Not everybody deserves a trophy

I don’t know why the daytime TV show was on, but it was. I blame it on my housemate, but then again, I blame a lot of what I do on her. It’s just easier that way.

The host of the show was signing off and she said, “make sure to go out and eat, restaurants need your business.”

Right on, I remember thinking. Restaurants do need your business.

“Be sure to tip too.”

Yay her!

“And tip well.”

I was beginning to think that maybe more daytime TV viewing might not be so bad.

“And tip big no matter what,” she continued. “Even if you get bad service.”

Wait. What?

I do not agree with that at all. You should never tip for bad service. I know this might not be a popular position to take, but if you get truly bad service, and I mean bad service, bad on purpose bad service, you should not tip. At all.

Yeah, I know “we all work hard” and “we all have bad days” but I’m not talking about forgetting a cup of coffee, or ordering the wrong item, or spilling a glass of wine, I’m talking about the willful, eye rolling, heavy sighing, stomp footing service, that I have been noticing all too often lately.

I was at a restaurant the other day where the waiter had forgotten a tables drink order, screwed up their appetizer order, and then ordered their entrees before any of that was resolved.

The customer was annoyed at first, and rightly so.

“I haven’t even gotten the right salad, or the right drink yet, and now you bring the entrees?”

The waiter who had spent much of his time on his phone, then uttered perhaps the dumbest thing I have ever heard.

“You know Sir, you could be more understanding.”

I thought that customer was going to have an aneurism. And let’s just say he didn’t get more understanding as a result. He also didn’t “calm down,” when that too was suggested. I’m guessing he also didn’t tip. And I doubt he will be back.

These days many things get blamed on Covid. Some are legitimate, like product. The supply chains are hurting and often things just don’t show up. Or when they do, they are the wrong things. Menus get paired back and sometimes restaurants just run out of stuff. Much of that is beyond their control.

But bad service, and especially, that “I don’t give a crap” type of service is inexcusable. And its everywhere.

I went to fill a prescription the other day and the pharmacist made a mistake and gave me one day’s supply instead of one weeks. The medicine was $3, but I was charged a service fee of $15. When I went back to get the rest, they tried to charge me another $15 service fee.

“But I am only back here again, because of your mistake,” I said.

They then offered me half off on the medicine, $4, but refused to take off the $15 service fee.

“So, I am paying you twice, for your mistake?” I asked.

Later I received a call from the manager saying that I had hurt the clerk’s feelings.

No apology for making a mistake, no apology for making me make two trips there, no offer to remove the second service fee. Then came the kicker. “Next time…”

News flash, there isn’t going to be a next time.

And that is where I part ways with that TV host. Not everybody deserves a trophy. We’ve raised a generation (or two) who believe just showing up is a major accomplishment. You are lucky I’m here, they say either directly or through their actions, and I, for one, am not going to reward it.

What I will do, is go somewhere else. Where they still know that doing a good job is the desired goal. There are plenty of these places around, they might not feature prominently in the glossy pages but they still do a great job each and every day.

You read a lot these days about places having trouble hiring, and that is true, less people are applying. But the places that have built reputations for treating their staff with dignity and respect are having less trouble. And those places also seem to have long lines and full reservation books.

Leaving me with these thoughts:

-Bad service, best defined, is when you’ve made a mistake and you just don’t care.

-Good service isn’t juggling shot glasses, or telling jokes, or lighting things on fire. Good service is actually caring. And you can’t teach people that.

-If your competitor is busy, but you are not, they might be doing something right, or you might be doing something wrong. The same goes with hiring.

-If you don’t care, ultimately neither will your customers.