eatiquette

Good or Bad?: Having the Check Ready When Asking About Dessert

Good or Bad?: Having the Check Ready When Asking About Dessert

Photo: iStockphoto

We’ve already discussed how annoying it is when servers get all cutesy about dessert, but, on the other end of the spectrum, what’s up with the ones who ask you if you want dessert and then, before the words “No, thanks” are even halfway out of your mouth, turn out to have your check already printed for you and ready to drop? Is this an act of rudeness or, all the opposite, the height of thoughtful efficiency? Probably a little bit of both. After all, we’re mostly thankful to get our check faster, but, on the other hand, there’s something a little presumptuous about it — like, “I could tell you’re the kind of cheap bastard, or amateur eater, who wouldn’t want anything else, and I’m in a hurry to put my next customer in your seat, so pay up and get out.” More to the point — who’s to say that just because we don’t want dessert, we might not want to lounge around for a little while and maybe get another drink. Isn’t that the reason it’s customary to wait for “No thanks — just the check” before printing it? If we had our druthers, things would be done in the way of a Brazilian rodizio, except you’d display the red circle when you’re done with your meal and you’re ready to pay. That way if you’re not in the mood for it, you avoid the dessert-question ritual altogether. Just the check.

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