Inspired by The Authoring Auctioneer’s recent article found here.
Given the opportunity, people getting paid to do something for you will invariably let you down in some way. Whether it’s a movie theater usher or a barista (which is destined for inclusion on a list of words I hate) or your run-of-the-mill waiter or waitress, if you are forking over bucks for virtually anything, you are thusly entitled to find fault with their performance. It’s part of the transaction, really. You get a cup of coffee or 3D glasses or a foot massage, and you get the right to bitch and complain about this servant of yours. And they should suck it up and enjoy it, that’s there role in things, right?
My tale comes straight out of the bowels of history, stretching back to that distant memory that is Saturday, in the month known as This in the week remembered fondly by those who lived it as Last. I was with the girlfriend and the Munchagogo at a bar/pizza place watching the Olympics in a hurried rush before trying to catch the midnight showing of the 1984 classic Ghostbusters, which we wouldn’t end up making it to before the Sold Out sign was hung in our faces by the management.
We ordered some drinks – sodas, diets – as I didn’t want to booze up and then fall asleep pre-Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and we watched some nonsense straight out of Beijing, which I learned that day is pronounced Bay-Jing, and not how I thought it was pronounced – Pay-King.
After I fruitlessly attempted to defend my position that ice skating kicks the ever-loving face off of gymnastics as a sport any day of the week, the “waitress” bought our drinks and, in an effort to make a longish story shortish, everything that can be expected to happen in this scenario did. Pizza was had, sodas drank, ice skating’s superiority poorly explained – and the check required, as i had a date with Venkman.
Directly preceding this financial inevitability, though, Munchenstein and I thought to get more sodas, as the refills were on the house and the Olympic discussion had worked up an Olympus-sized thirst. We ordered, they were delivered, El Munchiachi took a sip, and looked at me.
“Is yours regular soda?” he asked.
Regular soda. Goddamn regular soda. Sweet God in heaven, regular goddamn soda.
Now, I’m not one to be overly hard on restaurant staffers. Sure it’s hard to keep track of a roomful of people and dozens of orders and mountains of food. And I tip pretty well.
(At this point I would like to add, as a side note, how much I love people who will brag about how much they tip. If you’ve got a set standard for what you tip no matter the service, well then, you don’t understand the concept of tipping, which isn’t a hard concept to grasp. And what does this blind, mindless tipping generosity make you? A saint? No matter how incompetent the waitstaff may be you’re tossing 28% at them? Then you’re an idiot. This will only teach lousy waiters to continue in their lousy ways. My two cents, out of the pocket of some terrible waiter.)
That being said as an aside, I tip well. Extravagantly well. I may be Henry McSkinflint when it comes to paying for cable television, but I’m the High Lord Maxwell Affluent when the check comes. Recognize! But, the one vital requirement of being a table closer to retirement in my book is bringing the correct order. Nevermind that diet soda and regular soda look exactly the same – that’s why it’s all the more important you bring the accurate beverage. Once I mouthify the sumbitch I’m not going to send it back! I’m not that wastrel bastard! Not this guy!
So I choked it down, and when the check came I made the decision not to go all out on the tip. The bill wasn’t anything much, so the depreciated gratuity was only a difference of a dollar or so, but the message was sent!
Of course, Muncharoni pointed out that as we didn’t complain about the regular soda mishap, the waitress wouldn’t know why the tip wasn’t exorbitant and was merely above average. This, obviously, is true, but I knew why, and that’s all that mattered.
So, to sum up, people suck. Waiters, gas station attendants, bank tellers, baristas (good God…), pan handlers, the folks responsible for traffic, and gas prices, and long lines, and plane delays, and smog, and global warming, and hypocrisy, and disease, and death, they all suck out loud.
Life is one long, aggravating pain in the ass, and as Woody Allen said, it’s over much too soon.