27 July 2009

Hello World, It's Me, Sauce!

I am a naughty blogger. I have left my poor readers neglected for well over a week, thus committing a cardinal sin of blogging. I may very well be struck down by the powers that be by some nasty plague that may or may not include locusts, death of my firstborn, and incurable boils.

To appease the blogging world I will attempt to deliver some delicious content the next few days - think Slip n' Slides, strip clubs, and bags of Twisted Tea (all mutually exclusive of course). We'll start off with an email I received several weeks ago that poses an interesting situation that occurred at a reader's local Hooters.

I had an odd experience with the waitress at my local Hooters this morning which I've been trying to figure out, but I don't want to ask one of the waitresses, since I thought that it might get her in trouble. Here's the situation:

I went to Hooters kind of early this Monday, i.e., normally a pretty slow day and time. I got a waitress at my table who I haven't had at my table before, but I've seen around a lot - in fact, when she first arrived at our table, she was very friendly, and knew what I was going to order before I told her (I was with two friends, neither of whom have been to Hooters before, so she wouldn't have seen them before).

Just after our table ordered, a big group of school kids came in (at least twenty of them); there were also four or five other regular tables (all two-three people each). Overall there were four girls on the floor, but maybe they weren't prepared for such an influx of people, since the food wound up being cold, and the service was terrible (food delivered by a cook rather than a waitress, and no one even came by to check on our table). Since none of us enjoy cold food and the service was non-existent, we wanted to get out as quick as possible. So, I called our original waitress over, and gave her enough bills to cover the tab, and asked for change, which she promptly brought back. I left a small tip, and since my friends were itching to leave, I left without a second thought - only once I'd left, and checked my pocket did I realize that the waitress had basically given me back the full cost of the meal. Specifically, she kept three dollars, and gave me back the rest in smaller denominations. (I never saw an actual bill for the meal, but I'm at Hooters enough to know pretty much exactly what our bill was supposed to be.)

So, the question is: was this waitress very kind (i.e., did she realize that I was regular customer who'd brought two friends with me, only to have us all get jerked over), very incompetent (i.e., not only couldn't she handle her customers, she also couldn't count cash), or what? I find it hard to believe that it's the latter, since she seems like a veteran waitress. But if it's the former, how could she get away with that? And why keep just three dollars? Am I likely to get her in trouble by asking someone at the restaurant the next time I'm there?

My take: Honestly I think it was simply a mistake. As odd as it may seem to make such an elementary error this seems most probable. Primarily I believe this because no waitress wants to take the cost of a whole meal from her tips. This is the most important thing to realize in this situation, odds are your waitress ended up paying for your meal from her tips at the end of the day and she probably didn't even realize. When paying out what she owed the restaurant from her bank at the end of the day, she'd fork over Hooter's share and think she just had an awful day on the floor. Or she might notice she ended up with less than anticipated when counting her tips and realize her mistake far too late.

So how does a "veteran waitress" make what seems to be a blatant mistake? From the sounds of your visit to Hooters, I'd ventured to say that your Hooters Girl was probably pretty flustered and even with her vast experience she made an error in her math somewhere. Most Hooters Girls are responsible for their own bank and counting out their own change. Some girls will use calculators or the computers at the wait stations to calculate the appropriate change but many - myself included - will simply count back change using mental math. Odds are her math was off somewhere or, more probable, she not only messed up her math but also gave you the wrong stack of money back in her effort to return your change quickly. Sometimes mistakes are made and unfortunately your Hooters Girl ended up paying for it. At this point I'd say there's little to no point to saying anything at the restaurant. Your best bet might be to tip her a little extra the next time this Hooters Girl is your server.

So that's my take, any other opinions?


  1. That's awful. I can guarantee that the Hooters Girl didn't pay for the meal out of her own pocket on purpose. It was not her fault that the food was cold or that she was overwhelmed with other tables. If I had to guess, I would think that she simply handed her table the wrong pile of bills, keeping the three dollars which should have been their change, and giving them the money for the actual meal. I nearly did that once myself while busy and rushing.

    I think the best thing for this guy to do would be to give her that money back. He received it in error. He knows it is an error. Giving it back would be the right thing to do.

  2. customer in questionJuly 30, 2009 at 10:22 AM

    In case anyone is wondering how this turned out:

    I went back to the same Hooters a couple of days ago, and the same waitress happened to be there. She recognized me as soon as she saw me and came right over. It turned out that what happened was basically was Sauce speculated, including apparently that she (the waitress) had to pay for the bill herself. So I reimbursed her, she was apologetic, and that was that. To be honest, I was a bit more inclined to blame for her the situation than K.H., but experienced servers can assess the situation for themselves.

  3. Guest blogger invitation -- see here for details.

    Are you cranky? Do you hate the asshats you have the schlepp food to every day? Or maybe you usually don't mind it, but one day somebody just pissed you off. Maybe you prefer to keep your blog more civilized and don't want to casually throw around the swear words .... but sometimes you just want to write something hateful and vitriolic. Maybe you want more blog traffic. Or maybe you actually have a good story to share. You know, whatever. This cranky blogger wants to feature your stories.



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