Friday, June 1, 2012

Birthday Singing in Restaurants

Conversation between Spousal Unit and I last night, as we awaited our food in a restaurant (people are singing and clapping in the background):

Me: Remind me of this blog idea later: why people shouldn't sing happy birthday in restaurants.

SU: Why not?

Me: Because it annoys me.

And it does. Oh my sweet LORD it does. When all you want is to not cook for an evening, and you go to some innocuous place with bad art on the walls and good burgers in baskets, the last thing you want is to hear ridiculously perky waitstaff repeatedly singing off-key. It's like a terrible Hindenburg explosion in repeat: every five minutes, I want to throw my hands in the air and run from the building, shrieking, "Oh, the humanity!"

The waitstaff hates doing it, I'm sure. Oh, the ones who downright refuse to sing probably manage to sneak out of it, but if you have to sing a special version of torment ten times in an eight-hour shift (and you're only paid $2.13 an hour for it, a minimum that has not increased in 20 years), I can imagine wanting to smother someone in their own frosting. And then bury them at the crossroads at midnight, hoping that will result in a raise.

Here's the other thing: the people being sung to generally don't like it either, I bet. (I know not everyone is as hermity as I am, but being the center of attention in an entire building of strangers who just want your birthday to be over is kind of disturbing.) The song is some terrible alternative to the actual birthday song, and all the person on the receiving end really wants is their free cake/sundae/burger/heart-attack inducing monstrosity.

(And if someone actually sings "Happy Birthday" at a restaurant, it's apparently copyright infringement, and you can get their asses sued. Wow, talk about birthday buzzkill.)

Come this fall, when I get my meatless birthday burger, all I really want is my meatless birthday burger. I don't want a chorus of underpaid, frustrated teenagers in matching t-shirts to sing in my face.

I just want my frickin' burger.


  1. You know what I dislike? When you go out for dinner on your birthday and endure the singing so that you can get your free scoop of ice cream because hey, you want desert. And then your friends/family/fellow diners all decide that they need desert too, so they order the good stuff - fudgy brownies, applie pie, cheesecake. And you're stuck with a single scoop of vanilla that may or may not be topped with sprinkles because that's what you get for free on your birthday.

  2. You're right - that does suck. I henceforth declare the Birthday Rule: if others get dessert while out to eat, the birthday person may commandeer a bite of everyone else's sweet treat. Then you get a whole bunch of awesome desserts, ala mode!


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