If you’ve ever been a server at any kind of restaurant, I’m positive you can relate.
You know the exact situation I’m talking about. A family of two walks in and sits at one of your tables.
A middle-aged woman with flawlessly curled hair and make-up caked on her face to cover up her wrinkles. Her husband, straight-faced and serious, looks as if he has never heard a funny joke in his life.
You approach the table to introduce yourself and welcome them to the small town bar and grill. You put their drink napkins down and ask how their day is going. They respond with one word and no eye-contact. You continue to smile and speak in a cheerful tone because, well, you’re working for a tip, and you hope you can help make their day better.
You take their drink order, which consists of a bottled Bud Light and an ice tea. You gather their drinks and bring them back to the table. Once you set down the drinks, you are quickly surprised by the outspoken middle-aged woman, who is already complaining.
Her eyes beam a cold stare, while her tone—sharp and condescending—only insults you, as if you have purposely ruined her day.
The hostess gave her a menu without the salad page in it. Suddenly, that’s your fault because the hostess made a simple and unintentional mistake that is easy to fix.
You listen to her go off about how she deserves the whole menu and she isn’t paying to be cheated out of options. You politely apologize and bring her a new menu.
A few minutes later, you go back to the table to get their food order. Sure enough, the middle-aged woman orders a salad.
Once their food arrives and all of it is nearly consumed, you visit the table again to ask if they need take-home boxes or dessert.
Unfortunately, this is the point you realize nothing is going to make this couple happy. The middle-aged woman, now complaining about anything she can, is again insulting you because the bowl her salad came in was cracked on the bottom.
She begins yelling at you because it’s your fault the cooks put her food in a cracked dish, and there could have been glass in her salad and she could have died. She should sue this whole restaurant and you for being so horrible.
After apologizing profusely, you continue to be respectful and polite, never allowing yourself to become short-tempered or blasé.
Once the couple leaves, you see $2 left on the table for your tip from the $30 bill.
This has happened to me and many others, and something I just can’t seem to grasp is how rude people can be to their servers, especially when the only negative experiences to happen are things out of a server’s control.
Considering the tip you leave is the bulk of the money they see, chances are they’ll be working hard for it.
And if something happens that is out of their control, don’t take it out on them.
Another thing I’ve seen as a server is when there are big deals or discounts going on, it’s like people forget the idea of tipping.
It’s power-hour and drinks are 25 cents. You order eight drinks for you and your friends, which puts your bill at two bucks. Because your bill is so low, that means you don’t have to tip, right?
When there are discounts or deals going on, that’s the most important time to tip well.
In situations such as this, the amount of a server’s/bartender’s tip should not be determined by the bill amount, but the amount of work they did for you.
I can understand leaving a low tip if the server was rude, forgetful or short-tempered. However, most people need to remember servers are human, too.