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Being addressed by servers

we went to a very nice restaurant tonight in Delray Beach, however the young waitress kept addressing us as ' you guys' as in 'would you guys like a drink' and ' are you guys done'?

Not to sound like a fuddy duddy but we are in our 50s and this girl was maybe 20. I am not her friend nor her age so I find it disrespectful. Anyone else feel like me or maybe I should loosen up a bit!

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  1. No, don't loosen up. A - this is how she talks to her peers. B- she's been trained to "personalize" her service in order to get better tips. (she wants to be your buddy) C- this is how her generation was raised (BY US). D- management is most likely her same age, this is how she is trained.

    1. Note to servers: If all patrons at your table are not actually possessed of the Y chromosome (to your discerning eye), do not call us "guys." Please ask me personally "would *you* like another water?" or " would *you* like me to clear your plate? If speaking to the table, remember we are not all *guys.* If speaking to me, speak *to* me, not to me as one-of-the-table-of generic-"guys."

      To the OP, obviously this irritates me as well. Hence the post. I am probably in need of losening-up as well, but...I think I won't.


      11 Replies
      1. re: cayjohan

        do you think a table of older men would like to be called 'you guys' by any server either male or female?

        1. re: smartie

          i think NOT!

          query, would the same server SAY that to the older men's group?

          i can't stand the "you guys" stupidity. dumbing down america!! one of many symptoms....

          1. re: alkapal

            First off, I agree that the "you guys" address might be too informal and personal for a nice restaurant.

            But I disagree that "you guys" is gender-specific or stupid.

            In the English language, there is no proper pronoun (anymore) for the second-person plural. So in many regions, English-speakers began using words like 'y'all', 'yinz', and 'you guys' when referring to more than one person. You guys seems to be most common (I'm speaking only for the US.) I don't think many people using these terms are really thinking about it very much, just as they aren't thinking about their choice of vocabulary when they use the word "we" as opposed to, say, "Paul and I." You guys is natural, and often necessary. Perhaps it is also a bit of a regionalism, and perhaps wherever Cayjohan lives it isn't commonly used, but in my experience the term has nothing to do with the gender of the addressees. It seems always to be gender-neutral, despite the definition of the word "guy". It just means "you, and you, and you..."

            Until we go back to addressing a person as "thou" and multiple persons as "you", I believe that you guys and its variants will be sticking around.

            1. re: Agent Orange

              Don't people refer to multiple persons as "you"? I think I do that all the time.

              There is always you'uns :

              "A term used in southern and central Appalachia and adjacent areas to address a group of people. Is pronounced a number of ways varying from you'uns and yuns in rural Appalachia to yins in the Pittsburgh area. Supposedly originated from the phrase "you ones" used by Scots-Irish immigrants."

              1. re: MMRuth

                Well, sure. And the word ''you'' was originally meant to refer to multiple persons. Though since "you" also refers to the singular, it's often necessary to qualify that a group is being addressed as opposed to one person in that group.

                1. re: Agent Orange

                  Right - but if a server comes to a table with more than one diner, and asks "Would you like to order cocktails?", for example, I would assume the server is addressing all the diners. If I order the bottle of wine for the table and the server then asks "Would you like the wine to be decanted?" (not that I often order wines that need to be decanted!), I'd assume the server was directing that question at me. I guess I just don't see the "need" from a word choice standpoint to use "you guys", regardless of what I might think of that use.

                2. re: MMRuth

                  oh god, i hate "yuns." the use of "yuns" will make me freak out. my old boss in ohio would call us "yuns" and i'd want to throw things. i can deal with anything but "yuns."

                  and many people can deal with anything but "you guys" or "youse" or "y'all" or "all y'all" or being called ma'am or honey. it's usually best to be more formal and polite, unless the establishment is so informal that using formal speech would be completely ridiculous. i would say "sir" serving cans of beer in a $2 dive bar. and i was treated very respectfully back, and got great tips.

                  1. re: soupkitten

                    Not to worry - I agree - was completely joking about "yuns" or however one spells it - my family is from SW PA and my husband, who is not from the U.S., could NOT believe it when he heard that on a visit to the area. I don't mind honey from an older waitress - I find it sweet - but other than that, I agree with you.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      y'all have missed the point (ha!): "guys" is nowhere addressed (at least upthread). i am not a "guy," i am a "gal" if you're being casual. if a server in a causal resto says "gal," i am felicitously addressed. "guys" is still stupid in that circumstance. most particularly in an upper-end resto. what are these managers thinking?

                      is there nobody to respond to my query whether a young "gal" server would in fact address an older male group as "you guys"?

                      1. re: alkapal

                        "is there nobody to respond to my query whether a young "gal" server would in fact address an older male group as "you guys"?

                        Yes, of course she would and you know what?
                        They'd probably love it.
                        To their credit,. men are much less inclined to personalize things like this.

                        1. re: alkapal

                          alkapal, I'll respond with an observation.

                          My eighty year old father is one of a group of 50 -on-up men that meet every day for breakfast. I have been included in a number of these meals, and my observation of the "young gal" server (because it's true in the case) led me to believe she had professionalism down pat. Now, this is in a town of 250 people, and the only restaurant. But there was no "you guys" floating around. The (20, 21 year old?) server called each male diner sir, and called me ma'am. Service was what you'd expect from a small-town diner other than that, but the respectful address won my admiration. I know my father would not be happy to be called "you guys," nor would his cohorts.

                          I phoned my father today on this question, and he noted that generally the server cited addresses the table as "gentlemen," but she deviated because I was there ( the "ma'am").

                          I think that my toast and eggs were elevated by the pleasant cordiality. My father concurs; he hates being called "guys."


          2. It's common. I hate it. After much discussion, it seems that "guys" these days is a gender-neutral term for "a number of individuals". Although I agree with Cay - I always thought a "guy" had one of each X and Y chromosome. "You guys" is actually redundant in English - "you" is sufficient for addressing a number of individuals, although in this context "does anyone want a drink" would probably be more proper than "would you like a drink". "Is everyone done" is better than "are you guys done" but never proper, IMHO. There are other threads on this that go into detail why.

            11 Replies
            1. re: hsk

              It's common in both the American sense and the British sense.

              It takes so little to get past that little linguistic cop-out. "You folks" would even be an improvement. And I *am* a guy, and I *hate* being called "you guys" (though, to be fair, where I grew up it would have been "youse guys").

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                This is why "y'all" needs to become standard English. We need a real second person plural pronoun!

                1. re: mordacity

                  But "y'all" is singular. The plural is "all y'all".

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    Das Ubergeek, that's my favorite quote of the week! :D

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                      Hm, I think it depends. I grew up in South Carolina where you was singular and ya'll was plural. I think in the "deep" south - think Mississippi, Alabama, etc - it might be different.

                      1. re: Antithesisofpop

                        I see from one of your other postings that you're in your early 20s.
                        That may explain why you didn't grow up hearing "all y'all" very much. It was never that much of a city thing to start with but the South has grown incredibly in the past 2 or 3 decades - mostly from "immigrants" from the Northeast and MIdwest. A lot of Southernisms are going away and Southern speech is becoming homogenized. Add to that, the influence of TV, movies and travel, and you don't find Southern accents like you "useta could."
                        I'm completely bi-lingual myself. I speak perfectly fluent unaccented Yankee - when I have to. Until I get bored with it.

                        1. re: MakingSense

                          And don't forget 'fixing to go'.

                          I love it.

                        2. re: Antithesisofpop

                          I thought sometimes "y'all" was a mass noun?

                  2. re: hsk

                    That's very common lingo in the sports world. On women teams players are addressed as "you guys", which is a gender neutral term. On the basketball court, women teams also play the "man to man defense".

                    In a "very nice" restaurant, it seems there is a need for some wait-staff training.

                    1. re: PeterL

                      "guy" is not gender neutral, and i don't care about the sports world, with all due respect, peterl.

                      agreed on the wait staff training.

                      1. re: alkapal

                        I agree that it really isn't gender neutral.
                        I also agree that referring to a mixed group as "you guys" is not meant maliciously, but is just lazy language as Azizeh has said.
                        I have known some teachers at my school to refer to their class as "guys", it always makes me cringe when I hear it. It just somehow sounds wrong to me when adressing women/girls. I prefer "Ladies and Gentlemen" when speaking to "my kids"! I would think the same would apply to a restaurant situation, maybe you don't need to be quite that formal, but I pesonally would err on the side of being formal with people I don't know, than be too chummy.

                  3. I don't feel like people should feel disrespect unless you truly believe that disrespect was intended.
                    She's not trying to offend you. It's just lazy language. It's easy to do, like slang. If you're used to saying, "What can I get ya?" It takes work to say, "What can I get for you?" -Doesn't mean it's right, but it just means she isn't putting a lot of thought into it.
                    You can say something if it really bugs you, but it will most likely create an awkward situation and I'd avoid that, personally, unless it was something serious.
                    Chalk it up to an age difference, but don't be offended by it.

                    1. If they get my order right and give me good, (hell - if they give me adequate service) service they can call me twinkle toes for all I care.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Servorg

                        Couldn't agree more, Servorg.

                        I'd rather a friendly 'you guys' or 'yous guys' with good service, a smile, and cooperation than a 'by your leave Ma'am' and a rude, uncaring shrug.

                        1. I hate "you guys" also but just bear it, without a grin I might add. It's just another indication of the dumbing down of the language.

                          1. The OP says it was a nice restaurant. Therefore, I think it should references should be at the "Sir/Ma'am/Ladies/Gentlemen" level.

                            If the server is trained to act chummy, presumably the proprietor thinks it works. Let the free market work it out. If you don't like how you're treated, don't patronize the resto.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: filth

                              it was a nice restaurant filth, it was a $50 + a head place (my birthday night out).

                            2. We had a meal this weekend at a very nice restaurant and when the server finished introducing herself she looked around the table at all four of us and must have decided that I couldn't go another minute without some alcohol. She looked me right in the eye and said "would you like to look at the wine list honey? honey? I wanted so badly to say "no thanks toots, but when I need a snort you'll be the first to know" If I were at truck stop or diner I would find this somewhat acceptable but not when I expect to pay over $50 per person for a decent meal.
                              Sir or madame should be the rule, unless I'm ordering a hamburger and fries....

                              28 Replies
                              1. re: Spoonula

                                oh goodness me, spoonula! i know it is not funny (i too would have been quite perturbed), but that IS funny. i wish you would have replied to "toots"!!!!!! "babe" is another good one. as in, "sure, babe, bring it on over!" your restraint was admirable. i don't think i could have NOT said something.

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  Really? Depends on the server.

                                  Being called 'honey' is not one of my deal breakers.

                                  1. re: dolores

                                    If one were to live in Baltimore (the center of the "Hon" universe) and feel that way it will be one's complete undoing. ;-)=

                                2. re: Spoonula

                                  Isn't that regional dependent? I'd think, not knowing for sure, that in the South this would be totally acceptable.

                                  1. re: PeterL

                                    >I'd think, not knowing for sure, that in the South this would be totally acceptable.

                                    Totally acceptable. Even appreciated.

                                    1. re: Cpt Wafer

                                      as a southerner, i disagree. "honey" is not acceptable nor appreciated, especially in this context. "honey" is my husband talking to me, not my waitress in a nice resto. "hon," "sugar," "babe," "sweetheart," these imply a familarity that even my family doesn't use. i just think it is tacky.

                                      whether tips can be upped by a female server saying these things to male customers is another issue. in fact, it might be worthy of its own post/thread. but cosidering my track record with the mods, i shall not go there.....

                                      1. re: alkapal

                                        Really, alkapal? I have been addressed as 'hon' by some lovely older ladies in Bloomingdales when being served Frogurt (best in the area) or by some equally lovely older ladies in the Thruway Diner in New Rochelle, soon to be razed. These ladies have been there almost as long as I have been eating. They are a throwback to a kindler, gentler (real or not) time when manners actually counted for something and the dining patron was actually appreciated.

                                        Because of that, I don't mind when some young whippersnapper addresses me as Ma'am, Miss, hon, sweetie, toots, doll, or anything else, as long as there is no malice behind it. And believe me, I know malice, and can spot it in a restaurant or in a retail store.

                                        As with most things in the dining world, different strokes.

                                        1. re: dolores

                                          you know, dolores, i really don't have an issue with older ladies saying that. i think it is charming, in fact.

                                          malice is one standard. i totally agree. but laziness in language, i think you would agree, is inexcusable.

                                          1. re: alkapal

                                            I agree about the older ladies (makes me feel young(er) somehow!) - but it does sound odd to me coming from people who are younger than I - even though I'm sure it's not meant maliciously.

                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                              True to you both. I had never thought about it before. I guess I've been lucky, again, and never gotten a 'hon' or a 'yous' that I put in the same category as an 'uh huh' or....the dreaded shrug.

                                              alkapal, I agree laziness in language is inexcusable, but I'm so used to the aforementioned 'uh huh' or the 'okay' in response to my 'thank you' in retail stores that I no longer give it a thought. I find it sad, but also hopeless.

                                              MMRuth, I agree it sounds odd, and now I'll have to pay more attention.

                                              1. re: dolores

                                                You know, I just realized why I can think of ever saying "you're welcome" while working in the service industry! I was taught to say "Thank you!" (Which I think is pretty ridiculous: 'Thank you," Thank YOU." Yuck.) I still don't understand why I couldn't say "You're welcome." I mean, does this mean when I'm a customer, I should be saying "You're welcome" when someone serves me?

                                                While I am something of a grammar fiend, as long as people are polite, I'm not going to complain.

                                                1. re: dolores

                                                  another related issue: when you the customer say, "thank you," and the clerk says, "sure."

                                                  i guess i am picky when it comes to language and meaning. silly me!

                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                    Yup. 'Sure' ranks up there with 'uh huh' with me.

                                                    What, however, is a comeback? I usually just walk away, muttering 'uh huh?' -- there really IS nothing to say to someone who would answer 'uh huh' to a 'thank you', is there?

                                                    1. re: dolores

                                                      you are, my dear dolores, unfortunately correct.

                                                      unless one just looks intently at the "uh-huh-er", gets a stupid look on one's face, and moos like a cow. (i amuse myself with these fantasies!)

                                          2. re: alkapal

                                            I'm not too crazy about being called "ma'am." It makes me feel ancient, especially coming from someone younger than me ;-(.

                                            I can deal with "you guys", even though I'm not in my 20s anymore AND a 'gal'. I don't get too hung up about that. At an expensive resto, I would find this inappropriate -- however, I've really only experienced that kind of lingo in diners, bistros, delis, etc, on the lower-range of dining establishments.

                                            Recently, the guy behind the bar (a 50-ish African-American) @the Oyster House in Philly said "thank you, hon" after I had paid the check. That didn't bother me at all, in fact, I thought it was endearing.

                                            In the end it comes down to who says it, and how they say it.

                                            1. re: linguafood

                                              We were raised in the South to call anyone - young or old, rich or poor, black or white - that we didn't know, especially in positions of "authority," even if that was a clerk in a store or a gardener or city employee, "Sir" or Ma'am." It was a sign of respect. Kind of like Europeans use Herr or Madame. I raised my children that way that way as well.
                                              We would get chewed out for forgetting that more than for about anything we could do. To this day, I'll say "sir" or "ma'am" to anybody and everybody, regardless. Can't help myself.

                                              1. re: MakingSense

                                                I am the same way MakingSense! I even say Sir and Ma'am to my grandkids, and I expect them to respond accordingly. Even when I am on the telephone speaking to a tech person, who is obviously younger than me, I respond to their questions with "Yes ma'am", etc. I also can't help my self.

                                                1. re: danhole

                                                  MakingSense and Mrs Hole, this may sound strange coming from someone with my name, but I grew up doing farm labor with from Okies to migrant labor in the Central Valley of California. Was lucky to "graduate" to work with the US Forest Service. There most were a mix of different white southerners. Since then, I can't help but to use "ma'am" and "sir" in many if not most public interactions in the US. Course what you all don't know is that I'da become a Southern Baptist preacher had I been of the right persuasion.

                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                    One thing I loved: at the PRCA finals in Las Vegas a couple of years ago, one of the saddle bronc riders did a full ride and got a pick up, who asked the rider now moving across his back, "Y'all OK?" The reply, "Ahm fine, sir, thank yuh". This at full gallop and after a full adrenaline ride and dismounting onto another horse at some speed.

                                                    I just love good manners of that type!

                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                      Sam, at this point nothing you say "sounds strange"! You are a very colorful character! And I'll bet you would have been a fine Southern Baptist preacher, regardless of your persuasion, sir!

                                                      I try to pass on manners to the grandkids, so when the boy (who is 6) answered a question with "yeah" I said "I beg your pardon?" He looked up at me and said "yes ma'am." Then proceeded to ask "Gigi, what were you begging me for?" LOL! (BTW - Gigi is rather than grandmother)

                                                2. re: linguafood

                                                  It seems that many women our age-ish (also thirtysomething) dislike "Ma'am". Personally, I have no problem with it. I am no longer single or extremely young, and I know it. I am Madame, Signora, and Senora in those respective languages/cultures.

                                                  But I agree with your conclusion. Intentions are usually pretty obvious, and "Hon" and "Hon" can be very different from each other, depending on who's saying it and how.

                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                    I am in my mid thirties and ma'am does not, in any way, bother me. It is a term of respect, and most people who use it intend exactly that. Perhaps because I look much younger than I am, which illuminates to me the serious disrespect people give to the young, I actually like it when people call me ma'am. It feels good.

                                                    On a related note; I was raised as a child to call adults Mr. or Mrs. Whatever. I still have some friends from childhood and whenever I see their parents, despite their insistence that I use their first names, I. CANNOT. My mother is the same way. She calls her electrician, who is about 20 years older than her, Mr. Feury. I love it.

                                            2. re: Spoonula

                                              Spoonula- In these here parts the term "Hon" is a colloquialism. Granted, in a fancy-schmancy restaurant I would never expect to be addressed this way by a server. However, in a diner or lunch counter the term "Hon" is to be expected, even appreciated. One thing that gets on my nerves even worse is the server who comes to the table and says, "Hi, I'm Theodore and I'll be your server". To which I always respond, "Hi, I'm Richard and this is Larry, Kenny and Marvin and we'll be your customers."

                                              1. re: RichardCrystal

                                                That's the way management has trained their Servers to greet/introduce themselves to their customers. here, in 'fancy-schmancy, NY (I've always wondered about that spelling:-}) The, "Hi, I'm ----------- and I'll be your server".greeting is considered to be a respectful and polite way to begin the Server/Patron exchange. .Beings the customer, you know, of course, that you are not obligated or even expected to introduce your party to your Server, but mocking him/her for being polite isn'treally the way to go. either Last time I checked, being polite was a good thing :-}

                                                1. re: Tay

                                                  FWIW, that has not been my experience at high end restaurants in NYC, for which, I have to confess, I am grateful. Now that I think about it, I don't run into that much at all - high end or low end - or maybe I'm just tuning it out.

                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                    Ok... So now I'm curious. :-} What has been your experience at high end restaurants and what would you consider preferable? Last night, we had a very pleasant dining expereince at a local, middle of the road , restaurant. The server introduced himself and said he's be 'taking care of us' for the evening. I thought it was a great way to begin the interaction.

                                                    1. re: Tay

                                                      My experience has been that servers don't introduce themselves by name. I guess I just find it kind of folksy and not in keeping a high end dining experience. It's not as if, if I need to get the server's attention, I'm going to call out her name. And I assume that a server is going to "take care of me" for the evening since that's her job, so it seems gratuitous to me to mention it. I think it's just a matter of personal preference - I'm not cranky about it or anything!

                                                      Edit - and just to clarify - we have plenty of interesting conversations with servers that lead to recipes, conversations about Homeland Security & mistaken identity, and in one case, a waiter insisting on cooking food from his home country and bringing to us at our apartment - I'm not snobby with waiters - just don't see the reason for that kind of "introduction".

                                                  2. re: Tay

                                                    I realize that some servers are forced to do it, but that doesn't keep me from loathing it. To me, it smacks of overfamiliarity, corporate micro-management, and the crap food that goes with it. YMMV.

                                              2. just another of those idiomatics that drive many people crazy. The issue, in this case, is the english language as one word for second person singular and plural. so many use the you as an adjectve versus a noun for plura = you guys. it's better than you people or youses, in jfood's opinion.

                                                Jfood definitely likes a more formal relationship tha "you guys". Ma'am and sir is preferred.

                                                1. I'm in my mid-20s so in my day-to-day I have to refer to most people I come across as "sir" or "ma'am." If someone is younger than me or serving me in any capacity, I don't think it's too much to expect the same courtesy -- it's my prerogative to let them know whether or not they have to refer to me as "sir" or Mr. So-and-so.

                                                  What really irks me is when customer service asks "Can I call you by your first name?" I always feel like I'm the one being unnecessarily hard by saying, "No, I prefer to be called by my last name."

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: JungMann

                                                    Hell, that pisses me off with doctors, and you know what? They don't ASK.

                                                    1. re: Mawrter

                                                      I was just at a wonderful restaurant last night, and the lovely hostess who served us called me by my first name all night. She referred to my dishes by my first name! It was not only fine, it was fun.

                                                      But Mawrter, you just put me in mind of a cop who was giving me a ticket and who called me by my first name. I so wanted to ask him 'have we been introduced?' but it was out of state and I'd still be in jail.

                                                      1. re: dolores

                                                        Let's hope he didn't call you Dorri and pat you on the head. I really love it when people I hardly/don't know call me Davey.

                                                        1. re: yayadave

                                                          I hate that too (and my name is the same). I don't get it very often because I make a big deal about it ("BABY DAVEY WAN HIS BA BA WAAAAAAAAAAA")

                                                  2. I wondered when this would come up. It has always grated on my nerves to be greeted as "you guys", especially when I am with my friend and we are both clearly women! She is a super frilly woman at that, me, not so much, but I am not mistaken for a man! The last time we were at a casual restaurant, to have a glass of wine and an appetizer, the young man came over and said "How are you guys doing tonight?" I looked at her and said "I guess we need to show more cleavage, huh?" He giggled and corrected himself and asked "how are you ladies doing?"

                                                    It's funny how different regions have different "rules", for lack of a better word, in addressing patrons. When I lived in Chicago "yous guys" was common, and that was 40 years ago. Of course, amongst friend, it was "yous guys wanna come with?" Took me awhile to catch on to the lingo. In Indiana it was pretty common for the female waitresses to address you as Honey, Dear, or Sweetie. My dad always called the female waitresses Darlin', which to a young one always bothered me, but he got some great service! Here in Texas the female waitresses also call you honey, sweetie, dear, and that doesn't bother me. Oddly enough they are more likely to call me that than my husband! But if I am in an expensive restaurant and heard that I would be offended,

                                                    BTW Spoonula, Toots would have been a great comeback! I'll have to remember that one! Haven't heard toots used in a long time.

                                                    1. This doesn't bother me. It's perhaps careless/casual language, but it's not rude. If a server gives me their attention, is polite, and brings the food I ordered in a timely manner, I don't care what they call me. And I certainly don't mind being addressed as if I was young (which, at 37, I rather think I am). I am sure the older I get the more I will be fine with being talked to like a young person. That's what keeps you young, after all!

                                                      My mother, however, hates it when servers say "you guys" and always comments when servers do this when we are out together. I usually can't keep myself from rolling my eyes. It's just slang, no need to get all worked up.

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: thedoorchick

                                                        This is such a region thing, I think. Im a yankee (yes, I confess - please don't hold it against me) and I lived in Chicago 40 years ago too. "You guys" is a common phrase up north, and its even in the dictionary as being passably acceptable in casual situations. But if a server addressed my girlfriends and I as "you guys" around here (in TX) I might be prompted to joke about it like Danhole did ("Oh! who brought guys?")

                                                        I used to be annoyed by "hon" from servers until I realized that its also a "regional" thing, and meant in a friendly, not condescending way. "Ma'am" did not sit well with me either (I wondered "do I look that old?") until I realized that it was usually coming from men as a form of respect. I'll take THAT any day! And "Darlin" is a great all purpose expression that has crept into my vocabulary and I use it as needed.

                                                        However, in an upscale restaurant ANYWHERE, a server should be extremely respectful at the outset and then see where it goes. If the group seems loose and friendly, then he/she can come back with "would you guys like dessert?"

                                                        1. re: Cheflambo

                                                          Amazing that we both lived in Chicago 40 years ago, and now are in pretty much the same neighborhood, since we shop at the same Kroger's! Only difference is I was born in Texas and will never claim to be a yankee ;-)

                                                          Having moved around a lot as a kid, I always had to adjust my vocabulary, and my ear, to new cities. When I lived up north, if I dared to say "y'all" I got teased, so I went with "you guys", but never "yous guys"!

                                                          1. re: danhole

                                                            I remember "can I go with" from my days in Chicago (born there, moved away when I was 11 or so) but "yous guys" seemed more like a NY expression to me. I can understand how "y'all" would have been tease-worthy up there! It is, indeed, ubiquitous around here. When DH and I were at Applebees (near 610 and 18th) recently (shhh.... dont tell the other chowhounds) the server actually said "Hey y'all! Is this y'alls first time at Applebees?" Now we've all watched way too much Paw-lah Deen and "y'all" is everywhere in this house too. DH is from NY and Im from CT, but we both say it.

                                                            1. re: Cheflambo

                                                              Have you learned the alternate plural for "y'all" yet?
                                                              A group is addressed as "all y'all" in the Deep South.
                                                              So if the server wants to ask if everyone would like a Coke:
                                                              "D'all y'all won Co-colas?"

                                                              1. re: MakingSense

                                                                When I waited tables, I would simply say things like, "Would anyone care for a cocktail while you take a moment with the wine list?" or "I'll give everyone a few moments with the menu...".

                                                                There's really no need for "you guys" or "y'all".

                                                          2. re: Cheflambo

                                                            Yeah, in the Mid-Atlantic, "guys" (plural) just does not strike me as extremely gendered, and I have a hair-tigger for that. I don't find "you guys" to be the most professional language, but honestly? In a diner or whathaveyou, I'd just tune it out.

                                                        2. I love linguistic variability, really enjoy "youse guys", "honey", "darlin'", "buddy".

                                                          I don't need PC at dinner, although mutual server-guest good manners is always a good thing.

                                                          I get more irritated in Asia when people call me "sir", to which I mutter, "Like putting an elevevator in an outhouse" or "my friend", to which I reply, "You're mistaken, I have no friends". Course, if someone then came back with, "Jackass!" I'd give them a 100% tip for the pure delight of it all.

                                                          1. As someone from the younger generation who is attentive to correct grammar, I do not have much of a problem with "you guys." Were I a server, I can't imagine saying it to customers except in a very informal setting (i.e. chain restaurant). But as a guest, I don't really find it too horrid. The server is just trying to be friendly.

                                                            Also, I don't interpret it as referring only to males. I believe it can be applied to a group of people, regardless of gender.

                                                            1. I think the kid deserves some bonus points. First because she didn't say "Are you guys still workin on'nat?" And second because you did not mention that she sat down at your table with you to take your order. Maybe the next time that happens to me I'll just say "Go ahead Toots, rest yer buns."

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. I am a woman in my early 40s, and it doesn't bother me at all to be addressed as "you guys" if I am in a group of people -- whether or not the group is made up of all women or a mix of men and women -- doesn't matter to me. I doubt whether the server was addressing women as "guys" in manner intended to discriminate by gender.

                                                                The use of "you guys" is the unfortunate result, linguisitically, of English losing the pronoun for "you plural" - I think in middle English, "thee" meant "you guys" (in Spanish, vosotros, in Italian, voi) and "ye" meant "you singular", but thee dropped out of the language and left us with ye which became you, and unfortunately we don't have a you plural replacement. So, that's why you get "you guys" and "y'all", to name a couple regional variations.

                                                                Anyway, some women are sensitive about being addressed as you guys. I have thicker skin than that, so it doesn't bug me. But if I worked in a business where I regularly interacted with people from many different walks of life, it would be prudent not to use "you guys" because (1) it sounds too informal in many contexts and (2) some may get offended.

                                                                19 Replies
                                                                1. re: farmersdaughter

                                                                  What bugs me is when a server refills my water glass and I thank them, quite often the reply is "no problem". What the hell happened to you're welcome?

                                                                  1. re: tusti

                                                                    I think "no problem" is just a younger generational way of saying "you're welcome"- it's the natural default answer to "thank you" for most people under 20 except maybe when they're at the office (and usually, at least for people I know, even at the office). I don't see why "you're welcome" is the only appropriate response to "thank you".

                                                                    Then again, I also don't see why "you guys" is a big deal, particularly in casual dining...

                                                                    1. re: tusti

                                                                      One of my favorites is 'uh huh' as a response to 'thank you'.

                                                                      >>What the hell happened to you're welcome?

                                                                      It went the way of most manners.

                                                                      1. re: tusti

                                                                        While I never say "no problem," it reminds me of other languages.
                                                                        de nada = of nothing (Spanish)
                                                                        de rien = of nothing (French)
                                                                        Basically, those translate to "It weas nothing."
                                                                        Just a thought.

                                                                        Also, I must say, "you're welcome" has become terribly formal in my world. Refilling a glass of water? No problem. Hosted a wonderful dinner party? You're welcome.

                                                                        1. re: miss_bennet

                                                                          I've always equated the Spanish "por nada" or the English "no problem" to the equivalent of "Don't mention it" or "It was nothing" and which is a way of telling the person thanking you that they don't have to thank you for such a minor thing / task that was performed.

                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                            Chinese is 不客氣 -- "no need to be polite".

                                                                          2. re: miss_bennet

                                                                            Also French : pas de problème, which literally does mean "no problem."

                                                                            1. re: Agent Orange

                                                                              That's slangy. A waiter in a formal restaurant (i.e., not a bistro or a brasserie or a café but a restaurant) would not say "pas de problème"; he would say either "[il n'y a] pas de quoi" (still pretty casual), "de rien" (normal) or "je vous en prie" (very formal).

                                                                            2. re: miss_bennet

                                                                              Wonder what happened to "My pleasure"?

                                                                              1. re: yayadave

                                                                                I first heard that phrase at various Ritz Carlton hotels, and for some reason, found it incredibly annoying - probably b/c it seemed drummed into the staff, and not a spontaneous comment.

                                                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                  I guess "my pleasure" triggers my "smell test" detector which begins beeping in an annoying fashion because I am pretty certain it is not their pleasure. So something that rings more "genuine" or "real" to my ear is preferable. That's why I don't mind hearing "you guy's" or "no problem" or even the Aussie "no worries" is fine with me.

                                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                                    Maybe the answer to both of these posts and to the whole thread is “It starts with who you hire.” If someone presents themselves at an interview as pleasant and mannerly, they may well be just that. I’ve had people ask me for a job half in the bag and I would think to myself “What are you thinking?” Of course, if someone presents themselves as pleasant and mannerly, they may not be, but at least they know what it is.

                                                                                    “My pleasure” said with a smile by a professional really works.

                                                                                    1. re: yayadave

                                                                                      I agree. I'm not looking for a deep personal, heartfelt relationship, nor am I questioning the 'motivation' behind a friendly, professional greeting. A pleasant, courteous exchange of service based conversation is fine with me.
                                                                                      Just tonight, we went out to dinner and the Server smiled and said :
                                                                                      "Good evening. Welcome to Angelina's. I'm _____ and I'll be taking care of you tonight"
                                                                                      I thought it was a great way to begin the dining experience.

                                                                                      1. re: Tay

                                                                                        I had the same experience yesterday. The little Server was pleasant and polite through-out. Which is not to say obsequious. She never uttered "guys" and said "your welcome" loud and clear and often.

                                                                                        After a little while, I wasn't even conscious of the bead in her cheek. TeeHee.

                                                                                        1. re: yayadave

                                                                                          Though I'm not a huge fan of body piercings, as long as someone is helpful and polite and makes an effort to get the order right, I don't care if they're pierced, tattooed, have multicolored hair,split tongue, etc.
                                                                                          Just be pleasant to me and I'll return the courtesy...

                                                                            3. re: tusti

                                                                              OK...my 2 cents...'no worries.' Often heard by those from the islands or on the islands (Hawaiian that is).

                                                                              1. re: justagthing

                                                                                I think it migrated to Hawaii from Australia....

                                                                          3. Depending on the restaurant, I think it works sometimes and not so much others. I am a mgr. at a casual during the day, fine dining at night restaurant and even during the day it bothers me when servers don't speak at least semi properly at the table.

                                                                            Now, me personally, I couldn't honestly tell you the last time I noticed the servers way of speaking - I am more into my company, food or ambiance to notice that. I do suppose if I were at an extremely fine dining establishment I may be annoyed by it.

                                                                            1. My mother hates being called ma'am. If a server addresses her that way, she will correct them with something like "Please don't call me that. My name is Christine."

                                                                              I realized as a server that people may get offended by anything. One woman's ma'am is another's you guys. Personally, as long as you don't spill anything on me, I don't care how you address me.

                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                              1. re: mojoeater

                                                                                >Personally, as long as you don't spill anything on me
                                                                                well i'm not quite that generous, but ...

                                                                                >I don't care how you address me.
                                                                                yeah i focus more on intention and "what lies beneath"
                                                                                rather than "string matching". i dont like being called "sir",
                                                                                but i recognize there is nothing really wrong with that ...
                                                                                and it strikes me as less absurd than when i was 28.
                                                                                rudeness, pretentiousness, upselling ... when i was younger
                                                                                being slighted because i was adjudged by the server as
                                                                                "young and probably cheep" ... all of that bugs me, but
                                                                                unless i can impute something "deeper" from the "string match"
                                                                                the form of address doesnt really bug me.

                                                                                opening with "may i bring some expensive
                                                                                or some really expensive water" annoys me more than
                                                                                "are (y'all | you guyz) ready to order?"

                                                                                maybe we should have a poll on people "preference ordering" ...
                                                                                --"you guys"
                                                                                --server wearing baseball cap
                                                                                --non-canonically aligned baseball cap
                                                                                --"do you want any change
                                                                                --facial piercings
                                                                                --visible tattoo
                                                                                --not mentioning the prices of a special in the upper quartile of listed prices
                                                                                --"bait and switch w.r.t. water
                                                                                --being spilled on
                                                                                --being touched by waitstaff/right_sex
                                                                                --being touched by waitstaff/wrong_sex
                                                                                --server sitting down at table
                                                                                --"hi, i'm (name), and i'll be your server"

                                                                                1. re: psb

                                                                                  LOL! All of the above. I think the facial piercings bother me far more than being called "hon" "ma'am" or "darling"!

                                                                                  1. re: Catskillgirl

                                                                                    Love dem three beads in the tongue!!

                                                                                    1. re: yayadave

                                                                                      My big problem with those sorts of piercings is that I become fascinated by them, and stare rudely. I just can't pull my eyes away from whatever it is - eyebrow, tongue, cheek.. and I always wince. Those *have* to hurt!

                                                                                      1. re: Catskillgirl

                                                                                        Actually, the piercings that only go through flesh are much less pain-inducing than piercings taht go through muscle and cartilage. So tongue? Hurts. Eyebrow? Not so much. Are they unsanitary? I don't know enough about that to say. I know that Starbucks has a no-facial-piercing rule (and you're only allowed a couple of earrings). Basically, ear piercings (other than the lobe) are most painful.

                                                                                        But, generally, if the person is polite and smiling, I won't even notice them. And I'm the opposite of you: if I see them, I have to look away, because I find some of them a little ... ahem... off-putting.

                                                                                        1. re: miss_bennet

                                                                                          Piercings that ruin my appetite are lip & nose, especially if it is some kind of ring. This is because they absent-mindedly twist & twirl them, dislodging all manner of material that can get launched into the food!

                                                                                          And yes, age does matter in my humble opinion: there is a difference to me when the waitron is 21 and addresses me and several family members who are over 75 as "you guys", as opposed to were I still 21 & with some peers. Our youth-worshipping culture is sorely lacking in any respect for age; on the contrary, it is put down as some sort of deficit.

                                                                                2. re: mojoeater

                                                                                  I get ma'am-ed...a lot. I'm 22. I guess I'm the opposite of the original poster. I'd prefer the more casual term - and where I'm a "regular" I've told the waistaff to call me Amy or "just please, don't call me ma'am".

                                                                                3. Here's a vote for 'loosen up'! I would much rather people act like real and nice people than stand by any tradition of how thing *ought* to be. Regardless of age differences, I just can't for the life of me get worked up about someone not "respecting" me whether they call me miss, ma'am, guy, dude, darling, or pretty much anything else, as long as it is said in the right spirit and with a smile, no matter the setting.

                                                                                  The best I can give you is that at a very nice restaurant it might seem out of place with candlelight and linen, but disrespectful? I just don't see it.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: guate

                                                                                    One more vote against the awesome, in-your-face, "you guys" plague rocking our world.

                                                                                  2. loosen up! If it were Texas, even many fine establishments would address your group as all ya'll! I don't like to be called Ms. any thing and my friend hates being called Mr.- I might have enjoyed something lite.

                                                                                    1. my sole question is, "how nice?" if it were really high end dining, it might bother me. anything beneath that and I wouldn't spend the time thinking about it, much less complaining or writing.

                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: lotta_cox

                                                                                        I think a $50 per head restaurant is high end dining.

                                                                                        1. re: smartie

                                                                                          don't know where you are, but we can pay pretty heafty dinner price around here in CT with out being in a high end place especially if you include drinks

                                                                                          1. re: smartie

                                                                                            In my neck of the woods, $50pp is nowhere near high end. It should be , but it's not.:-}
                                                                                            As for the "you guys" thing. No sense in taking offense if none was intended.... I

                                                                                            1. re: Tay

                                                                                              No sense in taking offense if none was intended.... I

                                                                                              What a good point!

                                                                                              And when a tapas dinner for two has reached $130. w/o tax, tip, or alcohol, I would happily pay $50. a person again for a regular meal.

                                                                                              1. re: Tay

                                                                                                without getting into the ins and outs of what is high end I live in South Fl, home of the early bird, so $50 per person plus is high end although there is obviously more expensive. This was a Brazilian BBQ in Delray Beach, beautifully decored, massive wine store and very highly staffed. The buffet is $40 pp so with tax n tip it's at $50 before any drinks. Actually our server had very little to do except explain the buffet 'concept' if you needed the info and get us drinks and keep us drinking. She was sullen, asked if we wanted expensive or cheap water (with no hint of a twinkle in her eye) and then asked if 'you guys know what you wanna drink?' She did not return after the first glass of wine. The meats are carved by male servers.
                                                                                                Anyhow I digress, I do not want to be called you guys at a deli, at a pizza joint, at Applebees or Cheesecake Factory.

                                                                                                1. re: smartie

                                                                                                  That info gives me mixed messages - but the basic concept is you didn't like it, no matter where you were - even a papa john's pizza -
                                                                                                  I think the setting calls for better than a 'you guys', but...
                                                                                                  I also think you have an issue in that it doesn't matter what setting, you don't like it and I don't think that is a correct outlook, cause you're going to be unhappy even when the presentation is in a playful joking manner.

                                                                                                  1. re: PaulaT

                                                                                                    I'd tend to agree. The OP has other issues with the Server that were not mentioned in the OP. The Server just added insult to injury by being "sullen" and unhelpful. I'm not crazy about the "You guys" greeting/references, but if said with a smile, I'm sure customers would feel a lot more favorably inclined. I think Wait Staff that uses , "Hon", "Dear" "Sweetie": etc,can get away with that sort of casual familiarity only if it accompanies a cheerful attitude and a warm personality. Otherwise, I think it gives a mixed messsage and is resented.

                                                                                          2. you always know that you've "arrived" as a regular when you say "thanks" for some little thing and the server replies: "my pleasure" instead of "you're welcome." a little thing perhaps, but very significant.

                                                                                            1. So I was wondering ...

                                                                                              Question for "you guys" who are annoyed when addressed in such fashion ...
                                                                                              Would you be bothered to overhear the server for the next table address
                                                                                              50 something women there as "you guys"?

                                                                                              Does the reaction only kick in when you are the object of the phrase or
                                                                                              does mere spectatorhood trigger a reaction? ... which it ostensibly would
                                                                                              if the reaction is has more of an "o tempura, o morels" element than a personal
                                                                                              identity one.

                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: psb

                                                                                                I guess you missed my earlier post about being with a friend and being called "you guys". We are in our 50's and came back with a snappy retort, in a joking manner. If I am in a group of mixed company it's not so bad, but if I am out with my friend and we are all dressed up, I don't like it. And I do think it is a lack of manners unless I am in a sports bar or a very casual place.

                                                                                                1. re: danhole

                                                                                                  I don't think it lack of manners so much as poor or misguided, training..
                                                                                                  Again, I'd say, "Take no insult when one was intended" :-}

                                                                                                  1. re: Tay

                                                                                                    Tay, you are probably right about the training. My daughter used to be a manager of a chain restaurant, and she was adamant that her staff not address a table as "you guys". I really am not insulted, I just don't like it! I guess growing up with a masculine name (Dani) made me a tad more sensitive to being called a guy. Try ending up in the boys gym class every year and you'll know what I mean ;-)

                                                                                                  2. re: danhole

                                                                                                    I think you missed my question. Would merely observing
                                                                                                    a doppleganger [another brace of 50something women
                                                                                                    "all dressed up"] being called "you guys" offend you, or
                                                                                                    only when the "you guys" refers to you.

                                                                                                    >If I am in a group of mixed company it's not so bad
                                                                                                    so as the %age of men in the mixed group goes from 0 -> 100%
                                                                                                    the "so badness" goes from 100% -> 0?

                                                                                                    1. re: psb

                                                                                                      Would merely observing
                                                                                                      a doppleganger [another brace of 50something women
                                                                                                      "all dressed up"] being called "you guys" offend you, or
                                                                                                      only when the "you guys" refers to you.

                                                                                                      It doesn't necessarily "offend" me, it just makes me cringe. Whether it is directed to me or another group of women.

                                                                                                      As far as the mixed group, I said "it's not so bad", but still cringe worthy! About 50%.

                                                                                                  3. re: psb

                                                                                                    "o tempura, o morels" heeee-larious, psb, I'll have to use that from now on :-D

                                                                                                  4. i'd say loosen up. but what do i know?

                                                                                                    i'm in my late 40's btw.

                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                                                      Lol... I'd have to agree with you on this one, though I can see why some people would prefer not to be addressed so casually.. In this particular thread, the OP addded some negative comments about the Server's actions that probably just reinforced his/her disappointment with the whole encounter

                                                                                                      1. re: Tay

                                                                                                        i'm not sure what one's age difference with a server has to do with it anyway. does a 50 year old deserve more repect than a 30 year old? a 20 year old?


                                                                                                        let's face it we have all known 20 year olds who deserve respect and 50 year olds who probably don't.

                                                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                                                          Maybe the only “respect” involved is self-respect regarding one’s actions and a general respect for everyone. So that you courteously greet the 50+ year old long time customer and are as courteous as possible while moving the drunk at the bar out the door.

                                                                                                          1. re: thew

                                                                                                            You make a worthwhile point. That having been said, I don't think it's really a respect/disrespect, issue. People tend to relate to their (age-wise) peers on one level and to those in different age groups on another.EG: You don't usually use the same language, expressions, etc when speaking with your Grandparents as you do when speaking with your friends. In this case, I think the server used the seemingly friendly, "You guys" wording, but didn't back it up with friendly service, thus invoking the ire of the OP. Sort of like the bored, disinterested, unhelpful person at the bank/utility co, or anywhere else, who doesn't do anything to assist you, and then ends the call/encounter with the dreaded "Have a nice day" comment.

                                                                                                            1. re: Tay

                                                                                                              You mean as in "Have a nice day. (As if I care)"

                                                                                                              1. re: Tay

                                                                                                                i wasn't the one who brought up disrespect and age, that was the OP