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Playing With: Nice to the Waiter
Basic Trope: Good people treat service personnel well, bad people treat them poorly.
  • Straight: Alice goes to a speed dating event at Chez Snooty. While there, she notices that Bob speaks politely to the waiter, takes his suggestions, and tips well. Conversely, Dan berates the waiter for imagined slowness, questions the man's knowledge of French cuisine, and doesn't tip at all. When she dates the men separately later, Alice discovers that Bob is an overall decent person while Dan is an unrepentant jerk.
  • Exaggerated: As above, but Bob is an All-Loving Hero, while Dan turns out to be a Complete Monster.
  • Downplayed: As above, but it turns out both are decent men. Dan, however, is much more easily stressed than Bob, which is why he was rude during the speed dating event.
  • Justified: People who treat their social inferiors poorly tend to treat others poorly as well, when they can get away with it.
  • Inverted:
    • Bob the Good Is Not Nice Jerk Sue Designated Hero stiffs the waiter "because they'll never learn unless you punish their mistakes", while Affably Evil criminal Dan tips generously because he feels the need to be loved, and this way he can buy admiration.
    • "Nice to the Patron": In a didactic work aimed at the lower classes, Bob and Dan are waiters. Good Bob is properly servile and treats customers well; evil Dan is insolent and slow to come to the table.
  • Subverted:
  • Double Subverted:
    • But only to protect the waiter from an assassin's attack while preventing the killer from realizing Bob was on to him.
    • Bob changes his mind at the last minute, deciding that it's best to be nice to everyone whether they deserve it or not. As a result, he tips generously.
  • Parodied:
    • The establishment enforces a 50-dollar "asshole tariff". This would be illegal in Real Life, but they never get into trouble for it.
    • The waitstaff offer back rubs and/or free beer to the nice guys.
  • Zig Zagged: Bob is usually nice to service personnel and his "social inferiors", but sometimes is horribly rude to them, seemingly without a pattern; in his main storyline, he's stuck in the Heel-Face Revolving Door.
  • Averted: Everyone treats service personnel the same way, regardless of their moral or ethical standards — the story isn't about "the little people", after all.
  • Enforced: The writers want to establish a new character's personality traits (especially if they're unpleasant) before they formally meet the main cast, so they're seen in a restaurant or other service situation.
  • Lampshaded: "I knew Dan was going to be trouble when he corrected the waiter's pronunciation and called him a useless pig."
  • Invoked: Alice has all her first dates at restaurants specifically to check out prospective boyfriends' behavior.
  • Exploited: Bob is extremely nice to the waiter; so nice, in fact, that the waiter looks the other way when Bob puts something in Alice's drink...
  • Defied: Dan is nice to waiters, in the hope that he will fool Alice.
  • Discussed:
    • "Politeness to one's inferiors is a sign of weak-mindedness and moral turpitude! If they deserved better treatment, they would have been born into the upper classes!"
    • "They're holding another big 'meet-up' event here at Chez Snooty, so we can expect most of the customers to be extra nice tonight to impress their dates."
  • Conversed: "The heroes on this show are all really polite and well-mannered to the servers when they go to a restaurant. See, even when a fight breaks out, Bob makes sure the waiter doesn't get injured."
  • Implied: Alice tells her friends about breaking up with Dan over dinner last night and leaving him for the much kinder Bob.
  • Deconstructed: Since the concept of Nice to the Waiter is well-known, anyone who cares about their reputation can simulate it to create a favorable first impression. Thus it's not always as good a test of character as one would assume.
  • Reconstructed:
    • On the other hand, it's very difficult to keep up the pretense of being Nice to the Waiter if you aren't used to it — many phony "good guys" will revert to their normal Jerkass behavior quickly if something goes wrong with their order.
    • Furthermore, it can quickly become apparent if someone is a genuinely decent and respectful person, or if they're just pretending to be.
  • Played For Laughs: Charles misunderstands the concept and is only nice to waiters, no one else.
  • Played For Drama: Dan murders the waiter in retaliation for poor service.

Now that you've finished, I'll bring your check and you can go Back to Nice to the Waiter.

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