Berating wait staff is not appropriate

As someone who is well acquainted with a member of the food services profession, I am constantly amazed by her tales of the frequently oafish, rude or just plain careless behavior of patrons at the popular Everett-area restaurant where she is a waitperson.

Here are a few basic rules for dining out. If you are presenting coupons from an entertainment book or the restaurant’s Web site, read the fine print: “dinner entree” does not include kids’ meals, burger baskets or breakfasts unless it says so, and “of equal or lesser value” means just that. If the coupon has expired, it is in poor taste to berate your server for not honoring it. When you are receiving 2-for-1 meals, you should tip based on what the total cost would have been at full price. For adequate service, one should tip 15-20 percent, and more for really special care, or if one has made extra demands upon the server. Most restaurants have comment cards available for complaints and suggestions; they are not window-dressing!

If you take issue with a restaurant policy that your server is following, it is certainly appropriate to ask to speak with the owner or manager. Taking out your frustrations on that server by witholding a tip is not. And if your notion of going out to eat only takes into account the prices on the menu, don’t do it. The women and men who wait tables usually are paid minimum wage, and depend on their tips to round out a job that makes it possible to raise children, go to college, pay for the car that gets them to work, and buy health insurance. Giving you a hard time is not their best interests, and attentive service deserves reciprocity.

Marjorie D. Heidrich


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