Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Tipping Point

We were at Ruby Tuesday's for dinner the other night and were lucky enough to have a server who looked like she had been professionally serving all her life. And by that I mean she looked old, not that she carried herself in a manner that reflected years of honing her craft, such that it is.

I have no idea what the special is. Leave me alone.

So, yes it was Ruby Tuesday's so we weren't expecting the best service, but c'mon, if they are expecting a tip for their service you would expect them to at least try, right? Can I get a what, what?

Allow me to recreate the scene.

Half empty restaurant so there is plenty of maneuverability for all parties involved. Five people at the table plus a sleeping baby in the car seat on the floor between Laura and me. So where does the server stop when coming to take our order? If you guessed right over the baby, you are the winner, give yourself a high five (though not in public, that would be weird).

Anyone see anythng wrong with this? Okay at first glance, yes it would look like there is room to stand in the space between us to view everyone and take the drink order. But upon seeing that there is a car seat on the floor, wouldn't it make sense to not talk over a baby? And maybe not to proceed to stop there when returning with the drink order? And maybe you wouldn't pass drinks over the baby????? I mean really? REALLY???? Do you normally pass drinks over adult guests at the table? Right over their head? And why risk accidentally dropping said beverage or a plate of hot food onto a baby?

I chose not to bring this to the attention of the server because I've seen the movie Waiting and I'm always afraid of what they will do to our food if we don't sit still and behave ourselves.

"Oh, I'll get them some extra sauce."

Instead, I just closed the gap between us, making another spot the obvious server loading/unloading zone. And guess what? She comes back and stands over the baby again. So I move him to another spot. Maybe that is her preferred location. She's an old dog, might not be able to train her to stop at another place around the table. And I position him in a way that she would have to go out of her way to violate what I would assume would be common sense. And guess what? She went out of her way to walk by him and pass food over him. REALLLYYYYY?!?!?!?!!?!?!

Some of the other violations (from my 20+ years of dining experience):
  • not knowing the menu (minor violation)
  • writing down an order incorrectly, twice (um, yeah, this isn't what I ordered; and neither is this)
  • serving cold food, twice (Do you mind cooking this?)
  • promising the biscuits would be right out, and not delivering them until after the food came (apparently this is Ruby Tuesday's thing, having free cheesey bread as an app, sort of like free chips at Mexican food restaurants - bad service might be their thing too)

So what would you tip to guarentee that you would get this same experience again? Would you even leave a tip?

I don't tip.

I wanted to leave $0. But others disagreed and I heard excuses like:
  • "She's trying her best"
  • "The cold food wasn't her fault"
  • "This is Ruby Tuesday's"
  • "It's the holidays"
  • "But she's old"
I'll give you the cold food, but the rest, not so much.

Do you have a tipping point? A certain level where you decide to tip or not to tip. If tips/gratuity is to reward service, shouldn't the tip or lack thereof indicate said service? Would a $0 tip send the right message? 10%? 20%?


  1. That's super sucky. I'm always afraid to be mean too. I also am too chicken to not tip at all. but that lady needed to be stiffed. So what did you give her?

  2. I gave her $1.33 to even out the total. Laura Gave her an additional $3.