Stiffers and Skippers

What the hell is going on?  I’ve had two tables in the last three days walk out without paying their tickets.  One table skipped out on another server this week as well.  Are times that tough? 

This shit pisses me off and I will start escorting people to the cashier if it happens again.  The problem though, is the people who skipped didn’t look like cheap shit criminals.  The table tonight was a grandma, grandpa and a teen aged grandson.  The table on Thursday night was a well dressed man in his late 40s.  Neither table “forgot”.  We watched them, later on tape, sneak out the front door when the cashier was busy. 

In addition to people skipping out on tickets, I’ve had more than my share of people stiffing me.  Last night 4 couples traveling together stiffed me on a $120 ticket.  Tonight I had a table of 15 people with 4 different tickets scattered between 3 tables tip me $14.80 on an $188 ticket.  One group left $6, another left $5 and one left me $3.80, which was the difference between their total and $60.  Good thing their total wasn’t $59.99 or I would have received a penny.  One group left me jack.

This isn’t a reflection on my service. 

  • We were over-staffed tonight and last night so I had time to be chatty with my tables.  I’ve been doing this long enough that I am pretty efficient and when we are over-staffed I’m super efficient.  If someone says, “May I have a side…”  “…of Ranch,” I finish while one magically appears in my hand.  “I need a refill on…” and suddenly their glass is full of tea.  The only way I could be more efficient is if I had a third arm.  I’d really kick ass then. 
  • I’m taking my meds when I should rather than when I remember, so I’m not feeling quite as psychotic.  I actually asked a woman tonight if her Arnold Palmer was to her liking instead of offering her a glass of Shut The Hell Up as usual.  As I walked away from her table I asked myself, “All right!  Who the hell is in my body?”

I know I make better money when I’m slightly bitchy and look like I might punch someone in the head than when I’m happy.  I don’t know if people tip better out of pity or fear, but if I sneer at them for not reading the menu or just walk away and return later, I go home with 18% or more.  If I respond to every request with, “sure thing!” 🙂 “no problem!” 🙂 or “you bet!”  🙂 I’m looking at 10% if I’m lucky.

I don’t like being mean.  I want to be happy.  I want to enjoy my job.  I don’t want to kill somebody.  Please don’t make me.

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17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. DarcsFalcon
    Jul 18, 2010 @ 01:17:25

    What the hell? Yes times are tough, but to screw your waitress, well that’s just low down dirty. If you can’t afford the bill, don’t eat out! Simple! Sheesh!

    I’ve worked in places where the server was responsible for skipped tickets. I’ll be damned if I’m going to foot the bill for the pleasure of waiting on someone.

    That’s so weird about the bitchy tips. When we used to dine out, we’d tip the friendly waitresses more just for being so nice. I mean really, a server’s job is to serve me when I’m at a restaurant – to be friendly is going above and beyond to me, so I tip more to show my appreciation.

    I tip well, but if a server is friendly AND efficient, I’ve been known to tip 50%.

    I’m sorry it’s been so sucky for you lately. Hopefully things will turn around soon.

    I guarantee they will if I cut back on my meds.

    Reply

  2. whatigotsofar
    Jul 18, 2010 @ 02:57:39

    You know, the whole concept of dine-and-dash never occurred to me until I was maybe 19 or 20. It just wasn’t something I’d ever think of doing. It never occurred to me that people would do it.
    I dunno, maybe I was raised with morals and stuff.

    It never occurred to me either, not even as a prank. I don’t know what’s wrong with people.

    Reply

  3. Heifer
    Jul 18, 2010 @ 05:14:32

    Restaurants should make diners go through the metal detector doors that most banks now have but at the end of the meal. Enter at green light, pass through the metal detector, paid check detector. Only if you’ve paid and haven’t stolen anything will you be allowed out the second door

    Oh yeah, let’s not forget the stealing…toilet paper, silverware, salt & pepper shakers, ketchup bottles, small plates & bowls…pretty much anything that isn’t nailed down walks out the door.

    Reply

  4. Ahmnodt Heare
    Jul 18, 2010 @ 06:24:08

    Slightly bitchy women tend to get more tips because they give the impression that they are working hard. It’s a message conveyed to the subconscious. The conscious being would rather tip the nice waitress more, but the subconscious is thinking if she’s happy, she can’t be working hard.

    The truth is when I’m slightly bitchy I AM overworked. When I’m happy, everything is under control. Good observation and another reason you should be president.

    Reply

    • blogmella
      Jul 18, 2010 @ 11:20:53

      I agree that this seems likely.

      I had a friend who used to walk out of restaurants without paying (not with me, I might add). I thought it was a stupid and shameful thing to do.

      Skipping on a ticket here is a big deal and carries a pretty large fine. However, you have to be able to persuade the police to catch the people. Unless a server knows the people, all we have is their pictures on video tape. It’s nearly impossible to find the people once they’ve left, especially in the summer when the town is full and the police have better things to do.

      Reply

  5. redriverpak
    Jul 18, 2010 @ 07:33:43

    We actually have very few places here to still have cashiers with most places having you pay at the table. I would think that this way actually gets more people bolting for the door though. If you were to slip out when your server is nowhere in sight…no one would know if you had already paid or not.

    I would also think places like that make skip tickets the responsibility of the server.

    I wonder if there will be a day soon when you go to a sit-down place and you end up paying right after you order, but before your food arrives?

    It would be a sad state of affairs.

    THat must really piss you off when you get stiffed or you get someone that bolted. I wouldn’t blame you for snapping.

    I’m more pissed when someone bolts on the ticket because it looks as if I either gave them a freebie or I pocketed the money. I’m probably going to get an ass chewing over this as it is.

    Reply

  6. thelifeofjamie
    Jul 18, 2010 @ 07:38:30

    I feel for you! The best day of my life was when I quit waiting tables for good. I miss the cash. I was once tipped a quarter…And you are totally right, the bitchier the better…I think when you appear rushed and frazzled people take pity on you. Mess up your hair a little and sigh with lots of eye rolling- hopefully you can make up the lost money!

    Some guy left me a Canadian dollar the other day. He may as well have given me the finger. At least that is more honest.

    I want to be independently wealthy.

    Reply

  7. Still Waiting
    Jul 18, 2010 @ 08:18:57

    I’ve only had 3 tables walk out without paying in the four years I’ve waited tables and it pisses me off! I’m lucky I work at a place that doesn’t make me pay for it, but I do get a write-up each time to “make sure it’s not a pattern.” They really could have just said, “to make sure you aren’t lying and pocketing the cash.”

    I had one guy skip out the first winter I was at the restaurant and one couple last summer. To have 2 in one week blows my mind. I’m sure I’m going to be questioned about these two skips.

    I’ve gotten shitty tips this weekend, so combine that with the fact that we aren’t at ALL busy (I only had 9 tables the entire morning on Saturday when normally I’m pushing 20) I’m not making ANY money.

    My tips haven’t been over 15% all summer and that is unusual. Monday night I made 10% and I nearly crapped my pants. I think times are tougher than we realize.

    I’m also syrupy nice…maybe I should try the mean tack and see if it helps. I don’t know if I can do it, though…nice is my nature, even when I’m pissed beyond belief. 😦

    It works, but you have to find the right balance of mean or customers start complaining. Actually, I have more complaints when I’m nice than when I’m mean. Let the mean begin!

    Reply

    • Still Waiting
      Jul 18, 2010 @ 09:20:17

      You know what…I work in about 20 minutes.

      I’m going to not upsell anything. I’m not going to smile all the time. I’m not going to go through my super-long greeting and will instead tell them my name and ask what they want to drink. And when they ask for something I’ll just say, “Sure.”

      If I could get by with asking, “What do YOU want?” I’d do it most nights.

      We’ll see how it goes…I’ll report back on my blog tonight. Tips have been shit this weekend…I’ve averaged less than $50 a shift, and I normally make at least $80. My percentage dropped from about 15% to less than 10%. So, the way I see it, I can’t really make it worse, can I?

      My philosophy is, if I know a table isn’t going to tip, I’m going to give them a reason why. 🙂

      Reply

  8. DarcKnyt
    Jul 18, 2010 @ 10:04:02

    Wow, dine-and-dashers? Really?! WTF?

    I’m with Falcon — natch — if you can’t pay the bill, don’t eat out. It’s not rocket science or advanced economics. If you don’t know what the prices are like at a restaurant and you’re tight on funds, then 1) why the f**k are you eating out in the first place? and 2) call and ASK what an average ticket is, then tack on 25% (your teenager is going to out-eat BOTH of you combined).

    Interesting you get better tips being nasty. I’m like a BIZARRO character in your town, I guess — everything’s the OPPOSITE of what I think and do.

    One time we were driving through TN and stopped for gas. I got the gas and put it in the car and my wife went inside. Our son was in diapers so I stayed out with him until my wife came back. She got in the car and we drove off, no big. For some stupid reason, I thought my wife paid the gas ticket too. She didn’t. I realized I never went inside to pay and we did a quick turn-around and went back. We were something like 20 miles away when it dawned on me. By the time I got back to the gas station the lady said she’d called the police. She had my ticket ready. I profusely apologized, paid it, and she called me “a [sic] honest man” about sixteen times. She also said she’d call the police and tell them I came back and paid it.

    I don’t see how anyone can dine and dash without conscience, but then, I don’t see how anyone can kill children, blow up innocent people, fly planes full of screaming passengers into skyscrapers, etc….

    Guess I’m just old fashioned that way.

    I stopped at our little convenience store in Meeteetse and bought cigarettes and gas. I paid the amount I knew I owed, the cashier gave me change, I dumped it in my purse and went to work. When I got to work the manager said I needed to call the store because I didn’t pay for my gas. What happened was, the cashier and I were talking and she only charged me for the cigarettes. It wasn’t a problem and I went back and paid the next day.

    I’m always freaked out that I might forget to pay for gas. Around here they get your license plate number and throw your ass in jail for it.

    Reply

    • whatigotsofar
      Jul 18, 2010 @ 11:32:17

      You know Darc, some people are just bad people. Pity we can’t round ’em up and lock ’em in the stocks in the town square and pelt them with tomatoes. I truly believe a large public shaming would prevent much of today’s crimes.

      That’s my mother’s philosophy. She believes the world is going to hell because no one has any shame anymore and we don’t shame people like we should.

      Reply

  9. izziedarling
    Jul 18, 2010 @ 14:57:50

    Stinking scumbuckets … sorry 😦 I got a nickel for a tip once – WHY BOTHER?

    A guy gave me a Canadian dollar the other day. What’s the point in that? Even if it was worth anything it was still only about 5% of his ticket. Jerk.

    If I go out, I’m tipping 20% – it’s just what you do.

    For me, tipping is as much a part of the dining experience as the food. Always has been. If I can’t afford to over tip, I do fast food.

    Reply

  10. Trackback: I’m Here To Chew Bubblegum and Make Money…and I’m All Out of Bubblegum « Fuck My Table
    • Still Waiting
      Jul 18, 2010 @ 16:06:39

      Posted my results from today, being not nice to my tables.

      I nearly fainted…my tips didn’t suffer and have, in fact, been better than my other three shifts this weekend!

      Told ya’!

      Reply

  11. Bob
    Jul 19, 2010 @ 11:22:42

    It is like you live in an alternate universe. I can’t believe that many people would do that and that you looking mean would somehow get you better tips.

    Welcome to my world.

    Reply

  12. M.T.
    Jul 19, 2010 @ 15:46:19

    Just wanted to let you know that I love your blog, and have been reading it for some time. I’m not sure how I even found you, but I find you very entertaining. You are about half the reason I started one of my own….

    Hang in there Yellowcat… And keep writing.

    Well thank you very much! I’ll check out your blog and don’t be a stranger.

    Reply

  13. Mike Boozer
    Jul 23, 2010 @ 13:37:04

    good stuff
    -Mike Boozer, somebodyhadtosayit.com

    Thank you. I took a glance at your blog and nearly peed my pants. I will give it a better look after work when I’m wearing a diaper.

    Reply

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