Young and Hungry

The Habit of Change at Sticky Rice

stick rice.jpgThe young waiter was efficient as hell, and he had to be. Sticky Rice was packed solid on a Tuesday night. Potential customers were lingering by the door, hoping to get a taste of the joint's B-grade sushi and tater tots. (Hey, here's an idea: Why don't you add a few more toasted sesame seeds to your nigiri, just to further drown out that flavorless fish?)

A perfectly mediorce meal was topped with a perfectly strange check ceremony. When I paid in cash, the waiter quickly returned with my change. When I started counting bills, he asked, "Oh, did you want the 50 cents?"

Taken aback, I said no and added the spare change to the tip. But in retrospect, I should have been more forceful about this bald assumption about my coinage. I'm sorry, 50 cents is not chump change. It is not automatically yours without my permission.

I asked the Twitterverse if this practice was cool and got a few responses:

  • @scottreitz: I don't think it's even cool if they ask if I want change. Don't make me say yes. Just bring me my money. I'll leave a tip.
  • @bonappetitfoodie: Decidedly uncool. Even if it's 50 cents, rather presumptuous & kinda rude to assume it's tip & you don't want your change back.
  • @msfmary: Either the waiter should ask if you want change when you give them the check or, preferably, just assume you do and bring it ALL
  • @xcanuck: My response: "Sir, it's ALL yours." and then I'd walk away with the bills. But I'm a bit of a jerk. :=)

Your thoughts?

  • anon

    Nothing worse then presumptuous help. I wouldn't have tipped him at that point.

    Hell you should have called the cops and had him arrested for theft. If the IRS can send two agents to a car wash for 4 cents...

  • anon

    Not cool. Also, slightly unrelated, the service at Sticky Rice is epically awful. I have been there several times, each time trying to give them another chance, and every experience is worse than the last.

    And the food isn't that great, either.

  • Bruce

    I once got lunch at a cheap Chinese take-out place. My change should have been 27 cents. They handed me a quarter and turned to go about their business. I was annoyed at the presumptuousness--when I'm paying in cash, I'll usually provide the correct change even if the cashier indicates that they'll let me slide on the pennies--but I didn't want to make a scene. I simply left, and never went back.

  • Pingback: Achieve More From Your Day Through Time Management Training

  • Non-twit universe

    I hope you are all spending your pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters well. Obviously, you have no experience in the service industry. Oh, the glory days when your server hefted around the coin dispensing device reminiscent of the bus drivers and trolley men of yore, but time, intelligence and efficiency has made this practice outdated. Your server, being "efficient as hell" obviously did not have the ready made change available to him to ensure you could make a five minute phone call from an oh so rare payphone. In all likelihood, as in most establishments, finding that change would have involved an additional wait for you while it was acquired from another server, the manager, or the bar. All of whom, given your description of the establishment, were all busy. While, there may be some validity that your tip should not be assumed, at 2.77 an hour it should be fair to think that efficient service (which has nothing to do with food quality) would have garnered at least that two/thirds of the entry toll onto VA-267 you were intent on being presented with. If you really need that fifty cents perhaps you can't afford to go out to dinner after all. Stay at home and eat ramen. Be appreciative of the thankless work that relies entirely on you the consumer to be paid a fair, barely livable wage.