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Good Evening, I’m Broke, I’ll Be Your Server Tonight

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As the economy goes, so goes tips. Today servers and restaurant staffs are really hurting and tips make a big difference.

I hate to admit it, but I’m not a tipper … never really have been.

Now, that’s not to say I NEVER tip. I was taught that gratuities were for rewarding “exceptional service”.

TIP = To Insure Prompt Service.

Several times I’ve received exceptional service where my waiter went far and above just taking an order and bringing it to our table. I thought that’s what he was getting paid for.

Yes, I have some guilt but I’m always needing the money for ME and I earned it. Why should I just give a waiter MY money? They get paid by the restaurant, right? If they’re not making enough money from this job they should get another job.

I can recall a little Japanese woman running out to the car after me and my co-workers and yelling at us for not leaving a tip. How rude! We never went back there.

But, in some cases my waiter was exceptionally friendly and had a personality that added a lot to our night out. I recall one that was just so damn nice you couldn’t help but love him. It was sincere and not obnoxious at all. I went back often and he always got a tip from me.

I can recall another “super server” that was so incredible with the kids that it brightened up the entire room… of course the parents loved him. I KNOW these guys were the main reason customers came back and even requested their section.

Their bosses MUST have known how rare they were and how valuable their work was to the business. Through the years I’ve actually told several managers how much I appreciated the service. I hope it helped.

And it’s a rough life, I’m sure. So much rejection and rudeness from customers must make several servers want to go home and beat the cat.

I can only recall a handful of top servers in my lifetime. I’m sure you are also well aware how unique this is.

So, do you tip your server regardless of the quality of service, personal attention or friendly personality?

Such payments and their size are a matter of our social custom in America. Tipping varies among cultures and by the service industry.

Many employers pay workers with the expectation that their wages will be supplemented by tips. In a lot of “right to work” states in the U.S., restaurants are not obligated to even pay their servers minimum wage.

I would sometimes joke about tips with the wait staff. “You want a tip? Don’t go out with strange men.” I always found that line much funnier than they did. I suspect they went back in the kitchen and spit in my food.

There’s also the issue of employees avoiding paying taxes on what we give them. Most of us turn the other way when this happens. We feel sorry for them.

Then there’s the restaurants who automatically add a gratuity to your bill. While that appears to help the wait staff I wonder if they actually see all of that.

It’s probably only done for tax reasons and not for profit, right?

So, if we decide that tipping is MANDATORY why not give them the tip IN ADVANCE OF ORDERING? It’ll probably better your chances of better service and I’m sure it’ll make their day and their attitude will change. This avoids the social awkwardness of both parties;

“Will they leave me a tip?”

“Should we tip?”

“How much?”

Restaurants are one thing, but what about the hotel concierge, funeral chaplain or dog groomer?

Then there’s the superficial factors of the attractiveness of the server. Pretty girls with big boobs get better tips than ugly male waiters.

I could never be a waiter. First, I wouldn’t have the patience with jerks and be I’d be fired the first day. Second, with THIS ugly face I wouldn’t get much. I was born with a “why should I care?”, face.

Look at me – “Do I look like I’ll be right back?”

One waiter writes … “I am a server, not a happy servant. I will be happy to get you what you need to make your dining experience great, but I will not be disrespected. As a server I make $2.13 an hour. My checks are zero after taxes, so all the money I make is from tips. Sadly, even if I make 20 percent tips all night, I will walk away with only 15 percent because I tip out at roughly five percent to bussers, bartenders and food runners. So people to the people who stiff me, I pay out of my pocket for you to come eat. I hope you enjoyed it.”

But tips should be earned – they are NOT a right.

Bad service deserves to be stiffed. As one story goes .. a very rich man once got such bad service he left a hundred dollar bill under his plate with Ben Franklin’s face showing. The waiter must have been excited until he grabbed it and discovered it was torn in half and no longer legal tender. I just leave a penny to leave a message.

So tip or not?. I say we should always STIFF bad service and reward prompt service.

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  • Quester55 says:

    The undisclosed truth about tipping.Employers of Restaurants that have tipping, make out like the thieves they are, by using the extra money[tip] as a bypass on the Wage & Hour Laws.
    A great win, win for the owner & a lose for the waitperson.
    However in most cases, there are 2 losers in such places, the workers & the customers.
    I could add more, but it's all been said before. Besides, I always avoid those places that Insist on a tip for high priced Works of art, that they call food?
    In fact, most of the workers at those Golden Arches make more on their WAGE, than those that earn by tipping.
    Best advice, Grill a couple steaks or chickens, Bake some potatoes & enjoy a good home cooked meal for 2 at a cost below 30 bucks, or Spend 3 times as much for a taste of something that might have 10 dollars worth of meat in it?

  • Jerry says:

    For me it's pretty simple. I only tip for above and beyond service. I never tip if all I get is my food and first drink. If I have to ask for more drink or repeatedly ask for the same thing over and over then no tip will be left. Also no penny will be left either because I figure no tip says it all, especially if I've frequented the restuarant before. Do nothing, get nothing! And yes personality plays well as does the sex of the person. Looks may add to the experience but won't get you a tip if the service was average. Nothing wrong with eye candy but it doesn't earn anything extra.

  • tony says:

    Wow,just Wow!!! Both the story and the comments. Really?

  • Joseph Russell says:

    I waited tables for a while in high school, and the establishment where I worked required that tips be noted on your time card. (hourly wage - tips = pay check) Management would often question the amount of tips listed on really busy nights, especially when the tips were left on the tables or at the register when paying. When you have an exceptional server ask how the establishment computes their pay. If your tip only benefits the establishment, slip it to your server on the sly, never just add it to the ticket at the register. Leaving no tip for poor service doesn't really say anything except that your cheap or simply don't tip. A single penny left on the table right out in the middle in plain sight speaks loudly.

  • HanziesMom says:

    Shame on you! My mother raised four kids alone on tips because she never graduated from high school. These people work their bums off and if you can't afford to tip, don't go out to eat! Stay home! There is your tip!

    • Joseph Russell says:

      Yes, but I'll bet that your mother was an excellent server and never was rude or acted as if she was doing the patron a favor by serving them. I don't believe in rewarding minimal service. I tip for good service and will leave "the penny" if they obviously don't care enough about their patrons or their employer to do their best.

      • Robin says:

        I also waited tables. After 9/11 all tips droped in amount. When you used to get $5.00 tip it droped to $2.00. The tips also stopped altogether from others who used to tip. My service did not change but I did realize that a lot of people in my area lost thier jobs. Now it has gotten to the point that not tipping is the norm and some people wounder why we don't give better service. Yes it is a 2 way street but if you keep getting slapped in the face...can you walk around with a smile?

    • Jerry says:

      Well I bet your mother also understood that in order to make better tips she had to provide better service. So I'm not sure what you are getting bent out of shape about. Using your logic it is the responsibility of the restaurant patron to pay part of the wait staffs salary! I'm willing to bet your mom wouldn't agree with that any more than the average patron.
      The system is simple: Quality service equals better tips. Effort equals reward. That is the way it has always been and how it should stay. You want Utopia go to the movies or read fiction because that is where it exists.

  • les says:

    How pathetic and shameful that you don't tip and your self-centered quip if you don't like the pay get another job. Well bozo if that's the way all the servers thought then I guess you couldn't go out and eat. As a matter of fact your elitist attitude is what is decimating this country. But of course you make your money by the most unproductive un-beneficial means possible you write. If you ever had to actually work or produce something of value that you could get people to use and need then you might actually be a worth while person that can exist on this plant. It is evident that you should never receive more than $2.13 an hour for anything you do and that would be overpaying. STAY HOME AND DON"T POLLUTE THE RESTAURANTS WITH YOU PRESENTS.

    • Tim Young says:

      Grady, I'm even going to chime in on this one. I posted the article, but your opinion actually disgusted me.

      Tipping is expected, just like you're expected to pay for haircuts... there isn't a contract when you sit down for the haircut, but you know you need to do it.

      If you don't tip, you're just plain cheap...and you come off like a curmudgeon here. Servers really do make less than $2.50 an hour or somewhere around there... because they work only for tips, which are expected regardless. I have only not tipped once in my life because the service was so bad and so rude that it required it... I even tip at buffets where the servers really don't do anything other than bring me water and silverware...

      I agree with les who is also furious at the statement that says if you don't like the pay, get another job. There are a lot of folks out there who support families based on restaurant serving jobs, people who work hard and multiple shifts because they have no other choice.... and people like you are literally taking food off the table for those families.

  • Rich says:

    The reality is, minimum wage laws are different for waiters than they are for others. The restaurants aren't ripping those people off, they are being paid what they are supposed to be paid. The expectation when the minimum wage laws were written, was that these people would make their money off of tips. In other words, you pay for your service. The way you reward a good service is by giving a bigger tip, not by giving the minimum. The minimum is what you give to those who give you minimum service.

    By law, any tips that are mentioned on the receipt have to be given to the wait staff. The restaurant may do this directly to the wait staff, or pool it and divide it. Likewise, employees are required to report their tips to the company, where they are properly taxed. Nobody is making out like a bandit, except for the cheapskates who never tip.

    Obviously, all you people who don't tip feel that those who are providing this service owe you. They don't, they are working for the money they expect that you will pay. They do this, at whatever level of service they provide, believing that you will pay them, and not knowing if you will. When you don't, you're saying that they aren't worth anything.

    Tell me something, do you like to work for nothing? If you do, then you should continue to avoid tipping. Likewise, you shouldn't expect people to pay you for your work. However, if you expect to be paid for your work, then you should pay them for theirs as well.

    By the way, I've never worked in a position where I had to depend upon tips for my income. With all the cheap people in the world, I'd probably lose my cool a few times, like the oriental woman mentioned above. However, I have always been considerate of those who served me. The lowest tip I ever give is 15% and it's not uncommon for me to give tips of 20% or 25%. I'm not rich (except for my name) but I believe in thinking about others, instead of just thinking about myself.

    • Tammy says:

      Well said Rich I made a living waiting tables, and i'm sure those people never had a bad day at work before either!!I'd love to know what work they do so perfectly. after one of my daughters died about a year later i tried to work but with the Attitudes today im scared of what i might say to someone and that does not help the tips at all! and I dont need any trouble either. so i've done my above and beyond the call!!! whats your excuse!!! I'm diasbled now and can't work anymore now i wish more tips could have been claimed in my life because the small amount of money I get on Social Security Stinks!!! Thats another issue all together.

  • David says:

    I tip. Always. The second great commandment is "love thy neighbor as thyself." "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Scripture exhorts to do good to them that hate you. If my waiter sees me pray before I eat and then sees a cheap tip, what does he think about my God?

  • Jerry says:

    Like it or not folks not every job out there was meant to provide for a family. Some jobs are really meant to provide a learning experience for the newcomers to the job market. A place for them to learn responsibility, integrity, and reward for hard work. These experiences then motivated the person to get better, move up in life thru hard work and some day to be able to provide for themselves and maybe others. You want to make better in life the only way to achieve it is hard work and education which when combined with experience will achieve that goal. I have no doubt that there are people out there thru no fault of their own find themselves only able to get these types of service jobs. Maybe even two or three of such jobs but that is no reason to not work hard to earn those tips. Tips are gratuities, wages are pay. This isn't to say I don't tip because I do and the amount IS dependant on the quality of service given. Do the minimum, get the minimum. Go above and beyond, get an above average tip ( 20 to 30% ). I also try to always hand cash to the wait staff so I know they get it not the management.

  • Doc says:

    The article was interesting. The comments on here are comical. Here we have a society that expects to be rewarded even if they do not provide the level of courtsey the customer expects as a patron. I have left many tips - to those that do other than the norm, "What do you want to drink? What do you want to eat? How is your meal? DO you want dessert? Here is your check." That expenditure of energy is compensated by the wage they are palid by the employer. When the server exerts just a little more effort to enhance the patron's dining experience - the tip is now warranted. I have been served by outstanding wait staff and I have had my share of very poor wait staff. I do not reward bad behavior - and I have been a waiter/server before in my life. I have taught wait staff how to use a few simple techniques where they have seen the size of their tips triple. Yes, there are some real a-holes out there that are not gonig to tip no matter what you do. Guess what? That is called life. For exceptional service I have tipped well over what might be considerd the norm (to tune of the price of the meal itself). For bad service, I do not leave any tip. Call me cheap if that is your response and you are welcome to your opinion. I still am not going to reward bad behavior in adult wait staff.

  • Betsy B says:

    I play violin at restaurants, coffeeshops, and stores for pay, tips, or some combination of the two. Young women at coffeeshops are the worst tippers - listening for an hour with friends, even clapping, then walking out right past the tip jar. Everyone thinks THE NEXT GUY will make up for their slack, then I end up with next to nothing.
    If you're at a restaurant or coffeeshop on an advertised live-music night, be prepared to drop a $ in the tip jar, whether you're a fan of their style or not (beauty is in the eye of the beholder). Only skip the tip if they truly stank. I play my fingers of as a second job to earn gas $ and groceries, not for a second home in Aruba.

  • TC says:

    i'm guessing that those who never tip but under extraordinary circumstances have never waited tables in their life

  • Michelle says:

    Here in America, the expectation is that the main wage erned by servers is paid by the customer. In France, the restaurant charges more for the food, and pays the server a wage they can live on. So there, you truly only tip for excellent service, and usually only a small amount, maybe the equivalent of a few dollars. If you truly can not afford to tip, you really can't afford to go out to eat. Stay home and keep your attitude and disrespect there. Please don't pollute a public place with your rotten attitude. Or instead, lobby for reform of the compensation model for wait staff in restaurants so that they are actually paid a living wage.


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