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Do You Say Something Or Not?


PLangfordJr
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I can't help but reflect on the fact that for most of my 60+ decades on this earth, 10% was the hard and fast rule.  Somehow, that escalated to 15% and now 20% seems to be the rock-bottom minimum, left only by miserly cheapskates.

It would be interesting to do an adjusted-dollar analysis that compares the earning power of a restaurant waiter relative to cost-of-living today and in 1958. I'd be willing to bet that standard of living based on an assumption of a 10% "standard tip" in 1958 would be about equal to a standard of living based on an assumption of a 20% "standard tip" today.

Why? Not that long ago, I never paid more for my lunch than $5. Now it's easily $10 and up.

So assuming that I had kept to the 10% standard, and the cost of my lunch has doubled, and even tripled, so would the size of my tip.

Well... let's do some math.

I looked in the historical menu archives and found a NY meny from 1957. A chicken salad sandwich cost one dollar. As chance would have it, I routinely buy a chicken salad sandwich for lunch at the price of five dollars. So, let's assume a "standard tip" on those sandwiches.

For the 1957 sandwich, it's a ten cent tip at ten percent. For the 2007 sandwich, it's a $1.10 tip at twenty percent. Big difference! But there's more math to come. Let's go over to this handy online calculator where we can do a "consumer bundle" comparison (the comparison that is most relevant to the value of income relative to running a household). That ten cents in 1958 would have a consumer bundle value in 2007 of 98 cents. So... not quite as much as the $1.10 tip on that modern day chicken salad sandwich. It's more like getting an eleven cent tip back in 1957. Pretty close, though.

Sam - your example is a bit strange. It hinges on the fact that the price of your sandwich (a consumer item) has only grown 5x during the time period (~4% per annum), while other consumer goods have grown almost 10x (~6% per annum). Since the tip is percentage based, if food were to grow at the consumer bundle level the relative income of the server would remain the same. It's possible that the prices of restaurant food as a whole have risen less than other consumer prices, but I'd need to see a lot more evidence to believe that.

Jack - Any attempt to rationalize your boorish tipping behavior is completely undermined by the fact that you continue to attend restaurants that employ it. It's like if sweatshop crusaders did their protesting in Nike's.

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bmdaniel, it has to do with a lot of things. It's not possible to do a direct comparison of a server's income in 1957 to 2007, because that's not exactly what we're talking about. What we can do is extrapolate the server's income based upon some reasonable assumptions and tipping conventions, and then we can compare that income across the two years. I have used one sandwich in making my example, but we could just as easily make that 100 sandwiches or a thousand.

Consumer bundle is not just related to consumer prices -- that would be "purchase power." A dollar in 1957 is equal to about $7.37 in 2007 in terms of purchase power. But whether or not you can buy a chicken salad sandwich today for $7.37 isn't the point. The consumer bundle is reflective of what it actually takes to run a household, which includes costs of more things than simple prices of goods. It includes the cost of services, education, clothing, utilities, etc. Some of these things have increased astronomically in price (shoes!), and there are lots of things that cost families money today that didn't even exist back in 1957 (for example, televisions, cable TV, computers and a high speed internet connection rae considered more or less standard for the middle class nowadays). In order to run the 2007 equivalent of that 1957 household, you would need to earn $9.78 in 2008 dollars for every $1 earned in 1957. So, for example, a family earning $5,000 a year in 1957 would be able to have right around a "same level of standard of living" as a family living today with an annual income of $49,000. Or at least that's how I'm reading it.

Going back to my example, if we assume that both waiters sell a similar number of chicken salad sandwiches, the 2007 waiter would need to make $9.78 in tips for every dollar the 1957 waiter made. Looking at the cost of a chicken salad sandwich today and in 1957, a higher tipping percentage is needed in 2007 for that waiter to maintain a similar standard of living.

--

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The drawback to this plan is finding a method to cut the currency perfectly in half as anything over half can be turned in at the bank for full value.

This is very difficult to do by tearing, actually, as I've seen it done a number of times. Almost always, one half of the bill is larger than the other. One can, however, make sure to hand the server the smaller "half," but that negates part of the philosophy behind your method, that the tip is wasted even if it doesn't get earned.

And the bank won't replace half dollar bills. Normal banks will replace any mutilated bill, as long as both serial numbers are intact and visible on the bill. If you have less of a bill than that, you must take it to the Federal Reserve Bank, where they have a template to determine whether you have more than half of the bill, and then they will replace it. Your server would need to know this sort of information, if he or she wanted to cheat you out of the rest of his or her "unearned" tip.

How do I know this? Well, I've seen this exact trick done, not in tipping me for service at a table, but in a sort of "negotiation" on the part of an amorous customer. He ripped up 8 $100 bills in front of me, then proceeded to give me halves of them, one at a time, in an effort to get me to go to his hotel room, where he'd presumably give me the other halves. He was rather tipsy, however, and I was rather wily, so I managed to get the larger halves of almost all of the bills. :smile:

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Are there really no cases where it's appropriate to question a customer over a poor tip? I recall one occasion when, after dining with a group of companions and having been forced to do a complicated tip split involving multiple credit cards (but some people paying cash), our server came back shortly before we left to ask if she did something wrong. We asked her why, and she noted that we had left a very meager tip – entirely by accident, as we had messed up the math when figuring out who got to take what change or whatever. We gladly fixed the tip. It was a little awkward, but not exceptionally so, and I was happier to have not accidentally left a bad tip (though I guess if the server hadn't told us, I never would've known, but still). What if it's clear, or at least likely, that a poor tip was left by mistake? Especially if the party is still at the table, is it really never acceptable to bring it up? I would certainly prefer not being kept in the dark if I've messed up my math!

The other thing with tipping is that, unlike at a retail store, where if you buy a given TV, you will get exactly that TV, service at a restaurant both has substantial variance and is a bigger part of the experience. If a server is more helpful or friendlier than usual, or if my party receives anything comped, I feel obligated to leave a larger tip. I guess, on the flip side, though, variable tip sizes are what encourage different diners receiving different levels of service, so maybe that's not so much a good thing.

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Are there really no cases where it's appropriate to question a customer over a poor tip?

Yep, there really are none. Your group was happy to have a mistake corrected, you could just as easily have been offended. A large group who corrected a mistake says "oops" and that's the end of it. It's over. A large group of offended people can do a lot of word-of-mouth damage.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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The other thing with tipping is that, unlike at a retail store, where if you buy a given TV, you will get exactly that TV, service at a restaurant both has substantial variance and is a bigger part of the experience. If a server is more helpful or friendlier than usual, or if my party receives anything comped, I feel obligated to leave a larger tip. I guess, on the flip side, though, variable tip sizes are what encourage different diners receiving different levels of service, so maybe that's not so much a good thing. 

  

How much variance can there be? Taking the order, bringing the cutlery, food and drink in the right order and at the right temperature, clearing the plates all with reasonable timing has few options for variance, only incompetence. Especially if the food is pre-plated in the kitchen.

I don't want my waitperson to sing, dance, provide advice, perform a psychoanalysis or otherwise exhibit variable behaviour. They are not part of the entertainment; they are a mechanism for ordering and delivering. I don't want to form a long term or even a short term relationship. I just want them to moderately competent at their job.

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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The other thing with tipping is that, unlike at a retail store, where if you buy a given TV, you will get exactly that TV, service at a restaurant both has substantial variance and is a bigger part of the experience. If a server is more helpful or friendlier than usual, or if my party receives anything comped, I feel obligated to leave a larger tip. I guess, on the flip side, though, variable tip sizes are what encourage different diners receiving different levels of service, so maybe that's not so much a good thing. 

  

How much variance can there be? Taking the order, bringing the cutlery, food and drink in the right order and at the right temperature, clearing the plates all with reasonable timing has few options for variance, only incompetence. Especially if the food is pre-plated in the kitchen.

I don't want my waitperson to sing, dance, provide advice, perform a psychoanalysis or otherwise exhibit variable behaviour. They are not part of the entertainment; they are a mechanism for ordering and delivering. I don't want to form a long term or even a short term relationship. I just want them to moderately competent at their job.

There are a lot of ways that good servers have improved my experience at restaurants. If I've been to a place often enough that the staff recognizes me and does little things like bring out extra amuses or sets up my tasting menus to be more weighted toward new dishes and other dishes I haven't tried before. Even on a first visit, a good server can distinguish himself by noticing, for example, that I'm taking an interest in the food and making more of an effort to tell me about the food. That aside, though, I've personally gotten quite a lot out of at least getting some sort of relationship with the staff at places I go to regularly, and I leave larger tips accordingly – it is not that I was unsatisfied with the experience I had when initially visiting the restaurant, but more that on subsequent visits, I had an even better experience. That is due to the service.
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Are there really no cases where it's appropriate to question a customer over a poor tip?

Yep, there really are none. Your group was happy to have a mistake corrected, you could just as easily have been offended. A large group who corrected a mistake says "oops" and that's the end of it. It's over. A large group of offended people can do a lot of word-of-mouth damage.

Yep. As I heard once...

A happy client will tell three people.

An unhappy client will tell everyone.

And you can bet that they won't tell 'everyone' the server's side of the story, either. So the server that's back at the restaurant feeling justifiably miffed at the jerky customer, and totally in the right for questioning the miserly tip after having given said jerky customer "excellent service," and certain that anyone hearing both sides of the story would agree with him, will never get his day in court.

Only the bad news will spread.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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"The other thing with tipping is that, unlike at a retail store, where if you buy a given TV, you will get exactly that TV, service at a restaurant both has substantial variance and is a bigger part of the experience. If a server is more helpful or friendlier than usual, or if my party receives anything comped, I feel obligated to leave a larger tip. I guess, on the flip side, though, variable tip sizes are what encourage different diners receiving different levels of service, so maybe that's not so much a good thing. "

You get SERVICE at any place you patronize. I work a 2nd job in retail and believe me, there is a big difference between people who wait on me at most store and the above and beyond customer service I try to provide when the opportunity presents itself. I get paid no more or no less if I go out of my way to go the extra mile and help someone than I do if (like last night) I spend my entire shift with zero customers and ring up zero sales (welcome to the recession - the whole mall was dead). Unless you're talking about Ikea, where it's all self-serve, service is relevant to everywhere you shop - the grocery store, the retail store, the restaurant, the hardware store, etc. You don't pay less for your dishes at my store because one of the clerks was in a bad mood or didn't provide the help you wanted or you had to wait in a long line or whatever. We are motivated to give good service therefore not from a begging perspective, but from an internal one. And the good departments that have good people who do believe in good customer service have a lot of happy customers and repeat business (and business from word of mouth). I do wish restaurants were like this as well.

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The other thing with tipping is that, unlike at a retail store, where if you buy a given TV, you will get exactly that TV, service at a restaurant both has substantial variance and is a bigger part of the experience. If a server is more helpful or friendlier than usual, or if my party receives anything comped, I feel obligated to leave a larger tip. I guess, on the flip side, though, variable tip sizes are what encourage different diners receiving different levels of service, so maybe that's not so much a good thing. 

  

How much variance can there be? Taking the order, bringing the cutlery, food and drink in the right order and at the right temperature, clearing the plates all with reasonable timing has few options for variance, only incompetence. Especially if the food is pre-plated in the kitchen.

I don't want my waitperson to sing, dance, provide advice, perform a psychoanalysis or otherwise exhibit variable behaviour. They are not part of the entertainment; they are a mechanism for ordering and delivering. I don't want to form a long term or even a short term relationship. I just want them to moderately competent at their job.

There are a lot of ways that good servers have improved my experience at restaurants. If I've been to a place often enough that the staff recognizes me and does little things like bring out extra amuses or sets up my tasting menus to be more weighted toward new dishes and other dishes I haven't tried before. Even on a first visit, a good server can distinguish himself by noticing, for example, that I'm taking an interest in the food and making more of an effort to tell me about the food. That aside, though, I've personally gotten quite a lot out of at least getting some sort of relationship with the staff at places I go to regularly, and I leave larger tips accordingly – it is not that I was unsatisfied with the experience I had when initially visiting the restaurant, but more that on subsequent visits, I had an even better experience. That is due to the service.

All the things taion mentions are the things that a good server should be doing as part of their job, not because they have learned that you are a good tipper therefore worthy of their effort and attention. Servers should get paid a decent wage and these perks or extras should be expected for all customers.

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You get SERVICE at any place you patronize.  I work a 2nd job in retail and believe me, there is a big difference between people who wait on me at most store and the above and beyond customer service I try to provide when the opportunity presents itself.  I get paid no more or no less if I go out of my way to go the extra mile and help someone than I do if (like last night) I spend my entire shift with zero customers and ring up zero sales (welcome to the recession - the whole mall was dead).  Unless you're talking about Ikea, where it's all self-serve, service is relevant to everywhere you shop - the grocery store, the retail store, the restaurant, the hardware store, etc.  You don't pay less for your dishes at my store because one of the clerks was in a bad mood or didn't provide the help you wanted or you had to wait in a long line or whatever.  We are motivated to give good service therefore not from a begging perspective, but from an internal one.  And the good departments that have good people who do believe in good customer service have a lot of happy customers and repeat business (and business from word of mouth).  I do wish restaurants were like this as well.

My point is that service is a much bigger deal at a restaurant than in retail. Yes, it does make a difference, but the server/kitchen helping to e.g. make substitutions to a tasting menu to best work with my tastes makes a substantial difference from what happens if I go buy a TV – once I bring the TV home, the utility I get from it is not a function of the level of service I received.
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I thought the chef controlled the contents of the tasting menu.

The skill of the chef will make a big difference o the meal quality.

Other things being equal so will an additional 10% of the cover price - increasing hte food costs from say 25% to say 35% will make more difference than changing the service element.

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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Yep.  As I heard once...

A happy client will tell three people.

An unhappy client will tell everyone.

And you can bet that they won't tell 'everyone' the server's side of the story, either.  So the server that's back at the restaurant feeling justifiably miffed at the jerky customer, and totally in the right for questioning the miserly tip after having given said jerky customer "excellent service," and certain that anyone hearing both sides of the story would agree with him, will never get his day in court.

Only the bad news will spread.

Sometimes, don't you wish there was a site where you could tell the other side of the story? :wink: And not just a thread on eG :smile:

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Yep.  As I heard once...

A happy client will tell three people.

An unhappy client will tell everyone.

And you can bet that they won't tell 'everyone' the server's side of the story, either.  So the server that's back at the restaurant feeling justifiably miffed at the jerky customer, and totally in the right for questioning the miserly tip after having given said jerky customer "excellent service," and certain that anyone hearing both sides of the story would agree with him, will never get his day in court.

Only the bad news will spread.

Sometimes, don't you wish there was a site where you could tell the other side of the story? :wink: And not just a thread on eG :smile:

There is, isn't there? A kind of "pissed off servers bitch" site?

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I'm a happy customer who will tell EVERYONE.

It's interesting to me that this topic, which has at times been a helpful and interesting discussion of tipping practices, has in my opinion descended into something...less.

I return to my previous question: is it more informative and useful for everyone if you give a decent tip most of the time, and if you leave one that's less generous, you speak to the manager about the reason for it? I didn't think that that was a complicated question.

"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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I return to my previous question: is it more informative and useful for everyone if you give a decent tip most of the time, and if you leave one that's less generous, you speak to the manager about the reason for it? I didn't think that that was a complicated question.

if things are a little off resulting in a tip of less than my usual 15-20%+ then no I feel no need to speak to the manager.

If service was so awry as to result in *no* tip (once in a blue moon for me) then I've probably already spoken to the manager about the abyssal service.

Jon

--formerly known as 6ppc--

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It's interesting to me that this topic, which has at times been a helpful and interesting discussion of tipping practices, has in my opinion descended into something...less.

Why do you feel it's something less? I think discussing the potential impact on the business from a server confronting a customer over the size of the tip is part and parcel to the topic. The point is that there is more at stake than the server feeling better by getting it off his/her chest. It's not as simple as "I felt stiffed so I asked". If I tell servers "well if you think the tip is too small, go confront the customer" and the customer is offended and never comes back, it's business as usual for the server but (at least) one less customer for the business. I support my servers completely when it comes to inappropriate or abusive behavior from customers and I don't completely subscribe to "the customer is always right", their money doesn't buy them a license to be an ass, but I'm not going to lose customers because a server expected more money than they got on a tip and wants to try to embarrass the customer into giving more. It's completely relevant to the discussion.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I return to my previous question: is it more informative and useful for everyone if you give a decent tip most of the time, and if you leave one that's less generous, you speak to the manager about the reason for it? I didn't think that that was a complicated question.

if things are a little off resulting in a tip of less than my usual 15-20%+ then no I feel no need to speak to the manager.

If service was so awry as to result in *no* tip (once in a blue moon for me) then I've probably already spoken to the manager about the abyssal service.

This is helpful to me. I think 15-20% is reasonable - 20% if everything is OK, 15% or whatever in between if things are "a little off." I've done this myself, but I always wonder if I should say something. I mean, it's nothing huge, and if it wasn't clearly the server's fault, I would neither leave a lower tip nor speak to someone. If it WAS the server's fault, yeah, I'd leave closer to 15% and not say anything.

I guess one thing I'm wondering about is the idea of leaving a tip of between, say, 0 and 15% - where something is clearly pretty wrong. You say yes, you would have already spoken to someone, and I agree. I'm wondering about leaving a 10% tip for a meal and not saying anything - it just seems wrong to me.

Anyway, thanks.

"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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It's interesting to me that this topic, which has at times been a helpful and interesting discussion of tipping practices, has in my opinion descended into something...less.

Why do you feel it's something less? I think discussing the potential impact on the business from a server confronting a customer over the size of the tip is part and parcel to the topic. The point is that there is more at stake than the server feeling better by getting it off his/her chest. It's not as simple as "I felt stiffed so I asked". If I tell servers "well if you think the tip is too small, go confront the customer" and the customer is offended and never comes back, it's business as usual for the server but (at least) one less customer for the business. I support my servers completely when it comes to inappropriate or abusive behavior from customers and I don't completely subscribe to "the customer is always right", their money doesn't buy them a license to be an ass, but I'm not going to lose customers because a server expected more money than they got on a tip and wants to try to embarrass the customer into giving more. It's completely relevant to the discussion.

Why do I feel it's "something less"? Fair question. As much as anything, it's the tone. This is the hospitality industry (funny phrase!), and carries an understanding by both provider and recipient of a degree of trust, and that's what I see slipping in some of this discussion. To read "a happy customer tells 3 people, an unhappy customer tells everyone" reveals an attidue about me as a customer that doesn't add to my experience of "hospitality." I immediately feel (wrongly) lumped in with all those imaginary (or not), ungrateful customers who don't appreciate an commend good service.

On the other hand, too, the attitude that "I pay my check, it's up to me IF I tip...I don't believe in tipping, so I don't leave much/anything" is not very kind or hospitable.

I see going to a restaurant as a pleasant, relaxing experience (unless proven otherwise), and I guess that I'm a little disappointed to see it regarded on both sides, by some, as nothing more than a transaction, or worse, a power play.

Just my opinion.

"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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Why do I feel it's "something less"? Fair question. As much as anything, it's the tone. This is the hospitality industry (funny phrase!), and carries an understanding by both provider and recipient of a degree of trust, and that's what I see slipping in some of this discussion. To read "a happy customer tells 3 people, an unhappy customer tells everyone" reveals an attidue about me as a customer that doesn't add to my experience of "hospitality." I immediately feel (wrongly) lumped in with all those imaginary (or not), ungrateful customers who don't appreciate an commend good service.

I said that. And it's not unkind or unfair or insulting. It's simply a matter of fact, and something that all retail management should take into account when they are weighing the pros and cons of pissing off customers.

I learned that in a management class years ago. I was not in the restaurant business - I owned a travel agency. But dealing with the public in any sort of retail or service industry is the same thing. Whether you own a shoe store or a travel agency or a restaurant, when you've had it right up to here with a difficult customer and you're considering your options and the ramifications of each choice, you need to understand that the consequences will go much further than simply you and he and that one moment.

Sometimes, it's worth it. Some customers take up so much of your time and energy for little or no reward, or are beligerant and abusive to your staff, or otherwise make themselves such a pain in the butt that it's easily worth it to tell them to take their business elsewhere.

But there is an additional cost that you had better understand. As I said, and I repeat, "an unhappy customer tells everybody." They most certainly do. As a manager you have to take that into account when you're deciding whether you should continue to try to fix the problem and appease them, or not.

It probably matters far less if your business is in downtown Manhattan and you've got a potential customer base of literally millions from which to draw. But if your business is in a small town with a limited and gossipy customer base, you'd sure better understand the principle and potential result of bad word-of-mouth.

I will say that in the eight years I owned that agency, every single time I told a miserably difficult customer to go elsewhere (which happened only about four times in all those years), it turned out that they did indeed tell everyone they knew. One even wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, but their acquaintances and "friends" didn't care because they knew all too well the personalities involved. As one supposed "friend" said, "'Mr. Jerk' was telling everybody at duplicate bridge the other night what happened, but nobody pays any attention to him. We know he can be a kind of a jerk. In fact, we won't even go out to dinner with him any more. If you think he's bad in your agency, you should see him when he's upset with a waiter."

Although you might not care for the "tone" of this thread, what we're having here is a frank and clinical discussion regarding the the benefits and drawbacks of confronting customers about a lousy tip.

The fact that an angry customer will indeed tell everyone they know certainly should figure into any such discussion.

And definitely should be a consideration when management is deciding how best to handle a problem.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Why do you think buying a meal at a restaurant is not a transaction?

Maybe its a cultural difference.

Its not having a meal in the server's home. If anything, the host is the person paying the bill, and my interaction should be just with them and the other guests in at the table, not the waitstaff,

Its a commercial space, and ideally, and in the best traditions the staff are as near as practical, invisible and silent. Apart from ordering, and if I am the host, paying, every time I have to ask for something,(forgotten item, or who has what, or time for more wine) or my needs are not anticipated without asking, or having to interact with the staff, that is a demerit. Even ordering and payment can be done in advance or at a different time.

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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Jaymes, thanks for posting your experiences. They connect also to a Parallel Topic on online public restaurants comments, where I quoted you.

every single time I told a miserably difficult customer to go elsewhere (which happened only about four times in all those years), it turned out that they did indeed tell everyone they knew.  One even wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, but their acquaintances and "friends" didn't care because they knew all too well the personalities involved.

Absolutely, I've seen this too in a few incidents at restaurants. Today, those people might rush online and tell the world their shocking revelations about a restaurant with an otherwise good reputation -- and the readers won't be their friends, so won't know about the personality behind the words.
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Sometimes, even when you refund a customer's money, or comp something off their bill, or do the right thing, they are still going to tell everyone they know about their experience. They won't be objective. It will be a complaint. They may skim over the fact that you did what you could to correct the original error or problem or whatever it was.

People who have a complaint will talk about it for much longer than people with a compliment, it's human nature. Probably for years longer!

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I wrote: " I immediately feel (wrongly) lumped in with all those imaginary (or not), ungrateful customers who don't appreciate and commend good service."

So SHOULD I feel lumped in with those ungrateful customers, or is a grateful, appreciative customer simply not worth encouraging? Don't do anything special, don't pay any particular attention, because we're too easy?

Is the discussion of hospitality really irrelevant? Is it naive to regard any evening out at a favorite restaurant as a pleasant, relaxing experience where those preparing the meal and serving it actually care, beyond the coin exchanged, whether I'm having an enjoyable evening?

"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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You ask an interesting question violetfox, and one that goes to the heart of the matter.

If I go to a restaurant I want professional, correct service. I hope that is what my server and staff care about.

I don't need my server or the chef to feel good about me, or (as has happened to me) to care deeply and emotionally, but provide sloppy service with dirty cutlery "because that doesn't matter to the love".

Indeed the whole notion of buying love or care, even for the period of the meal is not right.

Whether I have an enjoyable evening may depend on many other factors, many of which are out of the control of the server, and often no business of the server. For example when I had a restaurant we could do no wrong for the couple discussing their engagement; we could do no right for the couple discussing their divorce.

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