Miss Penny Lane

I always tell the girls, never take it seriously.
If ya never take it seriously, ya never get hurt.
Ya never get hurt, ya always have fun...
And if you ever get lonely, just go to the record store and visit your friends.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Mr. Chen's Organic Chinese

File under "Oh No You Dih-int!!!"

I've been ordering from Mr. Chen's in Woodley Park since they opened at least 6 or 7 years ago. Yesterday, the guy who delivered balked at the tip I gave him and asked me "That all you give for tip?" I wish I had handed him back the bag of food and taken back my cash, but instead, I ran and got him another dollar, explaining that it was all the cash I had (which was absolutely true). What I did next was very passive aggressive, but I slammed the door as he turned down the hall (our door makes a lot of noise).

My tip wasn't poor to begin with (The Chef agreed). I seriously am considering never ordering from there again, but that might only be spiting myself. What to do? Also, what do you consider to be an appropriate tip for delivery? (By the way, the food was the worst I've ever had from there, too, so maybe it won't be spiting myself to boycot them.)

On another, related, note: I hostess at a restaurant and am amazed at how few people tip on carry-out. Our prices for carry-out are lower, so they're already saving by not eating in, but do they think that the food magically appeared in that bag? People are still doing work to feed them. I am not saying by any means that carry-out requires a 15-or-20% tip, but a buck or two would be really nice.

17 Band Aides had a tale from the tour:

  • At 5:55 PM, September 07, 2005, Blogger DC Cookie said…

    I would say, it's definitely worth a phone call to the management.

  • At 6:22 PM, September 07, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yeah, that guy was rude.
    I tip according to the price of the food.
    I always try to tip well.

  • At 7:18 PM, September 07, 2005, Blogger kb said…

    tipping for delivery totally freaks me out; i never know how much. so, i never do it. order delivery that is. not tip. i mean i do tip. oh lord...

  • At 7:29 PM, September 07, 2005, Blogger Miss Penny Lane said…

    i already left a shitty review on WaPo...pretty much verbatim whati posted here...

  • At 7:31 PM, September 07, 2005, Blogger Sean said…

    A Jew once told me the best tip is good advice, if it saves you money :-) I'm not kidding, he was my uncle. Anyway 20% is always safe. But I think the "organic" part is b.s. Probably why the food sucked.

  • At 9:47 PM, September 07, 2005, Blogger Johnny said…

    Dont worry, those chow huts are making wads of money. The markup on food is like humongo!

  • At 9:08 AM, September 08, 2005, Blogger Pretty in Pink said…

    Miss Penny Lane, my darling, do not discount Mr. Chen's so quickly. Like you, I have been a loyal customer for over 5 years. I love them, and I do believe the organic bit, beacuse it does taste better. Anyway, I actually ordered from them on Friday night when I was in town babysitting and I tipped $3 on $12, is that bad? He didn't give me any slack if it was.

    I would just say he was being rude, it wasn't you, he probably was having a bad night. Go eat in one night, the ladies there are great, and then your faith in Mr. Chen's will be restored.

    Heart Mr. Chen's. I have them listed in my cell phone, for real, and I don't even live in town anymore :)


  • At 9:56 AM, September 08, 2005, Blogger Phil said…

    I always try to tip 15-20%, even to the delivery guy, assuming they deliver it within a reasonable time. But, regardless of what you gave him, that guy was wrong.

    Sounds like the food and the attitude should have made your decision for you.

  • At 10:12 AM, September 08, 2005, Blogger Miss Penny Lane said…

    They're in my cell, too. I know, the ladies are so nice, and this was a delivery guy I'd never seen. Maybe I'll just mention something to them...

    P.S. 3 on 12 is really good!

  • At 3:10 PM, September 08, 2005, Blogger I-66 said…

    3 on 12 is 25%.. that's acceptable.

    Historically I consider myself a good tipper for good service. But really, if someone pulled the "that's it" routine on me I'd have more than just a door slam for them.

  • At 4:31 PM, September 08, 2005, Blogger The Captain said…

    I always tip at least 20-25% on both dine in and delivery.

    I noticed no one has touched on the other point in your e-mail, the tipping on pick-up. I never do that. Then again, whichever restaurant you do hostess work for is the first place I've ever heard of where the prices were lower for take-out.

    If I walked down there, or I drove to pick up the food myself, I'm not tipping. I don't agree that putting food in a bag is worthy of extra money.

    Do you tip the baggers at the Giant/Safeway/etc? I'll bet not, but it's essentially the same thing. I personally think it's rude that a tip line is even on receipts for pick-up. And yes, I'm aware it's the same machine printing out every receipt, but I still don't think it's right.

  • At 1:09 PM, September 09, 2005, Blogger Miss Penny Lane said…

    It isn't the same thing as the baggers at a grocer; in a restaurant, the chefs prepared the food for you the same as if you were sitting at a table.

    Anyway, servers don't make squat to begin with, and a lot of people who do eat in don't tip well. Throw a bone... That was my point, but maybe others don't see it that way.

  • At 5:04 PM, September 09, 2005, Blogger The Captain said…

    I understand that servers don't make much to begin with, hence why I tip very nicely when I eat in.

    I am aware that people make my food, but when I eat in, who gets my tip? Do the servers share any of that with the chefs? I know servers get paid lower since the restaurant owners believe they'll make it up in tips, but don't chefs make a flat wage that is not tip based?

  • At 4:17 AM, September 11, 2005, Blogger Siryn said…

    It's a shame that this country allows restaurateurs to underpay people, creating the whole obligation of tipping.

    I mean, some of the food is overpriced as is, especially in large metropolitan areas like New York and DC.

    I never tip on carryout. I feel that's taking things too far.

    I found this funny spot though:

    "Michael Lynn, an associate professor of market and consumer behavior at Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, researched the variations of tipping in different countries. Comparing the types of services that were tipped in each country with personality tests that had been given to people in those countries, he came to the conclusion that countries with more extroverted and neurotic people gave tips to the greatest number of services and also tipped the largest amounts. (The U.S. was at the top of both of those categories, by the way.) His theory is that "extroverts are outgoing, dominating, social people" and see tipping as an incentive for the waiter to give them extra attention. Neurotics are more prone to guilt and general anxiety, making them tip more because of their perceived difference in status between themselves and the server."

    That would explain a lot..

  • At 4:33 PM, September 12, 2005, Blogger The Captain said…

    I would point out again, before MPL accuses me of being cheap, that her restaurant is the first place I've ever heard of that charges you less money for carryout than if you sat in.

    Interesting article Siryn. I am an extrovert, no question, though I don't think of myself as neurotic. I tried to make a list of places where I tip, just to see how many there are.

    Restaurants (Eat in and Delivery)
    Cab Rides

    I'm not what anyone would call High Society, so things like Valet Parking don't exist. But I could only think of four situations that occur frequently in my life where I tip. What services do other people tip for that I'm missing here?

  • At 6:31 PM, September 12, 2005, Blogger Miss Penny Lane said…

    I would never accuse you of being cheap, Captain!!At the restaurant where I work, all tips are pooled and, based upon a point system, split between all servers, bussers, and the hostess. BTW, I doubt most people who order carryout even know it is cheaper (most things are $2 - $3 cheaper on carryout).

  • At 11:43 AM, September 13, 2005, Blogger Siryn said…

    There is a list of all the services where you're "supposed" to tip. And it's a veritable host of services.

    Tip the valet parking boy, tip the skycap at the airport, tip the bellhop at a hotel... There are quite a few more.

    No one tips me for doing my job... it's just not right that the system is built this way. The tax code is a big part of it. I mean, God forbid someone make really good money as a server because they do their job well enough to earn a good tip!

    And we bitch about the welfare system...


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