I went to a South Beach restaurant for brunch today. The food and service was subpar. I’d anticipated going to this place for awhile, so disappointment exists. This restaurant, like most in SoBe, has one of those auto-gratuity policies: they add 18% to your check without even asking. I really don’t like extra charges — which are optional — being added to anything I pay for, especially when the service sucked.
Hopefully you all know that this auto-gratuity is optional, and can be removed with patron request. I had my waiter remove it. I did leave a tip of about 10% of the check, which was still more than they even deserved.
Why does this story matter? Because I’d never done that before — removing the gratuity. Because most people, in that same situation, would have just paid it, left nothing extra if they didn’t enjoy their experience, and moved along. The reason this mattered was because I had to say to my waiter, the person who was directly benefiting from the gratuity, “take that off of my check.”
Those 6 words, in that order, would never come out of some people’s mouths because some people will do anything to avoid friction. Even pay a gratuity at a restaurant when they didn’t even enjoy the meal, just to avoid making that statement.
This story has nothing to do with money. It’s about saying the thing that’s on the tip of your tongue that fear is holding in your mouth. Not accepting the terms that were handed to you and rearranging the room to your liking, metaphorically speaking. Some of us never do so because we don’t want to know how others will react. But I’ll help you in this regard: when you claim your space, people respect it and stay out of your way. When people see that they can make your plate and that you’ll obediently eat it no matter what, they won’t take care in preparing your food. You must decide which way it goes.