Have you ever thought for a moment how many services in our lives "require" us to give a tip? I put require in quotes because most of the time it's a given that a tip is expected for a service performed, be it good or bad.
The word “tips” has two related meanings: To Insure Prompt Service and To Insure Professional Service. Sometimes it's prompt service. Sometimes it's professionalism. Often it's neither.
I for one refuse to tip for poor service and here is one great example of when not to tip for extremely bad service. Being in sales and retail for so many years has made me very sensitive to service I receive and give. A few years ago, my friend Roland, Marcy, Michelle and I were visiting Bayville, a small town in northern Nassau County. It was lunchtime, so we looked around for a nice place to eat.
We saw a restaurant with an outside upper deck and decided to try it. At that time, there wasn't much of a line, so we didn't have to wait too long to get a table. The problems started after we someone seated us. Other people around us, seated after us, had their orders taken and actually served to them while we waited for a server to approach us.
I finally went to the hostess and complained. Her attitude was so bad and non-caring that I wanted to leave, but Roland and Marcy said to stay. Finally, a server took our order. It took what seemed like forever for the food to arrive, and the food wasn't very good.
I waved the server over and told her we weren't very happy with our meals. She didn't apologize or give any sort of attitude that cared, mumbled something and walked away. She returned with the check. Roland wanted to pay. I said I would leave the tip, which I told him would be nothing.
This girl actually had the nerve to ask me why I didn't leave a tip! I said to her, "Are you kidding me? The service was awful and the food was bad. Go talk to your hostess and figure out why there's no tip."
By this time, Roland, Marcy and Michelle were already down the stairs. I told the hostess that the service was awful and the food was bad. I also told everyone waiting on line on the steps the same thing, and told them to go somewhere else.
A pissed off customer leaving after a bad experience is the worst customer.
Here's a story that is quite the opposite. Marcy and I wanted to go out to dinner to a new restaurant that opened close by. I had told her to call for reservation earlier in the week, but she forgot, and so did I. When we got there, the hostess asked if we had reservations. She apologized and said there was an hour wait. Nope, that's not going happen, I said.
We figured out another place we wanted to go, stopped at home for their coupon and went on our merry way. We had eaten there before, so we knew there weren't going to be any surprises.
The hostess seated us right away and the waitress came over right away with glasses of water and menus. I knew right away that Alex, the waitress, was going to make this a very nice evening. She did everything right. She was warm, friendly and very outgoing. Marcy asks many questions before ordering. Alex answered knowledgeably and quickly.
The food was good, and when we got the check, we gave Alex our coupon, which was for 15% off. She smiled, said that was good, but 20% was better. She told us to keep that and she would apply the larger percentage. The way I normally calculate a tip is by doubling the tax. Here on Long Island, the local tax is 8.625%. Our check with tax was $18, so I left $5, so that's about 28% on the total amount.
See what a nice smile and a good attitude gets you?
Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.
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