UnderCover Waitress: June 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Staring at Waitresses

I love checking out the keyword searches that bring people here. Here is an interesting question:

is a man staring at a waitress considered harrasment? 

Technically, no, I don't think so. I mean, if he were deliberately doing it to make her uncomfortable then yes, that is a form of harassment. A hard allegation to prove, I would think, as he could easily claim he wasn't staring and didn't realize he was making her uncomfortable.

Harassment issues aside, it is rude to stare at people. It might not be illegal, but it is quite rude.

Unlike many "fun, party atmosphere" places to work in which waitresses are required to show skin, waitresses where I work are required to cover ourselves. Had a colleague (and good friend) get in trouble for wearing a sleeveless shirt and having her bra strap show in the middle of summer. She was also asked not to wear a certain skirt that had a slit in it. Now, I love my friend, but I do side with the manager on this one.

I may be a prude but I'm not ugly, and I have had plenty of eyes bore into my chest or appraise my ankles, believe it or not. I never called it harassment, just rude. I don't stare at guy's crotches or look them up and down like I'm appraising the fatted calf.

I couldn't help but wonder if whoever typed in the above search frequents "peek-a-boobie" restaurants and so is unsure if its okay to stare. It's never okay to stare. But I think "peek-a-boobie" patrons are the type who like to partake in staring behavior. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Language Barrier

We had a beautiful dish on the menu for awhile with a name from a foreign language. A colleague who was also a native speaker taught us all how to pronounce the dish correctly. Others who had taken classes in the specific language concurred that this was correct pronunciation.

Imagine my surprise when a customer made a point of arguing with me and telling me I was pronouncing his chosen entree incorrectly. Making the mistake of respecting his intelligence, I explained the proper pronunciation and why the word was said that way.

He got red in the face, fidgeted uncontrollably, and started yelling at me about how he had studied with somebody who was a native speaker. (Lot of good it did him.) Because I know I'm not perfect (that makes one of us) I did check with my colleague to make sure I was correct.

My mistake that evening was respecting the intelligence of this fool and believing that having accurate information was more important than getting the last word. Silly of me. It is a sad commentary on humanity that the "servant" must pretend that customers are smart and right when they are stupid and wrong. And yes, he did dock my pay because I knew something he didn't.

Waited on him numerous times since then. He ordered that same dish every time and mispronounced it, nice and loud, so that I would get his point. He probably ate that damn dish 'til he was utterly sick of it, just to enjoy the opportunity to stick it to me. Serves him right.

Demanding that you are right does not make you right.    

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tipping Delivery People Votes

The votes are in, and an overwhelming 80+ percent of people said that tipping the pizza guy 20% was too much. Thank you for that.

The remaining voters who felt that pizza delivery people should be tipped the same as waitstaff did feel that the Pizza Guy Chart I referred to was unfair. Thank you for that.

When writing the relevant post, I forgot an extremely important point. Waiters and waitresses "tip out" other restaurant employees. So, instead of restaurant owners paying bussers and hostesses a good wage, people in these positions make lower wages but expect a portion of tips at the end of the shift. Saves the owner money. In general, a waitress keeps 80 percent of her tips but every restaurant is different.

Pizza delivery people don't tip anybody else out.

So, pizza delivery people:
  • get paid a higher hourly wage than tipped employees. 
  • don't tip out.
  • are performing a very different job than waitresses and waiters. 
Still think they should get 20%? WTF?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Texas Lawsuit Regarding Waitress Tips

Another theme in the wonderful world of waitressing is the idea that since we are just raking in the big bucks, we can compensate the other staff members, thereby saving the owners money.

Waitress in Texas is suing because she was forced to put her hard-earned tips into a tip-pool; the tip-pool was shared with kitchen staff. As wrong as this feels, the legal issue is that the waitress was not paid minimum wage, but a portion of her sales went to the kitchen staff.

The defendant is accused of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay minimum wage compensation to Coleman.

In a state other than Texas, I had a waitress job in which I was expected to throw the dishwasher some money after every shift. No offense to the dishwashers who were nice people, but seriously, WTF?

Whether it is cooks, dishwashers, or the window washer for goodness sake, how many things can you find wrong with this picture?
  1. It is the responsibility of an employer, not a co-worker, to compensate workers. 
  2. Waitresses have no power in the hierarchy of the restaurant business. Therefore, we should not be held responsible for decisions made by management. 
  3. Waitresses are not paid minimum wage. 
  4. Waitresses have agreed to work for tips. Kitchen employees have agreed to work for a specific wage. 
Personally, I get really tired of everybody else in the restaurant industry drooling over waitress tips. Grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. If others think we have it so easy, and would like to become multi-millionaires being paid as a waitress, then they can try working like one. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Reddit Alien Hates Me

A colleague promoted some of my funny posts (well, okay, he and I think they are funny) on Reddit.  My page views skyrocketed with the influx. Here is the interesting thing: his link karma went down because people were voting down Under Cover Waitress posts. But the increased page views continue.

So, Reddit hates my stuff but keeps coming back for more? Am very confused at the moment. The world of blogging is as full of surprises as the world of waitressing.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Waitress on Customer Service Complaints

"Ready to order" means you have
already opened your menu.
Don't make me tell you again. 
You go, girl! This woman needs a blog.

Waitress rips into entitled young yuppies who wasted precious space in her section on an extremely busy night. They pulled the classic "we are ready to order" and then started perusing the menu as if for the first time. I hate that.

But that is not all they did... The culmination of the evening was their having the audacity to write her a note that ten percent was "being generous."

To the Douchebags Who Wrote a "Dear Waitress" Note | I, Anonymous

This is great rant and a good read. Anonymous waitress, if you see this, contact me. Would love to let you guest post! :-) 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Have You Waited on This Person?

How many of us have waited on this person?

'Educated' Snob Berates Train Conductor for No Good Reason

It would be funny if it weren't true. All of us in service positions, train conductors, waitresses, and others take turns dealing with snobs who assume they are better than everybody else. Woe be to the lowly service employee who has self-respect.

I love the way the train conductor handled herself. She remained calm and kept her voice at a conversational level. She had good boundaries; she said simply that she did not want the rider touching her. That is to say, she did not scream and slap the woman for laying hands on her. I'd prefer not to have demanding customers grabbing at me, but when people at my tables reach out in a friendly fashion it does not bother me very much.

And of course, our well-educated customer riding the train pulled the predictable trump card. "I want my money back!" But she has already traveled from one destination to the next. I would love to tell a diner who had licked his plate clean to take it up with customer service, but that is a difference between trains and restaurants.

I hope the train conductor had the equivalent of a dish room in which to let loose with her co-workers before closing, and a cozy bar to de-tox in with them after. Ahh, the benefits of the restaurant industry. ;-)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Stealing Tips From Tables

One of the nice things about our little restaurant is the fact that we are small and we employees get to know each other. We even build a level of trust, take payment for each other, and stack each other's bill holders near the computer.

I was clearing a table as a favor to a colleague one shift, and the woman sitting at the next table yelled at me "That is for the server!" I had picked up the bill holder that had cash in it in order to wipe the table. I looked at the woman square in the eye and said,

"Yes, I know it is. I will give it to her." I wiped the table and walked off, still holding the bill holder. I think the woman was still yammering on about how it wasn't for me. Of course I delivered it to my colleague.

Unfortunately, this type of stealing does happen. At a dive diner I worked at a long time ago, I have no doubt that the customer did not "forget" to tip me. He was a regular. Another waitress had it in for me and I am certain she stole my tip.

Customers steal tips, as well. We have a regular customer that a manager warned me not to leave bill holders with cash around when she is in the restaurant. Manager watched this customer steal money off of a table in a different restaurant. We have memories. Maybe she only did it once; maybe she has an ongoing problem with sticky fingers. No point in risking it, however.

Also remember when I was in college and hanging out at a popular local bar and restaurant. Another student confessed that he was swiping tips from tables to buy himself more drinks. His "starving student" sob story pales in comparison, of course, to the stories of the starving students working honestly for those tips.

Article is about a guy who got caught swiping tips off of tables to pay his own bill. So, yeah, people do get caught, at least sometimes.

Theft of Tips... Arrests


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dear Abby Gives Relationship Advice

Many thanks to Dear Abby for another great response. In the Milwaukee Sentinel on March 30, 1963 "Buying My Breakfast" bemoans his wife's refusal to make breakfast for him. (Maybe she is a night person?)

So, this guy has been going to a local cafe for juice, coffee, and two donuts. What a gourmet. He thinks he is falling in love with the pretty little waitress who, unlike his wife, is awake, perky, and giving him everything he asks for. True to form, good ol' Abby points out that the waitress, just like his wife, does not wake up in the morning all made up and smiling. She is showered and made up for work, and is smiling because he tips her and, after all, she is there for the money.

People need to be reminded that we are smiling and being accommodating because it is our job and we are there for the money. If I didn't have bills to pay, do customers really think I would be on my feet for countless hours? People say, "how are you?" and I lie and say "just fine" as if I have been sitting down in a cool room for the last six hours. Just give me $10 for every $50 you spend on yourself, and we can forget about my sweat-soaked underwear chafing and the fact that my feet are on fire. That's the deal.

Abby tells the guy to try tipping his wife a buck every morning. $1 tip at breakfast in 1963 was pretty darn good money. I'd be smiling too, but I'd keep my rape whistle handy.

Waitress Wins His Roving Eye


Monday, June 20, 2011

Tip on the Pre-Discounted Meal

Article on the changing social mores about eating out in a restaurant with a coupon. Of course, the most important thing to me in the article was this:

Although they might disagree about the best way to save at a restaurant, the Douglasses don't cheap out on the tip. "We both used to be servers, so we know better," said John. They tip 20 percent on the pre-discounted amount.

Under Cover's Coupon Rules:

  1. Don't be afraid to use a coupon. If we didn't want you to use one, we wouldn't offer them. 
  2. Let us know right away that you have a coupon. Please do not wait for the last minute; sometimes the manager needs to make a notation in the computer and not letting us know right away will delay your exit. And it will be your fault, not slow service. 
  3. If you prefer to be discreet, instead of just placing the coupon on the table, then mention it to the manager or hostess. Nobody has to scream, "hey, they've got a coupon!" 
  4. If the coupon is expired, throw it away. Period. 
  5. If you get 2 entrees, one half off, don't gripe when the lesser priced entree is comp'd. You're more trouble than you are worth at that point. 
  6. Read the rules on the coupon: an 18% tip may be included. 
  7. Tip 20% on the PRE-DISCOUNT meal price. The coupon is for the food; there is no coupon for the service. 
Follow these rules and come back any time with your head held high. We will be happy to see you. 

Customers I have been unhappy with: 

Honor my expired coupon!
The woman who stuck an expired coupon in with her bill and expected us just to honor it. She was at my colleague's table; of course, the waitress simply approached and informed that the coupon had expired. In the back, however, there was steam coming out of her ears because the customer was so pretentious. 

But my least favorite guy was the arse that didn't take no for an answer. We were so darn busy, and I was filling in as hostess. Kept ranting and raving about how he spends so much money at our business, we should honor the expired coupon. (Of course, if he can spend so much money, why does he need the coupon so bad?) He tried to push past me to get into the kitchen to talk to the chef/owner. You have to be a bully to be willing to exhibit such behavior. I did not call the police because I did not want to destroy the festive mood in the restaurant, but I could have. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to everyone!

Nice little article on CNN about the various pieces of advice people remember receiving from dear ol' Dad. Of course, I absolutely agree with this one:

Watch how a man treats a waitress or waiter and his parents. Take a cue from that.

A person's true colors show when they interact with the "servant class." I remember reading something a business man wrote about how he always took potential new employees out to lunch or dinner. He knew his interviewees would treat him with politeness and respect. He felt he would get a better sense of who they really were inside by watching them interact with restaurant staff. If they talked down or was rude to the waitress, they were not hired.

Your Dad's Advice

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Topless Bar Controversy

Well, while I'm busy griping about "the man" preying on women by requiring waitresses be clothed for the beach, not the dining room, the industry continues to rake the money in. And I think a small farming community in Michigan noticed.

With a name like "Crump" you figure the neighborhood does not compete with Reno. Cows, corn, wide open skies... Under those skies are hard-working, withered old farmers and their wives. Times are tough. People don't pass through as much anymore, so the town doesn't get as much business as it used to.

So, let's have them waitresses at the local bar go topless. That'll bring more people to town.

Actually, a lot of these farmers and their families are unimpressed. To quote one resident of Crump:

To have women parading around that bar topless in an effort to make some more tips is degrading to women and doesn't belong in our community.

21 year old Cyndi Brady (is that her real name?) claims she thinks it's great because it will bring more business to town. Easy for her to say -- she doesn't work there. She works at the convenience store across the street and is hoping that breasts in the bar will increase her business, too. Heck, Cyndi, if its slow just take your own top off. I wonder if this young woman isn't named after a sickly-sweet television character and just snowed the interviewer.  (?)

What really gets me is that of the stories I can find on this subject, nobody asked the waitresses how they felt. They are not decoration, they are people. Sheesh.

The decision -- and its aftermath -- is expected within 30 days. Will the Silver Derby Bar, 506 N. Garfield Road in Crump, Michigan go topless? I'll be staying tuned.

Read the eye-popping story here. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Waitress Nightmares

Theo Pauline Nestor has not worked as a waitress for twenty years. She still, however, has nightmares about it.

 That is my take on this story, anyway. Actually, it is an article about dreams known as anxiety dreams. Dr. Marcia Emery is a dream expert based in Berkeley, California. Speaking of anxiety dreams, she states:

It often goes back to the time when these feelings were first generated -- when you first felt overloaded or overworked or overwhelmed.

Sweet Dreams!
Anxiety dreams are the ones in which you show up for a test and can't remember anything, or go to school with no clothes on, or are on stage but can't remember your lines. Or, if you are Nestor, its the dream in which you have too many tables and by the time you get the orders put in the kitchen has already gone home.

Hey, I think we can all relate to feeling overloaded, overworked, and overwhelmed on the dining room floor. And I absolutely love this quote:

Why do so many of these repetitive dreams take us back to high school, college or those horrible first jobs?

Um, waitressing isn't my first job... but, I sure hope in twenty years I am not dreaming about it.

Anxiety Dreams


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tilted Kilt Lawsuit

I think we will all be in agreement that the alleged behaviors are unacceptable:
  • managers licking waitress' ears
  • managers using a straw to shoot water down waitress clothing
  • managers grabbing waitresses
The lawsuit filed by current and former waitresses at a Tilted Kilt in Chicago (SEE NEW POST WITH LANGUAGE FROM LAWSUIT HERE) also allege that the manager would discuss pornography with customers in a very loud voice. 

Remember Tilted Kilt? This is the peek-a-boob restaurant that requires waitresses wear a bra-like top and a tiny mini-skirt. Here is a comment left by someone at the Chicago Tribune's online article about the lawsuit:

I do not usually promote the "blame the victim" mentality that accompanies so many women's allegations, but in this case it fits. When you apply for a position that requires you to wear underwear to work, that is harrassment in itself. If part of your job description is to show 9 inches of your stomach, you are basically sexually harrassing yourself by working there. This manager deserves to be fired, but the complaintants need to do some serious introspection.

While I would not say the waitresses harassed themselves, the commenter does have a point. What s/he is missing is the possible predicament that some women find themselves in; for example, needing a job during a time when jobs are few and far between. Personally, I think the predators who create these jobs are despicable, and in better economic times there would not be as many young women lining up to wait tables nearly naked. The environment is predatory.

Yes, I know, some would still be there because they think its fun, and they haven't gotten hurt (yet). Still others would still be there to continue a pattern of being preyed upon that started when they were little and defenseless. And plenty of others would choose greener pastures, if such pastures were available.

The words of the CEO are still ringing in my ears, "sexy-classy, not sexy-trashy." Yeah, right.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Customer Food Allergies

Looking at keywords that bring you, my wonderful readers, to this site, I saw, "customer allergy to the food but he never."

AIGH! I'm ALLERGIC to that!!!
Yup, they sure have a hissy-fit when you serve them X and they are allergic to X. That is because they will die if they eat X. So why on Earth don't they bother to tell us? If I were going to die, be certain I will tell you so you don't inadvertently kill me. (Who knows, maybe they just want to file a lawsuit?)

Had a woman order a chocolate dessert. When served, it has a little raspberry and caramel sauce on the plate. She threw a fit because she is allergic to raspberries, a fact she had withheld.

Now, she was mad because the description either didn't mention or mentioned in small print the raspberry sauce. However, what it does mention on the menu is that it is impossible for the restaurant to print every single ingredient of every dish, so please mention any food allergies to your server.

Remember, this is a small, chef-owned restaurant in which everything is made to order. Perhaps if you are used to dining in places that defrost food to order, you can expect things to never change.

Of course, we re-made her dessert without the raspberry sauce. I asked her if she was allergic to anything else; she gave me a dirty look. Yeah, I didn't like her either.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Restaurant Stories Picky Eaters

Very entertaining article by the Rev. James L. Snyder for Recorder online. This man knows what he does and does not like to eat. The relevant quote:

There on my plate, in plain sight for everybody to see and sneer at, was a mixture of vegetables that included broccoli. The horrid “B” word. To make matters worse, as if they could get any worse, this vegetable medley was actually touching my roast beef.

The broccoli touched his roast beef. How many of us have waited on the "this food can't touch that food" crowd?

Parents and caregivers of small children are most familiar with the screams of indignation that emit from a toddler's throat when the vile peas and carrots roll into the yummy mashed potatoes. It is a universal rule of young childhood: different foods must not touch each other.

I mean no offense to the good Reverend when I point out that most of us outgrow this compulsion. As a matter of fact, Rev. Snyder kept his anguish to himself, and his wife (if I remember correctly) dutifully removed the offending broccoli.

The Food Toucheth
Other dinner patrons, not so much. We have a regular who will rant on and on about not putting the meat on top of the potatoes. He has lectured me ad nauseum about the sauce from the meat getting soaked up by the potatoes, thereby causing the meat to be dry and potatoes to be ruined. I have suggested using side order plates for this guy, but the customer doesn't want side order plates, he wants his food on one plate not touching other food on the plate.

I think the sous chef had simply had it one night when I put the order through with the caveat that the guy wanted the food on his plate to not touch other food on his plate. Sous chef used four or five small dishes (we call them "monkey dishes") and arrayed them on the plate, each with a different food in it. (Potatoes in one, hot veges in another, etc.)

If the customer complained, I never heard about it. But I noticed that the next time he came in and was seated in my colleague's section, he was not served with monkey dishes. Am guessing he instructed her to tell the kitchen to put the food on the plate, but don't let the food touch, and don't use monkey dishes...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Educational Field Trips

Some of the many hats I wear include mother and teacher. I am also a waitress and a writer.

As a waitressing blogger, I am outspoken in my righteous indignation against Hooters, Tilted Kilt, and other "breastaurant" chain restaurants that demean women. Similar to the cocktail waitresses in Atlantic City, I expect these waitresses will eventually be put out for garbage pick-up if they don't find other employment before gaining weight or aging. 

Here is a bizarre news item: Pennsylvania 8th grade students on a school field trip to an aquarium were taken to Hooters Restaurant for lunch. How educational.

What lessons are we teaching these children? These are impressionable young people who have now entered puberty and are on the cusp of the most awkward time of their lives? They are about to forge ahead into self-determination, sexuality and adulthood.

The boys learned that females are sex objects. They were most likely highly distracted as they chewed their burgers. Maybe they thought it was funny, or maybe they watched the chaperones to see their responses.

The girls, on the other hand, were treated to role models that the school chaperones seem to approve of. I wonder if their parents approve? 

Who needs to study and do homework when you have breasts you can show off for money? 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Walking the Floor

I started writing this tongue-in-cheek post awhile ago, but with the onslaught of news stories about "breastaurants" I think I have to publish now. The author of "Cleavage, Beer, and Bad Food" hit the nail on the head when he referred to restaurant managers using young women's sexuality to make money as really being something that rhymes with "shrimp."


Walking the Streets at Night Floor of the Restaurant

In this business, we always arrive early to put on costumes and make up set up the restaurant. At 5:00 p.m. the show dinner service begins.

My pimp The manager gives me two johns tables at the beginning of the evening. I walk over to squat, touch the table, and flirt recite the specials of the evening. The men stare at my boobs. I welcome this because it earns me tips. I bounce a little and try to sell them beer.  I cross my arms uncomfortably and offer to take a drink order.

I leave the table and "accidentally" drop my pencil so I have to bend over to pick it up. make their drinks.

I deliver the drinks and make sure to let them see my cleavage as I lean over the table. and answer questions about the dishes on the menu this evening. Then I take their order and perform more bouncing and touching while they watch. give it to the kitchen right away. 

Can you see what is
wrong with this picture?
After delivering their food, I return to the table to sit and chat and let them stare at my body, and also to ask them if they need "anything" else. ask if everything is satisfactory or if they would like fresh pepper. 

After the meal, they ask if they can have me for dessert. I deliver dessert menus.

At the end of the evening, the manager pinches my ass tells me I did a good job. I give the appropriate tip-outs to my pimps co-workers. The hostess thinks I stiffed her, so she cuts my lip and beats me up checks my sales to make sure I am being honest. 

When all is finished for the evening, my manager tries to get me to have sex with him asks if I want a shift drink and tells me to have a good night. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hooters Weight Probation

If the idea of the Hooters so-called restaurant chain doesn't make you sick, perhaps the comments posted under Can Hooters waitress sue for weight discrimination will. If not, you must have an iron stomach.

Talk about misogyny. Two-year employee of Hooters was put on "weight probation." That is to say, lose weight or lose your job. Naive as I am, I actually thought we were past the weigh-ins at Delta Airlines in the 1970s. I guess some things never change.

Ready to serve chicken wings. 
I despise blaming the victim, but I have to say: if people refused to work at Hooters, the chain would fail. Of course, if people refused to eat at Hooters, the chain would fail. I understand that people need jobs and like I said, I don't want to blame the victim. The whole situation is a sad commentary on the human condition that females are commodities. And we Americans think we are so much better than other cultures in which women are not "liberated." That sound you hear is me gagging.
Highly offensive display of breast. (WTF?)

I see a lot of ignorance in the comments about what is protected and what is not. The person stating that sexual preference is not protected is incorrect. Addendum: Has been brought to my attention that federal law does not protect a worker from discrimination based upon sexual preferences, but that some states do. So, depending upon which of the fifty states you live in, your employer may be able to legally fire you over sexual preference. 

One comment describes the Hooter's waitress job description as big boobs, thin and cute. And yet, the comments under Mom's Restaurant is the Best Kind are hostile to nursing mothers and describe restaurant patrons being uncomfortable around a woman feeding her child. So, only show your boobs if you are trying to titillate men sucking down chicken wings. Stick a baby in front of your boob, and get out.

If you are interested in reading about "weigh-ins" and other emotional labor issues, read on of my favorite books, "The Managed Heart."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tipping in France

Nice post by a professional tour guide reminding people that it is the law in France that a 15% gratuity is included in restaurant bills. It is customary in France, the writer tells us, to leave a small gratuity in cash on the table, but it is no necessary.

Funny how Europeans come here and pretend not to understand our American strange and confusing tipping practices. Have waited on pretentious sots that show off how many languages they speak and brag about how many countries they have spent time in. Cultural, worldly, full of themselves. When it comes time to pay the bill, they suddenly have the cultural awareness and education of Cletis the slack-jawed yokel.

But "Insider Tips" is about Americans spending gobs of money on leaving tips that they did not have to pay, and what they could have shopped for with that money. Nice to know Americans are trying to behave themselves overseas and lay to rest the stereotype of the "ugly American."

When I first arrived in London and had a meal in the restaurant, I attempted to leave a tip when it was time to pay. The waiter acted offended that I would try to tip; gratuity is included. At least he didn't lie to me like the French waitress in the article. It would have been nice if he didn't make me feel like my dirty American ways caused him to want to shower.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Insider Tips: Restaurant Tipping

Available on Kindle:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tipping in the USA

An American by birth who has lived many years in England comments on his own confusion when traveling the states. He knows he is supposed to tip. But he feels that he never gets it right.

Actually, I think a lot of Americans who have lived here all of their lives often feel the same way. That is why there are books, articles, and entire web sites devoted to divulging tipping wisdom and etiquette. It only makes matters worse that they often disagree with each other.

Here is a common misunderstanding between waitress and dinner patron:

You will often hear 'is there change here?' in a restaurant or bar, and you have to think quick – how much change was there, is it between 15-20% or do I insist on getting it all back and then figuring it all out in front of the waiter or waitress.

While I agree with the author when he states in his article that it seems prices are sometimes set in order to result in the worker receiving tips. The example he gives is a vendor at a ball game selling $6.25 beers. Easy 75cents on most orders.

But when dining in a sit-down restaurant, the waitress is hoping that you will not want change not because she is some greedy cow. She is hoping she need not make change out of her own bank, realize that she is out of $1s, get $1s from the hostess after waiting for the busy hostess to have time for her, walk it back to your table so you can never pick it back up and leave it all anyway. Meanwhile, her other tables were getting antsy; thanks for nothing.

Sometimes, people actually add to the bill before leaving. I don't wish to sound ungrateful for the additional monetary compensation, but if you are ready to pay, could you please just leave everything in the bill the first time?

I remember the real winner who wanted her dime back. I don't even carry dimes, had to borrow one from a colleague. Then she left a dollar on the table. B****.

The author says something about not being able to compute 18.5% of a bill. Make it easy on yourself: tip 20%.

Tipping Traps

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dear Abby Advice Column

Remember Dear Abby supporting the waitresses  who complained that they could not read minds and should not be expected to? The issue was over separate checks; some customers want them and some do not. No customers back then thought to communicate their preferences to the waitresses.

Nice Handwriting!
This next letter to Dear Abby is from The Evening Independent dated August 30, 1971. Long before the days of the computerized point of sale (POS) system, this waitress told it like it was. Separate checks were a bother. Extra writing took more time as did trying to make change for numerous people at one table. And all the while, her other tables were wondering where she was while they decreased their tip due to the slow service.

With POS systems in many restaurants today, it is not as big a deal to give separate checks, but customers are well-advised to request separate checks at the beginning of the meal. This gives the waitress a "heads-up" to keep her notes regarding who ordered what.

Of course, Abby's response is priceless. Her father would tip 25cents for a 10cent cup of coffee. She quotes him as saying that waitresses are "...nice, hardworking girls who have one of the toughest jobs in the world."

The Toughest Job in the World

Monday, June 6, 2011

Funny Vegetables and Serious Salmon

Article is tongue-in-cheek, well written and entertaining. Regardless of the fact that the author is using humor to make a point, I couldn't take my eyes off of this little tidbit:

Suppose I go to a restaurant instead. I politely ask the waitress if she can describe the environmental footprint of the potatoes used to make the french fries. She cannot, so I cannot in good conscience order the fries.

How many of us have really, truly, waited on this character? I have.

"Foodies" as I so affectionately call them know nothing about food. They read an article or gourmet magazine, latch onto whatever is trendiest today, and grill the waitress about things they know nothing about.

I've gotten tons of the "Is the salmon wild or farm-raised?" When I tell them that it is farmed in the Atlantic around Maine and Canada, they wrinkle their noses and order something along the lines of factory-farmed, antibiotic fed cow.

The "experts" told them in the foodie mags that wild salmon is better because it:

  • has a stronger flavor
  • has a darker shade of pink
  • probably something about the evils of farming. 
The experts didn't talk about the parasites in wild salmon but not farm-raised salmon. Because farm-raised salmon are fed clean food, they do not carry the health risks of wild caught salmon. Not that all wild-caught salmon are swarming with disease, but it would be nice if somebody would write an objective piece about eating. 

So, wild caught should be cooked more than farm-raised. That is only an issue if you like rare meats, poultry and seafood. 

Regarding flavor, those with a sensitive pallette may taste more of a difference. But the farm-raised has a lovely flavor and meaty texture that salmon lovers enjoy. 

I'd rather wait on potato guy; at least he sounds knowledgable and consistent. And I could probably tell him something about where the potatoes came from and how their production effects the environment.
Funny Veges Opinion Piece

Friday, June 3, 2011

Mom's Restaurant Is The Best Kind

And we close this week of posts with the best kind of "breastaurant" there is: Mom's Breastaurant. Mom's Breastaurant creates a family friendly atmosphere at public, outdoor events.

This is, of course, what boobs are for. Not for men to ogle, but for babies and children to be nourished.

Mom's Breastaurant sets up booths at outdoor events with comfortable chairs and cool shade. Mothers can sit and nurse their children comfortably with like-minded members of other families. Mom's Breastaurant also sets up fully-equipped diaper changing facilities, so they are a real boon for families that like to attend outdoor events.

Consider a donation to Mom's Breastaurant, and have a great weekend.

Addendum: People have to serve alcohol to pregnant women, but want to refuse service to nursing moms? What type of mothering are we rewarding in this society, and what message are we sending children? That their needs don't matter. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Equality at The Lipstick Chronicles

Really enjoyed this feminist view of Hooters and other breastaurant chains.
Please hire me, Hooters!
I really need the job. 

While I may disagree with the idea that a woman is free to choose to make money by flashing her boobs at old men, the piece is well-written and entertaining. I believe that if women truly had equal opportunity, there would be no reason to "choose" to sell themselves for degrading and dehumanizing games of peek-a-boo.

The author makes the salient point that equality would not necessarily mean closing all breastaurants; but rather, equality would be waiters in speedos -- perhaps, I will add, one size too small.

Lipstick Chronicles

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hooters Restaurants Closing

Article is about closing Hooters franchise locations, mostly in the Seattle area. Good for Seattle.

But the closing sentence was too much of a gem to pass by:

When the Renton and South Park Hooters restaurant-casinos opened in 2009, some called them “too classy” for those neighborhoods.

Really? Am hard-pressed to imagine anything that smacks of lower class level than watching scantily-clad young women hula-hoop and jump around while scarfing down chicken wings. (I may start sounding like a broken record this week, but keep reading. It gets interesting.)

Hooters in Florida sued another restaurant for copying their waitress attire because the other business dressed waitresses in black tank tops and black running shorts. The decision came down in 2004 that Hooters tank top and shorts are not covered by trade dress protection (the picture of the owl can be trademarked, however.)

Feminist Law Professors quote the WSJ Law Blog writing on the decision:

Also, reasoned the trial court judge, the “Hooters Girl” is “the very essence of Hooters’ business,” whose “predominant function is to provide vicarious sexual recreation, to titillate, entice, and arouse male customers’ fantasies.” Therefore, it had a “primarily functional” purpose and was not entitled to trade dress protection.

There it is in black and white, folks. Hooters does not employ waitresses. Hooters employs sex objects and boy toys.

Classy? Legal? Really?