Don’t get pissy just because I have a coupon…

31 Mar

Saturday night Alan and I went to Scion for dinner. We don’t eat out that often, and since I’m in the process of buying a new place, I’m hyper-sensitive to every line item on my bank account. As a result, our dining decisions are made on the basis of my Groupon selection. (Groupons are deals where you spend money in advance to get twice that amount as a credit at a bar/restaurant.)

In this case, I had spent $20 to receive a $40 credit at Scion. I’ll admit, I always feel a little awkward about busting out a coupon. The saving grace of Groupon is that it’s popular, so EVERYONE uses them, not just the frugal-minded.

Anyway, we sat at the bar, tried their strawberry mojitos and shared a few appetizers. The food (crab and artichoke dip and seared scallops with navy beans) was surprisingly good. I say surprising because in my ten years in Dupont Circle, that restaurant has changed names/chefs more often than I’ve changed jobs, so I walked in thinking it might not offer much by way of culinary range. I was glad to be wrong.

We liked sitting at the bar because we could watch a March Madness game on the television, or we could turn and people-watch out the window. The only other people sitting at the bar (admittedly it was early – only around 6pm) were employees of Scion who were off-shift but still in uniform. Alan and I agreed that in our days as servers, that would’ve been a clear no-no.

Overall, we were digging the night – good food, good ambiance, good drinks, good service – UNTIL we asked for the check and presented our Groupon. The bartender looked like someone had handed him a turd.

He placed our (adjusted) check in front of us without a word. We settled up, tipping over 20% on the original total, and leaving the tip in cash. (Alan and I collectively have at least a half-dozen years of experience waiting tables and bartending, so we tend to tip in the 20-30% range, and always leave it in cash so the server doesn’t get hosed on taxes.)

The bartender silently collected our settled tab and went off to make a drink. Although his reaction to a coupon was inappropriate, we could understand it. Back in my days at Tripper’s, we’d dread serving customers who brought in an infamous burger coupon, because more often than not it meant our tip would suck.

What surprised us was that he didn’t warm up at all once he realized we weren’t tight-asses and had actually tipped fairly generously. Looking back, we probably should’ve dicked him on the tip once he copped an attitude over the coupon. I’m guessing that some people do – and that his pissy attitude about the coupon is, ironically, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

2100 P Street NW, Washington DC

2 Responses to “Don’t get pissy just because I have a coupon…”

  1. Babs March 31, 2010 at 2:23 pm #

    Never heard of Groupon, but I’ve used a bunch of times in the past. I usually present the coupon in the beginning of the meal, and then if the server continues to have a poor attitude (which sadly has happened many times) we tip accordingly. Hey, if the coupon sites exist, and the restaurant owners decide to participate, why *not* use them to our advantage?


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