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#3: Your server hates you. Yes, she does. Yes, he does. It doesn't matter if you come in there all the time, if s/he smiles at you when s/he sees you. Your server hates you. On numerous occasions, I've had guests come in and specifically request a particular server's section, leaning in conspiratorially to say, "Oh, we just love her. She's great." The first time this happened, I was excited for the server, and I went to her to tell her that the family wanted to wait for a table in her section. Rolling her eyes, she said, "They're such pains in the ass. The guy asks the same questions every time I come to the table, the kids order like 14 chocolate milks each, and the woman is an idiot." She walked away. Another night, I had an older couple, with their two adult children, ask for a particular server. When I mentioned it to him, he made a face, saying, "their son always hits on me." See? See how that works? It doesn't matter how much you like your server. It's highly likely they hate you. A one-sided sense of familiarity develops, after a guest has sat with the same server a number of times. That which they perceive as 'niceness' is really just automatic training. A server is solicitous, courteous, and thorough. A server is not your friend. And bugging them every time they walk by your table — or worse, grabbing someone else to get them — isn't ok just because you've sat with them before. (Maybe it's just human nature, desiring that someone you have an affinity for like you back.) So now that you're aware of the fact that your server hates you, here are some things you can do to mitigate that hatred, and possibly turn it into fondness. a) Tip well, but don't overtip. Servers are people with feelings, so if they find themselves liking their customers, an excessive tip will hurt that familiarity. 20 percent is the base in a higher-end restaurant, but try not to go higher than 25-30 percent if you're a regular. b) Ask them how they're doing, but don't push it. Servers are actors, and in order to maintain the facade, they have to pretend like they didn't break up with their SO the previous night, or that they didn't just fail that chem exam. c) Remember that they have other tables. Generally, a server on a busy night has 3-5 tables. All of these tables need the same things you do, so monopolizing your servers time isn't fair, and actually may hurt their tips with others. d) Be nice. Respect your server and s/he'll do the same. By all accounts, I hear the best customers are those who remember that there's a line between server and patron. And previously #4: People hear what they want to hear. #5: The hostess doesn't just randomly pick a place for you to sit.

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