Trailer Trash Stiffs Waitress

September 5, 2008

in Tipping & Etiquette Stories

My wife and I saw this in the early 90’s, and we still shake our heads about it.

We went to a moderately upscale restaurant in coastal California and were seated next to a party of four, two men and two women, who were in their late 30’s. They had finished their appetizers and were getting their entrées as we ordered. As we worked through our meal our neighbors finished up with coffee and dessert. Then the fun began.

A fifth person joined their table just before the bill arrived. From what we could overhear, he was the boyfriend of one of the women and planned to take her out after she’d eaten. However, the other diners persuaded him to order his own entrée. As this delayed their departure by at least another half hour, their waitress was obviously upset and we overheard her tell them she had another party ready for the table. They went ahead with their extra order anyway, and added a dessert for him, too.

At the end of the meal, we overheard the principal instigator of the extra meal claim that the waitress was “rude” and didn’t deserve a tip. The other original man at the table said no, she deserved something and put a significant amount of cash on the table, but the host ended up gathering all the money and leaving it to the penny – no tip on a meal close to $150! Since her other party was put elsewhere she lost two substantial gratuities. And to top it off, the second woman at the table, who had had chocolate mousse for dessert, threw up her meal on the table just before they left.

I assume they went back to their trailers for the evening.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

kimberley Lovato September 7, 2008 at 2:26 am

As someone who was a waitress for many years while in college, I can empathize with the waitress. And there is no excuse for the disgusting behavior of the guests. However, I have to confess: I HATE when waitresses rush you to accomodate another party. Having lived in Europe now for 5 years, i have come to appreciate having the table to myself for as long as I want it, and not feeling like I am just a cog in the tip wheel for the servers. It's a double edged dinner knife, to be sure.


Kelly September 13, 2010 at 5:14 am

Actually, you shouldn't have the table as long as you want it, and having been a server you should know that. I know that the longer you sit there, the less money I make, so as soon as you're finished eating, you need to leave. We only have a certain amount of tables in our section, and if I only have four and you decide to sit there, you've cut my income by 25%. My landlord won't take the explanation that I can't pay my rent because you felt like socializing. Go to a coffee shop or somewhere where you're not costing anyone money.


Sacha July 12, 2011 at 10:49 pm

I can see what Kimberley is saying about living in Europe. Because servers in Europe actually are respected by their employers and make a decent living wage pre-tip, tips are not as important and usually not even expected. So living in Europe, being able to sit at a table for as long as you want doesn't mean anything for the waiter other than probably an easier night, as he won't have to rush around accommodating new customers and can just bring refills on coffee for your table. I think Kimberley may be insinuating that our system should be changed to be more like Europe's–where servers are paid by the company that hired them for the work that they do and only tipped if they provide exceptional service, above and beyond what they are being, or should be, PAID to do! It is a problem in America and I'm not sure how to go about solving it.


Amber May 6, 2016 at 2:06 pm

Rushing the current table will only compound the server's issues because it is rude to rush the table. Also who knows when this table was seated sans the boyfriend if the hostess had been told it was a party of five and their friend was simply running late.


mary July 1, 2019 at 2:53 pm

To: No-one in particular:
I wonder why the poster (one who wrote the article!) assumes that they're "trailer trash" just cuz they didn't tip!!! That's just ridiculous!!! What a terrible assumption to make!!!


Anonymous September 28, 2008 at 1:59 am



Rob April 2, 2009 at 9:18 pm

I’m pretty sure any sophisticated restaurant wouldn’t allow such a late seating, or explain that the table was already at the cocktail stage and no longer taking entree orders.

If you don’t like it, please visit JimBobRay’s endless buffet down the road.

What restaurants do you have? I have never been to one that would accept this (unless it’s a student place where the tab will double for little added work).


Kathy April 3, 2009 at 10:11 am

How do you throw up ON the table? What kind of grown up adult does something like that?

You gotta be kidding me. People like that should be locked into their trailers……….


jaymoney April 3, 2009 at 10:48 am

Pretty sad situation. The time for tipping is near and end. Employers need to realize it is out dated and start paying the servers appropriately. THIS CAN ALL BE AVOIDED


stpaul January 25, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Jay–hell to the no….servers are like servants…we enjoy our tipping pay–screw the hourly. If you are not a lifer as a server then you may want to change professions. If you are a lifer, get into a good higher priced restaurant or bar so you can make the good tips!
Don't change the wages!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


itipbutihateit December 21, 2011 at 3:46 pm

In that case – if I want to spend some time at my table after I finish dinner, you can eat me.


Big Paulie May 5, 2010 at 8:41 pm

When I wasn't management, I used to get really upset about things like this. Now that I'm a manager, I can see things like this coming from a mile away. I'll occasionally take over a table from a server (with the understanding that the server will get the gratuity) and bend over backwards to ensure a seamless dining experience for people that I know are going to do anything they can to avoid paying even a penny over the actual amount of the bill.

Although I'd have never encouraged the table to move out to make way for another party, I'd certainly have had words with the idiot who collected the cash tip — making sure that whomever put the cash on the table in the first place knew about it. I have a little talk about karma that I give to people like that (well, those of them who can wrap themselves around a concept like "karma.")

So far as the woman who'd vomited on the table. That's cause to ask the rest of the party (I'll assume they weren't astute enough to have a designated driver) for their car keys, thus incurring a taxi expense as well. Vomiting is prima facie evidence of being intoxicated. Period. Where we're at, there are pretty serious consequences to vomiting in a public restaurant, unless you're suddenly stricken with a stomach virus, that is.


stpaul January 25, 2011 at 3:39 pm

I have seen people come back to the table and steal the servers tip! Honey, I forgot my gloves, be right back and then take the tip that the group left for the server.
What goes around, comes around.


server July 3, 2012 at 1:58 am

I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned this, but at my work, I have to tip out (meaning, give money to others, for those of you not in the service industry) almost ten percent of my total sales. I also am taxed on an assumed gratuity of ten percent of my total sales. So, If someone came into my restaurant, ran up a $664 tab, and left me $44, I would have to give my host/busser/runner/bartender $66 total. Then, I would be taxed on the assumption that I had made $66 on that table. So, I've just paid $30 out of my own pocket. To serve you. I work in california, so yes, I make 8 bucks an hour. Still doesn't cover the 30 bucks I've spent to make you happy. Consider this when you tip.


'ol N March 20, 2014 at 7:10 pm

I don't really like to tip, dang it!!!! That's why i don't eat out too much!!!!


Ramona November 22, 2018 at 11:19 am

Why the hate?? Because servers make more money off multiple tables genius. Guests sitting there for hours take up valuable time , they should leave so that another paying customer can sit there


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