Share this article

print logo

Miss Manners: Don’t expect table servers to have ESP

Dear Miss Manners: I’m one spouse in a biracial, same-sex marriage. It really rips me when restaurant servers don’t pick up on the fact that my husband and I are a couple (let alone spouses) and ask us whether we want separate checks. So much so that I make a significant deduction to their tip (up to 50 percent if they’ve done something else to annoy me).

I realize that this isn’t teaching them anything, but short of trying to engage an already annoying person in additional unwanted chatter, what can I do to make myself feel better about the situation? Do you have any thoughts, please?

Gentle Reader: Chiefly that you stop overthinking this.

How, exactly, would you propose teaching servers to recognize that two people, of whatever race or gender, are a couple? Eavesdropping to discover if they are discussing whether the washing machine should be fixed or replaced? Checking to see if they are playing footsie under the table?

And what if they are a couple, unmarried or married, who keep separate accounts? Or one of them is taking the other out for a special treat?

Sadly, Miss Manners shouldn’t think you would have to work that hard to find evidence of prejudice.

Irritating the restaurant help

Dear Miss Manners: Working at a restaurant in a small tourist town, I find myself and my co-workers constantly being photographed. Some people will ask first, and, depending on how busy I am, I will oblige.

Is it rude for people to snap pictures of their server, cashier, etc., or is it just part of working in the service industry?

Gentle Reader: It is rude to interrupt someone who is working with non-work-related matters, but it is not unreasonable to expect that at tourist destinations, photography is part of the service. If it bothers you, Miss Manners recommends that for the customers who do not ask permission, you find a way to be inadvertently looking the other direction at something work-related.

Schoolgirl always late for ride

Dear Miss Manners: I volunteered to drive a neighbor’s daughter to school because of my neighbor’s sickness, and have been doing so all year.

The young lady is consistently late and makes us wait outside five to 10 minutes each morning. I have other children to drive who need to be on time, as well as myself for work.

Is it too much of me to expect the young lady to be ready to leave at the appropriate time? I feel bad leaving without her, but one morning I had to.

Gentle Reader: Repeat if necessary.

This column was co-written by Judith Martin’s son, Nicholas Ivor Martin.