Sunday, October 15, 2006 by Ospite.

I was stuck in the section of our restaurant that I can't stand. It's the back corner and the layout is quite bizarre. Most people don't like to sit there, and the ones that do end up setting up camp for what feels like decades.

I'd had 2tops all night long, so when I saw a small birthday party walk in the door, I wandered up to the host and claimed the party for my own. The tips for the 2tops averaged over 30% all day long, so I figured while I was turning them over like crazy, I figured I'd get a party that would camp at my big table that wasn't being used.

After 20 minutes, they made their way to my table. 3 of what would be a 5top decided to hang out and wait until the birthday girl and her mother would arrive. Bread and water for the three and I returned to my myriad of 2tops.

Some time passed and the two ladies found their way to the tiny celebration. They ordered drinks, birthday girl first to the mother last. This 70 year old woman was a tad on the nutty side. She ordered water without ice, a second glass filled with ice, and lemon on the side. She had a thick British accent and the strongest perfume I've ever smelled. When the dinner orders were placed, she opted for alfredo with penne, chicken, two basil leaves, and a small dish of ground pepper on the side.

Halfway through the meal, she stood up and walked around the table a couple times and then wandered off. Her daughter had to go find her. They returned and the little brit ate tow more bites before she had to go to the bathroom. 15 minutes passed and she had still yet to return. Now the sister-in-law was sent to find the wayward woman. She came back alone. Apparently the blue hair was nowhere to be found. Now the son was off to locate her. I was slightly frightened to learn that she had driven herself. I was glad to hear the car was still there. 20 more minutes passed.

The son returned, I presented the birthday cake and they ate briefly. I boxed up all the leftovers, as well as the basil leaves and pepper...just in case they old lady was found. After this bizarre saga, I realized they forgot to tip.

I turned to the 2top behind them.

"What was that debacle?"
"I'm not sure, but I kind of feel bad that they couldn't find their mother."
"How was their tip?" (Which is funny, because customers rarely ask this)
"They forgot to tip entirely. Drama drama drama."

When that 2top left, I found a 100% tip on their table and a small note that said, "Thanks for the entertainment...I hope she's found."


Blogger Thy said...

wow! that was nice of them.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Typical City Girl said...

Was she found?

8:38 PM  
Anonymous The Pensive Penguin said...

We call that section the ass-crack of the restaurant. I've never worked in a place that didn't have one.

I know how those "sympathy tips" can be, too. My first waiting job in Vegas was at a place where the average customers were split; half were jerks who don't know how to tip, but there were as many others who would notice the bad treatment and worse tips from the first group and give larger tips to compensate. It all evens out in the end.

11:31 PM  
Blogger Ceetar said...

I think the reason customers never ask about tips is because it's akin to asking how much you make, which is usually considered rude to ask a stranger.

6:23 AM  
Anonymous Gaping MAW said...

We just had one of our rare fall rainy-days here in Southern California while I was working at The Restaurant, and even though it meant a decent amount of inconvenience for the customers who had to move off our patio and be crowded into our bar, I noticed the average tip went up a good deal. I think because they noticed us running around like crazy and getting rained out heading out to the people who refused to leave the patio. Yay sympathy tips. Restores my faith in humanity.

Doncha hate the labour-intensive 5-top? Just as much work as a six or seven top, but without the security of the automatically added gratuity. Sounds like you handled them well, though :)

Love the blog! Keep it up

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can a person "forget" to tip? It's done while their wallet is out to pay for the meal. They didn't forget anything.

4:29 PM  

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At your service, Ospite

I am not in the restaurant business, I am in the people business. I use every opportunity to people watch, because to me, even the most mundane is fascinating.

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