It wasn't just Grandpa Charlie that was guilty of speaking without first engaging his cranium maximus at the weekend, there was this old duffer too....
"That was just lovely" says he as I bring him his bill. He was an affable enough sort of chap, decent line in customer to waiter patter - wine, the rising price of beef, and weirdly enough the new iPhone which he clutched throughout the meal. I crave all three so I was right in tune with his line of thought. He and his extended family were easy to serve if a little boisterous for my liking. What ever happened to slow, lazy Sunday afternoons?
"Now lets see the damage then shall we" he says as he unfurls the little receipt. He fakes a look of horror. I responded with suitable amateur dramatics. If I had a pound for every time I have to do that I'd be minted. But I don't so I'm not. Bad acting completed he stood up to pay me away from the table. Men of a certain age prefer to handle such monetary affairs away from women and small children. No seriously they really do. It's so they can stiff the waiter in private but mainly because they like acting the big fella. I knew it was coming, or not as the case may be, the stiffing that is. I can always tell when I'm about to be shafted, my ass twitches a bit and pockets rattle a little.
He produced a fat roll of crisp notes and counted them out very precisely. Then he looked up and turned to me and said, and remember waiters don't lie,
"Now then young sir, you must be too old to be expecting a tip eh?" The sneaky fucker said it low but firmly so that no one else would hear him but me.
"Excuse me sir?" I heard him alright I just wanted him to say it again incase I was dreaming or stuck in some sort of bizarro drug induced nightmare where people ask ridiculous questions, like The Weakest Link.
"You must be too old to be expecting tips from people. That's for the young 'uns" he says as he stuffs his fat roll, honestly it was like a salami, back into the pocket from whence it came. Funny that, I thought, it was only but a moment ago he was calling me "young man". Which is it you tight fisted old goat?
"Sir, tipping is entirely at your discretion." I wore a look of barely concealed anger and constrained dislike. Much like Anne Robinson. I mean how did he expect me to take it? Eh?
"It is indeed and I only tip youngsters who need a little extra pocket money. Old pros like you don't need any extra." He even winked when he said it. Winker.
Yes "old pros" like me are rolling in it. I take a champagne bath most evenings and eat caviar and fois gras like most people eat toast and jam. It's a Kings life for us "old pros". I mean I only turn up to work when it suits me, I'd rather be playing quoits on the deck of my weekend schooner. He shook my hand, told me I'd done a great job and then turned to rejoin his table.
Not only had he stiffed me, which I can live with, he was justifying it to my face. Which was a new one, even on an old pro like me. So just to clarify, there are no waiters that are too old, too young, too rich, too skint, too fat, too thin, too comfortable, too busy, too hungry to accept a tip. If you want to tip then tip, if not then keep you cash in your pocket and shut the fuck up. I need not listen to your ball achingly poor excuses for not tipping.
Tipping is indeed discretionary and so is letting you and your family into the restaurant on Sunday afternoon without a booking. Or I'll let the non-drinking vegan new start deal with you the next time. Ha!
Old pro my ass.........
Old pro my ass.........