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"Oh, let me help you," well-meaning customers say as they balance an emptied soup bowl atop an unscraped salad plate – using the very same phrase children typically employ in the kitchen before they dump a sack of flour on the floor. For servers who innately understand the art and physics of plate stacking, it's terribly frustrating to be handed a wobbly tower of dishes and silver that has to either be set down and reassembled or carried gingerly to the dish room before the server can return to the table to do in two trips what might have been accomplished in one. Servers will always thanks you profusely for your help – and wish to themselves that you'd just let them do their job.
Before you fire up your electronic thesaurus to uncover stinging synonyms for "ingrate," consider which other workers you typically offer to assist. When you see a delivery man wheeling a dolly through an office building, do you grab a box off the top? Accompany a shoe saleswoman into the stockroom? Pound a few nails for the guy remodeling your basement?
Again, the problem here isn't the sentiment. I doubt I've ever had a customer maliciously craft a shaky plate stack. But a restaurant's designed so customers can relax – and leave the table clearing to us.