Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tipping Trouble

Last Friday was Mike and my two year wedding anniversary.  He had to work all day until nine, so we decided to celebrate by going out to dinner on Saturday.  My mother in law watched Evan and we set out nice and early to avoid the crowds.  We headed to our favorite restaurant and sat in the lounge area.  Our waitress came over, an older woman who was clearly a bit quirky.


Our night progressed like this...  When we got our drinks we had to flag her down for straws, When we got our appetizer we had to flag her down for silverware.  And then when we got our meals, we tried for several minutes to get her attention before Mike got up and had to ask another waitress for Salt, Pepper and bread.  Lastly, when we ordered dessert to-go, the waitress asked Mike if he wanted another cocktail while we waited for it, to which he agreed.  We were then presented with our bill, which we paid but never received the drink.  I noticed the bartender glancing in our direction and he then met Mike half way to our table with his drink, which he then had no time to consume in an enjoyable manner.


So here's the thing.  I worked as a server and bartender for five years.  I take tipping pretty seriously.  My minimum has always been 20 percent.  That's right, 20 percent for mediocre service.  I guess, I'm getting over it.  Maybe it's because I was so excited to be going out for this special occasion, to our favorite restaurant, child-free.  Or maybe I've just had enough of paying for nothing.  Whatever the reason, I convinced Mike to leave a $12 tip on an $85 tab, for the record he wanted to leave $5.  I felt wretched about it though, and it haunted me for a while.  I hated that part.  Worst of all, I wonder if this waitress even realized why this happened, or if she thought we were uneducated in the ways of tipping, like we were just jerks that stiffed her, or paid too much for dinner and couldn't afford a decent tip.  


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I began wondering if maybe in the future if I am expecting to have a good experience dining out, perhaps I will mention it up front, but that's sure to get some spit or worse in my food I'm sure. For now, I'm feeling a little disheartened at the idea and we'll probably stick to my wonderful homemade meals, and occasional take-out for a while. 


What's your take on tipping?  What do you do when you receive poor service at a restaurant?  

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