Sunday, August 11, 2013

I'm sorry, last night's waitstaff

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged and I’d like to say that it is because I’ve been doing so many amazing things that I have been far too busy.  But alas, ‘tis not true, I’m just lame.  I am still incensed about my experience going out to dinner last night and figured this was an appropriate place to vent. 

I went to dinner with 5 other people – J, her brother (“P”), her roommate to be (“A”), a high school friend of P’s (“M”) and a newbie to town with a mutual friend with A (“D”).   We went to a fun Mexican restaurant near the movie theatre where we were going to see The Wolverine afterwards (not bad, but I would have been OK to wait for it On Demand).  Everybody had a drink except for me, we ordered two appetizers for the table (nachos) and then everyone had an entrĂ©e except for A, who made do with the rest of the appetizers.  When the bill came, it was a more than reasonable $98, meaning that with tip, it would be $120, or an average of $20 per person. 

BACKGROUND: I have never been interested in the mathematical gymnastics that result from the argument: “I didn’t have a drink, so I should pay $x less.”  It’s not worth it for the few extra dollars and where the inequities are clear (e.g., a $300 wine bill), the discrepancy has been called out by the table and I have been ordered to pay less, but as it is, eating is more than food and paying an extra few dollars is more than worth the company and the lack of bill splitting stress in most cases.  And I have never had a moment of stress about this with my friends, other than their fights to make me take back more than I think I should.  But I get that this is just me (and my friends) and this is not a universal fiat.

Back to last night…J tossed in a $50 gift card she had received from her work for her last day (going back to school) and instead of covering her and me, as intended, M declared – “Great, then that means the bill is only $50”, expecting J and I to chip in on that total.  I kept my peace, because these were J’s friends and I didn’t want to be “that guy”, but in what world does a gift card payment mean charity for all?     Again, not wanting to make waves, I tossed in $20, which meant that J and I had now paid for $70 of a $98 bill FOR SIX PEOPLE.  By the time the other payments were done, we had a whopping $107 for our bill (i.e., the other 4 people paid an average of $9.25).  In fairness to P, who was in the bathroom when the math was done and paid his $10 as requested (but had they said $30, he would have paid equally happily), and D, who was clearly perplexed with the math and, like me, unwilling to rock the boat and clearly uncomfortable, A and M managed to grossly underpay at the expense of the others (particularly J and me).  But what is far less forgivable is the insult to the waiter.  I had two other dollars in my wallet which I tossed in to the tip, making it an abominable 11%.  If I had more of a spine, and if it were my friends (which is fantastical, because this would NEVER happen with them), I would have made a stink.  I am horrified and was a complete pill for the rest of the night (Sorry, J).  I absolutely, positively will never go out to eat with those people again.  It’s not about the money, the principle is offensive and being cheap, particularly with the service industry, is unacceptable.  


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