I had lunch with a few friends today. We had a great time catching up, talking about recent happenings, movies and people in general. We had a decent waitress, Melinda, I believe was her name. Melinda had a bright smile, and her eyes beamed through her black rimmed glasses. Her fluffy afro reminded me of Michael Jackson’s back in the day.
My friends informed Melinda that they were on their lunch break, so speedy service would be appreciated. I must say that this particular restaurant has had issues with timely service in the past, but Melinda aided in their redemption for that issue today. Our food orders came out fast, hot and tasty.
Lunch was an absolute pleasure as we ate, talked, laughed and even disturbed a few patrons as our guffaws traveled happily throughout the eatery.
Melinda was reasonably attentive, but not proactively so. If ice is rattling in the bottom of my glass, chances are I need more tea. And you do NOT deprive a Southern Belle of her sweet tea. I also wanted cheese. Grated parmesan on my Alfredo would have been an added delight. One of my friends got her attention and asked for grated cheese. It was brought back rather quickly. Another friend requested the same. I wanted cheese but it would have been an awkward stretch for her to get to my plate and I didn’t want to reach over anyone’s space. So I had no extra parm on my Alfredo. It would have been nice if she asked before she served or at least had it available. No big deal.
Shortly after indulging, I noticed that my glass was empty. I was out of sweet tea. I don’t like being out of sweet tea. My ice chilled nothing but the glass and the straw. Condensation rolled in tiny little drops down the glass and onto the table, much like my tears would soon fall if I didn’t get my tea! Luckily, Melinda returned just in time. I gave her my request and my thirst was soon quelled and all was right with the world.
But then, the check. The tab. The bill. My total was $18. I placed a $20 bill in the guest check book. I contemplated whether to give her a three dollar tip instead of two since she was so pleasant and speedy. Well THAT thought quickly changed when she returned the check book to me with the bill, but sans my two dollars in change. MY two dollars. This is one of my biggest pet peeves. Please don’t ASSUME you can keep my change, whether it’s two dollars or two cents. That money is mine until I relinquish ownership to you by way of tipation. At that point, the idea of leaving her an extra dollar was fenced.
It wasn’t even so much that she kept the change, but the receipt read as if I hadn’t paid. It still showed the $18 balance due. What food related foolishness is this? When she returned I pointed out that my change was not in the check book, and she handed me the two dollars, which I then placed in the check book and placed on the table. My friends laughed at me and said it was such a “me” thing. But in my mind, what’s mine is mine and it ain’t yours until I give it to you, m’kay? I know that not tipping is a negative stereotype of African American women, but we work hard for our money and we like to spend and share as we see fit and we don’t like to have it simply taken from us.
Please don’t assume that because I come in with my friends and we’re laughing and joking and having a good time, that I’m not going to leave a tip, a decent tip if the service was decent.
Maybe I wanted to leave a $5 bill and I needed the singles for a car wash or the panhandler on the corner. You know, the one with the torn jeans and messy hair, but turns out to be your neighbor’s son, the fashion icon.
I promise you I have no problem with tipping wait staff, baggage handlers, hair stylists or anyone who provides proper service. But please, leave the option and the amount offered up to me. You may actually get more than you expected.
TIPS: Timely, Intuitive, Proper Service (I just made that up).