Friday, November 12, 2010

The first and last time I am going to say something about this

Tonight, I got stiffed. Twice.

Don't be that guy.

The one piece of advice I offer anyone going to somewhere new is: read up on your destination. When you travel to another country, pick up a guidebook and familiarize yourself with the culture. So that you don't do something obnoxious that affects the people around you unknowingly. You don't want to do that. I know you don't.

I had a family in the restaurant tonight that literally did not know how to work a credit card receipt. But it wasn't as though they just arrived on planet earth. What do credit card slips look like in Europe? Because everywhere I've been, there are 2-3 lines at the bottom of every slip. In the US, we all know that you add a tip to the line that says "tip", and then you do the math and then (and only then) you sign your name. That's what all those lines are for on the bottom of your receipt. ****I was informed by my friend Robin that in other countries, the second line is for a phone number. I had no idea! You aren't allowed to leave a tip on the receipt! So even though the line on our slip is clearly labeled "tip" if you don't speak English and have never heard of tipping, I guess it's understandable that they would be confused.***** Which brings me back to my original advice - know what you are doing before you go out. I know that in many countries, service in a restaurant is just part of your bill. *I know this - so when traveling I always check and see if service is listed somewhere else on the check first. So why is it that people visiting our country, don't know it isn't done like that here? In good old America, we gotta work for it. Earn it. You have to give a tip of your own free will (except parties of 6 or more. Sorry man, but we have to make sure that service is covered) and if your service sucks you have the god-given right to leave nothing for your server.

But don't do that unless you are dealing with a really extreme situation.
When you do get good table service, you *should* leave a tip. Period.
Don't be a dick.
Don't be ignorant.
And to my customers from tonight?
I know you were happy with your service and your food. I know you got everything you needed exactly when you needed it. I know you appreciated it when I repeated everything slowly with accompanying hand gestures. (Have you ever tried to play charades for the words "seared ahi"? It's complicated. But we figured it out together tonight, me and this family!)

And I know, deep down inside, that if you had known that leaving a tip was part of eating out, that you would have left one. A big one. I can feel it in my heart.

I hope - for your next server's sake - that someone has the sense to tell you about tipping, before you eat out again. You are very sweet people, but please don't let your next server be me. Take care, buh bye.

But you, over there at the sushi bar? Fuck You.
You ordered drinks from me, I brought you all of your dishes and utensils, made you your drinks and your miso soup, and brought all of that too. I cleared your place, I brought you your check, I brought you change.
And you took that change - all of it - and handed it to the sushi guy.
I am all about tipping your sushi guy - but you also have to tip the person who brought  (and took away) everything but the actual sushi.

The sushi dude's job is to make the sushi. He gets paid WAY MORE THAN I DO. And he gets part of my tips at the end of the night. The next time you sit at the sushi bar, bring your own beverages and leave me out of it.

Okay, sorry. I'm done. But it just had to be said. I know about tipping in other countries. I expect people eating out to understand how it works before they get the bill. I know I am not alone in this.

And so for you, my gentle reader, a video. This is my life.


Robin said...

I'm sorry you got stiffed, that definitely sucks, and yes, they certainly should have looked into local customs before arriving, but just so you know in most foreign countries, including the one I live in and many that I have traveled to, you are NOT permitted to leave a tip on the credit card bill - that second line is for your telephone number, not a tip.

Just sayin'...

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sue said...

AMEN!!!! Yesterday was Remembrance day, we offered Veterans and those in military uniform a free meal......most were great, then there were the table of younger in uniform.....three free meals and not a freakin' dime. Gets old really fast.
I have also noticed that people from England do not tip.....from what I have been told it is not something they do there?????