Wednesday, May 30

An uncomfortable family dinner

My stepdad reviewed his credit card slip as my mom and I chatted, ending a pleasant dinner out.

"Well, what did you think of the service?" He asked us.

I was torn between pretending not to hear and demanding why the hell he was asking us. I ended up just staring at him.

"What?" My mom asked.

My stepdad repeated his question.

"I thought it was great," I offered in a voice tinged with anger. My parents always criticize the wait staff, no matter where we go. They once bitched in the car after a dinner at a four star restaurant because somebody cleared the dessert plate before a strawberry had been gnawed to the stem.

My mom, surprisingly, backed me up. Stepdad, however, looked unconvinced; he needed elaboration. "She didn't come over and bother us too much," I reasoned, wondering if he thought she had been too absent. (He also hates it when waiters are too overbearing. Go figure.)

"Yeah and she was really accommodating about TAB's substitutions," Mom reminded him.

He didn't look satisfied, but he did look away. I sneaked a peek as he tipped her nearly 20% and then raised an eyebrow at my mom, who shrugged. Why do people need everyone else's advice about tipping when they're the ones paying? Does it make them feel better to tip poorly just because other people at the table agree with you?

I remember once when my parents came to the restaurant I worked at and tipped me less than 15%. Since then, I have never raised a word against a waiter in their presence.

15 comments:

The Very Reverend Ace Clemmons, Jr. said...

Tips occasionally do not come in monetary fashon. Im sure if the waiter was male, you, a short skirt, decent lighting, and the crafty gymastics of a suave commando girl is worth ....what ....at least 10% right?

;)

(i can go on and on with this)

the very.

(PPS: your missing some fantastic weather in NYC)

Beatrix Kiddo said...

I've never been in the food service business, but I usually tip 20% because it's easier to calculate. I'm lazy, so the waitstaff has to be pretty awful for me to make the effort and tip 15%.

Sipwine said...

Most of the time I'm with Beatrix.
20% is just an easy estimate.
The only time I don't do that is if at some point I think "Where the HELL is our waiter?" meaning that they haven't been to our table in a very long time.
Then it goes down 5% every time I think that statement.

Circe said...

I usually do 20% too unless the service was just godawful.

Strange Bird said...

I agree. 10% is easiest but totally chincy, so I just double it. 15% takes too much concentration, and if I were good at math I'd be going to med school instead. ;)

Dropout! said...

If you were my daughter, I would've tipped you nothing, because every time I looked at you I would be filled with regret and I would want to make you hate life as much I hated you.

Heart!

BlueLoverGirl said...

Whatthe??? They tipped you less than 15%? Whatthe???? My mom is cheap too. I hate it. It's way embarassing when I go out with her. Parents. Ugh.

Scotty said...

I never get people who are paying, and ask how much they should tip. Or, even better... you are paying, and someone asks how much you tipped.

kittenpower said...

I always give the waiter a fighting chance and start them at 15%. If they suck, it goes down. If they are fine, it stays the same. If they are great it goes up.

That's kinda funny that your own parents stiffed you though...!

The Ambiguous Blob said...

cheapskates are totally lame. 20% tipping is standard in these parts for good service.
I will not tip 20% for shitty service. But only if it's real shitty.

Miss Devylish said...

My mom and dad were always 10 percenters, if that.. as I got older, I made sure I had cash to add to it right before we left. I think it's depression era thinking. Or children of the depression era thinking parents.. something like that. And most often, I tip 20% too. Has to be really rude and horrid service to tip less than that. I don't know how other people would come into where I waited tables when I did that, w/ a group of 5 or 6, generate a tab of $75 and leave $5. I have no idea why they'd even bother. I admire people who can still do that. I had to get out of there.

londongirl said...

This american tipping thing seems very complicated to us Brits!

pink jellybaby said...

it's stressfull when people start to do that.. and all you can think is 'my god get a grip!!'

but then i complain about a lot of other little things...

Princess Extraordinaire said...

I remember waiting tables and it was sometimes awful...esp when the Euros came in and they thought grtuity was included...hence nada

Sunshine McThunderkitty said...

we don't have the whole obligatory tipping thing here in Australia thank god...I have a hard enough time remembering which eating utensil is used for what, let alone what's polite to tip (percentages? - AHHH!)