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Jul 17, 2007 02:03 PM

Is it ok to not tip in this situation? [moved from Manhattan board]

I would love to hear what people think about this. I went to a favorite E. Village Italian the other night that is well regarded on this website. When ordering, the waiter failed to recite the evening's specials. When asked if there were any, his response was simply "No". A few moments later my partner and I heard a waiter at an adjacent table expertly reading an elaborate list of specials. Shortly afterwards I called this second waiter over and asked him why we were not read any specials. His response was that the chef had just released the specials for the week (it was about 7:30 pm on a Sunday night) and they had not been previously available to order. I have never heard of anything like this before so a few moments later I called our original waiter over and asked him why we were not read any specials even though we asked, but other customers currently where. His answer was, "the restaurant was really busy". He offered no apology. I told him I was a regular customer, was very dissatisfied and would appreciate it if the restaurant could do something to appease us. A few moments later a server brought us out a single dessert to split, which looked like a tarimisu. Nevertheless, I was really annoyed about this. The first waiter just didn't feel like reading us the specials, and it was clear that the second was covering up for the first. It didn't look like there was any management on staff that night so I'm not sure there was anything else to do. Although they brought us a free dessert, we actually didn't want more food. But we would have loved to have heard the specials. We hadn't been out to eat in while, and I had been talking the restaurant up for some time. My partner wanted all their heads on a plate. I was content just to pay the bill to the penny and not leave a tip but I really was pissed about it. The blatant carelessness, the lying and the meager attempt to compensate more or less ruined our meal. Was I justified in not tipping?

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  1. I should mention however that the food was really good. I'll still eat there.

    1. I believe you were justified in not tipping. The waiter claiming that he was too busy to read specials is suspicious. Maybe he didn't have them memorized and didn't feel like looking them up. Either way, it doesn't take much time to describe specials. Plus, bringing a dessert that you didn't ask for isn't great if you don't want it. It would have been better to discount your final bill.
      If I were in your place and never planned on returning, I may have left no tip. If I thought I might return, I would probably be shamed into leaving 10 percent.

      1. I wouldn't have tipped either; it's not rocket science to be nice to someone when you're waiting tables...passive aggressive behavior drives me nuts!!

        1. Since you are planning to eat there again, perhaps you should have left a small tip--like 10%. If you were never planning to go again, then, yes, I would have said you were right in not tipping. However, servers often have long memories when it comes to customers who didn't tip. In all my years of dining out, I can only count 3 times when the service was so bad I didn't tip. Of course we never went back to those restaurants either. Perhaps since you do plan on going back, why not call the restaurant when the manager is there and explain what happened and why you didn't tip. Then ask him/her to convince you to return.

          1. Devil’s Advocate – Maybe he was someone so preoccupied with the drama in their own life that they cannot do their job properly. Which is fair enough, maybe his house/car was just robbed, maybe he was just crushed and has a broken heart, etc.; sometimes you still have to go to work and do your best; and this was the best he might have had to offer that evening. At least your food was good….. he could have still apologized though.

            If it wasn't drama; and he was just being a jerk…. Well then he won’t last long there anyways. Too many people in that town looking for a job.

            It's sooooo easy to apologize if you are new and don't have the specials memorized. After that behavior I'm sure he did not expect a tip anyways. Don't stress over it. This seems to be more his drama than yours... And once again, at least your food was good.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Lemonii

              I wouldn't tip... but I agree with "MizYellowRose". You are taking your chances going back if that particular waiter is still there! When it comes to food preparation and delivery ... well... who knows what might happen between the kitchen and your table!