Friday, October 06, 2006

How Tera has changed me

Tonight my college friend Jane came to town. I baked a GEORGEOUS cake for her 1 year old (I should post a pic of it, it was great) and bought some books for her on behalf of myself and Carrie, our college friend. I should be writing about that experience, but instead I will write about the waitress who put a damper on my terrific mood tonight.

We went to one bar and ordered nachos and two drinks to cover the 3 of us. It was early in the evening and I am sure the waitress would have prefered that we had ordered dinner but she was friendly to us and didn't show it.

We then went to a sort of trendy bar/restaurant, we weren't dressed very fashionably, but we were excited to take Jane here so she could try the Sangria. We stood waiting for probably 40 minutes, there was no room in the bar area (I actually had to shove past an icky long haired man in a sportcoat, becuase he wouldn't move when I gently tapped him on the back.) But we finally got a table around 9:15PM.

The waitress seemed really nice, we liked her. We ordered a pitcher of Sangria right away, and tried to decide what we wanted. We could only come up with one thing, an enchilada, so we asked for her to put that in until we could decide on more. When she came back to the table, maybe when we were half finished with the enchilada she asked if we were ready to put something else in. We declined and asked for a dessert menu. The moment we said we didn't want more to eat the snottiest look crossed her face, Jane said she actually rolled her eyes. When we declined dessert and asked for the check she snatched up half of the menus and stomped away like a toddler having a temper tantrum.

Mind you, I waitressed for nearly 10 years. I ALWAYS over tip. But I wasn't having it. Since being treated like I was by Tera, I don't even want to be mistaken for a pushover anymore...I just can't stand being mistreated. At first I suggested stiffing her. But then I said "Stiffing her says I'm a cheap bastard, 10% says she sucks" Not only did we tip 10%, I made a point to calculate 10% on the bill so she knew it wasn't a mistake.

She came to pick up the bill before we had even left, in fact it was probably 5 minutes after we got the check (Jane pointed out that she didn't even ask us if we were ready, she just came and picked it up) When she got to the table I started silently cracking up laughing, my face was blocked by Jane so it wasn't like I was laughing in her face. Carrie said her jaw literally dropped when she saw it. Then, when she got to the computer she turned around and looked at us, at this point I am sure she saw me laughing, and swiped her card angrily through the machine.

This isn't the way I used to be. I used to not believe in getting angry, but to feel compassion instead. I suppose she could have been having a bad day but I had been having a great day, and her snotty look when we had done NOTHING inconsiderate (for the love of god- its 9 PM on Friday night...dinner is over sweetie!) the look put a damper on a very pleasant evening. To give the meanness right back to her felt great-and thats just not the way I have ever been. And it's not like giving 10% is being mean anyway. In our state waitstaff gets minimum wage, tips are on top of it. "TIPS" stands for "To Insure Proper Service" and so why reward her "you didn't order enough" look with extra money? I make half of what she does, and I am still nice to everyone, I may get impatient, but I make an effort to stay nice.

Now that I write this I feel a little bad. Not for the tip, but for laughing at her. Did she deserve it? Hell yeah. Does that mean I should have done it? No. Two wrongs don't make a right.

In the end I think the lesson is to just treat people well. Maybe that sort of thinking isn't practiced in trendy fusion restaurants, and maybe I don't want to be places like that anymore. I really liked that place, but now I feel really unwelcome there. I really feel for black people and immigrants who I know (from observing my waitstaff co-workers) go through this all the time. People should be able to go out and enjoy themselves without being judged and prejudged by the people who supposedly make their living in service.

One upside of the night...I drank 3 drinks and feel anything but inebriated. But I still left my car at Carrie's house instead of driving home, because I am still out of practice driving. I am really proud of myself for my restraint.

Wishing you kind treatment...goodnight

1 comment:

Rich said...

Bad service is bad service, she totally deserved a kick in the patootie and no tip.

We don't have the automatic tip here in Australia. It shows in our service industry, if you want to get tipped you have to freak'n work for it. I'm a very generous tipper but that girl wouldn't have got a dime.

PS. I still want pictures of your car and cake :)

Love ya!