And due to the fact that the husband and I have spent most of our lives in customer service, we're pretty heavy tippers. We're also really forgiving.
Until the other night. Honestly, we have never ever left somewhere without a tip. I mean, the one time we didn't have enough for a tip, we went to a store next door, bought something and got change back and ran it over to the waitress.
We're serious tippers.
Now, the place wasn't particularly busy at this time. Or rather, it was't busy at all. This is worth noting.
That night we paid at the beginning and went off to find our table as is customary. We needed a high chair and a booster seat. At Golden Corral they are usually in various places around the restaurant and we grab them. Apparently, Fire Mountain Grill does things differently. There were none to be found anywhere. We did some serious hunting. So, we wait for our server who is also supposed to bring us our drinks. And we wait. The husband decides to hunt someone up and he gets another server to bring us high chairs and a booster seat out of the back. (Please note that we aren't bothered by the fact that they weren't readily available. Some places do things differently. We were only bothered because we couldn't get our server to come out so we could ask for them.)
While he's looking for the other server, our server finally shows up and tells us don't worry that she'd be right back with our drinks. Husband comes back with the various baby confining devices and we sit for a few more moments. He gets up to get food for the 2 year old and himself while I'm feeding the baby. 10 minutes after the first meeting with our server, she comes back with our drinks.
She stays long enough to make comments about how cute my children are, but you get the impression that she doesn't actually think they are cute. Just that someone taught her that compliments=good tips. Then she says that she better leave now or she's going to want to have more of her own.
I didn't realize she was serious about that leaving thing.
She didn't come back for quite awhile. We had a very nice stack of plates in the center of the table. She got those, stayed long enough to compliment me on how pretty my long hair was and then disappeared again. At one point I wanted a refill on my drink and I kept waiting to see if she was going to come into view so I could flag her down for one. It never happened. My husband eventually got up and refilled it himself from the nearby soda fountain.
Shortly after that he spotted her on the other side of the restaurant sitting down with a patron and talking. At one point I got up to take the oldest kid to the bathroom. When I got back my husband told me that the server had come back long enough to tell us that it was time for her break and she was going out to smoke a cigarette. Did she offer to refill drinks or clear plates before she went? I'll give you three guesses.
We never saw her again. We finished eating, cleared our table and organized everything as much as possible for the girl walking around with the bussing cart. (We've waited tables before and we know how annoying it is for servers to have to clean up after a table that has had children eating at it.) And we sat a bit more. At this point we'd already planned on not tipping, but my husband wanted to tell her why personally. (Because if you don't tell people why you don't tip, they are generally going to assume that it is because you are cheap and not because they did something wrong.)
We waited a bit longer. It got to the point to where we couldn't wait anymore. While I went out to the car with the kids, my husband mentioned to one of the servers standing nearby that he had waited for our server but she had never turned up. And that he wasn't leaving a tip today because she was never around and still wasn't around. The other server kind of smiled at him and he left.
I told my husband that he probably should have talked to the manager instead, but he said he was afraid he'd get her into real trouble if he did that.
But honestly, that was the least attentive server we've ever had. And we do those buffet style places a lot. And don't get me wrong, I don't like hugely attentive servers. Especially the ones that touch you. But I think more than three times a meal is good, especially when one of those three times is being informed that they are going on their break.