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Restaurant Special Event Hoopla

Recently, my husband and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. It was a late afternoon weekday and we decided to go to a moderately expensive SW-themed restaurant of which there seem to be so many these days. Expense-wise, this is something we very rarely do, though we do meet for lunch every other Friday or so (at a far less expensive diner on the other side of town), because of our differing work schedules. The following story is really more of an observation than a plea for advice, though I’m curious what others might make of it.

This is the kind of restaurant that makes a huge scene (complete with singing and/or props) if they learn of a birthday or other special event occurring during their visit, which is what I fully expected (and figured other patrons do also) before we went there. When we sat down and bantered with our very bouncy waitress, we were pretty much alone on our side of the facility. It wasn’t long, though, before some well-dressed middle-aged ladies were seated across the aisle from us. You can probably see where this is going.

We made the most of our visit and ordered the kinds of things we haven’t eaten for quite a number of years, and afterwards… yes, the festivities began. Complete with clapping and chanting, even the chef came out to help with the spectacle, though in a most amusing blase and lackluster way (as I’m sure they have done this umpteen times over the years), leaning dejectedly on a booth partition and looking around elsewhere, despite the strenuous efforts of our exuberant server. We were both so bloated, there was no way both of us would have gotten on the props they drug out for the occasion, so we laughed and looked about, a little embarrassed at the attention.

What was interesting was the reaction of the ladies across the aisle. While beforehand they weren’t in any kind of animated or even quiet conversation, during the performance they looked over occasionally, clearly angry at the uproar we had caused, since, of course, we had to have informed personnel of the special occasion. Obviously neither of us expected everyone at all the booths nearby to start clapping and singing, but I certainly didn’t expect disgusted glares, and almost apologized afterwards for disrupting their supper.

Because we do this so seldom, I wondered if what happened there is part and parcel of the more affluent side of town that this SW restaurant occupies, or if it was just the people involved. Were it us across the aisle, I would have probably grinned over during the 2 or 3 minutes it took the production to complete and taken the opportunity to wish that couple well. I imagine that a scene of this nature is intended to break down the imaginary walls that separate us from total strangers, and make us over, temporarily, into loud and personable Texans, maybe, who would be overjoyed to congratulate these people who are having a special day. And I guess that is really the primary question for this kind of story: Wouldn’t most people take advantage of an opportunity like that?

I want to state that this in no way marred our otherwise very enjoyable evening; we giggled as much about that as we did the eye-rolling chef. We burped, sighed and groaned the remainder of our day. 1025-15


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Tara October 26, 2015, 3:48 am

    I’m not sure what the women were upset about… restaurants that do this sort of thing are always far from upscale, so it’s not like their nice dinner was ruined. I think it’s sort of weird to want that sort of attention from total strangers… these are the sorts of places you take a grudging birthday boy so you can tell all the staff it’s his birthday and laugh at his embarrassment. When I’m at a restaurant that does this (always for someone else) I just patiently wait until the noise is over so I can continue my conversation, and maybe glance over in that direction once in a while to gauge how close they are to being done. Maybe they kept looking at you because it’s so unusual for a couple to want that sort of attention? How did you know they were angry? If they weren’t really conversing among themselves, then any sort of commotion is going to attract attention, angry or not.

    Honestly, when you said “It wasn’t long, though, before some well-dressed middle-aged ladies were seated across the aisle from us. You can probably see where this is going,” I thought where it was going was that you were about to complain about your fancy anniversary dinner ruined by the staff singing for one of the lady’s birthdays. I certainly didn’t expect you to complain that these women didn’t seem happy enough for you.

    You end it by saying you burped, sighed, and groaned the rest of the day, so it really makes me wonder what your manners are in public, and maybe if they were glaring at you, if it was because you were being gross.

    • Lisa October 26, 2015, 10:20 am


      I also paused after that sentence and thought for a minute and then said, “Nope, no idea where this is going.” lol

      • AS October 27, 2015, 11:26 am

        I too thought in the same lines: “am I supposed to know where it is going?”. I’m glad that I am not the only one.

    • Amanda H. October 26, 2015, 2:46 pm

      “maybe if they were glaring at you, if it was because you were being gross.”

      What an interesting assumption.

      • Tara October 27, 2015, 8:30 am

        How is that an assumption? She outright stated they “burped, sighed, and groaned” the rest of the day. Unless she was being facetious, that sounds pretty gross to me.

        • Amanda H. October 27, 2015, 1:15 pm

          You seem to get grossed out pretty easily, then.

          Burping doesn’t necessarily mean loud belches. It could mean quiet burps, and OP and her husband could have shown etiquette by excusing themselves afterward (with volume equivalent to the volume of the burp). And it’s not like burps are something that one can necessarily voluntarily hold in, so I’m not sure what you would suggest they do otherwise.

          I took the sentence to basically be a variant way to say “we ate well and felt it the rest of the day,” which is not inherently gross.

          • Jessica November 1, 2015, 11:40 am

            If the burping and groaning was discreet then why announce it in her post? She is certainly not being discreet about it now. That sentence at the end actually made me a bit embarrassed for the OP.

    • Emmy October 27, 2015, 4:10 pm

      “It wasn’t long, though, before some well-dressed middle-aged ladies were seated across the aisle from us. You can probably see where this is going.”

      I was confused and a bit put off at this statement. Is there a certain way or stereotype about well dressed, middle aged women who eat out in a group together? I honestly couldn’t see where it was going.

      If the women were actually making disgusted faces and giving dirty looks, then that is rude. However if they just looked at the spectacle and didn’t smile, then that is not rude. Reading the post, it seemed like the OP expected the ladies to join in the fun, congratulate them, or at least smile – which they are not obligated to do. It’s nice when people go out of their way to be friendly, but etiquette doesn’t require it in this situation.

      • Jessica November 1, 2015, 11:44 am

        Me too, I dont know why strangers not celebrating with them is rude either? I am afraid I dont even see the point of the post. It may be just me but it seems like the OP and her other half wanted a big deal made about them and so went to the restaurant for that purpose and were disappointed at the reaction they got, that they did not cause as much of a stir as they thought, mentioning the burping and the groaning at the end made me cringe too.

  • lkb October 26, 2015, 4:37 am

    Congratulations on your anniversary!
    My only guesses are that the ladies in question either just came from a serious thing at work and had hoped for a quiet place to discuss it. Or, had just come from a funeral, skipping the reception, again hoping for a quiet place. When that hope wasn’t met, well, …..
    Maybe they were not aware this restaurant did those kinds of celebrations? Such is life.
    If not, oh well, they survived it.

    • lkb October 26, 2015, 11:06 am

      I meant to ask if the OP would further describe how the women at the other table behaved that they were “clearly angry”. Was it more than “disgusted glares”?

      I ask because I’m troubled by the other comments on this thread calling these women sourpusses, pompous ****, grumps etc. when IMHO there is too little to base them on. For all we know the restaurant staff could have been blocking someone in, or accidentally knocked over a drink or some food. Or they could have been having a serious discussion (i.e., a job interview, a post-funeral etc.) Or., one of them may have had a hearing difficulty. If such were the case and somehow they didn’t realize the venue was one of those celebration-type places, I can understand their annoyance — particularly after reading the “loud and personable Texans” remark and the burping reference.

      True, they probably could have done better by not having their feelings show, but perhaps they deserve a little slack too?

      Again, congratulations on your anniversary, OP!

  • Green123 October 26, 2015, 4:57 am

    You didn’t do anything wrong, OP.

    Basically, the moral of this story is: ladies, if you don’t want to hear exuberant singing and hooting, don’t go to TFI Fridays. If you don’t want to hear exuberant singing and hooting but really, really want to go to TFI Fridays anyway, tell your server and ask to be sat in a quiet corner.

    • cassandra lowe October 26, 2015, 1:44 pm

      Good to know. I have been to TGIFridays quite a few times and never knew they did those kind of celebrations!

  • just4kicks October 26, 2015, 6:38 am

    First of all Congratulations on your anniversary! May you both be blessed with many more happy years together!!! 🙂

    Secondly: you mentioned (and maybe I missed something in your story) that you and you spouse were surprised and a little embarrassed at all the “hoopla” being thrown in your honor.
    The restaurant’s staff wouldn’t KNOW it’s your anniversary, unless you or your spouse (without your prior knowledge) informed them it was a very special day for you both, right?!?
    So…you knew it was coming, no?

    Lastly: Seeing as the staff had other patrons to attend to, the “song and dance” couldn’t have lasted more than a few minutes, and the sour pusses seated near you could’ve been a lot more gracious, and smiled and maybe wished you congratulations.
    I don’t think it would’ve killed them to be nice for a few minutes before returning to peace and quiet the remainder of their meal.

    • Mary October 26, 2015, 10:26 am

      Usually when we go out (and especially at the restaurant that I think the OP is talking about) , the host or hostess usually asks as they are walking you to your table if it’s a special occasion that night. Usually a casual conversation, not the customers announcing why they are there.

      • Mary October 26, 2015, 10:30 am

        I forgot to add that even if it’s our birthday or anniversary, we usually just say that we are just out for the evening, just because we don’t want to be sung to or deal with the hoopla.

        • just4kicks October 27, 2015, 6:32 am

          @Mary: Good point!
          You’re right, when we do go to, well, any restaurant actually, they usually do ask if you’re celebrating something today.

  • Rubies October 26, 2015, 6:46 am

    Maybe they were taking a friend out to celebrate a divorce? It’s still not your problem. Just forget about it.

  • Skaramouche October 26, 2015, 7:20 am

    A question from the uninitiated please! What is “SW” themed? Southwest?

    I say you should have ignored the uncouth ladies. Well dressed or not, affluent or not, their comportment left a lot to be desired. Your only “fault” was in informing the restaurant as people are wont to do when they go out to celebrate. The restaurant staff then chose what to do with that information and if that is their way of celebrating, it’s hardly fair to blame the patrons. Don’t like it? Don’t eat there. Unless you were being rowdy, I don’t see how you could have improved your behaviour to suit the pompous ***** masquerading as ladies 😛

    On a separate note though, if you knew what was to come, celebration-wise, why the embarrassment? Seems to me that you wanted the celebration. My husband and I would definitely have been mortified but for this reason, we would have kept the happy occasion to ourselves.

    With regards to your question, while I wouldn’t have necessarily congratulated the couple, I would definitely have smiled at the exuberant celebration of a milestone, thanking my lucky stars all the time that it wasn’t me 😛

    • Weaver October 26, 2015, 9:53 am

      With regards to your question, while I wouldn’t have necessarily congratulated the couple, I would definitely have smiled at the exuberant celebration of a milestone, thanking my lucky stars all the time that it wasn’t me.

      That would’ve my reaction exactly, Skaramouche! I like seeing other people celebrated, but it makes me shrivel a little inside if such attention is focussed on me!

    • Goldie October 26, 2015, 10:13 am

      Now I, too, need to know what SW means. For some reason, I thought Star Wars. Can you imagine the visuals I’ve had while reading OP’s letter?

      • Skaramouche October 26, 2015, 2:05 pm

        That’s all I have to say to that one 😛

      • Amanda H. October 26, 2015, 2:25 pm

        You’re not the only one. Though Skaramouche makes a good point that it could be Southwest instead, and would make a lot more sense why two apparently stuffy older women would also eat there.

        As for the embarrassment, I’ve been to a place once or twice that has similar hoopla (including one that has an entire loud song for the staff to sing while escorting you to the restroom, should you ask for directions), and even if I knew it was coming, I’d probably still be somewhat embarrassed because, expecting it or not, I’m not a naturally outgoing person.

        • Aletheia October 29, 2015, 11:05 pm

          Oh, dear God. What’s that one with the restroom song, so I can never ever go there? I think I’d run away in tears if that happened without warning.

    • Mary October 26, 2015, 10:27 am

      I took it to mean Southwest.

    • Hollyhock October 26, 2015, 10:50 am

      What is your basis for referring to the women diners as “uncouth” or “pompous (expletive) masquerading as ladies” ?

      Sounds as though they did nothing but cast a couple of pained glances toward the performers. As others have said, perhaps they did not know in advance that the restaurant had this custom. I certainly wouldn’t have as I seldom frequent chain eateries. It’s pretty jarring to have chanting, hollering and banging of toy drums or whatever a few feet away when one is in the middle of a meal. Unless they said something insulting or made overt gestures such as covering their ears, or demanded a comped meal or something, it doesn’t appear they did anything that deserves being called insulting names.

      And as others have pointed out, the OP and her mate did solicit extra attention by sharing info with the server. I have celebrated many events in restaurants and never felt the need to tell the waitress or waiter about it. If you do something that contributes to a loud spectacle, don’t be surprised if not everyone is enthusiastic.

      • Skaramouche October 26, 2015, 2:18 pm

        Hmmm…the latter was a bit harsh perhaps but the former definitely wasn’t, even on re-reading and carefully considering comments. Make no mistake, I wouldn’t behave as OP did because I don’t like drawing attention to myself and in general, don’t find doing so very classy. However, if a restaurant makes it known that they celebrate special events in a raucous way and a person who likes such attention points out that such an event is occurring then what else can I call the behaviour of the ladies but uncouth? Disgusted glares? Unless OP completely misread the situation and the glares (in which case I owe an apology but I guess we’ll never know), they lacked manners and were impolite. Had they been well mannered, what the ladies would have done is swallow their irritation and never eat there again.

        As to your last point, I completely agree but in this case, I fear the onus is on the restaurant. You can call attention to your special event all you like but if the staff does nothing, there is no loud spectacle.

        • Hollyhock October 26, 2015, 3:03 pm

          Perhaps we use different definitions of “uncouth,” here’s the one I’m accustomed to. I don’t see how it fits the women diners assuming all they did was look askance at the “celebration.” Miss Manners herself espouses the arched eyebrow method of subtle sanction.

          adjective: uncouth

          (of a person or their appearance or behavior) lacking good manners, refinement, or grace.
          “he is unwashed, uncouth, and drunk most of the time”
          synonyms: uncivilized, uncultured, uncultivated, unrefined, unpolished, unsophisticated, bush-league, common, plebeian, low, rough, rough-hewn, coarse, loutish, boorish, oafish, troglodyte; More
          churlish, uncivil, rude, impolite, discourteous, disrespectful, unmannerly, bad-mannered, ill-bred, indecorous, crass, indelicate;
          vulgar, crude, raunchy
          “I was hoping you’d be less uncouth in public”
          antonyms: refined
          (especially of art or language) lacking sophistication or delicacy.
          “uncouth sketches of peasants”
          (of a place) uncomfortable, especially because of remoteness or poor conditions.


          • Skaramouche October 27, 2015, 7:51 am

            Can’t see anything wrong with your definition and I agree with it 100%. I was specifically referring to the parts of the definition that indicate a lack of good manners or refinement. I think both apply in this case.

            An arched eyebrow is hardly the same thing as a disgusted glare. In any case, I think that’s where we disagree. For the well mannered, a sanction was not appropriate in this case. The restaurant (in which these women had chosen to eat) approves of and invites celebrations. When in Rome and all that…

          • Hollyhock October 27, 2015, 8:57 am

            Uncouth = rude, gross or vile behavior, dress, grooming, etc. It really is not descriptive of subtle facial expressions. If the women had stuck their tongues out at the OP’s table, that would be uncouth. Looking at a nearby table with a silent expression of disapproval is not uncouth.

          • Skaramouche October 28, 2015, 9:11 am

            Okay, your response flabbergasts me. You pasted the dictionary definition and now you’re arguing that it is not correct? :P. Should I conclude that you no longer agree with the definition in favour of your own? Or should we discuss exactly how subtle or how disapproving the glances were so that we can successfully determine the correct adjective that applies? 😛

            I can only base my response on the information OP gave us. I already agreed that perhaps calling them pompous was over the top…I got carried away. Having said that, I still firmly believe that “uncouth” applies in this case and I’m not going to change my mind. You don’t have to change yours either but maybe we can just agree to disagree.

    • DoubleYou October 26, 2015, 11:02 am

      Southwest does seem much more likely than my initial guess of a Star Wars themed restaurant (which didn’t quite seem to gel with the addition “of which there seem to be so many these days”)! 😉

      • Amanda H. October 26, 2015, 2:26 pm

        I thought the “so many these days” remark was saying that Star Wars restaurants were popping up more often thanks to the newest movie coming out. But Southwest does seem much more likely.

  • BH October 26, 2015, 7:21 am

    I think people take this whole “noisy restaurant annoyed behavior” a bit too far. You’re out in public, if you want silence, stay at home and order in!
    I get people get mad at a screaming kid and parents not parenting…
    This is a celebration though, live it up! Maybe there was some jealousy of how much fun you two had?
    Congratulations btw!

  • Mary October 26, 2015, 7:34 am

    If it’s the restaurant I am thinking of, one only has to go there once to know that there will be loud birthday celebrations occurring regularly through your meal. Maybe they had never been there before and didn’t know what to expect? If it’s the type of thing they object to, I’m assuming they won’t be back.

  • DGS October 26, 2015, 7:42 am

    Meh…I think it’s a non-issue. The middle-aged ladies were probably, hoping to enjoy a more peaceful lunch, and the chef probably, wanted to get to the task of cooking, and it sounds like you, the OP, were gracious and a good sport about being in the spotlight. If I was the patron, I would not have joined in the singing and dancing and celebration; I would have smiled politely and tried to refocus on my food and my conversation with the people I would be dining with, rather than to participate in the over-the-top circus. My DH, a gentle and laid-back and quiet soul, would have found such a production mortifying, as a patron or an unwilling participant, so he would probably, sat there looking terrified the whole time. It’s a restaurant – different people may have had different objectives in mind when they sat out to have lunch – some to join in the raucous celebration the restaurant is known for organizing, and others to enjoy the delicious cuisine the restaurant is also known for, and it’s okay to have both, as long as no overt rudeness took place.

    • Michelle October 26, 2015, 11:11 am

      I agree. I maybe way off-base, but it seems like the OP was upset the ladies were not joining in and did not congratulate them?

      I’m with your DH on the mortifying angle. I do not want the staff the sing to me or make a big “to-do” over my birthday if I’m out having lunch/dinner. A coworker asked me out to lunch for my birthday and she knew I hate that kind of thing, so she called ahead and arranged it. The staff rolled up, sang and put a birthday party hat on me. Coworker was laughing and taking pictures. As soon as they walked away from the table, I took the hat off, told her if the pictures showed up online or in an email she would not like my attitude,walked out and called a cab. She was protesting saying “it’s fun, it’s your ‘day’, be a good sport”. Guess who I don’t go out to lunch with anymore?

      P. S. The pictures were never shared. I would have been the worst coworker ever if they had.

      • Cat October 26, 2015, 4:46 pm

        I have to agree with you. She knew you did not want any notice being taken of your birthday and she did it anyway.
        To me, anyone who does what they know you hate to you is not a friend. It says to me, “I’ll do whatever I want to you,whether you like it or not.” The only reply to that is, “No, you won’t.”

    • Kate October 28, 2015, 3:11 am

      I think it’s very odd that the chef is forced to participate. Surely they’ve got other things to be getting on with. Also, most of the chefs I worked with in my short hospitality stint spent their entire work day in a perpetual grump. Hardly the face you want to see singing Happy Birthday to you.

  • m October 26, 2015, 7:51 am

    I’m on the fence about this one. Considering the nature of the restaurant, I probably don’t have a right to protest, but you’d better believe I wouldn’t enjoy it. The glares were uncalled for, but these people owed you nothing by way of congratulations or even smiles.

    • iwadasn October 26, 2015, 10:20 am

      If you think hearing waiters sing “Happy birthday” or “Happy anniversary” or whatever for a minute is so beneath you, don’t go to the kind of restaurants that do that. Restaurants like TGI Friday and Texas Roadhouse are known for doing celebrations like this, and they’re also known for not being the finest dining establishments around. If you want a more refined atmosphere, go to a more refined restaurant.

      • Rattus October 26, 2015, 12:28 pm

        Not enjoying something (and I don’t enjoy people singing to me whilst I’m trying to eat) does not mean that one considers that something to be beneath them, it simply means that they don’t enjoy it. I don’t enjoy opera – I certainly don’t consider those who do enjoy it to be socially inferior. Believing that others are snobs because they prefer different things is its own level of snobbery. Any not everyone who would prefer a more refined restaurant can afford that same restaurant – in some areas mass chain “family” restaurants are the only option between fast food and haute cuisine.

      • Dee October 26, 2015, 1:06 pm

        iwadasn – It wasn’t for a minute, the OP says it was two or three minutes. Yikes! That’s just painful. Singing “Happy Birthday” takes less than 15 seconds! I can see where the other ladies were fed up after awhile. And the OP does come off as bigoted with her phrase “you can probably see where this is going” when she spied those well-dressed middle aged ladies. What that’s supposed to mean I do not know but the inference is nasty. OP – nobody cares it’s your anniversary. Have a nice night out, plan to have the restaurant make a big, annoying fuss over you and your hubby just because you told them to, but don’t expect anyone else to join in. The other ladies did not do anything to bother you and just tried to get on with their meal and company while your party was interrupting theirs. And I’m sure those ladies are now very clear why they should avoid this restaurant in the future – I know I would. And I really hope that poor chef gets a better job soon. Must be a special kind of hell to work there.

        • Amanda H. October 26, 2015, 7:49 pm

          I thought OP’s “you can probably see where this is going” was less about a bigoted opinion and more about “would I be writing if *something* didn’t happen at this point?” Either the ladies were going to be sung to and OP and her husband would have to deal with a crowd near their table as the waiters sang (or the ladies would have issue with being sung to), or OP and her husband would be the recipients of the singing and the ladies would have some sort of issue with it then.

  • clairedelune October 26, 2015, 7:53 am

    The ladies at the neighboring table shouldn’t have been glaring and grumping under any circumstances, but if it’s any comfort, I doubt they were doing it at *you*, OP. They were probably just sort of grumpy people who were annoyed by the clamor and disruption of what sounds like a rather unusually elaborate restaurant celebration (2-3 minutes complete with props is quite a splash!). The glares were probably meant for the staff. Though of course, were not very gracious no matter what.

    • Hollyhock October 26, 2015, 3:10 pm

      I don’t understand how “not wanting a cacophony of noise next to one’s dining table” = grumpy.

      A “glare” to me is a fierce gaze with furrowed brow and perhaps hands on hips, with eye contact made with the glaree. I wonder if this is what really happened. Or did the women merely glance over from time to time, unsmiling, wondering when the ordeal would finally end.

      The 2-3 minutes duration probably seems quick to those who are the center of the attention but to those forced to pause their conversation in mid-sentence and wait until the hollering stops, it’s a long time.

      Also, another question of the OP: at first your description is of an empty area with just you and the ladies nearby; then later you say “everyone at the all the booths nearby.” I’m confused — were you in a quiet and low-populated area of the restaurant or a full area that was buzzing with conversation and activity? I can see the ladies being doubly taken aback if they thought they were in a quiet part of the bistro.

  • ThatGirl October 26, 2015, 8:08 am

    First off, what a weird way this is written. Who cares if you regularly eat out or not? That’s totally irrelevant.

    Second, while those ladies were a bit rude with their looks of disgust and eye-rolling, it hardly seems like a major debacle, and I don’t think it matters whether they were wealthy or not, that seems classist. And no, I don’t think they were obligated to wish you a happy anniversary. If I am out for dinner and see someone being sung to, I generally just ignore it. I might wish a small child a happy birthday or something, but otherwise, it’s not my party and not my monkeys.

  • cdubz October 26, 2015, 8:17 am

    Since this restaurant is well known for the uproar they create around birthdays and other special occasions, I would say you have nothing to be embarrassed about. Those ladies knew the type of place they were going, and have very little to be offended about IMO. If it bothered them that much they could have taken their food to go.

    • Hollyhock October 26, 2015, 10:54 am

      I wouldn’t be so sure. I have no idea what restaurant the OP is referring to and off the top of my head cannot think of one that does this sort of production number. So if I stumbled into one that does, it would not be because I “knew the type of place they were going.” I would find it discouraging and disruptive to sit through that and as someone else pointed out, several minutes is a long time. Just sit and look at a clock or watch for that long. A 15-second “Happy Anniversary to You” verse with a complimentary cupcake is one thing but a tableside jamboree is quite another.

      • cdubz October 26, 2015, 12:43 pm

        I don’t know what restaurant the OP is referring to, either. I’m just taking her at her word that this establishment is known for having small productions on special events. I can actually think of a number of places off the top of my head that do this sort of thing, Joe’s Crab Shack and Texas Roadhouse topping the list. It’s pretty well known if you go into these places you’ll be subjected to singing and dancing waiters at some point.

        Even if there is a chance these ladies had no idea, it has already been set in place by the restaurant that this is standard procedure for birthdays and anniversaries. So, since OP and her husband had an anniversary they got the same treatment as everyone else who has had a birthday or anniversary in the restaurant. Are you saying they shouldn’t get the same treatment as the other patrons because these two total strangers weren’t expecting it? It sounds like she and her husband had a good time, and the only people in the entire dining room who were having a problem were those two.

        Like I said, if they had that big of an issue with it they could have gone elsewhere or packed up their food to go.

        • cdubz October 26, 2015, 12:46 pm

          Basically I’m saying is the owners and managers get to determine what sort of entertainment happens or doesn’t happen at their restaurant. If you don’t like it, vote with your dollars and go elsewhere.

        • Hollyhock October 26, 2015, 3:23 pm

          The point is though, some people don’t frequent these restaurants enough to know about the ambience. If I went to a Chuck E Cheese I’d know what I was in for, but if I were traveling or just not a frequent diner-outer and selected someplace called “Texas Roadhouse” it would not occur to me that “singing and dancing waiters” would be part of the atmosphere.

          Obviously it’s just one meal and the women can take their business elsewhere next time but to label them as “uncouth” or “pompous” as others have done, because THEY aren’t enjoying a loud exhibition across the aisle, is a bit OTT. Especially when the OP refers to groaning and burping — was that going on at the table as well? Perhaps that is the source of the ladies’ discomfort as much as the singing and revelry.

  • stacey October 26, 2015, 8:22 am

    I wouldn’t waste any time or energy puzzling over their conduct. Your energy and focus when dining out are directed towards your table and dining companion. You tune out the conversations around you and the noises of the service (placing plates, removing them, taking orders, bringing drinks, refills etc…). It’s a better experience for you if you also tune out the minor intrusions of those small things like an expression of annoyance by another patron. For all you know, the lady in question had gas.

  • Biscuit October 26, 2015, 8:27 am

    Who begrudges a couple a few moments of good natured congratulations? I always sing and clap along during these things. Crab apples always find something to be crabby about.

  • Shoegal October 26, 2015, 8:29 am

    What is life if you don’t make the most of these types of occasions?!!?! I say those ladies were rude. While they might not take advantage of the opportunity to wish you both well, they could have refrained from having any sort of reaction so as not to spoil your fun. Make the most of moments like this and take the time to make it special – a little more than just out of ordinary. I would have been happy to congratulate you – and shared in your happy day.

  • Lisa October 26, 2015, 8:39 am

    I’m not sure what the question is. Are you upset that the other patrons didn’t congratulate you?

    As an aside: I loathe these types of OTT “celebrations” put on by waitstaff. I don’t find them celebratory, just … embarrassing. And I always feel bad for the staff for having to participate.

    • Michelle October 26, 2015, 11:14 am

      +1. Hate, hate, hate it. I don’t begrudge anyone who like this and enjoys it, but I hate it and I’m sure some of the waitstaff do, too.

    • clairedelune October 26, 2015, 11:43 am

      It was always my least favorite thing to do when I waited tables. Particularly because it always seemed to happen at the busiest moment, so I would have to stop everything to go sing to someone else’s table while all I could think about was my tables’ food sitting in the window, getting cold.

      • Goldie October 26, 2015, 12:21 pm

        I was going to say this – that the waitstaff probably isn’t too thrilled about those OTT celebrations, either.

  • mark October 26, 2015, 8:48 am

    I dislike the whole crazy birthday thing some restaurants do. So I don’t go to the ones who are over the top. That’s how I deal with it. But it’s not the diners fault for taking advantage of the hoopla.

    I try to keep my comments and glares to myself while mentally placing this restaurant at the bottom of my revisit list.

  • girl_with_all_the_yarn October 26, 2015, 8:56 am

    Considering others joined in, I think those ladies simply had one too many lemons for dinner.

  • Daisy October 26, 2015, 9:00 am

    Oh, for goodness sake! Restaurants offer services. This one offers to make a short celebration for special events. If people don’t want the incredible inconvenience of putting up with three minutes of other people’s happiness, they need to confine their restaurant selections accordingly. My husband and I enjoy sharing of a tiny bit of someone else’s joy. For a few moments it makes us part of a larger human community.

    • PJ October 26, 2015, 11:35 am

      I totally agree with Daisy. These celebrations are just as much a part of some restaurants as big screen TVs at sports bars. Going there and grumbling about their entertainment style is rude (although it sounds like these women kept their words of disapproval to themselves). These women should have found a different place to eat or ordered their food to go if they didn’t want the atmosphere of that place.
      When I’m at a place like this, I enjoy the experience of being one of many in a group of strangers clapping and cheering on someone with something to celebrate.

  • Lady Anne October 26, 2015, 9:07 am

    Harrumph. They were probably a bunch of sour old maids who had not been fortunate enough to ever been married, let alone lucky enough to have gotten a sweet husband such as yours.

    • Ellex October 26, 2015, 11:03 am

      What an interesting assumption.

    • Kelly October 26, 2015, 12:00 pm

      Wow, that is a pretty rude response for an etiquette site. As you can see by the comments on this post, there are many people who don’t particularly enjoy these celebrations in restaurants. Are they all “sour old maids”?

    • Kirsten October 26, 2015, 12:12 pm

      Yeah, cos we spinsters are always bitter about our status, because marrying a man is the most any woman could ever hope for.

    • Goldie October 26, 2015, 12:24 pm

      Ugh, having or not having been married is not a measure of success in life, nor does it say anything about the person’s character.

    • AnnaJ October 26, 2015, 1:52 pm

      “sour old maids”? The 1950s have called, they want you back to talk about the necessity of a man to make a woman happy.

      • stacey October 26, 2015, 5:21 pm

        Forgive the “ditto” nature of my response. “Sour old maids” is such a repugnant and hackneyed cliche that its use is bound to invoke a feeling of irritation in many people (not all of whom are female, single or mature… I should think!). S0- ICK!

    • Becca October 26, 2015, 3:04 pm

      LOL come on now.

      Or maybe their husbands have all died and they’re a newly widowed support group…now how do you feel making up these stories!

      I’ll take my grumpy self over to my equally as grouchy partner and leave you to the rude assumptions.

    • Cat October 26, 2015, 4:49 pm

      I know more bitter divorced women than I do sour old maids.

      • Lila October 27, 2015, 3:48 pm

        Good job–you get a dig in on both never married and divorced women. The reason for so many divorces are unhappy marriages so I’m thinking there are probably just as many bitter married women. More even because some stay married. The difference is that the divorced women get out and then have a chance to get over it.

        • Cat October 27, 2015, 6:59 pm

          You have mistaken my meaning. It was not a negative remark about any group. It was a statement of fact.
          I know of no woman who is not single by choice. The old days of, “Well, no man wants me so my fate is sealed” is long gone. I don’t know of a woman who has not received at least one offer of marriage.
          Divorce is now perfectly acceptable in our society. That was not always true, but it is true today. A woman in an unhappy marriage has the option to end it. If she chooses to remain, either because of the children or for financial reasons, it is still her choice.
          The women who are bitter about divorces may have good reason for it. I had a good friend whose husband divorced her when he learned she could never have children. He said he had to have a “real woman” as a wife and married the first woman he got pregnant. Yes, “bitter” described her feelings.

    • Lila October 27, 2015, 3:42 pm

      What is with all the negativity towards women in the posts to this story? Especially older, unmarried ones? The villains in this situation could have just have easily been some grumpy old men. Would they have been disparaged as sour old bachelors or men who have just gotten a divorce? This theme runs through the replies (starting with the one by Lady Anne) and it is really pretty horrible.

  • Jenn50 October 26, 2015, 9:08 am

    I find that sort of ruckus, especially in a higher end restaurant extremely disruptive and annoying, and would be less likely to return to an establishment that engages in it. But that said, I try to remind myself that it’s going to be over in a few minutes and sit quietly with no outward sign of displeasure until I can resume conversation with the people I’m there with. I’m aware that some people must enjoy it, or it wouldn’t be a “thing”. I treat it as any other unwelcome disruption, like sirens on a passing emergency vehicle.

    • The Elf October 26, 2015, 10:34 am

      I had a milestone birthday recently, and we went out to a high-end restaurant to celebrate. I love this place, but the prices are too high for anything other than a special occasion. When my companions let slip that it was my birthday, I was worried. I really hate the singing attention-getter thing some restaurants do. This one just simply brought me a complimentary dessert and the server wished e a happy birthday. It was very sweet (both the gesture and the dessert). That’s the way to do it, IMHO.

      • Dee October 26, 2015, 1:10 pm

        The Elf – Maybe that’s the difference between “expensive” and “classy”? I think the OP was dining at the former …

      • Skaramouche October 26, 2015, 2:20 pm

        I find that in general, the higher-end a place, the less fuss they make 😀

      • LadyV October 26, 2015, 2:56 pm

        I had co-workers take me to the Cheesecake Factory for my birthday. After we had our entree, our server brought me a piece of cheesecake with a candle and “Happy Birthday (Name)” written on the plate in gel frosting. I thought that was delightful!

      • Becca October 26, 2015, 3:07 pm

        I was petrified when my friends told a waiter at a restaurant it was my birthday and begged for no commotion, I truly couldn’t eat if they had set one off in my “honor”. The waiter was wonderful and just decorated my dessert plate with chocolate sauce in a “Happy Birthday, B” way. I can handle that more so than noise!

  • Bellyjean October 26, 2015, 9:19 am

    Good for you for enjoying your anniversary! You shouldn’t feel bad at all. 🙂
    Those 2 ladies should either go home or to a library that allows you to eat there. If they want silence, don’t go to a restaurant.
    You weren’t causing a raucous, the restaurant was causing a celebration. Kudos!

    (Also – what does SW stand for?…)

    • Mary October 26, 2015, 10:31 am

      I took it to mean Southwest.

    • Hollyhock October 26, 2015, 3:27 pm

      Actually I have dined at many restaurants where decorum and a quiet, low-voiced, virtually hushed atmosphere prevailed. Wishing to dine in a low-key, relaxed setting does not mean that one’s options are limited to eating only at home. Thank goodness.

  • Vicky October 26, 2015, 9:25 am

    I’m not familiar with SW-themed restaurants. What exactly is that?

    • mark October 26, 2015, 9:31 am

      SW = south west. So something like chili’s.

    • The Elf October 26, 2015, 10:31 am

      I assumed it meant “Southwest”. So Tex-Mex. They probably brought out a sombrero and did a congratulatory song.

    • Mary October 26, 2015, 10:31 am

      I took it to mean Southwest.

    • DoubleYou October 26, 2015, 11:06 am

      My initial thought was “lightsabers for cutlery and Ewoks for waitstaff”. But then again, I’m prone to a vivid imagination.

      • mark October 26, 2015, 12:20 pm

        Eating Ewoks you say?!?!


  • Weaver October 26, 2015, 9:39 am

    Congratulatiions, OP, on your tenth wedding anniversary! I hope there are many more happy ones to come.

    I have a quich question about the restaurant: does “SW-themed” mean South-West US themed, in terms of general culture and cuisine? Nothing to do with the post, really, just wanted to check, in case it turns out that SW-themed actually means “Swimming with Wizards” or “Suffering through Winter” 😀

    In any case, if the restaurant you were at makes a thing of special occasions, and caters to diners who enjoy a bit of noise and spectacle, then you certainly didn’t do anything wrong. I suspect the most likely explanation is that the well-dressed middle-aged ladies had just been looking for somewhere to eat, and didn’t realise that they’d chosen the more exuberant kind of establishment. I’d cut them a break if I were you, and just chalk it up to one of those things. They didn’t ruin your evening, and hopefully the production didn’t ruin theirs.

  • Wendy B October 26, 2015, 9:47 am

    Because I hate that kind of attention, I would never have told them it was my anniversary to begin with. I’m the type that doesn’t want hoopla and I don’t want to bother other people. However, if it does happen to a nearby table, I just generally try to ignore it. It’s annoying, but it only lasts a few minutes and some people love it.

    But then, maybe the women had expected a quiet dinner and having been seated in an almost empty section near only one other couple, expected to have it, so, yeah, maybe it was incredibly annoying. Glaring and grumbling was not an appropriate reaction, but if I went to a restaurant and saw it was quiet in my section, and then suddenly insanity broke out, I’d be really, really annoyed myself.

  • just4kicks October 26, 2015, 9:53 am

    One time, when my family and I were out at a sporting event in another town, we went to Applebees/TGI Friday’s (one of those chain restaurants) on a very busy Friday evening.
    We were waiting for a table in the lounge area with a quite a few other parties also waiting to be seated.
    We were “smushed” together, and I was seated next to a VERY pregnant and beautiful young woman whose husband was standing in front of her.
    I (and my family) couldn’t help but overhear that the husband was home “on leave” with the military.
    Myself and my two oldest son’s excused ourselves for interrupting this couple’s conversation to say “We overheard you say you are on leave…may my sons and I please shake your hand and say thank you for your service, and for your family’s sacrifices, for keeping us safe? We admire you very much!”
    The soldier looked a little embarrassed (in an “awww, shucks” kind of way–not irritated) and shook our hands, and thanked my son’s for their support and good wishes.
    We wished them a nice evening and a healthy, happy baby and both parties were soon called to our tables.
    As we are finishing eating, we hear “the slow clap” starting, and hooting and hollering from all the staff as they walked past us with a huge dessert, which they placed in front of this handsome young soldier and wife.
    One of the waitresses announced loudly, “Ladies and Gentlemen!!! The hostess overheard that this fine young man is a proud member of the United States Military!!! Let’s hear it, y’all, for one of our finest and bravest!!!”
    The place went CRAZY, and we were all on our feet, clapping and cheering, with lots of “Thank you’ s” tossed about as well!
    I still get choked up thinking about it…..it was beautiful!
    This soldier and his wife smiled and nodded and were both very gracious, if not a little uncomfortable looking to be the center of attention.
    When my family and I left to head back to the hotel, I said in the car, “that was a really beautiful and powerful moment……I hope they weren’t TOO embarrassed!”
    Then one of my son’s said, “the lady who brought the dessert out said she “overheard” this guy was military….do you think it was when we shook hands with him?!?”
    Ohhhh….shoot. Maybe.
    If it was because of us, I hope the soldier wasn’t angry, or think WE told the restaurant to do that, we honest to God did NOT!

    • Hollyhock October 26, 2015, 3:29 pm

      I find it rather intrusive of the restaurant to take it upon itself to do that. The military members I know don’t want gladhanding attention from strangers or service establishments.

      • just4kicks October 27, 2015, 6:36 am

        Yes, they seemed embarrassed by the attention, and I truly hope my big mouth isn’t what prompted them to do that.

        On the bright side, mommy to be got a complimentary chocolate dessert, which looked AWESOME.

  • Liliane October 26, 2015, 9:54 am

    I think I’ve been to this very restaurant chain for my own birthday. (With the mention of props, I believe it is Texas Roadhouse.)

    Those ladies, if they have even so much as set foot in the door once before, should know the noise and ruckus is all part and parcel of birthday celebrations there, and not something to be shocked at. The waitstaff also warn all tables round the celebrating one that There Is Going To Be Noise, and It Will Be Very Loud – so really, it’s a bit precious on the part of the grumps!

    • Jocelyn October 26, 2015, 2:38 pm

      I’ve eaten at Texas Roadhouse, on several occasions, and I’ve never seen a big show being put on. I’ve got to admit, the description here makes me think that I don’t ever want to eat there again. I just don’t want to be a part of a floor show or expected to participate in someone else’s party. I’m not sure how a person would know this is the custom, if they’d never been there and seen it happen. Perhaps a warning sign in the lobby? ‘If you wish to quietly dine, go somewhere else.’

  • metallicafan October 26, 2015, 9:59 am

    I’m really not seeing that you did anything wrong OP. Don’t worry about it, those ladies will get over themselves sooner or later!

  • Colleen October 26, 2015, 10:05 am

    I’m completely bamboozled by the fact you could even wonder if it was because you were in an affluent part of town. As if people who have more money than you do couldn’t possible enjoy a good time?

  • Goldie October 26, 2015, 10:17 am

    Going out to a restaurant that is well known for its loud birthday/special event celebrations, and then acting outraged because there’s a special event celebration is… um, I don’t even know what to call this? So, no, you did nothing wrong, OP. Neither did the restaurant. It’s very weird of the two ladies to expect a restaurant to change its business model just because the two of them happen to be there for dinner. Why couldn’t they have chosen a different restaurant that does not do this, if it annoyed them so much?

  • Skunktastic October 26, 2015, 10:18 am

    Some of these responses are very nasty… Calling people hateful old maids and the like. I bet I know the exact restaurant referenced here. We go there for good steak but despise the singing. Usually we just tolerate it and move on. Last time it was right next to us and so loud I truly had to plug my ears. We probably won’t be back.
    Maybe the ladies had never been there before. Maybe they thought lunch would be quieter. Maybe it’s the only decent place near their office. Maybe eye rolling to each other was the only possible communication for their table during the ruckus and unintended for you to see. Who knows but I vote not rude. Rude would have been making snide comments afterwards.

  • The Elf October 26, 2015, 10:30 am

    Congrats on your anniversary!

    Personally, I despise the special attention birthday/anniversary thing restaurants do. Perhaps it is because I so dislike being in the center of attention. Perhaps it is because I imagine that I would hate it if forced to do that sort of thing over and over as part of my job. But there are those who like it, so it’s fine.

    When it happens to other diners in restaurants, I don’t join in singing and clapping. But neither do I give disgusted glances. I just wait for the noise to die down and resume my conversation with my dining companions. And that is exactly what the other diner’s role is in this. If they want to join in or congratulate you, fine. If they don’t, that’s also fine.

    Yes, they should not have acted like it was a grand imposition that you had a celebration. But at the same time, you’re really making more out of it than necessary. They shot you a disgusted glance and didn’t join in, so what? Do you really require the accolades of everyone in the vicinity in order to celebrate your anniversary?

  • JWH October 26, 2015, 10:34 am

    SW-themed restaurants? If there are Star Wars-themed restaurants out there and nobody told me, I’m going to be very cross.

  • Lerah99 October 26, 2015, 10:36 am

    I was really hoping SW- Themed meant Star Wars themed.
    As a total geek, I’d love to go to a restaurant where the waitresses had Princess Leia buns and the waiters were dressed as Jedi. Maybe have the manager walk around as Darth Vader…

    But once Texas was mentioned, I realized it meant Southwest Themed.

    As for the old ladies, give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they were right in the middle of planning an elaborate bank heist and your anniversary celebration threw off their calculations.

    I’m glad you and your husband still had a wonderful time celebrating your years together.

    • Goldie October 26, 2015, 12:26 pm

      “As for the old ladies, give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they were right in the middle of planning an elaborate bank heist and your anniversary celebration threw off their calculations.”


  • Ashley October 26, 2015, 10:45 am

    In the town I live in, there’s a restaurant that drags out a saddle on a saw horse if it’s your birthday, and then the LOUDEST member of wait staff on duty that night yells loud enough about what the occasion is to attract the attention of the whole restaurant, and then the patron sits on the saddle and yells some things too. We like the food, and it’s often quite amusing to us just HOW loud some of the wait staff can yell, so we accept it as part of the experience. It has happened at least once every time we’ve gone there.

    And, sometimes, the wait staff line dance in the aisles when a particular song comes on.

    Life is too short for us to go there and pretend to be upset by it when we KNOW it’s a thing that happens. I wouldn’t go there expecting a quiet meal.

    Oh, and there’s another restaurant in town where if it’s your birthday, they put a special song on over the loud speaker and bring out a FLAMING dessert. Literally, fireworks attached to it. If you’ve bothered to book the party room, they not only do the song and the dessert, but there’s a little parade of hibachi chefs from the kitchen to the room, squeeking the little horns attached to their carts that they wheel out to the grills. It’s hilarious, because the chefs REALLY get into it.

    So, I can only imagine that the ladies may not have ever been to that restaurant and didn’t know that the celebration was a thing that happened, or they went during a time when they didn’t expect anyone to be celebrating.

    • cassandra lowe October 26, 2015, 1:34 pm

      Were you talking about Texas Roadhouse in the first description? As soon as the OP mentioned “props” that’s the restaurant I thought about! I do have to say the first time I went I didn’t know anything about what they did so it did take me off guard!

      • Ashley October 26, 2015, 9:10 pm

        Yes, I was talking about Texas Roadhouse, but at the time I originally typed my comment no one else had been using names of actual places so I thought that we were just avoiding actual names today.

        The second one is a local place.

        • Dippy October 27, 2015, 10:01 am

          Wow, I’m adding Texas Roadhouse to the list of places I’ll never, ever go to!!


  • Jennifer October 26, 2015, 10:45 am

    So the ladies across the way, what, looked at you with an unpleasant expression? I don’t understand why you think they were rude or why they should have reacted in any particular way. As long as they didn’t say anything, does it really matter?

    Then again, I have resting b**** face and am tired of being expected to put on a smile all the time to please others.

    • Ashley October 26, 2015, 1:29 pm

      Resting b**** face is a good thing to bring up. I have it sometimes when I’m tired, even if I’m in an otherwise good mood. So it is possible that these ladies just had resting b**** face, and weren’t giving disgusted glances, but that’s just how their faces look when not making any other expression.

    • Reboot October 26, 2015, 4:32 pm

      I was going to mention this! My natural expression is somewhat dour, so I can imagine someone thinking I was glaring at them when I was just looking over to see what the fuss was about.

  • shhh its me October 26, 2015, 10:58 am

    They shouldn’t have glared but we have no idea why they were glaring…maybe the waitress forgot to bring someone a fork and they were waiting to eat , while their food was getting cold and apparently the whole staff was singing. Maybe they were annoyed by the noise ,maybe they wanted they were going to have the staff sing for one of their party and the surprise of what that entailed was ruined, maybe they were annoyed you asked the staff to sing and then acted surprised and embarrassed by it. Maybe it was a support group for recently divorced woman. Since in general we don’t know why people glare (unless a glare is accompanied with words) I prefer to conclude it has nothing to do with me rather then try to figure out why a stranger finds me “disgusting “.

    As far as the offering congratulations , I don’t think celebrating in public obligates the public to celebrate with you.

    Also I’m not sure this is compliment to Texans …”make us over, temporarily, into loud and personable Texans”

  • Ellex October 26, 2015, 11:02 am

    Did they come over and fart on your anniversary dinner in retaliation? No? They just sat their and kept their displeasure to themselves? Then they weren’t rude.

    How do you even know that displeasure was directed at *you*? Maybe it was just the idea of restaurant hoopla to begin with. Maybe the chef’s coat had a stain they found suspicious or his nails were dirty. Maybe they were former waitstaff and knew how awful it was to get dragged out for the hoopla when you’ve got tables to run and the food is dying on the pass. (Three minutes is a long time when your tips and food quality depend on prompt service). Heck, maybe they saw the chef and the waitstaff out there and figured it would take that much longer to get their food and were displeased by that. There’s SO MUCH they could have been unhappy about, why are you assuming that it’s you?

    “Wouldn’t most people take advantage of an opportunity like that?”
    Nope. I don’t care about your anniversary dinner either. I had to pretend to be jubilant for the happy-clappy singalong when I waited tables and I got a lifetime’s worth of corporate-driven “let’s make them feel like family”. I think your expectations for your fellow TGIChilibees patrons are a little high. It’s a corporate agenda marketing ploy, not a sincere celebration of your noteworthy accomplishment or effort to build community.

    • Ashley October 26, 2015, 1:34 pm

      I just about died laughing at the first sentence of your comment.

      And during my initial read through of this story I missed the part where the OP asked “wouldn’t most people take advantage of a situation like that?”

      While I’m certainly not going to make sour faces at people, and I might even smile and clap along if I’m in a good enough mood, no, I’m not going to go congratulate people, my dinner is getting cold.

    • daisyankh October 26, 2015, 1:42 pm

      “Did they come over and fart on your anniversary dinner in retaliation?”

      I’m having a mess of a day, and this made me laugh really hard. Thanks for that 🙂

    • M October 26, 2015, 8:08 pm

      You said everything I wanted to say.

    • Lila October 27, 2015, 3:30 pm

      If you go to a certain type of chain restaurant this type of thing is common and one shouldn’t get their panties in a bunch over a bit of singing. That being said, I thought the “Wouldn’t most people take advantage of an opportunity like that?” statement was odd too. I enjoy my fellow human beings in all their weird and wackiness but I couldn’t care less about some stranger’s anniversary and I wouldn’t feel the need to congratulate them or participate in any sort of celebration. If it was a little kid’s birthday I have and would clap and smile but a couple of grown-ups don’t need my kudos.

  • padua October 26, 2015, 11:05 am

    Neither of the ladies said anything? I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion then that they were directing their ire toward you. Maybe they were uncomfortable with each other. Maybe one of them was having a difficult day. Maybe, just maybe, their mood had nothing at all to do with you. Maybe they weren’t even upset but just eating. Don’t assume the worst especially when there aren’t any reasons to.

  • Jocelyn October 26, 2015, 11:06 am

    It’s never occurred to me to clap along and sing, unless the birthday celebration is at the same table.
    I don’t think the ladies should have glared, but then, I don’t think it’s appropriate for Ehellions to call them names for doing so.
    I was once in this situation, and as the song ended, a man at a nearby table said to his wife, ‘If you ever do that to me, I’m leaving.’ Obviously, he thought his comment was going to be covered by another verse of the song, so it was quite audible. The whole restaurant broke out in laughter.

  • lakey October 26, 2015, 11:18 am

    Most people know that this goes on at these restaurants. If you want a quiet meal, go to a quiet restaurant. This incident would be like going into McD’s and getting annoyed that it’s full of kids. Or going to a bar across the street from a big university and being annoyed that it’s full of boisterous college students.

  • Tex Carol October 26, 2015, 11:18 am

    Maybe it was the elderly ladies first visit to this eatery and they were puzzled by the uproar. Also, because of the effects of gravity, I’ve found elderly ladies sometimes look grumpy when indeed they are not.
    But on a related matter, what’s the proper way to send a mariachi band on its way when you prefer to be carrying on a conversation at your table and not listening to very loud music right next to your chair?

    • Cat October 27, 2015, 9:43 am

      Winston Churchill once got off a train to attend some celebration in an English town. He never smiled during the entire ceremony. When asked why he was so glum, he said, “I forgot to put in my teeth this morning.”

  • Merrilee October 26, 2015, 11:27 am

    I’m with Just4kicks on this one.

    I personally go out of my way NOT to inform the waitstaff of a special occasion because I do not want the hoopla going on for me – it’s embarrassing and I’d prefer just to eat a quiet meal.

    That being said, though, the ladies in your area knew the restaurant did this so it should hardly have been a surprise to them that someone had a special occasion.

  • Ty October 26, 2015, 11:43 am

    I’m with the rest of the commenters who are confused as to what a “SW-themed” restaurant is. Southwestern, perhaps? I think a bit of clarification is in order for some of the readers to thoroughly understand the story.

    As for the ladies in question, I would have just ignored them and laughed off the situation. If this is something the restaurant regularly does, then you weren’t at fault for anything.

  • Calli Arcale October 26, 2015, 11:51 am

    Well, some people are easily offended. I guess that’s all that can be concluded from those upset ladies.

    I am reminded of a hilarious cartoon I once saw on the Web, ages ago. A couple of guys in business attire go to a restaurant for lunch, presumably business associates. One of the guys is yakking nonstop on his cell phone. The other guy suffers through this for a while, then signals to a waiter and whispers something in his ear. Moments later, the whole restaurant staff come out singing and dancing very loudly the classic “Happy happy birthday, from all of us to you….” and cell phone guy is forced to end his call. 😉

  • Devin October 26, 2015, 12:17 pm

    In middle school and high school my best friend and I had a tradition of going to a ‘fast casual’ Tex-Mex restaurant for her birthday. They gave out sombrero’s and fried ice cream and sang Happy Birthday in Spanish to all the celebrators. It was always fun and silly and noisy, but it was what people expected when dinning there. Now that I’m a bit older, we’ve moved away from that type of celebration, and typically spend a bit more money for a quieter celebration. The places we celebrate at now usually just deliver a custom dessert at the end of the meal with the celebrators name in chocolate around the dish, and maybe a single candle. The waiter gives their congratulations and leaves the table to enjoy themselves.
    I know plenty of people who do enjoy the types of establishments that make a great fuss, or are known for their over the top waiter antics, but one goes there anticipating some noise. A celebration of a few minutes in a restaurant shouldn’t be shocking or ‘ruin’ someones meal. Sounds like these women were just in a foul mood, who knows why? Ignoring is the best, and continue you to enjoy your celebration!

  • JD October 26, 2015, 12:37 pm

    I assumed the ladies weren’t enjoying the noise. I wouldn’t either, although I wouldn’t shoot looks about it. It seems a small thing to me, too small to worry about.
    I have been laughing to myself, though, because I wonder what many people would say to the little downhome oyster house (restaurant) here, independent and owned by a local person, not part of a chain. This “event” happens at least once every day, but the owner will do this if asked to honor a special occasion, too. She turns on a LOUD polka type song on a music box and “plays the pogo stick,” going to every single occupied table and stopping about 30 seconds at each one until the long song is done. It’s a pogo stick with cymbals and a sort of tambourine on it. She bounces the pogo stick on the floor to make the cymbals crash and bangs continuously to the beat of the music on the tambourine with drumsticks, getting a lot of volume out of it. She started doing this years ago, when she was only a teenaged waitress and working for the previous owners. Newcomers are visibly startled as there is no way to know this will happen. It’s a tradition in many businesses to take any new employee to lunch at the oyster house and surprise him or her with the pogo stick. The oyster house stays packed, so I guess no one minds the pogo stick much.

    • Goldie October 26, 2015, 4:33 pm

      This sounds awesome. I want to go there.

      • JD October 27, 2015, 9:23 am

        It amazes me how many people from other areas actually know this place and have eaten there.

  • cassandra lowe October 26, 2015, 1:41 pm

    It is funny how so many people assume that these ladies must have know the restaurant did this. I had been to Texas Roadhouse 3 or 4 times before I ever saw one of their celebrations. I hope my look of surprise wasn’t mistaken for disgust. Until I read this I didn’t realize that TGIFridays even does it! Obviously I don’t eat out much but who is to say these women MUST have known? Maybe they were looking for a quite place and the noise through them off.

    My question to the OP is if you were enjoying the hoopla so much why were you even aware of what others around you were doing? Even without all that going on I can’t tell you what any other diner has ever done while eating out. I focus on whoever I am eating with, especially if its a date night with my husband!

    • Ashley October 26, 2015, 9:15 pm

      Three or four times before you saw it? Wow, I can’t remember a time I went to Texas Roadhouse where I DIDN’T see them drag out the saddle lol!

      Though where I live, Texas Roadhouse is considered the expensive restaurant so maybe my town just has an extraordinary number of people going to the expensive restaurant because it’s a celebration

  • Hemi October 26, 2015, 1:45 pm

    How do we know the ladies knew this was a service the restaurant offers? Maybe it was their first time visiting the establishment and they truly did not know. Even if they did know, they are not required to congratulate you or join in. Honestly, that is what it sounds like OP- you were upset these ladies did not sing and clap along with everyone else and congratulate you.

    The comments calling them “pompous”, “sourpusses” and suggesting they had “too many lemons” with their dinner is just uncalled for. @Lady Anne’s comment was particularly nasty. Not everyone on the planet has to be happy for you and you never know what might have been going on in their lives- terminal diagnosis, death, divorce, infidelity.

    • Cat October 27, 2015, 9:41 am

      Yes, you brought out a good point. My mother died six days before my twenty-third birthday and I was very upset. My grandmother lived with us and she insisted that we should go out to dinner to celebrate my birthday. I explained that I could not celebrate in the midst of my grief and wanted just to skip any celebration at all.
      She went to my father to complain and he insisted that we go out because that is what granny wanted to do. What I wanted didn’t matter. (She wasn’t even his mother. It was her daughter who had just died.) I went to keep the peace, but it was no celebration to me.