Skip to content

Our Waiter Was Rude So We Left A REALLY Big Tip

December 18, 2014


Welcome to the Tap House. My name’s Carl, I’ll be taking care of you folks tonight. Can I start you folks off with something to drink?

Yeah, I think I’ll have a water.

And you, sir?

What beers do you have on tap?

We have. . . .

And he was gone. Mid sentence he left and rushed to the table next to us. He picked up a stack of bills and then quickly hurried out the door. My three business associated and I just stared at each other.

That was weird.

There’s a story there, of course. How often do we make snap judgements based on incomplete information? I’m a big Louis L’Amour fan. In his autobiography, “Education of A Wandering Man” he tells of a time when he had a job digging foundation holes for some government barracks. Each man was armed with a shovel. An average digger could dig one hole per day. L’Amour wasn’t average. He could typically dig two per day. The laborers were paid by the day, so there was no incentive for him to double the output of his coworkers, he just did to challenge himself. There was one other guy on the crew who was as good as L’Amour. They would regularly challenge each other to see who would produce the most each day. One day around noon, they had both finished their first hole of the day and were taking a break leaning on their shovels before starting on the next one. At that moment, the foreman came out of his office.

I’ll have no slackers on my crew. You two are both fired.

The lesson of course, being that by acting hastily, the foreman had let his two best workers go. (I have to wonder how good a foreman he was if he didn’t know who was doing the best work, but L’Amour doesn’t touch on that.)

Think about your office. Are there times where at first glance something looks wrong, but with complete information the view changes?

While working at Microsoft I had a manager named Susan. She told me about a time she needed to retrieve email from her spam folder. But, the way Microsoft had their network setup, the spam mail was stripped out before it ever got to the mailbox. It went into a system quarantine folder for 10 days and then was deleted. Susan needed a particular email that the system had decided was spam. She had to physically travel to the datacenter and use a special computer in the datacenter to search through her spam mail. The computer was isolated because most spam also includes viruses. The IT department didn’t want to allow the possibility that a virus might infect a user looking at their spam mail.

Susan made the trip and started looking through her spam folder. The program she was using had a “preview” pane. When she scrolled over a message, the message was displayed on a part of the monitor. Well, a spam folder also holds a lot of porn messages too. They are probably the worst type of spam. Just as Susan was scrolling past one of the porn messages, and while it was displayed on the screen, a coworker walked through the datacenter.

No. This isn’t what it looks like!

Hey, no worries. It’s cool.

No, you need to believe me that I’m not down here surfing porn!

Eventually our waiter returned.

I’m really sorry. It’s just when I saw the stack of bills on that table I knew the people had “dined and dashed.”

I hate when people do that.

Yeah, their bill was $130 and they left about $20 in ones on the table. It’s not my money, but they still stiffed me for a tip. Where were we? Drinks! What can I get you?

We didn’t really talk about it over dinner, but when the checks came, I decided he had been a good waiter and I felt bad that people had cheated him on the tip. My meal was $22. I left an $8 tip, slightly more than 30%.

We really liked the Tap House. Although I was leaving the next day, we typically went there at least a couple of times per week when I was in Louisville.

Two weeks later I was back in Louisville and we were back at the Tap House. And I was with the same group of coworkers. I pointed out that we were sitting at the same table that the people had dined and dashed from.

I felt bad for the waiter. I left him a very nice tip.

Yeah, we came in the following night and had the same waiter. He thanked us because apparently we all left big tips.

Nothing could have reinforced more clearly that while I don’t share geography, religious affiliation or history with my coworkers, we share a common view of what’s right and wrong.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and one grandchild.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (
LinkedIn (
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply