As servers, we all get pretty adept at reading people. By observing inflections, word choice, physical characteristics, and other non-verbal clues, we develop a sense of how people will treat us--both in terms of a tip and in general. It's not an exact science; but there are things that have a high enough correlation to shitty tips that we take note and are on guard.
Feel free to add yours in the comments!
Bad omens in the restaurant industry
-any article of clothing that says "Git Er Done". 10% tip or less, almost guaranteed.
-acrylic talons grafted to a customer's fingertips. I'm not talking tasteful nails, I'm talking fucking clackers. The 14 cent hag had those. Bonus points for trashy art on said trashy nails.
-that nasty black kohl eyeshadow that older Mexican women are fond of, regardless of who it's on.
-"eyebrows" that have been shaved off and re-drawn on. I've never gotten more than a 10% tip from anyone with this particular "style".
-90s-style soupcan bangs.
-the presence of a gift card. I'd say this is about a 50% correlation.
-asking for the channel to be changed to Nascar.
-doing tequila shooters with your mother.
What clues you in to a customer's inner bitch?
-Ordering "just a water with lemon" and ordering the cheapest entree they can to 'share'.
-Interrupting my greeting to order.
Men who wear caps and are unshaven. Not expecting much after that.
Quarter Life Crisis:
OMG yes, the greeting interruption!
Even when you're simplying saying "how are you?" and they reply, "i'll have a coke"
that really gets me going. lol
Another clue, they have a coupon booklet on the table. I work for a chain and I know off the bat that when I see that coupon book, I'm thinking 10% or less is on the way. Not saying every coupon user is a cheap bastard but there are the occasional tightwads.
Or how about when they ask how much a Coke is? If they can't just figure that a soda is a couple of bucks then obviously the budget is pretty tight.
Confessions of a Waitress:
extra well done steaks
coffee drinkers at the beginning of the meal.
Anyone asking what the 'house' wine is.
SOS people... anybody wanting things on the side.
A-1 users. (Hey, I like A1! :) )
groups of women over the age of sixty.
members of families who want seperate checks.
Credit card on the table before there plates are empty.