For my father-in-law’s birthday, we took him to a chain Italian restaurant. I won’t name this place because I really don’t want their corporate office to take notice. They’ll probably try to suck up and give me a comp or discount, and I’m not looking for a handout. 

Upon arriving, they sat us and we started checking the menus. My wife asked the waittress if the all-you-can-eat pasta special was in effect, and that’s when things started to go downhill. She condescendingly pointed at the fold-up tent on our table that advertised it like we were a bunch of uneducated chimpanzees. She then scolded us by saying we needed to finish half of a plate to get the rest packed up to go. I understand that’s probably corporate policy, but don’t tell me like we’re kids.

From there, we ordered our meals. When she gave us our salad plates, the waittress said she had grabbed a plate that had not been entirely cleaned and would need to return with a final one for us.

No apology.

She then hands out the remaining plates and leaves my wife without a plate for salad. Common sense and chivalry would dictate the thirty-something guy (me) would be the one you’d want to leave out. 

My father-in-law asked for another bowl of soup. When it arrived, she kept up the demeaning tone and told him, “You don’t have to rush.”


When our meal was done, we asked for a piece of cheesecake for my father-in-law’s birthday. She brings it out and says in the same demeaning tone, “I suck at singing. Do you really want me to sing?”

Then, when it came time to pay the bill, the waittress checks the Ziosk tablet at our table and when we haven’t paid yet, she asks, “What’s taking so long?” I have never in my life been rushed to pay a bill in a restaurant. We weren’t looking like sleazebags and we had a senior with us. We hardly looked the dine-and-dash type.

I totally understand paying and getting out of a restaurant fast if the place is slammed. That takes tips out of the wait-staff’s pockets. But that day? The place was DEAD. 

So I swiped my card and paid the bill.

I’ve never worked foodservice, so I’m pretty forgiving when I tip. My wife, on the other hand, has worked foodservice for many years and so did her late mother, so I always consult her before leaving a bad tip…

Yep, she gave the thumbs down and we left an abysmal tip. I don’t take pride in doing this. I’ve only left bad tips a few other times in my life, but good lord, this lady had the most rotten attitude I’ve ever seen in wait staff. 

One time I was at the Green Valley Ranch buffet in 2002 with a group of friends, and our waitress was so happy and bubbly the whole time. This being after she told us her car had been totalled and some other bad things happened to her. I was amazed at how she stayed friendly and in the zone.

Maybe some people can’t shut off the nastiness when they’ve had a bad day. Short of having a death in the family, I’m pretty good at shutting off any bad attitudes at work.