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Archive for the ‘Pop Culture’ 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 »

Celebrity Waiters “Trumped”

Posted by gratrueities on March 26, 2010

Who would you prefer to be your server? Rod Blagojevich singing his familiar tune of the innocent, wronged and dedicated public servant or Cyndi Lauper singing True Colors? Well, that is an easy one for me – though Blago provided some entertaining moments during the opening episode of the new season of Celebrity Apprentice. Further, Donald Trump lauded him throughout the show for his courage. (I suppose it is a form of courage – exposing himself to continued public judgment and ridicule!).

The new Apprentice season opened with Donald Trump thowing out a restaurant challenge – men vs. women – in which each team took over a diner for an afternoon. The team that made the most money, including tips, was declared the winner and awarded the money for their Project Manager’s favorite charity. Somehow, team Rock Solid (you guessed it, the mens’ team) outperformed team Tenacity. Most surprising – Blago (sans hairnet), was the lone server for the men’s team while Cyndi Lauper was supported by her cohorts Sharon Osbourne and WWE star, Maria Kanellis. I have to agree with Mr. Trump, it’s somewhat amazing that these women did not rake in enough tips to surpass the men! Not only did they have power in numbers, but they were clearly more dedicated to their mission. Evidence: Joan Rivers, on a *secret mission* to judge the two diners found Rob B to be somewhat lacking in attention! His primary focus seemed to be defending his reputation to the customers with statements such as these (From The Five Dumbest Things Blagojevich Said according to the Chicagoist)

  • On cooking for the celebrity-run diner challenge: “I didn’t cook at all when I was governor. I was cooking up results for people.”
  • On being a waiter at the celebrity-run diner and raising money for charity: “In some ways, this is just another public service.”
  • To customers in the diner: “They stole me away from the people who hired me.”
  • To customer in the diner: “Yeah, I didn’t do those things, by the way. I’m here to serve.”
  • On raising money for charity: “I’m in an unusual position these days. When I come calling for money, somebody’s listening and people on the other end know it.”

Service aside, the men pulled out the win – and that despite the $10,000 bonus the women received via the Joan Rivers undercover mission. Strategy and a higher-priced, gourmet menu (thanks to celebrity chef Curtis Stone) keyed their success. Service, even celebrity service, did not make the difference in the end.

Posted in Pop Culture, Service, Tipping, Wait Staff | Leave a Comment »

You Can Dress it Up…

Posted by gratrueities on February 3, 2010

and take it out…and then what? That’s just one question that crossed our minds when (in our so far fruitless search for dining and/or tipping links to the upcoming New York Fashion Week) we came across the new branding endeavor known as McFancy.

And, what is McFancy? If the name doesn’t give it away, perhaps the pictures do! Yes, it is a ultra-chic repackaging of the familiar fare we all know – and many love – but typically associate with the Golden Arches. Being introduced in temporary venues at Fashion Weeks worldwide, McFancy offers the standard McDonald’s menu in a high-fashion setting and delivers it in an all new way: Burberry burgers, Chanel or Hermes fries and Paul Smith Sundaes will be served formally in private dining areas by tuxedoed waiters, whose gratuities will hopefully reflect the upscale twist!

Will the glamorati in attendance at these fashion events respond and devour the quarter pounders presented in their stylish new plaid-trimmed containers? Will mineral water and salads-sans-dressing be forsaken for french fries and ice cream? It’s difficult – but rather fun – to imagine!

McFancy is created by The Cool Hunter, a popular lifestyle and design website, and its recently launched marketing group, Access Agency – “a dedicated entity that will continue our work of creating highly original, transformational, yet eminently practical and results-oriented strategies for companies to stage the kinds of offline brand experiences that will increase the economic value of their offering.”

In simpler terms, they’re elevating fast food dining to new heights. As of now, this is a novelty for the fashion world. Could it catch on? And, if so, what’s next? *See update below

*Update: In answer to our own question above – Burger King to sell beer at it’s all new Whopper Bar! Here at GraTRUEities, we now note that we can use our Bar cards for fast food…perhaps “Great Service on Tap” – or, even more appropriately, “Service fit for a King!”

 

Posted in Bars, Dining experience, Economy, Fast food, International, Pop Culture, Service, Tipping | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Taking Service to the Next Level

Posted by gratrueities on January 25, 2010

And then some! A recent Forbes.com article recounts the World’s Most Outrageous Guest Requests at luxury hotels around the globe. Apparently, as the article states, “no task for the concierge is impossible.”

However, these requests are so far beyond the ordinary, it boggles the mind.

One example from this story:  “Raphael Pallais, the concierge at the newly re-opened Plaza Hotel in New York City, went on a crazy quest for live tarantulas for a guest obsessed with bringing some home to roast–then eat.”  “The ever resourceful Pallais contacted The New York-based Explorers Club, known for hosting controversial “exotic” dinners.”  He elaborates, “One of the attributes of the concierge is that we must remain unflappable at all times,” says Pallais who, like most concierges interviewed for this story, belongs to Les Clefs d’Or, the prestigious international association of concierges. “To us, no request is deemed outrageous. We prefer the term ‘unique.'”

At least two things came to mind while reading these tales!

First, one can’t help but wonder what kinds of gratuity a concierge might receive for procuring 21 deer to be shipped home for birthday party (you guessed it, a 21st birthday!) or covering a sandy beach with carpet for a guest who desired a private film screening on the beach but did not care for sand? Pallais explains that in some cases he sees himself as a “dream weaver,” helping people fulfill fantasies they could not otherwise realize, while  some of the requests are simply “wealth whims.” We can only assume (and hope) that, in cases such as these, people are “sharing the wealth!

Secondly, these stories certainly put asking for a substitution in a meal or a water refill into perspective!

Posted in concierge, Etiquette, Pop Culture, Service, Tipping, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Rainy Day Tipping?

Posted by gratrueities on December 12, 2009

Hi Dear GraTRUEities readers: It is absolutely pouring down rain here at GraTRUEities worldwide headquarters in northern California. All this rain got me thinking: do we tip more or less when it’s raining?  Are we more apt to leave a nice big tip if the sun is shining?  

In short, what kind of impact does weather have on tipping?

I went to my favorite search engine, Bing, (yes, Bing) to find some answers. All I could find were references to Rainy Day activities. It seems there are no scholarly studies about the weather-impact on the tip.

So, let’s do our own research. How does weather impact your tipping habits? Are you more or less likely to tip when the weather is bad? Does a beautiful sunny ski bring out the best in your tipping behavior? Let us know.

And,we’d like to hear from some servers. Do you see any difference in your tips on a sunny day vs a rainy day? Just wondering….

Posted in GraTRUEities, GraTRUEities In Use, Pop Culture, Tipping, Travel, Wait Staff | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New York Times 2009 Holiday Gift Guide!

Posted by gratrueities on December 11, 2009

OK…it appears that GraTRUEities, didn’t make the list this year. Perhaps we missed the deadline, since the guide was published in November – just as we launched. In fact, we will assume that to be the reason! There’s always 2010! And…we’re still pleased with the mention by the New York Post.

In the meantime, this year’s NYT list seems to have stirred some controversy…delayed as it is! Even though it took almost a month, the “Of Color/Stylish Gifts” list has now come to attention of critics. Gawker claims that the NYT’s Racially Segregated Gift Guide Offends, Not Least of All Because the Gifts Are Lame. Hmmm…

We are not ones to disdain the creations of others, or gift choices. Just take a look at these lists, and form your own opinion.

Posted in Gifts, GraTRUEities, Pop Culture | 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 »

Tiger (Non-Tipping) Troubles

Posted by gratrueities on December 3, 2009

As most know, Tiger Woods is back in the news for “transgressions” greater than for just being a poor tipper, a quality we’ve discussed here before. In the Yahoo feature article, 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Tiger Woods & Elin Nordegren,  the fact that Tiger is a Lousy Tipper came in at #6 between #5 He Has a $20 Million Yacht Called “Privacy” and #7 He Always Wears Red on Sundays.  Draw from that what you will…it does provide a few glimpses into the personality of Tiger and exposes his life in ways he clearly wished to avoid.

Public reaction to this story has been all over the map but of particular interest to us, at GraTRUEities, are comments such as: I’m actually more bothered by the fact that he doesn’t tip. I mean, what kind of billionaire stiffs waitresses? How pathetic and rude.

It seems that one’s judgement of Tiger and his misdeeds all comes down to a matter of perspective.


Posted in Pop Culture, Tipping | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Dueling Celebrity Tippers at Nellos

Posted by gratrueities on November 24, 2009

Regular GraTRUEities readers know that we occasionally  comment on tipping habits of the rich and famous…just because…. And, with the holiday season just about here (we consider the Friday after Thanksgiving the official start) we can expect to hear plenty of reports about the good, the bad and the ugly celebrity tippers.

Well, these famous folk sit squarely in the first category–the good  tippers. And the servers at chi chi Manhattan Italian restaurant, Nellos, were the happy benefactors.

Evidently, as reported in the NY Daily News, earlier in November the power couple of  hip hop, Jay-Z and Byonce,  enjoyed luncheon a deux at the eatery. At the end of what had to have been an amazing lunch, the total tab was  reportedly $1200.00. The tip: $500.00.

A few days later, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich decided to up the ante, significantly. Abramovich also had lunch at Nello’s but his bill totaled $47,221.09.  The tip:  reportedly $7,328.00. Checkmate. You win.

No word yet on how the servers at Nello’s split up those bonanza-sized tips!

Posted in Dining experience, Economy, Pop Culture, Tipping | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

‘Going Rogue’…or…not?

Posted by gratrueities on November 19, 2009

The catch-phrase of the moment…attitude, mentality – roguishness?  Sarah Palin aside, it seems that the concept of ‘Going Rogue’ has captured the imagination of the masses.

Therefore, we immediately connected this theme with GraTRUEities…speaking ones mind, departing from the tradition of silent compliance with social expectations, a sort of defiance. We even considered capitalizing on the current wave of marketing opportunities.

Then, we looked up the definition of “rogue”:

American Heritage Online Dictionary

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Well…let’s just say, we will not be able to fully align ourselves with the “going rogue” trend. After reading certain terms in the definition – “deceitful person,”  “scoundrel,” and “vagrant” to name a few – we had second thoughts about adopting this mantra. However, we must admit to embracing a bit of  “playful mischievousness!”

Posted in Pop Culture, Tipping | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »