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My friend Ron and I had a nice evening at Outback one time (nice = I got to eat steak). The time flied as we bitched about various women in our life, and how seemingly illogical they can be... y'know, guy talk. Sports, work, women, and steak. Guy stuff. Part of my goal that evening was actually to ask out a waitress named Michelle, and as I'd yet to do this by the time we'd completed our meals, I said "yes" to "would you like to order a dessert or coffee?" The waiter came back, we ordered (me a sundae, Ron nothing as they had poor coffee). Waiter Boy put the sundae between us and said "you guys are sharing right?" Uhhh…

This struck me as somewhat... unusual. Ron immediately took it as an afront to his heterosexuality (which I personally don't question) and said "wrong freakin' county dude, this ain't Miami-Dade." I pulled the ice cream to me and wondered "why wouldn't he just give it to me? I ordered it." In other words, the waiter was probably presented with two choices:

  1. give it to us to "share". This would probably be totally acceptable to a gay couple, and would probably piss off some heterosexual people (i.e. Ron)
  2. give it to me. If we had intended to share, I'd have slid it over and we'd have done so. If I had intended to eat it myself (I did), no problem.

So, given those choices, which is least offensive. If we regard the goal of the server to increase his tip to the highest possible level (secondary goals like 'good customer service' being adequately measured by how "good" a tip is), which would help him achieve his goals the most?

Of course, this question and situation is predicated upon the fact that "straight" guys don't share desserts. Do they? If they do, it's beyond me. Aside from stealling some pudding from my Dad at Hoss's every now and then, I can't say I've ever eaten another man's dessert (that sounds pretty bad, and if you were on my college hockey team, you're laughing pretty hard right now). Do others? Hmm.

Anyway, I've always been a fairly good tipper (though the most I've tipped anyone was about $125), and as an "armchair psychologist," I've given a fair amount of thought to this topic. I often wonder, for example, what would happen if I took a sign that said "Your Tip So Far" to a restaurant and added and subtracted to the pool of cash laying beside it as the visit/meal progressed. Would the server work harder and harder as they saw themselves going from $3 to $5 to $8?

It seems I didn't have to wonder so much after all. In fact, there's a Web page at that explains it. The abbreviated list:

  • Touching
  • Squatting
  • Giving Candy
  • Being Helpful

Go figure. Touching is an obvious way to create intimacy or a more "personal" connection, as is squatting (eye contact). Squatting also has the subliminal impact of the server assuming the position of someone at your beck and call - someone "beneath" you quite literally (also the position of a beggar). Giving candy raised tips nearly 3%! The average candy costs a penny or two. Consider the economics of scale here! 🙂

At any rate, that's an interesting bit I picked up today. Steff hasn't shown (go figure) and I'm done wrestling with phpBB. Rock climbing is later today... I guess I'll go watch CSI:Miami now. David Caruso is such a poor actor... Ugh. Not saying I could do better... but I am saying that I bet many people could.