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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Friday, February 3

Gapers Block

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crystal / June 19, 2008 12:07 AM

I think it's cute. It brings in a whiff of cheer. I get a blast out of the Olive Garden version, "Happy Happy Happy...etc."

mike-ts / June 19, 2008 12:46 AM

If it was sincere, then I'd notice it, but if it's part of the corporate training to do so, like squating next to the booth to take an order (how I hate when they do that), then I ignore it. If it's for me, I'd be a sport, but wouldn't like it much.

Birthday greetings from people who know me, great. From the staff, most of whom never spoke with me, pfft.

Carrie / June 19, 2008 9:00 AM

It's cheesy, but I can't help laughing and cheering when it's for someone else. If it's for me, I suppose I'd probably turn red and then smile and let out a few "yaaaay's!!!!" at the end.

Dutch101 / June 19, 2008 9:56 AM

I remind myself of how lucky I am that I will never have a job (and have managed never to have a job) where someone will make me wear a paper hat, or sing happy birthday to some yayhoo I don't know.

Frankly, I think it is a bit lame for restaurant employees to do that. Just give me a free slice of mud pie and can the singing.

Brandy / June 19, 2008 10:06 AM

I'm the type of goof that ALWAYS sings along. (Except for waitstaff singing.) It's someone's birthday. We've all got 'em. Why not celebrate them?

I get a bit shy if someone sings it to me though.

greg / June 19, 2008 10:38 AM

I'm a very reluctant public singer, and I've always hated being sung to on my birthday, even as a little kid.

anne / June 19, 2008 10:45 AM

For myself? I hate hate hate it.

For others? Eh, whatever.

Mucky Fingers / June 19, 2008 10:47 AM

I love it, love it, love it...whether as a witness or as the guest of honor. As long as it's done at Hooters.

jima / June 19, 2008 11:14 AM

For a *real* surprise, go to Victory's Banner and tell 'em it's your birthday. They'll sing you quite a different song indeed.

annie / June 19, 2008 11:18 AM

I think I've only been in a restaurant one time when this happened and I thought it was fun, it's never happened to me. In fact, I can't remember the last time anyone has sung Happy Birthday to me, birthday's weren't a big deal in my family and I'm fine with that.

mikely / June 19, 2008 11:26 AM

When I turned 21 my friends took me out to a neighborhood bar in Baltimore for a couple of beers. The bartender carded me, didn't say anything, and got me my beer. After a few minutes he discreetly put "A Very Good Year" on the jukebox. He'd noticed that it was my birthday. Even though I'm not a Sinatra fan, I thought that was a very smooth birthday nod. Completely voluntary and low-key. I said thanks. He said sure. That was it.

fluffy / June 19, 2008 12:17 PM

My ex used t think it was hilarious to tell the restaurant or bar that it was my birthday so they'd get me a free dessert with lots of candles or the band would play some birthday song for me. It was sooooo embarrassing.

If Happy birthday is sung for someone, I just smile and look. I think it's cheesy, though.

anne / June 19, 2008 1:39 PM

Ah, yes. Victory's Banner! They love your soul!

JasonB / June 19, 2008 2:25 PM

I don't think much of it when it's being performed for someone else.

Birthdays have never been very popular in my family. If I ever fell victim to this, I'd probably get upset.

p / June 19, 2008 2:48 PM

i'm surprised and pleased to find very little oscar the grouchness after scanning these responses. i think the singing is fucking great personally. especially as a kid. but i also used to tell waitresses my straw was upside down too.

still starved for waitress' attention to this day except now it's more off-shift handjob related than free cakes and serenades.

Corinna / June 19, 2008 4:14 PM

Today's my birthday! Happy birthday to me!

kate / June 19, 2008 8:21 PM

I sing along and when it gets to the "say their name" part, I throw in a couple mumbles and cheer and clap at the end. It's a birthday, man. They're fun.

When sung for me, I cheer and say thanks before stickin' my finger in some icing. Mmm!

Leelah / June 20, 2008 8:50 AM

I'm a complete freak about my own birthday (08-08-08, folks!), but I'm always embarrassed when people sing "Happy Birthday" in a restaurant. It makes no sense, as I will tell everyone with ears that it's my birthday. When I was very young, I would actually leave the restaurant if waiters sang to me! Now I smile and blush.

Alison / June 20, 2008 9:23 AM

I am 110% behind anything that ends in a slice of free yay to birthday singing!

paul / June 20, 2008 11:15 AM

Alison beat me to it. I was going to say:

Free cake!!

However, it's a much higher probability that I'm in a bar on my birthday, not in a place where servers wearing funny buttons sing.

Dutch101 / June 20, 2008 11:33 AM

Yeah, if nothing else, I like it at Victory's banner, where they give you some sort of muffin with a candle in it and sing some very brief ditty about loving your soul. And you know, I think that they mean it.

leah / June 20, 2008 11:35 AM

Any opportunity to shout in public is A-OK by me.

My last birthday in April was spent on an island in Mexico. At dinner the staff were tipped off & came out singing with cake & they put their arms around me & we swayed back & forth & I hummed along to the song I didn't know. Fun! Usually I die inside but they were SO insanely nice & genuinely cheerful about it there was no other way to feel about it.

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