Waiters: YES, I want my change, thank you!

Absolutely. In fine dining? Well hell, who knows about fine dining. I’m sure fine dining establishments could charge 500 for a dancing monkey throwing green colored poop at people and the customers would love it just for the “OMBeONCE.”

But in the meat grinders of corporate restaurants where upper management could care less about anything but table turnover rate and check averages, they want you to get those people out.
“Push, push, push girls, get those folks in and out. You make more in volume than in one high tipping table.”
That’s what I’ve heard from management in shiver 13 years of restaurant work. And it is damn true too. With customers acting as completely obnoxious as they do constantly day in and day out, servers end up caring about you about as much as you do them. Which is usually close to “a whole fucktard little” to “bitch, on your knees like a good woman.”

Plus, with every idiot making every fucking little nothing a “lil’ less tip for ya honey,” I know most servers just want you out. “I’m sorry, did you have to wait for longer than 1 microseconds for your ramekin of ranch lower my tip by 50%?”

Oh, yes, you poor customer who has to be inconvienced. Oh boo, fucking, go suck on goatsexc.

I know, you don’t know, because you’ve never been there. Be nice to people like your Mom told you. Service sector people are people, just like you. And you don’t even see, or pay attention, to half of what servers actually do during their day. I know, you think they have like 2 tables. They have like 5, oops sorry. They have side-work, bussing, management and kitchens to deal with. I’m sure your 50 emails and 5 phone calls and 1 meeting a day is just so damn harsh.

Yes, I’m pissed. I’m tired of morons pissing all over service sector people because they can.

(This is directed at the general population rather than specifically, bordelond.)

The problem with those who rely on blanket conventions for how a server should act, is that these things are typically regional. Where I am, it’s fairly standard to be asked if you would like your change back if you lay cash on top of the ticket. I can understand those who feel that it is presumptuous and rude, however there’s never any excuse for condescension and lecturing a waitperson for something like this.


I’m not addressing the should of the behavior.
I was only addressing the idea that there was some sort of untoward motivation for it.

There’re a number of things about today’s service practices that I judge to be less than optimal.

I just dont think that when servers do this that they are trying to work a scam.

Servers do work scams, but this is not one of them.

Clearly you’ve worked in different restaraunts that I have.

sorry dude - I’ve seen it with my own face. More than once.

Disgusting? Yes.
Appropriate? No.
Happens if a customer acts like a shit-head? You bet.

Sad but true. When you make people feel powerless and put upon they will retaliate in any way they can.

Bordelond, I suspect most people don’t speak up because they have manners. Stopping any server, busy or not, is incredibly rude as is deducting from their tip because they asked if you wanted your change.

If being asked if you would like your change back gets to you that much, maybe you should stick to fast food. :dubious:

There’s not enough snot in the world.

Bytopian, I hear ya. I’ll put it this way – I am looking at this issue from the vantage point of the waiter, not as a customer.

Even in a “meat-grinder, corporate” joint (I worked a long time at one, myself), I feel it’s still sensible to regard yourself as the caretaker of your own potential tip money. Now then, there are impressive points of service that fancy-pooh places can offer that you don’t have the time or the means for in a meat-grinder place. But you aren’t trying to compete with fine-dining servers – your aiming to mimic fine-dining points of ettiquette that will help increase your own tips in the “meat grinder”.

No matter how crappy your day-in-day-out customers are, there is still a potential amount of money you stand to make each night. The idea is to do as little as humanly possible to reduce that amount, and as much as you can to fully maximize your shift’s take.

Ga//d, point taken. I thought there might be a regional angle. I can only speak for the New Orleans area, where I lived while I was serving. However, the beauty of this particular standard I am advocating is that wherever you go, you’re safe. As I said before – why risk even a dime of you tip money?

I should add here that I don’t feel commasense’s response is particularly relevant to the overall issue. His beef is legitimate regardless of his response. If his response is truly over-the-top (which I didn’t get from the OP – YMMV), he may get to the point where he doesn’t deserve redress (as it were) – but he’d still be correct.

Point taken. From the server’s point of view, I just consider the question as asked somewhat risky.

It doesn’t bother me all that much, actually. I chalk it up normally as a green server (though I guess I’ve been wrong sometimes). Still, I feel strongly that commasense is correct.

I don’t consider that oxymoronic. YMMV.

Aside from all that, customers don’t have to justify to servers why they tip what they tip. I make that point because you really can’t bring up a valid argument against the “silent stiffers” – who cares if they are “incredibly rude”. The server could have done something really easy to avoid the short tip! That’s the point. Customer overreaction is part of the rules of the game – you can’t wish it away.

Once they’re out the door, you are the one holding the 10% tip. Abstract arguments and pats on the back from sympathetic co-workers in the side station won’t help you much then.

Speaking as a restaurant manager/waiter, I assure you that servers should most definitely not do this. The proper statement when picking up a check is “I’ll be right back with your change.” If one has reason to suspect that change might not be required, it becomes “I’ll be right back with your change” ::pause::. If nothing is uttered during that brief moment, it is assumed that the customer wants his/her change. Granted, sometimes the customer will simply forget to say “keep it” (and trust me, I’ve gotten some priceless looks from people when I return a tip tray with 16 cents on it), but that’s just how it’s done. No pressure on the customer, minimal hassle for the server. It just makes everyone’s life easier.

If I’m managing on the floor, and I hear one of my servers ask a customer “Need change?”, that server will be taken aside to receive a quick and poignant lesson in the finer aspects of customer service relations. If it happens again after that, further disciplinary action will be taken. Customer rudeness is enough of a problem as it is; I don’t need rude servers adding to the mix.

The tone of my discussion with the server will vary, though, depending on the circumstances in which the dreaded phrase was uttered. If it was a case of a $20 bill being dropped on a check of $19.63, I understand the desire to save oneself the effort of having to count out and return with 37 cents. It’s still rude, but the rudeness is based in ignorance and/or laziness, rather than any actual malicious intent. In the case of $100 bill/$10 check, though, the server would get one hellacious tongue-lashing indeed. Trying to bully the customer into a 900% tip is not only rude, it’s downright evil.

:smack: Preview, dammit, preview…

“::pause::” in the above sentence is supposed to be “:: pause ::”, indicating that the server should stop for a moment to give the customer a chance to say “keep the change”.

Just what I need, servers thinking I told them it was proper form to stick their tongue out at the customers…

Going to become?

Wha, do you live in a sock, inside a cave, underground, in a Third World Country?
Are you new?

Whaddya mean, goingto become a service-based economy? Think of 10 people you know who have full-time jobs. How many work in a service industry or perform a service, as opposed to producing a product? Service includes doctors, lawyers, and scientists…

A word to waitstaff who presume things like a tip.


I got news for you, bucko. You are fucking waiter. That means your job is to wait on me, not the other way around. You are there for my benefit, not yours. Get uppity with me, and not only will I not give you a tip, I will complain loud and long to the management, and I will badmouth the restaurant to everybody I see. Then you will be out of a job and out on the streets.

I generally treat waitstaff with respect and consideration, because I know it can be a shitty job. My wife is a large tipper, and I can be, but if you get snotty with me, you are gonna get burned. Charred.

Yes, I have worked as a waiter. And as a busboy. Doesn’t change a thing.

Whuh? Scientists are in the service industry? How’s that?

When a waiter says “Do you need change,” there is a second, unspoken part to that question: “…or can I keep the rest as a tip?”

I don’t like being asked that, I agree that it is rude. However, I try to beat them to the punch…if I want them to keep the change, I will say “keep the change” before they even get a chance to ask me. That is being a nice customer.

Slightly off topic…speaking of being a nice customer, I always make sure to say please and thank you whenever speaking to my server. However, I hardly ever see other people doing this. When their drink or food arrives, they don’t even acknowledge the server, much less say thanks. That sucks.

I was wondering this too. I thought that people like me went into science so we didn’t have to interact with other people. :stuck_out_tongue:

Upon reading this thread, i agree that it’s mildly rude to ask about change, but i honestly have never noticed it before as a customer. I don’t think i’d be inclined to adjust a tip based on it either.

To me, the only proper response to “Do you need change?” is “Do you need a tip?” with a really big, obvious smile. Ask a stupid question…

Why yes, I am a sarcastic bitch. But only when someone acts like a presumptuous fool in the course of doing their job when I’ve given them no reason to do so.

I’m particularly appalled by the “Do you need change?” question when, as the OP mentioned, the check holder hasn’t even been opened so the waitron has failed to notice that my credit card is inside. :smack: :wally

“I’ll be right back with your change.” Live it, learn it, use it.

Really, I’m astonished that so many of you give a shit about this complete semantic trifle. Is the fact that servers are really working for tips and not the pleasure of serving you so totally horrifying? If you can’t stomach capitalism, eat at home.

I think a lot of you fail to understand how incredibly lucky you are to be in a position in this world where you can go to a place where other people cook food and bring it to your table. I mean, in light of this fact how fucking gauche is it to be a tip nazi?

It is about semantics and what some people infer. The origin of the annoyance is an “unspoken” comment that is inferred (opposed to implied).

If one were to charitably view these servers, perhaps the inferences as to the unspoken parts of questions would be more charitably conceived.

hazel-rah, “semantic trifles” are the entirety of the difference between polite and impolite interactions between strangers. Turns of phrase, tones of voice, eye contact, body language, these are the currency of public discourse, and there is much to gain by using them well and much to lose by ignoring their import.

I don’t care if someone is working for tips or experience or college credit or just to have something to do with their evenings. The fact that they have made the choice to work in a capacity in which they are responsible for interacting with strangers as representatives of their employer means that they have agreed to conduct themselves at a certain standard and part of that standard is politeness.

Exactly!!! And asking “do you want your change back” is DEFINITELY breaking that rule, and being presumptuous.