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From what I have learned, the most proper and respectful is to use 服务员. There are many people that find 小姐 not appropriate or too traditional, I met several people who feel that 小姐 has some sexist note. The same goes for 美女 that many people use but not everyone feels comfortable to hear. 帅哥 for male 服务员 is less a problem as long as they are at the same age ...


Here in Nanjing I mostly just hear ‘服务员’ but the '务‘ gets swallowed, so it comes out as '服员‘。Seems a bit abrupt, but I've never seen anyone take offence at this, so it must be acceptable.

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