I have a birthday coming up, so my father came up this past Saturday to take me out to dinner. I got to pick the place so myself, the wife, my dad and step-mother went to Porters Oyster Bar in Crystal Lake, IL. As you might think it is a seafood restaurant, and I have been there a handful of times. The food is excellent, they have a lot of highly potent Belgian beers and nice atmosphere. We had some appetizers and some drinks and my dad let the waiter know that we were not in any hurry and we planned on being there a while. No problem. We drank, we feasted, we talked and had blast. It was a great night. My dad grabs the bill (somehow I’m never quite fast enough when he’s around, damn. ;-)), pays it, he settles up with a tip and we are getting our coats and ready to take off. The old man decides to use the restroom right before we leave. He was gone an awfully long time but I finally see him coming so I walked outside and realized I was all alone. I went back inside and saw the old man talking to the wife and his wife and then I heard what had happened.
On his way to the bathroom my dad was stopped by the waiter the conversation is as follows:
“Excuse me sir, was the service not good?”
“No the service was great.”
“Well typically I get 15 percent.”
And then my dad just stood there in the bathroom doorway, with the waiter, the two of them staring at each other. My dad surmised that the waiter was waiting for him to reach into his pocket. Thankfully the waiter stopped short of putting his hand out.
Say what you will about tipping and what is the proper percentage to give, what that waiter did was wrong. Period. It was extraordinarily rude, unprofessional and unwarranted. This guy has put his own job at risk over a matter of 5 dollars. The old man is pretty relaxed and not one for profanity (unless the Bears are losing) but he was dropping F bombs all over the lobby of Porter’s Oyster Bar that night. For the rest of the night he fumed and stewed about what to do as a result of this tactless waiter. Despite how that waiter made him feel he has not called the management. So I’m taking it upon myself to tell his tale.
I believe in tipping and I like to think I’m a generous tipper, but I don’t have any problem leaving less if I had bad service. Some people tip 12 percent, some tip 20 percent, it is up to each individual to decide for themselves, not the waiter. A tip originated as a little gratuity for good service, a fiduciary pat on the back for going above and beyond. Throughout the years it has been perverted and morphed into an automatic gesture that is expected from everyone now. Coffee jockeys at Starbucks, burger slingers working the window at McDonald’s, and sandwich makers and Jimmy Johns.
The careless actions of a classless waiter have left a bad taste in he mouths of four people who were previously satisfied with the restaurant. Now every time someone asks about or mentions Porter’s Oyster Bar I will be reminded of this story, and I will share it every time.