A Scene from PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
Vol. 101. Published July 4, 1891.
“Augustus (penitently). Never mind—I won't do it again. Here 's our Waiter at last. Now we're all right!
[The Waiter puts a dish down upon another table, and advances with the air of a family friend who brings bad tidings.
Horatia. Will you kindly let us have that trout at once?
The Waiter (bending down to AUGUSTUS with pity and sympathy). Fery sôry to dell you, esbecially after keebin you so long vaiting, bot (thinks how he can break it most gently) ve haf zo many beople hier to-day, and zey haf shust dold me in ze gitchen zere is no more drout. Zis hote vedder ze drout, he vill nod stay!
Augustus (mildly). No, of course not—well, let me see, now, what can you—?
The E.A. Here, you Kellner, come here, can't you? What the—
Waiter (to AUGUSTUS). Von minute. I gom back bresently. (To E.A.) You vant your pill, Sir, yes?
The E.A. (exploding). My bill! Confound it! I want something to eat first. When is that Bisque coming?
Waiter. Ach, peg your bardon, ve haf peen so pusy all day. Your Bisque vill pe retty diregly. I go to vetch him. [He goes.
Horatia. Now we're farther off from getting any food than ever! I suppose you mean to do something, AUGUSTUS?
Augustus. Of course—certainly. I shall speak very strongly. (Bleating.) Waiter!
Horatia (with scorn). Do you imagine they will pay the least attention to a noise like a sixpenny toy? Lot them see you insist upon being obeyed.
Augustus. I am—I mean, I will—I am very much annoyed. (Fiercely.) Wa-ai-ter!
A Stern Waiter (appearing suddenly.) You vant somsing, Sir?
Augustus (apologetically). Yes; we should—er—like something to eat—anything—so long as you can bring it at once, if you don't mind. "We—this Lady is rather in a hurry, and we've waited some little time already, you see.
The Waiter. Peg your bardon, zis is nod my daple. I send your Vaiter. [He vanishes.
The E.A. Scandalous! over twenty minutes we've been here! Ha! at last! (A Waiter appears with a tureen, which he uncovers.) Here, what do you call this??....”
Sandy Bigara (2014): And now, as you can see – Waiters have been getting rough treatment since at least… 1891? And I do NOT agree with ill treatment of any staff at any event – I think that Becks put it quite succinctly in the following open letter to all patrons globally.
HOW TO TREAT YOUR WAITER WHEN YOU EAT OUT AT A RESTAURANT: THE WAITER’S VIEW
To be a waiter often requires long hours of work. We run up and down with very short breaks, especially if one is working a double shift which usually goes from around 10am to 11pm/12pm (that’s a 13 to 14 hour shift)
Money is made off of tips from our customers, and the standard is usually a 10% tip, or more if you feel the waiter deserves it, and has gone out of their way to serve you.
The reason I'm bringing this up is because there are many patrons who don't seem to understand the concept of tipping. Either tips are extremely low or completely non-existent. There are cases where a patron has every right not to tip, for example if the waitron has been outright rude or service from the waiter has been terrible. But, in the case where you have received good service and you are satisfied, it is only courteous to tip 10% to show your appreciation. As I said, waiters rely completely on tips.
Now, obviously it is your money and you are free to do with it what you please, but please consider that you have received a service - and it’s never nice to have to work for free (YOU wouldn’t work for free). There have been times where I have received R2 tips or similar, on bills that were R500 or over... These larger bills have usually required lots of work, fetching drinks, food, and catering to other requests (which is in our job description of course, so it’s no issue at all) and as far as I know, a job well done deserves payment. These very low tips often come with no complaint about bad service, and in fact often the patrons will have complimented for good service. So why the low tip? Unless your waiter has been a nightmare and really doesn't deserve it, consider a decent tip next time you are eating out.
Treatment of Waiters
There are Patrons who scream at waiters, and treat their waiter like a dog… for things that are completely beyond the waiters control – these Patrons need a wake up call. Screaming and swearing at a waiter because you don't like the food, or because the food is taking longer than you expected, is completely unnecessary. You are actually the one being rude in that instance.
The waiter does not control how the food tastes or how long it takes to prepare (Unless the food took longer because your waiter forgot to fetch it from the food station and deliver it to your table - in which case you will usually be able to tell as the food will have gone cold), please in future, address your complaints to a Manager who can take it up with the Kitchen staff.
A customer who screams and loses their temper with a waiter usually only succeeds in making them self look bad. Please keep in mind; some things are beyond the waiter’s control, so it isn't necessary to scream at them for it. As a waiter myself, if I have an issue with quality of food or the length of time when I eat out, I politely request that the waitron speaks to the chef or calls the manager for me. The only time I moan at a waitron is if they are rude and/or unhelpful when an issue arises. But the way some customers behave is inexcusable. I have had customers who have reduced me to tears, screaming in my face, for things that really didn't have anything to do with me. A waitron is essentially a messenger between you and the kitchen. We take the order, put it through and then bring it out when it is done. What happens in between is out of our hands for the most part.
It seems a lot of people forget that waiters are human beings, with other endeavours in their lives, and loved ones who care about them. Many of us are students and similar.
How I like to think of it: Treat the person how you would like your son/daughter to be treated if they were working as waiters.
I'm sure those customers who rant and rave inappropriately would not enjoy their own children/family/friends being treated in such a way. As I have said a few times, it is a different story if your waitron is rude, but otherwise my point stands.
Original article written by Becks J MacFarlane.
Edited by Sandy Bigara