The Tipping Point – I Hate Tips!

by Mike Holman

I hate tipping of any sort and I wish the practice didn’t exist. Don’t get me wrong, I tip at restaurants and bars like everyone else, but I don’t like it.

I’ve heard that tipping is a way to make up for a lack of a decent wage for waiters, delivery persons etc who have to work hard. My question is why can’t they get paid a market rate like everyone else? What is different about restaurants and bars?

Another reason I’ve heard is that you should tip for good service. My question is, if the person is just doing their job then why do you have to pay extra?

Most workers get compensated for doing a good or exceptional job by raises, promotions, bonuses which comes from the employer. I realize this compensation gets passed back to the consumer and I’m fine with that. I’d rather that food prices in restaurants go up 10% to pay for a better wage for workers (if the wages are too low). I also haven’t noticed any correlation between tipping and service – it appears that most waiters expect a tip and their performance is based on other factors.

There are some odd occupations that can get tips, baggage handlers at the airport? Shouldn’t you get arrested for that?.  One of the things that bugs me the most about tipping is why some workers get tips and most don’t?

It seems that waiters and bartenders, delivery workers are the biggest recipients of tips. But if you tip a bartender for grabbing a beer and removing the cap for you, why don’t you tip the person who works at the beer store who has to go into the back and grab the beer? What about gas stations attendants? What about the postman? Do you give them a tip for making it to your house that day?

How about if you get great customer service on the phone? Do you offer to paypal a tip to them? And what about the ten year old in Asia who spent part of his 12 hour work day on your new running shoes, did anyone tip him? I just can’t understand why some people get tips and others don’t.

In Australia, there are no tips in restaurants and when I was there a few years ago, I didn’t notice the service was any worse than it normally is here in Toronto. The other great thing about Oz is that both tips and  taxes are included in the menu price so whatever the menu price is, that’s what you pay.

When you go to the dentist/doctor – do you give them a tip? What about their receptionist? If they do a great job why not reward them a little extra. What about your bus/street car driver? What about your co-workers? If one of them gives you a little extra help do you give them a tip?

And what about social situations where you have a group bill and different people want to tip different amounts? I personally think that generally 10% of the gross bill is sufficient, but many times I’ve been in the situation where I’m out with friends and the bill might be $100 – I think we should leave $10 tip, $15 max (we’re talking very average service here), but some guys want to leave $20, and some guys want to leave $30 or $35?

Never mind the fact that the amount they put in doesn’t always correspond to the amount of tip they think we should be leaving. Do I have to put in extra money to make up for the fact that someone else wants to overtip? Do they have to put in extra to make up for my lessor tip?

I read a great story a while ago (can’t remember where unfortunately) where the person went out to lunch with some co-workers, they had individual bills, and one of her co-workers thought she gave too much tip and proceeded to take some of the tip and put it in her own pocket (I call this stealing).

Am I out of line here? Does it not make more sense if tipping didn’t exist and let the work/wage equation sort itself out?

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{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

1 plonkee

In the UK the only place its common to tip is in restaurants, and even then quite often service is included. 10% is a normal tip.

Tipping at the bar would be considered rude. If you would like to show your appreciation of the bar staff, you buy them a drink, just like you would for anyone else.

It’s probably a cultural thing, but I find tipping slightly demeaning. It feels a bit like I’m putting myself above the other people that I tip.

2 MillionDollarJourney

Good post FP. I agree that the whole tipping thing might be getting out of hand. However, have you ever worked in the food service industry for tips? I have and it sure is appreciated when a tip is received.

FT

3 telly

Mike, I am totally, 100% with you on this one – in principle – I just wish I was better at following through. I always tip 15-20% of the final bill (tipping should be done based on pre-tax totals no?) but complain about the high cost & expectation of tipping. And it seems to be getting worse…you start to feel obligated to leave the extra $0.31 change from your Timmy’s coffee purchase.

Yes, I’ve worked as a waitress before. And both of my sisters work in industries where tipping is the norm. One of my sisters works at a high end restaurant and fully admits, yes, she works hard, but earns more than she probably should. Up to $200 for a 4-5 hours shift?!?! Half of her co-workers are full-time teachers that wouldn’t dream of giving up their 2 shifts a week.

Oh, and btw, she tells me that she averages 10-12% on each bill. She considers 15% a generous tip. I’m trying to teach myself to use this as a rule of thumb. Why should I be the hot shot? ;)

4 FourPillars

Plonkee – That’s an interesting take on the situation (that tips are demeaning). I’m thinking that being a bartender in England might not be a bad thing though :)

MDJ – Thanks. I haven’t worked in the food service industry myself. I don’t mean to imply that any of those workers should make less money or that they don’t deserve their tips but rather that the method of compensation should be changed.

Telly – There’s a reason you have permanent “favourite reader” status – we always agree on everything! I’m not sure what the exact tipping “rules” are anymore. I always thought it was supposed to be 10% of the net but that seems to have crept up to 15% over the years. Very interesting about your sister – I would imagine though that there are a lot of waiters out there who would prefer a fixed hourly rate if they don’t work in a high end restaurant and if the restaurant isn’t busy.

Mike

5 guinness416

I’m unapologetic about tipping well at bars and restaurants, and yes it’s because of all my years in that game. People do it because the schedule etc suits the huge number of part-timers serving and bartending, but at times it really can be soul destroying, with its share of shifts where you make twelve bucks, being aggressively hit on night after night, cleaning up vomit, and so on. My husband is currently back to waiting tables due to the “Canadian experience” loophole so prevalent in this land of opportunity, and he’s already ready to impale himself on the nearest skewer in the kitchen. Sure all this should be “the restaurant owner’s problem” but despite the eleventy billion rants just like this post on the net, but short of your leaving North America the way the restaurant biz works ain’t going to change any time soon.

6 FourPillars

Guinness – I have no intention of changing my tipping habits either unless the industry itself changes.

The only way I can see a big change happening is if a big restaurant chain or a group of restaurants decided to institute a “no tipping/fair wage/separate bills for everyone (another peeve)” policy and based their marketing on that strategy – kind of like Saturn’s “no haggle” selling policy.

As to whether there is any incentive for anyone to do this or if it would catch on, I couldn’t say.

Mike

7 guinness416

Indian buffets often are salary only places – they also underpay their staff, but that’s another story. I dunno, if all a restaurant has to advertise is “no tips!” I can’t see it succeeding, but at the end of the day eating out is for me personally about more than the bill.

8 FinanceAndFat

Speaking of my experience as an American, I think you are right in principle that maybe tipping shouldn’t be the way it is done, but it is the custom and to do otherwise would rock the boat and harm your social status.

I like to think of it as an opportunity to be generous and maybe brighten someone’s day. I worked for tips at a younger age and I remember how good it made me feel to get a large tip. I also think unless I’m at a really swanky place the person receiving the tip probably needs the money more than I do.

9 FourPillars

Guinness – since you’ve actually worked in the industry (unlike myself), would you have rather been paid an equivalent hourly wage instead of low wage + tips? ie if you averaged out the good/medium and bad shifts and figured out you made $10/hour – would it be better just to get paid the steady $10/hour?

FAF – I’m not suggesting that we all stop tipping, I’m just complaining about it!

10 telly

I wouldn’t mind a tip or two to brighten my day here at work either!

Honestly, I just think that the act of tipping is becoming too common and is spreading to areas it really shouldn’t. It seems everyone in the service industry is expecting a tip and I really don’t think it’s far fetched to think that soon we will be tipping our dentist. Tipping people that are paid at or around minimum wage is one thing but my RMT getting $10 on top of her $60/hr rate is unreasonable!

Keep in mind that, even if they use the rule of thumb provided by the CRA, “tipped” employees do not pay anywhere near their share of income tax on this portion of their income, and yet we tip with our fully taxed dollars.

11 centsprout

oh i also read that story about the co-worker who pocketed the extra tip!! i couldn’t believe it! funny though, i can’t remember where i read it either. maybe on grs?

and as for your experience in australia… i have to say that i had the single worst restaurant service experience of my life in sydney. don’t know if it has anything to do with the non-tipping but i do know it’s something i will never forget!

12 FourPillars

Telly – Good point about the income tax, I didn’t want to mention that since the point of the post was not to vilify waiters.

Centsprout – It might have been GRS. Too bad about your Sydney experience.

13 telly

Great…now you’re making me look bad! ;)

14 FourPillars

Haha, sorry about that. It’s a very valid point.

Mike

15 Mr. Cheap

Great post! My policy is to tip 10% for average service, 15% if its good (on the pre-tax amount). My American friend usually seems to tip 15-20%.

One time in Thailand we went out for Japanese food (just like I want to eat Thai food in Japan one day). The service was quite good, and the meal was VERY reasonably priced, so my friend left a 50% tip. The waitress FREAKED OUT (I’m not sure how often I’ve seen someone happier) and she wai’d us out of the restaurant…

I hate tipping and actually would frequent a restaurant if it had a no-tipping policy (currently that’s just McDonald’s I guess). I’d rather the servers get paid an appropriate wage (like in Australia)

I’ve actually considering serving for a while until I start my PhD and seeing how good the money actually is. There’s also a bar-tending course you can take…

Of course, as guinness says, I’d hate to be aggressively hit on all night ;-).

16 growthinvalue

I totally agree, but unfortunately I think you’re fighting a losing battle. It’s a chicken and egg situation. I’d support a restaurant, for example, that advertised they upped salaries by 15% in exchange for no tipping, but it wouldn’t catch on. People still would out of habit. Tipping has simply become endemic in our society, so we’ll never get rid of it. It’ll never work. My sister was a cocktail waitress at an upscale steakhouse while she was in lawschool and she’d have nights where she pulled in $500. $500 to fake flirt with middle aged men!

Trust me, you can’t win this. To me, your options are, quietly give up the 10% any time you eat or drink anything, or don’t and be seen as a cheapskate. But you won’t start a revolution by doing it.

I have to share my own tipping horror story. One time in university there were about 10 of us at a bar one evening. University students are not known for being the most generous in the world to servers, so we were getting completely ignored by the wait staff, as usual. In the maybe 2 hours we were there, I had four drinks, two of which I waited at least 20 minutes for, and the other two I went and got myself from the bartender and paid in cash separately because I was tired of waiting. And it wasn’t a busy night or a full bar. The guy just didn’t want to waste time on us.

Of course there was a large group of us, so the bar added on the mandatory 15% gratuity. From what I recall, our bill was a few cents over a round number like $200 or something. So we all grumbled, put in our money until it added up to $200 and left. We just refused to decide which one of us had to fish out another 43 cents in change to a waiter who didn’t deserve the first $30 he got from us.

We’re walking down the street away from the bar, and about 30 seconds later, this waiter comes running, RUNNING, down the street, yelling after us.

“You didn’t leave enough for your bill,” he hisses. “And you didn’t even leave me a tip.”

Everyone in my group is completely baffled, but I know this dink is serious, so I step forward and calmly say, “we didn’t leave the extra 43 cents because we didn’t think you deserved it. We got rude and slow service, and there was no excuse for it because it isn’t busy in there. You decided the moment we walked in that we weren’t worth your time. And if you’ll check the bill, you DID get a tip. 15% was added on because we were a large group. We gave you a 14.9% tip that you didn’t deserve. Goodbye.”

17 Mr. Cheap

There’s a post on this subject on Violent Acres old blog (I’m 99% sure its her). This is one of her posts that I think she’s totally out to lunch on, but here it is:

http://web.archive.org/web/20060911054548/www.truthhurts.org/articles/48/cheap-asses/

18 FourPillars

GIV: Awesome comment and a great story – much better in fact than my original post!

Since you mentioned it, what is the deal with automatic gratuities for larger groups? Doesn’t that completely defeat the purpose of tips in the first place in that the diner has no say in the amount of tip?

Any why does it have to be on one bill? Everyone has horror stories of eating with people who just can’t seem to add 2+2 and you end up making up the difference. Is it that hard to come up with separate bills? Shouldn’t that be the default option?

Mike

19 telly

That is a great story giv, and a great response. You’re absolutely right, adding gratuity to costs will just result in people expecting another added tip (as per your awesome tail).

Cheap, that post is ridiculous. I would love to see the responses she got (if anyone were brave enough to write one!)

I found this little bit amazing:
“Or.you can just suck it up and leave a 20% tip. 15% if the server is a moron, but youre still planning on coming back.”

When did 15% become the norm for BAD service?!?

20 guinness416

Mike @ 10:44 … sorry had to actually do some work! I have worked both systems, hourly only through my teens and college years in Ireland and tip system in NYC. I wasn’t getting anything approaching $10/hr in Ireland, but sheer accumulation of hours (working all night etc), the odd tip from Yanks who hadn’t got the memo & eating on the job made it a worthwhile student pay cheque. I was a salaried bartender in a private club in NY for a short while too, and the calibre of the staff there was pretty bad, pro waiters can do better in that city. There are also banquetting companies who employ wait staff for big events but in my experience they pay much more than $10/hr, and guarantee a certain number of hours, which Joe Soap’s Neighbourhood Restaurant probably can’t do.

My husband prefers the tip system but his experience is mostly NYC and he’s the sort of top-notch waiter who can do it blindfolded. The Toronto tips aren’t so good to him so far.

If one could be Telly’s sister, 5 hours for $200, that would be perfect but that’s pretty rare.

21 NeverStopBuying.com

I seem to recall no tipping in Japan, I liked that

Most Asian countries I know have no concepts of tipping (China/Taiwan) and prices include taxes already

Life will be so much easier that way, instead of here in Canada. 14% tax and 10% tip

22 the Wealthy Canadian

Great post! I despise this tipping culture that we have developed. I do leave a tip when I am gracious (remember that is what a ‘gratuity’ is) for someone providing exceptional service. However, it has gotten to a point where everyone expects a tip!

The argument that service folk work hard and are under paid is fallacious. They earn as much as the market sees fit and work no harder than every other Joe Lunchpail out there. If the server does not like their wage, why not find a different line of work? And yes, I have worked in the server industry. Admittedly never as a server, but as a cook and I never received (nor expected) any sort of tip even though I went out of my way to ensure the servers and customers were satisfied (e.g., completely changing a recipe to suit someone’s peculiar tastes, or making something that’s nowhere on the menu).

I am not arguing that we should not tip someone when we feel they provided the extra bit of service, by all means say thank-you with your money when you feel it is deserved. Just consider what is the level of service where you need to say thank-you. Personally; some guy doing nothing but taking my order and delivering my food is his job, maybe if he does something else (like ensuring that the food is good and refilling water, etc) then perhaps he is doing something extra.

oh, and a note to all restaurant owners… If I go somewhere and notice the “15% will be added to the bill…” before I order then I will immediately get up and walk out. Management has no right to tell me how much to tip… but feel free to increase wages and pass the cost onto me.

23 moneygardener

great, ballsy post 4P. I agree with you completely, but don’t tell anyone…:)

24 FourPillars

Thanks for the great comments!

By the way I’ll be installing a “Leave a Tip” application in the sidebar later on so if you enjoyed this post or any others then feel free… :)

Mike

25 Krazy Canadian

This topic always seems to draw a crowd doesn’t it? I’m the one you’ve been waiting to hear from…lol.
The fact that service people work hard and are under paid (at least where wages are concerned) is no fallacy. Most servers in Canada get paid minimum wage. On alot of stress lists, serving is rated in the top ten of most stressful work. If you don’t believe that, look it up. I studied about it in Medical Sociology at University. Guess which job is the lowest paid (wage wise).
Now I agree that there are servers who sometimes are rude and don’t deserve to be tipped, or may deserve less than the usual %15 within the industry (you may argue that number but I’ve been in the industry 20 years). Sometimes servers have bad days, like we all do in our jobs. In most cases that person is not usually like that. You don’t last as a server if you treat your tables like crap on a regular basis.
But hey, if you get horrible service from a rude waiter, then don’t tip. I’m so glad that 4pillars tips even though he dosen’t agree with it.
I just wonder how much do you think restaurants would have to pay a good server if we didn’t get tipped. At minimum wage or even a couple of bucks more and you are looking at the same service you get at Mc’ds. I can tell you that on any given day I make $15 -$25/hour. I work hard (most days) and I’m good at my job. You would like to have me as your server. This is not a high end restaurant either. Casual dinning. I would not serve for less that $20 hour if I wasn’t getting tipped. Try telling your server honestly that you are not going to tip him/her before you order your food and see what kind of service you get.

You say that you would rather the restaurants raise the prices and pay the waiter a straight wage? I can tell you that the prices would be raised more that %10. Try 15-20% At least now you get a choice.
TIP= To Insure Prompt service.
Why would you try harder if your ganna get the same wage either way?

I say for Horrible service (we all give it sometime) leave 0-5%
For mediocre service 5-10%
For good service 15%
For exceptional service 20 -30%

26 Krazy Canadian

Oh, I do like your blog by the way and will continue to subscribe to it…..(-:
We are all enititled to our opinions! That’s the great thing about our nation. The choices. The choice to speak our mind as well as the choice as to how much and when to tip.

27 Four Pillars

Krazy Kanadian – I’m glad you dropped by since it’s great to hear from someone in the trenches.

As I pointed out, I’m not looking for waiters to take a pay cut but I really feel that an hourly wage equivalent to what you get now as compensation (wage+tips) would be much better for most diners since most of us don’t like the hassle of tipping. I think this would encourage more group dinners since a lot of people don’t like the stress of a group bill + trying to figure out the tip.

As far as how much the wage should be? That would depend on the restaurant + volume. I’m sure there is a huge range of compensation now for waiters depending on the restaurant and the shifts they work.

Your suggestions for tip ranges looks pretty good – I’ll keep it in mind. I’m assuming that is on the pre-tax bill?

Mike

28 mariam

Phew! Thank goodness there are normal people who comment on this blog!

I don’t believe in tipping either unless it’s great service but out of societal expectations, I also tipped the 15% pre-tax which was already calculated due GST + PST.

With a second GST cut, I think I’ll drop down to 13%. Don’t want to do the math, you know ;)

29 Mike-TWA

Good post, Mike. I certainly think that tipping gets way out of hand. Right around the holidays, you start to see the little “lighter side” type segments on news programs about tipping, and this is where I feel I’ve fallen into another dimension. They give a laundry list of everyone you’re supposed to tip (which turns out, apparently, to be literally everyone) along with suggested amounts, which seem to be designed to be shocking. I haven’t seen the round yet this year (I’m sure it’s coming), but I have a vague recollection of a prior segment talking about the tipping list including your dog groomer.

However, I still favor the traditional restaurant server tipping. Maybe there wouldn’t be a difference in service, but by and large, I still find service in the mid-priced and up restaurants to be good where it’s crap on a shingle in every other realm of consumer service. And bartenders–that’s just a high calling. So, tips all around. (I would’ve bet anything that Mr. Cheap would have at least risen to their defense). :)

30 J!

I have been in the hospitality industry for quite sometime now, both in hotel accommodation’s and food and beverage. I have worked in both high-end and mediocre restaurants and hotels. I have done everything from manage, to bartend to wait tables and that is what I am currently doing is waiting tables while I continue with my schooling.

What many people don’t understand about the restaurant industry is that there are tip-outs to employees not working for tips (i.e. support staff, back-of-house, bartenders who only pour drinks etc.) These tips outs can range from 1% to 6% of total sales (taxes in).

So to illustrate this, if a couple comes in on a Saturday night and orders 100 dollars worth of food (after tax) it will cost me (at my restaurant) $5.00 for them to sit in my section. This is something many people don’t realize happens in the restaurant industry. This is part of the logic behind mandatory gratuities on large parties (something my restaurant will not do) because if one person grabs the bill they are likely to leave a very small tip considering the large bill.

Something I would like to mention a bit off tips is the many other issues servers have to deal with that may cause delays in service. You have to remember that we don’t just serve you, we have plenty of other duties that we have to continue up with to keep the restaurant afloat.

I work at what is the busiest restaurant in my city and we will have +1.5hr waits for dining room tables on the weekends from 5pm till 12am (with the lounge being at capacity from 7pm till 3am). Working in these conditions alone will present difficulties for wait staff not to mention issues like running out of cutlery, having to change pop, having to make extra coffee running out of linens, overstressed kitchen staff, etc. Service is relatively seamless at the restraunt I work at, which explains its popularity, but the point of the matter is that there are alot of issues that you don’t realize happen in kitchens, regardless of the type of restaurant. Remember to, the crappier the restaurant, the crappier the management, the less skilled the kitchen staff is… All affecting service quality and timing.

Here are two MAJOR issues restaurants have that affect service times greatly. These issues happen alot more often than you’d ever imagine but guests rarely ever have a chance to acknowledge the issues. These affect service time greatly (even if you’re the only person in the restaurant).

Injuries, I have seen sautee cooks burn there hands on a pan, fry cooks hands in deep fryers, dishwashers fall and cut themselves with broken plates, floor cleaner in eyes. When you have someone on the floor squealing in pain, I myself am going to help my fellow staff member and maybe forget about your cheap ass bottle of Yellow Label Wolf Blass: Cab-Sav.

Mechanical failure, an oven goes down? we’re screwed, a deep fryer? I will pack my bags and leave. These things happen all the time, and guests very rarely ever know about mechanical failures.

I think what I am getting at here is this. Wait staff have to deal with a lot of insane people, with ridiculous requests, who complain about the most irrelevant things (shapes of plates for example) not to mention deal with other situations that you’re not aware of. Guests cost me money to sit in my section as they do at EVERY restaurant I know of so if you’re not going to tip or you have a problem with tipping then stay at home and save yourself the money and anxiety of social codes of tipping and have a home cooked meal, cause the stuff you get in restaurants is not healthy for you anyways.

PS I love my job, I love making people happy, and I love getting good service. There is an intrinsic reward in it for me, your happiness, your compliments to management, and your requests to seat in my section. Monetary rewards however are necessary for me to go to school and pay the bills. PS, unlike you, I can barely even afford to eat at my restaurant (with staff discount). Treat us well, cause we do our best to help you

31 FourPillars

Mike-TWA: I think I’ve seen those “tipping guides” now and again…probably sponsored by the Dog Groomers Society of North America.

Mike

32 telly

Just wanted to add a little something else that I find annoying… ;)

There have been a number of occasions where I have over-tipped (seriously, I complain about it but I almost always overtip) and then sat around to finish my wine, etc. I love it when the server comes over to say a little special “thanks” for the tip, especially if it is generous. What I dislike is when I’ve given a tip of 20-25% and they never come back even just to mutter a quick “thanks”.
:(

33 FourPillars

Hi J, thanks for the illuminating comments, I had no idea about the table charge and the tip-out policy although I guess it make sense. You must work at a great restaurant with 1.5 hour wait times!!

My opinion still stands that everyone (including restaurant employees) would probably be better off if the “tip” was included in the price of the food and paid out to the employees as part of their wages. If their overall compensation was unchanged then I think they would be better off.

complain about the most irrelevant things (shapes of plates for example)

This made me laugh – I just can’t believe someone would go out for a nice dinner and complain about the shape of the plates?? Incredible.

PS, unlike you, I can barely even afford to eat at my restaurant

Just because I write on a financial blog doesn’t mean I can eat at your restaurant!

Mike

34 FourPillars

Telly – maybe they didn’t think the tip was enough :)

Mike

35 telly

Mike – lol! :)

BTW, my sister’s boyfriend is the general manager at the same restaurant she waits at (which is equally as busy as the one J! works at). On an hourly basis, she makes significantly more than he does.

And believe me, when I was a student, I couldn’t afford to eat at these places either! Harvey’s was a stretch!

36 Zurk

Yes…tipping is a baffling concept. You will NEVER see servers and bartenders make a decent wage. If that were to happen a Club Sandwich would be $25!(as is the case in Australia, UK etc.) For those of you who don’t know the average restaurant makes about a nickel on every dollar worth of food they sell. The percentage is higher on alcohol. And as stated most managers take a pay cut to “move up” the corporate ladder in hospitality.
Tipping is a reality. If a restaurant decided to pay servers what they’re worth(in my opinion about $15/hr.) who would go to that restaurant for a $25 sandwich? Besides without tips where’s the incentive to provide great service?

37 Mr. Cheap

Zurk: Strange how surgeons manage to successfully perform surgery even without the “incentive” of a little kick-back if the patient survives. Lawyers manage to win cases, even if they’re working on an hourly rate. Software developers finish projects (which our salaries and options aren’t reliant on).

I’ve had great service at McDonald’s (where you’re not allowed to tip) a few times.

Maybe some people are able to do a good job at their chosen profession without someone dangling a dollar bill above their head?

We know what servers would get paid and what food would cost (here’s a hint, its a lot less then $25 for a sandwich) if tipping were abolished, because there are areas in the world were people don’t tip, and servers aren’t getting paid triple their current salary (or whatever you think would be fair). Unfortunately society pays us what society feels our work is worth, NOT what we feel its worth.

J! I think a lot of the problems you point out are management problems, not patron problems.

I’m in the same boat as Mike, I doubt I could afford to eat at your restaurant either. And I’m certainly not going to until you get the triangular plates I requested ;-).

38 sewiv

If you don’t like tipping, don’t eat out. It’s that simple. Welcome to the real world.

I tip at 30%, and get excellent service in return. If you get crap service, maybe it’s because they recognize you and remember your lousy tip from last time. 10% is an insult.

Oh, and yes, postmen ARE supposed to be tipped. It’s common courtesy to leave a bonus for the postman, usually around Christmas, just like you used to do for the milkman and the paper boy.

Sorry you’re so incredibly ignorant of the social contract in the U.S.

39 Mr. Cheap

sewiv: Unfortunately you aren’t the one who gets to decide what the social contract is, or how the real world operates. Society as a whole determines that, not just bitter servers.

In his post Mike acknowledged that he does tip. Just because he doesn’t tip at exactly the level you deem appropriate I don’t think we need to condemn him to eating at home for the rest of his life :-).

A gift at Christmas isn’t a tip. If that’s the only rebuttal to his post you can make I’d say he isn’t the incredibly ignorant one.

40 sewiv

“Society as a whole” tips, and understands that the basic minimum is 15%.

I didn’t see anything else worth rebutting.

I’m also far from being a “bitter server”. Rather, I’m a happy customer, and more than willing to tip as necessary.

My response to bad service is not, in fact, bad tipping. Rather, I’ll ask for the manager and discuss the bad service with him.

41 telly

I was a waitress before and I can safely say, if you want to eat out and not tip, that’s your perogative. I worked hard and treated patrons nicely. Sure, if I didn’t get a tip, I was a bit annoyed but I was still surprised at how well I did for the 3-4 hours I was at work, at it wasn’t at a fancy, uppity restaurant either.

Who defines “supposed to”? I’m “supposed to” get a bonus every year but guess what, last year I didn’t. Does that mean I should stop doing my job? Treat others around me like crap?

I guess I must not be very curteous – I’ve never left my postman a “bonus”, maybe he gets one from his employer, after all, that’s where he / she gets his pay cheque (and significant pension).

sewiv, since I didn’t get my bonus at work last year, I hope the next time you purchase a car, you leave a little envelope for the engineers like me that designed your vehicle. It would be “incredibly ignorant” of you not to. :)

42 FourPillars

Zurk – why would a Club Sandwich cost $25 if the “tip” was included in the food price?

It seems to me that if the average tip is 12%, and a restaurant decided to ban tipping – they would increase the price of the food by 12% in order to create the revenue to increase the hourly wages of the wait staff, cooks etc. Since I’m already paying that 12% (or whatever) in tip form now, there would be no difference in total price for the consumer.

Mike

43 FourPillars

Hi Sewiv – thanks for dropping by!

As for your suggestion of not eating out if I don’t like tipping – I agree! I put up with the tipping if I’m with my wife or a very small group but I can tell you that there would be a lot more group dinners if there wasn’t the stress of figuring out the tips and how much everyone owes. For 30% tip is not unreasonable to get separate bills??

Postpeople (politically correct term) in Canada are unionized to the point where they make a ton of money. I have a friend who in fact “semi retired” from his well paying managerial job ($120k) to become a postman. I don’t know his salary (not $120k) but he says he can finish his route in about 25 hours (per week) but still collect his full time pay. No tip for him!

Hmmm..maybe a rant about postal delivery workers is next in the pipe?? Nahhh..way too dangerous to piss them off :)

Mike

44 Fecundity

Great conversation. I already left my opinion on Million Dollar Journey, so I won’t repeat it here.

I just wanted to play devil’s advocate with Mr. Cheap and his surgeon/lawyer comment.

surgeons manage to successfully perform surgery even without the incentive of a little kick-back if the patient survives

That kick-back is actually known as a decrease (or lack of increase) in malpractice insurance premiums. Oh, and keeping their license to practice.

Lawyers manage to win cases, even if theyre working on an hourly rate.

Lawyers who lose too many cases do not find themselves lucratively becoming partners in decent firms, nor do they find new clients.

Everyone stands to gain financially from giving above-average service, whatever their position. It’s not a good counter-argument in this case.

That being said… Would good waiters still do better than bad ones financially even without tips? Probably. They’d be more likely to work at better restaurants, which in a no-tip society would have to pay higher wages to keep the best staff, just like other industries do.

Oh, and I so believe that people would complain about the shape of the plates. I’ve never been a server (which you can all be grateful for, by the way), but I have worked retail and I spent one (short-lived) stint as a motel maid. It’s amazing what some people think they’re entitled to just for deigning to breathe in your presence.

If only I’d had a pot of hot coffee in my hand on a few of those occasions…

45 Mr. Cheap

Fecundity: I appreciate the reply, but the point I was making wasn’t that there’s no financial benefit to doing a good job (obviously there is), but just that most people don’t need an IMMEDIATE financial incentive waved in their face in order to do their work.

I stand by my counter argument ;-).

46 FourPillars

Fecundity – I agree with your basic logic that all workers are financially motivated in some way to do a good job regardless of how they get paid ie a waiter will get tips, surgeon keeps his practice and insurance, Telly gets the bonus she so richly deserves but my point (and complaint) is that the financial incentive shouldn’t come directly from the consumer (ie in the form of a tip).

47 Chris

Personally, I find tipping to be insulting and deeming. Since it appears to be the way of things I generally max my tips out a 15% when dining out.

I just don’t understand why the restaurant doesn’t add 15% to the prices of the menu items.

48 J-Tex

I thought I would leave some insight on why gratuity is automatically added to large groups.
The restaurant where I work automatically adds 20% grat to a party of 20 people or larger (you’re also allowed to do separate checks, by the way, if you specify that on the reservation).
We didn’t always do the auto-grat until we had multiple parties where the server(s) would end up with $10 on a bill of at LEAST $500 in all, with over 30 people.

Not only did this party run the servers ragged, but they made working out the separate checks near impossible (not sitting with who they were sharing a ticket with, moving seats multiple times [you're known by your seat number... we can't memorize what face had what meal], getting up when we were organizing the tickets, etc), and left the biggest mess in the room they had reserved. It took the 2 servers, busser, hostess, and manager an hour just to clean just the tables of that room.

So these servers basically lost money working that party (they had gas & babysitters to pay), not to mention the opportunity cost lost when they weren’t able to have other tables.

So now it’s automatic for a party to get grautity so that when a server (or 2+) only have time for YOUR party, they’re guaranteed a tip, not just the $2.13/hr wage we get in my county. As stated before when it’s one check, that person is sometimes overwhelmed by the full price and hardly leaves anything (even though the party stayed there the full time we were open, got perfect service with servers dedicated just to their party, etc). With seperate checks, they sometimes decide to not look at the bill and assume gratuity’s automatically include, which it wasn’t.

The best part of working private parties is when they pay the gratuity & leave an additional tip. Servers and restaurants make note of that group/company/etc and may next time waive the room deposit, and continue to give you the best service possible. We will bend over backwards for you if we know you’re going to appreciate it.

49 FourPillars

J-Tex – thanks for the interesting comment.

I think your story lends credence to my argument that waiters would be better off as well if the tip was included into the food price and they got a better wage. That way the problems you mentioned (except the cleanup) couldn’t happen.

Mike

50 jim

Only tip pizza delivery guys. And why not tip McDonalds workers? They work MUCH harder/longer than any waiter I’ve ever met.

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