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"Women are lousy tippers"--perhaps a self-fulfilling prophecy?

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I've heard that some servers assume that women are going to be lousy tippers, but I promise you, I normally leave a LOT more than the two cents I left tonight. I think that amount was generous on this occasion, but I wanted to be damned sure they knew that I didn't just forget.

Elysian Fields, a fairly upscale Seattle brewpub, was throwing a World Series party tonight. They had a special menu, and a retired ballplayer there giving autographs for a donation to charity. I really wanted that autograph (it's going to be a Christmas gift), so I left work early and arrived before 4 pm. The place was almost empty. I sat at the bar and asked for the ballgame event menu they'd advertised. It took over half an hour before I finally got one. It was another half an hour after that before I could get the bartender to stop again and take my order, and then he walked off with just my drink order--I still hadn't been able to order food. As the evening went on, different bartenders would stop and check in with the couples and solo men on either side of me, but even though I was doing my best to catch their eyes--eventually waving my hands, for god's sake, FROM A FOOT AWAY--all three of them (two men, one woman) at different times still walked away without acknowledging me. And this was all before the place even got busy!

You are probably wondering by now, so I'll tell you: I am a middle-aged white woman, and I was dining solo. I am much too large to easily miss. I was well-dressed and not behaving in any way strangely or inappropriately. I was not even slightly drunk. I wasn't ordering cheap-- a couple of $11 pints, and food (when they finally let me). I started out the evening being perfectly pleasant, polite, and patient with the servers. Oh, I did get kind of bitchy towards the end--after two hours of being ignored, who wouldn't? But it didn't make the slightest difference--my service (and only mine--everybody around me was getting adequate attention) sucked from start to finish. I never once got attention from any of the three bartenders without having to strenuously and repeatedly call after them and flag them down--even early on, when there were more servers than customer in the place.

I got the autograph I came for, and I left before the ballgame was even over. I will NEVER go back. I can't remember when I have ever left a restaurant this angry.

The only reason I can think of for this abysmal treatment is that bias I've heard that some servers have--against women, or solo women diners, or middle-aged women, or all of the above. Has this kind of thing happened to other women of a certain age?

(And before anybody asks--the very first thing I did was to email the general manager, from my cell phone, before I even left the place. I wouldn't rant like this to the whole world without first letting him know, so he can do something about it--and by that I do not mean offer me an apology and a freebie. I really meant it when I said I'll never go back.)

  1. That sounds awful, and while similar things have happened to me (also a middle-aged white woman, but perhaps small enough to miss), nothing that egregious. It might have been useful to make your complaint to the manager while you were still there, although I certainly understand why you didn't. There doesn't seem to be anything that will appease you at this point. But I hope you feel better, having vented.

    1. Gah! I feel so bad for you. Like you, I usually tip very well but, sometimes, we get the server who believes the myth that middle-aged women are bad tippers.

      Here's what I do in a fairly new place. If they have a bar, go there first. Pay for your first drink or two in cash. Tip nicely. Really, that's all you have to do. Servers talk. If they know that you tipped their buddy, they'll take care of you.

      It's a shame that we women have to do it that way but we're fighting rumor and history. We can fight the myth!

      1. MsMaryMc, sorry to hear you had such a bad experience. Iit was a good idea to email the manager to bring this incident to his or her attention. I (middle aged, white, solo dining/drinking female) have only been given superior treatment, as if the servers or bartenders felt sorry for me that I was alone. I have been given free drinks from time to time and always attentive service. However, I am in San Francisco. I am not sure if this factors into the equation or not. But, no matter where I have lived (East coast, southwest, deep south), I have managed to chat up staff enough that they feel protective of me and they have never neglected me. In your situation, it could have been that the staff was overly stressed due to the celebrity presence, not that it excuses the poor treatment given you. Keep dining solo and showing the world that lone females are not cheap customers and eventually things will change. Elysian Fields should be ashamed to lose your business. I have been a server in the past as well and do not understand these biases.

        1. Sorry for your treatment. I also agree that this is, to some extent, a self-fulfilling prophecy: profiling guests as poor tippers tends to carry over into treatment/service and ensuing tip.

          I remember on more than one occasion, enjoying myself at a restaurant with male companions-- so much so I returned with other friends. The mistake I made was bringing girlfriends. Suddenly, the good service disappeared. We were tucked into corners are largely ignored. (Not middle-aged at this point.)

          I did the usual thing of at least trying to tip as if to prove that I wasn't a bad tipper, but the problem is this: Do we then contribute to the larger perception that it's ok to treat women like crap because either they will act exactly how one imagined they would, or they will be too 'nice' to call one out.

          It's been a relief moving back to Europe. Without the crazed tip mentality, the service ends up being equal (in places where people are not misogynists, racists or other sorts of bigots, of course).

          And for those who might try to discredit these observations, experience doesn't lie, and frankly, any suggestion that we are not behaving appropriately is kind of offensive. Unless, of course, by 'behaving inappropriately' you mean 'having a vagina'. (Apologies for the brief foray into biological definitions of womanhood.)

          1 Reply
          1. re: Lizard

            Amen! I feel the same way, every once in a while I get dismissed at my seat. I am obviously a 'young female who most likely doesn't like to tip'... because I don't act like other more bubbly or outspoken females. Obviously, I must be a bi@chy bad tipper who is inconsiderate towards mankind due to the nature of myself having a quiet and young nature... that is paraded around with a vagina. *Nods*

            Humans. Ugh. You don't wanna be too ridiculous towards me, I AM the at least 20% tipper! There was only one time I didn't tip the waitress biotch. She made a judgement call to try and intimidate me due to whatever impression she had of me. I was already going "WTF" in my head. First time in my life I never left a tip. Oy, her drinks were haphazardly mixed too. She sloshed most of it onto her feet I bet from what I kept seeing at the bar.

          2. I've experienced this, even when I wasn't middle-aged and large enough to be hard to miss.

            There was a seafood place in town I went to regularly. I mean like a couple times a week. There was one waitress there who always gave me great service and she got tipped liberally. But most of the time service was lousy.

            One day I was sitting at the bar when I heard 2 waitresses talking not 15' away from where I was sitting.

            1st waitress: Oh no, it's HER again! I hate waiting on her.
            2nd waitress: REALLY??? Well I'll take her off your hands!

            Guess which one was the waitress who always gave me good service?

            And I understand why someone made the recommendation to chat up the staff, but you know what, when I go out to eat alone, I pretty much want to be left alone with my book. I'm not there to chat up the staff. I understand that sort of thing works but really, why should I have to do that just to get decent service? And I don't even care that much about service, so guess how bad it has to be before I notice how lousy it is?

            The other thing that used to torque me into high was wait staff who turned rude if I happened to have my son with me. I know all the stories about kids running wild in public places and have witnessed quite a bit of that myself. But my son DID NOT do that sort of thing. Acting up was a good way to get a doggy bag and go home. He behaved himself. Two tables over there might be a group of half-drunk guys hiding their tip under a water glass pyramid, but there were no shenanigans at our table. I don't have a little kid anymore, but I've got one friend who HATES children and will say in front of the parents that children should not be allowed out in public restaurants. Needless to say I don't go out to eat with her if I can avoid it. She has other fine qualities, but that's a little psycho. Over the years I've run across more than one waiter who made it pretty durn clear that that was their attitude too.

            Oddly enough, I never had that kind of thing happen in Puerto Rico when we were living there. I don't know, must be a USian thing.

            1. That's terrible. I'd love to know how the manager responds. I wonder if other people received the same type of service that you didn't notice. Personally, as a middle aged (or actually post middle aged if you consider 35 to be middle aged), I haven't experienced it, either solo or in a group. I'm sure bad service happens to everyone but it would be interesting to see proportionally, in a study, if women do, in general, receive poorer service, and what groups of people do. I've read/heard that people who are obese are treated terribly

              2 Replies
              1. re: chowser

                A couple of days later I got this:

                Hello Mary,

                I want to first say that I am truly sorry to hear about your experience here at Elysian Fields. Our goal is to provide excellent guest service and delicious food. However, it seems we fell way short and I can assure you that this type of service is not acceptable. I would like to point out one thing and that is we do not single out or discriminate anyone. I will be following up with the bartenders regarding this incident. I just hope you will give us another chance.
                Sincerely...

                I responded with a thank-you for the apology, and for his intention to talk with his staff.

                I also pointed out that I really hadn't expected him to confirm that they do discriminate. I said that I didn't think it was any conspiracy among his staff to ignore me, or even perhaps a conscious intention on anyone's part. But I questioned his ability to categorically deny that anyone in his establishment ever had biases or prejudice toward customers that affected they way they serve them, either consciously or unconsciously. I suggested that, rather than simply denying it ever happens, it could be more constructive to encourage his people to think it through and maybe recognize some attitudes that could be getting in the way of good service.

                1. re: MsMaryMc

                  That's a nice apology. I wonder if it was a subconscious thing on the server/bartender's parts and this will make them realize what's going on (or at least, I'd hope). I'd be curious to see what happens in the future.

              2. as a solo male diner on the road i have had great, good, fair, lousy service. this has occured at the bar and at a table. as a couple we have had great, good, fair, lousy service. dw and i do not drink liquor. so much for the data.

                there are servers that see the solo and see a 2-top and quickly calculate 20% of a deuce with wine at 20% and 10% of the solo, yup focus on the deuce. something happens that ticks a table off from the kitchen, tip is no chance above 15%, focus on the tables that the kitchen did not screw. all of these are the linear program of the servers' nightly tips. then there are the servers that give great service no matter what.

                there are times when the server's face gives away which type they are when i/we order water instead of wine or scotch. there were times when i felt that i was getting less service as a single. i have seen tables offered the specials for the night and i, as a single did not.

                but at 54 (2 years your elder) I do not accept the bad stuff during the meal any longer. I try to nip it in the bud while there is still a chance to save the evening. i approach the MOD during the meal and explain. give thm a chance to correct. i do NOT sit there and stew i do something. in your case you should have found a manager and asked for assistance.

                what they did to you was wrong, no doubt, and your writing the GM was a good idea. But why did you not seek out someone in authority during the bad experience?

                there are good and bad servers, and i tip accordingly. if they have an issue with me as a solo or me as a non-drinker or us as a non-drinker or us as out for a quick bite and spliting an entree, life is too short for me to analyze on my time out. try to correct and if not just ding the tip, enjoy what you can and go home where people appreciate you.

                3 Replies
                1. re: jfood

                  This is what I was wondering--maybe guys similarly will get poor service and write it off as "it happens" whereas if we're expecting to fit a stereotype, we notice it and attribute it to that. "If I receive poor service, it's because I'm a woman." Don't get me wrong, I do believe sexism and other isms happen but sometimes rude behavior is just rude behavior and that person is rude to everyone.

                  1. re: chowser

                    I think "studies have shown" that women actually tip better than men.

                    jfood makes SUCH an excellent point. Deal with it when it happens. Not afterwards when all you're doing is venting your spleen. In many aspects of life, I can only be taken advantage of if I allow it. I'm WAY older than jfood and I correct what I can and move on.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      that study was not conducted in anyplace in which i have ever worked. :)

                2. I have had dates where the date is a really bad tipper and I have added to the tip (sometimes out of sight of the date). I have a male friend who I used to go to breakfast or dinner with and if he paid I would tip because I knew his tip would be poor, and if I paid I would say don't worry about the tip I'll get it as well. He thought nothing of tipping a buck on a $6 breakfast for 2 saying it's 18%.

                  5 Replies
                    1. re: smartie

                      Well it IS 18% - or near enough. 18% of $6 would be $1.08.

                      Or was it $6 EACH, for a total bill of $12?

                      My dad used to tip like it was still 1945. I had to supplement his tips, but I did my best to do it out of sight.

                      1. re: ZenSojourner

                        well it may be 18% but a dollar is still a bad tip - sometimes percentage has nothing to do with what feels right.

                        1. re: ZenSojourner

                          Beg to differ. 1 divided by 6 = 16.666%. Heck if your gonna round up go to 20% for the effect. glad you are not a baseball statistician or everyone would be a 300 hitter.

                        2. re: smartie

                          I have a friend who used to adamantly refuse to tip over 15% regardless of anything. Once we were at a place with a breakfast special and the total came to $5/pp. Yup, she left 75¢. I "accidentally" left two dollar bills that were "stuck" together. Nowadays she just lets me calculate the total and just let her know what she owes. Works well.

                        3. That's a bad story. I'm male,late middle age and travel for work extensively. I often eat at the bar. I am usually served in a timely fashion. There have been times when the bartender/servers are BS' ing with the regulars but eventually they do get to me. If it helps, my wife is an excllent tipper and she has never worked in the business. As an ex-bartender I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that she knew what she was doing. When I bartended I did not generalize about female tippers, as other posters have said some men just don't get it either. And the overwhelming majority of female business travelers tip appropriately.

                          It takes time for the bad old myths and prejudices to change. Please dont let this experience wear on you.

                          .

                          1. as a woman and a life-long restaurant professional, i would have complained to management on the spot. you did not give management a chance to "make things right" and any decent manager would have been furious about this. storming out wordlessly and leaving a crappy tip only reinforced the belief, if their neglect was based on the stereotype you presume.

                            i will also say, that while i do get good tips from women, i get more mediocre ones and generally get better tips from tables of men, or when a man pays and i DO NOT give women bad service. i go the extra mile trying to wring some extra change outta them, lol. in a group, if a woman and man are splitting the bill? at least 90% of the time, the woman will leave a lesser tip. it's the same table, ffs, and they ALL got the same service, ok?

                            long ago, i had two women come in at opening and snag a corner table. this was one of the most elite restaurants in my city at the time and reservations were very hard to get. check average was $90 per person. the women sat all night. all night. all the tables around them turned twice. each had one glass of wine and the check was about $150. i could not have been friendlier, even bringing them little treats at the end for free. they left a 30% tip, and i was pretty happy. even though i "should" have made more with a regular deuce and turning the table. however, about an hour after they left, one called to say they had "left too big a tip, i must have been tipsy", and asked the manager to reduce the tip by HALF. to 15%. i will never forget those broads. 12 years later and my blood still boils, lol.

                            the lag with the menu may simply have been that the "special menu" wasn't quite ready since it was early, but you should have gotten an explanation if that was the case.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                              As another lifer, I can also confidently state that women, for the most part, tip worse than men. Sorry to all those women who are good tippers and think this is a myth, but your sisters are bringing you down!

                              1. re: invinotheresverde

                                even though it's true, it's no excuse, ever, for preemptively lousy service.

                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                  Agreed. Though as an extremely cynical female, I can't help but immediately question when a female server (especially if that female server is younger and not physically de-formed or obese) talks about men tipping more than women. Sorry, guys. Don't mean to paint with a whole brush, but as with female tippers, it's the bad ones that give the rest of you a horrible reputation!

                                  I remember reading a Salon.com article recently about how tips have nothing to do with the actual service part and more to do with the diner wanting some sort of acceptance from the server for some subconscious reason. Really interesting, and I can see what they're trying to say, I guess.

                                  http://www.salon.com/food/francis_lam...

                                  1. re: yfunk3

                                    Interesting article, and I think pretty accurate but it doesn't take Freud to figure that out. It is obnoxious that, after interviewee Steve describes how diners have all these hangups and needs that dictate their tipping practices, he concludes by saying, "When I go out to eat, I want my waiter to take my order, bring my food and be nice." How lucky that none of his observations about others apply to him.

                              2. Miss Mary Mac Mac Mac Mac Mac, all dressed in black black black black black, with yellow buttons buttons buttons buttons buttons, all down her back back back back back...................there, I got that out of my system....:)))

                                My bill today for lunch was $20 in Omaha. Food very good, hostess was wonderful, server was adorable and manager was very kind. Bill $20, my tip $5. Does that denote that I'm a lousy tipper?

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: iL Divo

                                  lol, are you female?

                                  it's over 20% and i bet you were gracious as all get out. glad you had a nice day.

                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                    Oh how kind of you, thank you. Very nice.
                                    Yes, I am a girl/woman/lady/female, no mistaking any of that.
                                    I am upbeat, a people person and love nice wonderful folks I meet.
                                    This place was exactly that.
                                    I knew my tip would reflect that before I even ate, but still hoped it'd be good.
                                    I got a great seat, it was lunch and busy, the waiter Tim was adorable.
                                    They all kept coming over to me to see how much I loved my meal.
                                    I over exaggerated a bit because it wasn't the best most wonderful chili cheeseburger I'd ever had so I'm still on that mission but they didn't need to know all that.

                                    Then there was the time, conversely that I didn't tip well at all. At Bobby Flays Bolo.
                                    I'd taken planes trains and buses to get there, walked way too far as well and had an icky "lady'' tummy to boot. All alone dressed in business attire black slacks and a black tailored blouse with black spikey pumps, I appeared to fit right in. Until I walked in. From the start the freeze was on. It's like who's gonna get her? Where we will seat her?
                                    I got seated at a table near the back, when there were plenty near the front, I got no hello or service for way too long of a time since the place was busy enough and I'd been staired at when walking to my seat, they knew I was there.
                                    Everyone was treated nicer and better than I was. I will say the food was what I expected from BF, the service was the opposite. I waited forever for my bill to arrive and when my older man server came over to me, he said nothing but presented me with the dessert menu and walked off. He later came over to me and only asked this, "what have you decided on?" meaning for dessert. I said, "I decided a """long time ago""" I wanted the bill." "Very well" he said. I'm thinking to myself, 'really, really is this how he's treating me? What on earth did I do to this lame duck? Since I'd taken a good amount of cash planning on buying dinner with cash, I left him [say the dinner was $57.12] $60 and promptly walked out. I did write a letter to BF via email and snail mail, heard nothing back from BF but got a letter much later from a manager saying "sorry, hope you decide to return to the restaurant." Really? Yea, really..........

                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                      That sounds like the very definition of self fulfilling prophecy, Divo!

                                      1. re: iL Divo

                                        lucky tim was adorable. of course if men take the cuteness factor into account when calculating we are sexist pigs.

                                    2. re: iL Divo

                                      Is that Miss Mary Mac 'n CHEESE?

                                      Sounds like you had a good day. Dance a few steps for me, LOL!

                                      1. re: ZenSojourner

                                        funny, no that's a song my grandson and I used to sing to each other, he's a big boy now and doesn't do 'dumb' songs like that anymore, he's 4 now after all.

                                        I always have good days, thanks ZenSo, you just made this one that way. :))

                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                          It's one of those hand clapping songs, isn't it?

                                          1. re: coney with everything

                                            we used to sing it while we jumped rope.

                                    3. Sounds like you definitely had a bad experience, and that shouldn't have happened. Still, You don't really know that the reason for that was your gender. There are a slew of reasons that that a customer can get forgotten at a bar, none of them acceptable and all are extremely irritating. Sometime we, as servers and bartenders, just give bad service, not because we want to or are malevolent in any way, but just because we screw up or aren't on our game. A solo diner can slip through the cracks because larger groups are more demanding of our attention. I know that when we receive service that is substandard compared to others, it is our instinct to attribute that to bias, but more often its just incompetence.

                                      13 Replies
                                      1. re: huffalump

                                        I don't know whether it was my gender, or my age, or my apparent relative hipness as compared to the rest of the crowd, or the way I was dressed (I came right from work, but I work for a university, not a bank), or that I'm fat, or some combination of the above.

                                        But two hours of this treatment just cannot be attributed to simple carelessness or incompetence--not when I watched the people around me getting perfectly adequate service. I don't think there was a conspiracy. I can't even be sure any or all of the servers consciously thought "I don't like her type, I'm not waiting on her." I just know that I was apparently invisible to all three bartenders, the entire time I was there.

                                        It may be instinct to look for bias as an explanation for bad treatment. I've observed that it's also a very common tendency for people who rarely feel the effects of bias to discount those effects on others who very often do feel them.

                                        1. re: MsMaryMc

                                          Thank you. This is what I've been thinking. It's easy to be dismissive about something that generally doesn't happen to you.

                                          1. re: ZenSojourner

                                            I agree. But consider the other side as well.
                                            Offense is taken in those cases too.

                                            All I am sure of is that our daughter who's been a server way too long and at way too many places tips STUPIDLY good, always, period. Because she says she knows how it is to run circles around a table of 8 who are constantly wanting refills and also complain a lot and send stuff back and then she gets a $2 tip.

                                            Oh and is we're together and I start to think about complaining, usually about my Eggs Benedict, she stops me in my tracks because of what 'may' happen if I do complain. Her motto is tell how you want it prepared from the get go so they won't give you $not eggs.

                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                              "she stops me in my tracks because of what 'may' happen if I do complain. Her motto is tell how you want it prepared from the get go so they won't give you $not eggs."

                                              I have a friend who is seemingly deathly afraid not to be nice to each and every waitperson we encounter, for fear of "$not Eggs." He worked in a local, Central Pennsylvania version of Denny's once, and he swears they really do do this.

                                              I've worked in food service before -- much better places than Denny's, though -- and I only once saw someone do anything gross, and that happened when a couple came in after we were done service, and basically demanded to be fed. The chef had us all turn around, and when we were allowed back to our normal spots, the rice had magically jumped out of the trash and onto the plates we were going to use for the late arrivals.

                                              But I have never, ever, not even once, seen anyone spit in food they were going to serve a customer.

                                          2. re: MsMaryMc

                                            Does this happen often to you? Or, maybe we just tend to remember when something happens to us that falls into stereotype? I think it's inexcusable for anyone to be treated the way you were at the bar. When you come down to it, appearances do matter, just as in the Truth about Cats and Dogs. I have a SIL who is drop dead gorgeous, like people stare when she walks by them. When we go shopping, salespeople seem to fight over themselves to help her. It might be unfair but it happens. OTOH, I also think she's received poor service, just because some people provide poor service to everyone. So, if you encounter this kind of service all the time, I'd be inclined to agree w/ you but if this is a once in a long time occurrence, then maybe you had a typical experience.

                                            1. re: chowser

                                              I work at a big university, so I'm used to getting startled looks--like somebody's grandma who just crashed a frat party--when I walk into one of the U-district dives. It comes with the territory--it's usually kind of funny. Sometimes the service from the college-aged servers is a little awkward, but it's never been this bad.

                                              This place was more of a downtown yuppie/hipster hangout (more yuppie than hipster, really). I often get a vibe, or some funny looks, in that kind of crowd, and occasionally the service I get there is less than stellar--but not to the point that I can tell whether it's personal. Sometimes the staff in those places is downright snotty, but you can never be sure in a place like that it's not just their normal attitude with everybody. I do always question whether I'm just being paranoid--this was just one occasion when I knew damned well I wasn't.

                                              1. re: MsMaryMc

                                                Yeah, it's harder to avoid if you're in an area that caters to young students. I think I haven't faced it because I tend to go either to family places or very nice restaurants (in which I've found being older than a student gets you better service). It's been years since I've been anywhere trendy and young. OTOH, as going to nicer restaurants go, I find that the service I've received has gotten better over the years. Have you heard back from the general manager? I'm also w/ you on complaining at the time--I'm not sure it accomplishes anything, other than resentment from the server and, maybe it's a myth, but I've read too many stories about spitting in food, or other things servers have done or threatened to do. And, one that would be as lacking as the one you had would more likely be the type to do it.

                                                1. re: chowser

                                                  I question how often this actually happens. I know in the restaurant I worked at if anybody had been caught doing such a thing they'd have been out on their ass immediately. Also I wonder how much opportunity someone might have for doing such a thing - every kitchen I've ever been in is full of people, many of whom, no matter how busy they are, still find time to mind other people's business.

                                                  I know for a fact that had I witnessed such a thing that food would never have made it out to the table, and whoever was managing the kitchen would know about it.

                                                  1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                    i've worked in restaurants 20 years and have never ever seen nor heard of this actually happening.

                                                    1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                      I wonder if it happens but I've read enough servers here claim to do it, or threaten to do it, that I don't take my chances. My husband has had a huge chunk of fuzz in his filet of fish from McD's once.

                                                    2. re: chowser

                                                      I worked at 2 restaurants for a total of 5 years during college. One was a small chain and the other a VERY well-respected upscale chain. Don't want to go into details since this is off-topic, but YES, things do happen. And I'm still friends with one of my former co-workers and continue to hear the latest stories.

                                                    3. re: MsMaryMc

                                                      Easier said that done, I know, but try not to let it get to you. Who knows how a person manages to become stinky to restaurant staff? It's a mystery to me.

                                                      My husband I have a running joke about the tables we're given in restaurants. Seems we're ALWAYS near the bathroom or kitchen door, unless we're in the basement next to a family with kids, or in the loft next to a big, loud party of flamboyant gay dudes. We aren't sure what it is...I say my husband is a crappy dresser and he says it's my southern accent. Regardless, the truth is probably that we're not regulars and the other truth is all the normal tables we do get just aren't memorable...it's the ones facing the wall by the broom closet that stand out in your mind ;-)

                                                      1. re: MsMaryMc

                                                        You were definitely not being paranoid. In my experience, solo middle aged women do get ignored in hip places, especially those used to a younger clientele.

                                                        What I find ironic is that middle aged women often have a lot more money to spend than women in their 20s, and are therefore less likely to really count the cost of a tip. Maybe drunk 25 year old women are habitually poor tippers, but none of my 45-55 year old friends is cheap at all. And all of us are way richer than we were in our 20s and 30s.

                                                2. Interesting. I just went through this with my daughter. Looks matter. My daughter doesn't usually wear makeup and sometimes goes out looking like she went through the rag bag for clothes. Last week, we were going shopping and lunch. I insisted that she dress appropriately and I wear make up and jewelry when I go out (not the norm in the Northeast.) We went to a chain restaurant, and even though she was a total PITA (onions were touching her food, sandwich didn't look like the picture, etc.) we received excellent service. On a $28 bill, I left the server $7. She couldn't believe what good service we got, because she and her friends had been there, and it hadn't been that good. Wonder why. BTW she's 20. Smiling and saying thank you, goes a long way to good service also.

                                                  I agree with the other posters: say something at the time. They may have thought you were waiting for someone......

                                                  6 Replies
                                                  1. re: The 1st and only KSyrahSyrah

                                                    I have to ask--why is it better to tell the manger at the time? Several people have said that here, but I really don't see why that's important. By the time I was ready to complain, I was mad enough that he really couldn't have fixed things with me. The place had gotten busy by then, and if I were the manager, I would prefer to talk to my staff when things were quiet, and not in the middle of a happy hour special event with a pissed-off customer fuming at my side. I knew I could do a better job of giving him the relevant details in writing, without sputtering and stumbling. Yes, I dislike face-to-face confrontations--who doesn't? I prefer to avoid them when I can, and I just didn't see how one was necessary here. I didn't just complain to the world at large, I told my problem to the person who can do something about it. Why does it need to be in person? I would really like to know if there's something I'm missing.

                                                    (I did let the bartenders know a time or two that I was getting annoyed. Once, one of them came back to the couple right next to me, after they'd had their menus just a short time (I'd had mine about half an hour at that point), and asked if they were ready to order. Then he walked away as I was trying yet again to flag him down. I called after him "I've been ready here for quite some time!" Didn't seem to penetrate--he came back and took my order but continued to ignore me after that.)

                                                    1. re: MsMaryMc

                                                      Face to face discussion of problems, at the time they occur, is generally more effective but not if you're going to get all sputtery. You did what worked for you.

                                                      1. re: MsMaryMc

                                                        Just curious, but had you been there in the past? I'm wondering if the bartenders had some kind of reason you may not know about/remember for treating you poorly (not that there really is an excuse). You know, you were there with some people, maybe someone in the group left a bad tip/complained excessively about nothing/got beligerent/etc. They remembered you because, like you said, you're a big, older lady.

                                                        Realize, I'm not saying you did this, just kind of wondering out loud. I bartended for a long time, and, unprofessional as it may be, bartenders hold a grudge.

                                                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                          Nope, never been there before. It's not in my usual neighborhood, or my usual sort of place--I just went for this event--so not highly likely I've run across the bartenders anywhere before this.

                                                        2. re: MsMaryMc

                                                          doubtful he would have confronted them during service, much less while you were still there. however, he would have addressed them that night before they went home when your face and the scenario were still fresh in their minds. it may now be several days, even longer with p/t staff, before he gets to handle this with the offending servers. the immediacy is gone.

                                                          he probably also would have at least comped you something or discounted your check. not that that makes it better, i know.

                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                            Okay, that makes sense. Thanks!

                                                      2. Oh, just found this right here on chow:http://www.chow.com/food-news/60981/?..., an article called "Too Frumpy for The Room."

                                                        1. I was a waiter for a year in the 1970s, and single women weren't bad tippers at all. It never occurred to me to show disdain for any customer, and I never got bad tips. I worked at a place in the E. 50s in NY, and there were a lot of single ladies in those highrises who didn't want to go home and cook dinner. I approached it like they were guests in my house.

                                                          1. I worked as a waitress for years in both NYC and in NC; across the board, men were the absolute worst tippers and the most rude. I've also been a manager in both restaurants & bars and that kind of treatment of customers by staff never would have happened in the places I've worked in.

                                                            To the OP, by the way the staff acted, it was not the first time this type of incident happened at this place of business. It would be different if only one of the bartenders acted that way, you could chalk it up to miscommunication BUT all of them treating you the same? Yeah, it's apparent management is not running the place how it should be or that would never have happened. Essentially, you're paying them to treat you like crap by spending your money in their establishment. Take your business elsewhere.

                                                            1. Totally self-fulfilling/profiling. I'm female, very young-looking (I am in grad school and often mistaken for high school-age), and don't drink any alcohol, and always order water with my meals because I don't much like soft drinks-- when I go into a restaurant, *no one* assumes that I almost always tip 20% unless the service is atrocious. I've found, however, the best way to get around this is to use the profile to its advantage: since they think I'm young, I act sugary sweet, and suddenly they're being nice to me even if they don't really want to.... I can't tell you how many time I've started out with a grumpy/standoffish waiter who, after lots of needless smiling and thanking and carrying on, has suddenly become quite friendly.

                                                              Of course, I guess you could say this is a lot of work just to get waiters to be nice to you, but... I don't know, I guess I'd rather try than not.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: HJSoulma

                                                                I agree that your attitude can affect the service as well. I have dined with friends who are determined not to enjoy their meal and I know it makes a difference when you have a cheerful disposition. I always want to crawl under the table when my friend/acquaintances act like such kurmudgeons. I always tip very well to make up for them ... and make an effort to never dine with them again.

                                                              2. I have certainly noticed better service when I go out with my husband than when I go out with a female friend, and it is really annoying. And my friend and I are definitely not the we'll-share-a-salad-and-drink-water-2-hour-table-camper types. It would never occur to me to tip less than 15% and i usually tip more like 20%, as does the friend I go out with the most. But when you get really terrible service, it's hard to want to be generous.

                                                                Recently I was at a restaurant I frequent with my husband and where we are usually treated quite well. I went with my female friend and they tried to seat us by the busing area when the restaurant was less than 1/4 full, were not gracious about it when we asked for a different table, practically ignored us when we tried to order (but of course rushed our check out without even asking if we wanted dessert), cleared our plates while we were still chewing the last bites of our appetizers--and took my plate away while I still had my last slice of pizza in my hand. I would have objected, but I was actually taking a bite of food at the time and couldn't really speak. I do not think they would have done any of these things if we were men. Did we tip lavishly? Hell no. Did our waiter think it was because we were cheap women? Probably, and that's what burns me up. We still left a reasonable tip, but it would have been more if we had received acceptable (not even super-attentive) service. Talk about a self fulfilling prophecy! I don't see how you can give women bad service and then fault them for being bad tippers.

                                                                38 Replies
                                                                1. re: Catherine C in NYC

                                                                  Am I the only person left who still carries a pen and paper? If I'm not leaving a good tip, I leave it inside a note, telling them why.....

                                                                  I had a friend who was a very good tipper - unless the service was not. He carried little pre-printed cards, like business cards, that stated "The reason your tip was not my usual % was because, and he had check boxes with listings like surly waiter, slow service, didn't clear dishes, etc. It was actually kind of funny, but they always knew why they got what they got.

                                                                  1. re: The 1st and only KSyrahSyrah

                                                                    printed cards? in decades of frequent dining out i can only think of a handful of occasions with awful, card-worthy service. and i am female... cards aren't printed by the dozen.

                                                                  2. re: Catherine C in NYC

                                                                    This story reminds me of something that happened to me. Some years ago, prior to going out for a special family dinner at a steakhouse my brother and I were talking about the treatment of women diners by servers. He couldn't believe that they were treated any less well or differently at all. Dinner changed that when he watched the server hover over me as I was still eating so he could collect all the plates. (And no, this wasn't a matter of my lingering longer after all others.) My brother was shocked, and conceded.
                                                                    But this raises something else that may also play in: I wonder if there are servers who (unconsciously) do give poorer service to women diners, perhaps treating with impatience, minor aggressions, etc., all of which lead to poor tips. And in group settings, they are less penalised, especially if a man pays and that man is not sensitive to these issues.
                                                                    Many of us live with ongoing slights that are difficult to articulate or prove; they come in minute gestures that may not even register with the person acting upon the prejudice. I just wonder...

                                                                    1. re: Lizard

                                                                      Years ago (like 20), when I was living in Puerto Rico, my brother and a friend of his came to visit. I took them to some expensive restaurant in San Juan. In this group, I was the one who was footing the bill.

                                                                      However, the waitress constantly and blatantly ignored me. She was consistently rude to me, and practically drooled all over the two men in the group. If she'd flashed them much more cleavage - well, let's just say she was risking doing a Janet Jackson. She flirted, she minced, she dimpled, she waggled. For me, she had no time whatsoever. At one point I asked for a wine list and she actually curled her lip and ostentatiously turned her back on me to continue making up to the 2 men in the party. My brother had to ask for the wine list. After she left the table, my brother actually commented on her behaviour (as in "What's wrong with HER?")

                                                                      We sat and watched her and she did the same thing to every single table she was serving. The 2 guys couldn't believe how blatant she was. So they started watching the other servers - all of whom were female - and they were all doing the same sort of thing, though none were as blatant as our "server". They were all flirting with the men and basically ignoring the women. EVERY SINGLE TABLE in the restaurant that we could see from where we were sitting. After observing this, my brother said to me, "Well I WAS going to suggest complaining to management, but from the look of things it wouldn't do any good."

                                                                      If they had gone by themselves, or in a group with only men, they would never have noticed that the waitresses were fawning on the men and slighting the women. They may not have noticed it if our waitress hadn't been so extremely blatant.

                                                                      When she brought the bill, she simpered and batted her eyes, and handed the bill to the men. My brother leaned back, folded his hands across his abdomen, and said, "Don't look at us. We're not the ones paying."

                                                                      Dinner for three at an expensive San Juan Restaurant - $150
                                                                      Look on the waitress's face when she realized she would NOT be getting a tip - priceless!

                                                                      1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                        Z's

                                                                        Why is that surprising. look at TV ads, print ads, if they could use sex on the radio they would as well. Remeber Joe Namath and Farrah Fawcett?

                                                                        This happens all the time, and complaining to management would probably fall on deaf ears. Likewise it happens when couples go out together and males as solo. I cannot tell you how many times I giggle to myself that a female server, younger than my kids, pulls that stunt. Yeah, a solo guy reading a book who is as old as their dad is a mark for the night. Question is...which side is stupider?

                                                                        Be professional, bring my food, do not be a jerk and you will receive your tip.

                                                                        1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                          "Look on the waitress's face when she realized she would NOT be getting a tip - priceless!"

                                                                          haha, this gave me a good laugh!!!

                                                                          1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                            I wonder if she didn't have something against women as much as she thought if she flirted shamelessly with men, it would get her a bigger tip. Not to excuse it but I've seen far too many women flirt to get what they want from men who often will fall for it. The guys don't notice but they like the attention. Not all guys, but enough to make it worthwhile.

                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                              Yeah, it's kind of sad that some women feel it is necessary to do that sort of thing. And back in the bad old days it was pretty much a given that if you were a waitress, you were going to get lewd remarks, inappropriate touches, generally obnoxious behavior from the men. But it's been a very long time since that sort of behavior on the part of the customer would be tolerated in most venues.

                                                                              My brother's wife is one of those. She actually sat and complained to me one day that she couldn't wrap men around her little finger the way she used to anymore. She even pulled out a scrapbook to show me how cute she used to be. Sat there decrying her loss of the ability to manipulate men into doing whatever she wanted just with a simper and a wink.

                                                                              What she doesn't seem to appreciate is that it still works with my brother, so who else does she need to impress?

                                                                              I just don't get it. Flirting (without intent) is not something I've ever done. I doubt I'm very good at flirting WITH intent. (Let's just say it's been a long time between "intents", LOL!)

                                                                              Maybe its a sign of low self-esteem in some women, that they think the only reason they would get tips is because of sexual innuendo, so they don't even bother to try for good service with a woman customer.

                                                                              Doesn't explain the attitude of male waitstaff towards women though. That trick with the swooping away of your plate before you're done eating is fairly common, it seems. Clear the table quickly so they can get rid of the deadbeat diner? I guess! LOL!

                                                                              1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                Hey, one big glaring example of how this is still prevalent in American society: Hooters.

                                                                                Of course, everyone who goes there just goes for the wings, right? Heh heh.

                                                                                I've had grown women tell me they just go for the wings instead of just giving in to where their boyfriends/husbands want to go. I say there are good wings to be found elsewhere... :o)

                                                                                1. re: yfunk3

                                                                                  Yeah, my son HATES Hooters. His dad used to drag the whole step-family there at least a couple of times a month (after we were divorced, long long LONG after we were divorced).

                                                                                  I'm pretty big on taking the kids with as often as possible, but Hooters is not exactly my idea of a regular family outing spot.

                                                                                  1. re: yfunk3

                                                                                    and while they're a long way from the worst wings out there, there are lots that are better.

                                                                                    1. re: yfunk3

                                                                                      maybe the women arent following their men, but enjoying the eye candy themselves?

                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                        I guess people's hobbies are not my business, but it raises my feminist cackles if anyone tries to convince me that Hooters is in any way good for the women's rights movement or equal rights in any way. Maybe I just shouldn't have read "Female Chauvinist Pig" all those years ago... If I wanted to ogle anyone scantily-clad (women or men), I wouldn't want to mix that activity with food, lest we have a weird George Costanza situation. :o)

                                                                                        1. re: yfunk3

                                                                                          "...t it raises my feminist cackles if anyone tries to convince me that Hooters is in any way good for the women's rights movement or equal rights in any way>"

                                                                                          i'm pretty sure i didn;t say that

                                                                                          1. re: thew

                                                                                            why would the clothes offend you? I thought you were in the camp that whatever people wear in a restaurant is fine and it is noone's business.

                                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                                              i didn't say that either - just as when i said porn isnlt illegal and isn't neccessarily harmful, on a different thread, you claimed i was a supporter of child pornography; you keep taking these extreme interpretations of what i say, and then act as if those were my words.

                                                                                              in this case all i said was that women going to hooters may not be solely giving in to their boyfriends/husbands. i did not say that hooters was good for female empowerment, nor did i say i was offended by the clothing. i said exactly what i said, no more no less.

                                                                                              1. re: thew

                                                                                                I agree with you, and I'll add that some women may also go not b/c they like the eye candy (though some may indeed do it for that reason), but may go simply b/c it doesn't register as remarkable to them that the women are in tight Ts and short shorts.

                                                                                                1. re: Cachetes

                                                                                                  I am not really bothered one way or another. I don't really care to look at the women and if I have male friends who want to go, I don't feel like I am giving in to anything. Back in the days when I would go, it was a dirt cheap place to eat lunch and the people I was working with didn't have a ton of money to spend. It was just a matter of what was close if you wanted to get wings during lunchtime.

                                                                                                  1. re: queencru

                                                                                                    It's not like they're parading around in the buff, either...and I've seen in person what happens if someone touches a waitress inappropriately -- he gets thrown out immediately and without any discussion.

                                                                                                    If I were 22 and trying to pay tuition, you can bet your sweet bippy I'd be working there -- the tips are far better than anywhere else you're going to work while trying to finish school.

                                                                                                    You can see women dressed far more inappropriately sitting at the tables or walking past the front door.

                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                      I know- they wear shorts, tights, and a tank top- big whoop. It's not like you're being served by someone wearing skimpy lingerie and platform heels. There are women who wear skimpier clothes at my (professional) workplace.

                                                                                                      1. re: queencru

                                                                                                        What kind of profession are you in that women dressed skimpier than Hooters waitresses?

                                                                                                2. re: thew

                                                                                                  It is nevertheless unlikely that women go to Hooters for the 'eye candy' in that Hooters is still geared to cater to a male clientèle-- both in service and most likely in imagined ideal attractiveness. There are alternatives (or, at least, there have been in the past) and these can, at least, intervene into the dominant and still male-centric orientation of a business and its 'gaze'. (Although occasionally, the subversiveness can come through attendance to such a venue, but usually en masses so as to perform the unacknowledged audience.)

                                                                                                  Still, this makes me think of how much certain groups still need to engage in imaginative exercises in order to write themselves into the narratives where they are absent.

                                                                                                  1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                    I heard that Lacan loved chicken wings.

                                                                                              2. re: thew

                                                                                                I didn't say you did. I'm just saying if any women were to tell me that it was "equal" in any way just because they choose to go to Hooters to ogle the other women, I'd probably become Judgey McJudgerson. And yes, I have had a couple of women say this to me before.

                                                                                            2. re: thew

                                                                                              Yeah, that's always my first choice, as a woman, for a restaurant, somewhere where women are showing as much of their cleavage as possible. Of course, that's only if I can't find a decent strip joint.

                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                that's the beauty of the world - so many different people, with so many different likes and dislikes.

                                                                                                ask me sometime about the time i was elected to be the tour guide for a lesbian soccer team around the red-light district in amsterdam.

                                                                                                1. re: thew

                                                                                                  These would be the lesbians who follow their husbands into places with scantily clad women so they can enjoy the eye candy, as presented in the scenario with Hooters? It must be a far larger demographic than I'd thought.

                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                    Ooh, chowser, you're a very wise person. Very.

                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                      Degradation is degration. Why does someone doing the looking have to be married for it to be degrading for all involved, both the looker and the lookee? Yuck.

                                                                                                    2. re: chowser

                                                                                                      Believe it or not, there are many people in the world who identify as bisexual. And they actually get married to people of the opposite sex.

                                                                                                      Plus, the place is called HOOTERS. I guess if you're stupid enough to think it only pertains to owls, then you're stupid enough to go in and think it's totally fine to perpetuate the myth that a women's worth is in direct proportion to how sexually appealing she is.

                                                                                                      ETA: I just want to carlify that I was using "you" in the general sense and not directed at anyone in this thread. Sorry if anyone thought I was addressing them directly with the above statement.

                                                                                                      1. re: yfunk3

                                                                                                        Oh, wow, did you not understand that chowser is on "that" side. Tongue firmly implanted in cheek. Ready to kick some ass of those who continue to perpetuate ANY kind of steretype. Hey, chowser, that IS what you mean, right???

                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                          c oliver, I edited my post to clarify. I know I should proofread more than I usually do sometimes... :o)

                                                                                                      2. re: chowser

                                                                                                        i know straight women who like to look at women too. look, i don;t have a dog in this race. never been to a hooters, doubt i ever will.

                                                                                                        i stand by my original statement - not every woman who goes to hooters does so to kowtow to a males wishes

                                                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                                                          Exactly - sometimes they're just going to a restaurant to get something to eat. Or to watch a football game. Or to have a beer. Or to spend time with friends.

                                                                                                          1. re: thew

                                                                                                            No, of course not. Never did I say "every single woman who walks into a Hooters is in some sort of misogynist trance" because there's always always exceptions. I was merely saying that yes, I would PERSONALLY be highly judgmental of any women (of any sexual orientation) who would support such a venture because it doesn't further their own sense of self worth, much less the societal worth of women in general. Hence the "there are good wings to be found elsewhere" line above.

                                                                                                            1. re: yfunk3

                                                                                                              I'm with you.

                                                                                                              My son knows why my ex insisted on going to Hooters. He knew when he was a kid. He's not dumb. He HATES Hooters and what it represents. And the wings aren't that good.

                                                                                                              Most of those girls are just kids. (From my vantage point anyway). My son's stepsister worked there for awhile. Ended up being on one of their calendars. Got the eye of some corporate guy. The usual sequence of events followed, with the usual consequences. How "smart" were any of us at 19?

                                                                                                  2. re: yfunk3

                                                                                                    For the overt message of what women are valued for, I would strike anyone from my friend/family list if they favored that dreadful place. PERIOD.

                                                                                              2. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                                I had a similar experience about 10 years ago in what was then one of DC's top rated restaurants. The waiter (so no near- flashing in this story!) fawned all over my ex while ignoring me and my questions. When the check came, he smiled and set it in front of my ex. I loved the look on his face as I picked it up. He'd been REALLY rude to me the whole time. The worst I could do was 10% though - I'm an ex-waitress and have only left nothing once, I think.

                                                                                          2. In a situation like this, I'd have spoken up loud and clear at the first red flag.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                              Me too, pika. Although I don't think in my 63 years I can think of this ever happening, I think I would choose not to be taken advantage of.

                                                                                            2. I have heard of similar (occasional) happenings from my mother, also a white middle aged woman who can be thanked for teaching me to tip very generously. We usually go beyond the 20% in evenings (I have never heard that women are lousy tippers). My Mother always dresses and carries herself well. Usually she has implied to me that she gets ignored in certain clothing stores though, not restaurants ... so she likes to shop with company at those places.

                                                                                              1. I find it interesting that race is mentioned at all in some of these posts. Do people who mention race think it's a factor at all that they're white and not another race? Do you think that being black or asian would have gotten you better service? Does being a "white" middle aged woman matter, and if not, why say it?

                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                  I would be less surprised to hear that someone of a minority ethnic or racial group was getting poor service. Saddened and disgusted, but not particularly surprised. It would be a compounding factor in addition to gender.

                                                                                                  I can "pass" for a lot of different ethnicities, including straight up white (as long as there is not a large Hispanic or Native American community in the area). My son, however, cannot. He was actually frisked THREE times the last time he flew anywhere, twice by the same guy.

                                                                                                  So I rather doubt anyone thinks they would have gotten BETTER service if they were a member of a minority. I know I don't.

                                                                                                  1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                                    Yes, that was my thought, too.

                                                                                                    1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                                      I agree with you on this. I certainly have noticed some hateful stares when I am with my hubby and our 3 children ... usually during tourist season though. We live in Alaska which is extremely diverse so it usually is not a problem. My hubby definitely does not look white. He is 13 nationalities so can sometimes pass for Hawaiian, Spanish, people even think he was from the middle east sometimes depending on beard and tan. In regards to my mother, studies say that middle aged women shop lift the most ... so she might be stereotyped when shopping in some of the stores that pay attention to these ridiculous statistics.

                                                                                                    2. re: chowser

                                                                                                      I assume that most of the posters dined in areas where the population was majority white, and since the posters were themselves white, that made it more likely that the server's behavior could be attributed strictly to the poster's gender, and not their race. (The implication would be that women of other races could receive even worse service.)

                                                                                                      1. re: dump123456789

                                                                                                        Good point--that makes sense.

                                                                                                      2. re: chowser

                                                                                                        I mentioned it to clarify that it was not likely my race that was getting me treated less than well in this particular restaurant. I do think that people of color get poor service sometimes, due to racism. I just wanted to be clear that this probably wasn't the issue here.

                                                                                                        1. re: MsMaryMc

                                                                                                          Thanks--that does make sense, as dump123456789 guessed, too.

                                                                                                      3. Years ago, I was having a breakfast meeting and had arrived at the restaurant a few minutes early to get my head and my notes together while I waited for my client to arrive.

                                                                                                        The waitress walked past, throwing "I'll be right back" over her shoulder, as she had both hands full. Okay, fine, no problems. She walked past again, hands empty. And again, gossiping with a coworker. I flagged them, and asked if I could have coffee, and they both said "Sure, right away"...but they never returned.

                                                                                                        Finally, I'd had enough. I could see the coffee machine in the kitchen from my table, so I got up and strolled into the kitchen, cup in hand, and poured myself a cup of coffee, and strolled back to my table. (I was wearing a suit and heels, so obviously not on vacation, and obviously not an employee)

                                                                                                        I'm not condoning extremes like this, but the manager came just-short-of-running over and asked me why I'd gotten my own coffee. When I explained that after 20 minutes of waiting and multiple requests, all in preparation for a business meeting, I figured I must be in the self-service section, he blanched and said he'd take care of it immediately.

                                                                                                        With the level of service paid after that, my client was impressed that the staff would take such good care of a good customer...I DID tip very well...but I also never went there again.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                          I used to wait tables, too, so yeah, I try not to ever stiff the waitstaff, no matter how awful they might be.

                                                                                                          The only time I have done so (and without a flicker of remorse) was at a sushi place --Everything was fine until after I placed my order, but she returned and slammed my wine glass down so hard that it sloshed all over the bar in front of me (I was at the sushi bar), all but tossed my silverware at me, then spun on her heel and stalked off. Still doesn't qualify for a zero tip, but she was beginning to push it.

                                                                                                          The real crowning glory was when a fly inexplicably folded up and crash landed on the bar right in front of me -- I flagged her attention (the place wasn't terribly busy - it was midweek and they were new, but several people had recommended it) and asked if she might have some way to deal with the departed fly, as all I had was my plate, chopsticks, and a cloth napkin. I'm not squeamish; I simply had nothing on hand to deal with it.

                                                                                                          She snatched my napkin OFF OF MY LAP, wadded it into a ball and threw it on top of the carcass of the fly, then sniffed and said "there. it's gone"

                                                                                                          Obviously my appetite (and my patience and any semblance of overlooking this attitude) was pretty much shot to hell at this point, so I asked for the bill. I circled around and gave a tip in cash to the sushi chef, thanked him, and told him that if I found out he'd shared it with her, I 'd come back and claim it back.

                                                                                                          The manager then proceeded to not believe a word I said, and every hiccup for the next week made me wonder if I was succumbing to a hardcore case of food poisoning, either from that or from the crappy pizza that was the only other alternative at that point.

                                                                                                          Good thing it was on a business trip, so I never had to even entertain the thought of returning.

                                                                                                        2. I tip well when I receive good service b/c I know what it's like to work with the public- most are arrogant you know whats. In the same vein, I don't accept poor service or snotty attitude. If I receive poor service or treatment, I make sure the waiter/waitress knows it.

                                                                                                          I was at a restaurant when I was traveling for business and I noticed the large table next to me stiff their waitress even after she had run herself to death trying to accomodate their requests. Not to mention that their kids left a freaking mess on the floor and table. When it came time for me to leave, I put a large bill in her hand and told her it was from one hard working woman to another. She started to cry.

                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: vafarmwife

                                                                                                            " b/c I know what it's like to work with the public- most are arrogant you know whats."

                                                                                                            I don't stumble through life with my eyes shut and I couldn't disagree MORE with you. I find most of the public to be just as nice as nice can be.

                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                              I agree--we meet pleasant people all the time and don't bat an eye and only notice those who aren't. Some people will see an almost full glass and think it needs to be fuller (that would be my mom). I've worked in food service and most of the people were very nice forgiving if I made a mistake. It's easy to overlook the average nice person who just passes through and think about the jerks who yell at you for forgetting a pickle.

                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                Decades ago I noticed what I started calling the "quick to criticize, slow to praise" syndrome. (My late MIL could have been their poster child). I like the reverse. Makes me and the other person feel good. Now don't get me wrong. Out and out abuse will get dealt with swiftly and strongly :) But I've found when dealing with the public, the most benign nice words "(isn't it a gorgeous day today" or "I love your earrings; did you make them?") can set a tone that carries through for the whole encounter. Not just restaurants. Work great in retail stores also. And it's sincere. It's always easy to find at least one positive to thing to say to someone. Sheesh, I sure do sound like Sally Sunshine, don't I??? But it is a hot button for me.

                                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                  Well said! Not only that, but it almost always works and I can't even remember the last time I was treatly poorly in a restaurant or store. I'm a normally an outgoing and cheerful person, so it's easy for me too.
                                                                                                                  Too many people treat servers like servants (or worse), same with sales clerks.
                                                                                                                  Plus, it can result in some nice benefits- a comped dessert, early notice of a sale, etc.
                                                                                                                  Win-win for me:)

                                                                                                              2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                To each his own- I have worked retail and in medical office so maybe it was just my luck to deal with @ holes.

                                                                                                                ETA- and before anyone flames me and tells that sick people have special circumstances and deserve sympathy, I couldn't agree more. The awful, hateful, mean people were the well ones.

                                                                                                                1. re: vafarmwife

                                                                                                                  And I've worked retail and medical office also and my experiences were different from yours. No flaming. I just think alot of these situations needn't ever have become situations. And when I DEAL with it, I really DEAL with it. I don't need to have therapy afterwards :)

                                                                                                              3. re: vafarmwife

                                                                                                                What a wonderful thing to have done, vafarmwife! You're going to make me cry too!

                                                                                                              4. i told myself i wouldn't participate in this thread. there are just so many things going on, it's hard to tell for sure what happened to the op. it was wrong though, and it's really frustrating.

                                                                                                                some bars are just so attuned to their regulars, or their "regular types" that it's hard for someone new to go in, and they perceive 'tude from the staff which just gets compounded over the course of time or during a special event. it sounds like all of this happened to the op.

                                                                                                                i was a bartender for 10 years. these days i'm not a big barfly and i frequently am not looking like a very big hipster, nor am i frequently dressed up in nice biz clothes like some of the women professionals responding here. when i find myself somewhere new, i walk up to the bar with a large cash bill in my hand, and a smile, and i order my first drink and tip well in cash. i do this even if i'm planning on eating a meal and running a creditt card tab. after the first quick interaction with the bartender, drink+resulting tip, i say, hey i'm thinking of getting some food, can i see a menu, and can i have another glass of __ and here is my card-- i always receive good, attentive service, including often excellent food and bev recs-- and the bt always receives a good tip. i would rec the method for anyone going into a brand-new-to-them establishment, it gets everybody over that awkward "getting to know you" phase that single diners/drinkers go thru. but i would also rec not getting angry or feeling slighted by the staff anywhere one is not a regular-- it just takes a minute for the staff to recognize you as a good customer. if they treat you like crap after you've been nice and have tipped them initially, well yeah, there is something going on, and when you can't get served in the first place in order to have a good interaction, it's so frustrating for the customer. . . just be proactive with the first drink order and all will be well.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                  I have to question the notion that a customer should have to prove they're worthy of good service before they get it. It it should be the other way around--you should be able to expect at least adequate attention and courtesy unless you've established that you deserve otherwise.

                                                                                                                  In this case, though, I probably would have done what you're suggesting. I was prepared to pay with cash for my first drink and and leave a good trip--but I didn't have the opportunity. The bartender plunked down my drink and walked away without asking or waiting for payment (or the rest of my order). As the place began to fill up, I noticed they were asking everyone else to pay or give them a credit card to run a tab when their food and beverages arrived. I eventually ordered food, and another drink, but I never was asked to pay. I suppose the subsequent servers may have assumed I'd left a card with my first drink--but it all seems like part of their overall tendency to just not pay much attention to me.

                                                                                                                  As I sat there getting madder and madder about the poor service, I did start to consider just leaving without paying. I have never in my life done that, and I didn't that night--but I have probably also never been more tempted. I suppose if I were more dishonestly inclined, there is *some* advantage to being invisible!

                                                                                                                2. The replies in this thread have drifted widely from the original topic, and are no longer focused, even tangentially, on food. We're going to lock this topic so the discussion is still available in searches, but we'd ask everyone to return to discussing food.