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Note to my Canadian couple two nights ago

Just one day after the Germans invaded, you deigned to dine with me.

You’re travelling in the US and whenever you’re here, you like to eat in one of my restaurants whenever you find it (uh oh, deja vu all over again)? You know our menu pretty well so you really don’t need a big song and dance? You order an appetizer immediately and accompany it with a nice bottle of wine? You also want to have lobster AND steak? Yes, a salad for each of you would be appropriate? Like the Germans, you have a four course meal, but you have coffee instead of espresso?

It seems eerie – I seem to be the United Nations of servers. I fight my natural instinct to accept the fairly common 10% that Canadians are known in these parts to prefer and I switch on my game face. As with the Germans, I grin and bear it. After all, this couple is equally as nice as the Germans (who are also known for poor tipping when dining in the US). It’s also a fairly slow night so I can make sure that I have no service issues that can justify a poor tip, just as I did the night before. I keep their wine glasses at the proper level (temp wasn’t an issue since they were drinking red). I give them free rein and don’t rush them, but I’m always close enough to be available should they need anything. Plus, I don’t have to be bilingual. Even though he doesn’t speak Southern, they do speak a form of English that I’m somewhat familiar with.

And then, I get the whammy when he presents the credit card. There’s an MD after his name and his signature has Dr. in front of his name. Oh no, it’s actually a double whammy! Unless doctors are regulars, they compete with lawyers for being mediocre tippers. They can sometimes also be demanding, imperious, cold and distant. Fortunately, this doctor showed no prior signs of such behavior. He (and his wife) were friendly and engaged and I never would have guessed his occupation (I would have pegged him as a professional favorite uncle).

In fact, I semi-good-naturedly commented to a co-worker, “Uh oh, I’m screwed! Canadian and  a random doctor”!

Of course, I brought the check presenter back and said, “Here you go Doctor X” and I shook his hand, just as I did with the German guy.

So, when I got the slip back, I was shocked, amazed and completely taken aback to find a $30 tip on a $160 check. Actually 20% on the pretax total.

I’m sorry that I didn’t give you my business card.

:singing O Canada vigorously and with gusto: and popping open a Rickard’s Honey Brown…

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3 responses to “Note to my Canadian couple two nights ago

  1. waiterextraordinaire July 24, 2009 at 8:37 am

    What a nice surprise! Now you know what I deal with up here sometimes.I’d make a king’s ransom if I worked in the States.Hehe

  2. teleburst July 24, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Well, if you worked here in, you’d be making CDN$2.30 an hour and you’d be extremely lucky to be offered health insurance, which if you did, you’d have to pay for (which I am lucky enough to have on a limited basis for $30 a month, but with a very high deductable – to get the deductable down to %500 out of pocket and to raise the limit of how much the insurance company will max out at, I’d be paying $90 a month, which is STILL damn good considerding what most people have to pay – our co-owner actually ponied up a $1,000,000 of his own money to keep our insurance from skyrocketing).

    And I don’t know if you get paid vacation, but we don’t.

    So, I guess there are trade-offs, just as there would be if I worked in a state that paid $8/hr. In those states, I wouldn’t be able to buy a house for less than about $200,000 for even the most modest home. I’m actually better off where I am than if I were in Seattle, where the cost of living would wipe out the pay differential – in fact, it would put me well in the hole. I bought my modest house for $50,000!

  3. waiterextraordinaire July 24, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Yea I was just being facetious. I still don’t know how you do it down there at 2 something an hour. We don’t get paid vacation but a higher hourly wage gives us a little bit at 4%. No health insurance and stuff. The only thing is it is more expensive for housing and gas and probably food up here.
    I empathize with all you service people down there in the States.Really I do.

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