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Good servers are constantly questioning their guests: Would you like a cocktail before dinner? Is your steak cooked correctly? Are you considering dessert this evening?
But restaurant etiquette dictates that the questions stop as soon as the check's dropped. No matter how lousy the tip, servers aren't supposed to ask their guests whether they could have done anything to make their experience better – even if the phrasing's exceedingly polite.
Staying mum isn't easy, especially since servers are trained to make sure their guests are happy. A poor tip doesn't seem too different from a restaurant goer yelping, "I'm having a terrible time!", a cry no capable server would ignore.
Yet the prohibition on checking in with bad tippers is ironclad: Rookies are frequently yanked into the manager's office after violating it, and a friend of mine (who probably should have known better) was recently fired for following up with guests who left her one dollar on a $60 check.
In her defense, one of the restaurant's managers had previously argued that servers should be able to ask guests what they did wrong. I'm inclined to agree with him: A two-percent tip means there's either a serious issue that should be brought to the server's attention, or the guest is so cheap he isn't deserving of kid-glove treatment.
Has a server ever asked you to justify your bad tip? Let us know in the comments.