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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.




  • 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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