27 November 2009

"A change would do you good" --Sheryl Crow

We wind up out of pocket a little longer than anticipated,* and while we are away, we spend some time with some aging relatives and see how their lives are changing, shrinking, getting much harder. Want some perspective? Spend some time with people that are up in years. Your troubles will float away.

We stop for lunch and we put down two twenties on a $27 tab. The waitress comes and asks us, "Do you need change?"

"Yes, please."

Because, if we're going to leave a large tip, it's going to be our idea, not theirs. While she is getting our change, we talk about her question. Is it a reasonable question? I point out that I don't think the woman that picked up the check is the same woman that laid down the check so this woman doesn't even know how much the check is when she asks her question.

"So, you're not offended?"

"No. I could be. But I don't want to be. It was a decent meal and okay service. Let's assume the best."

We leave a healthy tip and head out, trying to simply be appreciative for what we have and not look for reasons to get insulted. (There are so many, aren't there?)

Which brings us to the question of the day: Is asking "Do you want change?" ever a reasonable question? Should she have just brought change and not asked?

* And yet I still manage to post. How can that be? Some sort of voodoo interwebs magic, I guess. OOOoooOOOoooo.


AbbotOfUnreason said...

It's certainly better than the alternative: just assuming you don't want change.

Especially when they give you one of those folders for the payment, I think it's an attempt to keep from bringing change back to an empty table. Perhaps a better thing would be just to state, "I'll be right back with your change" so the customer has a chance to say, "No need" or "Awesome, I'll be waiting on tenterhooks until you do."

Mike said...

AOU beat me to it. "I'll be right back with your change" should be the phrase.

The Chauffeur said...

barring extraordinarily shoddy service, i am normally a 20-to-25 percent tipper - right up until someone asks me if i want my change.

it is never, ever appropriate to ask that question. ever.

now i'm angry.

Cyndy said...

It's a rude question ("Do you want change?")but there seems to be so much more rude behavior out there these day. I can imagine that the people who ask that question don't realize that it is rude. That's not an excuse though and it doesn't make it any less rude. Stupid and annoying is what it is. And it's probably rude for me to feel that way.

Cyndy said...

These days. Look, I'm padding your comments with my typo corrections.

Barbara said...

I'm convinced that some people just don't know how to think logically about money. The other day I had lunch with a friend in her upper 70's. We did splurge and the bill came to $59 each, to which I said, "That should be about $70 with tip." Granted she had had a glass of wine with lunch, but on her half of the check, she wrote $70 in the tip line and proceeded to do the math to get it up to $129. Fortunately I saw what she was doing and saved her $59!

So I think your waitress just assumed it was more than the amount, not realizing how much more before she asked such a dumb question. You gave the right answer.

Maya said...

I don't like it when they ask. It should be up to us to tell them, "keep it all." If we don't say that, they should bring the change!

Bowie Mike said...

I usually like to run out the door without paying, and when they run out after me, I yell back, "you can keep the change!"

restaurant refugee said...

I have fired people for using that money grubbing question. Industry people know exactly what they're doing when they ask it; and it is horrifically inappropriate.

That being said, I find little to no offense when the question is asked in a busy bar. The extra step of returning change is a huge time suck when your bar is three deep and you're in the weeds. Additionally, leaving unguarded money on a busy bar is not the smartest idea either.

Gilahi said...

Well, despite some of the comments above, during the Obama campaign the question was asked "Do you want change?", and the overwhelming response was "yes".

So in answer to your question, yeah. Sometimes it's a reasonable question.

frogponder said...

I'll have to ask Eldest - works in a restaurant - if he has ever heard of anyone asking that. Never heard anyone ask that but we don't eat out much.

Reya Mellicker said...

I think it's rude - and lazy - like it's too much trouble to bring back the change.

I worked in restaurants for years in and after college and never asked that question. Sheesh.

Mac and Cheese said...

When I used to date, I would always reach for my purse when the cheque arrived. 9 times out of 10, the guy would insist on paying, but I still felt that I should do the reach. The equivalent purse-reach scenario for the waitress would be to bring change and wait to see what you do. Seems more correct.

Alex said...

I agree with what everyone else said, although I also agree with your decision not to let it spoil the day by taking umbrage.

lacochran said...

AbbotofUnreason: "Awesome, I'll be waiting on tenterhooks until you do." *snort!*

Mike: See, that would work.

The Chauffeur: Sorry you're angry but thanks for stopping by.

Cyndy: I don't think it's stupid for you to feel that way. And, thanks for upping my comment count. :)

Barbara: And I thought *I* was bad with the math.

Maya: Agreed.

Bowie Mike: You're not a repeat customer, are you?

restaurant refugee: If it's crazy busy, I suppose I get the point.

Gilahi: Our politicians are all about public *service*, right?

frogponder: See what joy you miss?

Reya Mellicker: I wouldn't think you would.

Mac and Cheese: Interesting analogy. Agreed.

Alex: Thanks. Life is so short and there are so many, many people we could get angry with... but shouldn't--unless it makes for a good blog post, of course. ;)

LiLu said...

Definitely uncouth and inappropriately assuming, even if it was unintentional. Back in my day, I always just said "I'll be right back with your change" in order to give someone the OPPORTUNITY to say "No, we're all set."