Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A Tuesday Tantrum

Tipping Etiquette goes both ways. We are told via news articles or TV stories that standard tipping is 15% for lunch, 20% for dinner. We can even buy the little tipping cheater charts billfold size for all those times pressure is high, (or you have has a wee bit too much to drink) and you can’t think quickly on what that amount should be. Restaurants hire servers at a low wage with the intent their tips should bring it up quite well. (so I guess actually the guilt trip to tip starts here.)

But what about tipping etiquette for wait staff?

The hub and I have gone out, relaxed and had a nice meal. The service was good, my tea glass kept full, and the waitperson has checked with us just enough times to tend our needs but not be annoying. They leave the bill with out making a production of it and step away.

Upon their return to see if we are ready to pay and collect their little black book, they make the mistake of opening their mouths and saying one version of:

“Do you need your change?”
“Do you want your change?”
“Do you want me to bring back your change?”

Ever had a sentence or phrase or statement that just made your skin crawl? This is one of mine. Any version of one of the above sentences makes me wish I hadn’t or wouldn’t have tipped my server. The server is assuming what is in the little black book covers the meal and the rest is for them. (My momma taught me to never assume as we all know what that does.) They are just rude questions in my book.

I want to retort with:

“Of course I need my change!”
“Of course I want my change!”
Or a rousing “Hell Yeah I want my change back!”

But I don’t, as I do not want to stoop to their level. Instead my face flushes red as the irritation rises and the “momma instinct” in me wants to scold them and teach them some manners. They may have been better than a say 20% tip server but they just blew it. The hub and I work hard for the money and a dinner out is one of the things we enjoy from our hard work. It’s like the server is laying a guilt trip on you for wanting any of your money back. IE: a $10 meal and all I have is a $20 to but in that little black money eating server book. Now don’t get me wrong, the hub and I are good tippers if we get good service, usually more than the 15 or 20 percent we are all taught. The hub likes to make the bill come out to even dollars which more often than not works out in their favor. Also my first few employment opportunities where being a waitress, anywhere from a burger joint to a truck stop. I TOTALLY understand the servers need for tips.

What ever happened to the simple, non-assuming polite phrase:

“I’ll be right back with your change.”

OMG such a simple phrase!

Doesn’t that sound nice even?!

It puts me at ease, shows the servers have manners and actually makes me like that server more. All things which more than likely would lead to more tip. It also puts the ball in my court and opens up the floor for me to say:

“The rest is for you, thank you.”
“Just plain, “Thank you!”, if I happen to have only a large bill(s).

One day I am going get up the gumption to give a little "what for" speech to them..
Every time I think I can, I hear my mom lecturing me on manners in the back of my mind. One of her standard statements was “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
What I would say would not be nice.
So I choose to say nothing.

But I do think the next time it happens I am going to ask for the manager and tell him what I think. This should be part of the training of wait staff and any manager should frown upon hearing anyone say the above, abrasive, irritating phrases.

If I ran a restaurant it would be one of many teaching points for my team!

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