The young waiter was efficient as hell, and he had to be. Sticky Rice was packed solid on a Tuesday night. Potential customers were lingering by the door, hoping to get a taste of the joint’s B-grade sushi and tater tots. (Hey, here’s an idea: Why don’t you add a few more toasted sesame seeds to your nigiri, just to further drown out that flavorless fish?)

A perfectly mediorce meal was topped with a perfectly strange check ceremony. When I paid in cash, the waiter quickly returned with my change. When I started counting bills, he asked, “Oh, did you want the 50 cents?”

Taken aback, I said no and added the spare change to the tip. But in retrospect, I should have been more forceful about this bald assumption about my coinage. I’m sorry, 50 cents is not chump change. It is not automatically yours without my permission.

I asked the Twitterverse if this practice was cool and got a few responses:

  • @scottreitz: I don’t think it’s even cool if they ask if I want change. Don’t make me say yes. Just bring me my money. I’ll leave a tip.
  • @bonappetitfoodie: Decidedly uncool. Even if it’s 50 cents, rather presumptuous & kinda rude to assume it’s tip & you don’t want your change back.
  • @msfmary: Either the waiter should ask if you want change when you give them the check or, preferably, just assume you do and bring it ALL
  • @xcanuck: My response: “Sir, it’s ALL yours.” and then I’d walk away with the bills. But I’m a bit of a jerk. :=)

Your thoughts?