It is quite the privilege to be dining out these days. We were robbed for months of the pleasure because of the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad pandemic. Not to mention (except I'm going to because it supports my claim that dining out is such a privilege) many restaurants are wildly short staffed. So when you do find a restaurant with employees who are showing up and working hard, please don't make these mistakes or you very well might drive them to quit.

1. Moving tables together without asking staff
First, that's a safety hazard. The last thing the restaurant needs is a guest getting hurt by a dropped table on a foot or something. You're also probably splitting the server's section, and during these short staffed times, these sections are very intentionally made to optimize service. Please, just ask.

2. Seating yourself at a dirty table
If the table isn't clean, that means the server hasn't had time to get to it. They really won't have time to service people sitting at it. You might think you're doing them a favor by "not minding" if the table is a little dirty, but you're really just causing more stress.

3. Playing on your phone
We're all addicted to our phones. The servers themselves are too. And if you want to Candy Crush your way through your meal, that's fine. But can you wait until after you've ordered? They want to get your dining experience up and running so no one is waiting forever. Again, being short staffed means they have to do more than usual. So put your phone down and get your order ready. If you need more time, just say that. Don't bumble making them wait.

4. Tipping poorly
If you can't tip at least 20%, don't dine out. Your server is making below minimum wage under the corporate assumption that tips supplement to make up a livable wage. You expect excellent service during these rough times, tip accordingly.

5. Allowing your child(ren) to use the restaurant as a playground
To clarify, employees have no problem with your loud rugrat being there. They need to eat too! But don't let them just get up and run about. Again, safety hazard. And it's extra work for the staff if they have to go around tidying up whatever mess you're letting the kiddos make. Be considerate. You're paying for a meal. You didn't rent out the venue for the kids to act a fool.

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