A tale from back in the day...
Bella again. I read the comments on my blog entry, and I'd like to answer some of the questions.
The guy I ran a delivery to, who tried to weasel his way out of tipping on the basis that he had no cash: He did end up tipping me, a dollar (WOW!! A whole dollar!!), I could have sworn I had said that, but in re-reading, I found that I did not. The look on his face when I indicated that he could write in a tip on the cc slip was one of blank surprise (is that even possible? Maybe dumbfounded is better...) that I would dare to make such a suggestion. He didn't say anything after that, just wrote the tip in and signed it. Sorry for not covering that information, and thank you for pointing it out!
Now, on to my oldie but goodie.
I used to work in a fine-dining establishment. The owner, André, was the most awesome gay Frenchman I have ever known.
We had a prix-fixe meal (ie, lunch or dinner, six courses, set price), and an a la carte menu. When customers came in, they were to tell the maitre 'd whether they would be ordering a la carte or our prix-fixe meal. We were informed ahead of time (No particular reason, just a quirk of Andre's).
A party of seven (three men and four women, dressed formally, mid 30's to early 50's, I'd guess) came in, informed the maitre 'd they'd be ordering a la carte, and were sat in my section. I rang in their order accordingly. They raved about how great the food was, and how awesome and professional the service was...until I brought the check. Almost $2,000. They had ordered drinks, wines, appetizers, bottled water, soup, salad, entrees and desserts.
"Esscuse meee, missie, whyyyy is our beeeeel so high?" One of the men said. I explained to them that they had ordered a la carte, not the prix-fixe, which in actuality, wouldn't have saved them much, as they had ordered the most expensive of everything.
I honestly don't remember the exchange word for word suffice to say I was called a "Styoopid liddle gorl" and Andre, dressed in a tux with a silver ascot around his neck (I shit you not) happened to be walking by me. He paused, put his hand on my shoulder, looked at the man and said "Eez zere a prooplem?" (I'm trying to phonetically recreate the accents as best I can...) The man explained what happened and then asked if there was any possibility if they could switch to the prix-fixe and pay the extra. Andre explained that it wouldn't save them any money at all, as they had ordered the most expensive items, and there'd be upcharges for that. And then he said "Alzo, I see zat my server has not charged you ze gratuity...so your beel is not correct." Then when I was at my server station, he passed me and whispered "Geef zem ze 20% gratuity."
I smiled at him and just said "Thanks for backing me up. I really thought I was going to have to set it prix-fixe and eat the difference." (I was very new there when this happened) And Andre just said "People, zey will do zis all ze time. Welcome to ze world of serving. But I take care of my staff, zey're right 99% of ze time."
So this table, that was bitching about an almost 2000 dollar bill ended up having to pay almost $2400. Had they not bitched and just left a tip, I wouldn't have even been made aware of the gratuity that I had neglected to add as was the rules for parties of 6 or more.
Customers, learn from this: Bitching will not always get you your way and sometimes it will hurt you. If you have a valid problem, fine, we'll fix it. But if you walk into a place that you know is going to be expensive, don't try to haggle the bill. No matter what all those "Save money dining out!!!" articles say.