"Stiffed? I GOT STIFFED!" (Nevermind the Steem-pocalypse, here's "Guy's Waiter Blog" Chapter 4!)

in #food4 years ago (edited)

"Stiffed" means that last night, I had a group of three people - guests from "across the pond" - who wrote in "$0" on their debit card voucher as my tip, on an over $200 tab.

While most restaurant servers react like ...

I'm old and jaded these days and almost don't care ... maybe "repeatedly traumatized to the point of near-invulnerability" would be more accurate to say.

Anyways, one of my ground rules for this blog is that I'm NOT here to complain about my guests or my tips... right?

I want you to know that I'm keeping that commitment. 

If this were about complaining, I would title this something more like "WHY EUROPEANS  SUCK!!!" - then every (American) restaurant person would chime in, to agree with me. However, that would make this blog (and myself) as lame as the many other restaurant rant blogs and ranters already out there. 

Not to mention, if that were my overall style, my readership would seriously diminish - fast. I mean, you  don't click these things because you want to hear me complain about my life, do you?

I thought not.

No, this isn't about complaining, my work now about teaching - bringing awareness. What I'm actually wanting to share with you is the admission that I KNOW EXACTLY WHY this group stiffed me (at least I'm pretty sure I do). Yup, based upon my many years in this business, I know the exact mistake I made and why it's kinda my own damn fault.

Didn't expect me to say that, huh?

Also, just for informational value to those who don't know these things  (i.e., you've never worked in a restaurant) I'll also share why this error not only cost me the $30-$40 tip I might have hoped for (as in "surplus") - but did you know that in our world, when a server gets stiffed, it truly costs us money (as in "deficit")? 

Yep, because this table that stiffed me last night, I "owed" the restaurant about $11 out of my own pocket, which was deducted from my other tips from the shift.

Seriously - rather than profiting, I quite literally paid $11 for "the pleasure" of waiting on them.

Which means all-told (potential tip income plus out-of-pocket expenses) what I'm going to be sharing with you is about a $50 lesson for me, that I apparently had to re-learn again ...

And I'll be sharing this with you, for free, in the next episode of  Guy's Waiter Blog. 

So, if finding out what I *know* my crucial mistake was (and how if you're also a server and you don't know what NEVER to do when waiting on Europeans, and that might interest you) -OR- if you're  not a server but are just curious as to how waiting on people LITERALLY costs servers money sometimes.. then stick around.

These have been kinda long lately, so I'm giving you a break. 

That, and I've got stuff to do.

But maybe now's the time to "follow" me so you don't miss out on this  one.

I'm just sayin.. Isn't it about time you committed to this relationship?

IMAGE Source

Follow yer boy to see how this series goes!

You can read this in the meantime if you like - IMAGE source: http://perezhilton.com/2015-11-11-newlywed-waitress-gets-offensive-tip-saying-get-your-own-husband-open-letter-rant-reaction#.V9e8Z00rLIV

More later,

Guy's Work Blog : Chapter 4 "Stiffed? I GOT STIFFED???"

Stories about restaurant life, from my current & past  waiter/bartender jobs. WHAT THIS ISN'T: I'm not here to complain about  my guests, job, co-workers or tips. I'm not mentioning names, except  positively. I have around 25 years "in the biz," some fun stories to tell, and at times some pretty unique life lessons to impart.  Hopefully, I'm both informing and entertaining you as I go.

Steemers! UPVOTE & FOLLOW! I'm getting too old to wait tables forever, capish?
Not on Steemit? That's okay, "we serve your kind" HERE (FaceBook) -
OR- get all 50+ Chapters via DAILY EMAILS : Contact [email protected] 

Ch 1  Ch 2  Ch 3  Most Popular to Date: Things Waiters & Waitresses Say, but Shouldn't


Back in the day I used to eat three meals a day in restaurants.

If I ever ran across a server with that kind of attitude I'd never come back.

What type of attitude do you mean? Are you referring to my words in the comment, my words in the article, the gif...? Elucidate please.
And btw, my attitude is best described in the blurb at bottom of the article. I'm quite cheerful, earn many "regulars" and call parties over the years, and no matter how i personally "feel" about a guest/customer and/or their tipping habits, I am a professional and do my job no matter what. Regardless of what hits my bank account or not, I have to sleep at night, live with myself, etc.
PS - most servers will reply "good riddance" to anyone who threatens or claims they'll never come back. It's probably best overall mutually when that happens. I've said it myself tho.

I never threaten anyone, in fact I don't say a thing. I just never show up again.

Doh I was typing the beow when you posted this response. I'd encourage you to speak to management if you have a problem before making that decision. Bad servers with attitudes are bad for business, and those who emply them want to know. Most business owners will claim that have a right to good food and service in their establishment. If you like the food, don't let the attitude or service levels of one bad apple run you off without informing management - just ask for a different server when you return, and tip them well for good service! We love and live off of our "regulars" and "call parties" in many cases. Peace!

Like I said. I ate at restaurants every meal of the day for months at a time for twenty five years. I learn from experience. There are plenty of other restaurants to go to rather than waste time getting into an argument with a manager. (been there done that, got the scar). Not worth the trouble.

I'll be leaving for most of the day soon. You replied to the article, not my comment, so it was worth asking you to clarify. I will state however that my personal attitude here is that I "serve" my guests/customers with excellence because it's my job, i am not there to "educate" them. I serve my readers by educating them however, big difference. Readers are free to upvote, like, follow, disagree, or never come back to my blog, but I can't take that attitude into my work because it's not my business to run people off from, and I am there to help ensure (not Insure, haha) that customers come back.
Any appearance of attitude others may think I have is born from confidence of knowing I've examined all the arguments and angles for many, many years, and let's look at the numbers also...
You ate out 3 times a day for how many years? times roughly 3 servers per day then I'll assume...
Being very conservative, I've waited on 10 people per day (more like 20, sometimes 50) 5 shifts per week (aso conservative) for over 25 years....
So, 10 x 5 equals 50 per week x 50 weeks equals 2500 people x 25 years = 62,500 people I've waited on, at absolute rock bottom minimum numbers. (20 people times 6 shifts is probably way more accurate tho, for 150,000 people). I'm willing to see your number and experience on this topic of course, but I'm also betting that the weight of experience gives me the edge over 99% of society to have an educated opinion, on this one matter in al the universe anyways. I'm not near as confident in my opinions about other topics.
For what it's worth tho, management at almost every restaurant job I've ever had chooses to make me a "trainer" by the way, so please take that into consideration as well. I have a great attitude most of the time, and do a great job most of the time. And get repeat customers as well most of the tme.
Those willing to learn from my experience are free to follow is my offer. I'm funny much of the time too, at work and in my writing style. So I'm told.
Like the blurb says "informing and entertaining as I go..." Hope you'll stick around.

The term TIPS means To Insure Proper Service.

Being from Austrlaia offering any sort of extra tip was until very recently the highest form of insult. It was strictly never done and when done provoked an angry response.

The idea is the employee will do their job well and their is not need to bribe for additional customer care. In America TIPS works in just cultural ways. The Boss gets to pay his people less than minimum wages. This means the employee must ensure by good service that the customer makes up the extra money as TIPS to try and reach a living wage.

This caters to the owner since he is not paying a lot of money to staff who are not serving tables when those tables are empty. Plus he gets to ensure his staff are being monitored while they do their jobs. Simply he is paying 50% of the staff wages and the customer is supervising the server to ensure they are doing a good job.

In Australia and other countries this plague of TIPPING is starting to spread with TIPS jars being left on counter-tops. Simply this is the height of begging and should be outlawed but it is not.

However overseas people probably have no idea how important TIPS are to AMERICAN SERVERS for the reasons outlined above. If those Europeans were just visiting they are possibly clueless, if they have traveled on the mainland before then they are scum . . .

TIPPING is a bad idea culturally but it caters to American egos so locally it is understood, but like many cultural practices it should not be exported unless America is trying to further lower its image even more on the world stage.

With the economic downturn many areas of America simply refused to follow TIPS rules locally. Thus managers lost many good servers, in response some places automatically add 15 % or 18 % into the mandatory food bill.

Thus customers can then elect to pay even more TIPS when they attend to their check.

The reason many local areas declined was in the modern age of The Great Depression, the follow-on from the 2007-2009 Economic Recession people simply could no longer afford to " give " extra money away. Even if this was not truly a gift but what servers relied upon to pay their own bills . . .

Well said mostly, and I'm glad you actually understand the difference in America that most do not. I hope that you and other readers will understand and appreciate that aside from over 25 years as a server/bartender, I also have over 50 blog posts to share here, and have had all of these types of discussion many times over. I will treat the topic very fairly from both perspectives. And much to the surprise of many past readers, it turns out that I am always right, haha! No "customer" has the equivalent of a PhD in this topic like I do ;) but everyone's entitled to their opinions. I'm going to make sure that more people have an honestly educated opinion is all.
I'll note two things about your excellent and very fair initial response (which I've already detailed elsewhere, and will also eventually share here, on Steemit - please keep in mind that this is ALL from an as-yet unpublished book, btw). Snopes, Wikipedia, and many other sources will tell you that "TIP" or "TIPS" stands for anything is a complete misnomer - see http://www.chowhound.com/post/tips-insure-proper-prompt-service-552584 - as just one example. The supposed anacronymn post-dates the entymology of the word, a documented fact. Just google TIPS misnomer for example. (The anacronymn's actual origin is probably some cheap but creative arsehole looking for an excuse not to tip.) If this anacromymn story were true however, the word would be TEP or TEPS, because the word that would actually go there is Ensure btw, not Insure - also detailed in the link I shared.
Secondly, my emploter does not pay 50% of my salary - that's very laughable to everyone in this industry (in America). I will also be sharing here photos and scans of my honest-to-God paychecks - they are all ZERO. In America, if you don't tip a server, they/we pay the restaurant real money out of our pockets to pay the bussers, hosts, bartenders, etc the hourly wages that the restaurant does not. I will also document this fo ryou. I'm not complaining and don't want to hear the tired old "if you don't like it get another job" routine (I know you won't say that @crok I'm saying it pre-emptively) but I an going to make people aware that this really is how it works, so that they can make a better informed decsion about their tipping, moving forward. Thanks for the great comment!

The term TIPS comes from two World War Two veterans who authenticate that is around the time the term come into popular usage, with people transiting from away their local areas.

My local servers in Florida make US$ 4.50/hr with the extra coming from their table tips. Since I do a few cruises people began not tipping the ship staff so most cruises today build in the tips as per the package price.

Another modern factor is that people are expected to pay their tips upon boarding prior to receiving the staff services : )

I only mention these tiny things as additional knowledge for yourself as you publish your books. I myself self publish my Ebooks and pay nothing and receive 70% only upon payment.

Lastly I had an internet friend who was a server in Western Canada, he was in fact quite wealthy from his job, it seems (according to him) servers /waiters are paid extremely well since service staff is almost impossible to attract into the industry.

He would say he made enough from serving to even afford his own solo apartment whereas his friends with better sounding jobs cold never afford their own places...

Just some more info : )

Awesome info - Have I been misled by my multiple sources? Can you offer any documentation of the WW2 story? Adam here puts the custom of tipping back to 1920's prohibition era, for instance...

Weird it deleted by text. Are my multiple sources wrong then? IE, can you give me a source on the WW2 story for instance? Adam here puts the custom of tipping in America beginning in the 1920's Prohibition era, for instance.

Ah no I just offer my lowly opinion since your the one completing your service industry doctorate I was just offering one tiny opinion was all simply as info; cannot prove it . . .

In response to @crok because we've exceeded the comments it turned out:

Well thanks and please, offer anytime (I already know you will). I'm still open to learning. But sources tend to go over better when going for a doctorate than urban legends, haha! Reliable surces and tons of experience are what I bring to this writing project, and why I can say I'm always right - but still open to being shown I'm wrong on any points. My opinion is indded educated however, as I detailed in another comment thread.
This is just the beginning of me posting over 50 entries today's readers/commenters haven't seen. Follow yer boy for more! Or don't.
PS - Yes I'm referring to "in America" for my purposes ere, altho I've written an engaged with global audiences on this already. Hmmm, I'll check out those sources more indepth later, I would not expect the British of the centuries past to be so loose about the improper use of Insure/Ensure, and it does say "speculated" and does not show the bowls or a link to the source. But the article is indeed newer than when I was researching and writing more avidly a few years ago. Thanks again, gotta go - have a test for food service handlers certification to go ace ;)

I did love your video !!! and steemon ; Rep @ 55 now , congrats : )