Should Restaurants Do The Birthday Serenade?

Prior to my birthday last month, I issued my annual warning to friends and family: Don’t dare have the wait staff sing to me in a restaurant. I’ve seen others enjoy the birthday serenade, so maybe I’m alone on this one. When I wonder about such things, I always ask my readers, so last month’s question was, “Do you enjoy when the wait staff sings Happy Birthday?”

Half of you share my sentiment, but I was amused to see that over a quarter enjoy seeing someone else squirm under the spotlight. And, of course, a few of you extroverted souls love the attention.

So let’s turn to the best part—your comments and thoughts:

Don’t embarrass me!

I just find it mortifying.

I even hid my birthday for 20 years at my last job. My retirement was a different story, after not having a birthday in 20 years!!

Here in Fort Worth is a chicken restaurant named Babe’s. There, the poor birthday soul gets to don a chicken hat while the staff performs the chicken dance. Nope. Negatory. Not a chance.

I’d probably get up and walk out if they started singing to me!

Especially if I’ve got a mouthful of food.

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, if it’s someone else

Yeah, I love when they do it to a kid or an adult that gets a kick out of having all the attention, but I don’t want it to be me. My friends and I often celebrate birthdays in restaurants, so the server will sometimes ask if we’re celebrating a birthday. One time when asked this, a friend said, “No, we’re celebrating because she just got released from prison.” That’s our go-to phrase now.

I enjoy seeing others squirm when it happens.

Yes, I love it

I love it because it usually comes with a complimentary dessert and I’m all about desserts!

I sing along and enjoy celebrating me!

Give me a free drink and sing all you want!

Some other thoughts

I normally hate it, don’t want the attention. However, on my 80th birthday, my wife and family took me to a Mexican restaurant. When they come out to sing happy birthday to you, they put a big sombrero on your head, and at the end of the song, one serenader puts a dab of whip cream on the tip of your nose. The reason I did not get upset is I had 2 of my great grandchildren, ages 9 and 7, with me. They thought it was hilarious. Next year I think I will insist on celebrating my birthday at a Krystal. To the best of my knowledge, they don’t sing to you on your birthday.

I’m not fond of it, but my kids used to think it was fun, and their joy meant that it was good for me.

The attention from strangers makes me very uncomfortable. But, if I find myself in such a circumstance, I’ll do my best to be a good sport about it.

Don’t forget to take this month’s survey by going here. Results will be published in next month’s newsletter.


  1. Mary Peyton Bergstrom on June 5, 2024 at 2:37 pm

    Just got released from proson! That is gold and I’m going to steal it!

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Reader Surveys

Each month, I survey readers on a random topic. I might ask about books, reading, and authors, as this is my primary focus. Some months, the survey focuses on the mountain region that has been my home. Other months, the query will be something completely random. The debate over mayonnaise might be the most contested ever.

In time for the monthly newsletter, I summarize and share the overall results and some of the highlights I learned. To protect privacy, I don't attempt connect the data in anyway to individuals and then delete the responses.

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