing I want to hear about or overhear is kitchen politics. Dining out is akin to going to the theater: There is a suspension of belief about how the food is getting to your table."—Spenser Staton

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