Saturday, April 01, 2006

You know it's going to be a crap tip when...

...the first thing out of a guest's mouth is what do you give that is free for a birthday.

...when the table has more children than teeth.

How about you? I know I can come up with a dozen others.


Anonymous said...

...when "we're just going to split an appetizer. and two waters with lemon, light on the ice."

Anonymous said...

"We'll just have water with lemon"

"When do we get our bisquits"

"Is this the lunch menu?"

...they pay for a $70 check with a $75 gift card

"Do you offer a seniors discount?"

3 Words soup, salad, and bread

When the table has to park their house outside

If you see religious propaganda on the table

Anytime a snap is used to get your attention.

The table refers to you as 'chief','boss',or anyother demeaning title.

By: another disgruntled employee

Anonymous said...

~by a last name being "patel"

~by a confused 20 minutes trying to decipher the menu

~more screaming children than adults at the table

Anonymous said...

-when you get the good old verbal compliment
-the coupon is plastered to the table during the entire meal
-are there free refills on that?

Anonymous said...

When they ask for ice on the side and change their minds once you advise them the refills are free.

When they're European or French Canadian. Consult your Frommers...

When you're an attractive young waitress and they're 40-70 year old women. Bitter much?

Anonymous said...

Guest--"Umm, i was in here last week and you had this shrimp deal going on...I don't remember what it was called, but I ate like 150 shrimp"

Server--"You must be referring to the Endless Shrimp promotion...and that ended SIX MONTHS AGO"

Guest--"well, do you think i could get that?"

Server--"you are kidding right?"
Or how about...
"Do you guys have catfish?"
my personal favorite
"I want cheese on my baked potato...oh and bring us some ranch for these rolls."

Anonymous said...

I was reading some of the comments, and i just had to share this story that happened a week ago. I walked up to a table that had more children than teeth, and they did the slide the coupon across the table thing...nobody wants to announce that they are cheap and brought a coupon to a it just slowly crawls across the table. I shared my name with them and went through my fresh fish. All the while, none of them looked up to acknowledge that i was even there. Finally i just gave up and asked them what, they wanted to drink...and asked a second time...on the third time they responded. So, this is how the table went the entire night and i was getting pissed. About half-way through the meal, i got the "SNAP". Nothing pisses me off more than the "SNAP". So, i ignored them and went back into the alley to pick up some food for their neighbors. I ran the food and got another "snap"...ignored it once again. Ran some food for a co-worker and this time I got "HEY YOU!!!" from across the restaurant. I ignored it, and the guest chased me down red faced into the alley.
"Why are you ignoring us?!?!?" she screamed.

"Madam, i do not believe that i was ignoring you" I said.

"Well, i just tried to get your attention three times out there and you didn't come over."

"my appologies Madam, i looked around the alley to find the dog that you snapping at, but i couldn't find it. The third time I just assumed that you were talking to somebody else since I shared my name with you at the beginning of the meal. Of course, you ignored me...but i assumed that you could READ my nametag since you were so intently reading over the menu at the time. This must be all my fault because you were clearly just looking at all the pretty pictures."

Yes, I got in a bit of trouble (mostly because my manager was frustrated that he would have to call crew-relations to explain the whole situation for me), but i was a god amongst my co-workers for that entire weekend.

Anonymous said...

(Irritatedly stated at sit down & before the drink order) "Can we get some bread?"

"We all need separate checks."

"Can I get a large bowl of lemons with my water?"

"The last time I was in here, the service was really bad."

Lobster Boy said...

On many occasions I am brought those tables who upon entering the store proceed to tell a host/manager that they had poor service the last time they came. Frequently I get some outstanding tips from these tables, so those ones aren't all bad.

Lobster Boy

Anonymous said...

When the clock strikes 9:55 and your guest and his baby's momma blind you with their gold teeth and stench of the blunt they just choked down in their monte carlo.

Anonymous said...

-the baby momma table. they just appear in your section and all you can do is get them out of there as quick as possible.

-where do we pay?

-"He want some Hi-C" in reference to one's child, who will likely grow up to be as illiterate as the adult making the aforementioned comment.

-any drink order involving grape/strawberry soda. please.

-"I got a coupon". not i HAVE a coupon. i GOT a coupon.

-any order involving mispronunciation of the word "shrimp". you can guarantee a complaint to the manager in an attempt to procure free food if both child and adult use: scrimp/scrimps/schrimps/scrims, etc.

Anonymous said...

...any order that involves a 'ceasar salad with EXTRA French dressing, and 'none of them square junks'!

..."we will just have water with extra lemon; we are trying to cut down on sugar"...and then proceede to each order a dessert!!!! WTF??

...any order that involves the mispronunciation of (or inability to pronounce) the following words:
* Ultimate
* Feast
* Shrimp
* Parmesan
* Crouton
* "Child, be quite"
* Please

Ronikins said...

Howse about "What can I get for $5?" when the least expensive item on your menu is $9.50.

Anonymous said...

When you have to wait for them to unlock the 18 deadbolts.

I work in delivery

Lobster Boy said...

If there is a deadbold quotient for delivery people, there too must be a cat quotient as well. Something like "if there are 7 cats visible..."

Lobster Boy

Big Tasty said...

Dude! What's with the anti-Patel thing?

I've seen it on Bitterwaitress and stuff, just saw it here!

I served a Patel two weeks ago and she was fine, treated me decently, and left me twenty percent!

Verbal Method said...

...if you get sat a party of 6 at 10:59 (most of whom are children) on a Saturday Night and the conversation sounds like:

"Hi, how are you doing, my name is--"

"We want water, extra lemons, and can you bring some bread? With EXTRA BUTTER?!! Oh, and we'll have our salads now before we order, no tomatoes on mine and no cucumbers on his."

"What should I get the children?"

"they can eat what we eat"
Translation:"they can take what they want off our plate and play table tennis with it"

then when they get the food...

"I didn't order this, plus it's cold...I want to see a manager"

by this time your probably red in the face, but since I'm black, I'm turning purple, when the manager comes back and tells me that he just gave them a crew discount, and that they gave him the money. I already know that I'm going to go outside to find a disaster area and 50 cents on the table. Add to the fact that I was trying to go out and you have a very unhappy server.

"put me on the line all of next week please" is my response to the manager.

stout2441 said...

When the first thing out of the tables mouth is, "Are kids drinks free?"

SHELL said...

"How much for a coke? Oh i'll take water"

"Hi my na.......I'll take coke"

"Did you want soup or salad? Is that extra?"

when they bring their own drink

the bigger the mess the smaller the tip

I love your blog and have stared my own if you wanna check it

Anonymous said...

I get about 8 tables to take care of and *any* tip at all is great for me. In New Zealand you don't have to tip at all.

Lobster Boy said...

Man I'm feeling you on those. Take it easy on the chronic or it'll hold you back, and you've got a more difficult road as it is. Nice poetry by the way.

Lobster Boy

Anonymous said...

I have never waited tables. I do, however, have a lot of appreciation and respect for those who do. I typically enjoy reading blogs written by waiters...I love hearing about how waitstaff handle customers who are real assholes. However, the generalizations in this post/comments are, IMO, a bit overboard.

I drink water because that is what I enjoy...I also like it with lemon because I find it to be a bit more refreshing that way.

My husband is a bread freak and loves to get as many biscuits as he can.

We have a 16-month old daughter who is generally well-behaved, but is, after all, a toddler and not always perfect.

Many of the people in my husband's family are avid RVers (ie they have, on occasion, parked their "house" outside.

My husband prides himself on the fact that he goes out of his way to offer verbal compliments when service has been exceptional.

If our service has previously sucked, we have been known to let our server know this (not always). Mostly because we may come in with a preconceived notion, but willing to give that restaurant location another try and we want to give fair warning that if we seem upset or bitter it is likely not their fault and we are trying not to hold our previous bad experience against them.

My husband has actually introduced himself to our waiter before (I think it's ridiculous, but as a waiter you would benefit from taking the extra 10 seconds with him and humoring him).

I often bring our own drink for my daughter...she can't drink milk, RL only has bar juices and they aren't great options for her (please don't suggest HiC when I ask for's not really juice...IMO that's like telling a customer no, you don't have any root beer but you do have Budweiser instead...there's a big difference).

Now, let me tell you...unless you are an absolutely dismal waiter, you will get a minimum 20% from us. Good service easily gets 25%...Exceptional service generally receives 30%+. Just this afternoon our check at RL was a mere $38...but husband left $50...the service, however, was only no means exceptional.

As previously stated, by daughter is generally very well behaved...however on the occasion that she leaves behind a mess...our tip always increases due to the inconvenience she is leaving behind.

Know that if you are quick to judge your customers, whether you intend to or not, it is reflected in your service. While 25-30% tips are common for us (and we eat out an avg of 5-6 times per week and love to request a specific waiter who has provided good service previously), if you provide shitty service, are an asshole to us or are rude to our daughter...we will not hesitate to leave a tip that is more in the 1-2% range.

Tampa, FL

P.S. those relatives who have been known to park their houses outside, are multi-millionaires. but you would never know it by looking at them or listening to their conversations. they are extremely modest and would never let on to anyone that they have $$. they are however, among the most generous people you will ever encounter.

Lobster Boy said...

Mrs. Crockett,
I appreciate your comment, and am glad you've weighed in. The problem is, you and the select few like you are by far the exception. I deal with anywhere from 100-200 customers per week, 49 weeks a year. On the low end that is 5000 guest a year and since I have a lot of return customers/regulars I wait on let's say 4000 unique visitors a year. Of those 4000, maybe 1-3 would fit your category. You can see why we are the way we are. And of those remaining 3997 people, probably 2000 are actually pretty good customers. That leaves the less than average 50% that ranges from yech progressing to wondering if they are actually evidence of pure evil.

So, I can let my experience be shaped by less than 1/10 of 1% of my customers, or as the reality of life as a waiter would have it, I'll base my generalizations on the crappy 50%.

I have no problem giving praise where it is deserved though, there are some great tippers out there, and I've had the pleasure of serving quite a few of them.

Lobster Boy

Anonymous said...

Okay, fair enough. I can appreciate how you might arrive at your generalizations. I guess my point was that perhaps in some cases you, and your peers, might be creating a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. That is, if you have a customer that seems to fit these generalizations, without intending to, your service may in subtle ways reflect how you anticipate they will tip. However, perhaps it is more like 1/5 (or even 1/3) of 1% whose tipping practices do not conform to your pre-conceived notions that are based on generalizations regarding their appearance, family size, or food/beverage preferences. In situations where this may be the case, perhaps you would receive a better tip if your generalizations did not inadvertantly effect the service you deliver.

On the other hand, if the majority of people really do tip as badly as you explain I can't blame you for being bitter. Yours is not a job that I envy. Hell, if I thought waiting tables was anything other than miserable work, I would probably serve dinner to my own family at home more often rather than eating out almost nightly. Of course, then there is the whole issue surrounding the fact that I also despise cooking, but that's an entirely different issue.

I thought your response was great. It was fair and non-confrontational. I especially appreciate the sense of humor that you bring to your writing.

Can you offer me any tips on how I can turn a dining experience with poor service around to something with at least adequate service? Something, that is, that does not involve becoming a bitch to the waiter or having to ask for management. Is there some magic phrase I can use that will jolt a waiter back into reality (that the amount of their pay for that night is directly effected by their job performance) without just outright saying if your service continues to suck so will my tip?

pinklotus1484 said...

Usually, when someone that was a total pin says wow you were the best server we ever had at RL or any other resturant you KNOW you are getting a crappy tip, what I can't believe is that servers in VA only get $2.13 and hour when you get crappy tips across the board. I have worked at RL's in many states all across the USA. Some states you get paid $2.13, but are tipped very well and some states you get regular min. wage and are tipped ok. In VA though you get only $2.13 and are tipped like CRAP!!! I get excited when I get 10%, plus the computers now whether you have POS or DASH, make you claim 10% of your sales. HOw is that fair if you arent even making 10% of your sales. AAGGGHHH what does these people think I pay my rent with my good looks?