Do you work hard for the money?

This is going to be contentious with some people I know, but why the hell do tip percentages for the service industry keep rising? I was reading one of Andrew Knowlton’s (BA Foodist, really interesting, and Ramsay seems to get him for tons of KNUSA eps, for those of you that watch that ) blog entries on the subject, and apparently a ,minimum for good service is now 20%. He then goes on to say that if this seems like too much of a gratuity, you probably can’t afford to be eating out. I take exception to that. Now, I’m more than willing to reward friendly, accommodating wait staff with a 20% tip. Hell, for a few of my favourite waiters and waitresses, I’ll even go up to 25% if the service is exceptional, but otherwise, you’re just doing an adequate job, and I’ll adequately tip you. Apparently, this is notable behaviour, and waiters will remember your stinginess. I take exception to that, as well. I’m well aware of the ills of dealing with the public as a full time job (though from what I’ve been told, waiting is a brutal, awful job at best, far removed from most other branches of the service industry), but I also except to be treated with full attention and care. I frankly don’t give a damn if you got in a fight with your significant other, or if the head of the front of house is a tyrant; for all intents and purposes, you’re on commission, and you need to keep your game face on at all times.

The amount of times I’ve been to a restaurant with someone, been one of the only couples or groups in a section, and still can’t get the time of day from a waiter or waitress is shocking. Sorry, making us wait around after we’ve visibly pushed our plates forward and are fiddling to go isn’t when you disappear for 10-20 minutes, and then come back hoping we’ll want dessert. Instead, if you really want to keep that account open, try passing by your section more often, and offer dessert menus as soon as we look like we’re done our main.

Also, if you don’t want to smile, at least look like we’re not wasting your time by daring to be in your section. So, I guess I’m not knocking the rising tip (nor the fact that tipping now seems to extend itself to nearly every possible form of low-paying wagery. If you interface with me at all, apparently you expect recompense. Clearly I’m a pain to interact with?), nor the idea that you should always budget for that when going out. Instead, I’m merely being a jerk, and tut-tutting all the service staff out there who seem content to do a half-assed job, and then expect a full-assed (is that a real expression?) tip, proportionately.

I’ve been admonished by friends’ who worked service and bar jobs for this attitude (which I can’t be alone in sharing), saying I need to walk a mile in their shoes, but it probably won’t happen.

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4 Responses to “Do you work hard for the money?”

  1. keirensmith Says:

    Nope. I was a waitress for many, many years and I STILL think people should be tipped for actual work. T.I.P.S–“To Insure Prompt Service”. If you didn’t get prompt, if you didn’t get efficient, you don’t need to tip extra. If your order was taken properly, (and you can see around you that there might be reasons it’s not prompt), your food turned up as you ordered and the right temperature, your bill turns up when you ask…tip. You only stiff for the world’s most dreadful service (don’t stiff for bad food–the wait staff doesn’t cook it).

    You haven’t addressed many a person’s favourite bugaboo–do you tip on the net or the gross?

    • I tip on the pre-tax, as I’ve always been told that’s correct, but if alcohol is on the bill, I’ll generally add some on top of it (though again, if no bartender is involved, it seems odd to tip extra for ordering a bottle of beer). And I don’t stiff for unfriendly service, I just tip less.

      Also, at a place like Korean Grill House, I never tip much, as you have 4-5 random waitstaff during the evening, and a near guarantee every order will be partially wrong.

  2. I worked as a busser/hostess for a crazy busy breakfast place. The servers were making tips like mad…and yet, their tips relied on how fast I could clean and re-set those tables and seat people for them.

    I worked my ASS off for these people, I would even take the beginning order for their drinks if they were out for a smoke at the time.

    …At the end of a very busy weekend, I’d made $3.50 in tips that they were forced to give the restaurant for the kitchen and bussing staff. Most of them had walked away with over $200 in cash. This was not including the tips left on credit or debit.

    It’s jobs like those where you decide not to put in the full effort anymore. …when you decided to say, “Fuck this shit.” and move on. I have no sympathy for servers and they usually do NOT even deserve the customary 15%.

    I give them whatever makes the bill easier for me unless they were amazing. $13.45 I will usually round up to $15 unless they were assholes…then I would round up to $14. A smaller tip is definitely more of a notice that you were a bad server over not leaving one at all.

    If you don’t want to be in the “hospitality” industry and serve people as a living, then find another job. It’s that easy. You chose this industry, you weren’t forced into it, so why shouldn’t you try to do your best?

    Stupid people. *sigh*

  3. ktsssssmith Says:

    Wow, Celeste–that totally sucks. I worked at a restaurant where we had busboys and we were expected to give him part of our tips. It was up to us–so some guys gave 10%, some $20 no matter what. But another restaurant had no policy for that and no one ever tipped the bussers…I think it has to be policy or natural generosity.

    The problem is that there’s a minimum wage for restaurants and it’s lower than the standard minimum because the expectation is that you’ll more than make us the difference in tips.

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