Etiquette has shifted seismically since the quake that was Aaron Gilmore. We all know the story: a waiter refused to serve more wine, so the sozzled MP threatened to have the waiter fired (by the Prime Minister himself, using laws which probably would have been passed under urgency, before dessert, to achieve the goal).Is massive douche-baggery a sacking offence? Some would say Gilmore was acting out precisely the job description of an entitled Tory Lord. Maybe before they get chosen, MP candidates should be put under surveillance during service-industry encounters (most likely the reason the GCSB is now allowed to spy on New Zealanders.) Personally, I've noticed some subtle behaviour changes, when I go to a restaurant. Now, when the waiter approaches with the menu and asks if I'd like to hear the specials, I wave the questions away. I touch the waiter on the elbow. "You're the special," I say, "and don't ever forget it." To the menu, the notebook, the pen, I bid: "Please, put those down." These implements are barriers to our interaction. I shake the waiter's hand warmly -- with both of my hands, Bill Clinton style -- and with eyes twinkling with compassion, I say: "Let's talk about you." At that point I briefly break eye contact to scan for a name-badge, and continue: "Tell me, [insert name badge] how is your family? Are they well?" "Are you in a settled relationship?" "Are you happy?" I ask if the kitchen is far. The waiter tends to point in the direction of the kitchen. "That seems quite a long way," I say, noticing the gradient of the floor. The return trip looks unreasonable. I scribble on the waiter's notepad. "Here's my number," I say. "When the meal is done, call me. Maybe." (Young hospitality workers enjoy popular music, so this often goes down well.) But I realise I'm being presumptuous. What if the waiter doesn't have enough free minutes on his phone to call me? I don't even know what plan he's on! (Note to self: ask that question earlier.) "Take my phone. Leave me yours," I say. "When the order is ready, use my phone to ring your phone, and I'll come get it. I'm sure I'll know how. Some of my best friends employ waiters." At about this stage, I discover waiters can be quite rude themselves. I dunno why everyone's making out that waiters are a bunch of saints.