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Old 07-15-2011, 08:33 PM   #1
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What would you have done?

This happened a while back. After some errands, I had a short window of time (around 2pm) to grab lunch before heading on to my p/t job. We don't eat fast food at all, so my fastest choices were still sit-down restaurants. I had only $10 cash on me, but I had a gift card from x-mas for a chain rib place.

To make a long story short, the server took over 5 minutes to just greet me and ask for my drink order (I ordered my meal at the same time), forgot my rolls (brought them with my meal, which was an appetizer selection), forgot a condiment I asked for, failed to refill my water (I had to ask another server), my rib basket took f.o.r.e.v.e.r to come out (and they were not hot... but not cold, either) and the server was generally not to be found to ask for anything. There were perhaps 5 occupied tables in the whole place. NOT a busy time.

I had been finished for a really long time and finally I went to the hostess stand to ask for my check. When I got the check, I put my gift card in the check holder and waited for my waiter. And waited, and waited, and waited. Angry at this horrible service, I finally just said, "Forget this, I'm already late for work", took the card out and put in the $10... for the $9.80 bill. JUST as I was doing this, the waiter appeared. I told him, "I waited for everything for this meal." He said, "Sorry, it was the end of my shift and I had other work to complete." I said, "Well, I'm sorry about your tip." And I left.

I feel bad, knowing this guy lost money on my meal, but dang, it just was beyond ridiculous service!! For future reference, I'm wondering what others' thoughts are on this. Is there *ever* justification for no/little tip? Did I let my anger get the best of my principles?

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Old 07-15-2011, 08:38 PM   #2
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You did exactly what I would have done.

The waiter gave your service a lower priority than other work and lost because of it. Considering you were a paying customer and his other work was probably not customer related, it was a thoughtless choice that he should have paid for.
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Old 07-15-2011, 08:42 PM   #3
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You have way more patience than I would have. He would have been hearing about much earlier.

The other work is for down times...not when you have a customer at a table, they come first.
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Old 07-15-2011, 08:42 PM   #4
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You were absolutely 100% justified. Why should you pay for service you didn't get? Good for you!!
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Old 07-15-2011, 08:56 PM   #5
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I agree with what everyone has already said. A good tip is for good service. Crappy service = crappy tip. I'm sorry you had such a crummy experience.
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Old 07-15-2011, 09:02 PM   #6
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I would have done the same thing with out guilt. T.o I.nsure P.rompt S.ervice.
Tipping is usually optional. However a lot restaurants tax the wait staff's pay on what ever percentage rate is considered fair based on the total bill. They also pay a really low wage. Waitresses and Waiters know this and SHOULD preform their job accordingly. The sad part is that a lot of them don't learn from being stiffed.
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Old 07-16-2011, 07:15 AM   #7
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Thank you for the reassurances that I wasn't a total jerk and that it was justified. I was second-guessing myself.
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Old 07-16-2011, 07:20 AM   #8
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You did good!
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Old 07-16-2011, 07:23 AM   #9
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I use a tiered scale for tips. 25% for exceptional service, more if have extra cash and have received exceptional service repeatedly from the same server, down to nothing and a complaint to the manager for extremely poor service. In this case, the only thing I would have done differently was file a complaint with whoever was supervising the shift. As soon as he used the excuse that it was the end of his shift he basically admitted his time was more important than yours, which is a big no no in customer service. I'm generally pretty lenient with customer service folk because I get that the job can be stressful and anyone can have an off day, but this was way beyond an off day.
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Old 07-16-2011, 09:17 AM   #10
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You have nothing to feel guilty about. I would've done the same thing.

Unfortunately, the server was stupid for openly admitting to you that something else was more important than ensuring that you had a pleasant dining experience. Having said that, I have my doubts that the payment you left made much of an impression on the server.
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Old 07-16-2011, 09:28 AM   #11
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I have a rule, if the service is bad I give 5% of my bill in tip and when it's good 20%.
Service is not always bad because of lazy waiters, sometimes they just don't know what they are doing. I don't punish dumb waiters, it's not their fault all the time. Just use your own judgement. If the waiter is intelligent and still useless don't tip and if you can see they are waiting on tables because they are not intelligent enough to get a decent job have some mercy!
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Old 07-16-2011, 09:56 AM   #12
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I don't leave tips unless the service was more than expected. Period. A tip is for service ABOVE AND BEYOND normal, expected service. It's not part of the bill. It's not for average service, IMHO.

When service is above the expected, I leave a 20% tip. I leave the tip in cash and never include it into any credit transaction. This may sound overly stern to some of you, but when eating in any restaurant, I expect a minimum of service. That service is what the worker, (the server), should perform for each and every customer that comes into the restaurant. Attention, promptness, politeness, and true caring (which you can tell by how the server acts), all make tipping worthwhile. Absence of these actions makes NO tip happen with me and usually accompanies a talk with the manager about his staff.

I've worked in several restaurants. I know what is expected by management of their staff as *Normal* service. This normal service is not what tips are for. Tips are earned, not expected. No earning of a tip; no tip at all.

Servers that expect a tip for normal service might consider a job as a carpenter or something. Professional servers know how to earn a tip. I've worked with many. A waitress I once worked with at the Washingtonian Restaurant and Country Club, named Betty, was a non-stop, perfect waitress. She was clean, polite, courteous, exact in delivering orders, no excuses and never needed any. Even at rush hour, she worked at light-speed and did her job perfectly. I never saw her kicking back and having a discussion with other employees while she had customers. She made eye-contact with each of her customers about once a minute. NO one ever had to wait for her service. This was in the 70's, and she made 30-50 dollars a night in tips. No one could match her tips. I've just explained why.

When I see a waiter or waitress of mine, hanging out in the serving area with other staff, laughing and chatting while I'm trying to get their attention for 5 minutes, I go to the manager and ask for a different server. One who cares if I have service or not. That lets the manager know who his/her goof-offs are and either improves the servers professionalism or releases them for other types of work. I don't care which. I'm there for good food and good service. I insist on both.
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Old 07-16-2011, 10:45 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timothy View Post
I don't leave tips unless the service was more than expected. Period. A tip is for service ABOVE AND BEYOND normal, expected service. It's not part of the bill. It's not for average service, IMHO.

When service is above the expected, I leave a 20% tip. I leave the tip in cash and never include it into any credit transaction. This may sound overly stern to some of you, but when eating in any restaurant, I expect a minimum of service. That service is what the worker, (the server), should perform for each and every customer that comes into the restaurant. Attention, promptness, politeness, and true caring (which you can tell by how the server acts), all make tipping worthwhile. Absence of these actions makes NO tip happen with me and usually accompanies a talk with the manager about his staff.

I've worked in several restaurants. I know what is expected by management of their staff as *Normal* service. This normal service is not what tips are for. Tips are earned, not expected. No earning of a tip; no tip at all.

Servers that expect a tip for normal service might consider a job as a carpenter or something. Professional servers know how to earn a tip. I've worked with many. A waitress I once worked with at the Washingtonian Restaurant and Country Club, named Betty, was a non-stop, perfect waitress. She was clean, polite, courteous, exact in delivering orders, no excuses and never needed any. Even at rush hour, she worked at light-speed and did her job perfectly. I never saw her kicking back and having a discussion with other employees while she had customers. She made eye-contact with each of her customers about once a minute. NO one ever had to wait for her service. This was in the 70's, and she made 30-50 dollars a night in tips. No one could match her tips. I've just explained why.

When I see a waiter or waitress of mine, hanging out in the serving area with other staff, laughing and chatting while I'm trying to get their attention for 5 minutes, I go to the manager and ask for a different server. One who cares if I have service or not. That lets the manager know who his/her goof-offs are and either improves the servers professionalism or releases them for other types of work. I don't care which. I'm there for good food and good service. I insist on both.
I worked as a waitress, barlady, cook etc. in restaurants while studying and I agree we need good servers! Just bare in mind if you ever go to South Africa, servers in our country work on tips alone and don't get paid a salary. It's not right in my opinion to leave no tip at all.
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snip 13

I worked as a waitress, barlady, cook etc. in restaurants while studying and I agree we need good servers! Just bare in mind if you ever go to South Africa, servers in our country work on tips alone and don't get paid a salary. It's not right in my opinion to leave no tip at all.
I would agree. When I was a bartender years ago, servers were paid below minimum wage and relied on tips. I also agree that one tips according to service.

I remember a friend and I, many years ago during a road trip, stopping at a diner in a very small town. We finished our meal, paid the bill, and left a few dollars. The waitress ran after us as we left, calling "Girls! Girls! You forgot your money!". We explained that where we came from, that was a tip! Apparently not the custom there.
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:05 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snip 13 View Post
I worked as a waitress, barlady, cook etc. in restaurants while studying and I agree we need good servers! Just bare in mind if you ever go to South Africa, servers in our country work on tips alone and don't get paid a salary. It's not right in my opinion to leave no tip at all.
I understand. When you are presented with service that is below that which is expected as "normal service", such as not being able to find your server for extended times, PLUS not being served the correct items as you ordered and in the proper serving order, PLUS having a server with an improper, impolite or rude bearing, what then would you consider a proper tip? They have failed to even DO thier job. I would feel at that point, NO tip equals what they have earned in their job.

Let's say you hired someone to cut the grass in your yard. The person shows up very late, leaves broad areas of uncut grass and takes two weeks to finish the yard. Would you still pay them? I wouldn't.

That is how I see a server who feels that chatting with their buddies in the serving area, bringing the wrong items or even not bringing items I ordered and having to wait 5 minutes each time for them to even show themselves. They haven't done their job. They've insulted me as a customer and have shown me that they don't even care if I like it or not.

Regardless if they recieve pay or not, they surely won't recieve a tip from me. If they starve to death, it will be as a direct result of their own actions, not mine.

I feel very strongly about work ethics. Could you tell?
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:16 AM   #16
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I would agree. When I was a bartender years ago, servers were paid below minimum wage and relied on tips. I also agree that one tips according to service.

I remember a friend and I, many years ago during a road trip, stopping at a diner in a very small town. We finished our meal, paid the bill, and left a few dollars. The waitress ran after us as we left, calling "Girls! Girls! You forgot your money!". We explained that where we came from, that was a tip! Apparently not the custom there.
A lot of servers get paid badly or not at all, it's a horrible feeling to go home at the end of a shift after working like a dog and having nothing to show for it!
I gave a young guy that served us a R200 tip one Christmas and he started crying and hugged me! Poor guy was running up and down all day and I noticed how rude some people were for no reason at all and it was Christmas day! He was as helpful and polite as can be expected in his situation.
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:33 AM   #17
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A lot of servers get paid badly or not at all, it's a horrible feeling to go home at the end of a shift after working like a dog and having nothing to show for it!
If a server works hard and is attentive to me and my order, I have been known to tip as much as 50% for outstanding service. I don't mean to sound like "Mr. Hard-Azz", but I tip according to effort. No effort, no tip.

I seldom go out to eat on holidays because it's like asking for moderate service. Places are usually over-crowded and the staff are famous for calling in sick to gain the day off. Those who remain are over-worked with crowds backed out the doors. The times I've gone out on those days, I've been disappointed in the outcome. I stay home and eat a meal of my own.
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:41 AM   #18
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If a server works hard and is attentive to me and my order, I have been known to tip as much as 50% for outstanding service. I don't mean to sound like "Mr. Hard-Azz", but I tip according to effort. No effort, no tip.

I seldom go out to eat on holidays because it's like asking for moderate service. Places are usually over-crowded and the staff are famous for calling in sick to gain the day off. Those who remain are over-worked with crowds backed out the doors. The times I've gone out on those days, I've been disappointed in the outcome. I stay home and eat a meal of my own.
Not calling you a Hard Arse :) Just saying that you must bare in mind if you come to SA that the servers don't get paid here and a lot of them are not the "brightest pencils in the box" lol! I also tip according to service and if someone is rude to me I won't tip but if they are trying but not succeeding at what they do I will leave something for them :)
I have just seen many people that treat servers badly for no reason and some people are just full of you know what!
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:50 AM   #19
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There was an old custom of leaving two pennies on the table to show your disapproval of the service.
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Old 07-16-2011, 12:00 PM   #20
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Not calling you a Hard Arse :) Just saying that you must bare in mind if you come to SA that the servers don't get paid here and a lot of them are not the "brightest pencils in the box" lol! I also tip according to service and if someone is rude to me I won't tip but if they are trying but not succeeding at what they do I will leave something for them :)
I have just seen many people that treat servers badly for no reason and some people are just full of you know what!
Ha! I understand completely!

I remember having "off" days, where perhaps a tray of glass-ware would somehow take a dive onto the floor from my grasp, and devil-clones seemed to occupy every table I had. I once had a customer abruptly back his chair from the table and into me while I had a serving tray with 8 plates of food held high above. The tray went into the middle of his table loudly, and I went on my butt in the aisle. No one was happy about that exchange, and they had the compassion to leave me a great tip.

I recently went to "Outback Steak House" and the couple behind my table ABUSED the poor young lady who was also my server. It was the worst example of server abuse I've ever witnessed and I went to the manager and explained it to him. He replaced the server himself, got the same abuse and ended up insisting that the couple leave. I was proud of him!

If true effort is applied and even a tiny amount of "Above and Beyond" service is received, I tip a minimum of 20%.
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