Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Courts and Change

You may recall a while back I received a summons for jury duty. I originally thought I'd defer it to sometime this winter, but I ended up having a whole in my schedule so I told them I'd be available.

After calling in last night, I discovered my number was among those required to show up for a fun and exciting day of waiting. After about an hour of waiting for the day to unfold, twenty three of my newest friends and I were called into courtroom #8.

For the next two hours we listened to the two attorneys ask a variety of questions to us such as: Who do you work for and what do you do? What makes you good at the job you do? Have you ever been in an accident? Do you have any chronic back or neck pain? do you think large monetary settlements are justified?

As you can probably surmise by now, it was going to be a civil case in which one party had rear-ended the other and now the claimant was seeking damages.

It was obvious right out of the gate that one of the attorneys was as sharp as a tack and the other was as dull as a well used crayon. The second one asking simple yes or no questions and looking extremely nervous the whole time. At one point he even dropped all of the paperwork he'd been holding, all the while trying desperately to conceal his embarrassment.

Well, after a couple hours of the question and answer portion of jury selection, it was time to break for lunch. A little over an hour later the clerk came back into the room that we regrouped in and announced the thirteen numbers of the ones who would be serving on this trial.

I was not one of the numbers called, but lucky me, I get to call in each evening for the remainder of the week to see if I get to repeat the process all over again. Truth be told, I was hoping that after the investment of my morning, I would be selected to see the trial through. Oh well, maybe next time.

And now I pose a question to you. For lunch I walked over to a local pub and restaurant to get a bite to eat. Both the food and the service were fine. Not remarkable, but not horrendous either. My bill came out to $14.35 for the fish-and-chips and iced tea. I had a fifty in my pocket and used that to pay with. When the waitress brought back my change it consisted of the following:

1-twenty, 3-fives and 65 cents in coins.

What was I supposed to leave as a tip? The twenty certainly wasn't part of the equation, one of the fives would have come out to a 35% tip, and the coins would have only been a 4.5% tip.

Personally I tip around 20% provided the service warrants it, but in this case the mathematically challenged waitress didn't think about the change she was giving me at all. Kind of irritating in my book. Not the end of the world by any far stretch, but not real bright either.

So...What would you have done?


Nicole P said...

Well, that was pretty dumb of the waitress...or wishful thinking.
I would have just asked her to break one of the fives.

Jeff B said...

Nicole- That's exactly what I did, but it kind of irked me that I had to.

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

I spent five days last summer on jury duty and they never picked me. A criminal trial. Why don't they put ex-cops on civil stuff. Just saying.

I would have ask her to get me five fives. She isn't going to learn if you don't make her think about the extra steps. Have a great day. :)

Talisman said...

I would have asked her to break one of the 5's and then left her 3 bucks.

Travis said...

I use my American Express card at restaurants, because it leaves me in charge of any tipping I may do.

I'd hate to think that your waitress was trying to influence you. I would certainly have her go back and break the bills down into more manageable denominations.

Although, the waitress may have tipped me toward 15% rather than 20%.

Desert Songbird said...

I always ask for the wait person to break apart any larger bills. Usually, though, I just use my debit VISA to pay.

Jeni said...

Actually, it is quite possible the waitress was playing her own odds in the hope by leaving you with the $20 and the three fives (as opposed to putting in five ones to begin with, that she would then entice you to leaving a $5 spot for her tip. Not saying she was doing that -and obviously, it is not 100% successful either but in some establishments, waitresses are trained to make change in that manner.

Jeff B said...

Sandee- I'd think when they see "ex-cop" on your juror sheet that they'd automatically try to find a civil suit for you. I can't imagine you ever getting to try a criminal case with your background.

Tailsman- That's pretty much what I did. 2-ones and the change.

Travis- I generally use a card to pay with too, but I just happened to have some cash on hand for a change.

Songbird- My irritation is that I shouldn't have to think for them.

Jeni- I wondered that too. In fact, when I gave her the fifty, I had already done the math to determine what the change would be. Knowing it would be $35 I was curious what type of bills she would bring me.

Jay said...

Yeah, I would have asked her to break one of the fives. I don't know if she thought you would actually leave a five or what. But, waiters do things like that all the time.

I've never done jury duty. I guess I've gotten lucky.

Matt-Man said...

If the waitress was hot, I would have asked if she minded taking her tip in the form of a grope in lieu of cash. Cheers!!

Jeff B said...

Jay- I really wanted to leave just the coins to drive my point home, but even I couldn't be that nasty.

Matt- Honesty becomes you!

Hammer said...

Those waitresses always do that to me.

I just call them back and ask them to break the 20 into a 10 5 and five ones.

I'll tell you what..most of the time they get a 5.

Mel said...

Called once for jury duty--immediately dismissed.
Geeze, and I dressed nice and everything......

And I admit it....I'da left the $5.

buffalodickdy said...

I have told 100 waitresses and bartenders to bring five ones back with my change. Only the rookies, and dummies bring back big bills...

Leighann said...

Having been a waitress off and on for 12 years I can tell you she was shooting for a 5 dollar tip.

Having been a waitress off and on for 12 years I can tell you that I wouldn't have left a dime.


Kerri said...

This EXACT thing happened to me just the other day. I asked for change for one of the fives.

I wonder if they are taught to do that so they will get bigger tips??

I've never had jury duty....I think that deep down I'm probably WAY TOO opinionated to get on a jury.

Thanks for visiting my blog....I haven't visited much lately....busy with my son's high school graduation which we celebrated last week :)

katherine. said...

sometimes the waitress isn't the one who makes the change...

when this happens to me...I hold up the five and say, "if you can break this for me I can leave a tip...." and do the eyebrow-raised shrug. Chances are he or she will figure it out next time..

I did jury duty a few years ago. It gave me nightmares for months.

katherine. said...

okay...so I read the comments...laughing...

who knew all these people just left five dollars???? sheesh no wonder they don't bring change!!

Kevin Wecker said...

Although I must reflect further on Matt-Man's tip idea, might I suggest having the waitress break the fiver into five ones and then leaving the appropriate tip? As sometimes their customer service is not to worry about the tip, and to provide the customer with good service, such as giving change in the most efficient demoninations.

I believe it's okay to ask for change for a tip. Sometimes even proactively!

Jeff B said...

Hammer- where were you when I was in the restaurant biz?

Mel- All dressed up and no where to go. Bummer.

Buffalo- She was no dummy, cause when I asked her to break a five, she had that look of "I'm busted".

Leighann- I tried to give her the benifit of the doubt.

Kerri- congrats on the graduation, and don't worry about the amount of visits. Family first!

Katherine- I need to know what the others are doing for a living, being so free and loose with the fives.

Were you on some sort of nasty criminal trail?

Kevin- I'm thinking that lunch with Matt would be a hoot no matter what the currency involved.

Rhea said...

I would have given her a five or asked her to break a five and left three dollars instead. Depends on how much I liked her.

Sorry you weren't picked for jury duty!

San said...

I guess I would have asked her to "please change a five--for your tip."

Mel said...

Yaknow......I had to come back cuz I was almost apologizing for the confession / decision to leave the five dollar tip.
And really--there's no apologizing for that choice.

I learned some time ago (k....so it was via a two by four) to be
'nice' to store clerks and waitresses......and strangers along the way.
Cuz I don't know where they've walked, I don't know what's happening in their lives. And really, I've lived on the selfish 'entitled' side long enough..

Yeah, yeah--some might call me an easy pickin's and that's okay.
Wisepersoninmylife called it compassion and I'm gonna practice until I get it down right.

LOL Been bothering most of the day, that earlier comment.

<--weird like that--but you knew that....LOL

katherine. said...

Mel came back cause it bothered her all day that her comment sounded like...she was apologizing?

gotta love the compassionate weirdos

Jeff B said...

Rhea- That seems to be the general consences. And being on a trial would have been interesting. I'm sure I'll get called in a couple more years.

San- Yep, that's what I ended up doing too.

Mel- You are too damn funny! Compassion that motivates you throughout the day is a wonderful quality. Is that OCCD? (Obsessive Compulsive Compassion Disorder)

Katherine- Ha, she's nuts for all the right reasons!

Mel said...


I'll keep practicing until I get it right! Though I DO think I'm reallllllllll close to getting that 'weirdo' down to perfection! LOL

I AM gonna steal that OCCD concept and see if I can get that stuck in the DSM-IV as a diagnosed illness.
At one point in my life I woulda claimed it 'debilitating'.
Maybe they'll fall for it, gimme benifits and I can retire early!


CrystalChick said...

I'm behind on blog reading... trying to catch up though.
I would have asked for some ones. My tip would have been 3 bucks. Hubby would have given her the 5.
We haggle about stuff like that. He would say it's not worth his time to wait and the extra 2 bucks she probably needed more.
I'm not a cheap tipper at all, but occasionally you wonder if they expect certain amounts or even extra if the service is just average.
Occasionally we go to chinese buffets. The one place is decent for lunch and you pay right away so it's easy to just leave a buck or two on the table. But the place we go for din gives you a bill at the table and when you get the receipt I've tipped close to 20% a few times just because it's in my head to figure the bill that way. But really, at a buffet, they are only clearing your dishes, not taking orders or serving.

Jeff B said...

Mel- Let me know how that work out for you. If you end up with some government assistance somehow, Then I'll have to come down with OCCD too.

Crystalchick- Those self serve buffets hardly seem wothy of a tip, but if there is a person who clears my plates and brings me a beverage then I'll leave something.