Monday, August 19, 2013


I wish the power had not gone out.  Waitperson never came back to collect my black envelope of payment so I left it on the table while I retrieved my mini flashlight.  (Don't like to be caught in the dark, ever.)  I was so hoping he would reach to take it and I would say, “Keep the change.”   Or he would have returned with all of the nine cents stuck in the little inside pocket.  Then I could have playfully arranged four pennies and one nickel on the table where I had sat.

My threshold for mistakes or accidents or unforeseen circumstances is very high.  However, my tolerance for injustice (my own or another person’s) is negligible.  Maybe just enough to get me away from the situation before I step up to home plate and bat it out of the park.  I don’t do stupid injustice well.  Never have.

One of my best friends in college was a waitress before we met.  She had worked long hours at a hamburger restaurant serving all kinds of food.  National franchise.  Located beside the only mall in a fifty mile radius, the restaurant was always busy.  She is one of the hardest working people I know.  A not very tall at all dynamo.  She told me waitress stories about working with the public. 

My father was always a careful tipper.  He measured a good tip by the number of times his water glass was refilled.  I learned by watching his actions and what he considered good service.  He spent a lifetime in retail knowing how to keep the customer happy in a time when the customer was ALWAYS right.   Of course, JQ Public was very loyal and brand conscious and expected good service.   

Well, I didn't get good service last night.  And I won't mention where I was dining (national chain).  Of course, I don't plan on returning.  Only  my second trip to this establishment in eight years.  They should have a vacancy sign flashing in front of their villa.  

When I placed my order, I specifically asked the waiter about an item, pointing to it on the menu.  I wanted this, not this one, and the little appetizer.  I didn't want the "entrée."  He nodded his head.  The order arrives and it is the two things I ordered, so at this point I am assuming we got it right.

I am at a big table with a lot of women.  And truth be told, this type of customer base is not flush with big tips, which is not the way properly behaved women should be.  And that is a pet peeve of mine, women or men, people who expect perfect service and get it, and then don't tip fairly.  It's cheap and rude.  Can you tell this really bugs me?

A person taking the order, filling the drink order, bringing the chips, refilling the drinks, carrying two plates on each arm, and bringing back more napkins, oh, and my favorite, reciting the salad dressing menu, makes a lot less than minimum wage.  That is just the business.  And in a lot of cases, they have to tip the busboy and anyone else helping to put your meal, just perfect, on the table.   

And you begrudge them 20%?  I've been hearing the arguments for too long.  Even if it's not the way you think the world should rotate on its axis, if that is the right way to go, just go the right way.  Enough of defending the wait people.  My bar for good service is set high.  My family knows my penchant for fair, good tips.  

Mr. Wait Guy, here are my real tips for you, free.  Listen to the customer's questions.  Make sure you communicate well beforehand.  Keep those water glasses full.  Don't start passing out the black bill envelopes while people are still eating at the table.  Or the to-go boxes.  And when the bill does come and a customer has a question, remember, long ago the customer was always right.  Most people are not out to get you.  So many times, it is not the cost but the principle.  In my case, an extra minute of polite explanation could have salvaged a tip and a customer.  I didn't see anyone waiting for our tablet.  Local established restaurants, with more to offer, have closed recently.  There is only so much lunch money to go around.

The only good thing I have to say is that your employer didn't automatically pin an 18% gratuity to the ticket because of the large group.  If I had been in the tipping mood, that would have been in your in favor.  Some folks would say, why leave any tip?  But I left the nine cents so you would know you need to step up your game.

a woman with money in her pocket

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