Tips for the Waiter

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We get an earful from diners about restaurant service shortfalls. Here are a few wait-staff actions that seem to spawn perennial gripes. 1. Getting too chummy with the customers, which includes stuff like leaning on the table, pulling up a chair, complaining about working conditions, and addressing diners as "you guys." 2. Touching the rims of cups or glasses when refilling them. 3. Announcing an intention to clear plates by asking, "You still workin' on that?" Gosh, when you put it that way, it seems so ugly. 4. Responding to reminders or requests defensively. A simple "I'm sorry" can smooth over nearly any snafu. 5. Pulling the old "disappearing act." For some reason, this seems to happen most often at the end of the meal, when diners are eager to pay up and head out. Got any pet peeves of your own? Let us know, and we'll add them to the list. -- Elaine T. Cicora

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