This week should be a bit of a gong-show around here since there is so much going on in Charlottetown/PEI the next 7 (or so) days. Charlottetown Summerfest goes from the 29th to July 2nd and this includes tons of events and concerts such as The Tragically Hip, Meatloaf, Eddie Money, The Trews and Haywire (just to say a few). There is also Canada Day coming up, Island Fusion Festival and PEI Pride Week. So what does this mean for me? I will be at work.
I went from working 2-4 days a week to suddenly jumping up to 6 days a week in a matter of one work schedule. This makes me a bit more optimistic of keeping myself busy while I try to figure out my life. I have been working more and more hours as the weeks go by since we get about 2 cruise ships a week arriving in Charlottetown, plus tourist season is well under-way so the restaurant is getting more and more busy which each passing day. Now that I am working more hours, the time has come for me to talk about the one topic that all waiters/servers/service people talk about obsessively to one another in hopes of figuring out the cryptic mystery behind it.
With each group of people who walk through the door, one never knows the tipping experience which is to come in the next 30-60 minutes. Every culture has different customs as to how much to tip in restaurants, or even if tipping will occur at all. In the USA/Canada, 15-20% is the standard tip one generally leaves a server and/or bartender. Then there are countries that tipping is not expected, such as England, Thailand, Costa Rica and New Zealand. To take it one step further, it is considered an insult in Japan to leave a tip and is it illegal in Argentina. Huh. Interesting.
"Tip" of the Day: T.I.P.S stands for To Insure Prompt Service.
There are so many factors to consider when trying to decide how much to tip. Was the server pleasant, informative and accommodating? Was your glass filled when empty? Were your condiments stocked and available when you needed them and dishes removed when the meal was done? Did he/she draw a smiley face on the back of your check? Did you feel rushed or neglected while dining? Does the server seem to be having a bad day or do you think that he/she just plainly sucks? Plus there's the food (the most important part). If the food is lousy, don't take it out on the server. He/she didn't make it and it is no fault to that person. Whether or not that person available and willing to fix or change your order is the important part.
Now the other night it I was not on my game at all. The people in the kitchen were asking what my deal was because I'm generally 3 steps ahead at all times, but I was messing up left and right. I felt really bad constantly apologizing to the customers for food coming out incorrect or after a lengthy amount of time. Now most people are understanding and still tip within complimentary ranges, but some will leave you a crappy tip no matter what. Even if I did everything perfectly and the food was perfect and the atmosphere was perfect and the person told me that I did a fantastic job, I don't doubt the chance of seeing a toonie waiting for me on the table after serving a $100 meal. Yeah it sucks, but it's just the way it is sometimes.
I want to finish this by asking you, the people of the world who dine-in every now and then, to appreciate the good servers out there and to let them know they are good at what they do.