Monday, July 5, 2010

I Went The Extra Mile And All I Got Was 18% Back.

I am a good server. I keep track of when your glass is empty, I remove empty plates the moment you're done with them, and I can suggest things you don't even know you want. You're unhappy? I'll actually do what I can to remedy the situation.

Like today at cocktail hour. 2 30-something women were doing drinks and a cheese plate appetizer. Drinks: 1 glass of white, 1 iced coffee, 1 grapefruit juice. Their total bill was looking something like 35-40 bucks. Not a huge tab, but today was really slow so that made them one of my high priority checks.

Before the food arrives, the lady drinking the wine asked me if she could order olives. "We don't have olives as a menu item," I told her, "but I can bring you some of the olives from the bar like we use for martinis." I put several skewers of olives (probably 12 total olives) into a small bowl and brought them to her.

Then their food arrives. They were totally underwhelmed by the scope of the cheese plate. They thought it would come with more stuff. The teetotaler (whom I'd served last week), told me she'd order it before and it had more on it. I told them them I'd check with the kitchen to see if they forgot to send up an accessory. I did. They didn't. I came back to give the ladies more water and told them that's all. Disappointment.

As I was walking away from their table, I had the genius idea to give them one of our $4 dollar snack sized items. I picked one that would go with their cheese, and brought it over, thinking it would up the likelihood of these ladies staying longer and leaving happy. "I bought these for you," I told them, "just don't tell my manager." I might have winked. They thanked me profusely, told me how sweet I was and, after refusing a second glass of wine or juice, asked me for more (free) olives. I brought them. More compliments on my awesomeness.

And yet, when it was time to look at their bill, they left the standard 18%. Not a penny more. I really felt like I gave them A+ service. Was expecting 20%, particularly because I comped them a snack and kept bringing those damn olives.

What do you think readers? Am I rightfully indignant or should I quit whining? Post your answers in the comment section. I'm really curious.


  1. Yea...disappointing but I don't think I would fault them for a standard 18% tip...that might be generous for them...who knows...

  2. According to UnderemployedInSeoul via gchat: Btw...i think you were right to be indignant...about the 18%...The olives man...the olives

  3. they should have tipped you 20 percent, if not more.

    1. if you get something free, you tip more.
    2. if you complain and your complaint isn't the server's fault and the server helps you out anyway, you tip more.
    3. if you get two things free.... well.

  4. A reader emailed me yesterday, and told me that although she believed I deserved a larger tip, she wasn't surprised I didn't get one since "anyone mooching cocktail olives is a cheapass."

    Well said, reader, well said.