By Andy Tarnoff Publisher Published Jul 23, 2008 at 4:31 PM

I really hope this blog doesn't come off sounding elitist (though I'm sure you Talkbackers will let me know if it does). But I've had a chip on my shoulder lately.

I don't like how people order food at restaurants.

"Yeah. Gimme an omelet and a cup of coffee."

"I'll take a burger and fries."

"I want a large Coke to go."

Whatever happened to, "May I please have a chicken burrito?" followed up with, "Thank you."

If that's too wordy for you, I suppose it's OK to say, "I'd like a piece of pizza, please," but when did the words "may I" go out of style?

Maybe I'm splitting hairs, but as someone who worked at McDonalds when I was 15-years-old, I remember how nice it was when people didn't bark "gimme" at me.

Intellectually, I know when people say "gimme" or "I'll take" or "I want," they're not deliberately talking down to their server, but it's pretty easy to get into the habit of asking nicely. It usually elicits a friendly response, and even if it doesn't, just consider those extra few words of courtesy as a little karma boost in your day.

The exception to this rule is in a loud bar, where extra words are just lost in the ether. When it's counterproductive to do anything beyond holding up money, a pair of fingers and yelling "Two Miller High Lifes," then shout at will. Just remember to mouth "Thanks!"

Of course, this etiquette doesn't necessarily extend to tipping. I'm not one of those people who tips 30 percent whether the service was good or not. For me, average service earns 15 percent, good service earns 20 percent, and outstanding service earns more, sometimes way more. Similarly, bad service means 10 percent, and atrocious service could mean less. But more often than not, I err on the high side, and I've never completely stiffed anyone.

Am I reading too much into the value of common courtesy?

Honestly, it's been a long time since the last time I wore a nametag, but that doesn't mean I've forgotten how it feels to make minimum wage. More importantly, I haven't forgotten how it feels to be talked to like a slave.

Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.

Before launching in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.

Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.