How to Prevent the Waitstaff from Singing "Happy Birthday" to You
Did it ever occur to you that this annoying tradition is the waitstaff’s passive-aggressive way of punishing everyone for low tips?
Step 1: Keep quiet Forbid anyone at your table from:a) mentioning that it’s your birthday; b) bringing a cake to the restaurant; c) asking the server to put a candle in your dessert.
Step 2: Confront your waiter If someone slips, approach your server nicely and make your wishes known. If you’re comfortable with your lying skills, confide that you are in the first months of intense therapy for attention-phobia and that you could conceivably 'flip out.'
TIP: Punctuate this exchange by pressing a crisp, folded bill into their palm. The amount should correlate with how much you don’t want them to sing.
Step 3: Pretend you’re a reviewer When your server is at the table pouring wine or clearing plates, say something to your companions that suggests you are a restaurant reviewer. They’re usually exempt from such silliness.
Step 4: Reinforce your request Reinforce your request before dessert by intercepting your server on your way to the restroom and letting him or her know that a big tip is in the balance.
TIP: Hint that you’d love a free 'Happy Birthday' dessert or drink in lieu of the singing.
Step 5: Walk out If all else fails, simply stand up and leave the moment they start singing. Now who looks foolish?
FACT: Baggers, a restaurant in Nuremberg, Germany, has replaced live waiters with a fully-automated ordering and delivery system.