Saturday, February 9, 2013

Here's A Tip - Tip

One night after a high school football game, I went to Bob's Big Boy with a group of friends. My crush had his best friend with us, and this guy yapped on and on about his philosophy on tipping. It was very simple. He didn't. He was trained by his dad that  people working in restaurants made enough money and if they didn't want $2.13 an hour, they should go get a real job.

At the time I remember thinking that was a jerk thing to say.

My shifts at Damon's throughout college affirmed my high school thinking.  It was a jerk thing to say.

As a server, I dealt with people that were less than pleasant. Sure, there were a few nice souls, but I still have barbecue sauce drenched nightmares of guests yelling because I brought them barbecue sauce, or I didn't bring enough barbecue sauce or I filled their iced tea too much. Shudders.

Some people, like this monkey, can be a real ass.
When I was a sever, we did not have the internet to publicly shame bad behavior. We had to gripe about it to everyone that would listen in the server alley, go into the the freezer and punch some french fry boxes and then continue our gripes over an oil can of Fosters at the TGIFridays after the shift. People could go from restaurant to restaurant and no one would be the wiser that they were a non-tipping fool.

The internet has changed that all. A 30 second post can shame a guest or get a staffer fired. A short tweet can earn you a comped steak or unleash the internet hounds on you.

Applebee's eating, non tipping Pastor.
Enter the Applebee's-eating-Pastor-gate.  A Pastor went to her local Applebee's and happily chomped down her meal with her group of friends. After, she scrawled on her receipt, questioning why she had to tip in a most obnoxious fashion. Another server saw it, snapped a photo and posted it to the all seeing internet. The Pastor was ridiculed and shamed, and the server was fired because the Pastor was ridiculed and shamed.

For the record, both parties were wrong. The Pastor (which is a woman) was wrong for being a cheap jerk (more on that later) and the server was wrong for posting it with the customer's personal information, a not cool move. Also not cool if she signed a social media policy.

Also for the record, I have no problem with public shaming - it seems to be the only thing that works these days, but it is hard to completely support the server if she violated policy *and* the personal info thing. Maybe it is the previous restaurant manager in me coming out, but the server should have known better.

Now the Pastor, she should have really known better.

If you can't afford to tip, I suggest take out.
People that don't tip irritate me like spiders, Bobby Flay and cold soggy french fries. Let me share an example with you. When you go to a restaurant, you are paying for more than the food. You are paying for someone to make it, someone to clean after you, someone to bring you the food and refill your drinks, someone to make your drinks...sounds like a lot doesn't it? For those of you that have never been a server, let me share a secret with you. The server doesn't get to hog the tip all for herself. Nooooo my friends. A server has to tip out the busser (the person cleaning and setting the tables among a million other tasks), the bartender (even if you didn't order booze, in some places it is anything liquid comes from the bar), and on some nights, the server also has to tip out a food runner.

Here is the secret part, servers have to tip out based on their sales, *not* their tips. So if a server has a night of cheap skates, they are losing money by waiting tables.

Two Broke Girls is hilarious. Especially if you were a server.
Let me make it simple for you. I have a perfect example from, dear jebus, a long time ago. I had a table come in, two parents and two kids. They ordered kids meals, split an entree and one root beer with four straws. It was a slow night so I rolled with it and was nice to them, not even en eye roll at the one root beer/four straws request. At the end of the meal they thanked me for being nice (wow) and commented to my manager. We were all taking bets that I was going to score a 10% tip. I was shocked when I saw they left me a 20% tip.

My manager later came up to me to share that the family confided in him that they could only afford to go out once every few months and wanted to have a special night.They appreciated my kindness, especially with the root beer and endless loaves of bread.  Wow.

Maybe the best way to look at tipping it to listen to the immortal words of Mr. Patrick Swayze in the motion picture Roadhouse.

"Be nice."

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