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Carol Perkins: It is not about tipping - but common decency

'Waiters and waitresses have no choice but to treat mean-spirited customers well if they want to keep their jobs. They soon learn the regulars and who is nice and who is not. They learn who tips well and who doesn't no matter how good the service. They look forward to the nice people and dread the rude ones. For every hundred happy customers, there will be one who will find something to snarl about or to snap over. That one is the person who is most remembered.' - CAROL PERKINS
The next earlier Carol Perkins column: Fall Break. Posted October 13, 2013<

By Carol Perkins

I have never been a waitress, but I can imagine how impossible and unrewarding that job can be. Even though many servers make excellent tips, they work hard for them. However, for every person who tips well, there are those who don't tip at all, but this isn't about tipping.

It's about common decency.


A few days ago I was having lunch in another town and noticed that my waitress was dashing from here to there, too busy for any one person. "Are you working this section alone?" I asked. She was.

"We weren't too busy and then all of a sudden we have been swamped." I could see she was in a panic trying to please everyone.

As I was walking down the salad bar line, I heard a lady say to this waitress, "I am just about to get angry." I turned my head toward the anger. "I have been waiting for my tea FAR too long," she continued. TEA? She raised her voice to this young lady over TEA? She was threatening to get angry? Never heard that one.

Mean spirited customer made waitress cry

The poor girl apologized and ran for the pitcher. At the table across from me was a party of six, and I don't know what occurred, but the manager came out to apologize for a problem in the kitchen for which the waitress had endured the wrath.

As we were ending our meal and waiting for the bill, from across the room I could see her wiping her eyes. "She's crying," I said to my friend. "Wonder what happened?"

When she brought our ticket a tear was lodged in her eye, so I couldn't resist. "Did someone do something to you?"

"It's just been a bad day," she said sniffing her nose.

"Well, you needed some help!"

"It's ok. I'll be okay."

I said like she had a choice, "Just smile and keep on truckin'," assuming she had to have this job, as most do.

Servers are professionals, not servers, not subservient

There are those who consider anyone who "serves" them subservient. They feel superior to those who "wait on them." No matter the job, the person doing it should be respected.

Just a few days ago I was in another restaurant with an unhappy customer. Perhaps she was in the right because she had waited a long time for her meal. We came in later and were served before she was. She made an unkind remark to the waitress as if the girl was cooking her meal.

Too often, waitresses get blame when it's not their fault

When the meal was finally brought to her, the toast was cold, "Is it too much to ask for warm toast?" she said. The girl took it back. When she returned, the lady discovered that her bacon was too crisp so she told the waitress she was paying for her tea and leaving. I felt so sorry for the waitress because none of this was her fault.

Waiters and waitresses have no choice but to treat mean-spirited customers well if they want to keep their jobs. They soon learn the regulars and who is nice and who is not. They learn who tips well and who doesn't no matter how good the service. They look forward to the nice people and dread the rude ones. For every hundred happy customers, there will be one who will find something to snarl about or to snap over. That one is the person who is most remembered.

I have never been a waitress, but if I were serving a group of hateful people I would be tempted to stick my finger in their food after scratching my head! - Carol Perkins


This story was posted on 2013-10-13 08:13:19
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