Why do restaurant waiters suddenly use "we" when they mean "you?"

jqavins

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Why are people taking offense at something that was never intended to be offensive? Isnt that a "Lib" thing???
No, no it isn't a "'Lib' thing". Many statements are offensive even if not deliberately so, and many people, of all political stripes, are offended by this or that according to their own beliefs and priorities. Very few statements, I believe, are made with the intent to offend. For example, if someone were to express an opinion, but pronounce as fact, that model rocketry is a stupid waste of time an money on kids' toys, a great many of us would be offended. Your own statement above, for another example - that only liberals take offense at stuff which is not intended to be offensive - was probably not intended to be offensive but most certainly was. Believing that is foolish as believing that there's a God. OK, this time that last was meant to be offensive, in order to make a point. The point being that someone might sincerely say something like that in a different context, offending lots of people, and those people would not all be "Libs".
 

boatgeek

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I feel like "Hon" is vaguely less objectionable than "Honey", and both are less objectionable when said by a woman at least 10 years older than me (though this demographic is rapidly shrinking!), especially from the South or Midwest. I don't know why exactly, maybe it's my Midwest roots.
 

Funkworks

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When a waitress says 'honey", I immediately get an image of her resume (but I'm probably wrong about it).

When someone calls me "friend" or pats me on the back, I just want to punch him. If it happens again, maybe I'll answer with something like: "Hey, um... I also have a say in this relationship, honey." 🤨

As for "we", I'm ok with it. Never really noticed it. Sometimes, "you" can sound like being pointed at, but it really depends on how it's said. I think saying "we" ensures intonation always sounds nice.
 

Marc_G

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When a waitress says 'honey", I immediately get an image of her resume (but I'm probably wrong about it).

When someone calls me "friend" or pats me on the back, I just want to punch him. If it happens again, maybe I'll answer with something like: "Hey, um... I also have a say in this relationship, honey." 🤨

As for "we", I'm ok with it. Never really noticed it. Sometimes, "you" can sound like being pointed at, but it really depends on how it's said. I think saying "we" ensures intonation always sounds nice.

South Park sums it up nicely in this short clip:

 

ThirstyBarbarian

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When a waitress says 'honey", I immediately get an image of her resume (but I'm probably wrong about it).

When someone calls me "friend" or pats me on the back, I just want to punch him. If it happens again, maybe I'll answer with something like: "Hey, um... I also have a say in this relationship, honey." 🤨

As for "we", I'm ok with it. Never really noticed it. Sometimes, "you" can sound like being pointed at, but it really depends on how it's said. I think saying "we" ensures intonation always sounds nice.

I prefer the use of “you”. As in:

“Hey! YOU! Yeah, I’m talkin‘ to you. What the hell do YOU want?”
 

jqavins

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As for "we", I'm ok with it. Never really noticed it. Sometimes, "you" can sound like being pointed at, but it really depends on how it's said. I think saying "we" ensures intonation always sounds nice.
I am really missing something here. I just don't see why anybody would have a problem with "you". The word "you" combined with an aggressive tone sounds, well, aggressive. As TB so poetically pointed out above, "Whada you want?" is unfriendly at best, but the "you" is really not the culprit.

If "you" is problematic in the subjective form (for a reason or reasons incomprehensible to me) so that "What are we having?" is preferable to "What are you having?", then what about the objective? How would y'all feel about the server asking "What can I get for us today?"
 

Tobor

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For me I guess it comes down to life experience. Growing up on the "North Side" of Chi-Town in the 60's~70's, many of the restaurants we went to seem to have lots of waitresses with Southern accents, so terms like "Honey" and "Little Man" were quite common to me. Therefore no offense garnered.

Now there is one expression that I find very offensive, (especially spoken with a Southern accent) even though I "KNOW" most do not intend it to be. The term being "Sunshine", as I am of mixed race. That expression can easily be used as a derogatory just by changing one's inflection. Mind you, if the person speaking is being genuinely nice/kind like most waitresses are, I do NOT respond to the term and just remain civil.

As to current trends, I have not encountered the pronoun "We" being used in my local establishments. If I did, I would find it very very weird....
 

Sooner Boomer

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"We" doesn't really bother me. However, for reasons that even I don't really understand, "honey" does.

Ordered a burger from a drive-through joint outside New Orleans.
"Will that be all"
"Yes, that's it"
"Well, drive along, honey"
But... I really want my burger!
 

Sandy H.

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Certain restaurants and/or other establishments seem to have a 'rule' that whenever the door opens and someone enters, the majority of the staff must acknowledge it.

One particular mom and pop restaurant we frequented years ago had a person from the New Jersey area who always said 'Haaaaaaay, Honnnnnnn' any time the door opened, regardless of whether a person was entering or leaving. The first 2 times, it seemed like that person was just overly personable in a way that was odd for locals. After the 10th visit (and hundreds of 'Haaaaaaay, Honnnnnnn's every time the door moved) we wrote the place off. The food was OK, but passable. The 'Haaaaaaay, Honnnnnnn's got really annoying. It got to the point that when we were trying to figure out where to go for lunch, somebody might say "you want to go to Hay Hun's?" and we'd end up at McDonald's or similar.

The place sold, but has a similar menu. We do go to the place again at times, but those of us around at the time still say "you want to go to Hay Hun's?". The newer guys have no clue, but the old timers still hear it every time it is mentioned.

Sandy.
 

hball55

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With all the craziness in the world today, I decided to take just a moment to post a rant so trivial it can be entirely ignored without consequence. But I wanted to get some input on something that bothers me, and which has become much more common in my experience since my wife and I have returned to eating out now that COVID-19 isn't as much of a problem here:

All of a sudden, almost every single waiter will use "we" instead of "you." "What will WE be having for an entree?" "Will WE be having any appetizers?" "Would WE like a cocktail?"

This drives me crazy. My waiter isn't dining with me so I have no idea what they may be having for dinner. I'm pretty sure they would like a cocktail, though.:)

I would much prefer it if they said "What would YOU like to order?" Second person, formal.

In all of my interactions with customers over a long career that included decades of client-facing work, I never once used "we" to describe what they may want/need from the products I represented.
I'm always polite and have never asked a server about this... social anxiety prevents me, but maybe I should ask. And I always tip generously. But, why has this become a thing? Any insights?

I’ve heard this “we” for years and I’ve always taken it as a term to encompass the entire group that is dining. I have had it said to me when eating alone and, yes, it sounds a little formal to me. I’ve never taken “we” to include the waiter though.
 

dr wogz

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Certain restaurants and/or other establishments seem to have a 'rule' that whenever the door opens and someone enters, the majority of the staff must acknowledge it.

that's also a big thing for Japanese resto's.. but all the staff say 'something' in Japanese: "Sa-mo-say" (or something close to that..)

many clothing stores too, so that you feel welcome, and that there is someone ready to help you!
 

jqavins

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Certain restaurants and/or other establishments seem to have a 'rule' that whenever the door opens and someone enters, the majority of the staff must acknowledge it.
I always thought that was just a southern thing
I've encountered that almost exclusively at Moe's Southwest Grill, with their eruptions of "Welcome to Moe's!" That gets real old, real fast.

More recently I've been hearing it at one of my local truck stops. "Welcome to Luv's!" Ugh.

that's also a big thing for Japanese resto's.. but all the staff say 'something' in Japanese: "Sa-mo-say" (or something close to that..)

many clothing stores too, so that you feel welcome, and that there is someone ready to help you!
Really? Clothing stores? I guess I need to get out stay in more.
 

dr wogz

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Really? Clothing stores? I guess I need to get out stay in more.

Yup! Up her at least. Had a girlfriend who worked many a retail store. Many said they (store associates) need to 'welcome' people as they walk in. Some were just an acknowledgement: "Hi". other were a little more pushy: Hi, can I help you? Can I tell you our specials? Did you notice the new .. as you walked in? etc..

As for the welcoming bit; welcome to Quebec:
 

smstachwick

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Walgreens and CVS always greet me upon entry. It's polite and may also help reduce shrink, letting folks know staff are aware of their presence.
That’s exactly what it’s for. I worked at Ross and they’d be all over our cases about greeting people, even while we had 30 people in line.
 

jqavins

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Yup! Up her at least. Had a girlfriend who worked many a retail store. Many said they (store associates) need to 'welcome' people as they walk in. Some were just an acknowledgement: "Hi". other were a little more pushy: Hi, can I help you? Can I tell you our specials? Did you notice the new .. as you walked in? etc..
"Hi, can I help you find something?" sure, I guess we've all heard that. But if I heard a Moe's style, full staff "Welcome to Casual Male XL!!!" I think I'd freak the hell out and leave.

As for the welcoming bit; welcome to Quebec:
To someone from down here in the south, where our constitutional right of free speech is sacred, this just sounds downright bizarre. And stupid; businesses will offer bilingual greetings if it's good for business, so prohibiting it is unavoidably bad for business. Placing language pride ahead of both good business and personal freedom in one's personal priorities would be one thing, but to do so in law is - well - bizarre and stupid!

About 35 or so years ago I went into a Montreal bank and was greeted by the teller (and only the teller, only when it was my turn) with "Bonjour'ello". It didn't sound hyphenated, it was just a single, four syllable word.
 

tsmith1315

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A large optical company I worked for years ago did focus group studies and found that one of the chief complaints that customers/patients had was not feeling "welcome" at the office/retail floor.

Their solution was to require us to look up and say "Welcome to xxx" every time a patient walked through the door. Now they should feel welcome, right?
 

Marc_G

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A large optical company I worked for years ago did focus group studies and found that one of the chief complaints that customers/patients had was not feeling "welcome" at the office/retail floor.

Their solution was to require us to look up and say "Welcome to xxx" every time a patient walked through the door. Now they should feel welcome, right?
The optical company did a focus group, eh? There's got to be some funny jokes around that...
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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A large optical company I worked for years ago did focus group studies and found that one of the chief complaints that customers/patients had was not feeling "welcome" at the office/retail floor.

Their solution was to require us to look up and say "Welcome to xxx" every time a patient walked through the door. Now they should feel welcome, right?

The solution seems a bit myopic and short-sighted.
 
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