Going out to a restaurant should be an experience of pleasure. After all, you’re most certainly overpaying for what normally costs a fraction of what they’re charging you. So you’re paying for the experience, the location, the restaurant waiter, possibly a restroom attendant and yes, the promise of great taste.
The last thing you expect is to have to deal with weird stuff even if there’s no intention to annoy you. Unfortunately, this’ll happen more often than not, so here’s the list for you to be ready to bounce back or at least not be caught off guard.
1. Really expensive valet parking
This one you can probably guess if the restaurant is really expensive, if you are in a major city like San Francisco, or if the restaurant is in a hotel. Although sometimes the place is neither, but is trendy and the parking is expensive just because. A good solution is to look up the place on Yelp and if it doesn’t say how much the valet is, call and ask. I usually try to avoid valet parking by getting there early, giving me time to find street parking or a nearby garage, which I’ve found to be the best option.
2. Sitting where your butt cr*ck shows!
Hopefully this never happens to you, but I’ve seen it in action. Usually when people (men and women alike) are wearing pants. So a good solution is to avoid the type of clothes that put you at risk, take a booth seat, or a seat against the wall. I must say snatching the booth seat is tricky if there’s an elder, a pregnant woman, or people with kids in your dinner party. Otherwise, may the first one to get to the table grab the best seat! Haha. 🙂
3. If going with a group, sitting next to someone annoying, someone coughing his/her lungs out, or someone that you have nothing in common with
The trick is to initiate conversation with whomever you want to sit closer to before you head to the table, and also to get to the restaurant early. If you get there once everyone’s at the table, tough luck!
4. There’s no place to put your purse
Okay, this one is for the ladies or really stylish men. So my solution is, if it’s a small clutch, put it on your lap. If it’s a big purse and this happens often to you, consider getting a purse holder clip, which you can find on Amazon by searching for “purse holder”.
5. The restaurant waiter can’t explain the menu
This one is particularly problematic for picky eaters and people with food allergies, especially when they don’t tell you that the dish has certain ingredients, and the people in the kitchen get creative and put them as garnish. The solution: if you have food allergies tell the restaurant waiter what they are. If you are picky like me (haha), look at the menu on Yelp or OpenTable before you head to the place.
6. The restaurant waiter does not bring you water
This one is basic but happens every now and then. My solution: ask politely, which usually works better than getting nasty outright. If you ask more than once and they fail to do it, leave. If they fail at something so basic, don’t waste your hard-earned money at that place.
7. You get a cheapo white napkin and you’re dressed in dark colors
I know, this is weird stuff to complain about, but I’ve been to a few restaurants that skimp on quality napkins and you get a lint nightmare. This is quite problematic if you’re dressed in black. If this drives you nuts, carry a folded piece of lint roller sticky tape in your wallet (guys) or a mini lint roller in your purse (ladies). I usually have a lint roller in my car, and even in my office, in case I encounter a lint nightmare…
8. The restaurant waiter tells you the day’s specials, but NOT the price
Waiters don’t necessarily do this to annoy you; in some places it’s considered rude to tell the price. You can do either of these two obvious things: ask the price or don’t bother with the “specials”.
9. You are surrounded by no-double-dipping rule offenders
In case you’re not familiar with the no-double-dipping rule, here it is. Double-dipping is a terrible thing to do. It’s when you put a food item (like a chip) into a food dip, take a bite, and put that same chip back into the dip, leaving your saliva residue in the entire dip. I’ve found people have different views on this one.
Usually, the double-dippers prefer double-dipping, and think the non-dippers (like me) are obnoxious people. Some double-dippers would engage in this hideous practice to annoy the non-double-dippers. I personally hate double-dipping, except with my husband, for obvious reasons. The solution: state that you are a non-double-dipper; people usually follow along. If they don’t, and it bothers you, never order dips with those people. Haha.
10. You’re sharing tapas with people that eat faster than you
I get hit with this one often because I’m a slow eater and get carried away in the conversation and forget to eat. Also because my husband Miguel devours everything fast like it’s a contest. 🙂 If this happens to you too, go ahead and get a serving of whatever tapas you want and leave them on your plate while you talk at leisure or eat at your own pace.
11. Other people pick stuff from your plate
I’m not talking about your husband or kids here. I don’t know if some people do it to annoy other people or because they’re lured by what appears to be the promise of something delicious like cheese fries. At any rate, the consensus is that this is weird stuff. Don’t do it to others unless you have that kind of relationship.
If you fall victim, you have several choices depending on how confrontational you feel at the moment: 1) you can tell the person not to do it, 2) you can start doing the same thing to the person or, 3) you can avoid sitting near this person again.
12. There’s a restroom attendant, which usually means probably weird stuff can happen
In case you are not familiar with this, a restroom attendant is a noble human being that has to sit or stand inside a restroom and give you towels, mints, perfume and the like. In some countries they even give you toilet paper (a few squares, hehe) before you make your grand entrance into the stall. These people deserve a prize; they endure so much!
The problem is when you see one and you have no cash on you to tip them. I’ve heard people say (you know who you are) if that happens to them they just don’t wash their hands so they don’t feel obligated to tip! Haha. The logic being that the restroom attendant’s only “service” is to provide you with stuff after your business is finished.
I disagree. These people actually make sure the restrooms are in great shape so you should always try to tip them. Try to always carry a few singles in your wallet, or if you have no cash ask your friends for some and come back to tip the restroom attendant.
13. You have leftovers, ask for a doggie bag, and they bring you the box for you to pack it yourself
I don’t know if this is sometimes done for health reasons or because they want nothing more to do with you since you’re not ordering more stuff. You don’t really have a choice with this one, but to pack it yourself. The good thing is that at least you save yourself cash with what could be next day’s lunch.
BONUS: Hopefully you are not doing this one, guaranteed to annoy most people
People are constantly browsing stuff on their phones at the table! Sometimes we can’t help but be glued to our phones, especially in this day and age when we are overloaded with information and everything is instant or urgent. If you tend to be on your phone while at dinner, avoid it unless absolutely necessary to attend an urgent matter, and apologize about it.
If someone does it to you, text the person “Hi”, if you want to have some humor, or snatch it from the person like Kourtney below. Haha. If it continues to happen, reconsider spending your valuable time and money with this person – it might be worth exploring a different and cheaper scenario. 😛
So, there you have it. Whether it’s no-double-dipping rule offenders, a clueless restaurant waiter, or weird encounters with bathroom attendants, now you know what are some common things that may annoy you at restaurants, and how to deal with them!
That’s my take!
Do any of the above annoy you too? Do you have any suggestions for solving any of them? Are you in favor of the no-double-dipping rule?
I’m Lily, a lawyer and aspiring Miami fashion entrepreneur sharing life hacks and my favorite tidbits on lifestyle, shopping, fashion, and beauty.