Tag Archives: Seriously?

Tips aren’t automatic

I’m tired of crappy service at restaurants.  I’m tired of friends being appalled if I don’t give a 15% tip to the serving staff even if they don’t deserve it.  It’s not automatic.  It’s not that hard to deserve a good tip.  Having been a waiter myself, I know how you’re supposed to serve.  We’re doing no favours if that tip is just automatic.  So, here’s my list of minimum things you must do in order to qualify for even the basic 15%.

Brunch example

  1. Greet us at the door within 1 minute of arriving and seat us (if it’s full, I’ll make the choice and your tip won’t be affected).
  2. Give us menus when we sit.
  3. After 2 minutes, come to the table and ask us if we want coffee to start.  We do.
  4. Bring coffees immediately.  Make sure ample condiments accompany.
  5. When our menus are flat on the table and we look ready, come back to the table and take our order.
  6. Bring our meals no more than 10 minutes after we order.
  7. Refill our coffees without being asked.
  8. Half-way through our meals, come back and ask how things are.  Bring the coffee pot unasked.
  9. Take our plates as each of us finishes.
  10. Once the last of us finishes, ask if we’d like anything else.  Usually we just want the bill.
  11. Bring the bill.
  12. Come back for the bill no more than 5 minutes later.

Key principles

a) Don’t take your time.  Be prompt.  Waiting for things sucks royally.
b) Come to the table at least two times after we’ve gotten our meals.
c) Pay attention.  The worst is when you have to try to get the server’s attention.

 

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10 observations about the G20 presence

1.  The TTC gets unpredictably shut down.  Is this a) to protect riders?  b) to prevent protesters from getting downtown quickly?  c) give the personnel an excuse to snooze?

2.  Stores I want to shop in are either closed or close early.  And after this afternoon, they’ll probably be closed for repairs.

3.  Protests pop up on a daily basis causing traffic delays, even for pedestrians like myself.

4.  Rogue protesters break stuff, set stuff on fire and generally wimp out on making a message credible.  Nice covered faces, no balls.

5.  Too much money is spent on cushy dinners and unattractive fencing that could be spent on dinners for the hungry and city beautification (amongst other worthy recipients).

6.  You can’t freely walk wherever you want to.

7.   World Cup + G20 = the majority of all conversation

8.   Steven Harper comes off as a gracious Canadian host.

9.  Muskoka was celebratory about the G8 presence;  Toronto is generally irritated with the G20 presence.

10.  The herds of raid police produce a feeling of police-state rather than of safety.


I hate you (or maybe it’s just your behaviour), Part 2

If you ask me, there should be a recommendation about how long you can stay in a hot tub;  oh wait, there is.

I went down to the pool area at about 8PM, took a book to read and expected a certain wait for hot tub use.  When I got there, these four people were in the hot tub.  I’d noticed them at the pool earlier in the day as I was there in the afternoon as well.  I thought–fair enough, enjoy the hot tub;  I’ll sit on a chaise and read until you get out.  I took a spot, shirt off, just to their right.  Unfortunately, sitting so close, I was forced to endure their semi-drunken immature conversation and behaviour.  They went on an on about how they weren’t pretentious, yet shopped at Louis Vuitton (Aside:  Thank you for the correct spelling…).  They accepted the guard’s request not to drink in the hot tub, yet did so when he wasn’t looking (or in a juvenile fashion, draped themselves on its side making a point of it to the guard).  I sat there until it got too dark to read.  At 9PM, frustrated, I put my shirt back on and left.

It seems ignorance and alcohol can do much for inconsideration.


I hate you (or maybe it’s just your behaviour), Part 1

Normally I don’t focus on the negative.  I used to.  When I was a teenager (and probably before that too), friends would call me on my complaining.  I realized that no one liked a constant complainer.  However, sometimes, you just need to vent.  And thanks to an alarming number of irritating situations in recent weeks, I feel it is my civic duty to warn you of your potential anger-inducing behaviour.  Please, heed this advice for otherwise, I may punch you.

See these doors?  These types of doors close automatically:  subways, elevators and the cool ones in Star Trek spaceships.  The thing is, with subway doors in particular, people rush to get to them before they close.  Sometimes it’s a matter of being late for work;  other times, it’s just the challenge of narrowly making it a la Indiana Jones.  Whatever the case may be, I always seem to be behind the person who successfully makes it and then comes to a complete stop once through.   I’ll make it on, but I’ll get squished by the doors because dickhead doesn’t care about who’s behind him since his quest was already fulfilled.

A similar situation happens with elevators except it’s often on the way out.  I work for a school of international “adult” students.  The cram into the elevators, talking in their languages and laughing like the claustrophobia means nothing (take a look at this pic for proof).  Then, once we get to the ground floor, they saunter out in a lollygaggish way with no regard for the others still trying to exit.  Why get out of the elevator only to stand right in front of the doors?  Can you not just move to the side or–dare I suggest–walk to where you originally intended to go?

If you are either of these people, I hate you (or maybe it’s just your behaviour).


It’s such a loss, the laptop.

Today, my laptop officially gave up on itself.  It all began last Friday.  I was happily working away on stuff for Coursetree as well as listening to Caro Emerald on iTunes, when suddenly the monitor froze and a thousand faint yellow arrows spread across the open windows.  I was startled.  Nothing worked and I thought it must be a virus.  I performed a hard reboot and instead of the usual “Starting Windows” splash screen, the black background started to bleed in spots of grey.  Startled again, I did another hard reboot and it started up normally.

I thought:  Ok, I’ll update my virus software, do a good check of the systems and hope that solves the problem.  It didn’t.  Saturday, it started freezing, then shutting off by itself and rebooting.  This, it did twice during the span of 10 hours.  Sunday, it became increasingly more difficult to get past the bleeding grey stages of the startup.  I resolved to buy Windows 7 (something I’d been meaning to do when I had more cash) and format everything (another daunting task I’d been putting of for a year or so), hoping that would clean out the registry of problems and life would return to normal.

Monday, I did as planned, and everything ran smoothly again.  Then Tuesday came.  The little guy just wouldn’t start up.  It’d get to a Launch System Repair once or twice, then freeze and shut down abruptly.  I felt sad.

Today, I managed to get it to fully load once for about 5 minutes before it gave up completely.  Now, everytime I push the power button, it grunts and moans then gets stuck on the bleeding grey display.  I shut it down endlessly.  I now know it is a hardware problem.  My only hope is that it won’t cost me a new laptop to get it fixed.


Police vs Pedestrians

Yonge & DundasIt’s a particularly nasty month for pedestrians (and drivers) in the Greater Toronto Area in January–14 pedestrians hit, 7 of whom have died (this compared to a mere 2 last January).  At first, it seemed like just a bad string of luck.  After one of the first–a young mother killed by an 80-year-old driver, everyone was up in arms about the age of the driver and that they should not be allowed to drive, but by the 9th hit in 9 days, we realized that something was different this time and a clear-cut blame game wasn’t possible.  Are pedestrians being more courageous in their choices of jaywalking or perhaps drivers are more distracted by the million gadgets we have?  Maybe the crosswalk lanes aren’t white enough?  What if the police aren’t policing those terrible jaywalkers enough!

Wait, today they are.  As militaristic as it might sound, police have been standing out at the corner of Victoria and Dundas issuing tickets without warning to people crossing the street at the crosswalks during the no-walking sign.  The violation?  $35.00.  Let’s just set aside the futile nature of giving tickets like this for a second to talk about consistency.  Under normal conditions, police could be standing on the corners.  You walk across the street when it’s clear.  The police pay no attention.  But today, that’s not true.  So when violators are flagged over by the watching police, they don’t even realize there’s a problem and they almost don’t pay attention to the police.  On top of that, getting a ticket for $35.00 suddenly for something you’ve never been penalized for before?  Infuriating.

This is just another unfair, knee-jerk reaction to an unfortunate set of circumstances.  If you want to change behaviour, educate, don’t punish.


Beware. Some stores just suck.

Three weeks ago, I was on a mission to find a light fixture for over the island in the kitchen.  Ian had bought one from IKEA, but it was too big for the space when we installed it and thus went into the bedroom instead.  So, we went to many-an-overpriced store, searching for an affordable, yet perfect hanging lamp.  After some failure, we ended up at a home decor store on King East called Visitor Parking.  There, shining in the upstairs showroom window was one we liked a lot, and though not cheap, not overly pricey either.  We asked for it, but as a showroom, they wouldn’t give us the one on display, so we’d need to prepay and have it ordered. Delivery time = 3 weeks.  So we did.  They wrote out a receipt and stapled the debit transactions to it.

Cut to last week when they called to let us know it had come in.  We made our way to the store (about a 20 minute wait for the bus, then 10 minutes down to site) and picked it up.  Once we’d gotten it home, we tried installing it, only to realize that the plastic insert to cover the bulb from the bottom was missing, and the three wires from which it was to hang were all tangled up.  Frustrated, we decided to take it back and get a different one from IKEA, since we knew we could take it home that day.  After going up to IKEA (30 minute subway ride), we went back to Visitor Parking to return the defective lamp.

Me (polite, smiling):  I’d like to return this lamp because it’s missing a part and the wires are all tangled up.

Clerk (polite, smiling):  Ok, would you like us to replace it?

Me (polite, smiling):  No, I’d just like my money back please.

Clerk (polite, smiling):  I can’t do that.  I can give you a replacement or give your store credit.

Me (slightly irritated, smile flattening):  Well I don’t want either, I just want to refund my money.

Clerk (fake polite, smiling):  I can’t just give you your money back because you changed your mind.

Me (frustrated, smile ceased):  I didn’t change my mind;  it is missing a part and the wires are tangled.  I don’t want it now because it’s a hassle to wait another 3 weeks.

Clerk (civil, smile ceased):  Ok, I’ll give you the display one.

Me (anger rising, mouth gaping):  I asked you when I first ordered it if I could take the display one and you said no.  Just refund my money.

Clerk (flat):  I’ll only give you store credit.

Me (anger rising, accusatory):  What?  Where does it say that you only give store credit?

Clerk points to the fine print on the receipt, which says:  All sales are final, blah blah blah.  No mention of store credit.

Me (angry, glaring), :  It doesn’t say anywhere that you only give store credit.

Clerk (snotty, avoiding eye contact):  Actually, it says all sales are final, so I don’t even have to give you store credit.

Me (royally pissed, looking away):  Fine.  Store credit.  Maybe you should tell your customers that what sales are final BEFORE they pay.

Clerk (dismissive):  Ok.

Seriously?  All sales are final?  On items that are not on sale?  Are they that desperate for sales that they can’t afford to  return an item and therefore leave happily?  Maybe customers have often been screwed over and returned items so they decided not to allow it anymore.  Whatever the case is, beware, some stores are sneaky bastards.


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