Monday, June 15, 2015

I Left a Tip

I left a tip in the restaurant I just left, even though I could have been "justified" in not leaving a tip based on the server's performance.  The server was quite unpleasant and really seemed disinterested in whether or not I was gaining anything other than caloric intake from my meal.

I felt bad for her.  How can someone be so disconnected from their task at the moment?  Was she living the past somehow, stewing on something that happened on the way to work, or maybe after she got here?

Was she living in the future somehow, concerned about paying the rent [a real possibility based on her displayed hospitality skills], or what someone else would say or maybe even do to her tonight or tomorrow?

Either way, I recognized that we are connected.  In some way, I benefit from the system that sets a server's wage at $2.17 [in South Carolina].  The rest of a server's income is based in part on things that are under their control [being hospitable, welcoming, attentive, detail-oriented] and in part on things that are clearly not under their control [the condition of the food and surroundings, limitations on the menu].

I remember once when we were out in a small group. One person's appetizer showed up at the table after her meal.  This person complained profusely.  Everything else was fine with the meal - with all our meals, for that matter.  This person even went so far as to eat some, but not all of the tardy appetizer.  This member of my group refused to leave a tip because of the "bad service", even though they acknowledged that the server didn't cook the appetizer and the cook didn't live off tips.  [Maybe the tardy-appetizer was just an excuse to save a little cash, who knows.]

I left a tip for my unpleasant, disinterested server today.  I also left a tip that day in the group for member of our group who refused based on the tardy-appetizer.  I am at least partly to blame for and I receive some benefit from a system that puts the income of service folks at the whim of patrons.  I cannot succeed if they don't.

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