Just so you know, the title of this post is straight-up jacked from a Clerks 2 poster. (Only slightly less scary is the one that says “With no power comes no responsibility.”)

I loved the first movie, and I loved the second movie. I loved them because I have had a ‘nametag’ job. So this afternoon when I was reading Blogtown I saw an entry that caught my eye: Be A Good Customer, which was a post about an entry over on Recovering Straight Girl about being a waitress and how to-well, be a good customer, which is a post that came out of a comment on this post.

Whoever Miss RSG is, I almost stood up and applauded when I was done reading her post. I have had that job, and waited on that guy, and it doesn’t suck any less just because you’ve done it before. You would be shocked at how waitstaff are treated and you would be shocked at how waitstaff are paid (because of tips a lot of states don’t even pay waitstaff minimum wage).

So when I noticed lotsa comments on the post, I scrolled through them. Oddly enough, the comments were almost as interesting because someone (the commenters think she’s off her meds) completely LOST IT in the comments. Like 16 blocks of impossibly long text about how they’ve gotten appalling service all over town.

So I want to open this up to you, our readers. Who has great service? Who has miserable service? Is it consistent? Do you even want to name names? Have you been treated terribly? Wonderfully? Is there ever a place where the food is SO good you deal with bad service? And since the original post is about tipping, what’s your take on it? Speak up! (It’s totally easy, just hit that little comment button and type away…)

19 Comments so far

  1. Recovering Straight Girl (unregistered) on February 26th, 2007 @ 8:20 pm

    Thanks so much for the shout out; I certainly didn’t know that my little post would cause such a ruckus!

  2. Amy Jenniges (unregistered) on February 26th, 2007 @ 8:53 pm

    It was a great post! One of many on your blog (I’m a big–though brand new–fan).

  3. RM (unregistered) on February 26th, 2007 @ 9:05 pm

    WOW! The comments (rant) on RSG’s blog are something else. As Bugs would say “What a Maroon…”

  4. Banana Lee Fishbones (unregistered) on February 27th, 2007 @ 9:21 am

    Well RSG, let me just say that this is the best possible kind of ruckus.

    As a Glamorous Waitress, where do you eat? I’m curious. (:

  5. PDXJer (unregistered) on February 27th, 2007 @ 11:03 am

    I understand tipping waitresses well. What irritates me is that I am supposed to tip a dollar to the bartender for the 9 seconds its takes him or her to fill my glass with beer. They dont even say anything, they just slam it down and move on. Thats not worth a dollar.

  6. Recovering Straight Girl (unregistered) on February 27th, 2007 @ 11:23 am

    My beautiful wife and I enjoy frequenting many restaurants in the area. We are a *little* bit of food and wine snobs and of course, I enjoy nice service. Because we live in the very scary suburbs, often our dining experiences are here. Other times, we do venture into the big city! We actually just started a journal that I carry in my purse to jot down the places and wines we especially like.

    Here’s the short list,

    Lorenzo’s in SW Portland (near PGE park.) They have very good authentic food and we have always received nice service.

    Hunter’s Ridge in Sherwood. Good food, great wine list, good service, lovely ambiance in the bar area, where we always sit.

    Fuji’s in Sherwood. We love their sushi, they know us by name and bring us our drinks without asking, (me, King Estate Pinot Gris, my wife, Sapporo.)

    Vitis Enotica, SW Portland. Great wine list, decent service, interesting food, lesbian owned.

    Dundee Bistro, Newberg. For all of the same reasons as Hunter’s Ridge. It’s a bit on the spendy side, but great for a special occasion.

    Casual dining, we’ll go to Rose’s, Macaroni Grill, CPK, Newport Seafood Grill. We have three kids, so sometimes we need to accommodate them!

    I could go on, but really, I have learned that people dominating your comment section is really not good.

  7. Banana Lee Fishbones (unregistered) on February 27th, 2007 @ 11:36 am

    While I understand your concern about comment domination, you aren’t dominating in a bad way. You still sound lucid so if you have more commenting I’d love to hear it. I am always interested in where service type folks go for that service (where will a cook/waitress eat, where will a bartender drink, etc). So by all means fire away! (:

  8. Angelhair (unregistered) on February 27th, 2007 @ 11:55 am

    We eat out a lot as well. Let me just say that service in Portland is abysmal. My list for those that consistently have bad service could go on and on. But let’s praise those places who usually have good service:

    Carlyle. Without a doubt the best in the city. Running a close second would be Paley’s Place. Also Alberta Street Oyster Bar and Grill.

    I usually get good service at Higgins, Basta’s and Carafe; but then again, I go to them all kind of frequently.

  9. Lady (unregistered) on February 27th, 2007 @ 12:20 pm

    Great service? Carlyle, Giorgio’s, Fenouil, Andina, Piazza Italia, Paley’s Place.

    Good service? Wildwood, P.F.Changs, Bluehour, Justa Pasta, Southpark.

    Other than restaurant service? Monique’s Boutique, Nordstroms, Teko’s Salon, Les Schwab, Shoefly and I’m sure there are more that aren’t on the top of my mind right now.

  10. Banana Lee Fishbones (unregistered) on February 27th, 2007 @ 12:23 pm

    Don’t any of you eat out on the east side!? Where’s the restaurants in my hood?

  11. Jon (unregistered) on February 27th, 2007 @ 2:56 pm

    Here is a tid-bit that will make you recoil in horror:

    In states that pay the $2.13 p/hr tip credit wage, they also pay servers at buffets (like Sweet Tomatoes, JJ North’s and the like) that same low wage.

    Most people don’t tip, or tip very little at buffets, but remember, the server who is bringing your soda to the table is making 2.13 p/hr for it – and usually getting stiffed by the majority of customers.

    Thinking of it makes me feel dead inside. I always tip 30% when I (infrequently) visit a buffet.

    Another thing that stings is that most establishments in these same states basically get their servers to work for free because their 2.13 p/hr pay check is usually zeroed out for taxes of tips. Do you think their menu prices reflect that? Of course not.

  12. Lelo (unregistered) on February 27th, 2007 @ 3:13 pm

    East side? I recently had outstanding service at Echo (the cucumber flavor in the water is too good to be true), and Wild Abandon. Excellent service!

  13. divebarwife (unregistered) on February 27th, 2007 @ 3:24 pm

    Before I get yelled at, I do agree that everyone – even people who get tips should get min. wage – but the thing about those states that pay like that – it really motivates the servers to be good – otherwise they don’t get tips. And people in those states know that they really are living on just tips and therefore are much better tippers than here. All of my friends who made $2/hour waiting tables or tended bar made a heck of a lot more per hour than I did working a non-tipped ‘name-tag’ job.

    When I first moved here I was shocked that servers made minimum wage or greater and tips – and decided that was why service in Portland seemed on average – pretty bad. They were making as much as me on salary – the tips were above and beyond.

    I do tip well – 15-20% depending on service. But I will absolutely go lower if the service is poor.

  14. Banana Lee Fishbones (unregistered) on February 27th, 2007 @ 3:58 pm

    So what do you do when the service is poor? I’ve heard the ‘tip a penny or two’ thing and I’ve also heard tip nothing, what do you all do?

  15. no one in particular (unregistered) on February 28th, 2007 @ 2:58 am

    BLF: I tip ~17% (instead of my normal 25%) and maybe complain if it’s really that big of a deal. But it’s probably not, so then I just figure the wait person is probably just having a bad day, and then I get over it, because really, it’s not that big of a deal.

  16. Recovering Straight Girl (unregistered) on February 28th, 2007 @ 7:54 am

    Let’s remember that when you “stiff” a server, not only is s/he losing money on the tip, but s/he still needs to tip out others as if she received a tip and s/he needs to pay taxes on those sales.

    That means that s/he actually lost money by waiting on you.

    Does s/he deserve it?

    When you get bad service at Nordstrom, do you reach over and take money out of the salespersons purse?

    I think not.

  17. shane (unregistered) on February 28th, 2007 @ 5:13 pm

    Amen to that RSG.

    I just recently put my 2 weeks notice in at a popular national chain of restaurants. Server days are finally over! Woo Hoo.

    Most places (even local pubs and dining spots) require servers to tip out a pretty decent percentage of their tips to other employees. Those people in the background that the table never sees. I wish more people understood this when considering what they think is a good tip. Especially when they think the service wasn’t up to their standards. I’ve found that most peoples standards are a little to high.

    You really need to work in this enviroment to understand how hard of a job it really is. In your big national chains servers might only have 3 table sections and thats a big part of why they are able to be so hands on. But when you go to Mcmenamins, Laurelwood and other local places like that you have to realize that your server is probably running a six to twelve table section. Try keeping that many people happy at the same time and you will understand why some servers are less than happy when they get your measly 15 percent tip.

    I could go on and on but I will just leave you with the moral of the story. Perhaps some people should or would lower their expectations (I certainly dont mean you should have to tolerate someone being an asshole when I say this) if they would consider what their server is actually doing and how hard they are working. And second, tip more. Most of the time the difference is a buck or two and if you can’t afford it, eat at home!

  18. RM (unregistered) on February 28th, 2007 @ 9:22 pm

    RSG – I’m happy for you that you’re moving on from table waiting. I’m sure its a hard job. I normally tip 20% and then round off, tip extra for happy hour specials, etc. I’m not trying to justify stiffing the server.

    However, I’m thinking about your comment about a “measly 15% tip” to a server who’s serving 6-12 tables.

    That probably averages what? – $40 per top (avg of 3 folks $12-15 per). That’s $240-$480, 15% tip is $36-$72. assume 1-1+30 hour per table that’s a minimum of $24 an hour in tips. Assume they only average half that (in number of tables, people at table, size of sale or size of tip) and we’re still talking $12 an hour. Tip-out 30% of that for other staff (who, if they’re doing a good job are making you look good) and you’re still talking $7-8 an hour on top of your base salary which is at least minimum wage (not $2.13) here in Oregon.

    I don’t think that $14-15 a hour is bad for waiting tables at a chain restaurant. I’d guess that your yard care folks who are working hard outside in the heat/cold & rain don’t take home more than that. Both are hard jobs. I wouldn’t chose either for a career myself and I complement you for doing a good job at a hard task.

    There are must be many aggravations about relying on customers to tip fairly for the service they recieve and management forcing tip-out or arbitrarily taxing or basing tip-out on ticket amounts, not actual tips.

    However, I think that here in OR, where we require restaurants to pay minimum wage and not allow tip credits, that servers are fairly paid compared to other jobs.

  19. RM (unregistered) on February 28th, 2007 @ 9:23 pm

    Oops, my comments above about “measly 15% tip” were aimed at Shane’s post, not RSG. sorry for the confusion.

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