Tuesday, July 20, 2010
To tip or not to tip?!?!?
A bunch of us had gone to this Bistro over the weekend for dinner.
Friends were meeting friends, strangers were getting acquainted, relationships were being established! So it suffices to say that the ambiance and service needed to be impeccable enough for us not to worry too much about it right? Wrong!!
Here is what went wrong..
1. For starters, 8 of us (including a sweet little kid) were squeezed into a table that could only seat 5 comfortably.
2. We were left unattended for 30 minutes. So it was like we all met at the park and had forgotten to bring food to eat.
3. Service between meals -"sir would you like another round of what you're already having?" simple right? We weren't asked!
4. Change of waiters - one guy's shift ended in between waiting at our table, so another one came along and said the same thing 4 times to us - but never acted upon it.
He goes.." So I will be cleaning out the small plates and bringing in the dinner plates for you guys"
Ok...15 minutes go by and nothing!
The list goes on... but this fiasco triggered a very "touche' discussion at our table for a brief moment. I would kinda like to hover around that for a bit.
"All about tipping" How did this practice start? Is it legal? Is it frowned upon? Its kinda become a necessary evil of sorts.. if you don't tip, you are bound to get some "loogie"(YUCK!) in your food...
Yep all of the above is true. It has kinda become this necessary evil that we are forced to follow.
Many of us have fallen easy prey to this. I mean come on, do we have a choice? If we really like a place, we are going to go there and eat more than once. So why spoil things? We are spending so much on food.. Just a couple of more bucks - what is the big deal?
These are unanimous thoughts. These run within me too. But there is this other side of me..with some interesting and quite debatable thoughts too...
So here goes.. My take on this tip thingie...
1. Tipping originated in a very different form and has today come to mean something totally different.
TIP or To Insure Promptitude, can be thought of having a glass jar at the payment counter, where people can voluntarily drop in money in appreciation of the services rendered!
2. It is often closely linked with "gratuity" - a VOLUNTARY additional payment made for services rendered.
The word "Voluntary" has changed form and I guess we should inform webster or get a new meaning for gratuity - " a MANDATORY additional payment made for services rendered - whether the latter is good or bad"
3. Every time I visit a restaurant, I cant help but notice the body language and comfort zone of people waiting our table for that day. I have seen it all over the past couple of years - "Pleasant", "racist"," for the heck of it","couldnt care less", "genuinely passionate", "friendly". "just for the extra tip" and so on.
And for each of these types, our tip has always followed the limits and protocol...
SIGH!!! but why??!!! I asked once?
Why should I be forced to tip some A-hole who has done nothing special - but just his job, couldn't care less to find out if our glasses required a refill? or if we were enjoying our meal?
Why should I be forced to give extra moolah to the guy who threw racist sparks all over our table? All he did was to write down what we wanted to eat, go to the kitchen and bring it back to us! If at all anything, I should be tipping the cook for cooking such a fabulous meal and not the arrogant screwed up waiter right? Wrong!!!
But this voice unfortunately is a minority - I cannot beat em so I am forced to join em with a grudge..:(
Will there ever come a day when I can actually act on my thoughts and not tip for awful service? Will I be frowned upon? Will I get the loogie pasta primavera?
How else can we tell the waiter what an atrocious job he/she is doing? ( I tried giving feedback once, it doesnt work guys.. they dont seem to take it well or worse.. they just nod their head as though they are attending a lecture and saunter away to cater to the next table of guests!!
So as for our evening out with our friends, while we had a blast meeting up with people and truly cherishing good times, a even better thing happened like god send.
We advised the waiter to include the tip in the bill - and somehow something - some miracle waiting to make my wish and desire come true happened... the waiter (obviously) dint follow our orders and handed over the bill without including any tip!
Us folks - in the rush of leaving as it had become late assumed that the bill included the tip, signed it just like that and walked out!