My story is about an extremely rude customer I had last year while working as a waitress in the only bar in my hometown. In the US, servers only make $2-4 an hour in wages, so tips are our livelihood. Unfortunately, a lot of people like to find a way around tipping their servers, out of either ignorance or malice, and although I do believe most people mean well, it is people like the man described below that make servers the hardened, overly-wary people they can sometimes be. This particular incident involved a family of four. I do my best not to be judgmental about people, because you just never know each person’s situation, but honestly, I shouldn’t have put forth so much effort to be nice to them. I had six other tables, and I was working up a decent sweat, mostly to continue keeping this man’s sweet tea above half-full. When it came time to take their orders, the husband ordered for his wife, and altogether their tab came to about $65, because they had also ordered appetizers and the most expensive menu items for the man and his son (the wife and daughter were limited to only items that wouldn’t make them fat and didn’t cost over $15, if you catch my drift). All seemed to be going well, I joked with their son about a local college sports team, smiled graciously, no one’s drink ever reached empty, and all of their orders were correctly placed. I am a very good server, and I’ve received plenty of company-compensated meals as a result of compliments from customers about my excellent service skills, which is why I was so surprised to find this on the credit card slip:
On the back, it said “Tip of the Day”: Never put the check down in front of a lady when a gentleman is present.
He must have been using the term “gentleman” loosely, because this guy came in to a public place wearing a cutoff tee shirt, sweat-stained ball cap, which was NOT removed during the meal, muddy work boots (which tracked filth in so heavily that I had to quickly sweep it up before the next table came in), and grass-stained jeans. He was rude, bossy, and frankly, smelled like a sty. And since when is putting the check in the middle of the table considered rude? Even if it is, it’s doubtfully rude enough to earn only the second “stiffing” I’d had in 3 years as a server! What is this, the 19th century?! Am I to assume that no women want to pay for their families’ meals?! I get nauseated remembering how warmly I told them to have a nice evening as they walked out the front door, having not yet seen the lack-of tip. Moments later, as I was bussing their table, I saw them driving out of the parking lot, looking inside at me, pointing and laughing.
My mom told me to consider the source.
Fortunately, I’m working on my third degree, and I only waited tables to make ends meet until I was a working professional again, but what if I had been one of my coworkers, who depended upon tips as my only source of income, to support my family, including children? 10-08-08