This morning, Lady T & I set out to have breakfast at a local haunt. With a light snow adding to the few inches already on the ground, we weren’t sure what to expect trafficwise inside the diner. When we arrived, we were not too surprised to see the place sparsely populated but were surprised to see more staff behind the counter than customers in the restaurant.
We were warmly welcomed by a busser who brought us coffee & menus. After a small wait, we received an oddly warm greeting from a waitress with whom we only have a negative memory: a previous encounter began with being seated in her section & not seeing her for at least 15 minutes. We had to chase down other staff for drinks, menus, her presence, etc. That happened a while back & having worked food service in my past & having experienced its difficulties, I tended to think of it as an isolated incident.
We placed our orders & the food shortly arrived, delivered by 2 other servers. During the course of our meal, we never received that usually obnoxious “how is everything?” interaction from our server. In fact, we received no interaction from her. We received refills from another server & had to chase down a busser for our check. Yet another server came to our table & apologized that due to the slow number of customers, presumably caused by the snow, our waitress had gone home!! It was only at this moment that I remembered seeing her leave during our meal, carrying a bag, and thinking to myself, “Huh. I didn’t know they did deliveries.”
Now, I understand sending staff home when it is slow but she left while she still had customers! Even after we received the check, my wave of empathy for servers was impairing what should have been a clear choice to not leave a tip: “Would the tip go to her? Did the staff work on tipshare? Would the tip go to the server who wrote our check?” For the first time that I can remember, I didn’t leave a tip. Clearly, she didn’t care too much about receiving it.
Even though we had received such awful (and frankly no) service, it was still difficult to walk without tipping. Food service is a shitty, thankless job that everyone should be legally mandated to do at some point in their life. My brother is currently suffering in its clutches I don’t envy his plight for one second. However, ditching your customers mid-shift, customers who usually tip well at that, just ain’t right. I’m hoping we don’t happen upon her as our server again as I usually don’t feel like dealing with conflict on Sunday mornings unless it involves a Wiimote.