Passive-Aggressive Brother Ruins Dining Experience

July 9, 2017

in Tipping & Etiquette Stories

I love my family. Not a common way to start a culinary horror story, but I just want to make that clear. I love my siblings, no matter how silly or thoughtless or just plain idiotic they are.

A couple of years ago I was visiting my eldest brother in Calgary. We’d both just moved from Edmonton (I went out west to BC) and everyone was feeling a bit homesick; our sister, youngest bro and his fiancée, and a lot of other friends all decided to come to make it a trip (we hit the Rockies for some camping). The afternoon we all arrived, we went for lunch at a place near big bro’s new apartment – a casual bar and grill (they’re everywhere in the prairies) that was recommended by several friends.

The get-together was fun, especially for a bunch of late 20- and early 30-somethings getting back together after having been apart for a year; 15 guys and girls all just chatting away about work, life and all the s**t we used to get up to, etc. We drank a fair bit but nobody was drunk, and we were planning to head back to elder bro’s apartment for games and a movie before heading out the next morning.

Did I mention that I love my family? Weird, crazy, etc.? My baby sister, younger brother and I are all pretty sensible and level-headed even though we joke around a lot. Our older brother is not quiiiiite the same. He’s nice, smart, has a good job, but tends to get a bit… high-strung? And he’s introverted? And prone to passive-aggressiveness? And tends to say dumb things at the wrong time?

Anyway, the meal was standard pub fare – we ordered drinks, apps, burgers, whatnot. Nobody had any complaints, although the service was a bit slow for a not-very-busy Wednesday afternoon. Our server was young and pleasant, but a bit on the uninterested side (wandered away, didn’t check on us much and we had to call her back once or twice); however, it was a lazy summer afternoon and we weren’t in any rush, and were not bothered at all. For some reason though, our eldest brother took exception with her and wasn’t happy; he didn’t tell us this, we learned of it a little while later (in the most awfully spectacular fashion afterward). All in all, we were there for two hours or so.

Older brother offered to cover the bill for everyone (woo-hoo) and paid (about $275 total with drinks and apps), and we all were preparing to leave when several of us noticed that the server seemed upset and was talking to the manager, who came over and asked if there had been anything wrong with our dining experience. We all assured them that everything was fine… as did Elder Brother; the manager seemed confused and said it was OK to say if anything with the service or food was wrong (odd thing to say, isn’t it?). Bro number 1 mumbled that it was all good and quickly hightailed it out, and we followed suit (all 15 of us) wondering what the hell was going on.

Reminder that I love my bro… but I’m sure I mentioned introverted and passive aggressive.

As we left the restaurant we asked him what the hell was going on and he started griping about the service and how the server “gave him the stink eye” and was rude as hell, and so on – keep in mind that the door had barely closed behind us when he began ranting (loudly). It turns out that he’d stiffed her on the tip – $5 on a nearly $300 bill (just shy of 2%). Good God Almighty.

We were stunned – literally dumbstruck at his a**hatterrific attitude. I started swearing, my sister started swearing, our friends started swearing (all at him), and my younger brother slapped him hard upside the back of the head and ran back in the restaurant. He wasn’t having any of it and just huffed off toward the apartment continuing to grumble. We just followed him (sans little brother who we learned had rushed to the manager and left an $80 tip for the server as an apology).

The worst part of all this was about to strike. As we rounded the back of the restaurant – us still swearing and bro still loudly complaining – on our way back home, there was the server, smoking outside the back door and crying. Lord help me, they saw each other – made eye contact even – but she just turned away and continued smoking. My idiot brother just stuttered a bit and thankfully shut up, and quickly walked away looking shamefaced.

I’m sure the big tip we (eventually) left her may have helped her feel slightly better but we still all felt horrible, and while it didn’t ruin our reunion it definitely made it awkward for the next couple of days.

We told our parents (every younger sibling secretly relishes chances like this) and older brother got such a cussin’ that he pretty much learned his lesson.

Note to everyone – if you are unhappy with your service, don’t pull a stunt like that; talk to the manager and get things straightened out without being a douche. Otherwise, your own family may kick your a**.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Waitersnedtolearn July 18, 2017 at 11:25 am

She sounds like a terrible waitress she needed to learn a lesson. You are jerks for rewarding her for bad service,now other customers have to suffer.


Youneedtolearn August 8, 2017 at 8:47 am

You need to stop being.. what was that word? Oh yeah: a**hatterrific, or you might get your a** kicked.


Icanspellneed July 20, 2017 at 1:24 am


You ned to learn how to spell


ImgrownupLOL August 11, 2017 at 3:03 pm

Every post? Really? How many posts is that? You should probably lay off the caffeine. Maybe some nice chamomile to settle your stomach…


jonesnori September 17, 2017 at 8:13 pm

I am glad your younger brother went back in to leave a proper tip. How awful of your older brother to do that!


Freddy-Fries December 22, 2017 at 5:38 am

Welcome to Alberta: a pit full of knuckle-draggers and an embarrassment to civility and intelligence – the worst place and people in Canada.


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