Saturday, October 24, 2009

Po Boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
Sturm Und Drang
Dip Me In Honey
This restaurant month we’ll talk about tips and tipping.
Your first tip, as old schoolers advise is to: “believe half of what you see and none of what you hear”. For example: ‘THEY’ say that you can see our recovery… (whoever THEY are, don’t believe them!)
As if to further illustrate this point; consider the nebulous cow patties of hope that we have been served (up to our chins) since Katrina and how we still haven’t been able to break or brake the bureaucratic burlesque of… mendacity.
Logically, it remains for us to swallow the crap that we’ve been fed or spit it back. We’ve done neither. Many of us who stray from high ground still see that the extent of our City’s hanging out to dry, four years ago, is still alive and unwell. Blah, blah, blah.
Of course it could also be that unless some fat cat can make a deal, and a butt load of money at the expense of common man, nothing gets done around here traditionally. What’s the chances?
As far as tipping goes, in my estimation, you can never tip enough; that is, unless your service sucks. How can you tell when your service sucks? In case you’re a complete noodge, which is northern for moron, I’m here to tell you that it’s the same as being able to tell when you’re being fed recovery propaganda by the people in charge. Evidence shows that it’s inattentiveness, inexperience, lack of follow through or the attitude that you shouldn’t expect anything better because you’re nothing but a noodge yourself.
In all cases you need a quorum--more than one person on your side and at your service. In the more professional businesses there are usually three or more persons to see to your individual near perfect experiences. If that is not the case then---if you have to rely on one person to see to your welfare---they had better be damn good.
Ever try to get your one waiter’s attention while they’re shooting the breeze with another server or on their cell phone? Ever try to get your elected official’s attention when your wishes and expectations are being ignored? Here’s a tip--- it doesn’t happen unless they’re your Momma, and even then it’ll be iffy.
Which, come to think of it, poses the question of whether or not our elected officials should work for below minimum wage and rely on tips to make their rent and spending money. I’m for it. For that matter, we should know no more about the workings of our legislature than we do about the kitchens in restaurants. We should give our orders to those who serve us and judge the results as they are delivered up. And tip accordingly.
Ever try to get an answer about your room service from a noodge of a bell hop or ask who you have to blow to get the drinks delivered that you ordered several minutes ago (and can see sitting up at the bar) or why there’s blue cheese on your ice cream? It’s just like the government:
“Excuse me, but, where is my luggage?” “Patience Sir, we’ve convened a nonpartisan committee and we should be able to get back to you sometime in the Spring.”
or “I beg to differ with you, this is NOT a well done steak!”
“Sir, I asked the cook and was told that the DOW has just plunged and in this economy everyone should be eating meat medium rare to conserve energy”.
“May I have some ice in my ‘iced tea’?” “Sorry fella… global warming”.
“It’s about time that my trash got picked up!” “15% has been added for more than six trash bags”.
“The water is rising around my front door!!!”: “I’m NOT responsible!! It’s all a blur!!”
Here’s another tip: Don’t be lullabied into complacency following our last non-storm season. Remember, we’re still taking it in the shorts for being caught with our pants down, if you get my drift.
Back to tipping; what is the protocol? Well, if they don’t piss you off, I’d say start working around 20%, but it depends.
For me a cup of coffee usually is at least a buck, drinks in bars: about 40%, barber shops: even numbers (fins or sawbucks). Any special requests or services get extra bucks, period. I throw money at cab drivers, glad to be at my destination.
In Restaurants it’s pretty gray. Does a meal with a super expensive bottle of wine require major gratuities? Does dinner for less mean you should tip chintzy? Should ethnic joints get less than, say, celebrity spots? Does ambiance count when you sign that bottom line? No, no and no again. It’s the service that you’re tipping!
Servers get paid half of minimum wage, if that; and, at two bucks an hour they are the most short shifted of all of the service industry and they rely upon their personalities and expertise to make up for the deficiency in their wages. Do restaurants pay people who get tips less and do they justify your tipping as a way to NOT pay servers a decent wage? You bet your sweet ass! But that’s the way it is and you can only penalize your server by being cheap. UNLESS, as I said, they are not doing their jobs.
I have a theory that if a person does not truly like their job they will perform poorly; and if they do not like working with the public they will not like a job in the service industry and should be doing something else for their living. It should not be an end of the line occupation.
The most common complaint that I get these days (and who am I to complain to?) is that services around here (nowadays, across the board) suck and we’ve been sitting on our thumbs and taking a screwing because we expect less or would prefer to not pay that much attention to incompetence (and just suck it up), thereby pissing off our inner citizen and get a frigging ulcer because we’re just too polite or impotent to become outraged. This is a thread of thought that maybe you should pick up and run with.

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