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Stacking Plates at a Restaurant: Helpful or Unnecessary?

Source: @yourtango/TikTok

A recent video went viral on TikTok that shows a woman summarizing an article from the news source Your Tango about the generational differences in restaurant diners.

The article and the video spoke specifically about the extreme differences between how Boomers and Gen-Z customers leave their tables after a meal. Here’s how they explained it: Boomers left the plates, trash, and drinks strewn across the table, while Gen-Z diners stacked the plates, organized the glasses, and put all trash onto one plate.

And it’s not just about how the diners left the tables but why they did so. The article and video went on to explain that Boomers have a “[waiters] get paid to do this attitude,” and Gen-Zers have a “restaurant life is hard, let us help you out attitude.”

Of course, the video sparked mass debate on the internet. There were some comments that stated it simply isn’t the diner’s job to clean up after themselves; it’s that of the servers. Others commented that everyone should help tidy the table in order to help servers with their difficult jobs.

The summary of the video itself was that, while it’s not a requirement that customers clean the table for servers, it is certainly an appreciated act of kindness that “displays your awareness of their hard work.”

However, TikTok user @midnightmania01 then took this video clip and made his own to explain why he completely disagrees with its message. And his video got even more views than the original.

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In @midnightmania01’s clip, he uses a greenscreen to superimpose his face on the existing video, and his very first statement to viewers is to say, “As somebody who worked as a busser for a restaurant, don’t do this. Really, do not feel the need to do this.”

Then he goes on to say that while the way the Boomers left the table was slightly too messy, he encourages people to “Just eat like a normal person.” He also says that when customers go out to dinner, it’s to enjoy the experience of being taken care of without having to clean up after themselves. If they wanted to clean their own table, they would have just stayed home.

He continues by saying, “Is it nice when the plates are like this? Sure. But I never really expected people to do that.” And again, he shows the Boomer’s messy table and explains, “Like, really, as a busser, do you know how easy it is to clean this up? It really isn’t hard.”

Thousands of commentators got in on the debate on @midnightmania01’s video, but the general consensus among them is that it certainly is a helpful practice. And if bussers and servers appreciate it, why should he be telling people not to stack their plates and trash?

It seems as though his message was misinterpreted by many; his bottom line is that while customers are always welcome to tidy their tables, it shouldn’t be expected because they are paying for a full-service dining experience.

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Written By Lauren

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