This question has been on my mind for a few days.
I went to a restaurant the other day with a few of my colleagues from work. It was lunch time and this restaurant offers buffet for lunch. We have gone to this place many times before but recently there seems to be a new management and new crew.
At buffets, as you know, everyone gets their own servings and we all did. The waiter came and filled our glasses with water but then after his first appearance, the waiter couldn’t be seen anywhere the entire time. At one point we ran out of water and the food being very spicy and hot, we really needed it, the only thing that was not on the buffet table otherwise we would have gotten the refills ourselves. This particular restaurant is quite famous in my town and gets filled beyond capacity during lunch so I understand that the staff usually gets busy (with what? I’m not sure) and cannot attend every customer individually.
The hot and spicy food was getting to us and in the absence of water, we decided we were not going to tip them. (blame it on dehydration).
We finished our meal somehow and after paying at the front desk, headed to our cars while talking about how once this place used to be a very nice but the service was going downhill lately. All of a sudden we heard someone calling us from behind: “Miss… excuse me ma’am..” All four of us turned around and found that one of the waiters was walking towards us, with a smirk on his face. Not understanding what his problem was, we stood there waiting to hear what was his problem. The guy walked up to us and told us that we had forgotten to pay him the tip.
Huh? We were stunned and furious at his audacity. How could he follow us in the parking lot asking for money? All he did was fill our glasses with water one time at the beginning. We wondered what that smirk was for… did he really think we were going to feel embarrassed and end up paying the tips in the parking lot? Not to mention how suspiciously stupid the scene would have looked to someone – each of us handing over some money to a strange guy!
This is the first time in my life I’ve come across such behavior. No waiter in the world should be chasing customers in the parking lots to demand tips! We of course refused politely and said we didn’t think a gratuity was warranted as no service was provided, the guy insisted a couple of times but we just walked away! Phew! What has the world come to?
As ridiculous as it sounds, we recently also started noticing that this place has started to include the tip in the check when it’s first given to you so if you do not notice it, and end up giving 15% to 20% on top of that, it’s your fault and they will gladly take the money, knowing fully well that you didn’t notice the tip had already been added. Not to mention, some restaurants charge you tip on the take-outs too!
So, here are my questions:
Do you always pay tips even when they don’t provide any service?
I mostly do but this one time we collectively decided not to and the waiter came after us!
How would you have handled this? If you are not from United States, I’d love to know the custom and expectations in your country.
photo: Digital Plus Art & Photo