Many apologies for how mightily delayed this is. As I hope some of you noticed, my Board participation was patchy at best over the summer. Now that I'm back in ol' P-town and hopefully in a sustainable schedule, I plan to be much more present. I'm back. Hooray!
Anyway -- yes, there are many ways to make a nuisance of yourself as a customer. The idea here is to avoid this tendency, and usually it's more easy than you may expect. The biggest thing would be -- as I brought up in the post you mentioned -- to treat the person helping you as a fallible human being. They really do have feelings, family, dreams, and desires (most of which probably don't involve taking your food order). They are also capable of making mistakes, but most of them are just like you and want to make it up to you if they do slip up. Too many people treat employees of whatever establishment they happen to be visiting as order-taking robots. Don't do that, and you should be 95% okay.
Other than that, here are a few random tips:
-Avoid outrageously stupid questions. Yes, it happens sometimes, but it does get on a cashier's nerves a little bit after the 30th person asks where the straws are when they're literally right in front of you.
Now, this is rarely malicious, but it can really wear (see this comic
). Don't be afraid
to ask questions, but try to be observant first.
-Never yell, and try to avoid excessive anger. Again, these are people. Most servers (for instance) are even taking the brunt for the mistakes of other people along the chain. Often, whatever happened isn't their fault or is something they have no power over. If you're really slighted, ask for a manager, who can at least make decisions to get things fixed. Besides, ripping on the server that your burger is too well-done is a good way to wind up with a spit sandwich.
-Be decisive. If you're not ready to order when the server asks, say so; don't keep werf standing there for 5 minutes while you're still studying the menu. Likewise for other establishments -- if you don't know what you're ordering, why are you in line? How did you even make it to the front of the line without thinking about what you're getting? Everyone, not just the employee, will hate you.
-When appropriate, tip.
There seems to have been a few discussions on here lately about the necessity of tipping in the food service industry. As Cognoscente said, "If three extra bucks isn't in your budget to demonstrate your appreciation for service when you eat out, then stay home.
Folks in the service industry don't work their butts off to bring your ungrateful self refills because they feel like it." Or in the words of Bill Murray: "my friend, do not be a jerk."
As you can see, most of this is common sense. Be nice, don't waste tons of time, do unto others, blah blah blah. If you're even considerate enough to ask this question, chances are you're doing fine. Food service employees everywhere salute you.