16 May 2007

Psst. I have a hot tip for you.

OK. Yesterday I did something I haven't done since I was a young punk in high school. I tipped a waitress 10%.

Sure, you're saying what a goddamned cheapskate asshole I am, and maybe you're right, but I do generally tip between 18 and 20 percent. It looked so damn low, this 10% tip. It was $3.90 on a $39.30 bill (so technically I tipped even less than 10% -- I tipped 9.92%), but I can assure you it was more than this waitress deserved. Don't believe me? Let me state my case, please.

Item 1. While the restaurant was busy, but not so busy people were waiting for tables, we waited for ten minutes after we sat down until our waitress brought water. It was hot yesterday, and with two children it's not a good idea to sit still anywhere with no distractions for ten minutes. After several "I'll be with you in a minute" delays, she finally took our food and drink orders.

Item 2. The drink orders were simple: two unsweetened iced teas and one lemonade. Granted, we debated with our son over what he wanted, but he did finally settle on lemonade, a choice that should have stuck with our waitress as she reminded us that there was no refill on the lemonade. Yet when his drink came out enshrouded in the plastic kiddie cup, it was not lemonade, but chocolate milk. A minor detail, some might argue, but there's a wide gulf between the sharp tartness of homemade lemonade and the syrupy sweetness of chocolate milk. To put it in adult terms, it's like the difference between a Corona with lime and a Guinness.

Item 3. I ordered a turkey burger with blue cheese. Blue friggin cheese, ok. Yet it came out with something that may have been swiss or provolone or cheddar or maybe even american on there. It was a thin, completely melted film of pale yellow cheese that was definitely not blue. When I brought that to her attention, she did bring me a side of blue cheese (by the way, WTF do I do with a side of blue cheese crumblies and a lukewarm burger? I can no longer enjoy the half-melted gooey cheese, as the burger's temperature will not really melt the cheese so well, and the crumblies just roll off). And she told me that "it may have been her fault." May? Who the hell's fault could it have been? Don't blame the kitchen, because you should know at first sight coming out of the kitchen that the order was wrong. Oh, maybe you didn't because you actually didn't serve us the food, instead allowing some other dude, who clearly had no idea what any of us ordered, to auction off the food to us.

Item 4. By the end of this ordeal, the children were getting restless. So while you were clearly close by and watching, my wife got up with them and left -- a pretty good sign that you should bring the check around. Yet I had to flag you down to request the check. I admit it's a minor issue, but it does show a lack of perception. Then, after I asked for the check, I waited at the table, debit card in hand, for you to come back with the check. A full five minutes and then some passed as you first disappeared completely, then meandered back through the patio, stopping to pat a dog and chat up your friends for a good long time. Finally, the busboy/food auctioner noticed that I was going either to pull a dine and dash or fall asleep, and he actually interrupted your conversation to ask you for my check.

Truly, I have not given such a nasty tip in twenty years. The hard-hearted among us might say I should have given no tip, but I haven't reached that point yet. The main question is whether the waitress will have understood the ten percent tip as an admonishment, or will she simply chalk it up to my being a cheapskate?


Momentary Academic said...

You should have said something to the manager.

She didn't do her job.

BOO for her.

Lonnie Bruner said...

I don't think I'm being hard-hearted by saying you shouldn't have left her a dime.

There are only two types of tips people should leave in the USA: 1) 18-20% when they do their job even moderately well; and 2) 0% when they don't.

What's the point of giving a tip somewhere in the middle? Giving 10% to her does not discourage poor behavior; it rewards it.

When she receives many zero percent tips, she will re-consider her a job as a waitress and either quit or improve. A 10% tip just keeps her in that job, giving crappy service to everyone she comes into contact with and prolongs misery among the restaurant-going public and possibly herself.

Reya Mellicker said...

People need to be reminded of their responsibilities. In restaurants, we do that with tips. Even though I waited tables myself for years, I have my moments when I stiff or undertip, just to make my point.

Asian Mistress said...

I can't tip less than 15%...comes from being a waitress I guess. Even though it does sound like she really sucked.

She won't think it was cause she sucked, she probably is too self-centered to realize her mistakes.

PS - love the comparison of Guiness and Corona.