I debated how I wanted to do this. I wanted to talk about my experiences as a full-time waiter in Sioux Falls. I have worked in restaurants on and off for almost 22 years. Seen a lot of things. But when you deal with the public on a daily basis, you get a true lesson in sociology. I don’t want to piss and moan, so I decided to do this in the form of poetry. I am going to call the series ‘The Ugly Table’ which I may explain someday. But not today.

A DOLLAR OVER

A dollar over 10% is not 15%

It is a dollar over 10%

You may have thought you tricked me, or hoodwinked me, but you just insulted me.

If your bill is $60. Your tip is not $7.

Let’s get out the calculator.

It is $9.

When you wash your clothes, do you use the correct amount of detergent? Or just a $1 over?

You have dirty clothes.

S. L. Ehrisman (c) 11/8/10

20 Thoughts on “The Ugly Table (#1)

  1. i tip well even when service is bad

    the bad waiters make me sad

    with your usual negative mood

    how often do you spit in people’s food

  2. Never.

    In fact, I may bitch, but I ALWAYS treat every person with good service. Like I said, it is a lesson in sociology.

    and BTW, don’t tip well for bad service, you send a bad message.

  3. Tips for bad service: that’s communism, right?

  4. Costner on November 9, 2010 at 7:12 am said:

    Most of my in laws either fail to tip, or they toss on a buck or two and think they are doing the server a favor. On a $70 bill that is more than just insulting, so I find myself always needing to be the last one to leave the table so I can drop a few bills on the way out.

    Then again, these are the same people who go out to eat and then have to play “lets all divide up the check into seven different meals so we each only pay for what we ate” while conveniently forgetting about the tax, tip, and beverages. Since I’m the only person at the table capable of math, the last time we went out I ended up paying $45 for a chicken fried steak and Dr. Pepper.

    Pick your battles I suppose.

  5. Settle down folks, this is poetry. Treat it as such.

  6. Those who write on bathroom walls

    Roll their shit into little balls

    And those who tip only a little bit

    Should eat those little balls of shit

  7. Angry Guy on November 9, 2010 at 9:38 am said:

    There once was a man waiting tables,
    Short, Angry & fat, but still able,
    He gave us good service,
    but we found the food to be worthless,
    So we left him a two dollar tip.

  8. Is that Haiku?

  9. Costner on November 9, 2010 at 11:02 am said:

    l3wis: Settle down folks, this is poetry.

    That is arguable.

    In any case I prefer Haiku:

    the service was bad
    what reward shall be given
    one dollar will do

  10. Detroit is a turd
    He puts on a phony smile
    Takes cash from morons

  11. dl; “and BTW, don’t tip well for bad service, you send a bad message.”

    Often it’s more of a management problem than poor server skills. I wouldn’t feel right not tipping the server to send a message to management.

  12. Angry Guy on November 9, 2010 at 11:57 am said:

    Give me bad service
    and I’ll make sure to leave you
    pennies for a tip

  13. Costner on 11.09.10 at 7:12 am

    Most of my in laws either fail to tip, or they toss on a buck or two and think they are doing the server a favor. On a $70 bill that is more than just insulting, so I find myself always needing to be the last one to leave the table so I can drop a few bills on the way out.

    This happens every time my grandmother “treats” me, my wife and my siblings to dinner. I end up spending more on a tip than if we had just stayed home. She thinks 3 bucks is more than enough for a $50-80 meal. I mean, that was plenty in 1960, right?

    jeff on 11.09.10 at 11:35 am

    dl; “and BTW, don’t tip well for bad service, you send a bad message.”

    Often it’s more of a management problem than poor server skills. I wouldn’t feel right not tipping the server to send a message to management.

    How is it management’s fault if the server sucks? (except the fact that they hired them)

    You can easily tell the difference between a bad server and a bad restaurant. Some of the best service I’ve gotten was when someone other than the server screwed up and the server was able to fix it for me without having to get a manager involved.

    If you poorly tip someone that doesn’t provide good service, you encourage them to do better next time or find a different line of work. You’re doing them a favor and eventually management gets the message that they need to find better servers (because the poorly tipped servers quit) or need to train them better.

    If you tip them well regardless, the server has no reason to improve their service. You’re screwing everyone else that gets that server in the future and the server themselves.

  14. “If you tip them well regardless, the server has no reason to improve their service. You’re screwing everyone else that gets that server in the future and the server themselves.”

    You’re assuming that the server in question would have an understanding that they’re a dumbfuck. The odds are that they would just believe you’re cheap, and bitch about you all night long.

  15. Randall on November 9, 2010 at 4:03 pm said:

    When you tip a server
    It’s their wages
    Not a treat
    If you can’t afford 15%
    Then don’t go out to eat

  16. Costner on November 9, 2010 at 4:10 pm said:

    Since DL says he always provides good service, I’d be curious if he can shed some light on what his average tip is(as a percentage) and what a average server can bring in on the typical evening shift.

    I knew a server at a higher end steak house that did very well for himself. He didn’t get any benefits and rarely worked more than 35 hours a week, but he pulled in some serious coin – and about 80% of his cash tips were unreported income. He was good at his job obviously, and I have no doubt he worked hard – but there comes a point when the 15% rule doesn’t make any sense. It isn’t any harder for a server to bring me a steak from Applebees that costs $12 as it is to bring me a steak from Ruth’s Chris that costs $85.

    To some degree the concept of tipping annoys me. I want to know what something costs – and tipping should be “extra” if someone goes above and beyond. However these days we have grown to merely accept the fact we need to tip 15% for average service, and 18-20% for good service.

    It isn’t like sales where the server really influences a purchasing decision. The take orders, attend to the needs of a table and deliver food. If they do their job well they should be rewarded, but why do they need to rely upon tips in order to be fairly compensated? If the cashier at Target does an exceptional job, her boss might give her a raise and promote her – but she isn’t about to get a tip from the customer.

  17. 14 Scott on 11.09.10 at 12:55 pm

    “If you tip them well regardless, the server has no reason to improve their service. You’re screwing everyone else that gets that server in the future and the server themselves.”

    You’re assuming that the server in question would have an understanding that they’re a dumbfuck. The odds are that they would just believe you’re cheap, and bitch about you all night long.

    Eventually they’ll get sick of making $4/hour and quit.

    #16 Costner on 11.09.10 at 4:10 pm

    but there comes a point when the 15% rule doesn’t make any sense. It isn’t any harder for a server to bring me a steak from Applebees that costs $12 as it is to bring me a steak from Ruth’s Chris that costs $85.

    You’ve got to put up with the rich pricks that are buying the $85 steaks. Those people are going to be a lot more demanding and expect the person serving them to be a top-notch personality and good server. People buying a $12 steak generally don’t care all that much if they get exceptional service. You’re not just bringing a plate to someone. There’s a difference between good or decent servers and exceptional ones.

    It’s kinda like the difference between selling $100k homes and $1mil ones. Or a used $20k car vs a new Bentley. Yeah, you’re doing the same thing but your client expects better service and won’t put up with any mistakes when they’re paying 10x as much.

  18. Costner, I am staying out of the argument. But I will say this. Tipping saves you money (think about it) and it (should) yield better service.

  19. redhatterb on November 9, 2010 at 8:05 pm said:

    I have an adult developmentally disabled daughter living with me and when she joins her case manager and friends to go out to eat, I always makes sure she has a couple dollar bills for a tip. The most she usually spends for a meal and pop is $10.00-$12.00. The first time she went out with this group, I emailed her case manager and told her that I had made sure she had money to leave a tip. The case manager said she had never thought of telling the girls that they should leave a tip, and I thought this is a woman with a college education and about 30 years old, she should have known better. lol

  20. Costner on November 10, 2010 at 7:18 am said:

    DL: Tipping saves you money (think about it)

    I’ve thought about it… but can’t figure out how. I guess I’m missing something. The only thing I can think of is the fact that if the employer was required to pay their servers a decent hourly wage then obviously my meal would go up, and because their income is taxed (whereas “some” tips go unreported) it is possible the end result would be me having to pay a few percent more for my meal.

    Then again, it would be worth it just so I didn’t have to deal with the whole tip debacle.

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