Understanding Reality After COVID!

by Ray Bridgeman

We are all ready to get back out there and do regular things, movies, concerts, vacation, hell just going out to eat without temperature checks, hand sanitizer at every corner along the way, and being able to sit at a bar without the bank teller sneeze guard in front of you. Can we all please try to remember how we should act when going out in this new “Normal World”? I mean, come on, airlines are having to stop serving alcohol because apparently, we forgot we can’t get blitzed out of our mind during our flight and abuse the staff? Remember, our favorite restaurants and bars have been just as anxious for us to come back as well. I thought this may be a good time to remind the public of some things. This comes from someone with over 20 plus years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. 

I absolutely cringe when I hear someone make the comment, I don’t tip for bad service. Especially when the reason for the bad service is the steak was over or underdone, I didn’t like the cocktail, or the food took too long. Most people won’t even inform their server of these issues, oh, and guess what, the waiter or waitress didn’t prepare your food or mix your drink. Nine times out of ten, customers won’t complain, so their server has the opportunity to fix the issue. They will just stiff them! Server wages across the country are about $2.85 or so an hour on average. Standard practice is a 10% tip for subpar service, not $0. Come on, $2.85 an hour, and we turn into the professional restaurant critic. This industry has been really impacted especially hard during the pandemic. You are going to experience a shortage of staff now, so can we all turn off the expected perfection meter. If you are happy with your service, 15% is the minimum tip, and nothing wrong with a 25% plus tip for outstanding service. Please, please, please, notify your server if something isn’t to your liking and let them make it better. Don’t be that person that takes out their frustration when the bill comes, and you didn’t say anything. If you have never been in the service industry, it’s not as easy as it looks, and if you have experience and you are stiffing servers, not cool. There is no excuse for being cheap, so if you don’t want to tip appropriately, go to your nearest fast-food establishment.  

Can we all not be so quick to be the online food critic too. There is a saying with the social media electronic world, think before you press send. Our local favorite drinking establishments are trying to get back on their feet. Some are having difficulty finding enough staff, some of these places had to lay people off for a long time, and those employees found other jobs. So, before you are so quick to go out there and bash someone on Yelp or wherever about how long it took your favorite umbrella drink to come, just remember they are doing the best they can with what they have to currently work with. Please, no matter which way you lean politically or on vaccines or mask-wearing if an establishment is still working off seating restrictions, don’t flip out about the “we are at 100% capacity now”. It may just be that they don’t have the assets in place yet to pack the restaurant. Again, think before pressing send, commenting, or flipping out.  

Traveling is another hot topic now. Should I do it? Am I comfortable? Plan etiquette. It is customary to wait until it’s your rows turn to disembark. Airlines always make the accommodation if you are running late for your connection, let the flight attendant know, and they will have you exit first. If you are landing in paradise and just can’t wait to get there, relax; the island isn’t going anywhere. Don’t be that person who waits to hear their name actually called at the airport warning the doors will be closing, and you are finishing up your beer at the bar, then make the mad dash to the plan just in time. We could have left early! On that topic, if you are traveling internationally, especially to one of those countries where you make more in a week than your bartender, server, or cab driver makes in a year, don’t stiff them. Come on, really, principal means more to you than them putting food on their table? Do yourself a favor, take notice of the local surroundings while you are on your excursions. The living conditions are not usually what we are used to and definitely nothing in comparison to that 5-Star Resort you are staying at. Don’t be that guy, tip! 

Ok, last pet peeve. Movies are back! I know we have all been living on our phones over the last year-plus of the shutdown, but I go to the movies for a good time too. I am not there to listen to your phone conversation about what your likes and dislikes are. There is nothing worse than when you are at the best part of the movie, and someone’s ringer goes off, or you think now is the best time to check your Facebook or reply to a message or email. Come on, no one is that important that you can’t turn your phone off for a couple of hours.  

So, we are coming back to normal; let’s all just try to make it a better normal!

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