20 is the new 15

July 3, 2008

Published in the March 27th edition of QSaltLake.

20 is the new 15 

I’ve been working as a waiter for the past year and a half. It’s taught me a lot and I’ve enjoyed much about it, but as with any service industry you get to see the very worst in people. It’s often a practice in deep breathing. 

If you take nothing else from this column, please take this: When you go out to eat your tip should start at 20 percent of your food cost. And that’s just for your standard run-of-the-mill service. When I say food cost I mean the cost of all of the food and drink that you order. Did you catch that last part? If you don’t like something and end up sending it back to the kitchen, then that is a lot of extra work for your server. If you decide not to replace the item you didn’t like with something else, which is an option that your server should graciously offer, then when you pay your server at the end of your meal be sure to include in your head the cost of the returned food when you figure your tip. 

Verbal tips are what cheap people use to make themselves feel better about their poor performance as a human. Verbal tippers leave you a bad gratuity after they verbally praise you, the food, the service and the whole experience that they’ve just had. Your server’s self-esteem is not hanging on your opinion of the meal and their service. Show your gratitude with your gratuity.

A lot of people come very close to tipping an acceptable amount. But you know, you’d think that last dollar or two is just going to kill people! If your check’s total is $35 then shell out that extra dollar and tip $7 rather than rounding down to $6. You’re not going to miss that dollar. I promise. 

I guess the cold hard truth is this: If you can’t afford to tip 20 percent on your meal then you probably shouldn’t be eating at a restaurant with sit-down service. If you can afford to tip 20 percent or more and choose not to, then you’re very likely a person that values money and things over human beings. That’s a sad way to live, but one that we probably have all been guilty of in our lives at some point. The good news is there are many opportunities to overcome this mindset of inanimate “things” over people. 

Remember three things: nobody likes a cheap bastard, everybody knows that bad tippers are bad in bed, and bad tippers have at some point in their lives intentionally kicked a puppy. 

Survival of the Fittest Everyone 

When I’m your server I stop by your table after I drop off your food to make sure everything tastes OK. One time I was serving a man and woman, probably in their mid-40s. I approached their table and asked in a pleasant tone if everything had come out alright. They stopped eating, looked at each other with blank expressions then turned their heads slowly to look up at me. They stared for a moment without saying a word then turned their faces slowly back to they’re food and resumed chewing. I’m sure that for just a second my head cocked ever so slightly to one side as my brain came screeching to a halt. But I quickly recovered and walked away from the table, not sure what had just happened. 

This is why zoos are so wrong. Because when you lock all the lions up, everyone survives to adulthood regardless of their ability to navigate through the wilds of our society. It’s the people that cruise along in the passing lane on the freeway with 10 cars stuck behind them that would have been Mufasa’s dinner had they been born back in the caveman’s day. 

I realize that we all have our moments when we’re that person, but some people are hogging more than their fair share of the stupid! 

Gay People Get Around

I’ve read studies that have found gay people to eat out and travel more than their straight counterparts. I believe this is true. Gay people get around more than straight people do. There’s no point in doing something more than everyone else if you’re not going to be the best at it. Remember, you don’t get anywhere worth being unless you give more than is expected.


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