I wrote this silliness this afternoon while being bored at work. It was for a forum about dining and tipping that I read when there is nothing to do. Now I ran restaurants a good chunk of my life and take pride in the fact that I tip well when I’m dining out even when service is not that great. This experience was by far one of the worst ever. So I have never stiffed someone on a tip, until the other day.
I plan on blogging about this on my myspace blog, but I had to share this on this thread: I stiffed someone the other day, for the first time ever. I feel horrible about it, but feel I was totally justified.
For starters, I made my first mistake when I walked in: instead of going to the bar, I took a table. I had a book with me and wanted to read a little. It was late morning and the place was busy. The crowd was shifting from late breakfast to the lunch crowd. I skimmed the menu, found an omellette to my liking, and put the menu down and started reading my book. This is so unlike me, but I lost track of time and after about 20 minutes I realized a waitress had not come to my table yet. I looked around and saw the woman who wore the name on her shirt that I remembered was supposed to be my waitress sitting at a table chatting with someone. I waved to her and she took no notice (women never notice me, story of my life…).
I got up and walked to the front of the restaurant. I was greeted by the same smiling woman who had seated me.
“Hi, I’ve been sitting there for 20 minutes and my waitress hasn’t come to take my order.”
“Oh, we’ll send someone right over.”
I smiled “thank you”.
I plopped back down at my table and picked up my book again, peering over the edge of my book at my gabbing waitress at the table across the room.
Five more minutes, still no waitress. Now I was frsutrated. I walked to the front again and saw the smily girl.
“Excuse me, but I have to be at work in an hour or so. I don’t mind hanging out here, but I would really like to get my order in and the waitress has still not come to my table”
“oh don’t worry, I’m sure she’s just busy” she said with a smile.
“I don’t think so…” I pointed her across the room at the table where my waitress sat, still gabbing.
“Oh, I’m so sorry, I’ll get her right over to you” and she hurried off.
I sat back down at my table, closing my book. Despite my betteer judgement, I decided to stay…I really wanted this omellete. I looked across the room and saw the gabbing waitress, after being alerted to my existence, finally getting up and trudged across the room to my table.
“Sorry we are so busy, what can I get for ya?” she asked, not making eye contact.
I laughed. “Um, well the restaurant is busy, but you were sitting over there chatting for the past 20 minutes”
She looked at me coldly. I guess I didn’t impress her by calling her out on a lie.
I ordered my chili and cheese taco omellette and without a word, she stormed off. Soon afterward, she stomped back to plop a glass of water on my table, spilling it slightly then storming off to sit and gab with her friend again. All I could do was laugh at this point. This woman, by far, had no idea how to serve customers. I watched as orders came up for other tables she was *serving*, and I use that term loosely and they were all having the same frustration. Finally, my omellete came up and to my amazement, she was actually up moving around when it came up and promptly brought it over. Of course, this one saving grace was spoiled by the fact that she literally dropped the plate in front of me, splattering my shirt with bits of chili and without a word, went away again.
The omellete was amazing: folded 3 egg fluffy omellet stuffed with steak and bean chili and jack cheese with shreds of crispy taco shells mixed in,folded over and on top was fresh tomatoes, cheese and little shredded lettuce. And next to this monstrosity was a heaping pile of homefries. I was in heart attack heaven!! The food was absolutely incredible. But, as my water ran out, the waitress would walk right by me and purposely ignore me or my pleas for a bit more water. Finally, I walked over to the waitress station myself, grabbed a pitcher of water and hauled it back to my table. A couple in a booth near me started laughing and showed me their pitcher: they had done the same thing.
I leaned in conspiratorily and whispered “They should make this place self serve and be done with it.”
They smiled and nodded in agreement.
After managing to get through most of my omelette, I decided to take the rest to work with me and have for dinner that nite. I went to the restroom to wash my hands and clean off the little splatters of chili that were now decorating my shirt and came back to an empty table. My plate with my leftovers, my drink glass and my pitcher were all gone. Curious, I walked over to the waitress.
“Did you clean my table?”
“well, weren’t you done?”
“Yes, but I expect you must have wrapped up my leftovers, correct?”
“How was I supposed to know you wanted them?” she said with a smile, first time she had smiled the whole time I was there.
“Maybe if you were doing your job, you would have known the answer to that” I snapped and walked to the front again where the little manager was sitting, still with the same plastered smile she had when I first got there.
I explained to her what had just happened. She apologized profusely, still with the same grin on her face and offered to only charge me for half my meal, which to me was fair since I had thoroughly enjoyed the food and I had actually eaten a little more than half.
I went back to my table and the surly girl came stomping up with my bill which had been amended to show my new price: $4 even. I reached into my wallet and as fate would have it, there were 4 one dollar bills in there. Usually, I pay everything on my debit/credit card and use the cash for silly things like tolls or whatever. For the first time in my life, I put the bill on the table with the exact amount of money. Then I started searching my pockets. I new if I looked long enough, I would find what I was looking for and sure enough, in the little change pocket was a stray penny. I placed that on top of the bill, grabbed my book and walked out. On my way out, I heard something that completely made my day:
“F*ck you!” came the voice of the surly waitress as I headed to the door.
I turned and smiled. “have a nice day”.