Monday, November 23, 2009

No Food, No Drink, No Tip

I was going to title today’s post with the local Fox affiliate’s (Philadelphia) lead,, “They cuffed the Pope in Bethlehem.” But 1) it’s Fox and you know how I feel about that and technically the lead is incorrect. They cuffed the “Pope” and others not just one person…but that’s local news and another story.

Getting back to the meat of the story, recently a group of Pennsylvania-area college students went to a local establishment to get some fried bar food and other goodies. The group of eight had such horrible service that their food (appetizers) showed up over an hour after they ordered, and several of the patrons had to refill their own drinks and get their own silverware. Would you leave a tip if you had that experience? Yeah me neither. Ah but here’s the catch: the restaurant automatically adds an 18% tip to parties of six of more.

The MSN version of the story is here.

Look I’ve been a waiter and have had, what I like to refer to as “hoochie” tables. A Hoochie table is one where the customers are over demanding, drinking like Judas at the Last Supper and leave you wishing they would just take their six welfare kids running around your section and just get the hell out. On top of that they tend to forget that as a server we get paid considerably less then minimum wage and depend on tips to make money (i.e.: leaving a $100 bill on a $98 tab!). But on the flip side I also am a customer and understand that sometimes the place is crowded or understaffed but that doesn’t excuse long waits without a staff member (even a busboy) checking in on you.

What really fries me about this story is that 1) the “tip” that was added on to the bill was much more then the 18% published in the menu. On a tab of $73.86 the tip should have been an additional $13.30 but somehow came out to $16.35. So not only was the service not even (in my opinion) deserving of a 10% tip but the patrons were being forced to pay closer to 20% (and the sales tax was already included in the $73.86 so they were not just tipping on the tab but also the tax…a big no-no). Number 2 is that the manager/bartender/owner actually called the cops on them. These are college kids so money is tight to begin with but if they were complaining about what appears to be really bad service, why not just take out the mandatory tip and let them leave what they think was deserved? So shame on you, Lehigh Pub for calling the cops.

As it turns out the internet is a wonderful thing. The pub is already getting killed on Yelp and I can guarantee they are getting blasted locally. It serves the ownership right for pulling a stunt like this.

Lastly I want to share the official Nobody Likes a Jerk tipping policy.
1) Start at 20%. I always assume I’m going to get extra good service.
2) Go down from there. If the service isn’t getting it done then we drop down
3) If I’m leaving less then 15% leave a note why. Don’t just leave a crappy tip, let the server know why by leaving a note on the back of the check. Also acceptable here is leaving a large tip and your phone number if the server is cute.

A special thanks goes to my former Mistress for the influence of today's post.

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