You should never order or ask for blue cheese-stuffed olives in your martini. Also, when we cringe at you for asking, please don’t try to convince us how good they are. Cheese, of any kind, in a cocktail is a violation of everything that is sacred in the world. If you need a cocktail with dairy so badly, order a White Russian. But we’ll still ridicule you in the waitstation. Oh, and we’re not gonna stop everything we’re doing to make you blue cheese-stuffed olives just because we serve blue cheese and have olives, so don’t even bother asking.
When you need a new napkin, don’t just grab one off another table next to you. We totally just saw you do that. If you drop your fork–it happens–get a server’s attention and ask for another one. Don’t just grab a new one from the perfectly-set table next door. Nothing will draw a server’s ire more than messing with his finely-manicured, detailed station. Would we walk into your office and grab the stapler off your desk without asking?
When asking for wine recommendations, be specific about what style of wine you prefer. You can help your server make better suggestions if you avoid generic, subjective terms like “dry,” “smooth,” and “big” in favor of more specific descriptors like “spicy,” “earthy” or “fruit-forward.” Instead of critiquing a wine because it has “a bite”— which can have a different meaning to different people—say it has “too much acidity.” It can also be helpful to let the waiter or sommelier know what other kinds of wine you like to drink. Saying “I’ve been really into Spanish whites lately,” for example, can help the staff better understand your palate. If you can articulate your preferences in wine more clearly, your server will have a much easier time finding something that suits your taste.