Before being seated…

[This is a piece I wrote a few years ago when I was waiting tables and needed to let off some steam…]

Customer Service Contract
In the true American spirit of litigation and red tape, we have developed the following service agreement to serve you better!
Please take a moment to sign this and return it to the hostess.

I, the undersigned, do solemnly swear to adhere by the following rules and regulations:

Item #1 — I agree that I am not the only person in the universe. I agree that there are other customers in this restaurant who want attention as much as I do.
(ATTENTION: If you regularly tip more than 20%, you may disregard the previous condition and consider yourself the only person in the universe.)

Item#2 — If I have more than one auxiliary request (i.e. something that does not automatically come with the meal) I will ask my server for all of them at the same time, or else apologize profusely for each additional request.

Item #3 — If restaurant appears extremely busy (i.e. waitstaff running like crazed antelope), I will not ask for the complete ingredient list of more than two menu items.

Item #4 — If I have a particularly inflated ego and am dining out to pretend that I am someone important with servants, I will not be surprised to find sticks in my salad or vinegar in my soda. (If you actually go so far as to snap your fingers at your server, expect something very cold to be “accidentally” spilled on you when you least expect it.)

Item#5 — I fully recognize that there are reasons the menu was written the way it is, and that if I have the urge to make extraordinary substitutions or special requests, I am welcome to go home and cook the damn food myself.

Item #6 — I understand that there is only one correct answer to the question, “What’s good?” and thus I promise not to snicker condescendingly when the server responds, “everything.”

Item #7 — I understand that one of the important steps toward total spiritual enlightenment is unblocked awareness of how ridiculous I appear when I mention, with moronically bad mispronunciation, the name of the restaurant owner to the lowly waitstaff. I will have reached nirvana when I am completely mindful of how they are laughing about me in the kitchen.

Being of sound mind and empty stomach,
I humbly affix my signature,


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