For the first time ever, I didn't leave a tip

We, my family and I, went out for supper downtown last Friday. We walked around a bit, looked at menus, and finally decided on a nice corner pub. Well, as we were told, there were 2 pubs, and 4 patios, but they were all part of the same establishment and were in fact open to each other on the inside.

So, after looking at the menu, (mostly because of a picky child) we went in, were given our choice of seating, and we chose the back, quieter, area. Waitress comes, hands us menus we order drinks. Then we realize that the menu we’re holding isn’t the same as the first one we looked at. Oh, well I said, we already ordered drinks and they said it was the same establishment, so we can probably order off the other menu anyway.

Waitress returns with drinks, and no, the kitchens are separate and we have to stick to the menu. No big deal for me, I can eat anything, and picky daughter still found something to eat.

OK. So, not too bad after all, but my wife was a little ticked that we got the old menu switcheroo.

Next, we order our meals. They arrive, and that’s the last we saw of our waitress. I assume it was a shift change, because she was definitely gone. My son was looking for vinegar – yes we put that on fries up here – and I was looking for another beer, but … no one … was … coming … to … our …table. And every time I tried to catch the eye of a staff member it was as if she was purposely avoiding us. Oh, well, keep eating someone will be here shortly. But no. We were fully 3/4 of the way through the meal before someone finally dropped by to ask how we were doing. We got vinegar, but it really didn’t matter at this point as my son was plateauing out on eating.

We finished eating and waited, and waited, and waited… finally someone comes to clear the plates. We ask for the bill. And waited, and waited, and waited… The bill comes and I immediately take out a credit card and leave it on the table on top of the bill. And waited, and waited, and waited…

This was getting ridiculous. Finally she takes the card and returns with the bill for me to add tip and sign. I signed it for the base amount and we quickly left.

What gets me is there appeared to be an adequate amount of staff, but they all seemed to be in a hurry to go somewhere else. And there were only maybe 2 or 3 other tables inside with people at them! I guess the patios were busy and maybe that’s where they were focusing. I don’t think I’ll go back there again.

Nothing wrong with that.

Personally, I’d explain why on the back of the receipt, or at least ask to see a manager (although you might have had another wait for that, in this case).

Yeah, you did the right thing. I’ve had two occasions where I’ve left zero tip. Both were situations similar to yours, although one time there was only one other couple in the restaurant. I’ve decided that when I have to hunt someone down to pay the bill after a considerable amount of patient waiting, they don’t deserve “gratuity.”

-hijack - On the subject of vinegar on fries/chips: Great stuff, but I’ve noticed on trips in Canada the local custom is to use white vinegar instead of malt vinegar. Just not the same!

IMO, leaving no tip just says “I’m a cheap bastard”. If you want to convey that sense of total dissatisfaction, leaving a penny tip is the way to go. This gleaned from having once been a waiter, lo those many years ago.

If you have a penny, a full glass of water and a coaster on the table you can really emphasize your displeasure. Put the penny in the glass, put the coaster on top of the glass – this is the hard part – hold the coaster in place and flip the glass upside down unto the table and slide the coaster out.

What QED said. I never leave no tip, I’ll leave change for a tip if I get bad service. Just to make sure they know that I am pissed. I gonna have to steal Really Not All That Bright’s idea.

You’re probably joking, but just in case you’re serious, please don’t do this.

Either way, I wouldn’t have tipped, except for a penny, and I would have written on the check exactly why.

Not leaving a tip in that situation is perfectly acceptable, but i agree with those who have said that you should have made it clear to the waitstaff or, preferably, the management why you weren’t leaving a tip.

Hell, I think they were lucky you got paid. I’ve been known to wait a reasonable amount of time for my credit card to get picked up, and then walk out. I think I’m a reasonable person - so if the waiter is busy that may be twenty minutes, maybe more. But if they drop off the check and then completely disappear for more than - oh fifteen or so, I’ll walking. It takes me twenty minutes to eat a meal, it shouldn’t take me twenty to pay for it.

I haven’t done the “penny tip” thing in a very long time… 1975? It was for the same reason.

This restaurant, Emilo’s of Española, New Mexico.

(Can’t believe I actually found a link to it with a movie, no less, but that’s it all right)

Our choir was on tour and we had about 2.5 hours in which to go have supper and elected to have some good mexican food here. Waited forever and ever and ever before someone came to bring the freaking menus. Likewise before anyone came and took our order. Then nothing, just nothing, until we ran out of time and had to leave in order to have time to dress and warm up for the performance. As we were leaving, we were informed that “oh, but they just put your order on to cook”. So, no supper that night :frowning:

Yeah, we left tips of 1¢ each.

There has only been maybe two or three times in my life that I didn’t tip because of horrible service. One of those times I left cash for the exact amount of the bill in one pile and exactly eleven cents in another pile.

Another option would be to write “tip reflects service” on the receipt.

What? If you have a forgetful or busy waiter then you just steal your meal from the establishment? That does not make you a reasonable person. Walk up to the register or stand up and flag someone down. Yes, that sucks, and you shouldn’t have to flag someone down to take your credit card. It makes sense to leave no tip in this situation. But you still got the benefit of the food and by eating it you “agreed” to pay for it, lousy service or not.

Yeah, please don’t steal the food.

I was at a restaurant many years ago with my husband and another couple, and that was the only time we left no tip (well, a penny). We came in during the lull time between lunch and dinner, around 2:30 pm, and I think we were the only people in the place. The waitress was not looking rushed and was never apologetic, but took forever to come take a drink order, to bring us even water after the drink order, to bring menus, to return to take our orders, and so on. We were polite and placed fairly simple orders, nothing specially made and no substitutes, but she messed up a couple of the orders, IIRC. Each time she’d get out of earshot, the guy who was paying would note how far her tip had dropped. She didn’t seem to care about any mistakes, any delays, etc., and never said anything to us about it.

No, you’re not.

You’re a thief. You are not obligated to pay a tip; you ARE obligated to pay your bill. If you have to get up and go find someone to ring you up, then do it.

Well, I didn’t describe the situation in detail. The restaurant wasn’t busy. The meal (which I’d ordered broiled chicken and got fish) took an hour to be delivered after we ordered it and was cold. When we complained to the manager we got “I can’t do anything about that” We didn’t have cash (or I would have left it on the table and walked out - at that point in my life (twenty years ago now) I was terrified of stealing), just a credit card. After sitting for a half an hour after the bill had been delivered, seeing no manager nor any waiter, in fact - as far as we could tell the restaurant was empty except for us, we walked out. The restuarant closed two days later…I suspect the staff were under some extenuating circumstances for not caring.

I suppose I could have peeked my head into the kitchen to pay for the meal I didn’t order. At some point, it isn’t reasonable to wait. I’d past that point about the time the manager didn’t care that I was eating something I hadn’t ordered, and by the time no one had come to pick up the check after half an hour, was done! Done Done Done.

Well if the manager was allready aware of the problems, and the food was ineddible then not paying was probably reasonable.

I find that standing up and gathering up my jacket, purse, etc is a GREAT way to get them to notice that you need your bill.

Funny how that always brings out the ‘nice’ in your server too … “Ohhh how was everything? Hope to see you again! Have a good night! Bye bye now …”

I HATE bad service. :mad:

Hey, if the restaurant doesn’t want to make the effort to collect their money, that’s their loss. She offered to pay, no one took her up on her offer, so she left. From where I’m sitting, that’s entirely on the restaurant, not on her.

A little while ago, a couple co-workers and I went to the local bar to get some burgers on our lunch break. The place was not at all crowded: maybe five tables had customers. We’re there for ten minutes without seeing a waitress. One of the guys I’m with gets up and grabs menus, which gets the waitresses attention, who finally wanders over as asks, “Did you guys want something?” We tell her we’d like to order lunch after we’ve had a minute to look at our menus. In the meantime, we place drink orders. She goes off. We decide what we want, and wait for her to come back. For another fifteen minutes. Our lunch break is half over, and the waitress is still AWOL. We decide, “Screw it,” we’re going to go over to the Quiznos and get something to eat before we have to go back to work. As we walk out, we see the waitress with a tray full of our drinks, just leaving the bar. We tell her to forget it, we don’t have any time left to order food. As we go out the door, we hear the bitch telling the bartender that we’re skipping out on our tab! We went back in and pointed out that, in fact, we can’t be skipping out on a tab if we never received a single thing we had ordered after waiting for half a fucking hour.

I haven’t been back to that bar since then, but from my other co-workers who have, I understand that waitress is no longer employed at that establishment.

I won’t wait long. If I have decided on my meal and there is no server in sight, after several minutes I will leave.

Ivylad and I have done that a few times. I was a waitress, and if the server swings by and says, “Hi, I’ll be right with you,” I will wait. But if the hostess drops off the menus and no one else comes by, I’m outta there.

Ivylad and I did have a wonderful experience at lunch recently. The server was attentive and friendly, the drinks never fell below half empty, and the meals and the check and the receipt were brought promptly. I made a point of telling the manger how impressed we were with our server. I figure they get complaints all day, so a compliment now and then goes a long way.

So if you go to the mall and no one is immediately at the checkstand you are standing at, you just walk out with all of the merchandise? Hey! as long as you TRY right?

It’s different if you leave before actually receiving anything, but after you have eaten the whole meal it is in fact, “on you” to pay.