I under-tipped recently and wanted to share my story.
My wife and I stopped at a popular restaurant for Sunday brunch. The hostess seated us on the patio; due to cool weather we were only the third table (of nine) to have patrons. One of the others was finishing up before paying their check, the other was in mid-meal.
My wife looked at the menu and told me that she wanted an omelet and coffee, then left to freshen up. While she was gone the waiter, who was working the area by himself, came over to take our order. I gave him the two orders, which he didn’t write down, and he left.
After my wife returned the waiter came over and asked if we’d be ordering food or just drinking. He looked confused when I told him that he had taken our order, but the runner was right behind him with two plates. He finally believed that he had taken the order and got my wife her coffee, but never brought me my drink.
One table paid and left and a party of six came onto the patio, so still three tables total. For the rest of the meal the server went to the other two tables several times to check on them but ignored us. I had to almost grab him to get his attention to bring us salt and pepper.
At the end of the meal our bill came to $31.25. I had exact change and debated about the tip, but in the end I threw down $4 figuring he’d been embarrassed by his earlier faux pas.
What would others have done? Stiffed him completely, asked him what was going on, talked to the manager? Just curious.