To Insure Prompt Service T.I.P.S
Growing up I spent much time at the local Denny’s drinking coffee with friends and eating food that was hardly good for me. As I became acutely aware of what you eat you become; I switched to salads and more healthy choices even though I was still eating at a place that would have fried the coffee it were possible.
While there, I made many friends out of managers, servers and even the cooks. As the matter of fact for many years, the crew at the local Denny’s became just about a second family.
There were also the regulars who also became familiar faces and it was not long before we had this huge round table grouping in the back which contained many of the locals, off the clock staff and of course myself. I learned quite a bit about people while doing more listening than talking. You do not have to be rich to be happy was one life lesson that I have never forgotten. Having money is nice, but not a requirement for happiness.
I was living paycheck to paycheck, in very humble surroundings with a total monthly rent of $200. My transportation was nothing fancy and if I had not learned to work on them “every weekend” I would most certainly have been living back in the bedroom that I grew up in.
Today, many “generation X folks” go to school on their parents’ dime (tens of thousands of dollars) and expect the corner office, six-figure salary and a house like the one that they knew as a child.
I was not one of those that attended a place of “higher education,” at my parents’ expense. I am what some would call a self-made man. Having tasted living like the rich and famous through my childhood friends and tasted living in little more than a tin box I knew that I needed to set my sites on a standard that was obtainable but not so high that I would never make it. Aim High was the Air force slogan but after talking with recruiters regimentation and I were strange bed fellows as I often march to my own drum beat.
Since I had taught myself electronics at eight years old, I went to work for the local television repair place where some OJT was happening. Information then is nothing like today. If I want to know about a subject today, Google gets me more than enough to sate my appetite.
As a young person, I never stopped thirsting for information. The encyclopedia was my constant companion along with the college dictionary. I made friends with Dewy and haunted the library as time permitted. My appetite for knowledge was voracious however; my focus was extensive. Selectively I gave attention to subjects that always seemed a little out of my reach. Mechanic type stuff was easy for me but that is not what I wanted to do day to day.
I had thirteen cars at one time as I purchased them in disrepair and repaired them and sold them. There was always grease under my nails and my hands contained bruises or cuts on them from working in such a harsh environment. Cars back in the day were nothing like today, they simply were not reliable. Every weekend I was at the auto parts store or junkyard piecing together some car that some part had failed. I do not look back at those times very fondly as being under a car when you had to have it, to be to work, grew tiresome.
I still made time for my friends at the local diner and enjoyed my “salt of the earth” friends.
One day while eating my salad I overheard one of my favorite waitresses grumble about a tip. Some elderly couple had eaten their dinner and after their fill before leaving he pulled out some change and left two quarters. While I always over tipped, it was because I knew them, liked them and when I came into the place even before they knew me, the girls fought over which one got me and or my party. “to insure prompt service”
What I was not aware of; the patrons in fact fund the wait staff. If you have ever eaten at a restaurant you in fact are or have been an employer. How did you pay? Were you fair?
Typically, they make one or two dollars an hour from the business, which now goes to cover their taxes. Back in the day, their tips were un-reported income for the most part and later some assumed value established to cover their part of the tax collection system.
Taxes are another subject for another day, today I am calling attention to the fact that these folks have a very irregular or inconsistent paycheck. The friends at Denny’s and the story is over forty years old. While it is not dusty in my mind and only seems like yesterday, the fact remains that this system is still in place today.
I saw a girl get a couple of quarters the other day from an elderly couple and could not help but think, surely by now, everyone knows that you are paying these peoples salary!
I have turned into a foodie over the years. My palate has changed from forty years ago and I have not been into a Denny’s in about as long. Eating fried food is not much better than smoking, of which neither I do.
While I am happy to report that automobiles are no longer the worrisome things they once were, they still however require maintenance, just not by me. Either metallurgy has improved or the Japanese and other foreign automobile producers have forced a paradigm shift in the American automobile industry as now American made cars compete nicely with the others.
What has transfixed my attention as of late is the fact that we still do not understand as a people what a TIP is and what it is meant to be. Some establishments use a kiosk of sorts at the table where you order, where one can entertain themselves while waiting and then where one pays for their food and service. When you “check out” a scale appears on the bottom with a suggested “tip” amounts. If not that then at other places, printed on the ticket are different amounts so you can easily identify the percentage and add in the correct amount.
While I will not belabor the point of automation in this industry taking away from the “personal touch”, I will say that part of my “tip” is that I expect that personal touch. When I go into such an establishment, I expect pampering. Had I wanted self-serve, I would eat at home.
So here is my TIP to the industry and all who choose to work there.
When I arrive, I expect a warm and friendly greeting, and I want to feel as if I am important and welcome. When seated; the table should be clean and dry and the chairs should be clean as well as the floor. The bathroom should be clean, and smell fresh. I often find that if the bathroom is poorly maintained; the kitchen is as well.
The server no matter how busy should be able to speak with my guest and myself in a friendly conversational manner. His or her knowledge of the food should be endless. They must know the food, how it is prepared and be able to speak to its contents for those with food allergies or even particular taste. As menus are convoluted at times, they should be a sales type person able to ask appropriate questions and suggest items.
The server should be visible at all times and attentive without over burdening the guest with request about the food. Water or other drinking glasses should never get below half-full. At no time should a guest have to go looking for their server or accouterments of some kind.
The food quality is not the responsibility of the server however, how he or she takes care of any issues is. Tips should not be reflective of the food quality. The server did not cook it therefore; they should not be punished, because the kitchen screwed something up.
There is a rule about Buffet’s and tipping, and it should be noted: that the more that one has to self-serve, the amount of the tip is reflected. Tips are reflective of “customer service.”
I personally find the kiosk with games offensive, and counter productive to the whole “eating out” experience. There are already too many distractions that keep people from “experiencing” each other and the whole “Event” of sharing a meal with someone. Just as I find electronic gadgets at the table offensive, I find places that push this technology and even push the patron to use it as a method of paying, distasteful.
The simple facts are that the family unit as a whole is suffering. They suffer from gadgets, screens of different kinds, or other distractions and the parents loosing control of what manners are. Etiquette in fact is becoming a lost art.
One of the reasons that I eat out is that I have the full attention of family or other guest without the distractions of the TV or other electronic things that amuse us. Some restaurants have taken to bringing that home experience to you however as there are flat screens all over the place with anything that might interests someone.
James Stewart once said in “Mr. Hobbs takes a vacation. That what we need is an Un-Edison!” Mr. Hobbs identified the problem, he just came up with an incorrect solution. What we need is parents who teach manners, etiquette and hard and fast rules about TV’s and gadgets at the table. Families should endeavor to eat at least one meal at the table without the distraction of TV or Facebook!
When people look back at our history they will find that the decline of the family had much to do with these things of which I write.
As we stray from our humanity, and trade social intercourse with pokes, and OMG, and LOL, we loose sight of many other things along the way including one another.
Allow me to leave you today with a verse from a book that most of you know, but may put aside for something else.
A Time for Everything
3 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.
There is a time for LOL and OMG; there is also a time for family and friends and one on one face-to-face laughing, sharing, caring, crying, hugging, bracing your fellow man, and paying attention to who you are and what your purpose is here, today.
-Best to you and those that you care about!