Thursday, October 12, 2017

Los Dos Fronteras- Great Service-
Great Food. Cleveland Ohio
Is Tipping a motivator?
In restaurants tip is often "known" to be mean To Insure Promptness or To Insure Prompt Service. Completely false etymology but I think many servers work on this assumption, I did and I extrapolated.  Prompt courteous proactive.. etc., this would never happen -5 Easy Pieces [Page on]
I even got manicures so my hands looked purty... Ok I liked the attention too.  Good servers are well versed in all of the menu items and many restaurants have regular food and alcohol tasting for wait staff so they know.  I think minimum wage for severs/waitstaff is up to $2.28 as of 2016.  It is anticipated servers will make up to at least the legal minimum wage .

Don't wait for the experience to totally go south before you say something. ... 5 Easy pieces again:  Page on .. Have to be out the door for a movie in 45 minutes?.. ask can that be done.   I have a friend who at seating  is known to tell the server, "ya know what I can be labor intensive could you just keep that in mind and glance over a lot?"

What the hell!? All ya have to do is bring.. the food.. to the table!
Decent servers have an extraordinary skill set and it ain't always as easy as it looks.
Many things can keep the food from getting to the table on time.
Anything from cook staff that is "in the weeds," meaning behind on orders, to a server taking out your party's meal meant for you, to to a host/hostess who doesn't seat evenly or can't seat evenly. When a server gets "slammed," (mean a server or the restaurant is seated all at one time)  say with 4 "four-tops" (4 tables seating 4 people each) in a fine dining store it can be difficult to say the least.  
Sometimes a restaurant kitchen sounds like the floor of the new york stock exchange from  .. the hostess barking orders to bussers, servers fussing with the chef about timing appetizers and meals, chef fussing with server about protocol or something, sous chef yelling to line cooks, to line cooks barking out appetizer orders and meals.
Scenario: The server leaves the kitchen on the way from dropping off  orders at the "back of the house" which is usually at the very back of the house, then negotiates through tables to the bar which sometimes is.. wait for it.. at the front of the house, where often one has to queue for drinks, to his or her tables and back to the kitchen with a single plate, "she says this is supposed to be medium rare, it's medium instead," on the way back through the dining room, "excuse me Dude, we have someone else here can you grab a chair and shit?"
What I look for
I look for a server who addresses the table within in a few minutes of being seated, (Whether or not they can serve the table right then) who is attentive and on the floor for me to connect with every so often and who doesn't keep me waiting when I want to leave.
We've all had the server who was 15 minutes getting to the table in a half empty restaurant, the apps are late, the meal is cold, s/he didn't show up  for us to ask for whatever or inform them the soup never came and made us wait on the check... possibly they're not getting a tip.
What I don't look for 
So often you will see that your order comes out after another table even those yours went in first.  Ninety-nine percent of the time, a none issue, let it go.  If you are African-American as I am even though there have been several well documented cases  of prejudice causing this... usually it's not an issue.  Some will remember the 54 million dollar lawsuit Denny's lost in 1994.  The final straw turning public opinion against this subsidiary of Flagstar Companies of Spartanburg, S.C., was when six black Secret Service agents assigned to President Clinton's detail were refused a table at a Denny's in Annapolis. Md., while their white Secret Service colleagues were seated and served.  
  It is "well known, yall don't tip. " I tested this stereotype at a few restaurants and on average found it was not true though the  perception was there.  With many  servers having this perception this can lead to slack service which can lead to the self fulfilling prophecy of no tip. 
Teamwork? We ain't got no teamwork... we don't need to show you no stinkin' teamwork!
Restaurants can't excel without it.  In many restaurants there is a lot of teamwork between servers and some other server helps tend your table so issues  are mostly avoided. Depending on the system this is driven by the hostess/host and front of the house mgr for making the floor run smoothly.
  • I've been know to "under" tip and write comments on the bill so the server knows when the service is just excruciating.  If you don't feel like writing/talking to the manager three pennies in a row or column is a somewhat recognized signal  that let's the server know it was intentional. I usually overtip a bit. Realize that servers often tip the bussers, the hostess, the bartender out of their tips.  I also feel everyone's allowed a bad day, right?  When I was poor I was not so nonchalant.
  • When I go to places that are not fine dining and there are "specials" (actually fine dining houses do this often) or coupons, I tip on the original price of the item.  So if it is 2 for 1 at $30 I tip on $60.  If the appetizer was accidental laced with arsenic and the manager takes it off the bill, I tip as if it was on the bill.  A 15% tip is the standard for a server in the USA.  In my opinion you don't need a tip calculator.  I round up to the nearest number with a zero divide by two and add the two together... don't forget to move the decimal point... I'm pretty sure no one will.  Eg., If my bill is $125 I round up to $130/2=$65, $130+$65=$195. Move the decimal=$19.50... for me I'm tipping $20. Easy peasy.  The actually 15% on $125 is $18.75. If you're frugal and round down 15% of $120= $18. We're talkin a $2 difference from top to bottom.
  • I also view tipping as a subsidy to the restaurateur.  It pads the pockets of indies and chains alike.  No way they would get quality staff at minimum wage in a fine dining establishment.  I've know some struggling restaurateurs but no poor ones.  There is a trend that is more or less commonplace now that I resist... tipping the owner.  This goes for service industry period, restaurants, nail salons, and more.  I read a columnist saying not to tip was passe.  I don't understand AT ALL.  In a capitalist society why do I just give the owner more money on general principle who is charging me the most s/he can get away with and not getting underpaid like the staff?   I'm sure they appreciate it like I appreciate a free meal for my party of five on general principal.  The last time that happened was..about never.
  • Parenthetically it is not uncommon for a server to get even with rude customers by making them wait, not attending the table, foregoing the tip in favor of the good feeling from sticking it to an elitist, belligerent client.
  • Although I've heard that it happens I've never ever seen a server spit in food or anything of the nature. Cooks dropping stuff on the floor and wanting to reuse it. A $15 steak... is a $15 steak .. ur ah ahem.. time to go folks.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Dog Gone Dogma or is Religion a Scapegoat?

So part of the US anti muslim narrative is that the Qu’ran is a book full of hate that preaches jihad, war, intolerance, yada, yada. Another part says that Muslims are just barbaric like Christians were a few hundred years ago and they just need time to mature a bit. Muslim apologist say that radicals are a small part of the muslim world. Statistics say muslim extremist are less than 1% of all muslims.  According to a 2010 study and released January 2011, Islam has 1.5 billion adherents, making up over 22% of the world population.  If my math is correct, 15 million muslim fall in to the category radical or extremist, and therefore are potential terrorist. According to the Pew Research Center in 2015 there were 50 Muslim-majority countries. 

In June of 2015 Pastor Rick Scarborough threaten to go up in flames if Gay marriage was rendered legal in the US.

He later, recanted his statement saying it was a metaphor from an old spiritual. He said, “I made that comment to paraphrase a spiritual song, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in which the three were given a choice—to bow to the image of Nebuchadnezzar or burn in a furnace,” said Scarborough.”‘We will burn’ means that we will accept any sanction from the government for resisting [Friday's] Supreme Court decision. We do not support any violence or physical harm.” Maybe some of you see an easy parallel but it is over my head, extremely premature at the very least. I guess he is anticipating a law that makes it illegal for churches against Gay marriage to opt out of performing them.

In a debate between ex British prime minister Tony Blair and atheist and journalist Christopher Hitchens, Hitchens argues, “Religion forces nice people to do unkind things, and also makes intelligent people say stupid things” your thoughts? Sadly, June 23 retired pastor Charles Moore sets himself on fire in protest of racism. The Tyler Morning Telegraph obtained a copy of the suicide note from Grand Saline police. In it, Moore lamented past racism in Grand Saline and beyond. He called on the community to repent and said he was “giving my body to be burned, with love in my heart” for those who were lynched in his hometown as well as for those who did the lynching, hoping to address lingering racism. “Giving my body to be burned with love in my heart,” is straight out of the new testament, 1 Corinthians 13 King James Version (KJV) 13.... 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. I doubt pastor Moore can be called a radical, fundamentalist Christian but I know little about him. 

I’m more inclined to think that there was unfinished business in his life, sometime when, in his own mind, he should have acted and didn’t and it got to him. He could have been a religious person like he was or an atheist or agnostic and had the same end. Timothy McVeigh was raised Catholic but hadn’t practiced for a long time and at the time of his execution considered himself agnostic.

 Is Hitchens correct that religion makes good people do bad things? Does the good that comes out of religion, any religion, eclipse or even balance out the wrong doing? We’ve had the Inquisition, witch hunts, sex scandal cover up in the catholic church, the Ku Klux Klan, a religious organization vs., the Salvation Army, Abolitions, ecstatic, spiritual experiences in all religions and pissing matches: My God is the real thing, yours is fake and it says so right in the book. Is religion the culprit or the scapegoat? Less than one percent doesn’t sound too bad does it? If one percent of Islam is radical, fringe, and a potential hotbed of terrorism that is 16 million people. If one percent of Christianity worldwide is radical, fringe, and a potential hotbed of terrorism that is 22.3 million people.

 The way it’s painted there is a line in the sand and never the twain shall meet, terrorist on one side and people who frown on terrorism on the other side. However after watching terrorism in the US just since the turn of the 20th century through today it seems to me there are a lot of terrorist sympathizers who systemically support terrorism against People of Color, our LGBT brothers and sisters, filling the gap between terrorists on one side of the line and their antithesis. They have posh jobs in the media. Six churches have been set on fire since Dylan Roof, I think they are terrorist attacks because of the number and the timing to the 9 South Carolina deaths and because they are black churches, but the media is showing an unusual amount of restraint calling this arson,: “The Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch blog reports that as of Friday, "a string of nighttime fires have damaged or destroyed at least six predominately black churches in four southern states in the past week." Investigators have determined at least three of the fires were set by arsonists.” “ One Tweet Nails The Hypocrisy of Media Coverage as Black Churches Burn Across the South”

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Weeping Jesus Strikes Again!

These poor people in Mumbai and probably all over the world are mislead flocking to a statue of Jesus in Mumbai purportedly weeping.  So often religion is at odds with truth and physical evidence.  Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.  Of course it doesn't mean just widows and orphans but at the time and in the place this was written these two groups held the most helpless of society; I doubt that it is much different in 2013.
All organizations be they churches, temples, mosques, social service agencies or governments are oganizations that work against the good of human kind out of human and organizational nature.  The number one "instinct" of organizations (which I believe the U.S. and most of the world consider a legal person) and people is self preservation.  
Once a church forms we must realize, the church it self must acknowledge that it puts its existence and comfort ahead of worshipping (upholding) the Life, the Way, the Truth. In keeping with this the church in Mumbai upon being proved wrong about the miracle weeping statue sued Sanal Edamaruku the bringer of bad tidings who had to flee the country to Finland to maintain his freedom.  The church will drop the charges if Edamaruku apologizes.
Governments put self preservation ahead of the common good of the people en mass that they serve.
It is up to all individuals to see this and realize individuals do the same thing.  Once we realize this we can balance it against our actions on behalf of others.  Next step the more we realize that we are all one then we find ourselves being holistically healthy so as to benefit others.  Then we will see that a huge part of our own self preservation, happiness and wholeness hinges on giving, loving and meeting the needs of others.  We will see we have needs that others need to fill. 

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Carpe Diem by Begging Forgiveness?

Rear Admiral Grace M. Hopper, 
USN, Ph.D. By James S. Davis 
[Public domain], 
via Wikimedia Commons

By Cavana Faithwalker, Organizational, Community and Personal Empowerment Strategist, Facilitator
"Another thing you may or may not know about Admiral Hopper is that she is credited with coining the phrase, “It is easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission,” a lesson I still may not have completely learned."

Friday, January 10, 2014

Troublemakers and Pain

One of many struggles people deal with when considering the question, 'is there a god' is the question of pain. Pain can register from minor social irritants like the loud neighbors next door to homelessness, the ravages of death and disease.  

Some people reason that all pain is necessary and has benefit.  Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun and teacher in the Shambhala tradition,in the Tibetan tradition, she says that in the vaJiana tradition of Buddhism your teacher becomes your biggest trouble maker.  The idea is these irritants reveal chinks in the armor so to speak.

 Pema Chodron "Troublemakers"

Does all pain have value if one knows how to leverage it? Do we value the human irritants in our lives or shun them? Part of a healthy meditation regimen is bringing your 'third eye' to bear on uncomfortableness in yourself.  Do your experiences bare this out or not agree?  What about pain inflicted by war or natural disasters, necessary and fruitful? To those of you that are perhaps Buddhist initiates or laymen forgive me for not talking about what Buddhism says and for making pain and suffering synonymous.
*Your thoughts?*
Once in the early 80s when I managed a Howard Johnson restaurant in New Jersey, I had inherited a very good staff that got along with each other for the most part and were kind of on auto pilot.
At one point a young man interviewed to be a waiter.  Spencer had big strawberry blond curly hair and had the biggest attitude I'd seen in a while.  He was FLAMING gay, and a white boy, 'girlfren' neck jerk, two snaps up down hands on hip, 'I ain't the one' in your face individual,.
I think I hired him on the spot and others just knew at some  point upper management would fire me for this.
Man, Spencer turned that restaurant upside down and inside out especially Peggy. Peggy was probably 60 years old, a career server, and a devout fundamentalist Christian, as was I.  Well after this she didn't think I was, lol.
I should have had a badge for Spencer, 'I push buttons,' and another one, "my button stays pushed."  I had to suggest to him time-outs, shut down cat fights, and constantly cool off Peggy and others too.
The other side of Spencer?  Spencer was very professional on the floor, conscientious, and one of the most talented people person, food delivering waiters I've ever seen in the ten or so years I was in food service. He had a great sense of humor, used the word 'bitch' way too much, and seemed to accept others, and didn't hold a grudge.  Spencer was an authentic person and I am so glad I hired him.
The culture of the staff improved, he was a great salesperson and other's sales went up.  At first one or two _maybe_ because they weren't gonna let 'that fag' outsell them but mostly because of his example and egging them on.  As time went on it was very hard to ignore Spencer's humanity... He bonded well and became part of the Hojo family and developed great working relationships and relationships outside work.
A poem from an irritant.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Incremental Change

Metabedu Incremental Change
Ways to change yourself, then your community and neighborhood, then the world.

graffiti by Banksy

A fundamental concept at Metabedu is changing things through the changes you make in yourself that leads you to action.  When one is educated about where one can become empowered, one may choose to become empowered and then action and empowerment are one in the same.    

Many times we belong to well meaning groups centered on change of some action such as fracking, on some issue, such as who gets taxed how much or some societal malady such as homelessness.

It is clear that in most examples, surely the ones mentioned previously there are identifiable reasons dis-eases exist and reasons they haven’t gone away.  Many issues exist because many people allow them to exist.  Some would say they are part of the problem if not part of the solution. 
There are pages and pages of websites about changing and listening.
I would like to challenge you to listen to yourself, the inner being and make decisions toward change, some incremental some perhaps more radical.

What is it you don’t like that you participate in?  What is it you like that you can reinforce?
I once caught myself tsk tsk tsking the grounds around a local middle school as I entered.  I made the decision I could be part of the solution and now I pick up a piece of trash or two when entering places; just a piece or two and not every time. 
Incremental change is not completed in a vacuum ever.  We may not see the ripple but there is a ripple internally and many times if not always externally. 

The Ripple

A few days later at the same school I saw a child’s glove on the ground. I know my daughter’s mom and I work hard to provide for her and to replace one glove is to replace two.  One more pair of gloves goes into production then and all of the resources in making, distributing and marketing those gloves. I got out of my car, picked up the glove and hailed two students walking into the school; “are yall going into the school,” “ yes,” they replied.  “Will you take this glove to the lost and found?” they looked at me like I was a nut and took the glove.  Apparently they walked some distance away and threw the glove back on the ground before entering the school because I saw it the next day.  Now two ripples are set in motion.  The first was my moving from “litter police” to lost and found pariah.  The second ripple was two young people gently being confronted with a value apparently not their own and making a decision.  How many confrontations before they take the glove to the lost and found?  Maybe they never will.  Maybe next time they are honest explaining that it is too much trouble and they are late for the basketball game and tell me where the lost and found is.  Maybe they will endure a twinge of guilt talking to a gloveless classmate whose parents couldn’t buy another pair, and have an epiphany about our connectedness.  To be clear this is not about picking up trash and replenishing the lost and found it's about little moments of involvement that add up, really add up.

I told a colleague about my zeal for picking up trash, it’s not that I’ve haven’t done it before, but now I looked at what prevented me from doing it on so many occasions.  My colleague suggested having a box of those surgeon’s gloves on hand, cause ya never know what you are touching, comething to consider.
You may be wondering what was going through my mind when I picked up the glove on the next day.  I didn’t pick it.  I’m working on me too family.

Principle 5 - Incremental vs radical change

The Power of Incremental Change Over Time | Michael Hyatt