Rock Bottom Brewery: Great Beer, Good Food and Self-Help Tipping

I recently killed an afternoon after work at the Rock Bottom Brewery at Ballston Commons, one of my favorite places to sit and enjoy a brew. Rock Bottom has a wonderful collection of beers brewed on premises by a master brewer. The food is good, although limited for vegetarians, which puts a bit of a damper on things. I am always satisfied with the nachos, though. Even if the selection is not great, what is there is excellent.

At my most recent visit, however, I paid my $12 tab with a ten and a five and waited about 15 minutes, reading the City Paper, and never got my change. Granted, I had planned to leave the change as a tip for the waitress, but there is still a social contract between a server and customer that had been broken. I at least wanted the option to leave the tip rather than having her assume that I didn’t want my change.

Is this weird? I am not a bad tipper and left her the money in the end but she seemed really offended when I asked for my change, as if I had asked to return the plate of onion rings for a refund after eating them.

When did tipping become compulsory? I am a big believer in rewarding good service, but part of that good service should include not assuming that the change is yours to keep.

4 Comments so far

  1. Dave Lifton (unregistered) on November 19th, 2006 @ 1:20 am

    One thing I’ve noticed recently is that sometimes, if the check is, say, $12.75 and I leave a $20, the server will bring back $7. Now, I know it’s only coins, but I could just as easily take the quarter and leave two singles, which is still more than 15%.

  2. Mik (unregistered) on November 20th, 2006 @ 8:03 am

    Since when do you cross the river Wayan? You must have taken a twelve hour flight to get there.

  3. Mik (unregistered) on November 20th, 2006 @ 8:07 am

    Wow – see what happens when you just scroll down….sorry about that Carl.

  4. Tipped_out (unregistered) on November 20th, 2006 @ 9:12 am

    I agree that a tip or the amount of it should not be guaranteed. It’s unfortunate, though that the reverse is waiters/waitresses who are deserving of a good tip are stiffed because of people who aren’t appreciative or aware of tipping etiquette (ie. some Europeans).

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