Saturday, January 19, 2008

Faux Pas

I had a very strange experience at a restaurant the other night. Every Thursday, the graduate students in my program host a reading at a local bar/restaurant. We get the whole basement, which we typically fill up with eager drinkers and eaters, and read poetry, nonfiction, or fiction for an hour and a half. The wait staff hates us.

They are usually big butt-wads, infrequently taking orders, making us run credit cards immediately for even $2 beers. For example, when I read, Corey ordered a beer when he first arrived and thought he might have 2 more over the course of the evening. The waitress never came back after she delivered beer 1 and took his money. He was so thirsty he sucked ice cubes from someone else's drink. I can only suspect they get stiffed sometimes and feel angry about that.

This past week, I ordered a beer and a bowl of chicken chili. My check, handed to me immediately, was $6. My friend at the table ordered fries and I think a club soda. Her bill was also around $6. Each of us handed our waiter a ten dollar bill and he scampered off, presumably to get change. But he never came back. For an hour, I scanned the basement, not even paying attention to the readers. Where was our change?

I finally asked a waitress what to do and she said she would round him up and send him over. He walked up to us, looking incredulous, and said, "Oh. Did you guys want change for those checks?"

Now I have never been a server. I don't have it in me. Many of my good friends have, though. I usually tip pretty well. I was planning to leave him a nice tip. Not $4, though. Not for a $6 check. I later found out it was his first day as a waiter. But I still felt upset with him. As a person who has never been a waitress, I know things like always, always bring change or at least say, "How much change would you like?"

I was aghast, for lack of a better emotion. Had I known it was his first day to start with, I probably would have given him the whole ten-spot. But I just couldn't get past this boy's pluck. Who assumes a 66.67% tip? My friend and I growled and left him a five between us. I felt like just saying, "Oh. Did you want a tip for that service?"

1 comment:

Snacky D said...

So did he give you your change in the end? I would have kept all $4 at that point. Even if it was his first day on the job...