I normally tip twenty percent when I go out to dinner and I don’t say that to brag about it but only to put into context how bad my service was at dinner the other night. If the waiter/waitress is particularly bad I will lower the tip to fifteen but that only happens on the rarest of occasions. I was a pizza delivery driver for six months and learned how important tips were and depending on the amount would affect your emotions either positively or negatively which is why I sympathize with those in a career field dependent on tips and try to give a little bit above the norm. My wife and I want to eat at a Mexican restaurant, El Porton the other night that I had been to many times but this time had a worse experience than ever before. Before I get into it let me say that I know most of my blogs so far have been about negative occurrences in my life but I don’t think they will all be that way. But to me negative things are more fun to right about so that is why they are all leaning that way at the moment and also my blood type is B negative and I take that as an instruction about living my life. Be negative. So in keeping with the spirit of negativity I am proud to announce that the waitress at El Porton got less than fifteen percent and here’s why.
It was a pretty busy night at the restaurant and some of the blame for the bad experience could be attributed to that but there were several things completely within the waitress’s control that impacted the smaller than usual tip that I left. Our waitress brought over chips and salsa and I knew it was our waitress because she introduced herself as such before walking away. What is the big deal about that? That seems like standard practices for a restaurant worker you may be saying to yourself but let me assure you there is one glaring mistake that was made. She didn’t take our drink order. She left chips and mildly spicy salsa and didn’t ask what we wanted to drink. This could have easily forgiven had she come back within a few minutes but she didn’t. It took more than ten minutes to come back and take our drink order. While the delay might have been caused because it was somewhat busy it could have been avoided altogether by taking the order when she plopped down the chips and salsa and introduced yourself. It might have taken an extra five seconds tops and unhappiness stemming from our burning mouths would have never occurred.
I am an American and what kind of American goes to a Mexican restaurant without ordering queso or cheese dip? I certainly don’t want to meet them. Anyway my wife and I ordered the cheese dip along with the rest of our food and we watched her right down the order on her notepad while repeating what we had ordered. Good waitress. We waited and waited for the beautiful sight of that bowl full of white cheese dip to be set down on our table but surprisingly it was not the next food to arrive. My delicious looking chimichanga made his appearance on the table about twenty minutes after we ordered and the cheese dip was still nowhere in sight. I could have brought up my concern about the missing queso in any one of the twenty minutes before the entree arrived had the waitress stopped by to check on us but she didn’t. After my chimichanga appeared we asked her about the cheese dip and she had apparently forgotten to place that part of the order and would go get it for us right away. It is astounding to me that one could forget to turn in the part of the order that was at the top of the notebook paper but the cheese dip arrived and my mouth was full of good food rather than remarks questioning the competence or organizational skills of the waitress and all was forgiven for the moment.
Since the chips and salsa were the first to arrive on the scene we had understandably been munching on them throughout the course of all that had taken place up until the time when our cheese dip made its arrival. By this time we were somewhat low on chips which didn’t bother me but my wife was opposed to me sticking my fingers in the bowl so we picked at the crumblies in the bottom of the basket and made due with them until the time when more chips would be brought out so we could finish our cheese dip that was still almost full. Those chips never came and we never asked for them. To be fair I didn’t ask because I wanted to see if she would offer more chips or if I could exploit that shortcoming in my blog. We left the majority of the cheese dip sitting on the table uneaten because my wife wasn’t willing to wait another week to get a to-go box. My moment of triumph came when the check arrived and the line for the tip blankly stared up at me ready for me to write the likability of the waitress in monetary form. Twenty percent was out of the question and had been for some time. I pondered fifteen but realized she didn’t deserve to be grouped in with all of the other sub-par experiences I’d had throughout my dining adulthood. She was a special kind of bad but I’m not a monster so I ended up giving her fourteen percent as a subtle jab that in all honesty she probably won’t realize or appreciate but it makes me feel good to know that in my own way I got back at her.