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Service, Please

One of my more arrogant acquaintances deigned to make a post today about how people treat those they see as beneath them. It was very ironic, because she sees everyone as beneath her, except if she wants something from you, then she'll suck up.

I, thank the gods, have never waited tables, cleaned hotel rooms, or other janitorial. I've had friends and family who have, and I have a lot of sympathy for them. I've done door greeter, and customer service on the phone and in person all too often. I never got "tips" - the jobs never were the type that got tips, just the bitching and the "customer sat" surveys that meant that any petty thing they said was used against you at raise time.

She is the type of customer/client that made you want to go home and get drunk at night - a know-nothing who was certain that she was THE Expert in Everything Worth Knowing™.

One thing I don't have sympathy for is cooks and waiters who lie to me about ingredients, or who add things that don't belong. If I order hot cereal, I want it plain, not with margarine (which I can't eat) dropped into it, or butter, which I shouldn't eat, for that matter. That, and sweeteners, raisins, and nowadays even salt go on the side. But don't serve me unsalted hot cereal with an unknown yellow blob in it. I will bitch, and you get to carry my complaints to the cook. Also, don't EVER tell me that margarine is butter. It isn't - as in one puts me in the restroom for half an hour or more with nasty diarrhea, and one just send me to the john with a mild case of the runs. The difference is noticeable and painful.

My partner has even more severe dietary restrictions - violating them can mean an ER run. Believe it nor not, we do not come up with these for the purpose of abusing wait staff, contrary to what various healthy snot noses think. By the time we are actually served, we are tired, hungry, and frustrated at our limited or non-existent choices at the place our inconsiderate friends have chose to have a meal. It really is not an unreasonable request to want to know the calorie and fat content of a meal in something other than Weight Watchers "points" - WW is a proprietary system, calories and grams are not. Labeling something "healthy" doesn't make it so for every physiology. Give us data, let us chose, thank you.

We have been known to tip very well at one hotel restaurant, one where many others complain of poor service, because the staff there know us, we know them, and they know and try to accommodate our needs. They try to get the nutrition info as best they can, which keeps my partner our of ER. We have commiserated with them over hours cuts and changes, congratulated people on promotions, and they notice when we aren't around. They pay me the compliment of remembering me, and giving me their best when they have the time.

My snotty pal gets crappy service in there, BTW. Wonder why...

I don't ask for a lot, but I get very picky when I feel you're trying to feed me something that will make me sick, when what I was ordering was something that was supposed to be safe. It feels like an attack. If you want a good tip from me, don't attack me. I'll forgive cold food, long waits, and even needing to clear my own table before I'll mellow out on that. The ones I'll forgive are most often the ones you can't really control due to staffing shortages, but lying about what you're serving me? No dice.

"If you want to see the true measure of a man, watch how he treats his inferiors, not his equals." – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling

There's another thing here too - I don't consider wait staff, housekeeping, maids or clerks my "inferiors". Not when my friends, my real life peers, have done or still do these jobs. Datapard has horror stories about the hotel housekeeping biz, waitress stories for days, and cabby stories too. In many cases, they do stuff I physically can't do any more, or am psychologically unsuited for (I know I haven't got the patience.) Believe me, I have got to respect that, and I take the view that "the workman is worthy of his/her hire", and tip accordingly. Inferior? No! Crazy to do it? Perhaps!

So, once again, Madame Snot condescends, and gets it wrong.


tl;dr bonus: Bird's Tip Calc

If you live in California, the sales tax is about 9% +/- 0.5% If you take the sales tax and double it, then round down to the nearest $0.5 for average service, up to the nearest $0.5 for good service, but only do a single multiple rounded up for mediocre service, you'll probably be about right or ahead of the curve.

Before someone gets in a randian libertarian rant about tips, realize that in California, people in tip making jobs are taxed on their estimated tips whether they actually earned them or not, plus their employers are allowed to pay them less salary because of it. Regardless of whether you approve of the practice, it has been going on since before I was born, and stiffing the nice person who brought you breakfast is not going to change it. It just hurts their feelings, their income, and their taxes - you essentially become an agent of government oppression. Tip your waiters - it lets you decide more directly what their pay will be.



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 28th, 2010 03:21 pm (UTC)
And why is it that those of us who don't make all that much or live check-to-check tend to tip very well, even for average service, than those who are making bank and can afford it?
Those people tend to be the ones who complain the most also.
Go figure.

Jul. 28th, 2010 04:35 pm (UTC)
Treating service people well is usually related to seeing them as people. Tipping well happens for a few reasons - it can be seeing them as people + knowing how the pay system works in the US for wait staff or sometimes it's for the tipper's ego or conscience or trying to impress. It's quite a mixed bag.

But back to the root of seeing service staff as people. You are much more likely to do so if you, or people close to you, do or have done or likely will do such jobs.
Aug. 13th, 2010 04:25 pm (UTC)
Nah. It's simpler than that.

A lot of rich people are rich because they're cheap.

(I would like to mention in passing that this category does NOT include Larry Niven. Generous with his authors. Good tipper in restaurants. Nice guy. Has so much money he once told me he was tired of eating sushi.)
Jul. 28th, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC)
'I don't consider wait staff, housekeeping, maids or clerks my "inferiors".'

You're not British.
Aug. 11th, 2010 03:53 am (UTC)
But I am, and I don't see people who bring me stuff or clean stuff for me as my inferiors. In fact I do one of those jobs. Not all of us Brits are snobs :-)

Aug. 11th, 2010 08:48 pm (UTC)
You mean, you don't look down on those silly useless aristocrats who can't even clean up after themselves?

I couldn't resist, I'm sorry.
Aug. 13th, 2010 04:45 am (UTC)
It's not their fault they're from Norman families.

Aug. 13th, 2010 04:15 pm (UTC)
I confess I don't know about the details.

My family hasn't had much to do with England since de Valera freed the slaves. :\
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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