I'll never forget a time in college when I went to a popular hamburger joint with a group of friends for lunch. We ate at 2 p.m., a "dead time" in most restaurants where management often cuts all servers but one or two until the dinner rush begins.
The server at the restaurant was by herself, and she was unusually busy. I watched her walk back and forth from table to tabe, then to the bar, then back to tables to deliver drinks and ramekins full of sauces.
She was sweating -- and she was hustling. After we placed our order, she went to grab our drinks and immediately had to bus three tables to seat more folks coming through the door. This girl was slammed, and she was on top of it.
When the six of us got our checks, a guy that was with us did the unthinkable. Annoyed that she didn't refill his water cup fast enough, he tipped 73 cents on an $11 bill.
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And I lost my cool.
We live on the Coast, a unique community surrounded by water and local restaurants with unique venues and delicious cuisine. Unlike other tourist destinations, locals don't avoid the "popular" places because they're delicious and worth the wait.
Servers make a little over $2 per hour and don't just take your order and leave. They have to prep. They have to clean. They have to tip out bartenders and bus boys. They deal with spills and screams and orders that were prepared wrong. They work long hours and depend on tips to pay their bills.
Don't be that person who tips poorly because you don't feel like the "service" was adequate to your standards. You aren't the only person the waiter or waitress will serve that day. Imagine if we all were paid based on our daily work performance? There are some days when I don't perform as well as others, and if one person had the power to pay me less just because, I don't think I would take that well.
Tip your servers 20 percent, and remember to still tip on your original ticket price if you have a coupon or if you're receiving a discount.
More than anything, be a decent human being.