Dealing With Coworkers

A few years back a server who I apparently was getting coo with me
decided to express her dissatisfaction with black tables (she is white).
“Poor tippers” she said. There is some truth to that but that’s for
another discussion. She said she never liked having them because of
that ‘fact’. I thought “Perhaps it’s the unconscious attitude of
your underlying racist tendencies they pick up on. Perhaps you treat
them differently than other tables. Perhaps…” Anyways, I bit my
tongue for a couple reasons. I am not very confrontational and
argumentative and I’m not perfect. I like to play it coo most of the
time. Some people think it’s an “Uncle Tom” thing to do (which I
resent a little, but not as much as I used to). She had a bit of a
point, honestly, but it’s the time when you are surprised by a nice
act you didn’t see coming by someone that I find interesting, so it’s
whatever.

I happened to get a table with a black family sitting on it a little
while later. An 8 top I think, kids the whole nine. Went about my
normal time with them and it was all good. Check time and I was happy
to see they left me $20 (on a $100 tab). Now 20% is approaching
generous and I was appreciative for 1) the money and for, more
importantly 2) the moral justification. I went to the server in which
I could have earlier told her about herself and calmly pointed to the
check and the credit card tip and simply said “Black people”.

That felt good :)

- Corey

15 Comments

  • fuckmytable

    November 10, 2011

    It’s true: most black people don’t tip. Even my black waitress friends don’t want to wait on them. But you know what? I treat them even BETTER than any other tables I have just so that when I get a bad tip, I KNOW it wasn’t because the service was lacking. And granted, there are people who do not fit the stereotype. There always are. But the stereotype exists because the majority fit it.

  • Tom

    November 10, 2011

    I see both sides. I agree that you should treat every person as an individual, and I always do this. However, when I see a black table, I prepare myself for the bad tip. If they tip well, it’s a pleasant surprise, but the generalization is warranted. Like the person above me, so long as I don’t feed into the stereotype and treat them poorly, then all is well. More times than not, the tip is a bad one, but I always provide the same service I do for everyone.

    Honestly the main reason I’m giving you a low rating though is because you wrote “coo” not once, but twice. What the hell is it supposed to mean anyway? Is it short for cool? Maybe I’m a tool for doing this, but I hate when people bastardize the English language. Sorry, but it’s a pet peeve of mine.

  • Writing Waitress

    November 10, 2011

    Restaurant generalizations hold true as GENERALIZATIONS, but individuals are individuals, as fmt pointed out. I’m white, and I honestly hate it when servers, managers, exc use generalizations to justify what individuals do, or say that an individual is going to do something ahead of time because of their ethnicity.

    Honestly, I like my black tables…maybe it is just where I am, but GENERALLY blacks in my area tip about 10-15%, but are GENERALLY much nicer to deal with than other groups. I don’t remember the last time I had a black kid destroying everything on the table while the parent sat there and let him/her, for example.

  • A Server Telling All

    November 13, 2011

    I gotta agree with fuckmytable. Statistically speaking the stereotype holds up. But I do find that giving outstanding service will bring out great tippers. It’s gotta suck as a guest knowing you will probably be ignored and given bad service because of your race. In the past I’ve taken tables that other servers have complained are bad tippers, and given them awesome service to see if it makes a difference in the tip. It’s about 50/50. I’ve had guests thank me for the uncommon service and leave more than 20% (when they’ve given 5% to someone else), and I’ve been completely stiffed. No lesson here, people suck and are unpredictable.

  • Jej

    November 25, 2011

    I’m a white server in NY and have waited tables in a rich, predominantly white neighborhood, and now just started serving in a middle class mixed-race neighborhood, but our customers are mostly black or Hispanic. In the rich neighborhood, 90% of my customers were excellent tippers regardless of race. Where I am now, 90% of my customers have been bad tippers regardless of race. The rich blacks at my old job always tipped 15 – 20%. The blacks in this neighborhood tip really poorly ($4 on $50, etc.). My white customers are not tipping much better. I really believe it has more to do with class and income, than race.

  • pub defender

    December 5, 2011

    I do think that many black customers walk into a restaurant assuming that they will receive bad service. A number of years ago I was working at a restaurant in Northern New Jersey. It was a popular spot that generally catered to an semi upscale clientele. It was approximately 3pm and most of the lunch staff was doing sidework and were no longer taking tables. There were probably only three open sections in the restaurant at that time. The sections that were open were normally the most desired location on the floor. Thus anyone coming in at that time would get a prime seat. At that time of the four total tables that were sat, two were occupied by black customers.
    A black couple walks in and the hostess seats them in my section, a prime location in what is usually a very busy restauarant. As I approach the table I overhear the woman say in a very negative tone, “looks like they sat us in the “black” section.” She then proceeded to interrogate me as to why the hostess had sat her and her companion in that section. I explained the situation, even offering to seat them wherever they’d like. They chose to remain in the “black” section.

    She must have had some really bad experiences to automatically assume that she would be given poor service or that she would be sat in a particular section of the restaurant based on her race. That sucks.

    I

  • Caveman

    December 22, 2011

    I honestly think the whole thing is just a stupid urban myth. I have been tending bar for the last 15 years and never had any problems such as that silly waitress describes. Europeans and Australians used to be a bit of a challenge, but nowadays, even they are tipping accordingly.

  • Oh! It was getting dark in there

    January 30, 2012

    So, let me preface by explaining that I have waited tables in several different cities, 2 different states, and on 2 different coasts. I have worked at corporate chains, fancy corporate chains, single location casual fine dining restaurants, and full on, white table cloth fine dining establishments. One thing has remained constant. Ninety percent of all black patrons do not tip adequately if at all. There are some who are just like everyone else, and to you, I say thank you. This is not about those people. An example that will ring true in the ears of any server in America is the following: I worked at a hip, upscale Tequila bar and Meican Restaurant in Houston. We had nearly 300 Tequilas from $5/shot to $500/shot. I once was sat a black family that looked by attire as if their cough syrup had made them disoriented, and they became lost on their way to Popey’s. They looked over our semi expensive menu of food and drinks. The man of course ordered a Margarita, but wanted it 1/2 mango and 1/2 pomegranite. The woman asked if we carried Hennesey. I replied, “I’m sorry, but we have only Remy Martin’s Louis XII. She said to her man with head cocked, “Oooh. I love me some Remy! Lemme git that.” I explained that Louis XII was $300/shot, and she replied, “Fuck that shit! Unh-ughh, mothafucka.” They all ordered from the menu, which had the entree prices CLEARLY listed beside each one. I delivered his margarita and the 1,000 lemons and 6,000 sugar packets she requested. He took a 3 ounce “sip” and handed it toward me in disgust. “That’s gross as hell,” he said. I apologized sincerely and offered to get him a different drink, which he accepted. They got their food, and began to eat. I left them to enjoy until coming back to check in, when they informed me that they “had shit to do” and needed to get that check. Upon receiving the check, which was for $130 (Mostly fancy drinks at this point), they all acted like I was personally trying to rip them off. “Why is this so expensive? The food ain’t that good.” I said, ma’am, this is a very moderately priced eatery considering the neighborhood. I went to fetch their to-go boxes, when I returned to find the table vacant with no check presenter at all. I ran out the door after them, but could not find them. I told the manager, who was outraged (“Not Again” he yelled). After a period of time, the family absent, the man exited the restroom and went for the front door where he was greeted by a manager. “Did you forget something?” he asked. “Did you?” the man replied. “You were going to walk out on your bill and screw my waiter?” He said he had left the money on the table, and that maybe someone stoled it. His wife came back with their small child and an empty check presenter. Wifey said the daughter had grabbed it and walked out while waiting for him, but there was no money. The man (acting like his con just fell through) bitterly pulled out a stack of 100′s and 20′s thicker than my wrist. He pulled out exactly $130, put it in my book, and told me to “keep the change.” My manager counted the money and looked visibly upset. He asked the man “Are you really gonna stiff my waiter?” The man said, “MAIN! THIS MOTHA FUCKA IS A RACIST ESTABELSHMEN! REAL TAWLK! FUCK YOU NIGGAS!, he yelled, and shoved open the door to exit, middle fingers waiving. Sadly, this is not the worst story I have about black people getting lost and winding up in a nice restaurant, willing to spend 100′s of dollars on fancy this and steaks and fancy that, but having no money to tip. IF YOU CAN”T AFFORD TO TIP, GO TO BURGER KING WHERE YOU BELONG. Nice restaurants are expensive, and the standard tip is at LEAST 15%. Usually 20%-30% for me, so I know it wasn’t my fault.

  • Kim

    February 12, 2012

    I waitressed for 10 years unfortunately….I despised it, but it was easy money while going to college/graduate school. I’ve waitressed in small town restaurants, medium sized ones, and in restaurants in Vegas and Phoenix. There are several types/races of people that are notoriously bad tippers…the main ones are black people and teenagers. Trashy white people (the kind w/ mullets and missing teeth) and single white women who are middle aged are not the best either….but…of all my really bad experiences, the ones I’ve had with black guests were the worst. I actually had a black guy in his 40′s hit me in the back as I walked by in order to get my attention….not just a tap, but a smack that sent me stumbling….and then he had the nerve to complain that I wasn’t coming back around enough…dude, you just HIT ME! WHY would I want to come near you again!? lol I’ve also been reduced to tears, as a 18 year old, by a black women who screamed at me/verbally abused me, b/c she ordered wings and they didn’t come out as she had wanted them to….but after 10 years in restaurants…I’ve had bad experiences w/ ALL kinds of people…b/c there is something about waitresses that makes jerks want to treat us like shit…..lol
    People always want to say that it’s the servers fault, b/c we give shitty service…but I always gave tables the benefit of the doubt, b/c there are always those tables who surprise you….obviously I can’t help what I’m thinking…but just like on a Saturday night when Prom kids would come in and sit in my section, I would always smile and run my ass off….and then get drunk and bitch about shitty tippers after work. :)

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  • mayor of steakhouse

    February 19, 2012

    I work in a casual steakhouse with a moderately priced menu–corporate. Here’s how I treat my guests who are black: I compliment the jewelry of a female at the table, usually mid sentence for real effect. I offer the strawberry daiquiri, margarita, or our “amazing” strawberry lemonade. I ask the bartender to sweeten the daiquiri or lemonade (they always get one or the other). When they order wings, I ask the kitchen to “fry them hard” and I bring out a stack of paper napkins with them. I smile ALOT. I double check their steaks/grilled chicken to make sure they are WELL done. I bring A1 with the meal. I bring lots of refills on drinks and bread before they can ask. I invite them to join our email coupon club. I box their food for them with extra sauce and rolls. And when I bring the check, I tell them what a pleasure it was to serve them. It has been my experience that when I do all these things, 90% of the time I get a tip that is respectful. Its a game. Its like having a regular guest who’s needs can be anticipated. For God’s sake, they eat so late at night what else do you have to do? :-)

  • servingmakesyouracist

    March 11, 2012

    Let’s get real. Serving can make the most open-minded person a racist, especially when certain people more-often-than-not fit a stereotype, and we really depend on tips for income. When someone doesn’t tip, after taxes and end-of-shift tip-outs, we are basically paying to wait on them. Do you think these non-tipping people would work for free? Apparently they think we will. Can anyone tell me that foreign visitors or other races other than “white” don’t have a single friend or family member that has mentioned how little servers get paid in the U.S., and depend on tipping as part of their salary? No, people love to play dumb. The worst is when a table runs you ragged asking you for extra this or that and then don’t give you anything but the exact amount of the bill. I work at a 5-star hotel in a big city and you can tell the nights when the customers got their deals off of a website by the way that they tip. It’s strictly an income and/or cultural thing. Point blank, everyone should understand if they are going out, they should expect to pay for a service. If you can’t or don’t want to pay for the service with tipping decently, then maybe get yourself some fast food and a cheap bottle of booze from the store and stay home! Please don’t feel you are gracing us with your presence at our establishments. WE ARE BETTER OFF WITHOUT YOU.

  • Maggie

    June 7, 2012

    I have been a server and bartender for 5 plus years. First of all I would like to say, unfortunately this is somewhat of a disclaimer but I am trying to be objective and I do not want to come off as racist in any way, shape, or form. It has been my experience that Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans and Asians tend to be worse tippers than the majority of their white counterparts regardless of their level of education or yearly salary. This being said, A LOT of people are bad tippers. But I have to say that the worst, regardless of stellar service, in my experience have been black. They have also tended to be the most high maintenance. For example I had a table of three black ladies at my restaurant in Arizona on what we call First Friday. In downtown Phoenix every first Friday of the month there is an arts and music festival, and we are not only incredibly busy but stay open an hour later to accommodate everyone. I greeted them saying “good evening how are you ladies doing?” They asked for happy hour items that aren’t on our regular menu. Even though I had 10 (yes 10 I am not exaggerating) other tables I begged the kitchen manager (who is also black) and despite the kitchen having 50 plus tickets to sell I was allowed to serve them the happy hour items. They then ordered some more appetizers, and after that their entrees. We had food runners, and when i went back to check on them there were a bunch of empty plates. I bussed them, and then asked if they cared for dessert. They declined, and I presented them with their check, saying “whenever you ladies are ready”. One lady said “we haven’t gotten our dinner yet!” I apologized, said that because we were so busy and I saw the empty plates I am somewhat on auto pilot. I picked up the check, jokingly said “just kidding, i will go check on your entrees immediately.” One lady asked to cancel her order because she was full. Now this in general is a peeve for any server. If you’re full, I will box it up for you. You don’t get to cancel your order, this is not Burger King and no you cannot have it your way. I tried to think of what she ordered, hoping we could sell it on another ticket and not have the waste. I said um yes of course and scurried off to the expo line.
    The next thing I know my manager gives the table to another server without explaining why. Later on I found out the reason. They called a manager over, said I brought them their check preemptively, which of course was true. Then the lies started to come out. They said I “snatched the check out of their hand forcefully”. The check presenter was sitting on the table where I had placed it. Then the lady that cancelled her order said I rolled my eyes at her. Now it is perfectly possible that when I was trying to remember her order out of the 200 plus i had already taken I looked up to remember what it is (which is involuntary and quite common), but I most definitely did not roll my eyes at her. Their tab, along with a dessert to share was comped, totaling about $65. Then they complain to their new server that they each should get a free dessert, and they want to order food to go that should be comped as well. The server politely said no and told the GM (who was not there at the time) about what they tried to pull. However the manager on duty was new and wrote me up. While the GM told me not to worry about it, I don’t like having a write up in my personnel file that is unwarranted. Yes, a lot of people regardless of race will try to get free stuff, but this situation by far was the most egregious I had ever encountered. They also bummed cigarettes off of the other server, and didn’t even tip him.
    I hate stereotypes because I myself have been on the receiving end of them, being of mixed heritage and having darker skin. However, sometimes they are true. And, like other posters above, i have given exemplary service to black tables only to receive a 5% tip. In our modern society I highly doubt that people regardless of race don’t know standard tipping protocol, especially if they are over 30. Why this occurs I do not know, and I wish it weren’t true. I have received some of my best tips from black people as well, however the negative out-way the good.

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