The Ugly Table #53


I gave you and your husband great service, and how couldn’t I? You were the first and ONLY table in the restaurant.

The kitchen, myself, other servers and the FOH manager had your full attention. Heck I even made your salads myself.

You told me our pasta was ‘really, really good’ (because two ‘Really’s’ are better then one)

When I brought the check you asked where the line was to leave gratuity on the CC receipt, I showed your husband as he grumbled something (this should have been my first clue – obviously you were trying to give him a subtle hint to actually leave a tip for once, something I assume you have issues with – as do I).

As you walked out the door I proceeded to grab the payment book to find no receipt in it

(this is not uncommon, people accidentally take the slip even after signing it – I have had to chase down three cars in the past week, ALL have had tips on them).

As I proceeded towards your vehicle (the only one in the parking lot) your husband tries to drive away until I wave my arms.

You roll down the window and ask what is up? I said, “I need a signed CC receipt.” (as I show you the empty payment book) “It’s not there? I must have forgotten to leave it”, she replies. You hand me the signed slip with NO gratuity written on it (I guess that is why you ‘FORGOT’ and were in such a hurry to scurry away in your brand new, Ford F-150 Super Duty Crew Cab – Git R’ Done!).

To each their own. Fuck you, I got mine. Etc. Etc.

Then you have the nerve (or the stupidity) to thank me for my service. (I’m sure the look on my face was priceless – can you say ‘Fuck You’ with your eyes? I’m sure I did.)

You couldn’t have just slipped a couple bucks under your plate when your domineering husband wasn’t looking?

Or doesn’t he allow you to carry money? Or allow you to have your own opinion? Jane, this is 2011, not 1911.

You seemed like a nice young lady – but you and your husband have some issues to work out when it comes to money (would have loved to hear that convo after I walked away from your vehicle). I feel sorry for you, not just for being married to a cheap ass, but a cheap ass who feels he has to supplement certain misgivings with big trucks. It probably cost $5 to just start that monstrosity – ironically an appropriate tip for my service.

S. L. Ehrisman (c) 9/12/11



#1 Helga on 09.13.11 at 2:23 am

Must be teabaggers.

#2 Scott on 09.13.11 at 6:55 am

Best UT story yet!

#3 l3wis on 09.13.11 at 7:59 am

I didn’t even bother to check the license plate, but I’m sure they came from some podunk town. He also had a very nice stainless steel trailer he was pulling. During the meal he was making drawlings of a kitchen layout. I am assuming they came to ‘the big city’ to pick up materials to remodel their kitchen, which is a good thing, because people like this should really stay home to eat.

#4 GregN on 09.13.11 at 11:21 am

Whenever I go somewhere/do something that customarily involves tipping – whether it be to Great Clips to get my hair cut, out to eat at a restaurant, order a pizza and have it delivered I always make it a big point to be excessive in my tipping. I’m doing quite well first of all, but I always try to remember that many of the people serving me might be poor college students, someone working a second job to pay off debt, a single parent trying to make ends meet, someone trying to pay their way through college, etc etc. Maybe they don’t have an exceptional life circumstance either, doesn’t really matter. But many are working these jobs to get by, trying to get through school or just pay the bills. I also try to remember that from what I understand at a lot of restaurants the waiters/waitresses/servers are being paid low on the assumption they are getting tips as supplements. With that being said, my typical tip on my 12 dollar haircut is generally 5-8 dollars, my tip on my usual Tuesday dine-in at Buffalo Wild Wings is usually around the same for my 12 dollar order. Same for pizza delivery etc. Sometimes more if the service is totally awesome. Even if the service is pretty blah I’ll do the typical 15-20 percent. I’m not tooting my own horn (I’m hiding behind a handle so you don’t even know who I really am), I’m just hoping others will think about doing the same. I have no idea how big of a difference it makes, but I sometimes hope that when I tip someone $8 on a $12 purchase I might even make their day. Who knows.
Things I’ve always wondered though:
1. When I tip my server, do the other people I don’t see get a cut, or do you get it all? I’m not sure which way I’d like it, but generally I’d like it to go to the person who gave me great service at the table.
2. Do you get clowns who give you a tip where they round up to the nearest dollar, i.e. a 28 cent tip on a $12.72 purchase. I’m assuming you do, and that’s obviously uber-tacky.

In the truck driving guy’s case, I wouldn’t be surprised if they aren’t making $700+ a month payments, with $400+ going to the finance company, which they apparently were OK with, but they can’t spare $5 or whatever for decent service, which is appalling.

If anything those of us ought to remember this is simply a common sense proposition – reward those who do good for you if you expect them to continue doing it for you in the future. I’d find it hard to be excited about going the extra mile if I knew I wouldn’t be rewarded anyway. One other pleasant side effect of my tipping is that I assume, but I can’t prove, that when I walk back in the door of these places they are excited to serve me knowing my track record. I hope you get a really generous one occasionally to offset the cheapskates.

#5 l3wis on 09.13.11 at 2:18 pm

You tip very well, and yes it is appreciated.

“I hope you get a really generous one occasionally to offset the cheapskates.”

That is usually how it works. I try to give everyone the same service, I don’t care what they look like. Sometimes you won’t get shit, but on occasion, it is noticed and you are compensated.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they aren’t making $700+ a month payments”

That was my exact thought when I saw the truck.

How it works is like this. As servers we are essentially PAYING to work at a place, other states are different, but not in SD. Unless you have a generous boss, most servers in SF make $2.13 hour, BUT you have to pay out a 2-3% tipout. I pay a 3% on my sales this is to pay your support staff (who also are making $2.13 an hour, bussers, hosts, bartenders) My tip share is always twice to 3x what I get paid hourly. For example, my average tipshare for a Saturday is $33 I pay that out of my tips. If I worked 10 hours I made about $11 hourly so I paid $22 to work that day. So no, we don’t get to keep all of our tips. I think it is a scam and have often been compelled to look into the legal aspects of it. I don’t have a problem with paying tipshare, but I don’t think it should exceed my hourly.

The best tippers are not rich people, like some think, they are actually pretty average if not bad. The best tippers are Native Americans. I have rarely gotten under a 30% tip from them. Huetterites are the worst, they usually leave 2 bucks or nothing. 20% is a good tip, if you think your server did a really good job, give them more. I rarely give over that amount, I have found service in SF is hit and miss, even at some of my favorite restaurants. I have a simple philosophy, if you get me my cocktail right away and my food is prepared correctly and is good, I am happy. If you lie to me about why my food is fucked up, not good. When in doubt, always ask for management. 9x out of 10 it wasn’t the server’s fault, but it is your job to make it right.

#6 Joan on 09.13.11 at 8:35 pm

Even my adult developmentally disabled daughter and her friends know that they have to tip when they go some place to eat that has sit down service. They don’t tip as well as you do, but they do tip. This is something that their case manager hadn’t taught them. It was the first time that they were going someplace like Applebees or Ruby Tuesday, that I made sure my daughter had some money to leave for a tip. I thin mentioned this to the case manager and she had never thought of that.

#7 Lemming on 09.14.11 at 12:48 am

Interesting read. As a rule we always leave 15%. We do vary from time to time however and will leave 20% for a really good server. We also do 10% if we get a really crappy, disinterested server. What do you guys do at the Asian places/buffets? Like Hu-Hot – cool…you grabbed me a coke before I headed up to the trough…I hate to drop 15% for that

#8 l3wis on 09.14.11 at 6:56 am

Joan – It is nice that you talked to her about this, and believe it or not, I do usually get tips from disabled people, but I guess I don’t really expect it. I figured most of them are on SSI and rarely get to eat out, I have it a lot better off then them. But Greg did hit the nail on the head, most servers I work with are in 3 categories; College students, single mothers and Part-timers (supplementing income). I guess I am a rarity being one of the few full-time servers. I guess I use my freelance business to ‘supplement’ my income.

Lemming – I would agree, I usually only give them $1-2. Those places normally pay an hourly well over minimum. If they don’t, they must have some really naive people working for them. The only place close to that I eat at is coffee shops or Red Rossa. And even at Red Rossa, you gotta get your own soda.

#9 Costner on 09.14.11 at 2:03 pm

DL just so you know… checking license plates doesn’t always work. My current vehicle was purchased before the new “keep your plates” law went into effect and it shows a number other than 1 or 44, so if you didn’t know better you might think I live in one of those podunk towns.

Next time I get plates I going with the organizational plates just to keep people guessing. The old timers just hate that.

#10 Pathloss on 09.14.11 at 4:37 pm

I tip 20% because it’s 10% times 2. If service was inferior, then I tip 10%. Service workers live on tips and it’s hardly enough.

I have combat vet plates. You’d be surprised how many tickets it’s gotten me out of. I had a flat and took it to Graham, no charge. Thank you everyone. In return, I’ll always fight for democracy.

#11 l3wis on 09.15.11 at 7:48 am

You can also get a FREE appetizer where I work if you are a vet or currently serving.