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Tag Archives: tipping

Women: What Are You Doing?

9 Jun

June 9, 2018

Recently, I was with my Mom and we were taking car service downtown. Mom takes this particular car service a lot. she knows the drivers and they know her. She’s a regular. On this particular day we were sitting in the back and as we approached the destination she leaned over to me and handed me the money for the driver. She wanted me to give it to him. (I’m sure you’re wondering why I didn’t pay for the trip. Simple. Mom wouldn’t let me.)

I have no idea why she wanted me to give it to the driver when she takes this car service all the time and pays herself. I started to ask her why but she said “because I said so,” which is good enough for me coming from Mom.

But this isn’t the first time. It’s not a unique phenomena that woman- independent, strong women- defer to a man when it comes time to handle money. I’m not talking about paying, I mean literally holding and handing money to someone.

Longtime readers of this blog, at least those who admit to reading this blog, may recall a trip I made back in my teaching days as a chaperone to a bus load of kids touring colleges around Boston. It was led by a very strong-willed female teacher. She set it up, arranged the bus, made hotel reservations, etc. Yet at the end of the trip when it came time to tip the bus driver, she handed me the money to give the driver. Why? She had been dealing with him all along, giving directions, etc. But when it came to handing him some money, this strong and in charge woman decided a man should do it.

Slightly more recently, when I worked at the Company I Am still not allowed to name, I went on a corporate trip with my group to Delaware. It was a miserable trip and you can read about it here. The highlight was the view from my hotel, which was a swamp. We got on a shuttle bus, me sitting behind the driver, one of the group sitting next to me, the boss behind me, the other group member behind her. I was not paying any attention at all until this happened:

When the driver asked where we were from, my boss literally kicked the back of my seat and said “answer him.” I had to ask him to repeat the question since I had totally zoned out as soon as I got on the shuttle, day dreaming about ditching all responsibility and going the heck home.

 

Again, when it came time to deal with a man, my boss, a woman who was not afraid to yell and kick my seat, deferred to a man to answer a question. I wasn’t the spokesman of the group at any other time, before or since, and other than a mumbled “hey” I hadn’t had any interaction with the driver. But when it came time to make small talk, somehow my boss, rather than answer him herself, wanted me to do it. Did I mention I was the only man in the group?

Why? Is this some sort of reverse chivalry? Do they think they are doing me a favor by having me do the stereotypically male things, like tipping and dealing with directions? Is there a kind of reverse feminism at work? I really don’t understand. So ladies, I ask you- what is this odd behavior all about? Is this a throwback to the attitude of some things are men’s work? Is this a set back for feminism? Or is this just the way things are? 

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It’s not funny anymore.

10 Jul

July 10, 2014

No, the title does not refer to this blog.

Last time I went to Tangra Masala in Queens, which is its real name, there were a few strange characters there and I wrote about them in the post called Mumbles Mumbai Meets Sleepy Bhopal. I intended it to be semi-humorous (your humor mileage may very) but everything I wrote was true. However, I’d been there about a dozen times before with generally good experiences and was prepared to go back, which I did last week.

Never again.

Let’s recap what happened last time.

– There was a waiter sleeping in full view of the entire restaurant in our favorite booth.
– After he was awakened by some customers, he started serving us, replacing our mumbling waiter, whose every third word was incomprehensible, and who was incapable of getting us lime.
– Sleepy argued with us over which sauce we wanted to take home, despite my pointing directly to it, trying to get us to take a sauce for a dish we did not even have, accused us of not listening to him, and started mumbling and complaining about us to the rest of the staff- while he was still at our table.
– We were visibly upset and did not leave a tip. When I left the money for our check, the waitress (who was usually pretty good) ran over, grabbed the money, and ran back, never thanking us and making us feel like she was afraid we were running off without paying.

Despite all this, we had dozens of good meals there in the past and, despite the occasional hard to understand accent, the food was always good. So we decided to go back and give it another try.

We arrived at about 6:30 and the place was empty, which is never a good sign. The entire staff was seated at a table and stared at us when we walked in. We gestured to our favorite table and one of them nodded. After a few minutes of waiting, during which time Saarah told me “They’re staring at us” (my back was to them) one of them came over with menus. This was a waiter we had never seen before, and he spoke perfect, and perfectly polite, unaccented English. It struck me as odd that of all the waiters they’d made sure to give us that one, but I chalked it to them remembering us and giving us good service. Was I wrong.

While the service was good, and the food as usual good too, when the bill came I saw that there was a 15% mandatory service charge added to the bill. I had never seen that before and assumed it was new, and idly thought that, ha ha, they must have started adding it because of us not tipping last time. Yeah, as if we were that important, ha ha.

yelp-bad-reviews

Turns out I was almost right.

While restaurants have the right to add mandatory tips (that’s what the service charge is), I hate it because it takes away my right to tip whatever I feel is deserved. Sure, I can add more, but I can’t take anything away. What pissed me off right there was that if it were added because of us (more on that later) it meant that the lack of tip last time was in their eyes a reflection of my cheapness and not their awful service. In other words, I was the problem, not the lousy staff.

Saarah called her sister, who often also went to that restaurant, and asked if she had ever seen a service charge. She wasn’t sure but believed that it was on her bill the last time she was there. When was that? Coincidently, it was just a couple of days after our bad experience, adding fuel to my theory that it had been added just because of me.

Anyway, I was still not egotistical enough to think that I had affected the whole billing structure of an entire restaurant, so I went on Yelp and read some reviews. I found one, back in 2013, complaining that they had added a service charge for a small party of two. So I was wrong that the policy was created just for me, but it was clearly added to my bill just for me in response to my last meal there. I’d been there dozens of times, always tipped, and probably tipped a little higher than most patrons there. (I found out that rarely do those customers reach 10%, let alone 15%.) But because one time their staff has a meltdown, suddenly I’m viewed as a threat to not tip. But while that’s offensive, what really pisses me off is that, as I said, they see me as the problem, not their staff. I deserved an apology, not a service charge!

I’m the one who received bad service. I was the one whom a waiter argued with. I’m the one who was insulted.

I did not get an “I’m sorry.” I did not even get a “what’s the problem?”  I got treated like I caused a problem and when I returned, I was treated like they didn’t trust me.

I left the money on the table, service charge and all, and stood up to leave. The waitress, who had not served us at all, rushed over to grab the money before I was even halfway to my feet. She took the money and ran off- not even a thank you. Obviously she wanted to make sure I wasn’t stiffing them. In the past, the staff was so lazy that try as I might, I often could not find anyone to take the money, now the female flash was spiriting it away under my very nose.

Worried I’m not going to tip after years of my leaving perfectly good tips? How about asking yourselves- or better yet, ask me- why I didn’t tip that one time. Don’t assume I’m a cheapskate, look at your sleepy, mumbling, combative staff and figure it out. Don’t look at me with suspicion and make me feel like a crook when I’m going to your restaurant with the intention of spending money, tipping, and coming back again! YOU screwed up last time, not me!

Meanwhile, you lost me as a customer. For good, this time.

And the picture of the sleeping waiter is gracing my Yelp review.

This guy deserves a tip?

This guy deserves a tip?

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