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This Is Just The Tip Of The Waitstaff Iceberg

, , , | Right | October 18, 2021

Automatic gratuity is there to protect the staff (and the business). Because large parties are an extra burden to bear. Because if one person’s section is bogarted by a large party, their night is sink-or-swim based on your “charity”. Because the number one reason service staff will have a breakdown or spontaneously quit their job is getting screwed on a large bill.

Cue this one high-maintenance sort and his family of twelve. Despite their best efforts to run me ragged, everything went super smooth and genial. Then came the bill.

Customer #1: “Uhh, excuse me, but why is there 18% gratuity? I’d like to write in my own tip.”

Me: “And you can! There’s a line below where can add whatever you’d like on top of the gratuity, and it’s much appreciated.”

Customer #1: “No, no, no. I’m talking about the principle! I always tip above 20%, but having it forced on the customer feels unfair.”

Me: *Playing coy* “Well, if you wanted to tip above 20%, you can just add the 2% or whatever on the tip line underneath.”

Customer #1: “It’s the principle!”

I just thanked him and walked away. He sat there stewing for fifteen minutes while his family was polishing off desserts and gathering their things to leave. It was a situation best ignored until they leave.

And sure enough, he had signed the bill with no extra tip — totally shocking — but managed to write out an entire novel on the front and back of his bill, addressed to the owner, detailing why automatic gratuities are the worst thing ever and how much more he would have tipped if it wasn’t an imposition.

One of my first service jobs was at a corporate place where the gratuity was conditional on large parties, and at best you could only ASK the party for permission to apply it. Most said it was fine, but of course, that wasn’t always the case.

One night, my entire section was cordoned off for a large party of twenty, mostly teenagers, and they did obnoxious things like ordering steaks well done, eating half of them, and then complaining they wanted new ones, or asking for extra drinks when I was explicit about no free refills but still complaining when the bill came, etc. I was gutted because I knew what was coming with the $400 bill.

Me: “Hey, you guys cool if we add a gratuity?”

Customer #2: “What’s that?”

Me: “It’s an 18% tip added to the bill to ensure staff—”

Customer #2: “Nah, it’s cool, we got you.”

I let out a long sigh and put my head down in shame. They left me $15. My tip-out on the party was $20, and I would never screw the rest of staff, so I took a net loss of $5 for the night. I was shaking and ready to quit. Managers basically said, “Bummer, but it’s life. See you tomorrow.”

I didn’t work there for much longer.

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This Doctor’s Inability To Listen Is Nauseating

, , , , | Healthy | October 18, 2021

After I’ve complained about stomach pain for a few days, along with vomiting and nausea, my mom takes me to the ER.

Doctor: “Have you considered you might be pregnant?”

Mom: “Excuse you?”

The doctor turns away from my mom and takes my hands, moving her chair closer.

Doctor: “I know it may be hard to admit this in front of your mom, but you have to consider the chance that you might be having a child soon.”

She keeps on talking like that, giving me recommendations and numbers to call for help with teen pregnancy. My mom and I are looking at her in horror, until my mom can’t take it anymore and leaves the room.

Me: “Lady. I am, one, a fifteen-year-old virgin, and two, asexual, with a girlfriend. No. I am not pregnant. Can you let go of my hands and actually do some sort of exam now?”

Doctor: “Sweetie, things like this can happen by accident. Maybe your boyfriend and you were not—”

Before I got the chance to correct her, my mother came back into the room with a nurse, who told the doctor the head nurse was calling her. I ended up being seen by a different doctor, who sent me to do some actual exams. After a lot of different exams and many weeks of pain, whatever I had finally passed. We never knew what it was, but it was certainly not a child!

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Shopping Follows The Circle Of Life

, , , , | Right | October 18, 2021

We’re a popular outlet and it’s a Saturday, so it’s beyond crowded. A panicked parent has approached my manager; she’s lost her son and has given a description.

Manager: *Via headset* “All right, team, we’re looking for [Child], three years old, [description of clothes]. His mother is here and he is not accompanied by other adults!”

Doors are shut, music is turned off, and my manager climbs on a waist-level shelf and starts talking LOUD.

Manager: Attention shoppers! We’re looking for a young boy, wearing a black [Brand] shirt, blue shorts, and white [Brand] shoes, with blonde hair. Again, we’re looking for—”

Customer: “EXCUSE ME?!”

He holds up a child perfectly matching the description, “The Lion King” style.

Little Boy: “HELLO! I am looking for my mum? She is tall and blonde and has a large purse, but I am not allowed to say her name to strangers!”

Mother and son were reunited and shopping resumed. We got glowing reviews from several shoppers.

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A Riveting Historical Account

, , , , , | Learning | October 18, 2021

This story happened to my wife when she was taking an oral exam at university. The subject in question was the early modern period — about 1450 to 1800. The professor in question was a kindly old man, the gentle grandfather type. The setting in question was a stuffy room in a concrete brutalist building on a warm day in June.

My wife had to give an overview of the English monarchy in the early modern period, which is a pretty daunting question. She started with the Wars of the Roses, Henry VIII, etc. Meanwhile, the professor was listening with his eyes closed, nodding and murmuring agreement.

After my wife got to the English Civil War, she was struggling to recount more and ended her answer by telling the professor that this was about all she knew, silently hoping it would be enough to pass the exam. To her horror, there came no reply from the other side of the desk, only an old professor with his eyes closed, silent.

She coughed and got a soft snoring sound as a reply. She turned around to the other students in the room that were preparing their exams, but all the help she got was some muffled laughs.

My wife coughed again and scraped her chair across the floor until the old guy opened his eyes, saying, “Yes, miss, what you told me about the House of Hannover is correct.” My wife said her goodbyes and left the room, baffled.

She passed her exam, so whatever she was saying until the professor fell asleep made enough sense that he finished replying to his own question in his head.

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The Shinto God That Broke The Camel’s Back

, , , , | Related | October 18, 2021

My girlfriend’s mother is the worst bigot I have ever had the misfortune to meet. She is a Japanese Christian, straight, cisgender female; she looks down on homosexuality, refuses to believe that bisexuality is a thing, scorns transgender people, denounces any non-Christian belief as sinful, believes in sexual abstinence before marriage, thinks any relationship that is not exclusive is not a relationship, and insists on traditional gender roles. Pretty much the only nice thing I can say about her is that she doesn’t seem to be racist; I’m a black male, and I’ve never heard her scorn me for that. The family moved here to Canada while the kids were in middle school, and I met my girlfriend in high school.

Chris Rock once said, “Whoever you hate will end up in your family.” Well, my girlfriend’s family is the embodiment of that quote, and thanks to those prejudices, her mother is no longer a welcome part of the family. Her father, bless the man, divorced her and got custody of the kids after it turned out their own children weren’t exempt from her bigotry.

My girlfriend is the fourth of five children; twin sisters, a brother, her, and her younger sister. One of the twins is a lesbian, the other is trans, the brother is very effeminate, and the youngest sister is bisexual and is currently in a polyamorous relationship with her boyfriend and girlfriend. All of them have been sexually active since they came of age; currently, only the brother is married.

As for my girlfriend… Well, she’s not comfortable with the fact that she basically conforms to her mother’s beliefs. She and I have a largely non-sexual relationship, and I’m built like a brute, which means I tend to do a lot of the heavy lifting — both figuratively and literally. We currently live together but do not have plans to get married, and I’m ashamed to say that I’m not as good a cook as she is. I’m trying to learn, I swear!

Her mother goes out of her way to drop in on us every so often, acting civil while making not-so-subtle insults toward her other children under the pretext of “visiting her daughter like a good mother should”. Having been raised to show respect when you receive respect, I’m unfortunately too cowardly to try and push back against her, given that she doesn’t insult us.

Then, one fateful day, she happens to stop by while we’re watching an anime together. We watch with Japanese audio and English subtitles, and we happen to pause the episode while a certain name is on the screen; during a lull in the conversation, I notice the name and ask my girlfriend about it.

Me: “Kagutsuchi? What does that name mean?”

Girlfriend: “It’s the Shinto god of fire.”

Me: “Huh. I’ve always been curious about Shinto gods.”

Mother: “Why on earth would you be interested in that sort of heresy?”

Me: “Because they come up a lot in games I play. I’m always looking up what a name means, but when it turns up something like ‘sun goddess,’ I go, ‘Oh, that’s an entire creation myth,’ and I go back to my game.”

Mother: “Good.”

Me: “No, not good. I shouldn’t be so ignorant of other peoples’ beliefs. I just know that if I start reading about it, I’m gonna keep reading about it until my battery is dead and I lose all my progress. One of these days, I need to sit down and actually read some of that stuff.”

Girlfriend: “Maybe not on your own. I could help teach you. I know a lot about the traditional Shinto stories.”

Mother: *Suddenly outraged* “I can’t f****** believe this!”

Me: “What? You can’t believe that people actually want to know about different cultures and beliefs?”

Mother: “You’re just freaks like all the rest!” *Points at [Girlfriend]* “I was so glad you were sane, and it turns out you’ve been learning all that bulls***!”

Girlfriend: “You want to talk about bulls***?! You’ve been treating [Brother] and all my sisters like monsters! What’s wrong with accepting them for who they are?!”

Mother: “I didn’t have children so I could be surrounded by a bunch of [homophobic slur]s and heretics!”

Me: “Then, clearly, you didn’t want a family!”

Mother: “What did you just say?!”

Me: “Your children aren’t items! You don’t get to decide how they live their lives, what they believe in, or who they love! If you want to dictate what sort of people they are and who they associate with, you don’t want a family. You want an inventory!

Mother: “You dare?!”

Me: “You’re d*** right, I dare! I’ve had to listen to you b**** about your children every time you’ve come in here, and you already make me sick! I can’t even imagine what sort of h***ish suffering you’ve inflicted on your children in whatever time you spent in the same household with them! If you’re going to scorn your daughter for even knowing about a belief other than your own, I’m done putting up with your bigotry!”

Mother: “I won’t let you—”

Girlfriend: “You don’t get to ‘let’ us do anything! I made myself put up with you when you would act nice toward us, but now I realize how stupid I was to even entertain your bigotry! We’re human beings, living our own lives, and you have no right to decide what we believe in or what kind of life we live! Now GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!

That last statement had a force to it like I’d never heard out of her before, and [Mother] was left sputtering for a moment before she fled from the building. As the door closed, the adrenaline wore off, and we sat back down and hugged one another, recovering a bit from the aftershocks.

The make-light mood of the episode we were watching was not something we wanted to partake in after that encounter, so we turned the TV off, and my girlfriend spent the rest of the day teaching me about some of the Shinto gods. That was the last time her mother ever came by our place.

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