Brave Astronaut wrote a nice post about being a regular, and in there he related an anecdote about his soft spot for wait staff. My parents owned and operated a restaurant for many years, so I, as well, appreciate the work involve. Maybe because of that, I may have higher expectation (let’s be honest here, I have high standards about almost everything), but I also tip well, for a job well done. When I waited tables I appreciated the good tippers. When we went to Greece I wasn’t too comfortable with the “service included” policy they had. We made do with it, and were lucky enough throughout our trip, to get decent service, but still. Whenever we were really pleased we would add more gratuities. It only made sense.
During the summer 1999, we made our way to New York City, Manhattan more precisely, for a karate tournament. We did the tourists’ things and one afternoon ended up at a restaurant by Time Square. We were there with friends. All four of us sat in this busy restaurant, can’t remember its name, ordered some drinks and some food. The service was slow, but then again the place was quite busy. We finally got our drinks. Then, one of us got his appetizers, followed by another, and another. Then my meal came. I asked the waitress about my salad, I didn’t mind having it at the same time as my main course. She went to look, and didn’t come back until about twenty minutes later, asking if I still wanted it. All four of us agreed: the service was really crappy.
My husband tends to be the type who will complain in “private” but will avoid a confrontation. He was making comments about the service, and such to which I told him “to stop complaining because he would leave a nice tip anyway”. We talked about leaving no tip since our waitress was really bad. On top of forgetting my salad, she had mixed two orders and forgotten drinks. She really wasn’t doing her job well. I’m sure you’ve also been in a situation where you’d think of not leaving any tip, because of poor service, but then when the bill came you did leave some. We’ve often done that: think about it, but that's it.
That fine day in the Big Apple, my husband took it upon himself to actually walk the walk. The waitress brought us the bill; Hubby took it, checked it out and scratched out the tip amount to simply sign the credit card bill. As he did this, the rest of us, got up and left the restaurant.*
As he was leaving, he was almost at the door, when the waitress tapped him on the shoulder and said: “Sir, the service wasn’t included”, to which he answered: “I know, but the service was crap”. She got pissy and went away. I think that was the only time I ever saw him leave no tip at all, and it still brings a smile to my face when I think of it.
* To this day, Hubby says that we ran out of there, but we just left. Really. Ok, we might have walked fast a little… it was embarrassing after all ;-)