Personal ponderings from a natural night-owl!

Archive for May, 2008

Duck, Duck Loose

Strange Maps is one of the 33 blogs I follow (it’s not as hard or time consuming as it sounds with Google Reader on my protopage!). This post there a few days ago really caught my attention and imagination!

In January of 2002 29,000 plastic bath toys washed overboard en route from China to the US. Their journey has revealed duckloads of information about ocean currents to scientists, largely because they are made of durable plastic, watertight, and much more likely to be reported when seen.

It’s taken 15 years, but the ducks are now predicted to reach the shores of Britain this summer. Now stop and think about that for a minute. Ducks lost in the PACIFIC OCEAN are about to reach Britain, in the ATLANTIC OCEAN! Their journey has included a five year freeze in arctic ice, moving a mile a year through the Bering Strait before thawing and resuming their watery trek toward Britain. There’s another article here about their predicted landing.

Sometimes truth IS stranger than fiction!

Cheap Women

About two years ago, I decided waitressing would be something fun to try and got a part-time, lunch-time job at a nearby restaurant. Now, I wanted a classy experience with good return on my time, so the restaurant I picked is a top notch, 5 star establishment. This is not Chuck-E-Cheese; we rarely get kids there at all – mostly business people schmoozing clients or doctors who visit regularly. The average lunch bill per person is about $23.

I love working there! I love to entertain, so I pretend that the whole restaurant is my large home dining room and everyone there is my personal guest. There’s no work or stress to bring home, there’s an invigorating pace when the customers come in, it occupies just a few hours a week, and I average 23% in tips. Management is super flexible when I need to be home for a sick child or take a day away to go to a presentation at school. And I’m learning how to cook new recipes and expanding my taste horizons, which is a big accomplishment for someone who wouldn’t even try chocolate pudding when she was little (according to my mom!).

But far an away the most disappointing part of the job has been discovering how cheap most women are when it comes to tipping. I kid you not – when a table of women comes in, all the servers hold their breath hoping they don’t get assigned to it. Now, I understand that times are tight all around. And if you receive poor service, you have every right to compensate the server – or not – accordingly. But if you can’t afford to tip the wait staff appropriately, please don’t eat out!

Case in point: I serviced a table of four middle-aged women the other day. They had obviously been to our restaurant before as they were familiar with the menu, so our upscale prices were not a shock. They came near the end of lunch seating, so we weren’t swamped or slow to service them. They all had special orders, which is also typical for a table of women, but never bothers me. (I always order things the way I want them, too. Think high maintenance a la “When Harry Met Sally” and that’s me!).

When they ordered additional salads, I brought exactly what they wanted but rang it a different way and saved them $5 – and mentioned it to them so they wouldn’t be surprised when the bill came. As far as I know, every lunch order was made exactly as they wanted it – at least they made mention of that fact and said they were impressed. Their glasses were never empty, they loved their desserts, and when I switched out their sugar caddy for one with more Splenda, I did it so smoothly that one even said, “Oh…I was going to ask for more Splenda because I thought we were out, but I see some right here!” I even took their picture for them.

All in all, I was feeling fantastic about my service to them and when they paid the majority of their $127 bill with a $100 gift certificate, I was confident that the standard 20% or more was coming my way. But alas, it was a table of women, so I was disappointed but not really surprised when my tip was a mere $15 (less than 12%).

So ladies, if you are eating out with the girls, take some advice from a server in the know. The standard compensation these days for good service is 20% to 25%. If the service far exceeds your expectations, tip more. This especially holds if you are paying by credit card, because many restaurants deduct those 3% to 5% credit card processing from their servers’ paychecks. Do our gender a favor and DON’T be a cheap woman!

Read Any Good Books Lately?

June is mere weeks away, and that means summer reading time is here! I’ll be looking for a few good books to read. Do you have any recommendations?

I have only 4 books on my list right now:

1. Randy Pausch’s “The Last Lecture.” I’m currently 17th in line for it at the local public library, so it might be a while yet!

2. “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, only because I’ve heard a few people talking about it and it’s popped up on a few blogs.

3. Cokie Roberts’ “Founding Mothers: The Women who Raised our Nation” recommended by my DAR chapter regent who is an avid reader.

4. I would also like to read Diane Rehm‘s book “Finding my Voice” as she is an NPR radio talk show host who I very much admire.

I also need to catch up with authors Tami Hoag and James Patterson. And I might do a little Harry Potter review reading, since there’s another movie due out this fall and oldest daughter Emily has now read book 7 more than I have!

Now, I am a fast reader, so that whole list of books up there will only get me a few weeks into June. I need more ideas!

How about you? What books do YOU hope to read this summer? Tell me via the comments and maybe I an expand my reading list.

Incredibly Stacked

Why we license pilots…(subtitled “Why Planes Have Front Windows”)

Read here


Watch here.

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