Thursday, November 29, 2007


The other day our family went out for dinner to the local restaurant "Montana's" in Westhills/Signal Hill area. We have been to this restaurant several times before, and the service is hit and miss at best. There are times we get fantastic service, and other times the service sucks big, but the last time it was just abysmal.
I can get into detail about why, but long story short the server we had should not be serving. Horrible. At the end of the dinner I wrote a big fat ZERO where the tip should have been on the credit card receipt. I haven't NOT tipped in a long time, as a matter fact I think the last time I didn't tip was when my mom asked me to pay for a lunch, and when you're eleven years old, you don't have much change in your pocket, so I just didn't have enough money for a tip.
I know that server's wages are calculated with tip in consideration but is this where the problem begins? Or is it just that we tip too much too often forcing the restaurateur to pay his servers less? I'll have some chicken and egg please.
Why do we tip?
We tip because we are supposed to. It's expected of us. 15% - 20% is the expected gratuity on a dinner, and no it's not "double the GST" anymore, that would be considered below the minimum. If you show up with a group at some restaurants "a 20% gratuity will be automatically included in the bill". Really? That tells me something. That tells me that you suck at hosting groups, and as a result of said suckiness you aren't tipped the maximum, so you'll just tip yourself. I'm avoiding these establishments like the bubonic plague.
A few years ago we go for a sushi lunch with a group of six. The service sucked as usual, and we paid as a group and left a small tip. The next time we go with the same group and the lady refused to give us a group bill, she billed us all individually and then said,
"We charge you separate because last time you not tip enough" No kidding? Last time we not tip enough cause you not give service enough. Needless to say, it was the last time we ate there.
Servers expect tips, and we, the unconfrontational mass, just throw money at them, further solidifying the justification to standardize the gratuity structure. I say, enough is enough. I say we redefine the tip. The following is a list of guidelines I will attempt to adhere to throughout the holiday season:

Alex's Tip Guidelines:

1. All tips start at zero. I am going to start making assumptions your boss is paying you for the work you were hired for. If you are working for someone as a server, you should be compensated fairly as a server, and not as 80% of a server. If you are being short changed because you are not receiving a tip, blame your boss.. not me. I'm not being cheap, I'm paying exactly what the menu is asking me to pay for your food, I don't haggle this price, and neither should your boss when it comes to your pay.

2. I'll decide what to tip. Don't tell me what the industry standard is cause guess what, you're not industry standard either. I've been known to tip over 25% if the service is great, but if you are having a bad ass day and decide to take it out on your patrons, guess what, no more tip. And if you hate your job? No tip. Bring me milk instead of cream for my coffee then ask me why I wanted cream and not milk? NO FRIGGEN TIP!

3. Buffet and Pick ups. No tip. If I am serving myself, that kind of makes you a moot point. You will not get a tip for me having to get my own food, and for the love of everything sacred, please don't expect a tip if I am picking up my food from your counter to take home. Pearl Express is a PICK UP ONLY restaurant and yet, when I pick up and pay debit, the debit machine asks me how much I should tip. Hey I know, how about negative 20%? Dumbasses.

4. Service is one thing, food is another. but if either of them suck.. No Tip. If the service is great, but the food sucks, I'm not paying for it. If I tell the server the food sucked and still get charged for it? two words. No tip. Why should we have to pay for food that sucked? This is a no brainer. If you did not like your steak cause it contained too much fat, you should offered a new one or have it removed from the bill. If neither options happen? I will use the gratuity or lack there of to satisfy the differential, aka.. no bloody tip.

We as Calgarians are beginning to accept lower standards in hospitality, and it's all due to the labour shortage forcing the industry to hire bottom-of-the-barrels. All one has to do is go to Vancouver and Lower Mainland area of BC to see the difference, to get a glimpse into the ghost of hospitality past. It's the "Hospitopia" where servers actually like their jobs, try hard to earn the tip, and do a damn good job at it.

I sit over my cold soup, look west, and sigh.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Changes to my blog

No more anonymous comments. Registered users only ;-) AND all comments will be moderated, so unless approved they just won't show.

Getting a little too confused as to who says what. And YES I know you can create a fake a gmail account and still post anonymously, but at least you have to work for it this time, and I'll most likely punt the comment anyway.

That being said.. Here's a great video:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Went to Starbucks today...

and said cockily,

"I'll have a Super Grande Quadruple Espressinoso Light Blueberries And Cream Half-Soy Full City Roast Nonfat Half-caf Organic Caramel Vanilla Iced Double-Shot Macchiato Black Tea Chai Foamed Shaken Sugar-free Cinnamon Eggnog Dolce Peppermint Gingerbread Pumpkin Spice Latte Thrice Blended Extra Hot With Three Ice Cubes Hold The Whipped Cream, One Sweet'N Low, and One Nutrasweet.. please"

Lady said.. "You wanted a Super Grande Quadruple Espressinoso Light Blueberries And Cream Half-Soy Full City Roast Nonfat Half-caf Organic Caramel Vanilla Iced Double-Shot Macchiato Black Tea Chai Foamed Shaken Sugar-free Cinnamon Eggnog Dolce Peppermint Gingerbread Pumpkin Spice Latte Thrice Blended Extra Hot With Three Ice Cubes Hold The Whipped Cream, One Sweet'N Low, and One Nutrasweet?"

Thinking she was on to me I said

"Yes please"

she said

"why would you want it extra hot and then three ice cubes?"

I said

"the cubes are to cool it down"

she said

"why extra hot then?"

knowing I was beat I tip my head to the coffee master and say,

"I'll have a grande vanilla latte"

she smiles.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Calgary to Banff

How about another time lapse? OK. This one is Calgary to Banff in four minutes, shot on sunday. Kinda speaks for itself. See if you can catch the cop in a speed trap soon after the banff park gates. ;-)

Monday, November 19, 2007

A HUGE Thank you!!!

It's not every day I feel this grateful, so you may not see these posts very often. I have never been more thankful than I am today. A quick little bit of background before I get into why I feel this way.
A while ago I run into an issue with my debit card, seems it was wearing out a little on the magnetic strip. Over time it got so bad that Safeway started to reject the attempts. I knew that I had a credit card backup incase my debit card was unreadable which gave me justification to wait before obtaining a new card. Recently though my personal credit card and my corporate credit card have been showing similar disabilities, I knew the time was close to replace them, and yet I seem to always have chosen the easy road to a familiar little town called Procrastinationton. (If you haven't visited, you should!)
Further adding to my magnetic card stripe problem, other issues were creating my wallet into a timebomb. My drivers license is worn and dirty, my safeway card and my airmiles card were neutered from trying to open locked doors (legally mind you) and my wallet itself was a torn and ripped and ready for replacement.
That being said, I would like to say a HUGE THANK YOU to the very pleasant human being who stole it last night. Please consider the $60 as "thank you" tax.
There seems to have been a little mistake however, Leona did not require a refresh of her purse / wallet and would like it back. If you choose not to give back her purse.. you will be hunted. You have three days.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

To and From Work, TIME LAPSE

Who doesn't get excited over those two words.. TIME LAPSE!!
Kind of reminds me of always asking the teacher to play a movie backwards, I always would love watching movies either backwards or fast. Normal Shmormal.
Oh and in case you're wondering what the dude is singing in dutch, it's something about being late for work again, and getting fired as a result. The "Kadang Kadang" is the sound of the train he is riding, but he is frustrated because the train won't go any faster and there is nothing he can do but eat his gouda sandwich and herring on the train before getting to work, and.. getting fired. Sad song, but it's kinda funny to hear this guy singing dutch. I laugh.

Sunday, November 4, 2007