Weekly blog – January 18, 2020
We all go to restaurants. Eating dinner out can be a great experience, especially if the food and service are excellent. I’ve learned over the years that I can control the service a bit, but I cannot control the quality of the food, and neither can my waiter or waitress.
So here’s something I’ve learned to do. I always greet my waiter or waitress when they come to the table initially. Usually, it goes something like this, “Hi, my name is Sarah and I’ll be your waitress today.” My reply, “Hi, Sarah, how are you doing today?” Sarah’s response, “Fine, thank you for asking.”
Bam! Sarah and I have just started a very positive relationship between waitress and diner. If Sarah had come to the table all flustered and simply said, “Hi, do you guys know what you want yet?” I would have to swallow first, as I hate the “guys” comment, way too informal. Yet, I would still engage her with a genuine caring attitude one Christian to an unknown person. “Oh hi, how are you today? If you don’t mind we could use a couple of minutes, I’m always ready to order, but you gave my wife too many choices to think about.” This is a true story and I use it all the time when I’m with Kathy. She doesn’t seem to mind because my comment is based on realityJ.
Another thing I like to talk to waiters and waitresses about is tipping. I started to do this several years ago when the server would bring me the bill. I generally say something like this as they either hand me or place the check on the table. “Can I ask you a question?” Server, “Sure.” Me, “When there’s a discount on a bill such as AARP or a dining rewards, do customers give you a tip based on the gross amount or the net amount after the discount?”
It’s incredible the looks and answers I get to this question. The server shakes their head and says, “65% (I’ve been told up to 80%) of the customer’s tip on the net, not on the gross.” I always ask a follow-up, “Do you do less for the customers who give you a tip based on the net amount of the bill?” The server always replies, “No, because, by the time I bring them the bill, I’m already done serving them.”
I find it sad that people are that cheap that they don’t pay on the full price of the bill. I mean, the restaurant just gave them a discount, and they cheat the server because they just paid less for their food. It makes no sense to me at all.
This brings me to an incident at a restaurant that occurred two weeks ago. Every week after church on Sunday, my wife Kathy and I go out to breakfast. The majority of the time, we go to Cracker-barrel which is less than ten minutes from our church.
On this particular Sunday, we were seated very quickly and served by a waitress who had taken care of us before. It was crazy busy in the restaurant, so I made sure I exchanged my usual niceties with her and asked her how her day was so far, and so on.
I noticed on the far side of the table we were sitting at there were two dollars folded under the little peg game that Cracker-barrel has on every table. I pointed it out to my wife, and we both presumed it was a tip from the last customers sitting at the table. When the waitress came back with our coffee, I handed her the two dollars and told her it was sitting on the table and I presumed it was hers.
She looked at me, sighed, and said, “Thanks so much for giving it to me, most people just take it.” I said, “What?” She replied, “I’ve seen people walk by a table where a twenty-dollar tip was sitting and pick it up. That kind of thing happens all of the time.” I told my server, “That’s the saddest thing I have ever heard.”
At some point during the meal, our waitress brought our check (which you pay for at the front counter.) I do like to leave cash for the servers when I have it, so they can have instant gratification as to how I tipped them, which also tells them what I thought of their service. I never leave less than 20% on the gross amount.
As my wife and I were getting ready to leave, I spotted our server coming out of the kitchen. I approached her and handed her tip in cash, saying, “I wouldn’t want it to disappear, have a blessed day.”
Okay, so Joe’s a nice guy, positively engages his servers, and gives them a gratuity that is earned and deserved. Yet my story is only partly about being kind and caring to others. It’s a story of a fundamental moral issue.
Pretty straightforward. It’s God’s 7th Commandment.
Let me give you some insight into this commandment from Luther’s Small Catechism.
“You shall not steal. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not take our neighbor’s money or possessions, or get them in any dishonest way, but help them to improve and protect their possessions and income.”
There are several examples listed in the Catechism also, but I’d like to share this question and answer included in the explanation of this commandment.
“What does God require of us in the Seventh Commandment? We should help our neighbor to improve and protect that person’s possessions and income.”
Alright, all you tippers out there! Did you just read that? “We should help our neighbor (server, waiter, or waitress) to improve (by tipping properly and treating them properly) and protect that person’s possessions and income (If you see someone stealing a tip or stealing anything either stop them or report it)”
This is all about doing the right thing, treating people with love and respect, and giving them their due wages for their services.
Whew! I do believe it’s time for me to come off of my soapbox.
Have a Blessed day
Joe Guagliardo (Joe G)