I recognize that, quite likely for the rest of my life, I will need a strategy to get through these two months.
Last year, February of 2016, I went off for a cruise with my sister and, despite my reservations, I enjoyed myself. So we decided to repeat the event again this year, extending the invitation to two more of my sisters to join us (bringing the count to four out of a potential five and a half – yes I have a half sister). And they did join us. It was the first time in decades that just us sisters did anything together. My two sisters live in Newfoundland and my other sister and I live in Ontario, so it is not exactly conducive to family outings. It came together for us though; the weather was great, the sea was calm, the food on the cruise was amazing. It was a good thing.
We had one small glitch to deal with in Miami Airport. It could have cast a pall on the vacation but fortunately it just wasn’t important enough to let it. We had booked rooms for the night at Miami International Airport – paid way too much for inferior accommodations, but the convenience was the deciding factor. In the morning we went downstairs to eat at Margaritaville, a chain restaurant located immediately beside the hotel lobby in the airport.
Our server was churlish to say the least – she had a chip on her shoulder so big it was a wonder she could lift a tray. She took her time coming to our table to take our orders. She forgot a couple of items we ordered. Refills on the coffee – you’re kidding me right? Just a gem. Anyway, the bill came for the meal – it was $60. We put cash down of $65 and prepared to leave.
The server was quick to grab the bill. She walked away and opened up the black plastic bill holder and then came steaming, yup, steaming back. “That’s not enough!” she said and slammed the bill holder on the table. She flipped the cover open and stabbed her finger at a line on the bill. It’s a beaut – it says “Recommended gratuity 15% – $8.99.” She was royally pissed at us and said, “You need to leave more tip.” And then she stormed off leaving us and the bill at the table! Are you kidding me? That’ll do it, give us a yell lovey and then we’ll pay you more. Needless to say she didn’t get her $8.99, she got her $5. In hindsight we should have taken the tip away completely, but the reality is that servers in the US typically don’t have a great hourly wage and rely on their tips, but bullying the customers to get it defies comprehension.
That exchange was off-putting until we realized that we were leaving the place behind for a week of sunshine and laughter. That bitter little server was stuck in a hell of her own making. She’s not doing much for the reputation of the restaurant though. I gotta think that if she treats the customers like that she’s probably a nightmare for the manager to deal with too. Regardless, I’ll never eat at that chain again.