Waitresses and Waiters

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by B_Stronzo, Sep 24, 2006.

  1. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    During all my school years (indeed before I was actually of legal working age in Massachusetts) I was in the food service business. Cape Cod in the height of the season is one great big restaurant it can seem.

    I began as a busboy and eventually (every summer and all through college here) I was a waiter. Without question I find it one of the most interesting and challenging jobs there is. The money was damned good too. It seems to me the profession is highly-skilled when done well.

    So why does there seem to be such a sub-standard view of it as a profession?

    My boyfriend and I frequent a very nice place quite close to where we live and without exception the waitstaff is capable and professional. Yet there's barely an evening we're out to supper when I don't see some idiot giving a waiter or a waitress a hard time (generally when the place is packed and its obvious the server in question is doing his or her level best to perform).

    By comparison if I have a charge on my credit card I'd like to dispute or want to make changes in my cable service I'm often (not always) greeted with indifference and attitude. But that profession is somehow more "cool"?:33:

    I've known "kids" who do it and I know waitresses and waiters (waitpeople?) who make a very lucrative career from it. So what's up with people thinking going to a restaurant is a green light to treat a server like dirt?

    I'm not saying everyone does it but I saw it just two nights ago and I felt dreadful for the girl. What about tipping?? Do you leave 20% if the service and food is very good? It's the proper percentage now for exceptional service.. not 15.

    The other question I have is;

    Do you think restaurants should allow patrons with very small children (high chair age) when it's a "high end" establishment and the rest of the patrons are paying a premium for their food? If so what happens if the child misbehaves and disrupts the entire dining room?

    I ask because not too long ago we had just such a thing happen.
     
  2. dong20

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    I agree, and not one I could do, I simply have neither the patience nor the people skills. A skilled job certainly, but tips aside I never thought of it as well paid for the most part.

    I suppose perhaps because it can be seen by many as one step up from a domestic? Service industries typically attract irrational perspectives, which given that we all rely on them so much is often somewhat perplexing.

    I'd say it's partly about exectations which by definition are subjective, partly about role play - those who demean those they perceive to be lower in the social pecking order because they are so treated themselves by those above them and perhaps partly about money - poking holes, real or imagined in service levels to 'justify' not tipping 20% of a £150 bill must be tempting.

    Maybe because financial (and telecoms) jobs are more abstract and perceived as more complex than 'carrying plates from a kitchen' leads to those jobs being held in higher regard. I'm not saying that's a valid perspective but I bet it's one commonly held.

    I know that the people I speak to are just reading verbatim from SOP's, scripts and what their computer tells them; thus I know most of the time little or no real skill is involved, at that initial level at least. Many do not and as most of us carry plates to and from the kitchen ourselves every day, it's easy to see why there is such a disparity.

    I am having an ongoing battle with one of my Credit Card issuers about an erroneous 2000$ charge from a Mozambique car rental. It's actually a global company but that counts for nothing it seems. The Bank is wringing it's hands and doing little and I am running up a large phone bill complaining in broken Portuguese to said car rental company. One could accurately surmise that my opinion of those particular service sectors is not at it's highest right now.:rolleyes:

    I tip according to the level of service I receive and I have no qualms about not tipping if the service is very poor solely as a direct result of the waitstaff. I believe tipping is perhaps more of an issue, in terms of wages in the US than Europe as a general rule so the % is meaningless. The one thing I hate is a set 'service' charge, it's called a gratuity for a reason is it not?

    I think it's a policy for the resturant to set and diners to be aware of but on balance I would say no, certainly not in an establishment that is not aimed at or set up to cater properly for infants or after, say 6pm. If I visit a restuarant for a meal, ill mannered and dispruptive children are not something I take kindly to. That may be selfish, and if it is then so be it; I'm selfish and I have earned that right

    If it's more informal, daytime or I know that the establishment is 'family friendly' etc then I am making a choice and thus have little cause to complain, beyond the fact the ill mannered and disruptive children are irritating whatever the venue.:biggrin1:
     
  3. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    Amen brother dong20.

    You know what we Yanks say about you Brits and your tipping disinclination do you not? Only the French Canadanians are deemed worse by the American food service folk.:tongue:

    It's my understanding dong20 that tipping is vastly different in England. Haven't been in a while so I don't know what the protocol is.

    I know it is in Italy and France. Yet here the food service profession is by-passed by the minimum wage laws and (to the best of my knowledge) is the only one which is. Therefore (like it or not) here tipping is the "bread and butter" for those in the profession.

    I have only "stiffed" (or not tipped) a wait person once. And it took everything in me to do so.

    We feel similarly about the disruptive children.:wink:
     
  4. Golfbuddy

    Golfbuddy Member

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    Understand, please, that most people only ever have contact with waiters/waitresses in the I-Hop, Denny's, and for a real treat, Red Robin, Outback or other such places. Most people waiting tables there are either students working through school, out-of-work entertainers, or people who never made much of themselves and scrape by. Hence the relatively low opinion of waiters.

    Most people, at least in the US, have never eaten at a first-class establishment. The kind with table cloths, maitre'ds, wine experts, etc. The kind of place where a waiter can make a decent living. These places aren't cheap, usually. When we go out to a nice, upscale place, we easily spend $100 - $200 and that's just for two people. Most Americans simply can't or won't pay that. I enjoy the fact that I have a high enough disposable income that I can indulge, and most professional waiters are terrific, know their clientele and take good care of them.

    Children: I HATE going to nice places when young children are present. I a kid is noisy I will demand a new seat away from the brat, and if that isn't done, I inform the manager that I will not return until a strict policy about badly behaved kids is implemented. Some places I go will actually ask the parents to either control the brat or leave. Personally, I wish all restaurants (and stores, airplanes, theaters) would have a twice-monthly BFD: Baby Free Day, when adults can go out knowing that there will be no distracting kids. It's not that I hate kids, but I believe strongly that children should be seen and not heard, and not being seen is even better. There's a place for children, but a 5-star expensive, elegant restaurant isn't one of them!
     
  5. rob_just_rob

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    If you don't have to go to school and get a degree to do it, people don't take the job seriously. We live in a culture that (over)values the 'expert' - the person who has spent years learning to do what they do for a living. Doctors, lawyers, accountants.. they're the prestige careers.

    Very few people look at a doctor and say "I could do that". By contrast, I think that many people believe that waiting tables is a low skill career that anyone could do.

    I think it's a combination of factors - the aforementioned lack of respect for wait staff as a group, a ridiculous belief in the maxim "the customer is always right", and perhaps in some cases, a need to bully someone in order to impress one's dining companions.

    Absolutely not. The child doesn't enjoy it, the parents probably don't enjoy it, and the other patrons most often don't enjoy it. Get a babysitter.
     
  6. dong20

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    I know, and I am horrified. It would seem that the US Government either holds waitstaff in low esteem also or it grossly over estimates the level of tipping. It was the same in the UK for a while but that loophole was closed a number of years ago and minimum wage now applies, as it should. For me, tipping is more to reward service over and above what would be expected of someone doing their job, in the sense that one does not in general tip the meter reader, mechanic, the travel agent etc. But, I know this particular job is atypical.

    In Europe I will tip 10-15% as a 'rule', more obviously if warranted. In the US it's more simply because I know waitstaff are often poorly paid and as often disrespected. It's not about the money, a gratuity should be about reward over and above doing ones job otherwise it's meaningless. Many countries actively discourage tipping, in my experience the US is the main one that seems to expect it as a right, and without knowing the background it's often misunderstood as greed and failure to comply leads to disdain, it's largely cultural I guess.

    If I get poor service from waitstaff e.g. the wrong meal, kept waiting for ages, 'attitude' etc I will have no qualms about not tipping, why should I reward poor service? It would be like rewarding the mail man for shredding your mail, the mechanic for leaving bolts undone or the travel agent for booking the wrong hotel.

    If it's poor service but not the waitstaff or they have worked hard to try and correct anothers screw-up I will tip them well and demand recompense from the manager. There is a risk that they will deduct from the staff wages and that's unfortunate but I can't control that. As with most things, you get what you pay for. I've found crappy resturants usually employ crappy staff so it usually evens out.:rolleyes:
     
  7. cklover

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    I've experienced the best restaurant service from people who knew the menu and were nice in the basic human way...the only negative experiences I've had were from gay (American) waiters! In my experience, the European waiters were the professionals. In America, banquet or regular, and I thank them for their professionalism.
     
  8. jakeatolla

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    Obviously you've never met My Irish born father-in-law......
     
  9. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    Well I dunno about the "only at Denny's and IHOP" lousy waitress/waiter service experience since I've frequented both in days of gone by. I've found the service almost too friendly there at times but never rude.

    The over-all suggestion that kids should be left home is heartening.

    At a restaurant recently I saw the man a neighboring table to where one really nasty seven year old was hurling food walk over and say "get that child out of this restaurant this minute. I didn't come here to watch him act up or to see you allow it!"

    The father removed his wife and two children immediately and the entire restaurant applauded.
     
  10. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    Gay men can be haughty and indifferent regardless of nationality. Is that what you mean?

    I get to say this: "There's nothing worse than a pissy queen".:rolleyes:
     
  11. Shelby

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    I did some busboying, waitering and bartending while working my way through college. People who haven't done it have no idea how demanding it can be. They think of it as unskilled labor.

    Tell you what though, bartenders get lots of pussy.
     
  12. drumstyck

    drumstyck New Member

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    Nice Guy Eddie: C'mon, throw in a buck!
    Mr. Pink: Uh-uh, I don't tip.
    Nice Guy Eddie: You don't tip?
    Mr. Pink: Nah, I don't believe in it.
    Nice Guy Eddie: You don't believe in tipping?
    Mr. Blue: You know what these chicks make? They make shit.
    Mr. Pink: Don't give me that. She don't make enough money that she can quit.
    Nice Guy Eddie: I don't even know a fucking Jew who'd have the balls to say that. Let me get this straight: you don't ever tip?
    Mr. Pink: I don't tip because society says I have to. All right, if someone deserves a tip, if they really put forth an effort, I'll give them something a little something extra. But this tipping automatically, it's for the birds. As far as I'm concerned, they're just doing their job.
    Mr. Pink: She was okay. She wasn't anything special.
    Mr. Blue: What's special? Take you in the back and suck your dick?
    Nice Guy Eddie: I'd go over twelve percent for that.
    Mr. Pink: Look, I ordered coffee. Now we've been here a long fucking time and she's only filled my cup three times. When I order coffee, I want it filled *six* times.
    Mr. Blonde: Six times. Well, what if she's too fucking busy?
    Mr. Pink: The words "too fucking busy" shouldn't be in a waitress's vocabulary.
    Nice Guy Eddie: Excuse me, Mr. Pink, but I think the last fucking thing you need is another cup of coffee.
    Mr. Pink: I'm very sorry the government taxes their tips, that's fucked up. That ain't my fault. It would seem to me that waitresses are one of the many groups the government fucks in the ass on a regular basis. Look, if you ask me to sign something that says the government shouldn't do that, I'll sign it, put it to a vote, I'll vote for it, but what I won't do is play ball. And as for this non-college bullshit I got two words for that: learn to fuckin' type, 'cause if you're expecting me to help out with the rent you're in for a big fuckin' surprise.
     
  13. rob_just_rob

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    I'm tempted to start a thread about Madonna now. :biggrin1: I mean, how has that thread not made it to this site?

    On topic - so why is it that factory workers, checkout clerks, and cleaners (for example) make a wage and no tips, and food/beverage servers make a smaller wage with tips added? Why are food/beverage servers exempt from minimum wage laws?

    It just seems strange to make the income of employees in this particular business dependent on what kind of a mood the customers happen to be in.
     
  14. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    Precisely so.

    Further? Why the fuck does the counter staff have a fucking TIP CUP out at DUNKIN' DONUTS?

    The hell I will.

    Not where we go. Justin and Matthew are both gay. I suppose by the same token they get lots of dick? Here's hoping.
     
  15. GoneA

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    You can tell a great deal about some by the way they treat their waiters/waitresses.
     
  16. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    That's a truism of the first rank. :wink:
     
  17. SpeedoGuy

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    In the U.S. I tip 20% for good service and less for mediocre service. None for poor service. When mediocre or poor service occurs I take care to note whether it happened because of waitstaff incompetence or because of very busy conditions at that hour. The former earns no tip, the latter might still earn a full tip.

    I remain puzzled why waitstaff are considered entitled to tips but not other service employees. Why not the dishwashers?
     
  18. tripod

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    Here in the South, the Scots-Irish people that make up the "locals" have to be the cheapest people on the planet. Tipping in the South sucks. I think that when predatory personalities go out to eat, the waiter or waitress is seen as some sort of prey that wandered into their trap. The usual situation naturally ensues. There are a lot of nouveau riche redneck scum out there who delight in the mistreatment of others.

    My mother was a waitress all through my childhood and teen years. She dated bar managers and bartenders while I was growing up. I basically grew up in a bar/restaurant atmosphere. Tipping was how we payed the bills. It never ceases to amaze me how waiters and waitresses are treated by certain segments of the population. This thread is an interesting one Stronzo, because it pertains to men's attitudes towards women, homophobia, women's role's in the workplace, the overconsumption of alcohol, and irrational behavior due to low blood sugar. Putting food on someone's plate so that they may nourish themselves is one of the most valuable services on this planet. Simple, under-educated, or reactionary people have no concept of this and act accordingly.

    Conservative people can be lousy tippers and the best tippers are liberals, plain and simple. Conservative people give 90 percent of all the bullshit in the food industry. Scarce, Valuable traits like empathy and kindness are necessary for people to be kind and tip well. None of this applies to bad service on the wait staff's part, although the wait staff should never be held responsible for a mistake that the kitchen made. Great topic Stronzo.

    Oh yeah, everybody gets tipped, and it always comes out of the wait staff's ass...it's called a tip out.
     
  19. transformer_99

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    I normally tip well. I understand that the hourly wage is well below minimum wage and that tips account for a large portion of the income made. I will say that I've had waiters and waitresses blow their tip too. In those cases, where there is gross negligence to service, I leave absolutely nothing. And these are occasions, where let's say I need a refill, have requested one politely, and received no service whatsoever. It got so bad during one stretch, I had to write an email to the franchise ownership. I told them I'd never go back, they sent a $ 30 certificate, I gave that to another. I have yet to step in that chain's restaurant regardless of location. From what I understand, those that go, get free refills to the extent that the beverages are lined up. I'm glad others are getting this service now because of my complaint. It's almost hillarious, I ordered soup and salad, forewent a soda, so I'd have enough to tip the waiter over 30 % on that meal. I had $ 10 to spend, and stayed within a budget to ensure the tip wouldn't be weak. The jerk ignored me, I didn't get a glass of water, he didn't get a tip.
     
  20. Spoogesicle

    Spoogesicle New Member

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    That will come as quite a surprise to my friends who tend in gay bars.

    I tip well if I receive good service, whether at IHOP or Antoine's. It's to be expected, and many waiters count on those tips. I don't tip if the waiter hits on me, wipes the flatware on his crotch in my presence, or imitates Mae West, complete with sexual double-entendres. I appreciate a friendly waiter, but there is a line. I'm at the restaurant to eat, not cruise the staff.

     
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