There were slight warning signs: the clientèle did not wear flip flops, and the bathroom... well I’ll get into what went on in the bathroom later, but overall, the meal at Montecito Inn was lovely. A light meal, sandwiches that were delicious no doubt, albeit a bit fancy in the descriptive: His was Sandwich of Roast Lamb, Grilled Eggplant, Marinated Peppers & Gouda Cheese , mine was Grilled Chicken Sandwich, Fried Brie, (FRIED BRIE?! I had to check that out.) Mushrooms & Onion Sauté & Herb Mayonnaise. Petit Chéri had the $9 kid's burger (!) The fries rocked.
When the bill came: $37.34, I placed a crisp one hundred dollar bill in the tray. The good looking waitress took the $100 dollars and asked sweetly, “Will you be needing any change?”
Will I need change?
Within instants, my mind was assailed by maelstrom of conflicting emotions.
-Should I be honored to be perceived as the kind of woman who leaves a $62 dollars tip FOR A $37 MEAL?
-Is she INSANE?
-Am I insane?
-Are there really people in this world rich enough to think nothing of a near 200% tip (Oprah Winfrey who bought a fifty million dollar house in town maybe?)
-How many people feel intimidated into saying yes, so as not to look like losers?
-Do I look at all like Oprah?
-Should I say," no, really, please, keep the change," like is the custom here in Montecito?
-How often does the waitress pull that trick? Even if it only works 5% of the time, it’s worth it.
-Should I work here?
I am proud of myself. I mirrored her delightful, effervescent tone and said, “You betcha!”
Now the bathroom: Maybe one should know better than to eat in places where they do this:
I think it’s considered toilet paper roll abuse in some countries in Europe. Maybe they should be reported. Maybe I should call Oprah.