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You were amazing! Thank you!

This is what my 6 top told me last night as they were leaving. I disagree with the hyperbole because, if my service was “amazing”, then I’m in the wrong business. I should be President of the United States.

I’m glad I was “amazing”. The wife of the guy who paid wanted to know about our salmon. In fact, that was her exact question – “I want to know about your salmon”.

Ummmm, OK.

“Well, it’s fresh, never frozen. It’s about 11 oz, so it’s a really nice piece of fish and we served it fileted, not cut into steaks”. That should have been the end of it.

“How would you describe it”?

Well, I though I already had, so I tried desperately to figure out what her *real* question was.

“It’s farm-raised salmon”.

Bingo!

“So it’s not wild salmon”?

“No ma’am, it’s ‘never frozen’ so it can’t be wild salmon. You can only get wild salmon during about a month and a half in the summer when they run. They don’t let salmon be harvested except for about a 6 – 8 week window”.

Hopefully that solved the problem in her mind. Maybe she’s concerned with the safety of farm-raised salmon, a concern that isn’t totally unfounded because of the issues of feed and environmental conditions.

“How would you characterize it in comparison with wild salmon. I mean, some of the farm raised salmon is kinda yellow”.

Well, having never seen “yellow” farm-raised salmon, I had to reply, “Ours is bright reddish-orange. It’s a high quality fish. And, since it’s about 11 oz, it’s a really nice filet”.

“What about the Omega 3s”?

What am I, the Gorton’s Fisherman? Still, I’m not going to be trapped into being just another salesperson trying to sell something without knowing my shit. Besides, I prefer the sea bass.

“Well, it’s obviously not going to have as much Omega 3 as wild salmon. That’s just a fact, I’m afraid. Still, it has the normal level of Omega 3”.

One of the other ladies (one of the ones who said that I was amazing on the way out) asked me what I thought of the sea bass. I thought that was a quite reasonable question.

“It’s my favorite. I love sea bass because the flesh almost melts in the mouth. It’s so succulent. It’s just about my favorite fish”.

Had I thought it was a concern of hers, I would have told her that we had sourced a sustainable variety of sea bass (ours is MSC certified). In fact, we’re only serving it for about 2 months and then it’s going to go away. Had the first wife not been such a freak, I would have assured her about this, but apparently, she wasn’t concerned about the conditions of North Atlantic salmon pens and the bizarre food that their occupants are fed. Fortunately, this lady just wanted to know how good it was.

The first wife ended up getting the sea bass, confirming what I already knew – that she just wanted to know the answer to a question that she already knew the answer to. Anyone who knows about Omega 3 in salmon probably already knows that wild salmon has more Omega 3 than farm-raised.

Anyway, I could have gone home at about 8:30 but had to stay for this 6 top. They had sat in the bar for about 30 minutes running up a $125 tab, which I had to transfer and pass the tip along to the bartender.

So, when I got the $625 check back only to see a $70, I was really pissed. Of that $70, I only saw about $45 because I had to pass along $15 to the bartender and another $10 to the server assistant. I didn’t want to screw him out of $6, so I tipped him the normal 20% instead of dropping the tipout to 10% on that part of my night (the bartender actually told me not to worry about her tipout, but I couldn’t do that to her).

Plus, I was getting out at about 10:15.

I can hear a civilian say, )hell, or even someone who works in a place where you’re lucky to make $50 on a Sunday night for that matter),  “What are you bitching about? An extra $50 for staying an extra hour and a half”?

It’s a principle thing.  I feel that I got shorted by almost half. That means that I should have gotten another $45 or so.  It would be one thing if my service had sucked eggs. But it didn’t. They told me so themselves! Unfortunately, the ones who said how great I was weren’t paying the bill. In fact, they would have probably been embarassed by their host’s tip.

I can hear you ask yourself, “I wonder if he was rude to the wife who asked the questions”. While I can’t be totally objective here, I’m pretty sure that I kept my own cynicism out of the equation and I answered her questions without being condescending or rude. the bartender told me later that she had questions about this guy anyway, that he was acting all bossy and dominant.

So, thanks a lot pal. I hope you choked on the Bud Light longneck at the honky-tonk that you were going to after you left us, because you probably wouldn’t be able to get the Jack Single Barrel and Ginger in a tall glass that you were drinking with me.

BTW, these weren’t imperious business people, rednecks or old farts. These were late 20s, snappily and hipply dressed. They seemed pretty hip. Well, they all were, except for the guy with the clear plastic Amex card (you know the one – it’s got the little blue shiny square in the corner).

5 responses to “You were amazing! Thank you!

  1. nativenapkin March 22, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    One on of my very first serving jobs, someone wrote “You were amazing” on the top of one of my checks. As a rookie, I was just so proud. I asked one of the veteran servers I worked with, “What do you think this means?”

    “Ten percent…” he says. I thought, “What a cynic.” Sure enough, I check the CC voucher and to the friggin’ penny.

    Verbal tips always suck. Maybe next time my rent is due, I’ll tell my landlord, “Your house is amazing…”

  2. PurpleGirl March 23, 2010 at 9:02 am

    I just love it when people grill me about an item and then order something totally different!

  3. vandervecken March 23, 2010 at 9:32 am

    my favorite is when they interrogate me for 20 minutes about several items on the menu and then order a hamburger. then after, they evaluate the hamburger as though they had some kind of culinary experience. i made fun of that in a previous post.

  4. waiternotes March 25, 2010 at 2:21 am

    I liked this post a lot. You probably investigated this at the time, but is it possible that the guest tipped out the bartender on the side before he/she came to the table with the transferred drinks? The bartender might not tell (which wouldn’t be unusual), and, considering your bartender’s response of “Don’t worry about it,” I consider that to be a red flag that there’s already something funny going on.

    Anyway. I believe you gathered correctly. I’ve met bunches of youngish affluent types who know their shit from reading Wine Spectator and Bon Appetit mag and hanging out with more savvy older friends. They think they’re real cool showing off what they’ve learned. Only they still haven’t learned how important it is to tip (which their savvy older friends *do* understand).

    • teleburst March 25, 2010 at 9:16 am

      Nah, it didn’t even occur to me to wonder whether he had already tipped. He wasn’t the type to pull out cash for a tip. And our bartenders are straight-up about stuff like they. They make too much money to try to scam $12 from a waiter, although I defintely showed her why she was only going to get $12 on the transfer (not that we break out our transferred tipout seperately or anything – we just give them a lump sum). I wanted to make sure that she didn’t think I was trying to scam HER.

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