Re: Confidential From The Middleaged Women Of America To The Twenty-something Hipster Waiters

1

I'd like this message forwarded to the twenty-something hipster waitresses as well.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 8:10 PM
horizontal rule
2

What about not-hipster wait staff?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 8:23 PM
horizontal rule
3

They don't seem to do this sort of thing as much.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 8:24 PM
horizontal rule
4

Then they're obviously really and sincerely into me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 8:26 PM
horizontal rule
5

Clearly.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 8:28 PM
horizontal rule
6

I don't mind a bit of flirting. What makes me uncomfortable is an insistent and aggressive overfriendliness. But maybe that's what you mean by flirting? in which case, yeah, please lay off.

I never know what to say when the waiter or waitress congratulates me on my food choice. 'I'd like the mushroom and Swiss omelette, please.' 'Perfect!'

It's tough to wait tables, though. My suspicion is that many customers aren't very generous with the tip.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 8:28 PM
horizontal rule
7

The new thing I've been hearing at order at the counter places is "how's your day been going?" which seems to function to pass the time while you wait for debit card approval.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 8:35 PM
horizontal rule
8

That's no reason to lie and say that Swiss cheese tastes good with eggs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 8:35 PM
horizontal rule
9

8 to 7.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 8:37 PM
horizontal rule
10

No. 8 to 6.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 8:37 PM
horizontal rule
11

I was just in New York (sorry, I was only there for 24 hours, and 18 of them were occupied with stuff) and a very beautiful waitress flirted with me. I had a brief moment of thinking, "Oh ho, I guess you're not doing so bad for a middle-aged guy with a limp, Den E!" But then I remembered that she works for tips, and I returned to feeling lousy about myself.


Posted by: Den E. Crumb | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 8:38 PM
horizontal rule
12

sorry, I was only there for 24 hours, and 18 of them were occupied with stuff

And as everyone knows, six hours is just way too short for a meetup.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 8:39 PM
horizontal rule
13

I hate it when the strippers flirt with you.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 8:41 PM
horizontal rule
14

To be clear, by "you" I'm addressing Den E. Crumb directly. I hate it when the strippers flirt with that guy.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 8:45 PM
horizontal rule
15

Ah, so that's what he was doing for those six hours.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 8:46 PM
horizontal rule
16

I preferred the discreet, solid, business-like strippers of yesteryear, but these days they just want to flirt with Den E. Crumb and tell you where their underwear was sourced.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 8:49 PM
horizontal rule
17

"how's your day been going?"

HATE THIS. Because half the time, they wouldn't want to hear the true, so it feels necessary to lie (unlike about Swiss cheese with eggs).

But the flirting, I'm OK with. Then, during that hour or so, my day might be going just a little better than it was before.


Posted by: Owner | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 8:50 PM
horizontal rule
18

I'd like this message forwarded to the twenty-something hipster waitresses as well.

This is crazy talk.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 9:09 PM
horizontal rule
19

Because half the time, they wouldn't want to hear the true

Well sure, but neither does anyone else who ever asks that question.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 9:12 PM
horizontal rule
20

I just watched someone working very hard to cultivate a potentially major donor for several hours, to apparent little effect. it was a bit melancholy. On the other hand, it is oddly satisfying to pull off false eyelashes.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 9:38 PM
horizontal rule
21

But then I remembered that she works for tips, and I returned to feeling lousy about myself.

If only you could win a highly coveted and extremely prestigious book prize. Such an achievement would surely protect your self-esteem against the fickleness and faithlessness of beautiful NYC waitresses who are working for tips.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 9:45 PM
horizontal rule
22

When I was being trained to wait tables, the (male) trainer told me, "Never be overly chatty with women who are with their husbands. The husband's probably paying, and he'll stiff you on the tip." I never really noticed it, and my style of waiting tables was to be all-business unless a table engaged me in friendly chatter. But I did wonder if that was a really a thing, and if so, if it's a thing specifically in the south.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 10:05 PM
horizontal rule
23

19: I do.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 10:06 PM
horizontal rule
24

Such an achievement would surely protect your self-esteem against the fickleness and faithlessness of beautiful NYC waitresses who are working for tips.

Yeah, you'd maybe think so. But no, it turns out that my impostor syndrome is far more resilient than that.


Posted by: Den E. Crumb | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 10:08 PM
horizontal rule
25

I have never noticed waitstaff of any kind flirting with me. Most likely this is because I don't have the discrimination necessary to parse the difference between "nice" and "flirting."


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 10:13 PM
horizontal rule
26

I used to think I might notice that it wasn't just ordinary friendliness if a stranger just walked up to me and started to try to make out with me, but tonight I learned that no, I can't read those cues either until I am nearly trapped in a snog in a bus shelter in Adams Morgan and have to gently but firmly extricate myself.

Even this hasn't caused me to update my beliefs about how attractive people find me, because I'm pretty sure it had more to do with whatever drugs he had taken than anything about me in particular.

Two tips for interacting with me:
1) If you want to compliment me effectively by comparing me to a celebrity, try one I actually look like.
2) I do not look like a celebrity.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 10:20 PM
horizontal rule
27

23: Yeah, I guess I do, too.
19: What I meant was not that half the time the asker of that question wouldn't want to hear the truth (and the other half the time might actually be interested and willing), but that half the time however my day is going makes me uncheerful enough that I really don't want to share it with a perky stranger. Much of the time it's obvious the question is just a meaningless habit, and I get disproportionately irritated by that. On such days I'd probably be cheered up by some flirty service, even though sure, it's probably no less insincere than that irritating question.


Posted by: Owner | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 10:23 PM
horizontal rule
28

26: You asked him how his day had been going? And which celebrity do you not look like?


Posted by: Owner | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 10:40 PM
horizontal rule
29

21: He's holding out for the coveted title of Saddest of All Sacks.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 10:51 PM
horizontal rule
30

Just as long as supermarkets don't start thinking they can address people by first name just because it appears on the screen when they pay using a card.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 11:14 PM
horizontal rule
31

28: No, I did not.

He looked a little lost and confused, so I did ask if he was okay and if he needed help.

Then he told me I looked like Tom Hanks. I do not look like Tom Hanks. I might look a very little bit like Jeff Goldblum on a bad day. But not really. Once, someone told me I looked a little like Justin Timberlake, but I was basically paying her to say that so it didn't count.

And it's not that I'm so discerning about faces either. I couldn't tell the difference between Jack Black and Philip Seymour Hoffman. But I can tell that I don't look like any celebrities I've seen.

He also told my girlfriend she looked like Susan Sarandon in Suddenly Susan. According to Wikipedia, Susan Sarandon did not play any role in Suddenly Susan.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 11:17 PM
horizontal rule
32

What I'm saying is, if this is the best the universe can do to make me feel good about how I look, it might as well give up.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 11:18 PM
horizontal rule
33

(He did say that he was okay and did not need help.)


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 11:21 PM
horizontal rule
34

31: Wait, your girlfriend was with you and he started trying to make out with you??


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 11:36 PM
horizontal rule
35

34: Teo isn't the only person who meets people who are Really Fucking High.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05- 2-14 11:47 PM
horizontal rule
36

Well that's a relief. Sounds like Benquo handled his situation better than I handled mine, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 12:04 AM
horizontal rule
37

Well that's odd, because only last night I was mentally mocking a friend of mine for saying "while doing the 'look at me I'm flirting with the mature woman to make her feel good and me seem an adult' thing" about a barista, but now LB seems to be agreeing with her that it is in fact a thing.

I think I'm turning into my mother though and start talking to people serving me far too much, so if they attempted to flirt they'd either be drowned out by me telling them something idiotic, or I'd just take it that they were being as nice and friendly as I was.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 1:08 AM
horizontal rule
38

I guess you're not doing so bad for a middle-aged guy with a limp, Den E!

With a limp what?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 3:09 AM
horizontal rule
39

but I was basically paying her to say that so it didn't count.

You were producing a play about Justin Timberlake or you have weird taste in hookers?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 3:55 AM
horizontal rule
40

Can't it be both?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 4:02 AM
horizontal rule
41

22: Heh. I was in fact with Buck, and the particular interaction with the waiter I was complaining about was a moment when he came over to ask how the food was as I was bitching at Buck for stealing food off my plate. Which drew a "Is this guy bothering you, darlin'? Do I need to get security? Actually, I am security, I'm stronger than I look." Aside from being irritating (dude, I get that you're being cutely funny, but you're interrupting my flirting with the man I actually brought with me to the restaurant) I suppose that would have been the sort of overfamiliarity your trainer warned you against. Maybe resentfully undertipping husbands are only a Southern thing.

In the event, I was paying, but the waiter didn't know that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 4:38 AM
horizontal rule
42

That goes beyond flirting and into serious obnoxiousness.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 4:57 AM
horizontal rule
43

If that's flirting, at least he'll never reproduce.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:01 AM
horizontal rule
44

42 and 43 can't both be right. It's pretty obvious that obnoxiousness is reproductively advantageous or the creationists are right.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:04 AM
horizontal rule
45

It worked a little better as delivered than it looks on the page, where you lose the utter and complete unintimidatingness of the actual waiter -- the tone was "look at me being adorably absurd!" But yes, annoying.

That class of waiter generally, though (young trendy kids), flirting with middleaged women (or at least with me) seems to be a thing, even when they're not that out there about it. This guy was over-the-top enough to trigger me bitching about it, but I'd really rather they didn't at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:09 AM
horizontal rule
46

If you know somebody who works for Sunday Styles, you can get this into the news.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:13 AM
horizontal rule
47

How much did you tip?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:18 AM
horizontal rule
48

Usual 20%. I considered undertipping, but that seemed like a lousy thing to do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:19 AM
horizontal rule
49

I'd be a very bad waiter. Not because I'd do those things LB is deprecating. Well, not solely.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:20 AM
horizontal rule
50

I undertipped semi-recently when we had a campus visitor, and we took them to a coffee shop that was blasting Rush Limbaugh. It was a tip on a bill placed at the counter, and then the food was brought out to us, so at the time that I tipped, there wasn't a specific person that I was dinging.

Afterwards I felt slightly bad, but at the time I'd just been keyed up and provoked.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:27 AM
horizontal rule
51

I undertipped semi-recently when we had a campus visitor, and we took them to a coffee shop that was blasting Rush Limbaugh.

Cultural differences in America, a continuing series.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:33 AM
horizontal rule
52

Well that's a relief. Sounds like Benquo handled his situation better than I handled mine, though.

But I thought your said yours had a happy ending.


I'll get my coat.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:35 AM
horizontal rule
53

Well, not solely.

You'd mix up the orders and drop the food on the ground?

In Heebie's position I wouldn't have tipped at all. Or maybe a dime, to force home the point. Actually, I'd probably have suggested going elsewhere.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:36 AM
horizontal rule
54

It was shocking. This was in Sad Town, fwiw, which is very rural and very poor and very hispanic, and I gather that the white people there feel quite persecuted.

Also it's more of a standalone-house-turned-sandwich shop than a proper coffee shop, of which Sad Town has none.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:37 AM
horizontal rule
55

Actually, I'd probably have suggested going elsewhere.

We didn't have time, because I had to get the visitor back on campus to make a meeting. But I did rub my eyes and forehead with exaggerated weariness when he announced himself, and apologized to the visitor, and we sat in the quietest room.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:39 AM
horizontal rule
56

49: I was a very bad waiter. It didn't pay much, but now I don't have to wonder.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:40 AM
horizontal rule
57

This should probably go in the wedding thread, but I just discovered that I still fit the suit I bought in 1995 or 1996. And since men's fashion hasn't changed at all over that time, I can wear it with confidence.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:41 AM
horizontal rule
58

The shoulders were dusty.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:43 AM
horizontal rule
59

Which was the style at the time.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:55 AM
horizontal rule
60

The onions have probably lost their potency, though.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 6:36 AM
horizontal rule
61

Ms. Breath, are these commenters bothering you? Do I need to get a front-page poster to Pauly Shore them for you? Oh wait, I am a front-page poster. I'm more interesting than I sound.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 6:40 AM
horizontal rule
62

I'll say this for apo, he never misuses a tip.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 6:50 AM
horizontal rule
63

41: Do you think it would have been better if he just cut it off at "Is this guy bothering you" and left off the "darlin'" and everything after that?

It seems like an ok joke that was just overplayed.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 6:51 AM
horizontal rule
64

62: There's a reservoir more where that joke came from.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 6:54 AM
horizontal rule
65

36: Mainly due to luck - I was at a bus stop in Adams Morgan, not at home in my apartment, so I was a little more ready for strangers to behave strangely around me.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 7:03 AM
horizontal rule
66

45.2: Have you considered the possibility that you're just really hot?


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 7:06 AM
horizontal rule
67

63 - yeah, I would have laughed (or smiled anyway) at that, and perhaps answered along the lines of "no, I can handle him" thus bringing me back nicely to flirting (or making vague sexual suggestions anyway) with t man I was actually with. The second half just seemed like showing off.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 7:11 AM
horizontal rule
68

I've reached the age of invisibility unless at the Beverly Center. Staff there has no way of knowing net worth by appearance these days so they're almost always polite and friendly to everyone.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 7:33 AM
horizontal rule
69

I did, in the moment, laugh and say something along those lines. There's just something about the "I'll say something flirtatiously amusing because I work for tips" interaction that makes me feel (a) like the capitalist oppressor and (b) a thousand years old.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 7:35 AM
horizontal rule
70

I think "Fuck you, clown" would have done nicely.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 7:42 AM
horizontal rule
71

You'd mix up the orders and drop the food on the ground?

There's also the fact that I'm lazy, judgemental, and self-entitled.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 8:05 AM
horizontal rule
72

39: I tried to hire a TaskRabbit to figure out how I could get a good haircut and got the results I'd expect from someone willing to tell me that my face shape and hair type are like Justin Timberlake's.

Then I went to my girlfriend's haircutter, and now I only mostly loathe my hair, which is an improvement, and I have gotten compliments more frequently afterwards so I guess it came out okay.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 8:24 AM
horizontal rule
73

Honestly the hooker excuse would be less embarrassing. That seems like not a totally weird thing to want a sex partner to say.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 8:25 AM
horizontal rule
74

71: my brother.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 8:26 AM
horizontal rule
75

68: That Roger Angell piece Ogged linked to here suggested that invisibility began around fifty for women and somewhat later for men. But he was talking about some sort of principle of being disregarded, so that people you know don't listen to you, or come up with same opinion you just expressed as if you hadn't.

I notice people my age and older, and I'm sure you do too. It is remarkable how many people not themselves children, in their early forties say, are unconsciously dismissive of people who are in their sixties. Were we like that?

I know about age appropriateness so spare me the veldt, but I've noticed in the large office I've worked at the last few months, where as many as a hundred people use the same cafeteria/kitchen space, that I've begun to think women in their early forties have reached a peak of attractiveness, of beauty. Not just one example, a dozen.

It would have been creepy to have thought so at twenty, it seems natural to think so now, but when did the shift occur? Later than it should have.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 9:34 AM
horizontal rule
76

Idp, the half plus seven rule has a physiological basis.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 9:40 AM
horizontal rule
77

I have often complained that one of the problems of aging is fancying old men.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 9:42 AM
horizontal rule
78

Funny, that one hasn't kicked in for me.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 9:44 AM
horizontal rule
79

I've been spending quite a bit of time with young women lately (especially yesterday, giving out race packets for this). Staying mostly on the good side of the divide between flirting shamelessly but plausibly deniably and creepy old manhood. I hope.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 9:51 AM
horizontal rule
80

half plus seven rule has a physiological basis

Certainly feels like it, I'll admit. And I realize that I'm the one who's keVelting now, but what purpose does this serve, aside from pleasure, thank you very much?

Correct pairing in the last act of Restoration Comedies doesn't seem sufficient.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 9:54 AM
horizontal rule
81

Apparently once my mother hit a certain age / silverness of hair, she suddenly started getting asked for directions or other assistance with much greater frequency - one context in which case older white women are hyper-visible.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 10:04 AM
horizontal rule
82

The number of sleazy ancient dudes in the media right now has got me thinking about starting a niche porn outlet for a particular kind of remorseful perving on young people with their firm bodies and hope for the future.

"Slim twinks whose best days are ahead of them, not behind them!" "Horny teens with no need to think of the imminent arrival of the grim specter of death!" "Gaze upon the firm bosom of a woman who has not yet made a sequence of mistakes that will ruin her chances of health and prosperity!"


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
83

I have a high tolerance for well-done flirting, and am willing to extend pretty generous benefit of the doubt to help the flirter achieve high quality flirting. Love to flirt myself. It just makes day to day life more enjoyable.

I also developed at a young age a nice range of signals for shutting down unwanted attention, of course they only work if the person providing the unwanted attention is not so lacking in social skills or awareness (or so overly entitled) that he or she is completely impervious. I've noticed that some of my friends (women) never seem to have worked out how to shut down attention they don't want, so that they seem to feel beleaguered at times. Note that I am talking about the world of flirting ONLY, not anything creepy or abusive.

The age range of those interested in flirting with me has crept up more slowly than I would have expected years ago, but nowadays I am less surprised. I'm half of a May-ish/October-November-ish couple, and it became clear years ago that lots and lots of people remain interested in flirting with my better half. Which is lovely, if they are good flirts!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
84

There was some possibly bullshit study I read somewhere that said that waiter/waitresses can basically do nothing to earn a better tip. In any remotely reasonable range of service, people just tip the standard amount; only in absolutely egregiously unforgivable cases do people tip less, and they almost never tip more. So all the smileyness, flirtation etc isn't strictly financially remunerative, though it may make the job more fun.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 11:37 AM
horizontal rule
85

It must not have happened recently, because I can't think of any of the specifics, but I have occasionally been flirted with by young servers, and it's disconcerting as hell - not exactly the annoyance LB describes (I don't think I've ever been flirted with so ham-handedly), but the surprise and then realization that, given our relative positions, it can't possibly be sincere.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 11:41 AM
horizontal rule
86

Cab drivers in DC range from professional and pleasant to scowling and nearly deranged, but I tip them all about the same. Flirting has never been an issue.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 11:43 AM
horizontal rule
87

84 -- This is just like how a lawyer can't usually win a case -- that's going to be about the facts that the clients brings with them and the law which you can't expect to change very often -- but can certainly lose one.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 11:46 AM
horizontal rule
88

Oh, wow, this just dredged up a 25 year old memory. Late in HS, my best friend (the one with 2 failed marriages in his future) and I were getting sandwiches to go (I believe we were on our way to a Paul McCartney concert at Giants Stadium) from a place in our town. I wasn't even trying to flirt with the girl at the counter (who was cute and our age, but unknown to us), I just said, "I have a quarter" (or whatever) in order to make exact change, and she says, with deep sarcasm, "Good for you."

I was so flummoxed - I hadn't done anything to justify her ire or even annoyance, but there she was, crapping on me. All these years later, I still think it was weird.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 11:46 AM
horizontal rule
89

84, 87: Back before I learned to tip 20% more or less no matter what, I believed in a range from 10% (rarely applied) to 20% (rather more often applied). Nowadays 95% of our meals out are for reviews, and we tend to order a ton of shit while being as undemanding as possible, so I feel as if 20% is usually a pretty damn good tip, and I don't go up from there regardless. Like, you were great and helpful, but $50 should really suffice.

If I ate out less often, and ordered less food, I'd probably be more prone to go up to 25% once in awhile. Once every couple of months, we really do get extraordinary service.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 11:52 AM
horizontal rule
90

There was some possibly bullshit study I read somewhere that said that waiter/waitresses can basically do nothing to earn a better tip.

There was an interesting series of posts about tipping that Witt linked to a while back. It agreed with that claim.

When in time we started contemplating the elimination of tips from the Linkery, I looked for actual research on the subject, and found Michael Lynn's then-recently-published "Tip Levels and Service". This paper shows that in spite of what people think motivates their tipping calculations, the quality of service has only a tiny effect on how much a restaurant customer actually leaves as a tip. In fact, the percent tip left by a guest is as much influenced by whether the server (if female) draws a smiley face on the check, or predicts good weather, as by the guests' happiness with the quality of service. As you read the study (a PDF of it is here) you see that, if you're a server who wants to maximize your income, service quality should not be your focus.

Instead, a server who wants to maximize her tips first needs to maximize her personal sales. In a a time when the restaurant is not busy, this means using sales techniques to sell more food and drink to her guests. But when the restaurant is busy -- which of course is the time when most people are in restaurants -- the high-revenue server shifts her focus from maximizing sales per guest, to maximizing the number of guests she helps. In other words, she is better off financially, providing service to the highest number of guests, even if that stretches her capabilities past the ability to go a good job.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 12:01 PM
horizontal rule
91

I vaguely remember another possibly bullshit study that said the only thing a server could do to increase his tips is to act like he's having a bad day.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 12:17 PM
horizontal rule
92

So it's 20% now? I'd still been stuck at 15%+ (usually closer to 18%, rounding off). I'm sorry, waitstaff of the world!

The new thing I've been hearing at order at the counter places is "how's your day been going?"

Around here it's "Have a good one." This delivered robotically as the counter person is turning away. There's something simultaneously irritating and just plain honest about this: no, the person doesn't care about you, yes, the person needs to say something positive or encouraging, per instruction.

Or is it per instruction? Could the counter person not just nod and say "Thanks!"? I fear that "Have a good one" is a Baltimore thing, as I've never encountered it elsewhere.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 12:41 PM
horizontal rule
93

I say "Have a good one" all the time.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 12:46 PM
horizontal rule
94

So it's not a Baltimore thing. I'll be glad when it passes out of the parlance, though.

Perhaps people could just say "Cheers!" or "Righto, then!" or something like that. Maybe "Tallyho!" or "Good on ya" or "Carry on."


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 12:59 PM
horizontal rule
95

"In your eye."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 1:11 PM
horizontal rule
96

"Excelsior!"


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 1:14 PM
horizontal rule
97

"SALUTATIONS, MEAT ENTITY"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 1:17 PM
horizontal rule
98

"Slalom!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 1:18 PM
horizontal rule
99

Sifu, it's to be a sign-off remark. So, EXEUNT, MEAT ENTITY! Er .. Have a good one.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 1:29 PM
horizontal rule
100

So all the smileyness, flirtation etc isn't strictly financially remunerative, though it may make the job more fun.

It's also just an inherently perfomative role that attracts people who like being around people (a reason, I suppose, that it's the cliche day job for an actor). Greeters, flight attendants, and others fall into this as well.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 1:30 PM
horizontal rule
101

Worth noting that this more and more a job duty. Emotional labor. I'm sure "do I need to get security" is not in the manual, but that thing at Trader Joe's where they tell you how much they like the PBJ Chocolate Bar you picked out is.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 1:36 PM
horizontal rule
102

Worth noting sentences more words having.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 1:36 PM
horizontal rule
103

So, EXEUNT, MEAT ENTITY!

No wonder the bear is pursuing.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 1:37 PM
horizontal rule
104

I already suspected it, but the bit about TJ's in 101 has made IF and I sad. Nothing is sacred!


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 1:54 PM
horizontal rule
105

I have occasionally been flirted with by young servers, and it's disconcerting as hell - not exactly the annoyance LB describes (I don't think I've ever been flirted with so ham-handedly), but the surprise and then realization that, given our relative positions, it can't possibly be sincere.

I actually find it disconcerting because, given our relative positions, it actually could be sincere, but probably isn't, and there's no way to tell. (Except asking, I guess, but given the circumstances that seems like a terrible idea.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 1:55 PM
horizontal rule
106

Several years ago when I went to Panera Bread from time to time, the employees used a tone of voice more akin to actual friendliness rather than customer-service chipper. It was kind of disconcerting once I realized it was consistent enough to be a policy.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 1:57 PM
horizontal rule
107

I've read some pieces re the policy of mandatory emotional availability enforced by the pret à manger chain. Truly repellent policies. And of course their doing totally wrong. Sexiest, flirtiest retail job I ever had was in a worker owned collective where the customers were fully aware that they could be turfed at any moment and all the wait staff were armed. Boy did the customers step up the flirting game!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
108

"Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to be serving customers at this fine establishment?"


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 2:20 PM
horizontal rule
109

Large, sharp knives, actually. And servers are on an elevated platform about 12 inches over the customer level.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 2:26 PM
horizontal rule
110

You worked at Socialist Benihana?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 2:27 PM
horizontal rule
111

Nope! Iconic west coast collective of very geographically limited renown. Was years ago.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 2:31 PM
horizontal rule
112

I've read some pieces re the policy of mandatory emotional availability enforced by the pret à manger chain.

I saw that as well. It looks like I read this article, but if you search for pret a manger Andrej Stopa, there are many stories.

This winnowing process is designed to select for workers who will feed the 'Pret Buzz'. 'The first thing I look at is whether the staff are touching each other,' Clive Schlee, chief executive of Pret since 2003, told the Telegraph in March last year. 'Are they smiling, reacting to each other, happy, engaged? ... I can almost predict sales on body language alone.' What Pret has understood, and its competitors haven't (or not yet), is how much money there is to be made from what radical left theorists have been referring to since the 1970s as 'affective labour'. Work increasingly isn't, or isn't only, a matter of producing things, but of supplying your energies, physical and emotional, in the service of others. It isn't what you make, but how your display of feeling makes others feel. This won't be news to mothers, nurses and prostitutes, but the massive swelling of the service economy means that emotional availability can no longer be dismissed as women's work; it must be seen as a dominant commodity form under late capitalism.

And it has to be real. 'The authenticity of being happy is important,' a Pret manager tells the Telegraph, 'customers pick up on that.' It isn't clear which is the more demanding, authenticity or performance, being it or faking it, but in either case it's difficult to believe that there isn't something demoralising, for Pret workers perhaps more than most in the high street, not only in having their energies siphoned off by customers, but also in having to sustain the tension between the performance of relentless enthusiasm at work and the experience of straitened material circumstances outside it. 'Henceforth,' as Carl Cederström and Peter Fleming put it in their recent jeremiad Dead Man Working (Zero, £9.99), 'our authenticity is no longer a retreat from the mandatory fakeness' of the workplace, 'but the very medium through which work squeezes the life out of us'.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 2:34 PM
horizontal rule
113

So you're saying that LB should feel guilty at her capitalist bourgeois emotional exploitation of NYC's hipster waiters?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 2:55 PM
horizontal rule
114

101: A contractor I've been working with runs a consumer-facing plumbing & heating company, and the staff is creepily trained on "Have a great day!" (or whatever) with way, way too much enthusiasm. Like, I get that a certain amount of greetingliness is part of the job for a receptionist, but it's like it's staffed by Up With People or something.

Also, these are business calls; I have no interest in personal interaction.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 3:00 PM
horizontal rule
115

105: Yeah, that didn't often come up in my youth [/self-pity].


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
116

It seems a lot of sales/customer service workers are now told to focus on the customer experience. I certainly was constantly reminded to do so when I worked sales/CS. I don't even know what that means, in terms of practical things you're supposed to do as a worker, and I kind of assumed it was some B-school nonsense that somehow managed to infect large swaths of the service economy.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 3:09 PM
horizontal rule
117

107: the customers were fully aware that they could be turfed at any moment and all the wait staff were armed

I don't think the staff at our local anarchist collective cafes are armed, most of the time. But I'm sure they all have a baseball bat behind the counter. Favorite thing I overheard the clerk say at the really grotty @ist cafe "I'm going to punch the next person who says 'vente'". Dunno if she did or not, but it was funny.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 4:00 PM
horizontal rule
118

Yeah, that didn't often come up in my youth [/self-pity].

Well, I do eat out more than most young people.

[...laydeez.]


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 4:14 PM
horizontal rule
119

So for some reason today I decided to pay attention to the Kentucky Derby. (I never really have before). I'm wondering: do the payouts on average work out so that logically equivalent bets pay the same? This year, someone betting on the winning horse would have been better off making all possible exacta bets with the same winner, i.e. bets on the top two horses where they chose the winner and all possible runners-up. Googling last year's numbers, that was even more true: the exacta-to-win ratio was even higher. If it's true on average, it wouldn't be rational to make a "win" bet---if you want to bet on the winner, you should bet on all the exactas with that winner. (Provided you have a budget of more than $2 times the number of horses in the field minus one.) But maybe the last two years are anomalous?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 4:38 PM
horizontal rule
120

Would you have to box the exactas?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 4:58 PM
horizontal rule
121

Sorry. I'm mean, would it work if you boxed them?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 4:59 PM
horizontal rule
122

Anyway, as far as I'm aware, the only logic to the odds is to get a roughly even split. The house doesn't want to gamble.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:01 PM
horizontal rule
123

No; I'm comparing betting just on the winner versus betting exactas where you put the same winner in the number 1 spot but vary your choice of the number 2 spot over all the other horses. So the bets are completely logically equivalent; boxing, if I understand the jargon correctly, would mean allowing your winner to be in the number 2 spot.

Looking at recent results at equibase.com, the ratio of exacta payout to win payout times number of horses in the field seems to vary pretty widely, but sometimes it's much bigger than one and it's rarely much smaller than one-half.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:02 PM
horizontal rule
124

123 to 120.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:03 PM
horizontal rule
125

There was an undergrad who came to ask me for a project to work on and said he has a lot of experience with machine learning. He didn't specify a physics project. Maybe I should see if he can figure out a good betting strategy.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:05 PM
horizontal rule
126

the employees used a tone of voice more akin to actual friendliness rather than customer-service chipper. It was kind of disconcerting once I realized it was consistent enough to be a policy.

Anybody been to Cafe Gratitude in the Bay Area, where it seems like they really would care how your day is going? It's kind of pretentious sincerity, or something like that. I almost think that if you went in there and sat at the bar and started crying about your shitty day or life, they'd sit down with you and listen.

I was about to say that it's never flirtatious there, their pretentious sincerity, but then I recalled that two times I had very hott servers, and one did flirt, but in a very subtle way, almost like he was in denial that it could be interpreted as flirting.


Posted by: Owner | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:05 PM
horizontal rule
127

Yes to Cafe Gratitude, but weren't they shut down for some bizarre skeeziness?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:23 PM
horizontal rule
128

No, they're still there. (You're thinking of the fact that they (at least used to) make their managers go to Landmark Forum sessions.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:26 PM
horizontal rule
129

That Roger Angell piece Ogged linked to here suggested that invisibility began around fifty for women

Has anyone seen this movie?


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:27 PM
horizontal rule
130

You're right, I was thinking of Sunflower Markets in Albuquerque. The food at Gratitude is shockingly good. We have the cookbook, which is also excellent but a ton of work, and too many nuts for our household now.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:45 PM
horizontal rule
131

Holy shit Ogged, we now have proof you are a danger to yourself and others and should probably be committed to an institution. Cafe Gratitude has unfathomably horrible food and is operated by a cult.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:49 PM
horizontal rule
132

119,123: I would think the arbitrage forces in horse racing would be pretty weak, given the high house edge (around 18% IIRC) and the inability for customers to directly take the other side of a bet. So I would think there is a fair amount of room for "equivalent" bet combinations to drift from each other in terms of payoff. Arbitrage is usually what keeps equivalent security prices more or less in line with each other.

Also, to get the equivalent of a single win bet, you wouldn't want to bet exactly the same amount on each exacta with that horse in #1, but to weight your bet according to expected payoff, right? IOW, if 1-2 is expected to pay 10:1 and 1-3 is expected to pay 30:1, then you would want 3x as much money on 1-2 in order to equalize the payoffs. So the total amount you would need to bet might be quite substantial relative to a $2 win bet.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 5:50 PM
horizontal rule
133

123 is very interesting. I think it only works as a winning-enhancement bet though; it still only (probably, I think, ignore my math) has a positive EV if you think that betting on the particular horse+vig is substantially underpriced as a winner, plus I think 132 last is right.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 6:04 PM
horizontal rule
134

132: Sure. Any way of dividing the bet among the different exactas is logically equivalent to betting just on the winner, and you could have different choices of how to do this. But the observation that I was making was that doing it with a flat choice--i.e., neglecting the odds on the other horses--would have paid off well in the last two Derbys.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 6:05 PM
horizontal rule
135

Also cafe gratitude was notoriously unhelpful and unfriendly to a customer who was mugged after leaving their fine establishment one evening several years ago. As I recall, they didn't actually expel her when she came back and asked for help, but I believe it was customers who called the police for her on their mobile, paid for a cab home, etc. It got a gratifying amount of press locally. At least I was grateful for the publicity.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 6:06 PM
horizontal rule
136

Yes to cult, but the food is good. It's not the venison salami I had here in BAMA! the other night, but it's good. Maybe the customer undertipped.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 6:12 PM
horizontal rule
137

Or maybe the mugger was a regular.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 6:22 PM
horizontal rule
138

Years ago a close relative with bow hunting as a hobby overnighted me a venison filet. There was a cabin in Mendocino, a very lovely bottle if chinon as I recall and a new lover. That was a great weekend, I am grateful to Alabama for having brought back those memories.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 6:26 PM
horizontal rule
139

134: It probably helps that this year's second place horse was a real long shot. That would tend to push up the exacta payoff in the unweighted case.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 6:33 PM
horizontal rule
140

Years ago a close relative with bow hunting as a hobby overnighted me a venison filet. There was a cabin in Mendocino, a very lovely bottle if chinon as I recall and a new lover.

I've had family members tell me about romantic getaways before, but no one's ever been that specific about the wine.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 6:47 PM
horizontal rule
141

Well of course they're not going to tell family members all the details.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 6:50 PM
horizontal rule
142

Right. The webcam footage is on the family VPN.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 7:01 PM
horizontal rule
143

I'd been presuming Cafe Gratitude would close as a result of that - guess not. Its satellite in a local Whole Foods did disappear at that time.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 7:41 PM
horizontal rule
144

It's no wonder I was thinking of Sunflower. First the CEO tried to pay someone he thought was a minor for sex, then one of their employees gave customers samples of his semen instead of yogurt.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 7:54 PM
horizontal rule
145

The wine is connected with the job I had, my close friends of the time, as well as what seem like specific memories from the weekend in question, so I could be wrong but not likely.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 8:21 PM
horizontal rule
146

then one of their employees gave customers samples of his semen instead of yogurt.

"While at Sunflower Market be sure to check out our new, bashful offerings!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 3-14 8:31 PM
horizontal rule
147

I pretty much believe in efficient markets for horse betting and doubt there are any loopholes built into the structure of the exacta stuff.


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 7:22 AM
horizontal rule
148

Vaguely on-topic: Harry Belafonte in Stockholm in 1966 doing his closing routine, "Matilda." I've heard the Carnegie Hall version, which has a similar interaction with the audience, but seeing the video I was struck by how much of a flirt*/seducer he is. Talk about somebody who is both incredibly charismatic and completely confident in his own attractiveness.

* I'm not sure that "flirt" is the right word to describe this style of performance but, heck, it's my tie-in with the thread, so I'm going with it.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 10:12 AM
horizontal rule
149

148: Compare this live performance at SUNY Purchase thirty years later. Still massively charismatic and confident, but a different kind of energy that draws a lot more out of the song (and an audience who is much more familiar with it).


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 2:07 PM
horizontal rule
150

A certain Chipotle checkout girl was all about giving me free fountain drinks. That was awesome.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 2:23 PM
horizontal rule
151

Compare this live performance at SUNY Purchase thirty years later

I didn't enjoy that as much as I thought I would. He's still great, but it feel like, over that 30 years, he's gone from being a star to being an icon. There's nothing wrong with that, but it makes it hard to go from the earlier performance directly to the later one.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 8:14 PM
horizontal rule
152

I usually claim it was the Jackson Victory Tour, but technically speaking my first concert was a Harry Belafonte show in Atlantic City. Grandma Diane chose it. I don't remember it very well -- we got seated behind a column.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 8:25 PM
horizontal rule
153

146, LOL.

Yes to cult, but the food is good.

The last thing I had there was some sort of ersatz chocolate truffle that tasted like shit drained of just enough flavor to be edible.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 8:28 PM
horizontal rule
154

Cafe Gratitude is apparently a chain.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 4-14 11:32 PM
horizontal rule
155

So is/was Sunflower Market.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 12:40 AM
horizontal rule
156

Perhaps people could just say "Cheers!" or "Righto, then!" or something like that.

I say all three of "Have a good one", "Cheers" and "Righto".


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:06 AM
horizontal rule
157

All those phrases are just social grease and usually mean nothing except: "I'm interacting with you." It's when people decide they are too hackneyed and try something else that you get confused and think they mean something. "Have a good one" is pretty common; it replaced "Have a nice day" because that began to sound even lamer than it is.

I almost always tip 20% for meals these days, but it wasn't that long ago (was it?) that 15% was the norm, and I know for a lot of older people (that is: people my parents' age) 10% was the norm. I still see people tipping 15% by default sometimes.

How do these shifts in normative tips start? Waitstaff always thing they are underpaid (and they are usually right, too). I don't think it's any kind of solidarity with the oppressed workers thing that make the standard tip go up, but then I'm kind of a cynic and maybe that is the cause.

Tipping is stupid. I don't think anyone mentioned that in the thread yet, so I just thought I'd get it in. (You're welcome.)


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 5:18 AM
horizontal rule
158

157: Maybe the new norm is because the minimum wage of $2.13 paid by the employer to tipped employees (defined as making more than $30 per month in tips) hasn't changed since 1991? And employers don't really make up any shortfall as required? I think that's been reasonably well publicized, and people don't like to feel miserly.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 6:33 AM
horizontal rule
159

Well, Seattle is likely going to experiment on tipping vs wages in the next few years. Possibly disastrous! Possibly disastrous for some and vital for others! ...More likely watered down by political compromise.

I hadn't realized how high tips could get for charming people working in high-status drinking establishments. I didn't want to know that some men of my acquaintance really like tipping more for flirtatious service. The friends I have who have spent longest in restaurant work are universally agreed that the business got the best tips if the young women were willing to unbutton some buttons, work front of house, and be perky. (My friends tend to waiter-actor-writer, not waiter-actor-model, so... but they really are funny!)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
160

I hadn't realized how high tips could get for charming people working in high-status drinking establishments.

That was one of the things that struck me from the posts linked in 90 -- just how large the disparity could get between tipped employees and the ones making just their standard hourly wage.

Now, let's say that on a typical shift, a restaurant sells $1000 in food and drink. It would be reasonable that, to make that revenue, a restaurant has 2 cooks who work 8 hours each, a dishwasher who works 8 hours, and two servers who work 6 hours each. We can extrapolate from standard industry models that, of the $1000 in sales, there will be $300 available to cover the 36 hours of labor. It just so happens that this math means that everyone in the house will make $8/hour, which is of course both minimum wage and a poverty wage. But that's just how the pie divides.

And yet, wait! We've forgotten something. There are also 220 extra dollars paid by the guests as tips. (This 22% is typical for restaurants like ours in San Diego -- the exact amount will change with restaurant style and location.) This tip money could add another $6/hour to everyone's wage, getting everyone up to $14/hr. While $14/hr isn't enough to live well in San Diego, it starts approaching realistic money.

However, to give the tip money to every worker would be illegal. The law is historically very clear -- the $220 in tips belongs to the two servers only, and cannot be distributed to any other employees. So, the two servers make a total of about $26/hour each, while everyone else in the restaurant is stuck at $8/hour.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 11:09 AM
horizontal rule
161

Huh. One of the arguments I hear for tipping less than 20% being wage-theft is that servers are expected to pay back-of-house based on the bill.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 12:37 PM
horizontal rule
162

Update: In the interests of total honesty, and revealing that I truly am a bad person who doesn't pay attention to people, I had been thinking of the annoying incident that sparked the original post as one in a series of interactions with youngish hipsterish waiters.

Buck, who actually looks at people and remembers them, informed me that "No, it's just that guy. He always flirts with you." I hadn't recognized him from one dinner at the same restaurant to the next. (I recognize the other waiter, but admittedly it's easier because he has a Mohawk. And one of the waitresses, but that's because she was a grade-school girl in our building when we moved into the neighborhood.)

So anyway, my apologies to the hipster waiters of America generally, who have not shown a broadbased tendency to be annoyingly flirty. But this one guy should put a sock in it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 1:17 PM
horizontal rule
163

Huh. One of the arguments I hear for tipping less than 20% being wage-theft is that servers are expected to pay back-of-house based on the bill.

I have no doubt that there are restaurants that steal and or redistribute tips from servers, and I don't know how common that is. The quoted passage is written by somebody who is (a) trying to behave both ethically and legally and (b) explaining why he ended up doing away with tipping in his restaurant, so it isn't necessarily typical.

But I have heard from other people that servers make a lot more than people in the kitchen when you include tips.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
164

tipping less than 20% being wage-theft

This kind of phrasing drives me insane. It's not wages. In a better world we wouldn't be tipping at all, and wages would be better. I tip 20% largely out of social embarrassment, and because as between me and someone who's waiting tables, pretty much always they need the money more than I do. But the latter is true of most people I walk past all day, and the waiter isn't the neediest of those people, he's just the one who has the benefit of a social expectation that I'll give him some amount of money that we haven't formally agreed on.

The whole system should be abolished. While it hasn't been, I'll tip, but I hate it. (And I'm not tipping for counter service. That's not traditional and I don't want it to spread.) (Sometimes I will, admittedly, drop change in the jar, but only because I don't want to carry the change.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 2:33 PM
horizontal rule
165

Good lord. I can't stand Cafe Gratitude, but my hippy-ass friends suggest it first every time. We don't have to have raw food just because most of us were vegetarians in college. Even the vegan eats meat now!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 2:46 PM
horizontal rule
166

I'm hoping for the Seattle $15 minimum to pass and eventually lead to a norm of non-tipping restaurants (which might pay their staff partly on commission). Some waiters I know will probably be worse off, if they don't find another form of affective labor; the numbers are contested, but it looks like lots more workers in Seattle will definitely be better off. Unless the restaurants go under (unlikely, I think) or service gets automated (depends on what people are really paying for; see, affective labor).


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 2:47 PM
horizontal rule
167

Oh, that was me. We narrowly missed having a Cafe Gratitude here in Sacramento. I am greatly relieved, because now I don't have to fight the tide when the lot of us get together here.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 2:49 PM
horizontal rule
168

I never went even when walking past it all the time in Berkzerk, because my ecosystems science classmates thought it was too precious and cultlike and expensive. And it did seem a bit precious and expensive to try by myself.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 2:52 PM
horizontal rule
169

I have never heard of this Cafe Gratitude.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 2:54 PM
horizontal rule
170

162.2 suggests a small musical in which Seemingly Hipster Waiter yearns, hopelessly, for Lizardbreath's regard. Apparently it is a worldly French musical in which he gets more sympathy from Buck than from Lizardbreath. (Musical opens with LB and Buck in matching pinstriped suits, meeting cute and doing a soft shoe shuffle.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 2:58 PM
horizontal rule
171

It certainly is...something.

Although this part sounds vaguely nice, if I could clear with someone I actually enjoy:

The clearing process is designed to get our staff present each day. The present moment is where we can feel joy, love and gratitude. Before starting work, our staff members sit down with another staff member and take five minutes to "clear." They ask a series of two questions and those questions change daily. The first question invites the participants to inquire into what's distracting them from the present moment. An example: "What are you concerned about?" They will share back and forth, and this gives an experience of being listened to and connecting with their feelings. They then ask each other the second question, such as: "What do you love about your life?"

That was basically what made my carpool so pleasant. But only if I could be extremely choosy with who I cleared with.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 2:58 PM
horizontal rule
172

(Musical opens with LB and Buck in matching pinstriped suits, meeting cute and doing a soft shoe shuffle.)

I really hope this is an intentional reference.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
173

I thought it was all of those things (and also, mostly? entirely? raw, and I think it is kinda dumb to restrict a whole process from your cooking), but somehow my group from college found all of that to be exactly what they wanted. We went as a group two or three times before I started pitching a fit when it came up. We are visiting Berkeley! There are a million other good choices.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
174

And I'm not tipping for counter service. ... (Sometimes I will, admittedly, drop change in the jar

I am detecting a mixed message here.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
175

Sounds like Scientology.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
176

Nope, Landmark Forum. But good guess.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:00 PM
horizontal rule
177

I only tip for counter service if the person behind the counter is attractive and flirts with me.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:01 PM
horizontal rule
178

175 to "clear".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:01 PM
horizontal rule
179

(Actually it doesn't matter if they're attractive.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
180

174: I'm not accepting it as a obligation, I'm not tipping any kind of sane percentage, and my motivation is literally that I'm too lazy to unzip the change compartment of my wallet for less than thirty cents or so. So, not really tipping. Dropping unwanted change in a location marked for its sanitary disposal.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:03 PM
horizontal rule
181

175: That reminds me, I'm reading the Lawrence Wright book on Scientology right now, and I keep having to take breaks 'cause I can't take all the crazy. It reads a bit like Wright got kinda overwhelmed with it too.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:03 PM
horizontal rule
182

170: Everyone always gets more sympathy from Buck than from me. He's easy that way.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:04 PM
horizontal rule
183

(179 was completely ambiguous, I now see. I meant: "I only tip for counter service if the person behind the counter flirts with me." Not: "It doesn't matter if they flirt with me as long as they're attractive.")


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:04 PM
horizontal rule
184

I'm not even sure how serious I am about that. I think about 75% serious. It's not a conscious behavioral policy; it's an observed outcome.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 3:13 PM
horizontal rule
185

the clichéd thing I say to people at my store is either, "enjoy the rest of your weekend" (most purchases being made over the weekend) or "take it easy." I'm big on "take it easy."


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 7:19 PM
horizontal rule
186

Someone hit my pristine car in a parking lot today. She tried to make it seem like we were both at fault, but there was a witness who totally backed me up as not being at fault. After a long phone call to the insurance company and exchange of lots of info, she turned very apologetic and kept saying how bad she felt. (I suspect she was hoping that I would be sympathetic enough to not file a claim against her insurance.) I kept telling her to not worry about it (the damage was light--but it was a pristine car), and finally I extended my hand and said, "Try to enjoy the rest of your day." I was being sincere!


Posted by: Virga•licious | Link to this comment | 05- 5-14 7:37 PM
horizontal rule