Don’t throw the book at me just yet. I do tip. I’m a very generous tipper. Having worked in the restaurant industry myself, I know just how much servers rely on tips to get by. If you didn’t know, the “society’s” expectation on tipping is a massive con, pressuring customers into covering your income so your employers don’t have to. But I digress. I’m not here to discuss the evils of the service industry, or why tipping should be banned in favour of a real paycheck. If you are my server, I will tip you, and I’ll tip you damn well. That is, unless, you commit any of the following sins which will screw you right out of my generosity. Pay heed, servers. It takes a lot to put me off to the point that I refuse to tip you. So if I walk away from the table without leaving any extra for you, then you’ve done something very wrong.
1. You’re not professional
This doesn’t only apply to servers. No matter what your job is, you should be there to work. It doesn’t matter if you flip burgers for a living, or if this is just your after-school job that your parents made you get. Take pride in doing your job, and doing it well.
I’ve worked in convenience stores, coffee shops, restaurants, and call centers. When I was a teenager I used to clean up after sick animals. None of these jobs were particularly prestigious, especially when I was cleaning dog diarrhea and vomit on my hands and knees. But from the minute I clocked in until the minute I clocked out, I was committed to my job.
How does this apply to you? It’s simple: don’t be thumbing through a magazine in the middle of the restaurant. Get off your smart phone. Don’t even pull it out. You’re at work. Are some of your friends sitting at one of your tables? That’s fine, but don’t be shooting the shit like you’re hanging out at the bar. They’re hanging out. You’re working. So work. If you act like you’re too good for the job, then you’re too good for my tip.
2. You stink
Stop wearing a ton of perfume. Wear a jacket when you go out for a smoke. Wash your hands when you come back from your smoke. Don’t reek of the days’ worth of food you’ve been handling. Wash your uniform. Take a shower before you come to work. Keep your weed at home (yes, I can smell it, everyone can smell it).
Nothing cripples an appetite faster than stench. Aside from, of course, if…
3. You look like hell
My expectations aren’t unreasonable. I don’t care what you look like as long as you don’t look like you recently crawled out of a sewer.
Clean yourself up. Have a neat head of hair. Don’t be covered in stains and grease. Again, wash your hands. Fingernails are a big one. They shouldn’t even be a little dirty. Dirty fingernails should never, ever be anywhere near food.
Put some effort into not looking like a dumpy mess. If you look gross, you’re going to gross people out. You’re working customer service. Don’t gross out the customer.
Furthermore, if you have any disgusting habits, keep them in private. I don’t want to see you picking, sniffing, sucking, or scratching any part of yourself.
4. You’re rushing me
“Are you ready to order? No? How about now? Are you ready yet? Can I get you anything? Are you going to order anytime soon? What do you want? Are you ready now?”
Why are you so impatient? Do you have anywhere to be? Is that my problem? It’s not. Look, it’s good to frequently check on your customers… within reason. If you’re coming by every 30 seconds to ask if I’ve decided what to order yet, you’re going to annoy the hell out of me really quickly. It’s rude. I told you I needed a couple minutes, not a couple seconds. Go manage your other tables. Don’t have any other tables? Then I’m sure you can make yourself useful for a little while somewhere else in the restaurant. Go wipe down a table or something. I don’t take ages to order. I’m not here to dick you around. So, please, don’t dick me around.
Furthermore, if I say I’m waiting for someone, let me wait. Stop pestering me.
5. You’ve forgotten all about me
This sin is the antithesis of the last, and it’s just as bad.
Look, I get it. Sometimes you’re really busy and you have a lot of tables to manage. It’s easy to get a bit lost. If I need you and you haven’t come by in a while, I’ll flag you down. That’s okay… the first couple of times. However, if I need to hunt you down for every single thing, then we have a problem. It’s not my job to manage you. I’m here to enjoy a meal that’s being cooked and served to me without having to do any work for myself. That’s what restaurants are for. Once I find myself playing “Where’s Waldo” with my server for the Nth time, I’ve already put in much more work than I ever should.
I know, I know… first world problems. But I’ve been in your shoes many, many times. I expect you to give me the same level of service that I would have given you.
6. You’re whining about your problems
We all have shitty days. However, I’m not your social worker. I’m your customer. Sure, it sucks that your dog just died, your car wouldn’t start this morning, you were late getting to work, your boss is an ass, and you’ve barely made a tip all day. What do you want me to do about it? I came here to enjoy a meal, not listen to your problems. I’m not being inhuman or mean. I truly do sympathize. But not when I’m eating, or out on a date. You have problems. So do I. I don’t come to your restaurant to cry to you about mine, so don’t come to my table to cry to me about yours. We’re not here to throw you a pity party. Leave your personal life out of your work life.
7. You’re hitting on my date
Are you fucking high? I will never, ever understand the logic behind a server who thinks it’s appropriate to try and pick up my girlfriend when he’s serving us. If this ever happens, I usually catch it just as I’m returning from the washroom to see the server hovering over my girlfriend trying to make conversation. Few people have ever had the balls to do it right in front of me, but that’s happened too. You’re spending way too long at our table, paying way too much attention to my date, and trying way too hard to impress her. You’re giving her your life story without ever being asked. Oh, you’re a writer working on a novel that’s going to be your big break? You’re an actor auditioning for multiple major motion pictures? You’re an OHL player who’s going to make it in the big leagues? Great, now get me my damn steak and stop ogling my girlfriend. Yes, she’s hot. She’s also out of your league.
Sometimes, though rarely, it happens the other way around. Sometimes, though rarely, I’m the one being hit on. Hey, see the gorgeous girl sitting across the table from me? That’s my date, and you’re visibly pissing her off. You’re souring the mood, as well as your tip.
Bad move, Casanova.
These are the seven deadly server sins. I realize I may have come off more than once as condescending. That’s not me you might say. I don’t need to be told any of this. This is all common sense.
Bravo. You’re one of the good ones, and I commend you. You’ll benefit from a tip that’s fairly out of this world, because that’s the kind of guy I am. I never come to a restaurant without the intention of making my server’s day. I love making you happy. I love being the customer that you love to serve. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Don’t ruin the good feels for the both of us.