Viewpoint: Remember to tip your wait staff

Lauren Tidmore | 2014 Reporter
Lauren Tidmore | 2014 Reporter

By Lauren Tidmore

Waiters and waitresses are like parents.

They dote on their customers, making sure every glass of half diet lemonade, half iced tea with five cubes of ice remains filled and in proper proportion and bringing three extra ramekins of hot Alfredo sauce the chef had to stop and heat up separately to drown a filet mignon he painstakingly grilled to perfection. Oh, but let’s not forget the table of 17 Little League baseball players who downed two glasses each of Mountain Dew before entrée orders were taken or the young couple at the corner booth with twin toddlers, rolling on the floor making snow angels in the Cheerios their parents brought along to save money. Yeah, they’re leaving a tip.

And all this meticulous drudgery is tolerated with a polite, gritted-teeth smile and a “my pleasure” in the mere hopes of aiding in satisfaction and receiving a little gratitude (if you know what I’m saying) in return.

OK. So maybe they’re not exactly like parents. Growing up in a house of six children, you take what you get, and you don’t throw a fit.

Actually, I would be concerned if any parent did dote on their children in this manner because, let’s be honest, that results in a plethora of high-maintenance issues that no future husband or wife should ever have the privilege of dealing with. Hey, you never know. Perhaps that’s why some diners require service every 30 seconds.

But in the general sense, it’s the same. Most waiters and waitresses devote much time and energy to offer their best to diners, simply hoping for a little “thank you” in return. So, you can imagine a no-tipper is cause for boiling insides and a random string of senseless name-calling and insults that only fellow waiters and waitresses could comprehend and definitely shouldn’t be written in a Baylor newspaper.

The problem might be in being unaware of how much waiters and waitresses depend on tips. Unless a person has worked in the trade, he or she might not realize waiters and waitresses for the most part receive between two and three dollars as an hourly wage, which gets eaten by taxes. Tips are the basis for a server’s income.

To be fair, servers can be at fault as well. Every once in a while, you might come in contact with a server that is, for lack of better terms, a lazy drone who is an expert at taking up space. These types can be identified in several ways, which include: saying, “Do what?” after every spoken request; asking “Oh, did you want a spoon with your soup?”; yelling “We’ve got a complicated order!” to the kitchen; slowly wandering around the restaurant or standing and staring into space.

In such cases, it would be more beneficial to leave a life advice tip. Then, in the event of a future dining out experience, you might appreciate more a waiter or waitress who is actually doing his or her job.

Now Valentine’s Day brings about a whole new level of achieving customer satisfaction in the restaurant, especially when dealing with those young bachelors who are fumbling, mumbling and trying to impress their one-time dates through their vital choices, which range between where to eat and how to hand the sweat-glazed credit card to the server.

Don’t forget about the females who have to figure out how to gracefully clamber into a booth in their new dress and stilettos and grapple with themselves about if they want the small or large salad.

Waiters and waitresses work hard to make the awkwardness less painful through excessive complements, such as “I’ve never seen such a lovely dress!” or “What a smart choice in entrée, sir!” In addition, the best servers work their magic by creating a relaxed atmosphere and gliding over minor hiccups with grace and finesse to make each member of the date appear attractive to the other.

For example, if the male orders shrimp scampi for his meal and then has to return it because he realizes it’s pasta, and he’s gluten intolerant, then a waiter or waitress might say, “Oh, I’m so sorry! I would love to return this to our kitchen (that is already drowning in orders) and get you something else! I’m sure you were just distracted by your date.”

All this to say, as you go out to eat tonight with your Valentine, keep in mind the extensive effort waiters and waitresses put forth to appease every whim diners might have. Show a little love, because, although it may be hard to fathom, they just might have someone special they’re not getting to spend Valentine’s Day with.

Happy Valentine’s Day everybody.

Lauren Tidmore is a senior journalism major from Waco. She is a reporter for The Lariat.