Server stories

Readers may recall the story of Chelsea Welch, the server at an Applebees restaurant, who was fired after she posted a receipt on the internet on which a local pastor she had served had written “I give God 10% why do you get 18”. Welch explains what happened and her bafflement at her firing here.

In a new column for The Guardian, she discusses more generally her experiences as a server. The good news is that she estimates that about 95% of customers treat the wait staff well by speaking courteously, ordering from the menu, and tipping. It is the other 5% that not only make life difficult for the servers but also tip poorly or not at all. They tend to be easily identifiable to experienced servers.

You could ask a random sampling of servers across the country, “who are the worst tippers?” and they’ll all tell you a very similar list. I’m going to generalize a bit here, but you get the idea. The worst tippers are the most showy. They’re the type that can’t get out a complete sentence without mentioning how devout of a Christian they are, or the ones that mention that they’re not from America before you’ve had time to finish saying hello, or the ones who giggle about how high-maintenance they’re going to be before running you ragged.

Showy pennypinching isn’t reserved to those who make a show of how exotic they are. Many people have learned through positive reinforcement that complaining long and loud nets them free food, extra drinks, and a discounted tab. When a customer has a legitimate complaint, it is common practice for an establishment to apologize by way of free items or discounts, typically on top of replacing the offending item. Instead of being grateful that their concerns were addressed and reparations were made, some begin to feel entitled, now putting on the bellyaching act at every opportunity, leaving harsh notes and no tip on their already heavily discounted bill.

I was surprised by this but it explains something that happened to me some time ago. I was hosting a lunch for four people at a nearby restaurant. The server brought out only the meals for the three other people. When I asked her what had happened to mine, she was mortified at having forgotten, apologized, and insisted that my meal would be free. I argued that this was not necessary because not only was having my meal delayed not a hardship, I was worried that she would be penalized and docked for that amount for what was a trivial error. But she insisted that the management wanted me to have my meal free.

But apparently, according to Welch, this courtesy extended to possibly disgruntled customers is known to frequent restaurant goers, some of whom use it as the basis of a deliberate strategy of complaining about something or other to get a free or reduced meal. She says that these people seem to arrive with a prepared script: “It’s easy to tell a bad table from a good one. Most dirtbags will begin setting the stage for their cheapskate production as soon as you’re within earshot.”

She also gives five tips for how to be a good customer and it is an interesting read.


  1. Jockaira says

    “I give God 10% why do you get 18″.

    God Demands 10% of your total income for keeping you enslaved before killing you and sending you to heaven if you’ve been properly subservient for every moment of your life, or to hell if you haven’t dotted all your i’s and crossed all your t’s. The waitress asked only for 18% for serving you the food you ordered and consumed. She hasn’t asked for anything from the rest of your meagre existence.

  2. wtfwhateverd00d says

    This post of yours is a mess because it conflates the stories of three servers

    1) An Applebee’s waitress complaing of poor tipping who humilates a customer and is surprised she got fired over it even though she didn’t see “DO NOT HUMILIATE CUSTOMERS ON THE INTARWEBS” in the Applebee’s handbook,

    2) Dayna Morales complaining of poor tipping because she’s a lesbian who seems to have committed a hoax


    3) the journalist Chelsea Welch who makes a gross and offensive sweeping generalization about certain Christians that she feels distinguishes them from jackasses who are Jewish, Hindu, or Moslem

    This post is a mess.

    The following, especially Keitel of course, is more coherent

  3. AMM says

    More to the point, God isn’t dependent upon your generosity to survive. (Not even the most religious are going to claim that that 10% goes directly to God; it goes to God’s earthly representatives.)

    Service workers are pretty much unique in that their wages (and their taxes) are based on the assumption that something like half of their income will come from voluntary contributions from the people they serve. They are dependent upon tips just to earn as much as minimum wage laws guarrantee to workers in other areas.

    This is before you even get into how employers exploit and abuse servers.

  4. wtfwhateverd00d says

    Boy I apologize, Chelsea Welch was the Applebee’s server?

    Well then she is still an idiot. Not only does she think Applebee’s needs to spell out “DO NOT HUMILIATE CUSTOMERS ON TEH INTARWEBS” but she thinks its okay to make gross sweeping statements of stereotypes against Christians and not be called on that shit.

    But I apologize for not picking that up the first time.

  5. wtfwhateverd00d says

    > But apparently, according to Welch, this courtesy extended to possibly disgruntled customers is known to frequent restaurant goers, some of whom use it as the basis of a deliberate strategy of complaining about something or other to get a free or reduced meal. She says that these people seem to arrive with a prepared script: “It’s easy to tell a bad table from a good one. Most dirtbags will begin setting the stage for their cheapskate production as soon as you’re within earshot.”

    I do appreciate this statement, because far too many of your fellow free thought blogs bloggers understand or believe in microeconomics or incentive theory.

    They claim to refuse to understand that when we as society (including police, prosecutors, judge, and jury) do not critically examine every rape (or domestic abuse) claim, it only incentivizes malicious and false claims of rape (or domestic abuse.)

    BELIEVE SURVIVORS and also no such thing as false claims of rape, women wouldn’t go through that (backstopped with “it occurs so infrequently it is okay to ignore it”).

  6. says

    Now that I am out of the spam trap…
    I have yet to see any feminist at FtB make the claim that there are no fake rape claims. Bloggers or commenters. Where is your evidence to support this claim?
    Also, why is this pseudoskepticism only applied to claims of rape or sexual harassment? Not to robbery, arson, blackmail, embezzlement, or virtually any other crime? Why does this xtra special skepticism only come into play with sexual harassment and assault claims?
    Why do you also assert that feminists ignore false rape claims? Do you have evidence of that? Have you considered that the rate of false rape claims is so low that it does not make the news ? How does one comment about something that is not known? If you knew anything about feminists–especially those at FtB–you would know they condemn false rape claims. They damage the fight for gender equality.

    Your dishonesty betrays your MRA sympathies.

    I find it frustrating to once again find a commenter who plays by the MRA script. You may or may not be one, but the end result is the same: you continue to perpetuate harmful Rape Culture myths. Go away.

    I apologize for being off topic.

  7. wtfwhateverd00d says

    > I find it frustrating to once again find a commenter who plays by the MRA script.

    It is indeed clear by your language that you (and A. Noyd) do indeed have great difficulties encountering different opinions.

    You’ll find the path forward for all of us is to learn to listen, respect, understand, and acknowledge even those people you disagree with. Not to try to silence them, but to have honest debates with them.

    But then again, I am at Free Thought Blogs, I think I’ll browse over see what Thunderf00t has to say.

  8. wtfwhateverd00d says

    No seriously, it’s like no one can use their god given goggles anymore to find free thought bloggers minimizing false rape claims and their importance.

    Here’s a good one!

    The reality is that false rape allegations are a tiny bit of flotsam on a sea of rape. Even if that 2-8% number were accurate, it would still be far too small to use to discount rape allegations out of hand. The fact that even that tiny percentage is inflated by cases like EEB’s should ensure that every decent human being treat victims’ reports as provisionally true

    There’s also Lousy Cahuck and PeeZus both telling us they were the vcitims of false rape claims and we should discount them, while at the same time using Bayes theory as discovered by Dick Carrier to prove that we should believe all other accusations of rape.


    #FTBully Fail.

    Seriously, I need to take a breath right now, cause you’re killing.

  9. A. Noyd says

    You know he’s been banned from a couple other FtBlogs for this same shit, right? People have already tried to reach him with reason and facts, but he has no intention of listening to either. It’ll be more productive to just speak out against what he says than try to engage him in any way.

  10. wtfwhateverd00d says

    Heh. I’ve been banned at other ftbully blogs because Stephanie Zvan has a hard on about a comment I made about her elsewhere and she goes around stalking me throwing her weight around to demand I be banned at other blogs. And perhaps because LousyCahuck was unable to defend his insanity.

    If you can find other instances of my banning I am genuinely curious. I think everyone should understand what #FTBully means.

  11. wtfwhateverd00d says

    Regardless, A. Noyd, I think everyone should understand what you and Tony are doing.


    Which is speech policing, suggesting and encouraging banning, and ad hominem attack instead of actually discussing anything I had to say.


    I am 99.9% sure Professor Singham sees through your silliness. If you bothered to read his blog regularly you’d understand that.

  12. MadHatter says

    My sister has been a server, bartender, and manager for a large company that manages events for a number of years. The events attended by very rich people or famous athletes are invariably the worst. Not only do they fail to tip, they’ll give you an earful about what you ought to be doing and why they righteously don’t tip. Usually because it will somehow make you work harder and magically able to go back to school or something.

    Tim Tebow was apparently one of the very worst, add xian ideology on top of the entitled famous athlete status and he felt that it was ok to be a complete ass to all of her staff.

  13. lorn says

    There was a recent article about what happened to a restaurant that eliminated tipping.

    There is a lot more to it than just a few bucks. It is also a matter of power, control, and feeling more important than someone else. Eliminate tipping and some sorry sacks get all bent out of shape because you took away their whip. Seeing that sort besides themselves is reason enough in my book to eliminate tipping.

  14. Nathair says

    It is indeed clear by your language that you (and A. Noyd) do indeed have great difficulties encountering different opinions.

    Ahh, this seems to be the central issue. You believe that Tony and the Noyd (and Stephanie and Jason) are expressing merely “opinion” and that, therefore, your (and Thunderf00t’s) MRA fueled “alternate opinion” should be given equal recognition and respect. This is not the case. We are not discussing whether or not comic books represent real literature or some other internet pissing contest issue of mere opinion. At stake here are questions that derive from the most fundamental issues of ethics and human dignity. In this conversation it is entirely possible for there to be a wrong side, an immoral position. An “opinion” which laughs at ethical considerations and pisses on human dignity does not deserve respect or equal treatment. It deserves to be held up to the light of day and denounced whenever encountered.

    But none of that means one must volunteer to provide a soapbox or be an audience to someone flatulating such pernicious noise. Thanks to the wonders of Greasemonky scripts I can decline to be your audience. I hope that Prof. Singham will, at some point, tire of providing you your pulpit in whatever thread you elect to derail. Go rant on the street corner or huddle with your fellows and chortle at your own cleverness.

  15. invivoMark says

    “It is indeed clear by your language that you (and A. Noyd) do indeed have great difficulties encountering different opinions.”

    No, these posters are not having trouble with encountering dissenting opinion. They are annoyed at having to put up with the stench of the dreck that you post. They are unhappy about having to interact with a disgusting human being.

    Maybe if you stopped being a disgusting human being, people would stop treating you like one. Of course, that would require you to abandon some of your madly misguided opinions (or at least stop bringing them up like you’re proud of them), and you would have to actually treat others with respect. I understand that this would be extremely difficult for someone of your limited intellectual capacity, however, so maybe you should just get used to being treated as you are.

    Or maybe, just maybe, you could leave this website where you are unwelcome. You know, forever. That would be a win-win.

  16. wtfwhateverd00d says

    I think you’re right.

    A, Noyd’s contribution “Fuck off with your ignorant, disgusting and derailing misogyny.” is certainly a welcome value add to most free thought blogs. Tony’s “Wow. A non sequitor into asshole land.” is certainly not opinion, but one of many logical coherent statements each following the other intended to support a logical conclusion.

    Discourse from #FTBullies remains as high as it ever was.

    I prefer the old usenet days, instead of bragging you were able to install GreaseMonkey as though that made your Sergey or Larry, people would just say *plonk*.

    Enjoy your world of blinders, I hope it leaves you happier.

  17. wtfwhateverd00d says

    Sure did.

    I made a comment about 11 months ago on another blog that I think was actually an accurate comment and a fair bit of criticism of the blogger’s post, but it made some people here so angry, I’ve sort of been stalked ever since. The comment was also pretty funny, which made matters much worse.

    I’d tell ya (where it was), but then they’d (#FTBullies) have to kill ya.

  18. smrnda says

    I’m very, very picky about who I will eat out with since I feel that the treatment of wait staff is degrading, and I try to be a reasonable, undemanding customer who will tip well. The job is a screwing, and for what a server is getting paid, they ought to spit in my food in front of me. In fact, for what they’re being paid they should probably smash the restaurant apart in some kind of uprising.

    I used to think it was mostly snotty rich people who were bad tippers, but I find some people with less money get off on pissing and shitting on servers since it’s a rare occasion when they’re in a position of power and will even seek to justify it as their due since there’s no other way they can (in the words of one person I knew) ‘feel important.’

    Eating out turns into a situation where a person’s worst instincts towards domination and power can be indulged, and it’s a sad commentary on human behavior. The management wants happy customers, and it’s always going to side with The Customer, however much an entitled and unreasonable ass, over the worker. (Perhaps really extreme behavior would get the cops called, but servers are expected to pay for walk-outs.)

    All said, the whole restaurant scene needs to be changed. Living wages, no patronizing ‘tipping’ and such.

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