Wow, for the first time in my life I have left a restaurant without leaving a tip.
This is a momentous occasion for me. You see, I have a complex about tipping. I’ve ALWAYS tipped and tipped generously. Why? I’ve read and heard many times that women don’t tip well (by the way is this really true or is it just another way to hint how we women just don’t measure up?)
Can you tell that I’m a tad cranky while writing this piece?
In the past, I’ve been determined to belie this fact in my own little way. I wanted to show that I am strong, I am woman, and I can tip well.
Until this morning.
This morning I went into a hotel restaurant in Quebec City for a solo breakfast, which as a travel writer is not a new experience. The maitre’d tucked me away in a corner behind a pillar and at first I was happy. I like quiet little corners in restaurants especially when I’m on my own, it’s much better than being on display in the middle of the room, showing off to the world that I’m by myself. But then NOTHING HAPPENED, no menu appeared, no waiter, and no COFFEE!
Now, I can forgive almost everything except the denial of coffee first thing in the morning. If you feed me lots of steaming, fragrant java, I’ll happily eat your watery scrambled eggs, and rubberlike French toast without complaint. But without coffee I’m a tad more discerning, you see I have no recourse, I can’t sip my coffee and read my paper, while I forgetfully fork my breakfast. Without my steaming coffee, I’m steaming and a tad more critical about all things breakfast.
But I digress… on with the story. After about a ten minute wait, this very first time delay is a guess, later on I was actually timing things because I wanted to ensure that my annoyance was due to negligence and not imagined in my caffeine deprived state, the waitress appeared with a carafe of coffee. She poured me a cup, a very small dollop of coffee, one of those two gulps and its gone kind of cups.
I had figured out during my first wait for service the restaurant was doing a buffet style breakfast; I asked if this was the case. She agreed, told me the price for the buffet, pointed vaguely to where the buffet was laid out and then disappeared. And I was happy, because you see, I had in front of me, my first of many cups of coffee I thought. So I toddled off and filled up my plate with eggs, bacon, French toast and fruit. Passable… I had my coffee… but two gulps of coffee was not enough. I needed more. Much more.
A half hour passed. Now I’m pissed. All my waitress had to do was fill my coffee cup and seat other guests, so therefore she was failing at 50% of her duties, and 100% of her duties to me!
Finally I gave up on her, looking around I noticed the area where the coffee station was hiding and helped myself to another cup of coffee. Magically, my waitress suddenly appeared at my table as soon I sat down, and with a sweet smile she lifted her carafe and asked if I needed a top up. I gestured at my now full cup and replied that I went and helped myself. “Ohhhhhh, she replied with a shrug and started to turn away. I quickly asked for the bill since now I couldn’t wait to leave, “yeah, yeah, sure” she nodded vaguely.
I checked my watch, and promised myself that I would leave WITHOUT PAYING if she took more than 10 minutes to deliver the check. Again this was another first for me, a momentous day! I justified my descent into criminal activity with the promise to stop by the front desk of the hotel to explain the rationale behind my dine-and-dash.
Nine minutes in, I just had one minute to go and I started to look forward to leaving in a huff. Unfortunately/fortunately (I was conflicted at this point in time) my waitress finally intercepted one of the death glares I had been shooting intermittently her way throughout the duration of my delightful meal, she gave a start and brain activity commenced.
My bill finally arrived. The tip amount stared up at me. With joy in my heart, I wrote a big, giant ZERO with a slash through the middle for even greater emphasis. But immediately I began to worry, what if they thought this was a regular woman thing all women do? We all stiff on the tip right? So then I flipped the bill over and wrote a novel about my not so wonderful dining experience. A slightly shorter version of this article, and it felt good. Just like I knew that it would.