I'm not sure if this really qualifies as an article but after writing the one on tipping, I just had to comment on another issue that maybe you all could help me with. It used to be that when a waiter was serving you, they did just that, serve you. The other night, the missus and I were going out for one of those cheap meals, an Italian restaurant. I'd sum it up as good food, good price, but poor service. But there is one thing that stood out that reminded me of why I think tipping has gotten so out of control. We had a nice large pizza with a bunch of good meat toppings. I probably had a few too many slices, but I love pizza. When we were done, the waiter eventually stolls over and says, "Would you like a box for that?"
I just don't get the box thing. I mean they are the waiter, they are supposed to handle the food and when I am done, you hand me a cardboard box. Suddenly I have to do your job. When did this whole box thing start anyways. 30 years ago it would have been unheard of to present a box to a customer and say, "here you go." Did some state issue an ordinance against servers handling your half eaten food? Or were too many people complaining that they weren't boxing it right? I just don't get it. Your the waiter, you handle the food. I am the customer, I eat the food, but I'm not supposed to do your job for you.
It's pretty simple, when I go out to eat, I expect that I am going to be served. Maybe I need to break it down for the restaurant owners out there. First, the waiter takes the order: drinks, appetizers, and the main course. Then they deliver the food. Later they come back to refresh the drinks and check in on us. Then ask for dessert, box or bag up the leftovers, and give us the check. Seems like a pretty fair deal to get my 15% tip. Apparently, however, some waiters have gotten together and decided that boxing leftovers is beneath them. Fine then, I say that's worth about 20% of the tip value so, lets say that we should all default to a 12% tip if they don't box up the leftovers. I think if we all got together and did this the waiters and waitresses out there would get the message pretty quickly. And I'll be a nice guy too, if you box my leftovers, I am going to tip you....18%. I know I always said I am a 15% tipper, but the wait staff that puts in the extra effort is going to get a little extra from me this year.
Maybe I am too rough on the waiters, but I find it very difficult for them to justify a "good" 20% tip if the only people doing the real work are the busboys, kitchen staff, and me packing up my leftovers. I asked a couple of friends that are good waiters, and they agreed that not servicing the customer is just laziness. Each of them boxes up the leftovers. Perhaps some of you waiters and waitresses could enlighten me on why I shouldn't start a national movement to reduce tips by 3 percentage points if I have to box up my leftovers. I think the good wait staff would like it because that 3% will go in their pocket for doing a good job. C'mon waiters, please box my leftovers.
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