Service With A Snarl

I’ve worked in hospitality. For a time I was a minor legend in the industry – born with a natural aptitude for the work and dedicated to expanding that talent. It was to be my career and during the time I worked those jobs I trained a lot of bartenders and waiters, making them the best they could be. In fact, the only job I’ve ever applied for and not got was one at a new bar that was entirely manned by my trainees when it opened. It made me feel old as the only thing that seperated us was age, and therefore pay scale. Anyway, as an ex bartender I’m horrified at the state that the hospitality industry is in now.



When Leslie Pope went for a meal and a few drinks with friends at the Lehigh Pub in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania a couple of weeks ago, they were happy to find that despite the Christmas season looming they weren’t turned away from the inn. Unfortunately that’s where their good luck ended. After waiting over an hour for their meal they even had to go to the bar and request cutlery and napkins themselves as their waitress went out for a smoke after being asked for them. This was the final straw for Pope and her seven friends, who had already had to visit the bar for refills when their waitress disappeared after they’d placed their food order. When the $73 bill arrived they paid for their food and drinks, ignored the suggested tip, made a complaint to the head bartender and sat down to finish their drinks before leaving. That’s when the police arrived and arrested them.

Lehigh Pub, presumably having noticed that not many of their staff were getting tips due to a bad service ethic, had installed a policy that made the gratuity a mandatory part of the bill. No longer do their staff have to earn their tips by being good at their jobs, helpful or even pretending to be a part of the service industry. No longer can customers decide that service is good and leave an extra tip or decline to leave a tip if service is bad. No, the tip is now expected regardless of the service you receive there and if you refuse to pay it you’ll be arrested for theft just like Leslie Pope and her boyfriend John Wagner were.

Latreasa Goodman (no relation to John, despite the content of this story) loves McDonalds. Now you may think that you love a certain food more than anything else, but you haven’t reached the levels of love this woman has for McDonalds’ food. Nope, don’t argue, you just haven’t. On the 28th February this year, Latreasa visited her local McDonalds and ordered a ten piece meal which included chicken nuggets. According to the majority of news sources and blogs at the time she flipped out when she was told they didn’t have nuggets and called 911 not once, not twice, but three times to report the incident. What a psycho eh?

Now lets be fair and take a look at what actually happened there. She asked for something on the menu, she paid for that item, they had run out of it and they refused her a refund. Oh sure, she can have something else from the menu but she was refused her money back, which is against both her rights and McDonalds’ policy. Did she over-react? Of course she did. You don’t phone the emergency services for something like that, and you definitely don’t insist that your chicken nuggets are an emergency when the cops show up and cite you for misuse of the 911 system. But I doubt she’d have done so if she hadn’t been provoked like that by the assistant manager of the store.

A spokesman from McDonald’s had this to say about the incident: “We want to correct our mistake. We will be sending the customer her refund, along with an invitation to return for her original order, on us. We never want to disappoint a McNuggets fan or any McDonald’s customer. Customer satisfaction is our top priority.” That’s very big of them. Now that the woman has been treated so badly and had her rights infringed to the point that she called 911, she can have the refund she was originally due and a voucher for one meal. That’ll really make things up to her. Also I think I speak for everyone who has ever had the soggy cardboard that passes for food at McDonald’s served to them by a teenager with a higher weight in acne than IQ when I point out what a pile of crap that customer service statement was.

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39 thoughts on “Service With A Snarl

  1. That tip story is getting big play here. It's close to here. The place adds an automatic 18% "gratuity" to parties of 6 or more. Kinda defeats the word "gratuity". And to make matters worse, 22% was added. Not 18%. Btw, all charges were dropped. Judge said it was a civil matter not a criminal case because they paid the actual bill.

  2. Now you may think that you love a certain food more than anything else, but you haven't reached the levels of love this woman

    Are you sure about that? :whistle::PHas it occurred to the management at Lehigh Pub that a guaranteed tip might be having the opposite effect on their staff compared to its original purpose? A guaranteed tip could cause any employees that might be inclined to live up to their job description to become, well, lazy. To recycle a quote from snopes.com

    Indeed, tipping up front might well prove counterproductive in that the provision of the palm oil before the act removes a substantial portion of the incentive to perform admirably. The money's already being in the pocket, so to speak, lessens the server's interest in making sure that all goes well.

    Sure, the quote was lifted from a page about tipping an employee upfront, rather than being guaranteed a tip regardless of performance, but I think the underlying message is still the same – and explained much more eloquently than I could manage. :yes:.

  3. I there is a restaurant with automatic tip included in a bill, it would bancrupt in a matter of weeks, because no one would go there. We just don`t like it that way – even though I have seen some people giving a tip as high as 50% of a bill :faint: Instead, we have something else, but not in all pubs/restaurants: if there is a live music there is an amount of money added to a bill but it is stated in menu and could not be missed.One more thing. Our pubs and restaurants owners were aware of high criminal rate we had during 90s. Someone of the stuff could die because of being irresponsible to guests, not to mention a tip automatically included in a bill :insane:

  4. That particular pub only did it for parties of 6 or more and it is clearly stated on the menus. The problem was piss-poor or no service and adding 22% instead of the stated 18%. If they had received adequate service there would have been no problem.

  5. Over here tipping is a rare thing unless you're in a really high class joint. Some smaller places might have a tip jar at the place where you pay but the majority of people ignore those things. Bartenders tend to keep a shot glass near the till they're working on and when they're told to get something for themselves they take £1 and no more unless the customer notices how much they took and insists they take more. Largest single cash tip I ever got given was the change from £50 for two cheap drinks by some wannabe gangster showing off, but there was one Christmas where my shot glass turned into a pint glass then had to get upgraded to a fire bucket by the end of the night, even though some people were giving notes. I made more that night in tips than I did for my triple time full day pay so I got the rest of the staff to chuck their tip jars in then shared it between us equally. The seven of us ended up with a little over £85 each. :happy: The best tip I ever got was from an old guy who'd definitely been running parts of London at one point. He noticed me taking a quid for myself and explained that when he said to get one for myself, he meant exactly what he was having. He was drinking a triple shot of whiskey at £90 per shot and insisted I ring a triple through the till for myself. I had it later that night and could see why it cost so much. Been trying to remember the name of that stuff for years now. Point is, I never asked for any of that stuff (although I did go round with the tips bucket at the end of the night that Christmas period when I'd decided to share with everyone) and I never expected any of it. I earned it by providing good service, and that's the way tips should be.Expecting a tip is the worst possible thing anyone in the service industry can do as far as I'm concerned. You can give the best service out there but if the customer has had a bad day they'll likely forget to tip and you'll blame it on yourself which is stupid. Demanding a tip makes it so people don't even try to provide good service as evidenced in this case, and makes customers who've read that a tip will be added to their bill more critical of the service and less likely to enjoy their time in your establishment.Darko, I've worked with someone who worked a club in the Czech Republic. I know that's not where you are (or it might be, my Geography is a crime) but the situation was similar back then. He was warned by a customer when he didn't thank them for a tip. He laughed it off til his boss sacked him for fear of having the place torched. Sometimes you just can't teach these kids that manners cost nothing and may save their lives because some people demand to be treated with common decency and have no problem mailing their innards to their family so their parents can see exactly where they went wrong.

  6. It's now law here that waitrons be paid a basic wage. Thus, tips are an optional extra that good people pay for good service. Last month, I went into a Govan Mani (electronic goods store). I saw a usb drive that looked interesting and wanted a closer look. When I finally got one salesman's attention, he asked what I wanted to know about it rather than offer to show it to me. Since he clearly knew very little about the device in question, his offer to answer my questions was pointless. Anyway, he eventually decided to ask a female colleague, who was very busy packing a display case, to assist me while he went back to playing with the gadget that another of his colleagues was demonstrating to another customer. (he didn't appear to have anything better to do). I was vaguely offended as the wink he thought I didn't see clearly indicated that I was just 'wasting his time' and being a nuisance. After being helped by the very polite saleslady, I bought the 1TB usb drive, price ZAR1129 for cash. I then gave the sales lady a ZAR10 'tip', hopefully he saw that and reconsiders before he judges a customer too quickly in future. I did notice that the other 'customer' that he was 'helping' left without buying anything. :p.

  7. It sounds as if the tipping system is the same here as it is in the UK. I like that. I like that tips are optional, and used to reward good service. :up:

  8. I should do that with my Mcbeer next time. :sherlock:.I've never tipped for goods but expect good service from wherever I go as the salespeople work usually on commission plus basic.So in my eyes the git would WANT to help you.Those were the crap years when the customers went to all the pretty girls and not the sullen looking boy.. :rolleyes:.At a pub. Good service would equal a tip. I don't usually tip mind you as I've come to adopt the notion that your bosses are already paying you to do your bloody job.Unfortunately for good service a little incentive is needed and next time you return that waiter/waitress would jump through hoops without looking likely to gob in your food when you ask for water in a clean glass and ice.

  9. Tips are sneaking in over here. I've always been against them (unless there's spectacular service or food involved), because people actually get an award wage in this country. Of course, if I was in America, I'd be happy to give tips, since they don't have the award wage system (although the tip would, of course, vary on the quality of the service). If I'm not happy with the service, I'd complain to management. If I wasn't happy with management's response, I'd punch them. Problem solved. :whistle: 😉

  10. Just read up on Award Wages and I'm not entirely sure I understand it, David. Is it a minimum wage guaranteed to cover basic living expenses in the area or something similar?Wow, I've never heard of a McBeer before, though I knew they did alcohol in some countries. Can't believe they call it that. 😆 Do they offer free refills on that too?Haven't seen that movie in ages Darko, and my connection's too fuzzy to watch it at the moment. :awww:.Hey Rick, where you going with my money man? :irked: Don't make me set you up like O.J.Kitten, that's because it's hard to palm a fish and slip it to the head waiter in order to get a table. :up:

  11. As I understand it, an award wage is a guaranteed minimum gross amount to basically equal the Cost of Living in an area (hence why people flipping burgers at McDonalds in Sydney would get paid more than those doing the same work in Cairns, for instance). "A fair day's work for a fair day's pay" and all that.

  12. I tip based on my own gut feeling on how good the service should be at where I am, but there's still a lower limit beyond which nobody anywhere gets a tip. Fortunately the phrase 'a service charge of 15% is included in the price' isn't seen too often.My dad refuses to eat anywhere with that on the menu – says it's his decision on how good the service was, not the management's. I agree, but i wouldn't kick up a fuss like he would.

  13. I'd kick up a fuss about it, going so far as to take 15% off the bill should the service be awful. It's not like these places don't trick customers themselves.A while back I worked for Yates' and they had a deal that if you waited too long for your food you'd get it for free. The staff were told to offer a complimentary coffee to anyone whose meal took over the stated time, which we later found out was the franchise's way of fulfilling their obligation without refunding the meal, and part of their small print. I was absolutely furious at that when I found out I'd talked a customer out of their due refund.

  14. Another reason to steer clear of McDonalds!I've seen loads of places abroad where a service charge is added in the bill. This is, with no exception, on restaurants around tourist traps.

  15. I always liked the idea of tourist traps being bottomless pits with grinding teeth, camouflaged as statues and museums. :left:

  16. I've forgotten where the Permit joke came from 😆 although I think it was me, two years ago, and something to do with Kimmie learning some Danish :sherlock: :sst: I get you Permit, very low price 😉

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