One consistent mantra since COVID began is if you’re going to get food from a restaurant, even just as take out, you should tip (and hopefully tip well). Servers in the U.S. are only paid only a couple of dollars an hour and make the rest of their money with tips. Joe and I make sure to overtip right now, to help make up for those who are undertipping when picking up food, or simply because not as many people are going out.
Well, here’s a story about someone who went to a sit-down restaurant at Walt Disney World (WDW) and didn’t tip at all, and how both she and her server are getting their comeuppance.
A.S. Swanson (name changed) is a travel agent. But she’s not just any travel agent. She’s also a self-proclaimed “Disney expert” and sells dozens of “courses” about WDW, which range from $20 to $1000 (I’ve seen some of her courses – most are things you can find all over the internet for free, and some of her advice is actually pretty shady). She also has a few tens of thousands of followers on Instagram and a couple hundred thousand members in a Facebook group that’s about planning trips to WDW. Based on the frequency of her posts, she appears to visit WDW quite a bit. So it’s not as if she’s a Disney newbie.
A.S. apparently went to Epcot the other day and ate at Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzaria, which is a restaurant at their Italy pavilion in World Showcase. It’s described as, “Classic Southern Italian dishes & wood-fired pizzas plus sangria served in a warm, airy space,” and has a price range of $$ – $$$ (“mid-range”) on TripAdvisor. But let’s face it – if you’ve gone to Disney even just once, you have some idea of prices and know that none of them are cheap.
Anyway, A.S. ordered a pizza at Epcot and her Piccante Signature Pie was $23. She got some optional toppings, which added to the cost, making her final bill $47 before tax. And when she got the bill from her server, this is what she wrote on the bottom of it:
Sorry not to tip
but this price is outrageous.
Now granted, $23 for a personal-sized pizza and $24 for five toppings on top of that is crazy expensive. And in her defense, sometimes even “experts” screw up. But what do most people do when that happens? They own up to their mistake, pay the bill, tip their server and continue on with their magical day. Lesson learned.
But no, she didn’t do that. Not only did she stiff her server out of a tip, she then proceeded to make a GoFundMe to recoup the price of her lunch!
I accidentally spent all my lunch money for the week on one meal.
She put all of this, of course, on her social media. Well, that kind of backfired; people got mad at her for stiffing the server and trying to raise money to pay for her lunch, so she changed the narrative.
First, she altered her GoFundMe to close it down and say it was a joke.
Then she changed her story (and the photo of her receipt on Instagram) to reflect that she, “read the menu wrong.”
OK, I totally read the menu wrong. I had no idea I was ordering a $50 pizza
She also suggested on her Instagram musings that God told her that what she had done was OK (paraphrased, “the hate [she was receiving about this] is just the trial she has to go through for doing what’s right before God”).
Unfortunately, even that didn’t work very well for her. People said God would have told her to tip (my favorite response: “Don’t attach God’s name to your stupid.”), it wasn’t the server’s fault that she “read the menu wrong” and she still should have tipped.
So THEN she cooked up yet ANOTHER story (this was the third one) that she posted on Instagram.
For this version, an Instagram video this time, she claimed that she didn’t tip because her experience at the restaurant was a bad one and it was all the server’s fault. He only came by to take her order, deliver her food, and take away her plates when she was done eating. But he never came by mid-meal to see how she was doing. And the high price was part of her bad experience because the server had recommended she get the “$50 pizza” (Note: her Piccante Signature Pizza was the second cheapest non-salad entree on the menu before she added the optional toppings to it).
I dunno…in the age of COVID, I’m glad that a server avoids stopping by when I’m eating and therefore not wearing a mask. And if a server recommends something to me that I don’t like, whether due to personal tastes or price, I just don’t order it. But maybe that’s just me.
This whole story, meanwhile, has made it to multiple public and private areas all over online entities like Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, private message boards and Reddit (there may be more; that’s all I’ve seen so far). If she thought she had saved her name/reputation, well, that might be questionable.
Meanwhile, there was another person in this whole incident – the server, who was stuck with no tip from A.S. Fortunately, the same internet that was scolding A.S. decided to come together to help the Disney Cast Member who had been stuck serving her and getting no tip in return. A GoFundMe was made for him, and as of this writing, they have over three times as much money as they were hoping to get (the goal amount was determined based on how many times A.S. had said she had gone to WDW since it had reopened, multiplied by the $8 and change she should have tipped the server. Yeah, I dunno…I didn’t make the GoFundMe, folks LOL).
All people who work in the service industry deserve our respect and support. The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating to many. As businesses reopen, it is important to show our support through gratuity. Therefore it is disheartening to see an individual who is advising thousands of people on how to “save money” on their Disney trip to stiff their server. See the cover photo and compare to the Instagram stories posted by NAME REDACTED. Stiffing a server because you didn’t understand the menu is never OK. Spreading this behavior to thousands of followers is even worse.
On this particular meal she should have tipped at a minimum the 18% of the subtotal that Disney adds to parties of 6 or larger. That’s $8.46. Let’s assume this happens often. She says she has been to the parks 15 days since they reopened. Assuming she stiffed every server (maybe she tipped a few but who knows), that’s $380. Let’s collect these missing tips and get them to the hard working servers that deserve them.
The person who set up the GoFundMe account apparently knows the server from a past restaurant experience and plans to gift him with whatever the final total is, on his next visit to Via Napoli, in about a week and change.
So it looks as if, for the server, there will be a happy ending to all of this. And for A.S., maybe not so much. Because what goes around comes around. And karma.
Feature Photo: Loren Javier / flickr
#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands #wearamask #tipyourservers
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary