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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Spotting and Identifying the Frugal Guest (Guest Blogger)

Thank you to Dan over at Do We Need This Stuff who came up with this post for us today. Dan has years of serving experience and he sounds just about as jaded and pissed off as I am. I like Dan and you will too.  -BW


Oh the frugal guest. Too many times are we fooled by their charm, calm demeanor, friendliness, or a combination of everything we look for in guests who are fortunate enough for us to not completely hate them. We have been fooled time and time again while taking care of them, only to be disappointed when it comes time to view how gratuitous they were... which we always learn is not very. "How can they do this?" we often ponder. I question I have learned the answer to. The answer is: very carefully.


You see, like all of us, frugal guests have a method to their madness. They generally travel in "packs" (or families), and while we cannot force them to be more generous with their money (legally, that is), we can at least prepare ourselves better for that moment of "they left me f*cking $9 on $90??" Luckily for you, I have observed and studied the frugal guests of our world, and now, am batting almost 1,000 when it comes to pointing them out before they leave me dick for a tip (I'm not gay, but sometimes getting dick would be a better tip then these assholes leave).

The water "joke".

This sign will only work in groups of four or more... And let me just point out - not all frugal guests give an immediate tell-tale sign, and just ordering water doesn't necessarily scream frugal. However, I have learned that people who order water because it is free, will find it funny by the 3rd or 4th water order (which I never got the joke). It will go something like this:


Hello, my name is DanORants and I will be giving you exceptional service today. Our special tonight is prime rib, which your frugal-ass can't afford. We serve that with fresh horse-radish and an Au Jus - which the confused look on your face tells me you have no idea what that even is. May I start you folks out with some fresh lemonade or a glass of Cabernet, or how does an Old Fashioned sound?
OK, so not my usual greet, but you get the gist. However, here is where the joke comes. The response from he guests will be: "water", "water", "water", and then somewhere in between the 4th and 5th request for "water", the word "water" becomes friggin hilarious to these people! The whole table fills with laughter, and the only thing you can think about is how the check for this table is still at $0. Now, don't confuse the water order for something it might be. I, for one, prefer water over any other non-alcoholic beverage. You have to look for the water order going from "what I want to drink" to "it's hilarious we are all ordering water". People don't burst into laughter when they all order Coke.
The free-shit request and appetizer rejection.

I work in a restaurant that gives cheese-biscuits to everyone who sits down in our restaurant (I do not work at Red Lobster). I hate (and love) the concept. I love the idea that we "thank" our guests for sitting down and giving them something that barely costs $.07 per biscuit. I hate the fact that people take that shit for granted! All of the time, when I suggest an appetizer, people will say: "Do you have some of those, cheesy biscuit things?"... You know what asshole? We do! You know why we do? Because years ago, when the concept was first started, we gave our first table some f*cking cheese-biscuits... Since then, you entitled pricks have just come to f*cking expect them, and even worse, you know feel you are f*cking owed them!

I always want to tell people:

Do you remember the first time you came to this restaurant? You had no idea there was going to be cheese-biscuits coming your way, did you? However... they did come, didn't they? What the f*ck makes you think they are not going to come this time? Do you think today is my first day, and they wouldn't train me before I started waiting tables, and the fact that we have f*cking cheese-biscuits has gotten past me?
How does this relate to the frugality of the guest? Simple. They ask for free shit they know they are getting when you ask them if they would like an appetizer. Don't be fooled though, not every restaurant immediately gives free shit, and these frugal guests have other "tells" of how they care very little for your livelyhood! Not everyone wants to eat an appetizer. Fine, I can't argue with that. However, a simple "No, we won't like an appetizer" will not suffice for a frugal guest. They need to leave the impression that they normally would get an appetizer, you just happened to catch them on the wrong day. This is when you hear excuses like: "No, I had a late lunch" and "We want to go right for the good stuff". Now to the second response, I have a pretty witty come-back (I think) which is: "But, you're skipping over all of the good stuff on this side (pointing to the appetizer section) of the menu!" Frugal assholes don't appreciate having their terrible jokes called out, either way, you have a frugal guest on your hands.

I'll have another drink please...

If an asshole guest doesn't trust your ability to monitor their drink-levels... they don't value you as a working human. I used to think people were just so used to bad service they felt the need to ask for a drink refill. Finally, I realized that the assholes asking me for a refill (when their glass was still half-full) were the same assholes tipping me an embarrassing 12%. Bad news, you have a frugal guest on your hands.

I do, however, have a method that will make you feel better and embarrass the guest at the same time! All under the guise of good service! Many years ago, I had a guest that had twice asked me for a refill with a half-full glass (or half empty, however you choose to look at it), after I had gotten his first refill before his request and before his glass was empty. I was pissed and offended. How did I respond? Every time I went back to that table, I brought with me another full glass of beverage for him. By the time he was ready to pay the check, his girlfriend (probably a slut) was embarrassed and he had six full glasses in front of him. He complained to my manager, and I just explained to him how thirsty he appeared, and wanted to make sure he was well accomodated!

This is where you start.

I can go on and blog about people who want to split a meal, and ask if there is a plate-sharing charge. I can go on about the uncomfortable silence that happens when asked: "Should I leave this all together?" (Yeah, that's another thing... When my wife and I go out with friends, we either say "Let us take you out", or they will say "Let us take you out"... either way, who is paying should be decided before entering the f*cking establishment!) There are many signs of the frugal guest. The one thing we can be certain of: no matter how they present themselves, they all have one thing in common: They do not give a shit about your tip!



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25 comments:

Anonymous said...

I disagree. If I don't feel like getting an appetizer because I KNOW I will be ordering an entree that comes with two sides and a roll, that doesn't make me frugal. Sometimes a person doesn't want to order that loaded nacho and end up taking 3/4 of my actual meal HOME.

Anonymous said...

I think the point is they bypass the appetizer saying they had a late lunch or just saving room for the meal and then ask for the free stuff to fill their frugal fat faces.

Anonymous said...

You could also get a job that does not require bitching because you didn't get a tip. It's your choice to work the position you have , and if you do not make the minimum, by law it is your employers job to make up the balance. I go into a restaurant, I have a base percentage of 15% and it fluxes dependant on YOUR service. you give me crappy service, it will reflect in your tip. I have been known to leave 25-30% for exceptional service, and if you suck, you get a penny. You are not entitled to a tip, you must earn it.

Anonymous said...

I work in the great state of MS. Here it seems the black ppl love to run a white server nearly to death then leave $0 for a tip. God forbid if you get 4 black women who gets a white female server. You are not getting a damn thing then!!

DawnStar said...

I also disagree. I tend to only go out to eat when I have enough to both indulge myself and tip the waiter properly.

I'm also a fairly petite woman, and lack the capacity to gorge myself on an appetizer, rolls (if they have them) an entree, and dessert. Thus, I usually smile when offered an appetizer and say "No thank you...I'll be having (insert steak dinner with fully loaded potato, veggies, etc. here)"

I also hate when the waiter remarks after I say this, "Aw, poor little girl, betcha just can't fit it all in, can ya? *wink*" Ass. Oh well, he just can't see the -% signs wafting out the door as I think ahead to his future tip.

It's nice to have work experience behind you, but as I've learned from working years as a retail manager, it's all too easy to assume the worst of people. Sometimes it isn't always the case. Sometimes that "frugal" guest is looking for a good dinner, not a trough.

Joanne said...

"Not everyone wants to eat an appetizer. Fine, I can't argue with that," found in the body of the text that some of the other commenters obviously skipped. That, or they have poor reading comprehension skills.
Find me someone that never complains about something job related, which may be a job that doesn't involve tipping or does. When you do, that someone can then go around telling others to find another job rather than simply blow off steam.
Anyway, I personally just say, "No, thanks," if I don't want an appetizer that time. People that feel the need to justify it are usually cheap.

Anonymous said...

if a person asks if refills are free is another sure sign of a frugal ass-hat with no tip to be had every person that has asked me that didn't give me a tip and yes refills are fee

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous 15% tipper... Not everyone tips well so I think that's why us as servers tend to get bitchy at times. Many people tend to think that we make minimum wage and like to tip 10%. It does get frustrating when we give excellent service and we still get this 10%.

Anonymous said...

I did not realize that job just fell off trees today. For the most part I enjoy waiting tables and if you get everything you need that should be an automatic 18 percent which is added by most restaurants for large parties b/c they assume that it should be added. If they added 18% we would pitch less. As a side note I have never met anyone who didn't pitch about their job

Anonymous said...

Here is another big tell~ I will have a glass of water with light ice, and a bowl of lemons on the side. You know when that table leaves all of your sugars will be gone. When somebody asks for a bowl of lemons I always feel like saying, "We do sell fresh lemonade, and that way you will not have to make it yourself." I have noticed that some people will order water with lemon, but you have a few that order lemon water. Lemon water?? Is this the new, free lemonade just short of the sugar?

Lupus Punk said...

I see that homemade lemonade thing all the time...I also get people who order their meal as takeout so they feel they don't have to tip, then eat it in the restaurant with disposable silverware they are convinced is cleaner than our standard flatware...

Amie Parker said...

Most definetly not new but so very annoying . Or how bout when they bust out they're own drink powder and turn they're free water into fruit punch.

Swissy said...

I tend to only order apps when I'm at a restaurant for drinks with friends or with a coupon. I can't eat much as it is so I feel that an app would be a waste of food.

I haven't seen someone make lemon sugary water in the wild yet but I'd love to see that sometime.

Anonymous said...

Now I have a question, which hopefully can be answered.
When I go out with a cheep-ass coworker or a friend, who absolutely refuse in their righteousness to let me leave the tip AND THEN THEY LEAVE SOME MEASLY DOLLAR at a restaurant where I'm known to be a good tipper, how do I not offend neither the waiter nor the friend/coworker/boss?
~PolishSpring

Anonymous said...

OMG I think some of you are way too serious to be reading this and commenting! I'm a server in Memphis and I love your blog BW!!

Anonymous said...

In Response...
When I go out with a cheep-ass coworker or a friend, who absolutely refuse in their righteousness to let me leave the tip AND THEN THEY LEAVE SOME MEASLY DOLLAR at a restaurant where I'm known to be a good tipper, how do I not offend neither the waiter nor the friend/coworker/boss?

Leave the money under your plate with a note "sorry for my cheap ass friend"

As for the people defending the choice not to get an appetizer, or not to tip, you completely missed the direction and theme of this entry.

Anonymous said...

GAWD I LOVED THIS ARTICLE. As a server of 12 years Ive heard and seen it all, the signs of the frugal guest are all pretty muchon point, but the one that hit close to home was when you ask frugal guest if they want to order an app and they automatically bring up the tell tale comment we ALL DREAD HEARING AT MY WORK " uh no, we'll just go ahead and take the salad and breadsticks"(and they always try n act brand new with some confused look on my their face as to why i didnt just appear at their table with it when I greeted them). FIRST off thats not what I asked you, 2ND, the salad (or soup) is only complimentary to those ordering an actual entree* and 3rd, im not balacing your 6 beverages on a tray with salad breadsticks and plates , just because youre too cheap and impatient to order a REAL appetizer.
9 times outta 10, the frugal guest DOES bring up the free sh*t when asked about ordering an appetizer.
true story

Anonymous said...

CONFUSED LOOK ON THEIR FACE"^ (correction)

Anonymous said...

Frugalonian, hes talking about good servers dumbass. you wouldnt be getting defensive if you werent a bad tipper.

Anonymous said...

This article is spot on and anyone who thinks otherwise is C H E A P. Go to boston market where you dont have to tip you inconsiderate fucks.

Anonymous said...

I hate the "I need a refill" when they haven't had a sip or drank 1/8th-1/4th of their drink...and especially if they don't drink it, I'm dying for a drink since we're not allowed to drink on floor and you pull that shit! Water doesn't bother me usually till they need to make it lemonade with the fake sugar mess I have to clean up. We don't have appetizers so that makes my day easy as hell, but the catch is no one knows how they like their eggs cooked.

a_m_g said...

I get that this is not normal, but I feel better about being frugal because it allows me to leave a bigger tip.

Anonymous said...

I think Dan is a bitch. Not a bitchy server but simply a bitch. He makes decent money as a server working at a really easy serving job and just bitches and bitches. The kind of guy you see in the managers office tattling on other servers. The brown nose self entitled server who expects more than he deserves. Dan is simply not a great server. Why are people frugal with him and why is he stereotyping people as bad tippers at the drop of a hat? Because Dan is obviously just not cut out for the server game. The time you spend bitching you could simply shut up and try doing your job better? Ask me how I know.

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