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i left ZERO tip. (long story- but get this!!!)

I went out with a friend the other night for a drink and a bite to eat. We chose a place in our neighborhood (downtown Toronto gay district) that I had been to a few times before- a funky diner type place- sandwiches, burgers, etc- nothing fancy. We sat on the patio. Saturday night. It was packed.

It was a good 15-20 minutes before we even saw our server. (later he explained he also had tables inside) he was not in a good mood. he quickly went down the entire row of his tables taking orders (and writing them down!) we ordered our drinks, my friend ordered her food, and I ordered the turkey burger. he was very impatient when he took our orders- practically cutting me off.

When our drinks finally arrived we had been there 30 minutes. “whatever” I thought- they’re in the weeds and I can understand that. Boy, can I ever.

About 10 minutes later a female server came out to drop off our food- but she had a turkey WRAP for me. I politely said “no, I asked for the turkey burger” and she took the food back to the kitchen. A minute later a different male server came out- again with the one wrong dish and I explained again that I had asked for the turkey burger, not the wrap. He served my friend her food and went to get our server.

Seconds later our server came over- WITH THE SAME WRONG DISH in his hand and told me he thought I ordered the turkey WRAP. “no,” I said for the third time, “I asked for the turkey BURGER.”

“Well then it’s going to be another twenty minutes unless you want to eat this”

“No, I don’t want to eat THAT. I would like to eat what I ordered”

He finally took the wrong dish back to the kitchen. He came back a few minutes later to quality check my friend’s food and explain about the business of the place. We were polite and understanding. After all- I’m a waitress too.

Twenty minutes goes by. Thirty minutes. Forty-five minutes. (all the while our server going back and forth, serving his other tables and avoiding eye contact with us). After an hour I figured I probably wasn’t going to get my turkey burger so I asked for the bill. (time was running out at this point- I wanted to get to the wine store before it closed.)

Server dropped the bill on our table without saying a word. $32 for the drinks and my friend’s food. I put $12 on my debit card and asked the server to put $20 on my friend’s visa. When he brought the visa back to us he literally THREW it on the table and walked away.

I really didn’t think any tip was justified. A tip is for service. What service did I receive?? And I AM A WAITRESS!!!! I know when a server is at least trying. That whole experience was just ridiculous. I didn’t, and still don’t, see any point in complaining to a manager. The place gets plenty of business as it is. I just don’t get the idea management would really care. If the place is understaffed and completely in the shitz - where was the manager then??? Whoever voided my meal off my bill obviously didn’t care that I didn’t eat.

Has anyone else ever had such an extreme experience when you felt no tip should be left? I’m still in shock. I really don’t ask for much when I go out- but I do believe in tipping fairly for service. even with the attitude- If I had at least eventually GOTTEN what I ordered I would have left him something.

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  1. Right on, Sister! I also am in the business. I always overtip because I understand what goes on as do you. However, it is a SERVICE business. If I knew that kind of service was going on in my place I would be horrified. If I were you, if it really bothers you and continues to do so, I would write a note to the owner and share your story, just like you have here. I always say to my employees, we can cook the best food in the world but if the customer has a bad experience in the front, we've lost them. I would not have tipped them either.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chefmo

      I can't blame you for not tipping, but why did you put yourself through all that? I would have walked out after 15 minutes and no server! It takes 10 seconds for someone to come by and say, "Hi there, I'll be with you as soon as I can."

      1. re: foodstorm

        I agree with Foodstorm. Depending on the circumstances, I'll usually give anyone -- anyone! -- no more than ten minutes to at least acknowledge my presence. And that's when the joint isn't particularly busy.

        If it's as busy as OP stated, I'd figure they had enough business for the evening, and take mine elsewhere. I don't need the aggravation enough to wait.

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      1. My wife and I went out last night and had service that was about what you describe. I left a small tip. Sounds like about the worst sort of "service" it could be...but I think i'd still have left a few dollars (in this case, probably $3 or $4) as a tip for the drinks and the food that did make it out. Not saying you did the wrong thing...just that I'd have left a few bucks myself.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ccbweb

          Nooo! That's the same thing as rewarding kids or pets for bad behavior. Do a good job=I will pay you and leave a 20% tip, minimum. Get sassy, cranky, or downright rude with me, you still get about 15% if my order was correct and served at the proper temp and with a generally congenial attitude. Act like a total shit and disregard my order, we're out, so I don't have to worry about this business of tipping.

          1. re: amandaqtpie

            Like you, I believe in using positive and negative reinforcement and punishment in every day life. But you wouldn't punish your kid without also have a long talk about why -- so if someone is going to choose to not leave a tip to negatively punish (psych jargon, sorry) the server, that's fine, but then --as many others have said here -- really one ought to leave a note or speak to the manager, otherwise the punishment could go unappreciated and therefore uneffective.

        2. I empathize with you and believe tipping is the quid for the quo in the restaurant industry. However, get ready for the onslaught of the group who will crucify you for not believing, as they do, that it is your job to support and tip well any server, no matter how bad he/she might be, because the poor server doesn't make much money. Good luck.

          5 Replies
          1. re: ddavis

            I believe you are very wrong, ddavis. I think you'll see support, rather than crucifiction -- particularly from those in the service industry. After all, it is supposed to be about *service* and at least a little effort. Other servers understand this better than anyone else. As a server, I would've done just what the OP did. A tip is not guaranteed, you have to work for it.

            1. re: veeva

              veeva, there was a prior thread in which ddavis is correct, if you did not give a tip, or said that a lower tip was in order, the poster was lambasted. I think that ddavis was just making a comment based on his/her experiece from prior postings/threads. I think that the OP was well justified in not leaving a tip, but I would have commented to the manager/owner.

              1. re: justagthing

                Veeva was correct that there is general support for the OP in this thread. It did surprise me based on, as you mentioned, prior threads where the position was vociferously taken by some that you should tip the waiter 20% no matter what because "servers depend on tips to make a decent wage."

                1. re: ddavis

                  I think the difference has to do with the reported reason for not leaving a tip (or not leaving what most feel is a sufficient tip). In other threads, my sense is that the OPs were generally trying to justify what they did and other posters generally disagreed with the OP's take on the matter. IE, what an OP would label "awful service" or something similar, others would see as "at least the server tried." In this case, its so thorough a report and such clearly awful service that there isn't much place for argument.

                  In fact, in this case, for the OP, there was no service really...so, no tip. The theories still hold I suppose!

                  1. re: ccbweb

                    also, I think a lot of us agree that there is no need to 'kick a person when they're down', especially since many of us have worked in service environments and found ourselves in the weeds. I think that is where the 'you should always tip' sentiment comes from.

                    There's a line between being compassionate and a sucker I guess, it sounds like this jerk of a waiter wasn't trying at all.

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