Today I offer a cautionary tale for restaurant staff.
A few Saturdays back, Tim and I were pretty well wiped out, he from sailing, and me from babysitting. (On a related note: somebody please tell me why sitting around looking at a sleeping newborn all day is so darn exhausting.) We were too tired to cook, so we decided to walk to a fairly nice, but not super fancy restaurant near my apartment.
The hostess seated us next to two older, well-to-do couples on a double date. While neatly and appropriately dressed, we didn't ooze money like our neighbors. These were some seriously fancy people. They were so fancy, the man next to me didn't even bother to budge his suit jacket, obliging me to clamber over it to get in and out of my seat. Their (boozy and loud) conversation centered around European vacations, and the recent college graduation of a nattily-named daughter. Oh, and that the mom had "done some salary research" for the daughter prior to her job interviews. We were dining next to a case study of suburban affluence and helicopter parenting.
But this isn't a blog about envy or greed, so let's get to the heart of the story: our waiter.
Our server greeted us, took our order, then dropped us like a cheating boyfriend. Meanwhile, he absolutely fawned over the Hoities next to us. It was ridiculous and extremely obvious, as he would check in on them frequently and then walk right past us, avoiding eye contact or outreached hands, as we sat there with empty glasses and no food.
As it turns out, it was a self-fulfilling prophecy. As we felt ignored and insulted, we left the bare minimum tip (18% in the city), down to the penny. We normally leave more than 20 percent. So, the waiter lost out on what would have been a fairly nice tip. He also dissuaded us from wanting to return to what had previously been a favorite restaurant.
I thought about bringing the issue to a manager's attention (which I usually do), but by then we were tired, cranky and just wanted to go home. So instead I decided to passive-aggressively blog about it.