We haven't had a conversation about tipping in awhile

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Alidar Jarok, Nov 3, 2012.

  1. Amaris

    Amaris Abiding Eos Premium Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    I've had servers get upset that I tip below what they feel they've earned. One incident was when me and a few friends had dinner at a Steak and Shake. The total, for all 4 of us, came to about $60. I tipped $5, but I didn't quite have enough to tip the extra $3 that I normally would. Still, I thought $5 was fair because aside from our initial orders, we didn't bother her the whole time we were there. On top of that, I bussed the table. I always have everyone put the plates, saucers, cups, etc., in the center of the table, and I wipe down the table as best as I can, to remove some of the work required to get the table ready for another customer.

    So I paid for dinner (it was on me that night), and I walked back and put the $5 on the table. As I was walking away, I heard her say "Five dollars? What a cheap ass!"

    Sometimes you get people like that. Not all servers are like that, though.
  2. Shanndee

    Shanndee Commodore Commodore

    Sep 6, 2010
    THANK YOU. I will never understand this attitude. When I was going to school (and working 3 part time jobs to get by), there were times that the only reward I could give myself was a meal that I didn't have the time (or the energy) to cook myself. I sometimes only had enough to pay for the meal, and there is no way anyone can convince me that that I shouldn't have been in a restaurant because I "couldn't afford it".

    Now that I have graduated and have a reliable income I always tip good service, but I don't feel it is fair to make a sweeping statement like the one in the OP.
  3. Amaris

    Amaris Abiding Eos Premium Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Glad to hear you're doing well! :D

    Anyway, yes, it bothers me because it shifts focus from the customer to the server. It goes from "How can I serve you today?" to "How much can you do for me?" It makes it seem like the restaurant is to cater to the server, and not the customer, and that's ridiculous.
  4. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

    Apr 14, 2000
    QC, IL, USA
    Bad tippers are annoying, but they are the minority.

    Awesome tippers are awesome, but they are equally a minority.

    Most people are average tippers. On a given night I can pretty much guess how much money I made based on how busy I felt I was because, in general, most people tip the same way, and the shitty tips tend to get canceled out by the awesome tips anyway.

    The one instance where bad tips are extra irritating is when you are waiting on a large group of people with a very large tab, and they don't tip accordingly.

    Overall, though, I've gotten over it. I tip like a crazy person because I am in the industry and that's just what we do.
  5. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

    Apr 14, 2003
    Norfolk, VA
    You gave less than 10% tip? Was the service bad?
  6. Amaris

    Amaris Abiding Eos Premium Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    The service was fair for what it was. It was late at night, we were just about the only other patrons in the restaurant, save for 2 or three other people on the other side of the room.

    Also, I don't go by percentages. Higher food cost does not translate to bigger tip.
  7. Grey

    Grey Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Sep 14, 2012
    Ok...I'm one of those people who struggles to afford eating out, much less the tip. But 138 dollars? Being poor means figuring how to eat out on a budget. Spending that much (this was at a restaurant right? Not a grocery store?) on dinner officially cancels your use of the "too poor to tip" clause.

    I actually wish all restaurants were like that. This thread is a perfect example. You've got people, genuinely decent people, who tip a certain amount and offend their servers, and then you've got servers, genuinely decent servers, who manage to offend their customers who have to tip them something. No one is ever happy. I'd rather have a system where all the guesswork is taken out of it. No percentages. No which friend is tipping tonight and which friend is the cheapass? No who's food do I spit in tonight?

    I know it's not perfect but I hate guessing in ambiguous situations where everyone has a strong opinion. And it sucks that people who are forced to rely on tips for income aren't even guaranteed that income, because technically no one is forced to leave a tip. They're only getting paid by a high-pressure honor system.
  8. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

    Mar 8, 2001
    Great Britain
    Well of course one way to remove the abiguity is to simple increase servers wages to the minimum wage, True this would add cost to the food.

    As for tips then it would be the patrons decision as to whether or not to leave a tip instead of feeling under preasure to leave one.

    But if servers do better out of the tipping system they wouldn't in general want to change it.

    But who would benefit more from the change the consumer or the server/waiter?
  9. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2001
    Kansas City
    Sort of what I was thinking, she can afford to spend $138 on a meal as a single mom but couldn't drop down at least another measly $10-$15 for a tip? Bitch.
  10. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

    Apr 14, 2003
    Norfolk, VA
    See, from my perspective, I would be spending the rest of the night wondering what I did wrong. Since there is a social convention, such a dramatic departure from it would have to mean something and someone else's idiosyncratic tendencies wouldn't cross my mind. Instead, I would normally be expecting 9-12 dollars unless I gave bad service and always hope to get more if I gave exceptional service.

    Keep in mind the server would probably be there for the hour with you plus near an hour after to clean up the restaurant. For this, she is compensated $2.23 an hour. That plus your five would be 9.46 for two hours.
  11. The Green Mushroom

    The Green Mushroom Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 19, 2001
    United States
    If I ruled the world, or at least America, I would simply roll the cost of the tip into the food and pay waiters a decent wage.

    But until that magical moment when I get to tell everyone else how to live rolls around, you have to tip and you have to tip appropriately unless the waiter does something royally bad.

    I went to the store yesterday to buy groceries and my entire bill was less than $138. Unless I run out of milk, I'm probably not going back for another week. If you can afford to drop that on one meal, you can afford to tip.
  12. Fruitcake

    Fruitcake Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jan 20, 2007
    inside teacake
    My favorite tipping is when people leave evangelical tracts.
  13. SmoothieX

    SmoothieX Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 12, 2004
    I find it very refreshing when I travel somewhere tipping is not part of the culture. I know you have to here, but it generally ends up as $1 for lunch, or $2 for dinner.
  14. Starbreaker

    Starbreaker Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Feb 19, 2001
    Birmingham, AL
    I hate bad tippers. I went to eat with a friend who said "I don't tip because people choose to work these jobs." Never going anywhere with that jerk again. I normally give $2 if you just set my drinks down and gave me maybe one refill and never bothered to check up on me, but if you really take care of me without being obnoxious I'll leave a good tip.
  15. Tora Ziyal

    Tora Ziyal Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 27, 2010
    I agree, and I don't tip if the service is poor. But the example in the OP implied that the service was fine. Big difference.

    Yes, so do I. But since we don't, it's real annoying to have one owner of mediocre restaurants (turns out that he owns two other places that I've tried and not liked :lol:) do it on his own and then pull an attitude when a customer politely questions it.

  16. 1001001

    1001001 Pull Up a Groove and Get Fabulous! Moderator

    Nov 3, 2001
    In a Bozo Nightmare
    You have to take care of your people.
  17. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jan 9, 2008
    Who's people? The owner of the place you are eating in? Yes I agree he/she should pay their staff a living wage.
  18. Biffette

    Biffette Captain Captain

    Mar 3, 2005
    I live in Washington State, where every server is paid at least the state minimum wage before tips. Because of this, I am unconcerned about how much I tip and have no hesitations on the few occasions where no tip is warranted. This is not the case when I travel to Michigan, where a server is often earning less than half of that state's minimum wage and needs to make up the rest via tipping. In those cases I tip imo generously.

    Here is a handy guide that shows each US state's minimum wage vs. the minimum wage paid to servers:

  19. Great Stalin's Ghost

    Great Stalin's Ghost Millions of dead kulaks can't be wrong Premium Member

    Jun 12, 2001
    Robert Maxwell
    Put me down in the "if you can't afford to tip properly, don't eat out" column.

    Giving less than 10% if the service is adequate is simply unacceptable. My base tip starts in the 15-20% range (I tend to round up to the next dollar anyway.) It can go up if you are just crazy awesome, or down if you are terrible.

    I have never just not tipped because I couldn't afford it. I have left meager tips or not tipped at all when I got bad service. I usually complain to the manager when that happens, too. Fortunately, it is not all that often.

    As for the example in the OP... that's just unreal. I sure hope it is the exception. If someone can spend over $100 a meal, they can damn well tip for it properly. "Single mom," my ass.
  20. tighr

    tighr Commodore Commodore

    Sep 5, 2011
    This gives me an interesting idea. If/when I ever open my own restaurant, I wonder if a successful experiment would be to pay the servers based on commission. Advertise that tips aren't necessary, and that servers work on commission. Raise the price of all the food by 15% or so, and don't put a "tip" column on the receipt. All prices would already be "gratuity inclusive".

    Servers would get 15% of everything they sold. Would this encourage servers to upsell? Would this encourage patrons to frequent the establishment knowing that their bill would be a no-nonsense affair?

    If patrons felt that the server did an amazing job, they'd certainly be more than welcome to leave a few extra bucks on the table.

    Seems like a worthwhile experiment, at least.