The Many Faces of Entitlement

It was Sunday, November 25, 2012. Sunday is really the only day that I can go out for a relaxed lunch with my hubby from a busy work week for both. We went to a wonton noodle house type restaurant and ordered a three-choice combination lunch setting. I’ve ordered several times from that menu, in the past, without any problems where all three dishes arrived fairly close together. Today, these dishes were filtering onto our table beyond slow. We finished one dish, waited, finally the second dish arrived. We finished that dish. We then waited and waited for the last dish. Finally we waved the server over to inquire on the third dish. She went to check and after five minutes, came back to inform us it would be out in two minutes. I asked whether they simply forgot. She indicated the kitchen was busy. Not true. The restaurant was not considered full. We saw several other diners receiving their combination settings together promptly. It was obviously forgotten. It was nearly ten minutes, not the promised two minutes, before the dish finally arrived. No apology from the server. She simply “plopped” it on the table (not too gently I might add) with “attitude.” Hubby and I looked at each other, not impressed. Do they not realize how competitive the food and beverage industry is, especially with this food genre in Richmond, BC?? We did not leave a gratuity tip.

Let’s define what a “gratuity” is. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary: something given voluntarily or beyond obligation usually for some service. This service is most commonly attached to the food and beverage industry where a “gratuity tip” is expected. I appreciate reading this quote from a waitress: I was a waitress for 20 years and a gratuity was a cash tip given when you gave good service. Some people gave basic service and they still think they should get a tip. When you are working you get paid to do your job, the tip is a thank you for doing more than is required. Why do people think they are supposed to get a tip for just doing the job they were hired to do? A tip or gratuity is for exceptional service.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “entitlement” as the belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges. This is only one of several definitions for “entitlement.” I will be taking a look at the different “faces of entitlement,” especially as it pertains to our financial circumstances and financial planning attitude over the next few weeks. I’ve introduced the first face of entitlement with my restaurant experience. The servers evidently felt that they were still entitled to a tip even though we actually received POOR service at best. We did not get an apology for the “forgotten” dish, that we had to remind them was missing, but rather served rudely when they “plopped” it on the table. If anything, I even expected that dish to come off the price of the bill as an apology from the restaurant for what was evidently poor service from start to end.  The server scowled with disdain when we paid our bill without leaving a tip!  Why? Is it because she felt she still deserved a tip without having to earn it?

Entitlement permeates our world in so many aspects. We’ve been hearing much about it with the sovereign debts in Europe and in the United States. What about Canada?