Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Listening to: Sterling's wonderful holiday mix

This Tuesday night group is beginning to organically bond. A strange phenomena, how groups evolve and begin to mesh, find common ground with each other and a comfort level that allows them to share what tingles beneath the surface. With this group, I’m beginning to see true cohesion emerging, empathy expressed, eight souls beginning to grasp that there’s something bigger than themselves and sharing that realization, with glee.

This group had an intense start
and took awhile to find its soul, to recognize the reasons to come back every week and talk about what really matters, to grasp the hands of others and feel the vibration that moves us and binds us. However, within the last month, the clients began to place themselves on the line, take risks, gripe and moan and disclose their innermost thoughts, feelings, and pain.

An intense beginning to an awfully insouciant topic that follows - mea culpa. Foregrounding this, though, seemed essential to dealing with something that needs to be addressed "outside of group".

One of the clients of the group is working his way through college as a server/bartender, much the way I did, with the same gripes I had when I busted my ass smooching the great brown asterisk for a few extra shekels. Seems he’d had a big top (sixteen or so) of church-going Christians and they tipped him a piece of paper asking him if he’d been saved.

A $90 tab, whiny kids and demanding shits and for his trouble he got a piece of paper, a piece of paper, essentially, because who the fuck is going to see your point of view when instead of honest remuneration (about $18) you give a worthless flap of scold?

WTF? WWJT? At the last supper (Hey, one has to figure it was at restaurant or at least catered), after all the plates were cleared and Christ announced someone would betray him and the whole movement, he at least left something besides a pose. It’s difficult to imagine that the server who finished and cleaned up didn’t walk away whistling that hey, that was an awesome party, a little depressing but it paid well.

Church folk seem to imagine that scripture states “And the Lord stiffed the staff and Lo, the waiters walked from the table with much mumbling because they had not spit in the salads.” Christ, I don’t pretend to be someone who spews chapter and verse but I’m pretty sure “Screw thy server” isn’t anywhere in the Good Book.

So, for you witless hillbillies, let me give you a clue. A (as in, “A, B, C, D, etc., the alphabet, you know), servers make TWO FUCKING DOLLARS AN HOUR which is shit, of course, and they really make their money off tips – TIPS, you dipshits, the money you don’t leave. Got it? The money you don’t leave is pretty much what hat server needs to pay rent and such. B (Made the connection yet? Yeah? Ain’t you clever?), the server brought you food and managed not to put the tray on your flat head. C (See the pattern here? No? You illiterate shit, no wonder you can’t work out percentages.), people bringing you food are the last people you want to piss off because, let me tell you, those aren’t really sausages on your plate.

In the 21st Century, as opposed to the 15th Century or whatever it is where you born-again Taliban live, 1% is insufficient, 20% is the norm and no one wants to see your idiotic pamphlet. 10% if the service really sucks but you have to wonder that if the service is less than adequate it might be due to the blinding effect of your double-knit suits (and polyester children).

If you’re interested in winning converts to your starched out cult, being cheap cheese dicks is probably a bad start. Ponying up with decent tips is probably a much better strategy; a 25% tip (and a lack of laughable haircuts) might have made me give a second thought to the merits of your blood cult. However, even the born-again zombies who worked with me when I was waiting tabled acknowledged that Christians were shitty for tips and were loathe to wait on those assholes. “Yeah, I tell everyone at my church,” they’d apologize, “but they don’t seem to get it.” And in the spirit of good Christian charity, they’d attempt to palm a table of holier-than-thous off on any sucker around.

If there’s any Christian types reading this, A) why?, B) Are you really getting the sense of this whole alphabet thing? And C) why are you so goddamn CHEAP?!?!

Tonight’s group has been grilled on the dangers of seeing The World As It Is though a “filter”, how our filters are deleterious in operating objectively. Yet, it’s impossible for me to gainsay the “Church-going Christians are cheap” preconception because, hey, they’re their own stereotype, a consistent thread throughout the universe.

Servers of the world would love to prove me wrong but it’s not up to them. It’s up to those folks who would ask, “WWJT?"


Anne said...

I is one of those "Christian Types" BUT-I'm on the "being-stiffed" end. You know, I get my tired ole butt up every morning at 4:30 am to deliver papers to a bunch of ingrates who actually have the audacity to complain when weather is scheit and papers are 3 minutes late.

Nevermind all the days it's there on their protected porch or between their doors etc.

Whatever....funny thing is, the tips that I DO get are from the dear older people who can hardly afford to do it but remember a time when things like that were the norm.

I could go ON....I need a non-food blog to spew on-but the point is that I am not some teenager looking for extra money to go to the movies (because that's about all you make) I'm a mother of six friggen kids trying to make ends meet when I can and how I can -and you know...Mr. Dangerfield summed it up all to well...I get no repect, and neither do waitstaff, and it sucks.

landismom said...

WWJT! I like it.

All Americans should be forced to spend a year in a restaurant, working for tips. Or worse, washing dishes.

And I'm pretty sure that the Last Supper was a seder, in which case the Lord probably not only tipped, he left the door open for Elijah (or any other random homeless person) to come in and eat

Heathen said...


WWJT?! LOL Hilarious!

I'm not christian and am probably the worlds worst tipper, because I think you only deserve 20% if you gave me outstanding service. I average about 12-15%, but it goes down if my server sucks ass.

Because if I remember correctly a tip is more like a bonus.

I'm spoiled though... I'm eurotrash. I grew up with excellent service and no tipping.

Mamacita said...

I agree with you. (Don't I always? Well, almost always?) I've been a server and the church crowd for Sunday lunch are the worst tippers in the world. And, the dowdier they're dressed and the prissier their faces, the worse the tip. And the worse their treatment of the waiters. And the biggest mess they make all over the floor and tabletops. Shame on them. Shame on them all.

vicki said...

WHY? Why am I reading this? Because you write so very well, my friend. Sum and substance. The first bit about group dynamics is positively worthy of publication. The rest I agree with, after Abby's summer working at Steak n' Shake (the best incentive ever to continue your education. Oh yes, it's full of anger and dander and the usual stereotypes, but fundamentally (ha!) true. So, over here in the the land of oddities at OutsideIn, we're good Christian tippers coming in around 20-25% with the larger tips left for waitstaff that looks to be the most hardworking and underpaid. Now, for my part, I have a more uplifting Christmas-y post today.
Ho-ho-ho, dear Jim!

Heather said...

Well, this Christian would like to chime in and defend herself! While I don't necessarily disagree with your correlation, I, personally, don't fit the profile. I average 15% and it goes up or down based on service. On the other hand, my grandfather is a minister and has to be the worst tipper ever! My dad always goes behind him and leaves cash when we're out together.

Anonymous said...

I was challenged to Google this subject, and your blog came up with many, many more...

First of all, I am a Christian who dines out with my family most Sundays. I normally tip at 15%, with gusts up to 20 for superior service and attitude. I may drop to 10% when warranted, but never knowingly stiffed someone. [BTW, I know the usual reason for lousy service...the crew came down with the flu, so Sue is doing the work of two (or three). Fair enough, she is working two or three times as many tables, and she gets two or three times as many "mediocre" tips. It all works out...]

But let me be the devil's advocate for the moment as to why tipping sucks on Sunday:

1. Around here, the tipping suffers around here on Sunday at the “Ol' Steak and Ale,” because there ain't no ale, or beer or wine either. Not only is sloppy or neglectful service more keenly noticed under a sober eye, but calculating a 15% tip is not advanced calculus as it might be to the inebriated, who might round up to 20% to keep the math simple.

2. For the women servers, dressing like a Hooter’s wannabee probably won’t encourage the appreciative response on Sunday as it would most days. If she is bringing a couple of jugs to the table, they best be filled of sweet tea. [That is not to say that though some of the brethren are on a “diet,” they don’t mind seeing the “menu.” However, if his “better half” notices that he is figuring to leave a larger gratuity than normal due to the fine “scenery,” she may “adjust his attitude” in a hurry…]

3. A server might see a family dressed up, with the old man in a suit and tie, and try to size them up with the similarly dressed people they see every day. Bad idea! Many times these men never wear a tie except on Sunday, and their everyday work clothes might be tee shirt and dungarees. (Note that I didn’t say “jeans.”) And they may have gone out to nice looking restaurant for a peaceful meal, and good service, and didn’t notice that with the soft drinks and the scrumptious dessert, the bill was going to be twice as much as they had budgeted for. Yeah, that isn’t your concern, but, then again, how often are the prices of those pricy desserts posted on the pictures next to the tables, or mentioned by the server after the meal? Sure, they will learn from the experience, but the server will probably be paying for the tuition.

I can’t deny that Christians, as a whole, are bad customers; I have never been a server. But I am really upset with anyone who would attempt to escape by paying with a tract alone.

If anyone ever did that to me, I would calmly pick it up, hand it back to him and say, “Pardon me, sir, but I think you dropped this pearl before swines…” It would be worth it just to see his reaction.