Tuesday, April 5, 2011
"TIP" MEANS "TO INSURE PROMPTNESS"
Today is the first time in my life I did not leave a tip for a waitperson. I have always had great sympathy for folks in those roles. While lunching with three of my Water Aerobics classmates, our waitperson was wearing a tag which read "Ten Years Service". I ordered a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich with a fried egg on it and an order of fried mush. I also said that I wanted a take-home order of fried mush. One of my classmates ordered chicken salad and asked for banana bread as a side dish, which was an option; another ordered biscuits and gravy and the other ordered an omelet. Some rather simple orders, one would think.
When the waitperson brought the orders, a plate of mush was handed to another woman and a plate toward me. The other woman said that she'd ordered an omelet. I said that I had an order of mush and also one "to go". The waitperson took the plate back and said, "I'll have to have them re-fry another." The classmate who had ordered the chicken salad told the waitperson that she had asked for banana bread but had received rolls. The waitperson left and I noticed that I had no egg on my sandwich. I asked my table-mates, "Did you hear me order an egg?"; they all agreed that I had. As the waitperson came by my classmate who was sitting on the outside, said, "She didn't get her egg." The answer: "She didn't order an egg." I answered, with clenched teeth, "I just asked these ladies if they heard me order an egg and they all agreed." I was told, "I'll have to go back and order it." Another classmate said, "I ordered the banana bread and I got rolls."
We waited for quite some time and we noticed the hostess seating other customers; we asked for her assistance as we still had not received the banana bread or the egg. Two of the ladies mentioned they would like drink refills. One received Diet instead of regular and the iced tea was sloshed on the table and the waitperson didn't offer to clean it up!
The others were finished eating and still no egg for me! The waitperson finally returned with our bills and my classmate, who is 89 years old, said, "She still doesn't have her egg." The waitperson asked, "What do you expect me to do--go fry it?" How dare she speak to an elderly person in that caustic manner. I know that I can be a smart-aleck and I answered, "No, I expect you to go and get it from the chicken and I'll go back there and fry it!" The waitperson stomped away.
When the waitperson returned, very apologetic and explained that they were very busy. Nobody responded. All eyes turned to me because they know that I am a generous tipper. I said, "I'm not leaving a tip."
When we went to pay, the Assistant Manager was helping at the cash register. The 89-year-old paid her bill and said nothing, but the 86-year old told how our friend had been insulted. The Assistant Manager asked if we wanted to call the waitperson there to answer. I said, "Now, wouldn't that be ludicrous--so other customers could be ignored as we were?" The third person added other details. It was then my turn to pay and I told the Assistant Manager that this was the first time in my life that I did not leave a tip and that I probably would not return.
The Assistant Manager did not respond in what I thought was an appropriate manner--I thought that she would at least "comp" the meal of the 89-year old--but no offer was made. I left, uttering, "NOW I know I won't be back!" The Assistant Manager started to come away from the register toward me and I said, "Just stay right THERE, Missy!"