I was camping up in the Sawtooth Mountains a while back. I was on the East side of the mountain. The east side of mountains photograph best in the morning; So, I planned a long morning walk with no breakfast.
My plan was to lunch in Stanley after building up a good appetite.
I had not been to a restaurant for several months and was really looking forward to a warm restaurant meal.
It was my one indulgence for the trip.
To my delight, I found a quaint looking cafe on Main Street in Stanley.
The decor was nice, tables clean and it looked like I would be in for a treat.
I was the only customer at the time, which seemed odd. It was as if everyone decided to stay home for some mysterious reason.
The restaurant was well staffed, but I sat at the cafe for about 20 minutes for the waitress to serve me.
The waitress was glum and barely acknowledged my existence when she took my order. She looked as if she wanted to say something, but couldn't find the words.
She didn't even look at me when she plopped the plate of in front of me.
The food itself was undercooked and runny. If I wasn't hungry, I probably wouldn't have eaten it.
To make matters worse, the whole restaurant staff was in the back room with their eyes glued to a small TV.
I felt like standing up and screaming: "There is a customer in the building!"
Now, I am a pretty easy person to please. I had entered this restaurant with a good appetite and in a mood where I would have enjoyed even mediocre service and a bad meal.
I had slow service, an inconsiderate waitress, and near inedible food served by a staff too busy watching TV to acknowledge customers.
So, I did something that I rarely do.
I tallied up the many transgressions of the restaurant and decided I wouldn't leave a tip.
I did not decide to leave a small tip.
That's right. I decided to leave no tip.
I paid my bill to the penny and skipped the gratuity altogether.
The whole point of a tip is to acknowledge good service.
For tips to have meaning, a restaurant with bad service, bad food and a staff glued to the TV should get no tip.
Am I right?
Anyway, ten years ago to the day, I decided not to leave a tip at a restaurant. I probably would have left one if I knew what they were watching on TV.
Except to remember that the IRS has determined that customers will tip an average of 10-15%, and the hourly wage that servers are paid is about 1/3 minimum wage to compensate. She will most likely be taxed on that calculation. I agree with your message to the waitress, but only if you compensate by actively helping to change the minimum wage law accordingly.
The day I didn't leave a tip was 9/11/2001.
This post is my 9/11 story.
The staff was watching the World Trade Center attack while I was sitting ignorantly at my table upset at the low quality service.
It is possible that 9/11/2011 was the only time that I did not leave a tip at a sit down restaurant.
I suspect the service and food at the restaurant was better on other days. If the restaurant was that bad all the time, I am sure they would have gone out of business.
My 9/11 story is that I did not leave a tip at a restaurant because the service was bad.
I did not know about the attacks until much later.
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