waiting for grady-ot's change
igou at unc.edu
igou at unc.edu
Tue Jan 18 12:54:53 EST 2005
as a restaurant professional, i feel both qualified and compelled to
comment on ross's experience and opinion. (see thread "note to
waitpersons" for reference...)
as the manager of one of the restaurants to which he refers (although he
most graciously omits names in his postings, as best i can tell he was in
my place of employment on one of the dates he notes), i also feel
yes, ross, i fully agree with you that it is rude to ask a guest if they
need or want change when picking up a cash payment from a table. this
should not have occured in my restaurant and if it indeed did you have my
apology. i assure you that i will remind my entire staff that they should
not ask this question, ever.
as to your inquiry, i can offer several reasons that a server might ask
such a question:
first, as you and others have noted, is a desire to "save steps," either
from laziness or efficiency (two sides of the same motivational coin).
second, as a subset of the first, the restaurant -- or server, themselves
(note that many, if not most, restaurants now require servers to carry
their own banks and settle with the house at the end of service) -- may be
short of change and smaller bills and attempting to avoid a lengthy
change-out process when it is not needed. (as 3 pointed out correctly,
very little cash is exchanged in restaurants, especially those with higher
and, third, it is true that some guests do react negatively when brought
change, as if insulted that you think them too cheap to tip that much. a
server may have been burned by that before.
please note that a server will rarely, if ever, ask if you want change if
they perceive you aren't leaving enough tip; they will, instead, hurry to
get you your change before you leave so you can see the amount and realize
what is hoped to be an error. (that is if they are able to calculate the
gratuity in a snap -- a difficult task as you rightly noted.) if a server
is paying attention and can calulate and they ask if you want change -- an
unlikely combination of events, but not impossible -- the implication is that
you left TOO MUCH gratuity, not too little. (is this, then, a compliment?
i leave that up to your evaluation.)
finally, assuming you will continue to pay cash for restaurant
transactions (which is entirely correct, though you do still pay the
extra 2% or so that all businesses charge to cover credit card
transactions) there is an easy way to prevent a server from asking this
rude question: keep your hand on the tip tray and, when the server
approaches to pick it up, turn to them and say, "may i please have change
for this?" or, better yet, specify exactly the change you want -- 1's,
5's, 10's and so on -- so you don't have to send them back again to break
that 20 you didn't want.
flames to my email, only, please.
(and, i implore you, please, please, please don't cross-post this to
you guys get back to music and i'll get back to lurking.
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