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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

To Tip Your Server or Not to Tip Your Server: That Is Not the Question

Posted by on Tue, Aug 13, 2013 at 1:10 PM

As long as tipping exists, you should always tip your server 20 percent, unless the server literally tells you to fuck off. Then you should question what the hell is going on with you, then still probably tip 15 percent (and leave). I once had a server knock over a large glass of ice water directly onto the front of my person and throughout my lap (at fancy Cafe Juanita, on my birthday); we still tipped 20 percent, because accidents happen (the restaurant didn't comp dessert or anything, which I would've if I were them, but whatever).

Servers work hard, and your tip is a large part of their pay—in some restaurants in some places, it’s all they get paid. Tip well or stay home.

The real debate should be about tipping as an institution. Here is some stuff about the "backlash" against tipping. Let's decide!


Comments (131) RSS

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I think it's pretty commonly held belief that if servers actually got a livable wage and didn't need tips, there shouldn't tipping unless in extreme circumstances where the servers actually went above and beyond the norm. Compulsory tipping has become rampant and unfair, but it's hard to turn that kind of societal norm back around again.
Posted by Eckstein on August 13, 2013 at 1:16 PM · Report this
So its not 15% norm, 20% in nice place, and 10% if bad service?
Posted by Seattle14 on August 13, 2013 at 1:18 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 3
Tipping should be banned for one interesting reason: it's racist.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on August 13, 2013 at 1:20 PM · Report this
biffp 4
Do Stranger staff accept free meals?
Posted by biffp on August 13, 2013 at 1:21 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 5
(sorry, that should be "at least one interesting reason". another good one is that it's correlated with corruption.)
Posted by Matt the Engineer on August 13, 2013 at 1:22 PM · Report this
Tipping feels like putting the onus of server wages on consumers rather than employers. Tipping should only be extra for going above and beyond.
Posted by pffft on August 13, 2013 at 1:22 PM · Report this
Stop letting bosses convince their workers that the customer is responsible for them receiving a proper wage.
Posted by michael bell on August 13, 2013 at 1:23 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 9
As far as I'm concerned, tipping is a third world practice. In the first world, you shouldn't have to bribe people to do their jobs. Their compensation should come from their employers. Period.
Posted by keshmeshi on August 13, 2013 at 1:26 PM · Report this
seatackled 10
I thought it was 15% of the bill before tax.
Posted by seatackled on August 13, 2013 at 1:27 PM · Report this
I'm a huge tipper, and you have to work really, really hard to not get a 20% tip out of me...but: if the service is truly shitty (not just mediocre), I will leave 10%, and there have been a handful of instances where I left no tip because the actions of the server were OTT appalling. I'm not talking about accidental dropping a drink or a food wait that the server can't control, but actual behavior by the server.

I promote good tipping wherever I go, but to reward crap service with a big tip (esp in WA, where servers make the same wage as other workers, which is not true in many states) just enables more crap service.
Posted by genevieve on August 13, 2013 at 1:28 PM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 12
We go over this every year here, right?
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on August 13, 2013 at 1:29 PM · Report this
Tipping has been a cultural institution, but employers have taken advantage of it to under-pay their servers. Tipping shouldn't necessarily be abolished, but servers and bussers should be payed a living wage such that they could live without tips and thus tips would become a true bonus for the quality of their work. Servers should be payed well because they're the face of the restaurant, they're partly responsible for repeat business that's won or lost, treat them well and they'll treat their customers well.
Posted by rhombus on August 13, 2013 at 1:29 PM · Report this
brandon 14
I think servers should make enough to where they don't have to rely on tips. I'm even willing to pay more in the bill to support it, so it's not a cheapskate thing. I just hate having to calculate out a proper tip and hope I didn't mess it up and leave too little that pisses off the server so they spit in my food the next time I'm there.

Order food, eat, get bill, pay exact amount and leave is how I would like even fine dining to work. It would be nice if I could pay immediately at the table with my smartphone too rather than wait for the server to run in the back with my card. I hear they are doing more of that in Europe.
Posted by brandon on August 13, 2013 at 1:29 PM · Report this
I waited tables in Michigan where servers were paid below minimum wage at $2.15/hr. It barely covered taxes. Here in Seattle, servers not only get full minimum wage but the highest in the nation. I feel no guilt about leaving a 15% tip here.
Posted by Keenan C on August 13, 2013 at 1:31 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 17

Interesting tidbit from that article:

TORFASON: The more tipping you see in a given country, the more corruption you generally see in that country as well.
Posted by keshmeshi on August 13, 2013 at 1:33 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 18
@ 2 & 10, it used to be that, but somehow it became 18, and then 20%. It's easier to calculate in your head, although I don't know if that's why it has gone up.

I always do as Bethany preaches (except for the rare abysmal service, characterized not by mistakes but by unmistakeable apathy in the server's part, in which I let it be unmistakeable and not tip at all - something I've done only once in my adult life). But I'll be god damned if I go along with the next increase in tipping percentage. I'm not the 1% fucking them over in the first place.
Posted by Matt from Denver on August 13, 2013 at 1:34 PM · Report this
So long as the restaurant workers' livelihoods depend on it, I'll tip a fixed and fair percentage, and I'll not try to carefully calculate exactly how good the service was. I don't try to do that because I eat out to relax - I don't want to do the manager's damn job for free, and frankly I don't like playing to the biases such arbitrary pay decisions engender. And, dammit, tipping should end!

But: WTF with the changing definition of "a fair and fixed percentage"? When I was a kid, that meant 15% (and skinflints tipped 10-12%); but now an 18% service charge for large parties is common, and you insist on 20% unless the waiter is an absolute dick to you. Where does this stop? How does this happen?
Posted by Warren Terra on August 13, 2013 at 1:35 PM · Report this
I would rather pay a higher meal cost than play the tipping seems slightly demeaning when a server has to "grovel" to get fair pay. Service quality in Europe seems no different than here, so I assume no-tipping doesn't result in poorer service. I don't like being directly responsible for an employee's wages.
Posted by shotsix on August 13, 2013 at 1:36 PM · Report this
I'm a good tipper, usually 20% or so, and agree that spilling a water isn't grounds for not tipping properly (but would hope you would get a free dessert or something...). That being said, I have been to places where my server is rude, unhelpful, not busy at all but still doesn't have time to take my order, etc., and that kind of service warrants less than 15%. I have had servers who argue with me over wine that had clearly gone bad, or over food that was terrible. They get less than 15%. If you can be pleasant and do what's required of working as a server, you shouldn't be in that line of work. I, too, have worked in the kitchen and as a server in restaurants.
Posted by carnivorous chicken on August 13, 2013 at 1:38 PM · Report this
Mittens Schrodinger 22
Jesus Christ, BJC! No, I'm sorry, but do not tip 20% unless told to "fuck off". You can have horrible, medium horrible, fine, or exemplary service, and a sliding tip is an effective tool to communicate that.
Posted by Mittens Schrodinger on August 13, 2013 at 1:38 PM · Report this
I'm all for abolishing tipping and doing whatever it takes to give servers a living wage (service charge, higher menu prices, whatev), sure... but what I'm REALLY hot and bothered to abolish is those jackholes who use their dislike of the current tipping system as an excuse to habitually undertip their servers.
Posted by Actionsquid on August 13, 2013 at 1:39 PM · Report this
SiSiSodaPop in Vegas 24
Restaurants should raise their prices by 15%, and then pay their workers a fair wage.
Posted by SiSiSodaPop in Vegas on August 13, 2013 at 1:40 PM · Report this
Madskillz80 25
I double the tax and make that the tip. Tax is 9.5% x2 = about 20%
Posted by Madskillz80 on August 13, 2013 at 1:40 PM · Report this
I don't agree - you shouldn't always tip your server. I do, normally, sometimes even up to 30%... but, there's been times where the server literally ignores my table because they're chit-chatting with friends, to where I have to flag down someone else to do their job and get service. When that happens, I don't tip ANYTHING - and I leave a not explaining why. If I had to flag down someone, I'll look for them to give them a small tip.

However, there are definitely servers out their who don't do shit but expect to get tips. If they do their job, even poorly, that's fine - if they flagrantly don't do their job, I'm not tipping NOR going there again.
Posted by Diet Punk on August 13, 2013 at 1:41 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 27
Reservoir Dogs already summed it up best:…
Posted by Urgutha Forka on August 13, 2013 at 1:42 PM · Report this
I usually tip about 20% (unless service is really bad), but only because I know it makes up for all the assholes who don't tip at all. I know enough people in the service industry to know that tipping even just 15% makes you a better person than about half their customers.
Posted by Chali2Na on August 13, 2013 at 1:43 PM · Report this
unknown_entity 29
The complaints about the chefs earning less than the servers is legitimate, but that simply means tips should go into a pool that gives the chef's a percentage. What does frustrate me are places that ask for tips when the server actually provides little or no service. E.g. at a nearby sushi restaurant, the type with a conveyor belt where you pick up plates of food as they come by, the extent of the service is asking if you want a drink and totaling your bill. Does that deserve a 20% tip? How about getting a haircut? The receipts have a tipping line, so should I cough up an additional 20%?
Posted by unknown_entity on August 13, 2013 at 1:45 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 30
@ 25, 9.5 x 2 = 19, not 20.

To quickly calculate 20, divide the pretax total by 10 (which is a simple matter of moving the decimal point, e.g. $60 becomes $6) and then doubling that number (in this case, $12).
Posted by Matt from Denver on August 13, 2013 at 1:45 PM · Report this
Until restaurants implement a mandatory service charge, a 20% tip is customary and appropriate.

In my view, the tip shouldn't be reduced unless deficient service is clearly the fault of the server. There are plenty of restaurants where deficient service is caused by restaurant management (servers have too many tables, insufficient restaurant staffing, hosts fail to seat guests in a thoughtful manner, inadequate infrastructure, etc.).

Sure everyone has the option to tip less. Have you been to restaurants where people customarily tip less than 20% (i.e., not in urbanized areas or less sophisticated restaurants)? The quality of service is noticeably lower. You get what you pay for.
Posted by Minneapolitan on August 13, 2013 at 1:51 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 32

I believe the standard for haircuts is 20 percent. You would also be expected to cough up a few dollars for every additional person involved in the process, like if someone else washes your hair. The tipping issue is a major reason why I never get any hair services other than a basic cut. The sticker shock of paying an additional 20 percent on top of my regular cut and anything else is just too much.

This is why I vastly prefer all charges (gratuities and even sales tax) getting included in the price. I have no patience for the American tradition of fooling consumers into thinking shit costs less than it actually does.
Posted by keshmeshi on August 13, 2013 at 1:52 PM · Report this
lark 33
You beat me to the punch. I wanted to reference Reservoir Dogs. That scene is hilarious.

Indeed, I tip. Fairly. But, not all servers deserve tips.

Many years ago, John Berendt of Esquire made a valid case against tipping. I can't find the article now but check it out.
Posted by lark on August 13, 2013 at 2:00 PM · Report this
I'm usually between 15-20%, but I never know what to tip when it's just take-away; I'm not paying for service, so why should I tip? I show up, I pay, I leave with tip or not to tip?
Posted by bitethemailman on August 13, 2013 at 2:04 PM · Report this

It's gone up from the traditional 15% for the simple reason that EVERYTHING costs more than it did 20 years ago - we call it "inflation", and tipping has increased to reflect that reality.


I was under the impression that tip-sharing was pretty much SOP for most establishments nowadays; which means tips are even more crucial to service employees, since they're spread around among more people: hosts, cooks, wait staff, bussers, dish washers...
Posted by COMTE on August 13, 2013 at 2:19 PM · Report this
@ 29, @32 I heard for haircut places its around 10%, so that what I usually do.

And as for places where it fast food like I generally don't leave a tip unless there is an actual server.
Posted by Seattle14 on August 13, 2013 at 2:30 PM · Report this
DOUG. 37
I'm a 20% tipper, but come January 2014, any restaurant that has a bullshit "health care surcharge" added to the bill gets that amount subtracted from the server's tip.
Posted by DOUG. on August 13, 2013 at 2:34 PM · Report this

Here's the one that I find perplexing.

Tipping someone for take out when you pick it up.

I mean you're not getting served, but someone had to put it all together in those containers and bags. And also if its a place where you could sit down, someone is missing a tip.

I tend to put 10% on for takeout.

(20% for dine in.)
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on August 13, 2013 at 2:34 PM · Report this
That's not how inflation works. If everything had gone up, and the prices listed on restaurant menus had gone up in proportion, you could tip the same percentage of your bill you'd always tipped, and be happy knowing you'd done right by your server. Clearly what you mean is that restaurant prices in fact have not kept pace with the cost of living, or that restaurant owners have undermined the pay of restaurant workers in other ways (base pay, tip sharing, etcetera), such that a larger percentage must be added as a tip for the server to keep up with their rising expenses or shrinking pay.
Posted by Warren Terra on August 13, 2013 at 2:36 PM · Report this
First let me say that I follow social norms like a sheep, tipping 20% in order to conform to society (placing me squatly at stage 3 of Kohlberg's stage of moral development in this regard). I even tip a dollar for espresso drinks, even though it makes no sense to me, rather than avoid the scorn of the universe.

That said: Need I be the first on the thread to question the _percentage_? The tipping argument generally focuses on which percentage, and rarely takes into question the WHY percentage in the first place.

How is it fair or right that waiters at fancy restaurants get tipped $20 when someone at the Pho joint gets tipped $2 (at most)? Why not use a flat rate based on people served, possibly accounting for appetizers and drinks somehow? Try to bracket the cultural framework that structures your dining out behavior, and explain to me why this would make sense to an alien visiting from another star.

It seems to me likely that waiters are cheaper restaurants will be LESS likely to be paid well and receive benefits, so would be in greater need of a tip.

Now, the restrauntinistas will jump down my throat by arguing that the training and experience of waiter at a fancy restaurant justifies a potentially tenfold compensation. I will not argue that the level of service/responsibility couldn't also be factored in, but I don't think that percentage is close to the best way of doing so and I challenge you to convince me otherwise.

In sum, I think that for the argument for tipping to really hold up, it has to account for the percentage issue.
Posted by Jude Fawley on August 13, 2013 at 2:37 PM · Report this
Oops, I meant to say:

I even tip a dollar for espresso drinks, even though it makes no sense to me, IN ORDER TO avoid the scorn of the universe.
Posted by Jude Fawley on August 13, 2013 at 2:39 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 42
@ 35, except that 15% (or 20%, any percent) of more is... more.

Sorry. Try again.
Posted by Matt from Denver on August 13, 2013 at 2:40 PM · Report this
dangerousgift 43
I would like to speak up for delivery drivers (of which I was one for over 4 years). They're like servers who go the extra mile (ha!) to PUT THEIR LIFE ON THE LINE to bring you a burrito.

Most places only give the driver a portion of the "delivery fee" or a percentage of total sales to cover gas costs. You might break even on gas but NEVER on brake pads, oil changes, parking lot dings and the like. Additionally, no amount of money is worth 6 hours of facing down drunk drivers in the rain.

Please always tip your delivery driver.

Also, consider that tips are either pooled and shared or the back of the house is tipped out. Your tip doesn't go wholly to the server, it goes to the whole restaurant. Dishwashers, prep cooks, bussers, they all depend on tips to make up for the shortfalls in minimum wage and often shitty, unpredictable hours.

Think of the tip as a portion of your dining experience that is only between you and the staff, not you and the boss. The boss takes home the lions share of the price of the food, the staff get to split your tip. There's NO WAY a boss would translate increased food prices to higher staff earnings. That's not what bosses do.

Tipping is what makes a food service job "good." Not tipping is the mark of a true jerk.
Posted by dangerousgift on August 13, 2013 at 2:41 PM · Report this
Fnarf 44
I tip a strict 19.633% whatever the service is like, calculated with a giant abacus carved out of a log.

I would tip less for lousy service but I've never gotten any--well, maybe one time in the past thirty years. It just doesn't happen. Waitrons like me, possibly because I like them, and show it.
Posted by Fnarf on August 13, 2013 at 2:44 PM · Report this
Sorry, but it's 15%. If the restaurant even says it's 18% for large parties, then how do you get to 20% for a small table? (Don't tell me inflation.)

I wish we had European ways on this one - the tip is included and you only tip for truly extraordinary service.
Posted by westello on August 13, 2013 at 2:44 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 47
I even tip a dollar for espresso drinks, even though it makes no sense to me, rather than avoid the scorn of the universe.

@ 40, I can help with that. Do you tip your bartender? If so, tip your barista. The only difference between the two jobs is the drink being served.

As for tipping at cheap places like a pho joint, I address that with a minimum tip (which is $3). Did I just buy a $7 (after tax) sandwich and nothing else? Here's $10, keep the change.
Posted by Matt from Denver on August 13, 2013 at 2:45 PM · Report this
TacomaRoma 48
This entire argument is moot. Minimum wage is not a living wage. Fix that and the tipping "problem" goes away.

I agree with the commenters who assert that increases in tipping is the result of business owners foisting their labor costs onto their customers in a way that is mean-spirited and unfair. Charge more for the food, pay the servers more and the tipping issue becomes a quaint notion that we had back in the bad old days.

Until that happens, I will tip 20% every time. If the service sucks, I won't come back -- just like anyone who experiences lousy service -- and I will tell all my friends.

I like the 10% for take out guideline. Although, one of my favorite bars makes me fried chicken for takeout and I tip them 20% when I go pick it up. And guess what? Sometimes the bartender recognizes me and I get a free beer while I wait for my to-go order. Everyone wins!
Posted by TacomaRoma on August 13, 2013 at 2:46 PM · Report this
Washington State does NOT have a "restaurant wage." All servers get paid at least the standard minimum, with Washington having one of (if not the) highest minimum in the United States.

Still tip your waiters, of course, but it is not as bad here as it is in other states.
Posted by TechBear on August 13, 2013 at 2:47 PM · Report this
I can be bought off for almost anything via a little comping. I was seated 25 minutes after my reservation at Agrodolce last night, and our bar cocktails were on the house. Total reset. And I'm fine with tips as long as I know it's part of the wage/system. I'm paying to play.
Posted by Superjivus on August 13, 2013 at 2:47 PM · Report this
@47, sorry I wasn't clear - I am not against tipping baristas, but when my Macchiato is $3, a $1 tip is 33%. That is what doesn't make sense to me. Now that you mention it, same goes for bartenders.

You are a good soul with regard to tipping higher for cheap things, but I don't think that is standard, nor is it expected. I wonder why that is not part of the tipping culture as well?
Posted by Jude Fawley on August 13, 2013 at 2:51 PM · Report this
I tip 20% MINIMUM, and if I get less than friendly service, I still tip that much because I realized that nine times out of ten, substandard service is not the servers fault.

I also tip 20% MINIMUM when I have food delivered. I used to deliver pizza back in the day, and was shocked at how many people would only tip one or two dollars regardless of the size of the order. Sometimes I would even politely decline a tip like that. You should have seen the looks on people's faces I'd get. What the hell am I going to do with one dollar??? Who the fuck does that anyway???

Posted by Jack Gates on August 13, 2013 at 2:53 PM · Report this
@43 From your mouth to God's ears.

Some of our most regular customers were the worst tippers as well, so I always, always, always routed them last, even if they're order was first. Karma's a bitch, ya know?
Posted by Jack Gates on August 13, 2013 at 2:58 PM · Report this
Fnarf 54
@52, there's a scene in Heads in Beds, a really funny book by Jacob Tomsky about working in hotels, where a parking valet gets a tip of two shiny quarters for returning a guy's car, says "Why, thank you so very much, sir", and then drop-kicks the coins into the street right in front of the asshole.

If you are dealing with people who are doing things for you, and have the power and the potential to do more, you really, really want to be tipping them. A lot.
Posted by Fnarf on August 13, 2013 at 3:01 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 55
@ 51, I'd say that actually that is expected, per the bartender comparison. At the very least, for a nice espresso drink, which takes skill to make. (Unless you're going to Starbucks.)
Posted by Matt from Denver on August 13, 2013 at 3:02 PM · Report this
chaseacross 56
I tip 10% for someone who just brings my food from point A to point B. If it's at a restaurant where a server does more, even if it's just IHOP, I'll go to 15%. If a server really shines, I'll go to 20%. In Washington State, tips are on top of minimum wage. It's a travesty that this isn't the case elsewhere -- in many states, the minimum wage for a server is as low as $2.13, which is why I tip 20% flat regardless of service when out of state, because I'm not going to look up the tip credit every time I eat at an airport restaurant.

Servers do work hard, but here in Washington their tips on top of a minimum wage that's among the highest in the nation, and there are plenty of jobs I'd regard as tougher that only pay minimum wage. What makes servers the exception? I'd actually prefer if everyone were just paid more. Tipping seems so fraught.
Posted by chaseacross on August 13, 2013 at 3:08 PM · Report this
simple. If it's a good restaurant and the food is excellent, but the server is crap, skip the server and tip directly to the kitchen. The servers normally tip out to the kitchen at any rate, which is why getting a big panty wad over wanting to insult the server with a low tip actually ends up hurting a lot more people.
Posted by stilettov on August 13, 2013 at 3:15 PM · Report this
This guy doesn't want to abolish tipping he wants to force everyone to tip 18%. I tip at a sit down place, but tip jars for counter service are no better than people standing at freeway onramps with cardboard signs. Knock it off Bums.
Posted by econoline on August 13, 2013 at 3:20 PM · Report this
john t 59
I'd rather see the practice of tipping abolished and replaced with a living wage for servers. I think the practice in some states of paying servers way below minimum wage is an abomination. Nobody should have to rely on the conscientiousness and/or generosity of the general public to get paid doing a difficult and physically demanding job. It's the employer's responsibility to pay the worker.
Posted by john t on August 13, 2013 at 3:23 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 60
@2 and @1 said.

More than 20% is insane.
Posted by Will in Seattle on August 13, 2013 at 3:31 PM · Report this
It is a tad annoying when someone expects you to pay them a dollar for opening a can of beer.
Posted by Greydon Clark on August 13, 2013 at 3:34 PM · Report this
@60: why does your comment totally not surprise me? And it wouldn't surprise me one whit if waitstaff tremble at the sight of you darkening their doors.
Posted by gnossos on August 13, 2013 at 3:39 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 63
Nopt suprising to see stranger readers wanting service people to be paid out of someone elses pocket. I usually tip 20% as a minimum.

And alway tip in cash to keep the IRS's greedy hands out of the pockets of our service workers.

Tipping is part of dining out, getting your hair down, getting a drink, etc.

If you can not afford to tip you can not afford to go out

Fnarf pretty much nails it in 54
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on August 13, 2013 at 3:45 PM · Report this
ams_ 64
I resent tipping such high percentages. Most servers have absolutely no idea how much they are bringing home per year, let alone declare it for tax purposes.
Posted by ams_ on August 13, 2013 at 3:47 PM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 65
My rules:
10% before tax for acceptable service
15% before tax for good service
20% before tax for exceptional service
0% and words with the manager for unacceptable service
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on August 13, 2013 at 3:51 PM · Report this
What the hell does abolished even mean? Like by law? We can't pass meaningful legislation on... on nearly anything in this country... without a twenty year protracted battle. So. How does that work? It's absurd.

Make it possible for small businesses to pay living wage with fairer taxation and by creating real government supplied universal healthcare for workers. Lastly convince cheap ass people who eat out that it's worth paying MORE for their meals.

Then, and only then, will all this talk have any meaning what so ever.

BTW. Shouldn't The Stranger actually get it's own pay ethics in order before starting these discussions?
Posted by tkc on August 13, 2013 at 3:53 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 67
@66 If you follow my link, it might get done through the courts. People tip white people a lot more than black people, no mater the quality of service. If an employer knows this and refuses to implement a service fee in lieu of a tip, isn't he financially liable?

If you're a black waiter, consider telling your boss about this. You might just end up in front of the Supreme Court some day.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on August 13, 2013 at 4:00 PM · Report this
@4: We pay for the food when we review restaurants, and we acknowledge the rare/odd exception, such as this:…

As for why the acceptable minimum tip has gone up from 10 percent to 15 to 20, I do not know, but it has, and you should follow the lead of Fnarf @44 and @54 (except maybe the log-abacus; that sounds onerous to carry around).
Posted by Bethany Jean Clement on August 13, 2013 at 4:01 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 69
@68 This engineer went crazy for the idea of a log-abacus. Sadly, Fnarf was talking about an actual log.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on August 13, 2013 at 4:05 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 70
@ 68, maybe it's just me, but I believe that if you're going to preach how people should tip their servers, you should understand why. It would likely get to the heart of why there's a tipping backlash, as you reported.
Posted by Matt from Denver on August 13, 2013 at 4:14 PM · Report this
So no one has a comment about the percentage issue I raised @40? I'm surprised, that's all.
Posted by Jude Fawley on August 13, 2013 at 4:16 PM · Report this
biffp 72
@68, good to know, seemed to be an inordinate level of altruism on Slog today. I still think 20% is for good service, although I've always calculated it after tax.
Posted by biffp on August 13, 2013 at 4:20 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 73
Make it possible for small businesses to pay living wage with fairer taxation

Are you fucking kidding me? The past 30 years have been proof positive that lower taxes do not lead to higher wages. Quite the opposite.
Posted by keshmeshi on August 13, 2013 at 4:26 PM · Report this
sperifera 74
@63 - "keeping the IRS's greedy hands out of the pockets of our service workers"

Why am I not surprised to see that you advocate tax evasion? That's what it is - plain and simple. You are just like your hero, Alan Gottlieb... Heck you probably are Alan Gottlieb.
Posted by sperifera on August 13, 2013 at 4:26 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 75
Of course you should tip. Don't be a bore and a cheapskate.

And tip your maid in the hotel. You just do not what to know what they deal with on a daily basis.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on August 13, 2013 at 4:27 PM · Report this
Sorry - maybe easy to lay down a law of always 20% but a lot of diners are paid less than servers.
Posted by Fluffy on August 13, 2013 at 4:27 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 78

Yes. We want employers to pay their employees. Figures that dumbasses like you equate that with welfare. Fuck off.
Posted by keshmeshi on August 13, 2013 at 4:28 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 79

Is that supposed to scare us? I can't remember the last time I got "free" bread at a sit-down restaurant.
Posted by keshmeshi on August 13, 2013 at 4:31 PM · Report this
NOP_Spinster 80
Only if we pay them a real livable wage with 20+ work hours a week guaranteed. And it should be law in every state in the nation. But! Tables of 6 or more should have gratuity added in.
I hated relying on tips when I worked as a server in Wyoming. Even if you lived in a tourist town, tips were scarce because tourists don't want to spend money on tips when they could be buying geyser themed crap at Old Faithful. Furthermore, tourists shouldn't have to look up the laws of every state they are in to see if the servers in that state are being paid minimum.
Also, there is nothing more annoying listening to a table haggle over the tip.
Posted by NOP_Spinster on August 13, 2013 at 4:44 PM · Report this
People! Who died and made Bethany queen of social protocol?

20% may be standard for her - but not everybody. I work in a non-profit where the top wage for professionals with decades of experience and a graduate degree is about $27 an hour. How many servers earning minimum wage plus big tips try to right that social wrong?

If you have the income to always tip 20% or more - great. But if not, and you enjoy a special night out you shouldn't be made to feel like a jerk because you tip 15%. I'm pretty sure your waitperson would rather have the clientele than not
Posted by Fluffy on August 13, 2013 at 5:11 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 82

I am not surprised to see that you advocate theft.
That’s what income tax is - plain and simple. When armed agents threaten compliance with penalty of prison it is coercion at its finest.

Such a well reasoned arguement to justify that you are too cheap to tip your server. While you are dining the server is your employee.

Clearly most people here were too privileged to ever work for tips.

Posted by Cascadian Bacon on August 13, 2013 at 5:18 PM · Report this
Fnarf 83
@79, you eat in different restaurants than I do. Off the top of my head, Chinook's (plus their free bread is 50% butter, YES YOU LOOK FAT IN THAT), Ray's, Rusty Pelican (though they might have stopped). Most of the places I eat don't have bread at all, though.

@75, I do know, now, thanks to that book I mentioned, which I almost suspect you of having written. Suffice it to say that used condoms on the floor or in the bedclothes is the least of it. Having read the book, I will henceforth be tipping even more.

@80, especially when they are usually haggling over such microscopic amounts. Come on, you just dropped a wad on the table, another dollar isn't going to kill you.
Posted by Fnarf on August 13, 2013 at 5:28 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 84
@ 82, "theft"? No. "Patriotic duty of ever American citizen" is what you mean, at least if you care about being truthful.
Posted by Matt from Denver on August 13, 2013 at 5:39 PM · Report this
"you should always tip your server 20 percent, unless the server literally tells you to fuck off."

NOPE, SORRY, the tip is *EARNED*, NOT A RIGHT! If the server always got that, there would be NO *INCENTIVE* to TRY THEIR BEST.

"Servers work hard, "

Nope, most servers don't work hard and are very lazy at their jobs. How many times have you had servers that wrote *ALL* request and orders you asked for down? How many servers you know that compare the menu prices to the check prices to make sure you aren't overcharged?

Most servers want to do the LEAST amount of work for the money.
Posted by Springs1 on August 13, 2013 at 5:42 PM · Report this
"you should always tip your server 20 percent, unless the server literally tells you to fuck off."

NOPE, SORRY, the tip is *EARNED*, NOT A RIGHT! If the server always got that, there would be NO *INCENTIVE* to TRY THEIR BEST.

"Servers work hard, "

Nope, most servers don't work hard and are very lazy at their jobs. How many times have you had servers that wrote *ALL* request and orders you asked for down? How many servers you know that compare the menu prices to the check prices to make sure you aren't overcharged?

Most servers want to do the LEAST amount of work for the money.
Posted by Springs1 on August 13, 2013 at 5:44 PM · Report this
seatackled 87

It sounds like you don't out very much, so when you're going out for that special occasion, an extra 5% isn't that much more, so maybe you should feel like a jerk.

I didn't know the standard is 20%, but Bethany isn't just imposing her own rate. It apparently has become the norm.

Here are a couple of interesting links--one is about tipping in Calgary (the interviewee says the rate is higher in the US than in Canada) and the other is about New York.……
Posted by seatackled on August 13, 2013 at 5:45 PM · Report this
seandr 88
Abolish tipping, please. The last thing I want to be doing after a meal and several glasses of wine is math.
Posted by seandr on August 13, 2013 at 6:06 PM · Report this
I’m a former restaurant owner and I hate tip culture. I don’t think it is good for business and I don’t feel that it improves service or team work.
I do think that tipping as the principal means of server-busser pay does allow restaurants to keep people hanging around in case it gets busy so I can’t imagine tipping as the principal means of paying floor staff will change anytime soon.
Posted by olive oyl on August 13, 2013 at 6:10 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 93

Yea I guess Obama has to pay for the survelience state, unlawful prisons and drone murders somehow.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on August 13, 2013 at 6:57 PM · Report this
I'm very happy to tip generously but I start to lose interest in the possibility of it if my server replies to my "Thank You's" with that awful phrase, "No problem" instead of "You're welcome."

I am old school and wish No Problem would be flat-out abolished.

Posted by Fire Chief on August 13, 2013 at 7:00 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 95
@ 93, deflect, deflect, deflect. How it's spent has nothing to do with its collection.

/threadjack (for me anyway)
Posted by Matt from Denver on August 13, 2013 at 7:03 PM · Report this
lauramae 96
hmm... I thought 20% was a generous tip and not a must tip. That said, if the service is professional that's what I leave for the server. However, what is considered good service differs among patrons. I don't need and I sure don't want obsequious behavior that is tip driven. And I don't want indifferent or rude service because the server believes that no matter what, they are getting a tip (let alone a 20% tip).

I agree with everyone who says that the responsibility for a server's wage isn't up to the customer, but up to the employer. And the statement about the server being the face of the restaurant is exactly right.

I went to a local pub/restaurant in Olympia with family and the server was totally pissed that we sat in her section. Maybe she was about to end her shift, but we screwed that up by sitting in her section. Since she wasn't wearing a billboard that said as much, how was I to know? Or she was just in a bad mood. In any case she made certain that we understood that she was ignoring us as long as possible before it might get her in trouble. She handled the glasses by the edge. When one of my companions asked for a straw, she unwrapped the straw, made a point of handling it and then shoved it in the drink with dramatic flare. I have never been back to Tugboat Annies and will never go again.

I'm polite in restaurants and fully recognize/remember how hard the job is. I'm only interested in a good meal and my connection to the server is friendly and reasonable. I'm grateful when the server remembers to fill my water or iced tea. I'm happy when the server checks back once during the meal.

If a server acts as if I completely fucked up his/her day by walking into the restaurant then they aren't getting a lesser tip, they are getting no tip. The big fat zero tip. When I get completely ignored, or some sort of Pacific NW passive aggressive crap, I don't tip. And I never go back to the restaurant. It's only happened a couple of times and I really can't come up with a legitimate reason why the server acted the way they did. Could be they made some assumptions about who I was, confused me with another patron or something more insidious...who knows?

Why would I pay more for an experience that has ruined my day? Why would I want to feel like a complete patsy and reward someone for treating me like crap?

Places where the servers are decent, professional are places I enjoy going. They are 100% the front face of that restaurant. And those folks get 20% every time and more during the holidays.

Posted by lauramae on August 13, 2013 at 7:46 PM · Report this
My view on tipping from my days as a waiter - tips rock. Loved them and loved the cash. So cut the tips are oppressive bullshit. Also, bullshit on 63 and 87. Only a putz would treat someone who can't afford a big tip like a jerk or suggest they need to avoid going out. As far as percentages go, I'm all in for a sliding scale depending on whether u made the dinning experience better or worse. Poor = 10 or less, average 15-18, exceptional 20-25 w 25 most likely at a less expensive restaurant.
Posted by Mike in Iowa on August 13, 2013 at 8:39 PM · Report this
Ugh, it was always 15% before I usually tip 20% cause I tend to stick to the same places and they have great service, but when did it become the norm to expect 20%? Also people who don't tip are scum (I've only not tipped once in the last 5 years and that was at lunch in NYC where 30 minutes went by after the waiter dropped off the check and he still didn't cash us out[the restaurant was dead too] so we just paid with the cash we had and left)
Posted by j2patter on August 13, 2013 at 8:41 PM · Report this
seatackled 99

I don't think I was saying that the server should treat a customer poorly or that one shouldn't go out. I was addressing @81, who contrasted the scenario of someone who could afford a 20% tip all the time, which I took to be referring to eating out just about every day, with going out on a special night and not tipping the standard. It seemed like the poster was using this as an excuse to go below standard on the rare occasion of dining out.
Posted by seatackled on August 13, 2013 at 9:40 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 100
Tipping is completely subjective.

Anyone leave a tip at a McDonalds?

Why would anyone give a tip to someone who gives you a cup of coffee, but not to someone who gives you a cheeseburger, fries, and a coke?

Tipping is a totally fucked up system that should be abolished immediately. Restaurant owners should be forced... FORCED... to pay their workers-ALL their workers-a wage a person can live on. If the restaurant owners complain? Burn their fucking place down, punch them in the face, and throw them in the fucking ocean. We don't need any more selfish cocksuckers here, we've got more than enough already. I'd rather the government took over all restaurants and sold government issued shitburgers than give more money and power to capitalistic free-enterprise selfish asshole restaurant owners who fuck over their employees just so they can cram another buck in their greezy pockets.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on August 13, 2013 at 11:51 PM · Report this
@87 Most Canadians I know tip horribly (50% polled on the CBC article say they tip between 10-15%). When I have friends visiting from Canada (I'm from Canada as well), I usually tip a bit more to make up for what they're tipping.

I'm guessing that 15% was the normal and a lot of people started tipping 20% to be "great tippers". But as more and more people wanted to be "great tippers" 20% became the norm. It will be interesting to see if people are willing to start tipping 25-30% to be "great tippers" or if 20% will be the tipping point ;)
Posted by j2patter on August 14, 2013 at 12:07 AM · Report this
@100 wow, calm the fuck down. Most restaurant owners are good people trying to earn a living wage themselves. Most restaurant don't make a profit until a couple of years and lot of them don't ever make anything. Not every business owner is a greedy bastard, most of them are decent hard working people trying to provide for their families. I agree that gov't should play a bigger role in this, but you're being completely unfair to the restaurant owners. (I'm sure Bethany knows many of these hard working owners).
Posted by j2patter on August 14, 2013 at 12:14 AM · Report this
@66, no the Stranger always tips their unpaid interns 20%...They just get lucky that 20% of nothing is more nothing :P
Posted by j2patter on August 14, 2013 at 12:22 AM · Report this
I live in a country with no tipping, and staff here freak out when you try to give them one. On the whole it's really really nice. But once in a while I miss tipping, like when my party is being a pain or the staff have gone out of their way to accommodate my vegetarianism, which is also a foreign concept here. Then I wish I could give a little extra without it being weird.
Posted by ridia on August 14, 2013 at 2:12 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 105
@ 100, you can solve that problem by never patronizing fast food joints and other places where you can't tip. Your body will thank you.
Posted by Matt from Denver on August 14, 2013 at 6:30 AM · Report this
Baby Blue 106
Totally with @1 on this.
Posted by Baby Blue on August 14, 2013 at 7:37 AM · Report this
It's 15%. Not 20%.

Generic service is 15% rounded down;
Competent service is 15% rounded up;
Good service is 20% +

Bad service = no tip.

Actually, the percentage is a stupid idea. I shouldn't tip higher for a bottle of $100 wine vs a $30 bottle. You should probably pay based on the amount of work you create for the waiter, not the value of the food.
Posted by fetish on August 14, 2013 at 8:49 AM · Report this
TLjr 108
BJC, you're a slimeball cheapass. I tip a minimum of 30%. 35% if the waiter doesn't tell me to fuck off. 40 if the service is awesome.

Just kidding. 15 usually, 20 if I'm dazzled. A little more if it's a low price place-- I'm not going to leave less than a buck anywhere. More for high end places is silly-- it's the low price joints where the system comes closest to failing the wait staff.

But the point is that I get to decide. Yes, it's a stupid way to pay people, but I didn't invent it.

And a restaurant owner is free to either go with a service compris policy, or surcharge 15 percent or whatever and call it a day. I'd be happy to support something like that.
Posted by TLjr on August 14, 2013 at 8:59 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 109
@105: Who says Urgutha does not tip at fast food places?

For the few times a year I find myself at a fast food joint, I always lay a buck or two down for the "server." Having worked fast food as a youth, I know exactly how much it sucks, and I did not even have to worry about bills.

The logic of this is unassailable. Fast food workers get paid shit, and have shit jobs, yet no one sees the need to tip them. But suggest that maybe a bartender does not deserve an extra dollar for every beer they pour, and people jump on your ass. It is ludicrous.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on August 14, 2013 at 11:15 AM · Report this
Are you fucking kidding me? The past 30 years have been proof positive that lower taxes do not lead to higher wages. Quite the opposite.

keshmeshi, I realize it's your "thing" to go red alert with every comment and be an abrasive prick. But if you had READ what I wrote rather than immediately just react like some electrocuted primate you would read the words I wrote: FAIRER taxation.

No where did I say LOWER taxation.
Posted by tkc on August 14, 2013 at 12:59 PM · Report this
BTW, while I almost always tip at least 20% and get good service, does anybody else find it humorous that Fnarf gets such supposedly unceasingly good service... when he refers to human workers as "Waitrons?" Sounds like he thinks they are androids.

Yes. I know it's a word in usage. But. C'mon. It's "crazy-rich-out-of-touch-grandpa" funny.

"I like you waitrons, and you like me! As long as you don't malfunction and run amok, that is. I have my eye you."

"Waitrons." Heh.
Posted by tkc on August 14, 2013 at 1:08 PM · Report this
:^i!e 112
springs1 - you are a class a jerk. you say servers don't work hard? being on your feet all day, carrying heavy trays, dealing with the stress of aholes like you... split shifts - yes, those are common. getting paid 6 hours for showing up 3 hours for a lunch shift (which usually requires 4 hours when you include prep and clean-up,) not getting paid for a couple of hours in the afternoon, then getting paid 3 hours for dinner shift (which again usually takes 4). what are you supposed to do with the two hours in between shifts, which is actually one by the time you are free? travel home and back? unless you live next door, forget it. most servers i know have back problems, and no health care to boot. shut your arrogant privileged mouth and go fix your own food.
Posted by :^i!e on August 14, 2013 at 2:52 PM · Report this
:^i!e 113
and actually springs1 - servers are taxed for the tips they are supposed to receive whether they get them or not. so it's not a bonus, it's meant to be a part of pay, per the IRS. 11% precisely of the bills for the tables they service, is included in their taxable income. so when you tip nothing on a $100 tab, they are paying taxes for $11 of income, including social security, medicare and federal income tax. when you tip 15%, they are tipping out the kitchen and bussers with at least 25% of that, and still getting taxed for $11 of income. when you tip with a credit card, they are usually charged for those tips by the owner, losing 5-10% for credit card fees, but still being taxed for 11%. when you stiff a tip, you are costing them money.

really, who the fuck are you to say they are lazy? most servers i see are busting their asses, don't have time to pee during busy hours, and get kicked off the clock as soon as it slows down.
Posted by :^i!e on August 14, 2013 at 3:01 PM · Report this
"really, who the fuck are you to say they are lazy? most servers i see are busting their asses,"

Here's a waitress at Red Lobster that 100% FULLY AGREES with me about most servers are lazy and this is or was a server at the time:…

Stef319 said:
"I definitely know where you're coming from with servers, though. I will agree that 90% of our servers ARE lazy. They drive me crazy; as lazy as they are with their tables (who are providing their tips), imagine how lazy they are when it's time to do sidework and help clean the restaurant. They're always on their cell phones, outside smoking cigarettes, flirting with the cooks, when they should be paying attention to their guests. And I bet they get your orders wrong all the time because you're right-they are lazy. They expect a 20% tip always. They wonder why they get "stiffed" on a tip sometimes. It's because they didn't deserve a tip! That's why I said that I don't want other servers taking my food out. I don't trust them at all. They don't read the kitchen slips, they bring a steak out without a steak knife, they forget sides, and they auction off food. It ends up costing me more time cause not only do I have to apologize for their order delivery not being correct, but I still have to go back to the kitchen and get whatever they forgot. And god forbid that the guest asks THEM for something because not only will they not get it, but they won't even have the courtesy to tell me what the table wanted."


2. Do you AUCTION off food rather than going back to your pad of paper to *READ* WHO had what if you were the server that took the order? If you do, you are VERY LAZY!

3. Do you COMPARE THE CHECK PRICES TO THE MENU PRICES to see if you overcharged the customer? If you don't, you are VERY, EXTREMELY UNCARING, SELFISH, AND LAZY!

4. Do you OFFER to do more work such as we just had a waitress this weekend that offered us cokes to-go? If you don't do those things, you are lazy.

5. Do you COMPARE the written orders to the food for mistakes you don't have to touch the food or bar drink to notice the mistake or mistakes? If you don't, you are EXTREMELY LAZY AND VERY UNCARING about other people.

6. When you are triple sat or double sat, do you go to the computer right after taking each order to put the customer's orders into the computer if you don't have any previously ordered items to deliver and no one else called you over? If you don't, you are a CUTTER and VERY LAZY as well as VERY UNCARING!

7. Do you make the customer tell you something about the menu? If you do, you are VERY, VERY, VERY LAZY and STUPID AS WELL AS VERY DINGY(I have had some stupid asses I have had to prove wrong to THEM and some of the places it was MY FIRST TIME THERE EVEN!)

"stress of aholes like you."

I am not ahole, *YOU* are a SELFISH A JERK who is talking about taxes, things that *WE* don't control. Have a problem with it, don't look at customers, we don't make taxes IDIOT!

"what are you supposed to do with the two hours in between shifts, which is actually one by the time you are free? travel home and back? unless you live next door, forget it. "

How about play on the internet on an iphone or ipad or talk to people or anything since you aren't getting paid, you don't have to do work STUPID ASS IDIOT!

No one made you be a server, but *YOU*! Obviously you make enough, otherwise, you'd be working at McDonald's. SO STFU IDIOT!

"no health care to boot."

That's not our issue as customers. You do realize that, right? This and talking about taxes is SOOOO IRRELEVANT to this subject.

You get what you give in life.

" when you stiff a tip, you are costing them money."

Then maybe you should realize that before you don't try your best. My husband and I have tipped 25%-30% and upwards. At the same time, we have stiffed as well. It depends on the *SERVICE*!

Just recently we had a dollar overcharge, which the waitress REFUSED to get it fixed and I had to explain to her that when she's a customer, she goes by the advertised price. I couldn't believe she was saying that they didn't update the menus. That's RIDICULOUS! BY LAW, NO ONE can legally charge me something I don't order from(the computer screen). The lawfully, legal price is on the menu or on a sign in the restaurant, NOT something only the server sees. Because she was such a bitch, she got nothing! So for a dollar and 9 cents tax, she got stiffed. Does that make sense to have been a bitch about a dollar? Seriously, that's stupid. A GOOD, DECENT human being would have tried to have noticed this *BEFORE* she gave us the check with the wrong price on it and gotten her manager to fix it *BEFORE* she gave us the check. Since she didn't, instead of blaming a menu(an object), she should have said "I'm SO SORRY, let me get a manager to fix it." She should have also asked the manager to take off a soft drink off the bill for our inconvenience of *US* doing *HER JOB* for her. Instead, NO, she was a SELFISH BITCH, JUST LIKE *************YOU ARE**************** with talking about just **********YOUR MONEY**************** as if we have to BOW DOWN TO IT! YOUR MONEY IS NO MORE IMPORTANT THAN OURS JERK! See, if I were the server and I would have overcharged the customer, *THOSE* things I would have done. I COULDN'T FATHOM BLAMING A MENU, seriously, that's just stupid.

To lie to us got her a stiff. You want to lie, go ahead, you won't get anything.

She acted like her money only counted. She was lazy. By telling me that they didn't update the menus, she was admitting she didn't compare the menu prices to the check prices. THAT IS ADMITTING BEING LAZY ON THE JOB, THAT SURE THE HELL IS!

I had another waitress say "I don't add it up" when 2 prices were added together($21.99 add crawfish $4.99) was $28.48, which was supposed to be $26.98($1.50 overcharge). My husband had ordered that item as it came. That waitress ADMITTED she didn't "ADD" it up and made us do it. She got $4.00 on an $85 and something cent check. I was so pissed, I didn't even want to leave $5.00 just to make a statement how a SELFISH BITCH she was just about HER MONEY HOLIER THAN THOU as if OUR MONEY MEANS NOTHING!

YOU SERVERS SEEM ALL THE SAME SO SELFISH AND LAZY! I don't get why you think the world of customers OWES you with attitudes and laziness like that, huh? I know if I didn't try my best, I sure as hell wouldn't deserve a good tip or to get tipped PERIOD! WHY DON'T YOU ALL?
Posted by Springs1 on August 14, 2013 at 6:47 PM · Report this
Jubilation T. Cornball 115
I tip 20% if things work out, and up to 500% at least once a month. I've had a good life and I love food so if someone provides and exceptional experience around that, they are rewarded on my own wacky personal scale. For other folks, I'd say the 10 (wanting) - 15 (just fine, thanks) - 20 (wow) rule works just great.
Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball on August 14, 2013 at 9:59 PM · Report this
I'm generally a good tipper...I've been there, and I know how little they're paid (well, it seems like everywhere but WA, and even then minimum wage is not really adequate remuneration for the demands of the job)...20% is pretty standard from me (though it often ends up being a little more than that since I round up), I go up for *great* service, and I only start deducting a couple percent for egregiously poor service. Like others, I can recall only one or two occasions where I have left little to no tip, because it was REALLY that bad.

However, what bothers me the most about tipping is the upselling that servers do to help pad the tip. It never fails, if you ask for a recommendation, that the most expensive item on the menu is the best thing they serve, even if it falls outside the bounds of what I've asked for a recommendation on (which often happens for me since I prefer fish, don't eat beef, and only occasionally indulge in other red meat, and the red meats tend to be the more expensive items). Same with drinks/wine...the most expensive is always the "best," even if it's not at all what I described as what I was looking for ("I'd like a crisp white..." "have you considered this sweet red?" Uh, no, because I was looking for a crisp white...). And if you order mid-priced or low-priced options, even if that's just because you'd like the cheaper thing and not so much the more expensive thing, that sometimes puts a big IGNORE button on you.

THAT'S why I'd like to see tipping abolished. The level of service I get shouldn't depend on what I'm ordering. And, honestly, how much my server is paid shouldn't depend on that, either. If I spend 45 minutes in a restaurant, my server should be paid for those 45 minutes no matter whether I come alone, order an appetizer, and send some emails or bring my friends and order a few bottles of wine and dinner.
Posted by Ms. D on August 14, 2013 at 10:01 PM · Report this
@55: Okay, this is just ridiculous. Tipping a dollar for an espresso is too much. It takes a little skill to make it, but espresso in the US is already way overpriced for its quality (usually subpar). In Europe, coffee is both cheaper and better and the expectation is for there to be no tip.

@104: This was one thing I loved about living in Spain. They have a law (like France) that gratuity is included in the price, but they are at least familiar with the concept of tipping. Basically, it meant that my small change was still enough to get them to understand my appreciation and make their day. It was awesome.
Posted by alguna_rubia on August 14, 2013 at 11:07 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 118
@ 117, again - do you tip your bartender? How much?

Are you in America or in Europe? Do you think you're exempt from local customs?

if you only go to Starbucks or Tully's, you're right, it takes no skill to pull a shot because the machine does it all.

But if you go to a real espresso shop, then yes, it takes skill. One has to be aware of all the conditions that affect it, which includes the quality and flavor of each batch of coffee beans, how fine it should be ground, how the weather is affecting the shots (pressure and humidity both have an effect), and how to make all the adjustments to these conditions. One has to be able to know how to tamp the ground coffee just right, which is a matter of both packing it correctly and perfectly level. One has to know whether shots are pulling to fast or slow. One has to know how to diagnose problems with the espresso machine. One has to know what the perfect crema looks like. Heck, one just has to know what crema is.

That's just the espresso. How about frothing milk correctly? How is that affected by things like the steam wand's angle and depth in the milk? Or the cleanliness and temperature of the pitcher? Or the fat percentage? How do you froth soy or almond milk? How does one make those pretty patterns your friends photograph and post on Facebook? How much syrup do you put in a vanilla latte? What should you use in a mocha, cocoa or chocolate?

If you give a dollar to your bartender for opening your can if PBR but don't value all this, you're a fucking cheapskate. Don't worry, though; if you're a regular at your local coffee shop, they know, and downgrade their efforts to satisfy you accordingly.
Posted by Matt from Denver on August 15, 2013 at 6:04 AM · Report this
Paxlotl 119
I've known people who've been to war that say second only to combat, serving is the hardest job they've ever had. Imagine selling, delivering, and cleaning $3000 dollars worth of crap in just a couple of hours to cranky ravenous assholes who look at you as the unfortunate step between them and their food.
That level of high maintenance costs more than minimum wage. Servers also share their tips so if you don't leave a good tip you're hurting the industry which makes good restaurants harder to come by.
Posted by Paxlotl on August 15, 2013 at 11:40 AM · Report this
Paxlotl 120
I've known people who've been to war that say second only to combat, serving is the hardest job they've ever had. Imagine selling, delivering, and cleaning $3000 dollars worth of crap in just a couple of hours to cranky ravenous assholes who look at you as the lowly step between them and their food.
That level of high maintenance costs more than minimum wage. Servers also share their tips so if you don't leave a good one you're hurting the industry which makes good restaurants harder to come by.
Posted by Paxlotl on August 15, 2013 at 11:45 AM · Report this
Anyone who thinks that servers need to work for tips to ensure good service should ask if they would like to be paid the same way. Do CEOs get paid on a daily basis based on the satisfaction of their customers? Servers should be paid at least the standard minimum wage (they deserve a living wage but that's another conversation). The loophole allowing a lower minimum wage should be abolished.
Posted by ML77 on August 15, 2013 at 12:27 PM · Report this
@118 hahahahaha. I've worked in a bunch of coffee shops and NO BODY thinks about that. Still tip a buck, but don't bs yourself.
Posted by j2patter on August 15, 2013 at 5:03 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 123
@ 122, name those shops, including locations, or get the fuck out.
Posted by Matt from Denver on August 15, 2013 at 6:14 PM · Report this
@123 you familiar with local Ontario coffee shops?
Posted by j2patter on August 15, 2013 at 8:14 PM · Report this
@121, it's interesting that you say that. After weathering the field of front-line customer service for something like 10 years, I can handle the rudest of the rude, and usually leave someone who starts out swearing at me with profuse "thank you's." So guess what I get in my office job? Yep, all the difficult people. Even if I'm not working on a project, coworkers will come to me and ask me to call their difficult clients back and sweet talk them. My boss dumps the most difficult clients on me. Sure, I can handle it, but IT SUCKS. AND I'm paid the same as the coworkers who can't ovary up (I'm a woman, so I'm not "manning up") and just deal with it.

On the flip side, I guess, I am well-known in the trade as "the most helpful bitch you'll ever meet." I will do what I can to make things run smoothly, but you only get *one* warning from me if you're abusive. If you curse me out, I will tell you to can it and listen ("sir/ma'am, I am more than willing to walk you through this, but if you continue to speak to me like that, I will be forced to end this conversation") or I will hang up or walk out, and I mean it. AND I will ignore your calls until you leave me a message apologizing and begging me to call back. Since word has gotten around, at least people are nicer when they see my number on the line, and know that if *I'm* calling them on a project I'm not even on it means that they're skating on thin ice...I guess? Can I get a bonus for that? (according to my employer, no)
Posted by Ms. D on August 15, 2013 at 9:38 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 126
@124, that is enough of an answer. You worked at crappy shops.
Posted by Matt from Denver on August 16, 2013 at 4:30 AM · Report this
vicvicvictorious 127
That is all.
Posted by vicvicvictorious on August 16, 2013 at 4:44 AM · Report this
Clara T 128
I tip 20% whether the waiter is a raging cunt or the second coming. It has nothing to do with him - I just don't care to think about it - I don't want a little relationship with the food bringer polluting my psyche.
Posted by Clara T on August 16, 2013 at 7:02 AM · Report this
@126 Yes, any place you haven't heard of is crappy. That means there must only be like 1 good coffee shop on the plant. It's where all the hipsters sit around and measure the wind and figure out how the wind is affecting the crème, and how the acid in the rain outside is affecting the milk, and how the one beam of sun light is going to hit the milk jug just right to raise the temperature 1C. And how the body heat of three hipsters reading Naked Lunch, Infinite Jest and Gravities Rainbows affects the room temperature.....
Posted by j2patter on August 16, 2013 at 8:17 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 130
@ 129, nah. Just any of the vast multitude of coffee shops you wirked for are crappy, because you admitted that you didn't care about how to pull a good shot, or how to froth the milk just so. That's okay; Ontario is likely a lot like most of America, in that most people's idea of espresso was formed at Starbucks. There is no shortage of crappy coffee shops, even indie ones because most North Americans don't know how espresso should taste.

That said, I bet there are some truly kickass placed in Toronto. I'm not dissing your entire province.
Posted by Matt from Denver on August 16, 2013 at 9:59 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 131
I have worked as a barista before, and I do have to say that while Matt is correct, all of those little things are taken into account, it is not nearly as complex and detailed as he makes it out to be.

Way harder than pouring a beer or mixing a gin and tonic, so the bartender point still stands, in my opinion.

It is about how much work a person does, if you ask me. Cheaper food does not mean less work, why should it mean less tip? If I drank coffee, I would likely not tip much for a small, already made coffee, but I would certainly tip more if I got a fancy, time consuming drink.

I was a champion milk frother by the way. Skim, soy, almond, whatever. I made that wand SING.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on August 16, 2013 at 11:33 AM · Report this
pharmswede 132
After reading this thread, I'm pretty convinced that I should stop tipping entirely. Facts I've garnered (That no one seems to be disputing):

1) "Servers are paid at least minimum wage." OK, good, they don't need a tip anymore than any other minimum wage earner needs a tip. Why do we tip them in particular? I agree all low income jobs should see wages increased (at the cost of decreasing my wages). Tipping only one type of job seems to create more income disparity.

2) "Being a server is hard work." This is nonsense. I work hard, you work hard. Everyone works hard, or they don't. Miners work hard. Security guards don't. Tipping one type of worker or service person is arbitrary. Do you tip the workers at the pharmacy? I guarantee you want them to be careful with your order. I agree that it sucks that some kid drives across the city in the rain to deliver a burrito, but you know what? That ain't actually hard work.

3) "It's unreasonable to expect a law to ever ban tipping." Completely accurate.

4) "If you don't tip well, they'll spit in your food." Really!? Who screws people like that? I've never worked anywhere that people are that monstrous, and yes, I work in a service industry. But, assuming it's true, that people who work in restaurants do tend to be more horrible human beings than other places, then there's no way I'm buying them off. Is that really the state of things, people are afraid if they don't pay protection to their waiter?

5) "It's fraught (great word!!) that waiters have to grovel to get paid." Agree entirely.

6) Everyone who has posted "I worked as a waiter and I loved tips!" is completely lacking insight into this argument. Really, you liked when people gave you money?

So why should I tip again? I think the brave thing to do is to vote with your money by not tipping waiters in order to hurry this practice into history. (Note that I'm not that brave and am more likely to wuss out than to have to have Reservoir Dogs arguments every time I dine out) I'd say save your tips for your migrant worker yardwork team, someone actually being screwed with little other recourse and a damn hard job.
Posted by pharmswede on August 16, 2013 at 11:44 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 133
@ 131, it only looks complicated when you spell out all the particulars. If I went into everything that makes a good hamburger, it would look just as complex.
Posted by Matt from Denver on August 16, 2013 at 12:55 PM · Report this
Why can't servers be tipped more like a massage therapist in finer establishments? They get a commission based on what they sell, and yes, they are selling, and then any tips given truly are extra?

Also, if you're going to be a regular anywhere, great tipping is not just good manners, it gets you a LOT of extras that the shit tippers will never see. At a bar, it can mean getting food after the kitchen is closed, getting swag left by the rep of your favorite beer, and frequently getting free pitchers and certificates for free pitchers.
Posted by MinnySota on August 16, 2013 at 1:33 PM · Report this

I am perfectly aware of how percentages work. However, the 15% standard of days gone by was a gratuity that went exclusively to the server. In this shiny new modern era where tips are pooled and split among a number of employees, 18% has become the norm. Things change. You can either adapt or stay stuck in the past and become that old curmudgeon in the corner muttering to himself about how much better thing were back in "the old days". Your choice.
Posted by COMTE on August 17, 2013 at 12:35 PM · Report this

Wow. One waitress at a Red Lobster jealously kvetching about her fellow employees is OBVIOUSLY a legitimate source for a blanket condemnation of an entire class of laborers. Let me guess: you also take the rantings of a single Tea Partier on Free Republic as proof positive that The federal government is hiding in the bushes waiting to throw your sorry ass in jail for insisting that President Obama has a fake birth certificate, yes?
Posted by COMTE on August 17, 2013 at 1:04 PM · Report this
To all the people who are insisting that serving isn't that hard: I'd like to see you try. If you think you can give good service after getting quintuple-sat, with no support staff, and a psychotic owner screaming obscenities at you in front of your tables, I'd like to see you fucking try. I can do it. I can still smile at the cheap ass students who always leave me the change on their 9.14 tab. I can still discuss the finer points of the menu with indecisive drunk people at 1am. I can split your check six ways and put the wine on your bill and the dessert on their bill and not tell you to get a fucking calculator and do it yourself. When you ask for a cappuccino that's light on foam, I can just bite my tongue and make you a latte instead of calling attention to your ineptitude. I can endure the endless calls of "Hey, waiter!" Sure, sometimes I have to go in the walk-in and breathe deeply and slowly for a minute or two, but I can still do it. Can you? I doubt it.
Posted by PineStreetBomber on August 19, 2013 at 2:50 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 138
@ 135, bullshit. Servers have ALWAYS split tips with bussers and other restaurant staff.

You don't know what you're talking about.
Posted by Matt from Denver on August 19, 2013 at 6:36 AM · Report this

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