Have you ever worked in retail or in food service? Then you’re likely well aware that those jobs aren’t always fun. Maybe you’ve worked as a cashier at a department store or as a server at a restaurant. Either way, you probably encountered plenty of customers that you didn’t particularly like. And while plenty of factors could be to blame if you end up with a server who doesn’t give you the time of day, it’s always a possibility that your server just doesn’t like you very much.
It’s not always easy to tell if your server would really rather have any table other than yours, or if they’re just having a tough time keeping up with all their orders. But check out the telltale signs below and you’ll always know when you have a server who doesn’t like you.
1. Your server ignores your table
As one server with 15 years of experience writes for Mashed, servers have several reasons for ignoring a table. Either they’ve gotten too busy to check in with you, or they don’t like you and want to avoid talking to you. Has your server avoided coming back since they delivered your meal? Have you found yourself missing some key condiments? Has your drink stayed empty for a while? Mashed reports that you either have a terrible server — or you have a server who doesn’t like you.
Next: Watch out if your waiter refuses to do this.
2. They don’t want to talk with you
Sometimes, servers want to talk with their customers, but don’t really have the time for it. Other times, they have no problem joking with the table next to yours — but you get nothing but stone cold silence. Of course, you aren’t entitled to talk your server’s ear off about your life story, or to ask them about theirs. But Mashed reports that if your server just blows off your attempts at conversation, you’ve probably done something to give them a bad impression.
Next: Pay attention if your waitress doesn’t laugh this off.
3. They don’t laugh at the jokes you make
Service industry employees hear bad jokes all the time. And every time, each customer thinks they’re saying something original. Many servers who value your business and appreciate you as a customer will just laugh good-naturedly, even if you’re the third person this shift to tell them jokingly that you just hated the meal on that plate you cleared. But if your waiter or waitress doesn’t bother to acknowledge the joke? They’re either fed up with their job — or tired of dealing with you. (Perhaps both.)
Next: You’ve probably annoyed a server who does this.
4. They don’t engage when you ask for their recommendations
As the Phoenix New Times reports, great servers always respond well when you ask them what drinks or dishes they recommend. “Ask what they recommend; do they seem particularly animated about a particular item? Can they invoke a sense of excitement about a dish? If your server is genuinely enthusiastic about a product, chances are they’ll also be devoted to enhancing your overall experience.” And if they don’t really engage when you ask for recommendations? You may have caught them on an off day. Or, you may have done something to make them dislike you.
Next: A server who cares about your experience won’t usually stand by.
5. They see trouble brewing, but don’t try to stop it
Similarly, the Phoenix New Times reports that great servers often anticipate and provide what you need before you need it. “If the Force is strong with your server, they will give you what you need before you even know you need it. And if they sense a disturbance, they’ll squash it long before it becomes an issue.” But a server who likes you won’t bother to provide for your needs — even if they see an inconvenience coming. Maybe you ask to share dessert but they only bring one spoon. Maybe you order three coffees to go, and they don’t bring a tray to help you balance those cups. Some servers anticipate what you’ll need and offer it — but not if you’ve done something to get on their bad side.
Next: You’ve definitely annoyed a waiter who does this.
6. They roll their eyes at you
You can do plenty of things to get on a server’s bad side. (Bragging about knowing the owner or complaining about multiple things before you’ve even gotten your drinks, for instance, will annoy most servers.) A not-so-subtle sign that your server really doesn’t like you? You see them rolling their eyes at you, or muttering in an annoyed tone of voice when they take your order. Sure, those behaviors seem reserved for teenagers talking to their parents. But you’ll sometimes see them if you’ve caught your server on a bad day — and then annoyed them, too.
Next: If your waitress doesn’t like you, she’ll refuse to do this.
7. They don’t want to go to the chef with your questions
Whether you have a very particular palate or you’re worried about food allergies or dietary restrictions, there are plenty of reasons why you might ask the waitstaff some questions for the chef. Mashed reports that servers refuse to bother the chef for a couple of different reasons. “In some cases, we’ve been asked the same question thousands of times, and we’re already 100 percent confident that we know the answer, like if you’re asking for a certain substitution that we know the chef is going to refuse to do,” the server writing for the publication explains. “Other times, we’re just 100 percent over you, and saying no to you is a heck of a lot easier than running back to the kitchen.”
Next: Reconsider your behavior — preferably before your server does this.
8. They rebuff your efforts at flirtation
Thrillist reports that one sure way to annoy your server is to try to flirt with them. (That could include anything from making comments about the uniforms to asking when their shift is over to trying to give them your number.) Many servers will put up with the attention, while others will give you the cold shoulder. But they shouldn’t have to tolerate it. You might assume that your server will find the attention flattering. However, as Thrillist puts it, “If she wanted to see you in a situation where she wasn’t being paid to be nice to you, she would have given you her digits.”
Next: This signals that the waitstaff doesn’t like you.
9. Your drink never gets refilled
Most people who eat at restaurants even occasionally have become accustomed to practically endless refills. And many servers will pour you a refill before you’ve even had half of your drink. But if your server doesn’t bother to refill your drink? Clearly, they don’t think you deserve their best customer service. If you’ve done something to make a bad impression on the restaurant staff, they probably won’t bother refreshing your drink often, if ever. (That’s probably not the occasion to order a super spicy dish.)
Next: This beverage can also betray your waiter or waitress’s impressions of you.
10. You don’t get a fresh cup of decaf
Most people who drink coffee have realized that the caffeinated version is a lot more popular than decaf. So Mashed reports that servers sometimes get just a little annoyed if you order a cup of decaf. That’s because the pot has probably been sitting for too long, so they’ll need to make a new batch. A server who likes you will definitely go through the trouble. But one who has already written you off probably won’t take the time to do it in the middle of busy shift. So if you get a cup of decaf that tastes anything but fresh? You might want to figure out what you did to make your server dislike you.
Next: Pacing can give you a pretty strong clue.
11. They seem to want to rush you through your meal
Some restaurants have a busier atmosphere or a more frenetic pace than others. But if you get the impression that your server wants to rush you through your meal, you might have caught onto something. Perhaps they want you to order your meal as soon as your drinks arrive. Maybe they seem to have rushed out your appetizers and then your food. Or perhaps they bring your check along with your dessert. As Mashed reports, these are all clear signs that your server hasn’t taken a liking to you.
Next: A server who dislikes you may do this instead.
12. They take their time even if you have somewhere else to be
Conversely, a server who doesn’t like you may ignore you if you say you have a plane to catch or tickets to a movie showing across town. Sometimes, a restaurant is busy, and there’s nothing that your server can really do to speed things up. (After all, they can’t exactly prepare your food themselves.) But if the restaurant seems pretty quiet and things are still taking forever, even as you glance nervously at your watch? You may have done something to make your server dislike you.
Next: This response to ‘keep the change’ is a major red flag.
13. They bring back your change when you said to keep it
No waiter or waitress likes serving somebody who seems cheap. And Mashed reports that servers have a telltale, passive aggressive move to tell you if they think you’re being cheap. So if you tell your server to “keep the change” and they bring your change back to you? Then you know you’re in trouble. ” The server writing for Mashed explains that in that kind of situation, she’ll “calculate what kind of tip you left. If it’s anything less than what I feel I earned, I’m going to bring you back your change anyway. It’s a classic, passive-aggressive server move, and no, it was not a mistake on my part.”
Next: It may feel like high school, but this behavior shows that the waitstaff doesn’t like you.
14. They seem to be talking about you
As Mashed reports, one pretty obvious sign that your server doesn’t like you is that they seem to be talking about you to their coworkers. If you see them motioning to your table and talking in a gossipy tone, it’s possible that your server is making fun of you. You probably can’t do too much about it. And as Mashed reports, “restaurant jobs are stressful and a bit soul-sucking. If we couldn’t make fun of the worst of our clientele, what would get us through our shifts?”
Next: Watch out for this response when you ask for the check.
15. They don’t want to split your check for you
Going out to eat with a bunch of friends is a ton of fun, but can pose some hassles when it’s time to ask for the check. As Thrillist reports, most servers are happy to split up a bill for you. (At least within reason! Nobody wants to “do math that would give Archimedes a headache,” according to the publication.) But if your server flat-out refuses to split your bill, even if it just needs to be divided into two or three checks, that might be a sign that they just don’t want to bother with you.
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