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June 23, 2009

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This is a very important topic to me. I am very big on service. It is very sad that it has to be a shock to receive good service. Just a few weeks ago, I went through the Taco Bell drive through to get a quick snack. Keep in mind, I am always prepared for the worst when it comes to service, especially at a fast food restaurant where they usually hire the best-of-the-best when it comes to customer service. Well, I was absolutley shocked when the man on the interphone spoke to me politely, clearly, and in a language I can understand (English), and had no problem taking my order. When I got around to the window he was just as professional then. I paid with cash and when he handed me my change, I handed him a dollar back. He asked if he had given me to much back, and I told him no that I just appreciated his service. I think he was more shocked than me to be getting a tip at a drive-thru window. So, anytime I receive good service, I try to make sure and reward with kudos to the employee or their management, or with the good ol' money which always seems to show appreciation and hopefully reinforce their good service. Good service is rare so reward it whenever you can!

@C.J. - Now thats a "tip" I can believe in. A tip for going above and beyond the norm. How I wish that is what tipping was instead of an expectation that I am supposed to give someone simply because they did their job. Because it is expected as part of a person's pay, it has no meaning and doesn't result in any better service. The service industry doesn't live up to it's name.

The heat shield is often a problem in older cars and can sometimes be safely removed. Perhaps your mechanic should have done that rather than tighten.

Q -

He said that we could remove it if the tightening didn't work.

I received amazing customer service at Wal-Mart yesterday! I ordered an above-ground pool for the kids for the summer and since Site-to-Store shipping is free, I had it delivered to the store nearest my house. When I went to pick it up yesterday, the box was too large to fit in my Trail Blazer. The gentleman waiting on me (I think he may have been a manager) was about to leave for lunch with one of his co-workers and offered to load the pool into the back of his truck and drive it to my house!! I was so shocked and appreciative, and accepted graciously. They followed me to my house, and as I did not have any cash on hand, I did have two gift cards to Academy and gave the cards to the guys for their genorosity. These two definitely went above and beyond. Thanks to them, the pool is together and filled with water today! I definitey notice and appreciate good customer service these days!

Sometimes it's worth spending a little more for better service. The old adage of "you get what you pay for" never has rung truer.

Oh yes - I bought a white shirt from Banana Republic that required hand washing. When I visited my parents a few weeks ago, my mother decided to do a load of laundry and threw my shirt into the wash. Unless I had a side-career as a belly dancer, my shirt was completely ruined. It shrunk and ripped!

I love, love, loved this shirt, so I went to BR to ask if they had any others that I could purchase as a replacement. I had bought it about a month earlier. The saleswoman checked the computer and all the nearby BR's to try to find the shirt, but no luck. Apparently, it was on a limited run.

Because they couldn't find me a replacement to purchase, they gave me a store credit for the value of the shirt!!! I couldn't believe it; I asked if they were sure, because it was completely my fault for the shirt being ruined, but they were insistent that I receive store credit because they couldn't find me a replacement.

I've written a letter to the store manager thanking them, because they went above and beyond my expectations.

@Apex - I agree! I hate tipping when eating-out! I hate tipping the baggage guy at the grocery store too. The reason is because of the unfairness all around. I go to a restaurant for the food, not for someone to serve me, and so I really don't get the choice to put my own order in and go grab my own food from the counter because so many times that's all the server will do. I also think that tipping a certain percentage of my bill to them is not appropriate especially when you are eating where the food and drinks are expensive. Why should I tip them based on my food price? If I felt like they went above and beyond their job then I think it is very necessary to reward them for that, but just doing it because "that's just how it is" sucks. It's not fair to the server as well because they don't get paid much by the hour because it's a "known thing" that servers get tipped. But there are so many things that people and cultures do "just because" or previous generations did it that way, so they just do it. I have devised my own system when it comes to tipping. This system also keeps me out of trouble with my overly generous wife. I tip $5 no matter what the bill price is. If my bill at a restaurant is $15, I tip $5. If my bill is $50, I tip $5. Now, $5 for a $50 bill doesn't seem great, but If we go to this local restaurant where the prices are steep but the food is good, I could spend $60 easy for just me and my wife to eat a simple dinner. Like I said earlier, if the server goes above and beyond I may give more. As for baggers, I have yet to have a bagger ask me if I want my groceries bagged. I hate the feeling I get when they are handing me my bags and I give them nothing. It's because I feel obligated to give them something even though I don't think it's fair. It's not that I am trying to be mean or overly frugal. Most of the time I end up giving them a dollar or two if I have it, but I don't ever carry cash, so I get to feel like a jerk when I don't give them anything. And you don't want to say, "Sorry, I don't have any cash on me" cause you know they aren't going to believe you. It's like those guys in big cities that walk up to your car at a stop light and start washing your windshield then expect you to give them money. That's not fair, I didn't ask that guy to do that. Just may take....

This is a very touchy subject in my household. While both my wife and I are very good tippers, we have a different view on "why we tip." Her feeling is because servers get paid such minimum wages that they rely on tips. My feeling is that it's not my problem what their wages are. I tip for service. If I don't get good service, why should I HAVE to tip? I should tip only when I feel it is appropriate and when a tip is earned!

I like C.J.'s point of view because of the following scenario:

If I go to McDonalds and order a Quater Pounder with Cheese, hold the onions. Since I asked to hold the onions, they are going to have to make a special order. Many times, they'll say, "Sit down and we'll bring it to you." You sit down, they bring you the food and then you leave (you don't even need to clean up your plates as they will do it for you). Would you tip at that point? Most would say "No". Then my response is "Why not? How is this different than going to a Steak House, having them bring your $50 steak, $10 drink and $15 desert to your table? Now you are expected to tip a minimum of $11.25." Did the McDonalds guy work any less?

I applaud all of you who do tip when you have a good experience and someone goes above and beyond expectations.

@Marc B. - My point exactly!

I've never seen anyone tip the grocery store bagger. It must not be done in my neck of sunny California. I have tipped them when they've help me out to my car and loaded the bags when it was an unusually large purchase.

Well for one thing, in most restaurants, the servers have to split a percentage of their tips to a bartender, hostess, food runner, and bus persons. They also get their tips taxed as long as they claim them. This leaves them with a little over minimum wage to deal with nasty, ungrateful, and often times rude people for hours on end. I have a 10 fold salary now than when I served for 7 years putting myself through college, and I don't do half of the work or deal with half of the nastiness. Also, the reason you tip based on percentage of sales, and it's because at a more expensive restaurant which the server is required to be more educated about beer, wine, large amounts of menu items, and usually in those places you have to tip out at least 2 or 3 different people per shift. I only go out to eat once a month and that's only when my husband is home from overseas, but when I choose to eat out, I tip what is acceptable which for good service is 20%. Terrible service 15%. Great service 25%. If you can't afford it don't eat there and if you disagree with tipping stipulations contact your local/federal legislature because they make the call on what minimum pay is for servers and go to Wendys.

Interesting. Should I decide to turn in my clunker, Subaru was on my list as one possible replacement. It wasn't at the top because I've been very happy with one of the Mazda dealers in town. I haven't been back there in quite a while though (Mazda's been out of warranty for half a decade meaning it goes to my indy mechanic for maintenance) so who knows if that's still true.

With a decent reference from a reliable source maybe Subaru will move up the list a notch assuming it's the dealer in town, and not the one way out on the lakeshore.

Now if only I could get an Outback turbo without the Limited package (and $33k pricetag).

My wife is a server, and I can speak first hand for what she does, and why tipping is necessary... in her case, she has to tip out her bartenders 10% of the drink order for the table, and another 5% for the host. This is not optional. If, in your example, the bill comes to $60, and $20 was drink orders, $2.00 goes straight to the bartender, and $3.00 would go to the host. If you only tipped $5 (as in your example), she made ZERO from setting your table, taking your order, picking up the food, delivering it and making sure everything is as you like it. Refilling/retaking your drink order, cleaning up and packing any left overs for you, taking a dessert order, delivering this dessert, clearing up everything (including dirty used napkins, uneaten food, etc...) taking your payment and getting the table cleaned, setting the plates/napkins/silverware and generally getting the area ready for the next customer.

So the next time you tip out $5 on a $60 order, try to remember that your waitress may end up with nothing at the end, or if you spend even more on your dinner, your waitress may actually OWE someone for waiting on you.

And to address the folks who have asked whether tipping at a sit down restaurant is different than someone bring out your order at Wendy's, ask yourself, do they wait on you hand and foot, clean up your trash for you, pack up your left overs, refill your drinks, etc...? No, he just walked from Point A to Point B, and left it at that. Did he come back to make sure you were all set when you were done? Big difference there...

I've had a horrible customer service experience lately with Select Comfort.

People who don't tip at least 15% when they eat out are completely ignorant to the amount of work it takes to be a waiter/waitress. I did it for one summer during college and literally cried every day! There are very rude patrons and it is exhausting! I agree w/the comments posted that "if you can't afford to tip, then go to Wendy's".

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