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Archive for the ‘Pet Peeves’ Category

15% Tipper and Proud of It?

Posted by gratrueities on April 1, 2010

Well…that is the impression one gets when scrolling to the bottom of the recent New York Times City Room blog post by David Sax. The disclaimer at the end of the post states that he is a “journalist and the author of “Save the Deli” (Houghton Mifflin), lives in Park Slope and always tips 15 percent.”

Note – Mr. Sax does not claim to tip “at least” 15% – but, rather, “15 percent,” period. Hmmm…is that really what he means to say? If so, that is curious, considering he has written a book on dining (even if it is deli dining) from which he has, in theory, profited! See him in action doing research at right!

That said, the post, titled Hey, Waiter! Just How Much Extra Do You Really Expect? raises some valid points and, despite the title and surly tone, does not truly take an anti-server stance. For instance, Mr. Sax takes issue with the less-than-minimum wages servers are paid. He challenges the gratuitous tip, but supports rewarding a job well done. Not surprisingly, the article incited both the ire and support of many NYT readers and has, to date, generated well over 1200 comments.

Obviously, tipping remains a controversial subject  – who, when, how much and for what? Interestingly, the comments generated from the article did not divide straight down the line between customers and servers. Some of the most intriguing comments are featured in a follow-up piece – Readers Split the Difference on Tipping.

We’re always interested in the many points of view that surround the custom of the tip and these are particularly insightful comments.

Also, it makes us wonder what GraTRUEity might be appropriate for someone such as Mr. Sax: “I always tip 15% no matter what…so read nothing into this tip.”  “Underpaid workers unite!” ?? We’re open to suggestions!

Posted in Etiquette, GraTRUEities, Pet Peeves, Pop Culture, Service, Tipping, Wait Staff | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Valentine’s Day – R U Ready?

Posted by gratrueities on February 13, 2010

Are you one of the ones running around looking frantically for the perfect Valentine’s card and gift? That was me about two hours ago.  First I stopped in my local Papyrus store thinking they would have a great choice of really beautiful (i.e., expensive) cards to select from. And, specifically, I wanted a  music card. You know the ones that play a catchy tune upon opening.

Well, big surprise. Nearly all the cards were gone. The pickings were extremely slim. And, no music cards whatsoever. Note to self: Papyrus does not carry music cards. I finally found a card that was not anywhere near perfect but would, at least, do.

I wasn’t the only one waiting until the very last-minute and the register line was about 10 deep. There were two people “working”; one on the phone and one actually helping customers. Turn’s out one of the registers was not working, on probably one of the busiest days of the year for a card shop.

I ended up leaving without buying the card and heading off to Safeway.  There I finally found a way tackier card, at a way less price and the cash registers actually worked 🙂

Posted in Gifts, Pet Peeves, Service | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Top Ten Lists

Posted by gratrueities on December 10, 2009

This is not only the season for giving…but also the season for reflection.

We make lists of the year’s best – and worst – movies, songs, fashion trends, restaurants and so forth.  So…along those lines, let’s explore service experiences! What were your most memorable of the year – good, bad or just plain weird?

There must be moments that stand out…one way or another. David Letterman does not hold an exclusive on Top Ten lists – please help us create ours here!

*Update 12/10 – Speaking of Top Ten lists, Open Table has just come out with a December update of “Diners’ Choice” lists.  Sample a few here: San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles. Be sure to note the links to Best Service.

Posted in Dining experience, Pet Peeves, Pop Culture, Service, Wait Staff | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Required Reading? 50 Rules for Wait Staff

Posted by gratrueities on November 4, 2009

Even we were taken aback by this list of 50 rules for wait staff posted in the New York Times  by Long Island restaurateur Bruce Buschel. And, these 50 are only Part 1. It sounds like there will be another 50 in an upcoming post for a total of 100 rules.

Not to say that these rules aren’t relevant, and useful, they are. But…pity the poor server who is handed a list of these rules on their first day on the job. It does seem a bit overwhelming.

Some of the rules are common  sense and virtually all of them touch on something that  could easily turn into an aggravation for the guest.

Here are some of GraTRUEities favorites, with our comments.

3. Never refuse to seat three guests because a fourth has not yet arrived.

 —Yes! It would be awesome if all restaurants were more relaxed about seating partial parties.

8. Do not interrupt a conversation. For any reason. Especially not to recite specials. Wait for the right moment.

—So true.

11. Do not hustle the lobsters. That is, do not say, “We only have two lobsters left.” Even if there are only two lobsters left.

—Thank-you for this one, Bruce.

12. Do not touch the rim of a water-glass. Or any other glass.

—Eeeck! We hope not.

And finally, saving the best for last,

50. Do not turn on the charm when it’s tip time. Be consistent throughout.

Posted in Dining experience, Etiquette, Pet Peeves, Tipping, Wait Staff | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Chips Ahoy!!!

Posted by gratrueities on November 3, 2009

Where – Oba! Portland, Oregon

What  – Happy Hour

Who – Couple at table for two by window

Food – Delicious!

Value – Excellent

Service – Hmmm…mixed…some great and some lacking.  The first portion of the order was timed and served perfectly! Sadly, the repeated request for chips – coupled with ongoing non-delivery – eventually overshadowed the rest of the service.  (It should be mentioned that this was not a busy night.) However, when the chips finally arrived, they were hot and crispy – and *sold* as such!

One other comment from our party – with all the great margarita specials, has Oba! considered buying a blender?

Missed GraTRUEities – somewhat like a “missed connection” on Craigslist:

– “Without a blender, you’re just a pretender!”

– “A sense of timing is a mark of genius.”

– “Chips ahoy!!!”

Posted in Dining experience, GraTRUEities In Use, Pet Peeves, Pop Culture, Portland, Tipping, Wait Staff | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Reader’s ‘Digestion’ and “The Waiter” revisted…

Posted by gratrueities on July 21, 2009

From Reader’s Digest Magazine and from Waiter Rant via Yahoo …a little reminder of some things to avoid when dining out!

Oh, those waiters!

Posted in Dining experience, Paying the bill, Pet Peeves, Pop Culture, Tipping, Travel, Wait Staff | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Tipper’s Remorse

Posted by gratrueities on March 5, 2009

I’m suffering from a case of “tipper’s remorse.” This is just like buyers remorse, except I have nothing to return and no way of getting my money back.

Unfortunately, I knew when I left the gratuity that I didn’t really want to tip generously – I was already annoyed with the service. I think I succumbed to a pathetic desire to prove something to the server (in this case, the bartender). Just what I hoped to prove, I’m not sure!

We were dining at Sushi Roku in Santa Monica, CA. My daughter and I were seated at the bar, waiting for the rest of our party to join us. We had some difficulty gaining the attention of the bartender, who was otherwise occupied in deep conversation with two women seated next to us.

When we were eventually acknowledged, he was minimally attentive, distracted by the many “assets” of his other two customers. With the bartender’s evident lack of interest serving us, let alone recommending a cocktail, we settled on wine. Two small glasses appeared and we were told we needed to settle our bill at the bar.

For whatever reason (maybe hoping to inspire regret that he did not consider us more worthy) I left a much larger tip than was warranted – over 20% on an already appallingly large bill for two skimpy pours.

I’ve regretted this ever since – based on principal, not money. What motivates us to at times tip generously even when we really don’t want to? Is this part of the phenomenon of “tipflation” or a whole separate issue?

Posted in Bars, Dining experience, Paying the bill, Pet Peeves, Pop Culture, Tip Jars, Tipping, Travel, Wait Staff | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Tiger Tipping Troubles

Posted by gratrueities on February 4, 2009

 

 

All kinds of comments flew around the blogoshere earlier this week when the New York Post Page Six posted an item describing the skimpy tipping habits of elite golfer Tiger Woods. Evidently the very successful golfer (he’s won 14 major championships) was observed throughout a visit to Las Vegas, visiting various eating establishments and interacting with service providers, but never leaving a tip.

The whole issue was widely reported on Sporting News, Fox Sports News and other sites. All of the sports writers were basically appalled that Tiger could  earn$82 million on the course and hundred’s of millions more off the course, and still  go through life without tipping.

I must say, I agree with these sports writers. I really think it is near the height of rudeness to not leave a tip for services rendered.

It’s interesting to think about what causes Tiger not to tip? Is it that he thinks someone is going to follow him around and tip for him? Maybe he doesn’t even carry cash? Or, is it that it doesn’t occur to him to tip?

Tiger is not only a great golfer, he’s also a Stanford University graduate and a very smart businessman. He obviously knows the common courtesy and social expectations behind tipping. So, we can only assume that he is fully aware that he is not tipping and, therefore, he doesn’t want to tip?

Right?

Posted in Paying the bill, Pet Peeves, Tipping, Travel, Wait Staff | Tagged: , , , , , | 10 Comments »

The Fifty Cent Differential

Posted by gratrueities on January 19, 2009

As I mentioned, there were four women on my recent trip to Las Vegas – and these are not women who have problems making decisions. We all have our own (strong?) opinions, which led to one small tipping dispute.

One morning we went for a walk and stopped for lunch at Mon Ami Gabi in the Paris Hotel. We were seated outside and had a pleasant lunch, though our server seemed to be somewhat scattered. We overlooked this; our water, drinks, bread and meals eventually found their way to our table  and everything was delicious.

However, when we ordered coffees at the end of the meal, things became a little problematic. The two of us who ordered plain coffee found ours to be lukewarm at best…still not a big issue in and of itself. It was our server’s reaction to our (very polite, I promise!) mention of this fact that was notable…first she poured more cold coffee, then became visibly impatient when we mentioned it a second time and the third. By this time, and at $3.50 a cup, we were committed to heat! Third time was a charm and we did receive a fresh, hot cup of coffee – exactly one since no refills were offered.

When we received the check, two of us were inclined to leave  20% and call it good…no rounding up! The other two, who had received steaming cappuccinos at the end of the meal, were feeling more generous.  According to our calculations, this amounted to a whole $.50 differential in the tip!  Obviously, the $.50 debate was more of a matter of principle than money.

Defiantly (but in good humor!)  the two scrooges – of which I was one – decided to stick to our guns and send our $.50 hint. (Psssst …we really wanted hot coffee, without feeling like we were being unreasonable for asking!) The other two in the group were not so amused with our plotting. However, we did all manage to agree that this would have been the perfect situation for a GraTRUEity.

Posted in Coffeehouse, GraTRUEities In Use, Paying the bill, Pet Peeves, Tipping, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Fine Dining–Git ‘Er Done

Posted by gratrueities on January 7, 2009

There is one phrase that has been used and abused by waiters across the nation this past year and that’s….drum roll, please…”done working on that”? This very, very tired, exhausted really, phrase gets my pet peeve of the year award for 2008.

Everytime I hear it I think of Larry the Cable guy…yeah…you know the one I’m talking about. Actually, I was first introduced to Larry by my then 15-year old nephew and he (Larry) is pretty funny. But, generally not in a restaurant at the end of an enjoyable meal.

How many times have you been eating out and,  at some point, hopefully  near the end of  your meal,  your waiter approaches and asks, “done working on that?”

First of all, if I’m sitting there with a clean plate, yes, I’m done.

Or, if my silverware is placed to one side of my plate, yes, I’m done.

If my napkin is rolled up in a ball and sitting in the middle of my plate, yes, I’m done. (Just kidding, I don’t do that.)

And, since when is eating out “work”. Did I go to a job? Am I done with my shift? Hopefully a meal out is not “work” but pleasure???

Could the waiter approach and say, “Did you enjoy your meal?”   Or, “may I show you the dessert menu?”

Really there are many, many transition phrases that are better than the “done workin’ on that”.

Well, guess I better get going.

Time to go to work…I mean…dinner.

P.S. Photo courtesy of www.somewhatfrank.com.

Posted in Dining experience, Pet Peeves, Pop Culture, Wait Staff | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »