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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Yesterday evening on the ride home, there was a segment on the radio aimed at college kids who will be working as waiters/waitresses this summer for work.

Some guy who apparently had a PhD in consumer studies/something else that is meant to sound impressive but I have no idea what it means gave these people two pieces of advice that he said would increase the tips they get. They were:

1) Always find a way to touch your customer lightly on the shoulder. Physical contact increases rapport and if you have rapport with someone in a position to tip you, the tip will be bigger

and

2)Always crouch down to eye level with your customer or, if possible, sit at the table with them while taking their order.

Now, this may just be me being a beast (and I am willing to allow for that) but neither of these things particularly warms my heart towards a waiter/waitress. In fact, that would make me feel like I was being patronized (which I dislike) and I never like that feeling, even if under the circumstances I am technically a patron.

And I am not coming at this totally blind, I cocktail waitressed for a while at a local country club and while that is not the same as straight up watressing at a restaurant, I did get the impression that most people just want their order to be correct, their waitress to be friendly but not invasive into their conversation, and their food/drinks to come quickly. Touching/crouching were not on the menu.

Although at this country club I bet if I had touched someone lightly while taking their Manhattan order, they would quickly feel their pockets when I left to see if I stole their wallet or something.

But still, does anyone think this guy is right?

16 comments:

clipper829 said...

No. He's not right. While I may be a huge bitch (and I am willing to allow for that!), I'm at a restaurant, I don't want the waitstaff touching me. No thanks. We're not friends, you're taking my order and bringing my lunch.

Also, I hate the crouching down and especially when they sit down at the table with you. Annoying. Take the order, smile a bit, and go.

Mr. & Mrs. Cappella said...

Those are 2 things that would make me tip LESS! Oh snap.
~JC

Sarah said...

see I KNEW it!!! as I was listening to it I was like "Either I am a huge bitch or this guy is wack". Not that the two are mutually exclusive. But still. Snap is right!

e$ said...

I waitressed for 5 years, and I have to say that I think it has a lot to do with a customer. And usually, as a server, you can tell who will be into a little shoulder touch and who will not. But I was never a croucher, unless they were nice people with kids.

I mean, can you imagine going into, like, Meritage and having your waiter CROUCH DOWN NEXT TO THE TABLE? I'd freak.

Anonymous said...

i've had both these things happen to me (as i'm sure they have happened to you) and i just didn't care either way. didn't make me tip them more. i had this awesome waiter at the border once who was so funny and ended up sitting and talking to us about sending friends to rehab. pretty awesome if you ask me, he got like a 40% tip! haha. good times. <3 danielle

Andy said...

See, totally worked in danielle's case! he's right. I do think he's right- whenever a waitress gives me a little shoulder tap, I'm duped into thinking she's my new best girl. I am the target demo for a little bit of niceness goes towards yoru child support.

Sarah said...

well it only worked in danielle's case because he was nice and funny. i bet if he was annoying and rude and sat down with them it would have been a whole 'nother story!

Anonymous said...

wait, i think my post is being misread. the guy who skott and i invited into our conversation at border was tipped more. not the croucher or the toucher. <3danielle

Sarah said...

the food is so good at border, i feel like my waiter/waitress could stab me with a fork and still get a tip.

ka-rista said...

Mmmmm the border.

But you are right. but for me its boundary issues. I don't like strangers violating my three foot rule.

kate.d. said...

mmmm border, indeed.

i think there's an interesting gender dynamic to the touching advice, too. as a woman, i think i'm pretty trained to react poorly to any guy touching me who hasn't been invited to, and i imagine this instinct would extend to a male server. a female server - eh. i'd probably just find it a bit cheesy.

and then andy's comment about being swayed by female servers touching him probably points to a level of flirtation/flattery that women are more able to get away with.

i dunno, it's just an interesting angle, i think.

The Pink Kitty said...

I'd have to agree with what has been said already. Being in CA, "land of the casual" I'd get seriously creeped out if my wait-person touched me. I don't like strangers touching me. Crouching is ok if it's like a family type place, casual and informal. It works at a place like Bubba-Gumps. it, however, does not work at classy places. If my wait-person is super nice, attentive and funny and doesn't screw anything up, then I'll give them a big tip. I also tip a wee bit extra for a hot guy. hey, what can I say, he added a bit of extra spice to my meal ;) (unless of course, he's rude and incompetent!)

Sarah said...

I try and always tip, even if the person is rude, because i know that if getting paid at my job depended on whether I was pleasant all the time then I would DEFINITELY not be paid sometimes. That being said, i find hyper-attentiveness weird in general.

AmyD said...

No way, this guy clearly doesn't eat out in restaurants, or he wouldn't be saying that mumbo. Touch me and I give you my "Um, what the hell did you do that for?" look. Crouch down and talk directly to my face and I'll ask you if you are ok, as in, "Hey there fella, are you OK? Need a little break between tables, I see? Well hell, you might as well just allow me to scoot my ass over so you can sit down next to me!" For real, yo. ;o)

Lost in Alaska said...

That is one PhD who has been smoking a shitload of CRACK. Most folks I know do not want to be touched by a stranger, nor do they want someone sitting at their table with them who wasn't invited. Blucky.

However, I would argue that if the waitperson was a naked woman and the customer a horny frat boy then obviously I am the one who would be the crack addict. Horny frat boys would dish out some serious cash for that kind of attention. Yahoo. Wait, I just described a typical night at Hooters.

Nicky said...

When I was waitressing, I heard that waitresses who draw a smiley face on their checks have something like a %5 increase in tips. I became a smiley-face artiste! However, the reverse is true for male waitstaff. Poor guys. Here's a bunch more info about how to manipulate customers, brought to you by our friends at Cornell who apparently have nothing better to do:

http://people.cornell.edu/pages/wml3/pdf/megatips.pdf