Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dear Waiters…

I just read a blog post by a waiter (or server, whatever you want to call them) where he outlined the sheer amount of shit they go through.

I've worked in the service industry myself and I agreed with 99.9% of what he said. Far too many people think bossing around the waiter like a slave is part of the dining experience, or that the server is only having to wait on them.

Long story short, I can sympathize with waiters. Far too many times I've had some asshole walk up to a bar that is four people deep all the way around, wave some money at me and then get royally pissed off and snooty when I don't drop everything and serve them before the hundred or so other people who got their before them…or really freak out when I leave the bar to re-stock or switch out a keg and have them act like I've just dropped trou and shat on their shoes.

However, one thing that jumped out at me in the dude's blog was this:

"Even if the service was bad, you should always tip something.
It doesn't matter if it's only a dollar or something on a fifty dollar check, tips are how we make our living."

This is where I call shenanigans. Yes, I understand that there a plenty of people out there who want to make you jump through hoops for a lousy few bucks, who think that a 15% tip is like handing you a fistful of diamonds…but here's the thing. A tip is a voluntary gratuity for service…and if I get shit service, I ain't tipping.

Now, I need to be clear here. I understand what 'service' means. For example, I know that if my food takes ages to arrive, it's the kitchen's fault, not the servers. If my food arrives cold or not the way I ordered it, ditto. Basically, if my food arrives half an hour late, cold and with fried shrimp instead of the grilled shrimp, as long as you take it back with a smile, the tip isn't effected. Hell, I'm the kinda guy where if you spill a drink down my back by mistake, I'll laugh and tell you not to worry about it…I worked in a bar for almost five years, I know that accidents happen.

However, if I walk into a restaurant and my server is rude and acts like I've asked them to carry the One Ring into Mordor when I ask for a refill on my coke…explain to me exactly why I should give that person any money?

For example, I went to a Waffle House one morning and not only did the waitress fuck up my order, she actually argued with me when I told her she'd brought the wrong thing. Then she sat down near the line cooks at chatted away and flat out ignored me when I tried to get her attention. When I actually got up, walked across the restaurant and asked for more coffee, she rolled her eyes, tutted and said, exasperated: "In a minute." Then she went back to her conversation.

Then she had the balls to shout across the restaurant that I'd 'forgotten' to tip her when I left. I just barely managed to stop myself from telling her to fuck off.

So here's the deal. Like I said above, I've worked in the service industry and I know that a large percentage of customers are arrogant, self-centered assholes who think buying a drink and a starter makes them fucking Emperor of the Restaurant, but the truth is I've encountered a number of waiters, waitresses, bartenders and other service staff who are just as bad as the customers they serve.

Basically, I'll tip for adequate service. I'll tip well for really good service…but I sure as hell aren't going to leave you any cash if you treat me like shit.


Evan 08 said...

I've never done it, but I've heard that it's customary to leave a penny for a waiter that gives bad service. This way they know you're not just another cheap bastard, but that you were dissatisfied with their service.

Sunny said...

In the south it's two pennies-That's where the phrase ...."Lemme toss in/give you my two cents worth" .... when you give an opinion on something came from.

And believe me- I've DONE it before and I also left a note telling them exactly WHY , I mean how to improve their service.

Waitresses used to totally ignore refilling my drink when i would go out with my family of men....even when MINE was the only one needing refilling.
So if I got bad service after having to ask again and again for a re-fill, I'd take care of the ip myself. It got to the point that it was just assumed I would take care of the tip every time.

And like you, Paul- When I get adequate service- I tip.... when I get good service, I tip well and when I get the rare GREAT service- I tip VERY well.
But bad service gets two cents and a "suggestion".