Gratuity - is it Gratuitous?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Jedi_Master, Jan 19, 2015.

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Is gratuity gratuitous?

  1. I think gratuity is important - I want to reward good service.

    15 vote(s)
    41.7%
  2. I think gratuity is unimportant - pay people a living wage!

    12 vote(s)
    33.3%
  3. In my country providing a gratuity is not customary.

    7 vote(s)
    19.4%
  4. Narwhals and unicorns understand the value of a good tip.

    2 vote(s)
    5.6%
  1. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Oh, I don't doubt that. But the person stiffing the server in any particular instance simply may not care that much. It tends not to be a problem-solving behaviour so much as an emotional lashing-out.

    At any rate, as far as problem-solving and efficient feedback goes:

    A refund is all very well, discounts for the next meal maybe useful or not depending on whether I plan to come back, but nothing more than that is likely to happen and at any rate demanding that the customer go off and deal with head office misses the basic point that the person encountering bad service is most motivated to provide feedback to the server. And there was supposed to be a mechanism already in place for commenting on bad service and good, and that mechanism was supposed to be the tip, and the reason it was originally structured that way was that it gave an option to provide this sort of feedback without having to go over the server's head to his manager or the restaurant's ownership.

    In the present American system this feedback function is broken, of course, but that's not a feature of the system. It's a very serious defect.
     
  2. farmkid

    farmkid Commodore Commodore

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    I would love to see tipping go away. The practice has always irritated me a little, but I couldn't ever figure out why. I recently read an article about it (sorry I can't find it again, so no link) that I think helped me figure it out. Apparently, tipping has its roots in the aristocracy in Europe. The practice made its way to the US in the mid-late 1800s as wealthy Americans visited Europe and came home and began tipping as a show of wealth and sophistication. The practice was looked down upon and even banned in many places for the next few decades. It was considered un-American because it was seen to divide people into aristocratic and servant classes, which is absolutely antithetical to the founding principles of the country.

    Ironically, the practice has mostly disappeared in Europe, but is continuing to spread into more and more industries here.

    The article also presented some research showing that service quality and tipping are barely if at all correlated, and that most people tip about the same regardless of the service. I don't remember much detail of that, so I won't go into any more detail of that research in case I get it wrong.
     
  3. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think there are a number of studies that show that tipping percentages only correlate weakly with perceived service quality. Or summaries of studies. Like this one by Michael Lynn. Which suggests that what I said about tips having once been a mechanism for customer feedback is oversimplifying.

    At a guess, the other article you're thinking about may be this one (though it mentions aristocracy as such only briefly).
     
  4. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    While they don't strongly correlate with quality of service (I tend to agree with this) that doesn't mean it means the system needs to be abolished. The reasons for that are people who "don't believe in tipping" or cheap out on the tip or don't understand the real purpose of tipping always undertip and others, who are too embarrassed to ever give a low tip for bad service, always overtip. I think that's problematic too. I wonder if any of these studies ever followed the tipper rather than the tippee. Do these individuals vary their tip based on the quality of the service (even if one always hovers around 12% the other around 25%)? To me, better education and understanding about tipping can help correct that problem of it not greatly correlating with service.
     
  5. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Admiral

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    As someone who has survived on a tipped income for the last decade, I can pretty safely say that most people tip 15-18% regardless of the service they receive. Industry workers complain about bad tippers, but the truth is that those bad tips really are the exception to the rule.

    I'd say that very few people actually adjust their tip much based on service, unless the quality of service was just extremely bad or extremely amazing.

    And the truth is, the only people who complain about bad tips are the ones who haven't been doing it very long. I've been doing this for 10 years, but I still receive bad tips every once in a while. I know that I provide good service, and I know that every bad tip I receive will be made up for by a good tip later that night. I look at the bad tip, I grunt, and then I move on. It all evens out. Even with the occasional $0 tip, my normal take-home is usually around 30% of my sales.
     
  6. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    Well, I always hated the table from hell - the table where nothing you could do was right and they just dragged on forever. I had one where I ended up with three cents on a 93 dollar bill. But I do think it's like offensive linemen and Punters. You only remember when things are bad, not the good. Bad tips are much more memorable. While it's just human nature, I also think, at least from my experience, that you're always trying to give an A+ performance, so you're never thinking "I was only average in that table and I got a great tip" you're thinking "I didn't do anything wrong, why was the tip low?" Plus, unless you do something obvious like screw up an order or spill your drinks on everyone and shrug it off, you probably didn't notice what you did wrong.

    I will say I do vary my tips based on poor performance and I'm actually pretty picky about things done wrong. But my average tip is somewhere between 20 and 25% (usually 25 rounded down to the nearest dollar), so I wonder if people notice when I only give 18% due to the terrible service I received.
     
  7. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Admiral

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    Unless you are constantly being waited on the same people, and unless those same people vary their service quality on a regular basis, I'm gonna guess they don't notice.
     
  8. Amaris

    Amaris Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, you tend not to forget assholes. I've been on the receiving end of the table from hell, too, and I remember all of those encounters, but that's because there were so few of them. Still, I think we can all agree if you've got 30 people with you, and you run me ragged while leaving me a sticky mess of syrup, butter, soda, plates stuck to the table, and garbage on the floor after you're gone, "tipping" me with a fake $20 that asks me if I've found Jesus makes you an asshole.
     
  9. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Yeah. I think that's safe to say. :lol:

    You always remember encountering a table like that or being "waited on" (loosely defined) by a guy like this, basically.
     
  10. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Admiral

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    Well, yes, but that wasn't the question.
     
  11. Lumi

    Lumi Captain Captain

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    I'm not rich, so I can't always give great tips. Sometimes all the money I've got on me is what I'm buying my meal with - but I try to tip anyway, even if it's just a small tip. If I'm going out with a group to eat we normally all throw some money in to make a decent tip for good service.
     
  12. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral In Memoriam

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    I always prefer leaving a cash tip on the table, even if I'm paying with a debit or credit card, and always draw a line through the "tip" portion of the bill. Sometimes, if I'm worried another customer might steal the tip (saw someone do that once), I'll give it directly to the server.