Friday, March 23, 2012

Stiff the Server

I've gotten into hot water because of things I've written on this blog, and I probably will again.  (If I actually posted everything I wrote, I know I'd get into trouble - with Kevin if no one else.)  But there was a "situation" last night that, while not the norm, is not all that unusual among our tipping public, and I feel a strong need to address it - again - in this forum.  Frankly, I don't believe our readers fall into the category of customer I am about to cast judgement on, and I am most likely preaching to the choir.  However, that hasn't stopped me before and it will not hold me back now...

Last night a guest ordered one of our Carolina Crepes for her meal.  When I stopped by the table she told me it was too spicy for her and she couldn't eat it.  She'd had a couple bites, she said it was delicious, but, she said, she probably should have mentioned something to the server about not being able to eat food that was spicy.  She didn't want it.  I asked her if I could get her something else and finally we settled on a small salad.  I wrapped up the partially eaten crepe for her and brought it back with the salad - which I had verbally ordered, feeling that I needed to get it out quickly so she could at least eat that while her husband was finishing his meal.  Their evening continues, they have dessert and coffee and eventually are presented with the check.  FYI - I had not removed the crepe from the check, my position being that there was nothing wrong with the preparation of the dish, and the guest herself had told me that she should have been more proactive, which I took to mean she accepted responsibility for her actions.   So, the customers pay and leave. 

They left a little note on the credit card slip. They drew a line through the spot where the  tip is normally entered and wrote, "We feel we shouldn't have paid for the Carolina crepe".

Okay.  So, because you feel that you were unfairly charged, you take it out on the server's gratuity?  Oh, sure, that makes perfect sense to me.  The manager neglected to take the crepe off the check - and she also, might I add, neglected to put the salad on the check (but of course, no mention was made of that), so the best way to make sure that you don't  pay for the crepe is to not leave a tip for the server.  You save your nine dollars and the server gets stiffed for something she has absolutely no control over.  

Of course this is not the first time something like this has happened, many of which I've documented here.  We had a guy once who didn't leave a tip because he didn't like our policy of charging for soft drink refills.  Another time a woman left no tip because the server didn't know to bring out her adolescent daughter's meal ahead of the others.  And of course there is that occasion when I had finally had it with a constantly complaining customer and told her she need never come back to this restaurant - she definitely was the type who stiffed the waiter because of something I did.  Please tell me, what purpose does this behavior serve, aside from saving a few bucks?

I have said it a million times - if you have a problem with your experience in our restaurant, be it the table, the food, the service, or a problem with your bill, bring it to our attention.  We cannot help you if we don't know that something is making you unhappy.  If it is a true service issue - if the server is rude or indifferent or absent - then by all means, let us know and leave the appropriately lower tip.  But if you are unhappy because of a policy held by the restaurant, tell the management.

That person who waits on you makes $3.63 an hour.  If you stiff her because of your displeasure with policy, it hurts her, not your intended target.  All you have really succeeded in doing is to make yourself look like a petty and unsophisticated diner.


  1. No "hot water" from me. Rather, a resounding "hear! hear!"

  2. Stuff like this just burns me's cheap, its ignorant, its selfish, it's wrong..... You do NOT need customers like that.