And how would you liked that cooked?

I just worked my first swing shift. A swing shift is when you go in midway through lunch and stay until the restaurant is off the wait for the evening. Today I got to work at 1:30 and my station was cut at 10:30. Overall it was not a bad day, and I do have to admit that my new outlook is working great. For the last two days I’ve had great shifts, worked hard and made good money. And basically I just tell myself that no matter what’s happening there is no reason to be upset. It’s not worth losing your job over, yelling about, or losing your cool. And for the most part it’s worked.

I do have to admit though, that I had to take a couple of very deep breaths at the end of the shift tonight.

My last table of the evening was four British women who were sat around 9:30. There was nothing out of the ordinary about them and they were okay nice. They didn’t want to have fun, but they were pleasant enough. I should have known better. They ate at a snails pace. It took them almost an hour to finish their main courses. And when you have an appetizer, entree and dessert, that can take a while. They also had three rounds of cocktails. When it was all said and done, their bill came to $241.27 and they had been my only table for well over an hour by 11:30. At around 11:45 they finally paid their tab. They were very sweet and told me to keep the change.

And so breathlessly I took the money to the wait station and said a little prayer. And counted it.

They had given me $250.00. Good lord. And I got to keep the change. All$8.73 cents worth.

You have to be FUCKING kidding me. Eight bucks on a $240.00 tab. And it’s caused me to be at work an extra hour. Goddamn it.

I just stood in the wait station, cringing. I was afraid to go back on the floor because I didn’t want to be tempted to say something to them. With most corporate restaurant jobs, the one sure way to be fired is to say something to a guest about a tip. The same holds true in my restaurant. But at the same time you have to be kidding me.

Just to break things down for you. I have to tip out 4 percent of my gross sales. So let’s just do the math. 4% of 240 is 9.60. Yes, that’s right, it’s actually cost me money to wait on them, and in the end I didn’t make a penny. And I’m still at work at midnight, when if they hadn’t been here I could have been home by midnight. AAAAAHHHHHH.

By the time I got home, I just let it roll off my back. There’s no use getting upset about it. It really doesn’t do any good when it’s all said and done. I still managed to walk with 13% of my sales for the day and that was still a significant amount of money. But I just keep thinking how nice the fifty bucks would have been if they’d tipped the 20 percent they should have. Ah, wishful thinking.

And now I’m going to go to bed, so I can have my new outlook during my shift tomorrow.

Wish me luck.

11 thoughts on “And how would you liked that cooked?

  1. Lemuel October 29, 2007 / 07:39

    Think: calming ocean sounds! Soothing music.

    Perhaps we can attribute their tip to a British education system that failed them in math, kind of like the woman who darted in front of me the other day at the 10 items or less checkout and had a full sized cart bulging with items. I wanted to ask her if she were a math major who could not read or an English major who could not count.

  2. Cincy Diva October 29, 2007 / 08:34

    Try to stop blaming the Europeans and start placing blame on the American serving system. When I worked at the Westin Hotel, it was explained to us, not to expect large tips from the European guests because in Europe, they actually pay their servers a living wage so they do not rely on tips. Be thankful they left you anything at all.

  3. Donnie October 29, 2007 / 16:42

    Serenity Now, Maddog. It’s not worth it…… I hope you have a great week. 🙂

  4. robert October 29, 2007 / 17:36

    Because I don’t have mad math skillz, yo, I round up my bill and T.I.P. 20%. And on top of that, I’ll round-up to the next whole dollar amounton the T.I.P. So say my bill was $21.75. I’d round up to $22. The T.I.P. would be $4.40, then I’d round up the T.I.P. to $5. However, it the service is poor, then it’s the standard 15%.

  5. urspo October 29, 2007 / 21:56

    reading about your work has given me more respect to people who wait tables for a living
    happy halloween by the way.

  6. Mike October 30, 2007 / 06:08

    Funny – some of the restaurants down here (that are owned by British ex-pats) add in a surcharge – simply because their mostly British clientell do not understand, or appreciate, how little they get to pay their wait staff.

    The British can’t be blamed, unless they’ve been here for a number of years. Still, it can be frustrating.

  7. Bob October 30, 2007 / 19:46

    Maddog: In most of Europe the tip is automatically added to the bill before you get it. Used to be about 15-18%. You usually left any “small” change behind as an extra. The probably assumed that you had added the tip to the bill before you gave it to them and then left the change. BTW, it would not be rude to tell a visitor that in the US the tip is not added to the bill.

  8. Condoblogger October 31, 2007 / 07:51

    I was wondering about that too… it seems to me your worst tippers are people from outside the US… COULD it be a cultural thing?

    I remember being in London and tipping our hotel bartender like we would tip our regular US bartenders… EVERY TIME we walked into the bar she would get a HUGE smile on her face and start pouring our usuals…

    It wasn’t until we got home that I learned she loved us only for our tips. We had no clue that they aren’t expected there.

  9. Paul October 31, 2007 / 22:54

    I don’t know what to say, other than … best of luck!

    (Remember, unfortunately you CAN’T educate customers on the economics of US restaurant/hospitality compensation structures.)

  10. Shel November 1, 2007 / 10:46

    Hang in there, buddy — There is absloutely NOTHING worse than having to deal with the public. I do it everyday, albeit not in the food industry. People can be rude and ignorant. Best of luck to you, baby…

  11. James November 4, 2007 / 10:26

    Okay…you need to post more…I check every day but alas…another day with no new post… I enjoy reading yoru blog! 😉

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