Server leaving a pitcher of water at your table without your asking...
I like to drink a lot of water, I admit that. But the last time I went to my favorite asian buffet restaurant the server walked over to me with a glass of water, and a full pitcher and just left both at the table… without asking me if I wanted it or not. I know I usually ask for 2 refills in my water, but that is normally because it is full to the top with ice, and I get one decent pull off the glass and its empty, not that I actually drank a full glass, it is more like 2 ounces of liquid! I was not happy, and actually felt embarrassed and slighted. I tip over 20% and feel I deserve to have my water glass refilled just like everyone else. If they don't want to come back every few minutes to do so then kindly put more water than ice into the glass and leave me to decide what is enough water to drink.
I left a .38¢ tip that day, because the only time I saw that server was once for the water, and when she removed my plate and dropped off my check. I normally tip $2.38 on a $7.62 check. (I normally just leave a $10 bill)
It sounds like the server remembered you from previous vists, she was simply trying to efficiently meet your needs. I think you should be flattered, not embarrassed. I can't understand your negative reaction and your small tip was not justified.
I eat at a lot of asian restaurants and its a pretty typical custom for them to leave the water pitchers on the table. I am living in Japan right now, and more often then not they just leave the pitcher of water on the table prior to customers sitting, and when I arrive its already there. Sometimes they leave them at period strategically placed tables, and not every one, and if you don't have one but there is one at an empty table you just go take it and keep it at your table, or ask someone else if they are using theirs. Generally they will bring a glass for you full of water, and then eventually either give you a pitcher or as I said they are around. Its pretty common to refill your own water here, the service is incredible, they are nice, friendly, efficient, but usually water isn't part of the deal.
I really wouldn't be bothered with it. Even if they remembered me and did that for me I'd feel happy and good that they remember me, and that they were letting me drink my water at my pace and control the amount myself. I don't really go to an asian restaurant for service like that, I wouldn't have even though about it to be honest.
I certainly wouldn't have let it influence my tip or have been upset about it, I don't see much of a problem.
Sounds like you are a regular at this place and the servers (or at least this one) remembers you. That is usually a good thing.
I'd give the server the benefit of the doubt that he/she was *trying* to be helpful by making sure you always had plentiful liquids (rather than shirking his/her water-pouring responsibilities).
You say this was the only time you saw the server on that occasion. Did you need anything else and were unable to get his/her attention? If not, no need.
As with all of these types of threads it is always better to SPEAK UP if you're not happy. TELL the server not to leave a pitcher and to perform the water-pouring "properly". It is never right to *punish* the server with a miserly tip without any explanation of why you were unhappy.
It seems like the server was trying to do you a favor, saving you from having to wait for more water. Next time you visit the restaurant, don't be surprised if you get no pitcher AND no refills.
I must agree with cdawg on this. I'm thrilled when the server leaves a pitcher of water on the table -- indeed, this is the practice at Carole Peck's Good News Cafe, one of our favorite resto's and definitely upscale from from a buffet place.
In terms of tips, the service at buffet places is different than at regular table service places. The servers will pick up your used plates whenever you revisit the buffet, and they keep watch over the food to be sure that items are kept fresh and stocked. Because they are also inexpensive, I usually tip normally.