Sunday, June 03, 2007

Bad service

I will admit, I can be easily agitated at times. I think I'm generally understanding and easy going, but I, like everyone else, have my moments. And I had one Memorial Day evening.

A few of my co-workers and I took a job candidate to dinner at a steak-oriented chain restaurant in Bossier City (I'll be nice and I won't say exactly where, but I'm sure you can figure it out). Since I was working that evening and already had a refrigerator filled with leftovers, I decided I would just get a nice bowl of potato soup.

We were seated, and since it was a group of six people, it took a while for everyone to make their entree choices, but soon enough, we were settled in. That's where the problems began. We didn't have a particularly good waiter. Not particularly bad either, but certainly not one of the best. It was difficult, at best, to get his attention and our table went bread-less and drink-less for more than a few minutes, but we made due and didn't make too much of a fuss over it.

At the end of meal, everyone got their checks. Into the little check-credit card holder thingamabob, I slipped at $10 bill to settle up my $4.35 tab. What I got back was a $5 bill -- that's it. The waiter had kept my 65 cents! I would've just asked him for it (not that I should need to considering it's my money) but I had to go back to work. But what he did really, REALLY aggravated me and I remembered his name, so I wrote him a note basically saying that I didn't appreciate what he did and had he not done that, he would have gotten a slightly better tip.

Later that evening, I wondered if maybe I had overreacted. I've never been a waitress, so I can't speak from experience, but on some of my other jobs I would never think to keep someone's change for any reason. And wouldn't it be to a waiter's advantage to give someone all their change, and to give it in a manner where leaving a tip wouldn't be difficult. (Even if had wanted to give him a dollar, I would've had to wait for him to break my $5 bill.)

I would really like to hear from some folks with personal experience. Did I handle this situation OK?


Adam Kealoha Causey said...


Alexandyr Kent said...

In this instance, you were completely justified. Bad service I can understand. But providing short change is:

1) a reason to make a moderately uncomfortable spectacle. "Waiter, are you going to provide me with the correct change? Was this a mistake? Etc."

2) a reason to talk to the manager.

3) a reason to fire the waiter, if purposefully done. It's stealing.

4) a reason for you to be angry. I don't care if it was change. I don't care if it was a penny. You earned it. No one is justified in taking it (except my wife).

And, yeah, what Adam said. "Thingamabob!" I hope that's not profanity.

Melinda Williams said...

Yes, thingamabob! What else do you call those check-credit card things? It's not profanity, just an odd sort of pronoun.

Anonymous said...

Short changing SEVERAL customers can add to a tiny profit. If anything, when I worked as a waiter, I would give you six dollars in change instead of trying to hunt down change if I didnt have it.

Adam Kealoha Causey said...

Oh, thingamabob just entertained me. I didn't find it profane or offensive, just really funny. I'm not sure I've heard it lately, and I certainly have seen it in the written (or typed) word.

madeline said...

Paranoid much??? Maybe, just maybe, it was only a mistake...
you must have been having a really bad day to get upset about something like that.

Anonymous said...

It was difficult, at best, to get his attention and our table went bread-less and drink-less for more than a few minutes, but we made due and didn't make too much of a fuss over it.

'but we made due' you made 'do' ms journalist. perhaps a honest mistake or frustration at a table full of buttheads.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure you should have been as angry as stated but upset at the lack of attention the person paid to giving you good service is worth noting. I am a waitress and I would never not give you the change. I would give you more if I didn't have exact change, but never less purposely. We are told to give exact change at my restaurant. Think about this, however. Did that person have many other tables to wait on as well?
It can get very busy, very fast for a server and sometimes, when trying to do so many tasks, some slip through the cracks.
It could have been an oversight or the person could have just been careless. We won't know for sure.
You could call the 'thingamabob' a check book or check holder.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you did regarding your waiter except you were not tough enough.
My practice with that kind of service is a little tougher. If your change is only ten cents then ask for it. Require him to get it promply or ask for management.
Then shove all the plates, cups, etc. away from you so the waiter can, when he comes back for the good tip, for sure see the 1, 5, or 10 cent coin laying where his/hers good tip would have been. I do not do that if I got questionable service. Just when it has been bad.
It is now a standard practice to short your change. This is nothing new. That requires me to ask for $1 bills instead of the five so I can make a decent tip.
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I would be embarrased that I even wrote this down on paper let alone publish it...

Anonymous said...

You did not overreact. He should have brought the change or an even $6. I would have complained to him and/or the manager too. My restaurant-experienced family always told me a smart waiter would bring you back 5 $1 bills instead of a a single $5 bill so it would be easier for you to leave him a tip. He struck out all the way around!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the person that said they couldn't believe you even wrote about this. You were in a hurry to get to work, but had time to write him a note?!?!

Yes, he should have given you the change, but I think there are more worthwhile things to worry about in life than losing less than a dollar. You did overreact.

Anonymous said...

Actually 'Anonymous' she was correct; you make 'due' not 'do'.

Anonymous said...

Well, it sounds as if a Times employee got a dose of their own medicine.
I often does a reporter write all the facts in a news story? Especially when it involves politics, we have certainly become accustomed to being "short changed" by The Times...LMAO