Saturday, November 04, 2006

Whiny waitstaff manifesto

I love eating at restaurants and am a generous tipper, despite being a broke bastard. I hate when wealthy people choose to be stingy with tipping, as I hear is often the case. I’m always very nice to my server and get good service because of it. And, of course, they deserve to make a livable wage for what they do.

But I get a little tired of the attitude. Servers do no justice to their hard work by putting down their customers with condescension and contempt, as one did in a list I recently received. It’s one thing to expect adequate compensation; it’s another to throw a blanket tantrum toward customers who may or may not have the first thing to do with the feudal system that is the restaurant industry.

What follows is not the list I received, but my personal interpretation of it. And before you counter with, “But you’ve never worked as a waiter,” remember that I’ve knocked a similar list by a blogger in the past. Smarminess knows no job description.

1) So, you think you can afford to go out and eat? Well, guess what! I’m going…to say this…in the bitchiest, brattiest way possible…if you can’t leave a huge tip…then you can’t afford to go out! The least you peons can do after eating one of our $11 plates of spaghetti is pony up nearly half that so that I get paid. What, you think expensive restaurants actually pass on the profit to the people who do its work? YOU pay my entire salary! How hard is that to grasp, dumbasses?

2) This is 2006, people. 10% is not acceptable anymore…And neither is the “training wage” I make…not that I’ll ever make any noise about that. The restaurant lobby is too powerful…but you, the customer, are weak. We will reserve our contempt for you rather than toward the industry in which we chose to work.

3) Now I understand that 10% is good enough for God. That’s fine, but I’m your waitress. And I hold more contempt for you than the Old Testament God did toward his subjects. Therefore, a larger percentage is only sensible.

4) When you order a well-done steak, we will laugh at you behind your back. Because no food connoisseur would ever do that. For all you know, your steak is a leftover slab we dropped on the floor that we have no room to throw away. That’s what kind of judgmental pricks we are.

5) They say the customer is always right. However, I am very busy and you are wrong to assume that I care enough to check on you when I’ve messed up your order because I’m so busy.

6) Use some manners, please! I’m just trying to introduce myself. After all, this may be your only opportunity to see my face for the next 45 minutes.

7) If I do a good job, I do it for the tip; not because I like, or care about, you. I deserve to be rewarded for that.

8) Please don't take it out on me because you have had a bad day. I'm here to make it better. Unless I’ve had a bad day, in which case I will take it out on you and will still expect a big tip.

9) How was I supposed to know you wanted A1 sauce? Oh, you mean you asked me 10 minutes ago and I went to get it? I’m busy, you know!

10) Just because I walk past your table (and am theoretically here to help you) does not mean I won’t resent the hell out of you for actually acting on it when I deign to walk by.

11) You may call me Shirley, but to me you’re just Table 23. The only thing that matters to me is your tip. Ever notice how I never ask you for your name?

12) Treating a server like a piece of shit and the scum of the earth because we are serving you is the quickest way to get the worst service you ever thought possible. We are people too and you are no better than me...So treat us well, scum!

13) Just think about it like this. I work in an industry that actually gets away with paying a small fraction of the minimum wage, despite the fact that your hamburger costs $7. We don’t know where that thick profit margin goes, but we certainly don’t see or question it. So it’s up to you, the lowly customer, to shoulder the burden of the mess that we have gotten ourselves into. And if you don’t, then we don’t get paid. And then we will hate you…even more than we do when you come in. Who are we supposed to confront about that, the restaurant industry? Fat chance!

14) Last but certainly not least...Don't assume that my job is easier then yours and I am some dumb shit who can't get a better job. The restaurant business is a fast-paced environment with a high stress level. And you don't even see all the things we do behind the scene. So have some respect. After all, I clearly have so much respect for you! Thank you for eating with us, Table 42-A. Tip well.


They're Gone Move On said...

Hey I really like your thoughts. I bookmarked you.

Anonymous said...

my rule of thumb when tipping is to take the price...move the decimal over to the left one space (10%)...double that. If the service was just average, I leave that amount. If it was poor I substact a dollar or two depending on the price. If it was excellent, I add a dollar or two. Absolute minimum I try to give regardless is 15% and that is for very poor service.

Only once have I left no tip at all and trust me when I say he didn't deserve a penny for being so rude and unprofessional that I had to make a statement and I even spoke with the manager.

I also on the other hand have left small notes or talked to the manager when a server has given just truly exceptional service.