Why? WHY? WHY does it seem like this always happens to me?
Katie and I made these grand plans to go for a bike ride and take care of several errands at the same time, including grabbing dinner. Unlike most failed plans, we actually made these a mere few minutes before executing them. If we make plans too far in advance, something always comes up. So the more spontaneous our plans (yeah, that sounds funny, I know), the more likely they are to work.
We jump on our bikes and get a couple miles from our house and I look down to find the front tire on my bike is flat. I must've run over something because it was perfectly fine up to that point. PISSED. ME. OFF.
So Katie rides home to get my truck to come get me and I walk my bike to close some of the distance. We go home and drop off my bike and take the truck out to finish the errands.
And it was such a beautiful day, too.
I'm just happy I had her there to help me out. Unlike when I was in grad school and this same thing happened.
I was taking a long ride through DeKalb along a bike path and was several miles from my home when my front tire broke off the fork. Of course it was the summer and none of my friends were on campus and I had nobody to call at all. So I had to lock my broke-ass bike up to a light pole and walk back home and grab my truck to come get it. I was not happy. Not happy at all.
Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I guess it's not entirely unrelated. Katie and I went to Applebee's for dinner last night. It was supposed to be one of the destinations on our bike ride. Pick up the food and head home to eat. Instead, due to the bike situation, we drove and did their curbside pick-up.
I'm not sure what protocol is for tipping with curbside pick-up. Do you? Don't you? It's not like they're waiting on you in the same way that a waiter does. They're not constantly filling your drinks or chatting you up. They bring your food, take your money, bring change (if necessary), and leave.
Well, I typically tip them anyway. Especially in those wonderfully temperate (ha!) Chicago winters. And the first few times I did this, the kids who would bring me my food seemed genuinely surprised. And appreciative.
But for a while after that, it almost seemed as though they expected it. They threw out the dreaded, "Do you want change?"
I hate that question in any dining situation. NEVER ask this as it implies you expect the rest to be a tip. What if you were a little prick of a waiter? This question puts an undue level of expectation on the customers to tip. Sure, on occasion, it might help you because they feel guilted into giving you the change when maybe they weren't planning on it. But, sometimes, you can get screwed in the process. What if they were going to tip you more by leaving some extra cash on the table? Now they won't. Or, at least, I won't.
Last night, though, the girl who brought out the food actually said, "I'll be right back with your change." This left it open for me to say, "don't worry about it; keep the change." And, just like old times, she seemed genuinely appreciative. I like that.
As a former waiter, don't ever expect a tip. I realize it's a big part of your evening's earnings. But if you don't expect it, you'll appreciate it more. And your customers won't feel like animals stuck in a trap.