Recently I got together with some friends from college and during this reunion we talked about a night during our senior week that was an etiquette hell twofer that fits in everyday etiquette and business, so I’ll call it just plain tacky.
Seniors were left with four weeks to kill between the end of the semester and graduation. To help with this the school organized various activities one which was a harbor cruise. A bunch of seniors piled on buses which took us to the city. Once there we had an hour and half before we had to board the boat. Everyone used this time to grab dinner. The restaurants near the drop off point filled up quickly, but a friend of friend, “Jenny”, said she knew a great place near by. As we were all broke college students (who also had to budget for drinks on the cruise) we said sure as long as the place was cheap, which she assured us it was.
So we begin to walk to this “near by” restaurant which turns out to be about a mile away with all of us girls in heels. We get seated and open the menus to find the entrees are all above $25, which is not cheap by broke college student standards. But we can’t just get up and leave because no one wants to be rude and we won’t have time to get in someplace else and make it to the boat on time.
Jenny ordered an expensive meal while the rest of us ordered soup or salad with water. All through dinner Jenny tells about how she has been interning for the CEO of a major international financial institution and is basically going to help her run the company once she graduates (none of which I believe), how much money her boyfriend’s new job pays, and offering us financial planning advice. Then the check comes, she asks the waitress to give her a separate check because she wants to use a credit card. The waitress then brings back her card saying it was declined, the financial wizard then opens her wallet revealing at least 10 credit cards and asking the waitress to split her bill between two credit cards she thinks are below their limits.
After making us hike in heels to this place and monopolizing the conversation with her bragging, she then proceeds to throw one dollar on the table for her portion of the tip. The rest of us pay for our meals and Jenny’s portion of the tip, leaving over a 15% tip which was pretty good for us being broke and the amount of the bill. We leave the check and get up and visit the restroom before setting out on the hike to the boat. While the group was by the restroom the second entrant of Etiquette Hell, the waitress came up to our group and demanded to know at the top of her lungs why we left her hardly any tip. We were confused by how irate she was as we had left her a tip and embarrassed that she was yelling at us in the middle of the restaurant.
My friend “Amy” who had collected the money said we had left her a tip for X amount and as Amy was graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering I trusted her ability to do simple math. The server screamed that was not the amount we left, we left X $20 bills, Y $5 bills, and Z $1 bills. At this point I stepped in and said part of my contribution had been two $10 bills. The waitress accused us of lying and said there were no $10s. Knowing I had paid with tens we went back to the booth to see if the money and fallen somewhere, all the while the waitress standing over us like were trying to dine and dash.
We check the booth, we check the floor, we check all around our table, but no 10s. Finally my friend Amy asks to see the check folder, we open it up and the amount Amy had said we paid was in there including the tip we left. At this point the waitress just says, “Oh, I counted the 10s as ones,” and walks away without apology. We should have asked for the tip back.
Thankfully the rest of the night was better, we ditched Jenny once we got to the boat and had a great time. We still remember that night and laugh if anyone uses $10 bills when we are all out together. 0715-10
My ornery evil twin probably would have been very tempted, when the waitress began to walk away with no apology, to stop her (getting the manager involved, if necessary) , take the check folder from her, remove $20.00 worth of tip while saying, “My compensation for the pain, suffering and public humiliation you mistakenly put us through with no thought of apologizing for your error.”