Wednesday, April 15, 2009

OK, into another land mine

I think we had an amazing conversation below on perceptions regarding gay rights as viewed as civil rights (which they are, and which no one seems to disagree with), so I'm going to go in a different direction now.

Ryan at MyMidtownMemphis says what most hospitality WORKERS, not management, are saying about the departure of the COGIC Convention to St. Louis in 2010: Don't let the doorknob hit you on the ass on your way up the river!

While hotels loved to see the Saints roll into town, the bellmen, waiter/waitresses and those who dealt directly with theese folks dreaded their arrival. Notes Ryan:

These visiting supposedly nice churchgoers are the epitome of rude, cheap and ungracious people and I hate to stereotype a whole group but I never met anyone to prove otherwise. For years, their head pastor and leader was a patron of one place I worked at and you would think that a recognized public figure would realize that if he's cheap and rude to people at restaurants then word would get around. I mean talk about bad PR, but he never seemed to put the pieces together nor did his congregation.

It's time to move on without them, although I suspect the Saints may have a change of heart after 2010 when the conventioneers receive a less than open-arms welcome in St. Louis. No one likes to lose a huge convention, but when the perception among the hospitality workers is that it brings nothing but pain with little to show for it, who could blame them?


GoldnI said...

Well, just as long as they stay downtown (I presume it's going to be at America's Center) and don't taint my Central West End with their presence. But I imagine we'll see at least a few of these "good Christians" sneaking out to the Lumiere Place casino (just a few blocks from the convention center) late at night!

Blinders Off said...

The writer states “these people” and at the same time says he hates to stereotype a whole group, but that is exactly what he did.

When you have, thousands of people (black or white) attending a conventions or events there is no way you can AVOID bad apples from attending. Hmmm, could it be the hospitality workers who felt they were snubbed when it came to their tips ACTIONS and TONE was RUDE.


Don't taint my Central West End with their presenceWhen did the Central West End become yours? Back in the day, the Central West End was a nice place to enjoy after work or for the evening on the weekend for anyone who wanted to come. Has that changed, are certain people no longer welcome to patronize the Central West End?

Steve Steffens said...

It's kind of like the old joke "They come to town with the Ten Commandments and a Ten Dollar Bill, with no intention of breaking either."

I think the color involved here is green and nothing else. I have heard so many stories from wait staff of all colors dreading the COGIC convention because these folks, bless their hearts, DO NOT TIP.

If you are a wait person, and the vast majority of your income comes from tips, this affects your INCOME, as you are in effect losing money by serving them.

That's the complaint.

Jon Carroll said...

Steve, Blinders, as a former waiter I have to weigh in.

It isn't just about the money, although that is a large part of it. It's about the attitude of holier than you. Its about coming in large groups of either just below your restaurant's automatic tip level or in such a large group you have to have 2 waiters to wait on a group that demands you wait on them hand and foot and whose total check isn't enough for 1 waiter to make anything on.

Its about a table of 8 adults splitting 4 entrees. Its about wanting basket after basket of bread. Its about everyone making their own lemonade.

Its about staying 6 to a room in a hotel. Its about demanding you keep the pool open an extra 2-3 hours when there is no staff. Its about taking the continental breakfast with them when they leave at 7 and 730 and 8 and 830 and not understanding why you dont have anything by 1030 when it ended at 9.

This isn't a black/white thing. I'm sure those who wait on the Southern Baptist Convention have the same complaints. The only difference is that most conventions tend to move around while COGIC has been here all the time generating both good and bad will.

Blinders Off said...


The COGIC topic in Memphis became black and white with many bigots weighing in like most crap in Memphis. Sometimes it gets under your skin and I had thin skin when I came over here and read the post and Goldnl’s comment, "Don't taint my Central West End with their presence". I am from St. Louis and the Central West End was a place I enjoyed patronizing in the 80's. I understand your point about working in the hospitality industry… been there and done that.

When a large convention or any group blocking a large number of rooms, hotels should think about:

1. Requiring a credit card during check-in and if there is any damage to the room or items missing the person who booked the room credit card can be charged to cover expenses.

2. Guest who choose to use a bellhop to transport their luggage pay a surcharge.

Finally, restaurants should have automatic gratitude on a table of six or more.

Anonymous said...

The COGIC folks are not the only ones who express more than a bit of inconsistency between proclamation and action. A group of academic folks whose entire version of critical analysis is to advocate for "social transformation" and "economic justice"--although they usually can never make themselves express their feelings in such common terms--have the self-admitted reputation as the worst tippers to hotel and restaurant workers when they descend on a given city for their conventions. During these gatherings, paper after paper is given that intones the need to resist "structures of power" within a given work. Pious proclamations about "Western, Capitalist Imperialism" or "reading as a political act" or the efficacy of Bolshevism--you read that right--are usually rendered. Meanwhile, these same advocates left little or no compensation for those who prepared and served their food, made their beds or changed their towels. One response when asked about these matters was to claim that "after the revolution, all these matters will take care of themselves." Is that not the equivalent of conservative Christians answering questions of theodicy by saying "these matters will all work themselves out in the next life?"
Left wingers of all shapes and varieties--and I still am one--might well ask ourselves when we denounce the well-earned reputation of COGIC and other groups for their myriad of sins, if we have any right to cast any stones at anyone. Such are important matters that cannot and should not be avoided.

Steve Steffens said...

And that makes up what, two dozen people, tops?

In any event, this liberal tips 20%as a base unless the service really blows chunks, and that's AFTER tax has been applied.

My mother waited tables, and I have been in the restaurant biz myself too much not to do that.

Steve Steffens said...

Although one could make the argument that servers should be paid a living wage for starters without tips being added, until the law is changed, that won't happen.

Anonymous said...

"Two dozen people, tops..." Try several hundred in several associations visiting several cities EACH YEAR. The hypocrisy and self-serving haughtiness is in evidence for all the world to see each and every time these people convocate. The more that excuses are made and the more glorious talk about "the coming revolution," the less real becomes the possibility of actually doing something to help someone right in front of them. Namely, these "liberals" find excuses to avoid even the smallest of sacrifices for those who inconvenience their schedules, newspaper reading or last minute revisions on their presentations about how a given text reflects concerns for "the Other" (another pious and oft-employed phrase). In their annual lack of tipping and common courtesy, these liberationists and those who make excuses for them are little more than comic imitations of what "liberalism" once exemplified.

autoegocrat said...

I think I have waited on the people anon 2:09pm is talking about. The only difference between them and COGIC is that COGIC doesn't make you sit around and listen to their shitty jokes. They are just as loud an obnoxious and ten times more likely to make a scene.

Since we're on the topic of wait staff horror stories, I'm kind of amazed that the topic hasn't turned to the gypsies. If there's any one group that EVERY server dreads, it's the gypsies.

Loathing of the gypsies remains the one racial stereotype that is universally acceptable, even in oh-so-liberal America. God forbid you should ever have to wait on a gypsy.