Make That Three, Two, or One!

"Laugh Lines" Volume 5, Number 16

Our family went out for dinner at a popular restaurant in the Dutch country in Pennsylvania. One of the exceptional specialties on the menu was chicken pot pie. We couldn’t wait to taste the amazing tender chunks of dough, in a chicken gravy with melt-in-your-mouth tenderloins! Simply scrumptious and of course, very fattening! As the waitress-in-training nervously approached our table, she smiled and glanced at my mother first. My mother announced, “I’ll have the chicken pot pie.” Within a second, my father joined in, “You know, I’ll have the chicken pot pie, too.” The young waitress looked past me and went straight to my husband who was holding up three fingers, announcing proudly, “No question here—I’ll do the same. Make that three, and I’ll also have a large Coke.”

The waitress’s responsive giggle should have given us some clue or warning of what was to come, but we didn’t pay any attention. She simply said, “Wow, you’re gonna need that large Coke.”

Moments later as our order arrived, we noticed our waitress needed the aid of another waitress. Two trays were filled with plates. One plate of chicken pot pie for my dad, one for my mother, and three orders of chicken pot pie for my husband! We were stunned at first, then we all started laughing, realizing the waitress didn’t understand that “make that three” meant Dad wanted one, my mom wanted one, and my husband’s order made three!

I still don’t think she understood totally. Trust me, it’s been a long-time family joke. I’m just glad I didn’t say, “Hey – make that four!” We would have had nine plates of chicken pot pie on our table. (I got a hamburger instead!)

Here’s what I know, and I’m sad to report:

Many Christians leave their generous and pleasant attitudes in the car when they dine out. I was told by a popular restaurant owner in our town that her staff shudders with fear and discouragement when they know a Christian conference is in town. One of the managers said, “Some of these Christians are the worst. They don’t tip well, and they always complain. It feels like we can never do anything right for them.”

By all means, we probably had and have good reason to complain about the wait staff at some eating establishments, but that doesn’t give us permission to be mean, cruel or cheap. Here’s a few things to think about:

1. Most waitresses and waiters get a meager salary, and they solely depend upon their tips for survival. Keep that in mind when deciding what percentage to tip on your bill.
2. If your food doesn’t appear to be exactly what you ordered or is not good, remember most mistakes can be easily corrected. I’ve seen many not leave a tip for the waitress when something went wrong, when in fact the manager should have been alerted to the trouble.
3. In defense of a waitress-in-training, smiling or saying “good job” goes a long way.
4. One waitress told me she would never go to a certain church in town, because when congregants convened at the restaurant after church services, they were rude, harsh, cheap and not very compassionate. This has got to stop!

As I travel the roads and eat in hundreds of restaurants a year, I am on a mission to dispel the bad rap that many Christian consumers are getting. Share a smile, show generosity, be more than friendly, and take the time to learn and say the name of your waiter/waitress. You’ll be amazed at the service you’ll receive.

As I walked out of one restaurant in New York recently, the waitress followed me to my car. She said, “I’m on a break now. Thanks for the tip and for making me laugh. Do you have time to pray with me before you leave?” Yes, I took the time.

Luke 6:37 (The Message): “Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.”

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1 comment:

angelac said...

Sue, you are so right. Worship is not just what we do on Sunday morning at church but how we treat people all week long. My husband tells our congregation to make sure they tip well and use your "Jesus attitude." If you can't afford to tip 20% then you may not really be able to afford to eat out. I would love to have been there when the waitress brought Jeff three pot pies! I can just see your face!! See you at Conversations 10.