Sued51's Blog

{August 23, 2011}   Who said, “Keep the Change”? Not me!

My friend, Julie recently posted a comment on Facebook regarding her experience dining out.  She related that in two separate instances a server gave her back only the bills of her change, and not the coins (which in one case was just 18 cents).  When she questioned the server about the coins, she was met with the response, “I didn’t think you would want it.”  Seriously???  The server in one case went on to say, “Don’t worry, I kept it, it didn’t go in the till.”  And that should be reassuring because…?  My friend promptly gave the server less tip than she had originally intended.

She asked her Facebook friends if this was a new practice.  Her story elicited comment after comment, some saying it had happened to them as well, and others expressing their outrage.  Many synonyms for “stealing” were used.  Not condoning it, but trying to understand it, my comment was that I thought this behavior was brought on by the practice of servers pooling and sharing tips, resulting in some being tempted to skim a little off the top for themselves.  I hate to clue these people in, but with the exception of large groups, a tip is not an entitlement, but a reward for good service, to be bestowed on the server at the discretion of the customer.

I told the story to someone I know who was a server for many years.  She was incensed and said, “It is absolutely stealing.”  She went on to talk about the elephant in the room: that the latest generation seems to have a sense of entitlement when it comes to tips: they do not recognize that tips are EARNED with good service.

My husband and I recently had a poor service experience while eating at the bar of a local restaurant.  A second server took much better care of us than the first.  My husband’s response was to ask her if they shared tips.  She said, “Yes,” and his reply was, “I’m sorry…that’s too bad.”  He praised her service but left no tip because the first server (a 20ish young man) had simply stood around doing nothing but ignoring us, and then disappeared.

My friend’s story ended with phone calls to the managers of the restaurants involved, producing shocked reactions from the managers, who said they did not condone the practice.  But do they actively discourage it?  How are these servers getting away with this?  Because patrons don’t speak up??  In a bad economy, consumers choose carefully when they go out; it’s a treat, no longer a habit, to go to a restaurant.  Customers, speak up if this happens to you!

I suggest Sue some of these people don’t know how to make change. Sad but true. It is an art to have to count up and frankly too few of the people working in these jobs could care less. If they get fired from one, there’s always another waiting that is low pay. In that way it is a little like the human service industry. When somebody is low paid you can’t rid of them, because there are too few people willing to do the job and if you do another company will soon pick them up. Not making excuses but in our economy doing a good job often has to come from within.


Fanny says:

There is definitely a problem of entitlement with some young people.
My boss has had several conversations with human resources over younger employees who think they deserved promotions when it would be very premature to promote such people due to their work performance and time on job.

Your change examples are very troublesome. If I were Julie, I would have demanded exact proper change and left no tip just to make a point!


sued51 says:

Fanny and Gary,
Thanks for the comments. The story was pretty controversial when Julie posted it.

Gary, I think you are right to some extent. When I was working retail for low wages, the younger people would call in sick at the drop of a hat. They didn’t seem too concerned about getting fired. There was a great deal of turnover as people would quit the job as soon as they found something better (me included).

Fanny, a lot of the younger people don’t think they have much to learn from any of us “old” farts; it is a shame they think they already know everything they need to know. The irony is that they are missing out on the learning and growing that will get them to the place they already think they are!


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