Category Archives: tips

This Blog is 12 Years Old Today, So a Moment of Gratitude

Twelve years ago, after a very frustrating shift at a restaurant called VYNL on the Upper East Side, I came home from work and started a blog to express my exasperation with a woman from California who wanted me to turn off the television because she didn’t allow her daughter to watch TV while eating dinner. My very first blog post! That annoying little girl from 2008 is old enough to drink now and is probably doing so very heavily due to the fact that her mother is an absolute terror. I never stopped writing and this post that you’re reading right now is my 1,902nd one.

This blog has given me the opportunity to write a book and it’s gotten me on television more times than I can count. It’s allowed me to create and perform a one-man show here in New York City and around the country which is ironic because when I first moved here in 1993, it was to be an actor. I got a job a job as a waiter to allow me time to audition and it turned out that waiting tables is what let me be on the stage. Full circle moment right there, y’all.

I chose the name “Bitchy Waiter”on a whim with no thought about the future. I never expected anyone other than the people I worked with at VYNL to even read the damn blog, so there wasn’t much reflection about it. Had I put some thought into it, I probably would not have used the word “bitchy” since its been that very word that has been the most difficult to navigate over the years. It kept my book from being sold in Urban Outfitters. It’s kept me from being able to say the name of my blog on various TV appearances. Most surprisingly, in real life, I’m hardly a bitch at all, but “Bitchy Waiter” has evolved into a character that says and does all the things every server wishes they could say and do without fear of getting fired.

Today, at the risk of being not bitchy, I want to say how grateful I am for what this blog has turned into. I have really tried to evolve into a mouthpiece for the service industry, always standing up for the rights of servers while trying to also be funny. Sometimes I fail at both of those, but over twelve years, I do feel like my track record is pretty good.

During this pandemic, it’s become increasingly more difficult to write blog posts or create memes and videos. I mean, so many of us don’t even have jobs right now, so it seems inappropriate to complain about making hot tea. Today, I offer a moment of gratitude.

Last Thursday at the restaurant, two regulars come in. Well, she’s a regular and he’s her date or boyfriend who I’ve only seen one other time. On that visit, he left me a very generous tip which I didn’t notice until after they had left, so I didn’t get a chance to thank him. This time, I am ready to show my appreciation. I take them to the same table they had the last time and offer her her regular drink of choice, a glass of Prosecco. I am there for everything they possibly need, clearing dishes within seconds of them finishing, refilling their waters and ready to bring another round of drinks at any second. These people need to know I am earning that tip they gave me last time.

Tonight their bill is $116. I wish I could comp something for them, but I just don’t have that kind of power. The man hands me cash and tells me to keep the change. It’s not until I get behind the bar that I see he has given me two hundred-dollar bills.

“Keep the change?” I ask him, slightly astounded. “Are you sure?”

“Yeah,” he tells me. “These are difficult times.” I see him look around at the mostly empty restaurant. “We all gotta do what we can to help.”

Behind my mask, I can feel my lips trembling. I know my eyes are welling up with tears of appreciation. This couple is single-handedly making my night at work worth it.

“Thank you,” I tell him. “That is incredibly generous and I just can’t thank you enough.” With my hand over my heart, I thank him a few more times.

When they get up to leave, they both dutifully put their face masks back on and walk past the bar I am standing behind.

“Thank you again,” I say. “So much.”

She waves goodbye and he gives me a fist bump.

“Have a good night. Stay safe,” he says.

Thank you to him. And thank you to all of you who have been reading this blog for twelve years.

An Open Letter to the Girls Who Can’t Tip

Dear Grace, Sophie and Sophia,

I am writing this letter on behalf of your awesome waiter (Rachel). You remember Rachel, don’t you? She’s the one who served you guys and then in return you left her a little note and an origami lotus flower. The reason I am writing this instead of her is because Rachel’s job probably prohibits her from discussing on social media about what goes on at her restaurant. Or maybe Rachel is simply a mature human being who doesn’t bother sinking to your depths. Lucky for you, I am not prohibited from speaking about it and I am also 100% immature.

Allow me to refresh your memory as to what you wrote in your note:

Dear Awesome Waiter, (Rachel!)

We couldn’t leave a good tip because we don’t have enough money. Please except (sic) this origami lotus as our condolences.

♥️, Grace, Sophie, Sophia

I will ignore the fact that you don’t know the difference between “accept and “except” and just chalk that up to good ol’ fashioned stupidity. I also question your use of the word “condolences.” I don’t think it means exactly what you think it does. In addition, I would like to point out that you added the word “good” to your note when describing the tip which clearly implies that you know a folded up piece of paper with a tiny heart drawn on top of it is anything but a good tip.

Girls, what the hell was the note and origami for? You know it isn’t going to help Rachel pay a bill and she certainly isn’t going to be able to tip out a portion of it to her busser. The only reason you left the note was to make yourselves feel better about stiffing a server who you claimed was “awesome.” Rachel doesn’t want your note. In fact, I venture to say that 99.9% of servers don’t want it.

Here is what we do want: a tip. Something that spends. And if you go into a restaurant knowing you don’t have enough money to leave a tip, then please do your server a favor as soon as you sit down. Tell your server you don’t plan on tipping. I know, I know, it takes a lot of courage to be this open and honest with your server, but isn’t it more fair? Maybe Rachel could have spent her time getting more lemon wedges for another table instead of for your cheap asses. Servers live on tips and if you’re not going to leave one, we should have the option to ignore the hell out of you. Sure, we’ll still bring your food and fill your water (one time) and bring the check, but we’d rather do that for someone who might appreciate the service. Leaving an apologetic note at the end of your meal is cowardly and you know it, girls.

Grace, Sophie and Sophia, I hope you see this. And I hope that someone you know sees it too so they can tell all of your friends how cheap you are. No amount of folder paper flowers or little drawn hearts is going to change the fact that the three of you are exactly the kind of customer that so many servers dislike. Grow up and tip. Or at least be honest with your server. We don’t have time for this bullshit.

Mustard and mayo,

The Bitchy Waiter

What To Tip When the Service Sucks

What to tip?

What to tip?

As a full time professional food whore slinger of the hash, I am always willing to give a bad server the benefit of the doubt. “Maybe she’s new” or “He’s probably having a bad day” are phrases that drop out of my mouth when my server forgets to bring me something or fails to make himself available. I realize that at times, even a full time professional food whore slinger of the hash, like myself, can hit some bumps in the road that keeps my service from being stellar. Just last week, I totally forgot about one of my tables because I had picked it up even though it wasn’t in my section. I took their order and rang it in but then realized that I was out of Chardonnay. I went to the bar to refill my coffee cup and then the bartender shared a story about how he had gone to a water park the day before. This made me think of a time I was at Blizzard Beach in Disney World. We saw this woman carrying her sleeping baby under arm as she was standing in line for a water slide. The baby looked totally out of it. “Is that baby alive?” asked my friend Van? “I dunno,” I replied, “but I wonder if she’ll let me use it as a floaty for the Lazy River because I can’t find any more inner tubes.” I took a swallow of my wine so the bartender could top it off and then I went on to check on my tables completely forgetting about the one that wasn’t in my section. So, I know bad service sometimes happens to good people. But when it happens to me, I never know what to to tip.

The following is an actual text message conversation I had with my brother a few days ago:

Coby: Help. We’ve just had the worst waitress/service ever. What do I tip? 9:21 pm

BW: What’s the check? 9:21 pm

Coby: Getting it now. 9:22 pm

BW: I’d probably still tip 15% if I thought she was trying. If she was straight up bitch, 10% or less. 9:22 pm

Coby: Man, she SUCKED. 9:25 pm

BW: Was she rude and uncaring? If so, fuck it. Stiff her but tell the manager as you’re leaving. 9:25 pm

Coby: Not bitch. CLUELESS. We sat with our food in front of us for 5-7 minutes without silverware. I had to go get it. 9:27 pm

BW:10%. Fuck it. 9:27 pm

Coby: Still waiting on check. 9:29 pm

BW: 5%. 9:29 pm

Coby: Got the check. No pen. 9:33 pm

BW: 5%. Fuck that shit. This will be a blog post by the way. 9:33 pm

BW: What was the verdict? 10:45 pm

Coby: Gave her 5 on 48. 11:02 pm

Was my advice wrong? What do we do when we have bad service? We maybe expect the bar to be raised a little bit since we all do it for a living, but if someone is woefully inadequate at their job, it’s hard to tip them the same as I would for someone who was spectacular. I always start at 20% and go from there. To get less than that, you kinda have to go out of your way. Even for bad service, I will give 15%. But my brother gave 10% and I stand behind it. He asked for the check at 9:22 and did not get it until 9:33. Does it really take eleven minutes to hit “print”on a computer and drop a check? If you’re that far behind, you can always ask someone to drop the check for you. And to sit for over five minutes with hot food in front of you and no silverware is unacceptable. Why wasn’t there silver there when they were sat?  If the food is overcooked and the server fixes the situation there is no reason to stiff them. But what happened in my brother’s case seemed like it was all the responsibility of the server. This waitress was lucky to get the 10%.

What do you do when you have extraordinarily bad service in a restaurant? Do you still tip well? Or do you tip less than you normally would but explain why? And if you explain your actions, how do you do it? A note on the check or a discussion with the manager? Discuss, please.

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Snooki Makes Way More Money Than We Do

It seemed like I had a lot of money when I looked at the pile of bills on my dresser. Everyday, my tips get put into a little stack, minus the 3% that goes into an envelope for my retirement. Upon closer inspection, it turned out that the majority of the bills had George Washington on them and not Andrew Jackson. Sixty dollars looks like a lot of money when its all singles you know. Money is a fickle friend. Most of us never have enough and all of us always want more. So maybe this career choice is not the best. Then again, if I had my druthers I’d be the rich successful actor who has money to burn. How much money? Well, I came across an article on line that tells us exactly how much money our favorite (and not so favorite) actors make each week and it made me want to punch a Snooki in the face. That bitch makes $30,000 per episode for doing The Jersey Shore. How in the hell does she get paid that much each week to get drunk, pass out, and make a fool out of herself? I have been doing that for free for years. I want my back pay immediately. Has she ever had to wait tables? She may look and smell like a piece of bacon but has she ever served it? The list was depressing as hell:

Oprah Winfrey $315 million per year- we get it, Oprah. You’re rich. That bitch makes $600 a minute. That’s ten dollars a second. In the time it took me to figure out how to do that math equation, she made $9000. (Yes, it took me 15 minutes to compute that, don’t judge me.)
Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men $1.25 million per episode- What the hell? Isn’t he in jail right now? Or drunk or high? Snooky, is that you?
Christopher Meloni & Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU $395,000 (each) per episode- okay, I worked Law and Order once and I am pretty sure I didn’t make that much. My scene was with them and I assumed we were all getting the same pay. If you take off the three zeros and then divide by two, that was closer to my fee. Dammit, I was bamboozled by my agent.
Julie Kavner, The Simpsons $400,000- so she doesn’t even have to get dressed or comb her fucking hair to go to work because she sits in a recording studio. If I were her, I would be trying to figure out a way to phone that shit in. After 20+ years of the same job she’s probably phoning it in anyway so she may as well do it from an actual telephone.
Jon Hamm, Mad Men $100,000 per episode- Actually, I’m okay with this one. He rocks.
Scott Caan, Hawaii Five-0 $80,000 per episode- how does this happen? I have never even heard of this guy and the show hasn’t even started yet. And lemme guess, he gets to live in Hawaii while he’s “working.”
Rico Rodriguez, Modern Family $15,000 per episode- I think this is the little kid from that show. He is about 11. Yeah, that’s fair.

The biggest shock to my system though? It was when I read that Kate fucking Gosselin makes $250,000 per episode for her dumb ass reality show about her kids. No wonder she doesn’t want to give up the spotlight despite severely damaging the psyches of her litter. She’s making shitloads of cash. And we all know that if she wasn’t doing a television show she would be serving the rooty tooty fresh and fruity at the IHOP. Man, I wish I had a uterus. Then I could take advantage of my child bearing years, squeeze out a few all for the sake of reality television. And my bank account. And I could retire my apron forever.

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Who All Gets Tipped These Days?

As a tipped employee who only makes a mere hourly pittance, is anyone else sick to death of the fucking tip jars at every possible place? Now I get it that everyone would like a tip. Who doesn’t, but why is there a fucking tip jar at the grocery store? I know these women aren’t making $20 an hour or anything, but I am sure they are making more than the $4.65 that I make. These dog-gone blasted tip jars all over the place are desensitizing the world to people who actually rely on tips to survive. Is Susan at the Starbucks claiming those tips that she makes and then paying taxes on them? Hell, no. Or is the dry cleaner? Why in the pudding pops do I need to feel obligated to tip the dry cleaner? Isn’t it enough that I don’t tip him at Christmas time but now I have to not tip him every week? Before anyone jumps all down my throat about how the lady at the grocery store isn’t making enough money and the tips help her, let me say this. Nobody is making enough money, grocery store lady. She at least gets a paycheck, which I do not. My most recent paycheck was for sixty-eight cents. I had to walk my lazy ass all the way to the bank to deposit 68¢. It hardly seemed worth it and I almost tossed the check in the trash, but if it was two quarters, a dime, a nickle and three pennies I wouldn’t throw that away so I deposited the check. But after customers tip the grocery store lady and the Starbucks bitch and the dry cleaner by the time they get to me at a restaurant they’re all thinking “I’m sick of tipping these bitches all day. Fuck it. I stiff this one!” and I’m all, “But wait, my paycheck is only gonna be 68 cents…”

Tell me, am I wrong? Is this clearly not a desensitization (major points for the six syllable word, right?) of tipping resulting in less money in the pockets of those who rely solely on tips alone? I say revolt. Pocket your spare change and save it for something that really matters. When the bagel guy gives you two dimes back as change, don’t put it into that styrofoam cup taped to the register. You save it and give it to the next waiter you see. The guy who only makes $4.65 an hour and gets paychecks for 68¢.


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