An open letter to the tyrants who don’t leave tips

A reader, “MJ,” sent me this:

Dear Matt,

Can you write something about people who don’t tip??? I see you’ve posted about people who are rude to customer service and peoeple who leave their carts in the parking lot… what about people who don’t leave tips. I’d like to tell you about what happened to me. I’m a waitress at a steakhouse in a different state from you. Myself and my coworkers get stiffed all the time by people. Especially older people who drive expensive cars to get here then order expensive drinks and expensive entrees and leave a 5 percent tip. It’s so infuriating!!! This is how I feed my kids … I’m a mom… recently divorced.. and I take care of my family through tips! Yesterday a couple came in, stayed at a table for two hours, ordered appetizers, entrees and desserts… I took good care of them… they even complimented me on my great service…. and then they left a note on the reciept saying they “unfortunately” couldn’t “afford” to leave a tip. They jsut spent 80 DOLLARS ON THEIR MEAL!! You can afford to spend 80 dollars on one dinner but you can’t afford to tip??? Sorry Matt this just makes me so angry and its a really common problem. I thought maybe you could talk about it to bring to people’s attention.

If you use this just call me MJ.

This woman has challenged me to speak out against non-tipping tyrants, and I could not live with myself if I failed to answer her call. I will address my response not to her, but to the tightwads who torment her and her fellow toilers in the grueling, thankless “service industry.” This is the least that I can do. I love to eat — it’s my favorite pastime — and eating out is always a treat. Yet I know that this experience requires the labor of many people; labor that I could not do. I lack the patience and temperament required to deal with the daily onslaught of pompous cheapskates and verbally abusive egomaniacs.

And now to speak directly to a certain terrifying subset of this species. These are the lowest, most shameless sorts of customers. Their existence is a constant, chilling reminder that evil exists in the world. They are the non-tippers:

Dear Non-Tippers,

Are you thinking about going out tonight? Considering a nice little jaunt to that cozy steakhouse down on main street? Looking forward to a pleasant evening of being fed and waited upon by strangers? Maybe catching a flick after dinner? Good. Good for you. Sounds like a splendid evening. I’m happy that you’ve got the money to treat yourselves.

Oh, but you don’t have it in your budget to tip your server?

Then it would seem that you, in fact, don’t have the money to treat yourselves after all.

My friends, if you have 35 bucks to drop on a meal, but you don’t have the 7 dollars to leave a 20 percent tip, then what are you doing in a restaurant in the first place? You need to hire a financial adviser (well, maybe see if you can get a free consult) because it’s just plain unwise to blow your entire net worth on a couple of entrees at Applebee’s. Save your 35 dollar nest egg, run to Walmart, buy a box of spaghetti for a dollar, and enjoy a home cooked meal.

For a while in my early twenties, after I paid my bills for the month, I usually had about 30 or 40 dollars left over. I often drove by sit-down restaurants and thought, “hmmm, I wish I could pull in and have a bite to eat.” But then I remembered, “oh, I’m broke; I have no money, I’m poor,” and so I went back to my apartment and ate peanut butter and jelly or Ramen Noodles. These are the traditional cultural dishes of Broke People — not big, juicy hamburgers at high class joints like Chili’s.

Oh, but you aren’t broke? You’re going tipless this evening out of some diluted “principle”?

Why should you have to tip, you ask?

Well, you don’t. You aren’t required. Just like you aren’t required to hold the door open for an elderly woman or offer a beverage to a thirsty houseguest. You don’t HAVE to do these things. Most of us partake in these conventions because we’re civilized and decent. You don’t HAVE to be civilized and decent. But maybe you can at least do me this favor: if you aren’t going to tip, and you know that from the outset, have the courage of your convictions and inform your waiter upfront. When your server comes to welcome you and give you the daily specials, kindly inform him of the situation. “Good evening, Brad. I’m happy to be here. I won’t be tipping you tonight. Anyway, do we get free refills on the house salad?”

To withhold this information is a lie by omission. You know that Brad will be working under the assumption that a tip is forthcoming. You, therefore, benefit from the illusion of a potential tip, even though there isn’t any potential for a tip at all. This is a lie. You’re lying. You’re being manipulative. Stop it.

And what is this principle on which you stand?

I often hear that the owners of the restaurants should pay a decent wage and then nobody would have to tip. Why should YOU have to pay the server’s wage, you insist.

Good point. Let’s require all restaurant owners to pay their wait staff, what, like 12 – 15 dollars an hour? Yes, now we don’t have to tip and everyone is ha–

Oh. Wait. What’s this? All of prices on the menu just doubled? No more 2 for 20 deals? No more free refills? No more 9 dollar burgers and 12 dollar steaks? No more obscenely humungous portion sizes?

What’s going on here? You’re telling me that the financial resources of the restaurant’s owners are finite, and a massive increase in operating costs must be logically offset by a hike in prices and a reduction in services?

Oh no! Now my favorite joints are closing earlier! Hold on — no more happy hour?!

This has gone too far.

I want good food, low prices, huge portions, unlimited refills, happy hour special, fast service AND I don’t want to be expected to tip! Kindly point me to the wormhole that will transport me to the dimension where such a thing is possible.

See, non-tippers benefit from the tip structure, and would not be willing to forfeit those benefits, yet they don’t want to pony up the tips themselves. They reap the rewards of the tip system while simultaneously pretending to protest it. They’re hypocrites.

Of course, the main justification offered by non-tippers is not so much based on principle as it is on punishment. They say they will not tip when the service is “bad.” But you’ll notice that these people somehow encounter “bad” service almost every time they go out to eat. What an odd thing. They must be cursed.

Personally, I tip. I almost always tip well. Twenty percent is the baseline minimum. But, where some customers complain about how they “can’t find good service,” I am usually quite pleased with the wait staff I encounter at most establishments. Where non-tippers constantly find excuses to punitively withhold tips, I generally find reasons to add an additional 5 or 10 percent to the pot. This isn’t because I’m lucky or generous, it’s because I’m not a pompous, picky, spoiled brat; constantly looking for the smallest reason to feel slighted by customer service workers.

I’d like to hear the thought process when the bill comes and you non-tippers go through your cheapskate mental checklist.

Hmmm. Well, my glass remained empty for 97 seconds while my waitress handled a party of 27 two tables down. Sorry, I don’t care what else she’s doing. I need prompt refills. That’ll cost her 3 percent. Oh, and I didn’t think she was smiley enough. There goes another 3 percent. I asked for ketchup but it didn’t come. And then I had to ask again! The horror! That shaves another 5 percent. The fries were warm but a little soggy. There goes 2 percent. My meal was late by like a thousand hours! Well, almost. It took 26 minutes or so to come out. I have absolutely no reason to believe that this inconvenience was the fault of my server, but she’s going to have to pay for it. Minus 10 percent. OK, so according to my calculations, she now owes me about 12 dollars.

From what I’ve seen, the server is usually punished for things that have nothing to do with her. But you non-tippers know this. You’re not out for justice; you’re out to save a few bucks. You tell yourselves stories about how you were victimized by the wait staff just so you can leave no tip and still sleep like a baby at night.

But we all know the truth about you. You can’t hide your motivations.

Stop the madness, non-tippers.

Tip your server. Just tip.

Trust me, you’ll feel better.

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527 Responses to An open letter to the tyrants who don’t leave tips

  1. ericapalmer says:

    I completely agree, Matt. I am an American living in China right now, and they don’t tip here. Unless you go to some fancy, high-end restaurant where the food is four times the price of what it costs to make, you get your cheap food but “customer service” is completely nonexistent. Your dessert comes out first, your drink is never refilled, and the rice finally comes out as you are eating the last dish. I would much rather be in a society where tipping is accepted, where tipping is expected, and participate in the mutually beneficial relationship between server and customer. Give a little good and get a little in return. Win win.

    • PS says:

      Funny thing is, according to Matt’s post, this “complaint” about dessert coming out before the meal would be called nitpicking only to find an excuse not to tip.

    • Ray says:

      I also live in China, Beijing, and I’m not sure that PS makes a fair comparison, in my local cafe I know the waiting staff get paid 8 RMB (a bit less than a dollar 50) and hour. I rapidly learned that a tip is refused in confusion, any attempt to tip will result in a waiter running after you waving the RMB that you ‘forgot’ to take with you. There is a very different culture in China in waiting service and it isn’t American, it’s Chinese – you want the rice – you shout for the rice, you want dessert after the mains, you wait until you’ve finished mains to order it, you want the staffs’ attention you wave and if necessary shout. It’s not America!

      Having also spent a fair amount of time as a Brit in the USA the whole tipping thing is a minefield of cultural expectations in your country too, too little, too much, to punish a server for being too slow, too surly, to reward another for a nice smile and attentive service – it’s all a bit confusing and not really very fair.

      Personally I feel that I’d rather pay significantly more for a meal to give the waiting staff a proper, living wage, and then tip on the quality of service alone. I don’t want the guilt trip of being in a cafe in Vermont, getting lousy service with a growl and a muttered imprecation implying that my entire nation prefer relationships with their own gender, and then get a mouthful of abuse because a lack of tip meant the neanderthal couldn’t feed his children. Once a system relating solely to quality happens than I can simply choose not to eat at a place where the service is sub-par, and choose to eat at a place where I feel welcome, I might even tip 20%.

  2. Paul says:

    My personal opinion about non-tippers, or people who won’t leave a decent tip unless their ass has been kissed for two straight hours (which has been bolstered by reading peoples’ comments) is that they feel very impotent and powerless in their personal lives, and the only time they get to have ‘power’ over another human being is when they’re being served in a restaurant and know the person serving them depends on tips for their livelihood-and boy, when they DO get that little bit of power, they make the most of it.

    • JZ42 says:

      One could make the same conclusion about judgmental people. You know you aren’t very important and probobly not a good person overall. So you judge the guy that doesn’t tip and talk about how great you are for tipping.

      • Paul says:

        Well, at least when I’m being selfish, I don’t go to ridiculous lengths to try to justify it.

      • Evidently you must be a non-tipper or a hit-and-miss tipper or you wouldn’t have felt “judged”. They say the dog that squeals the loudest is the one who got hit. I have a son who relies on his serving job at Applebee’s to pay for his college expenses. If someone doesn’t tip, that means he worked for free. The $2 and change that he gets paid by the restaurant goes to pay taxes. And belays taxes on the assumed “tips” that tightwads don’t pay. And if someone shorts him on a ticket, he has to pay the difference out of the tips he earned at another table. Matt is right-on in saying that if one can’t afford the tip, they can’t afford to eat at that restaurant. Go to McDonald’s and call it good.

      • Austin says:

        Only when you’re being judgemental… I guess that makes you better than them…

    • JZ42 says:

      Really? Because people in the service industry demanding tips no matter what seem pretty selfish. So are you just trying to justify your own selfishness?

      • Charles says:

        Actually. When I was a server I made 3.14 an hour. Most servers in the US get this. The reason tips are expected is because the servers are not making minimum wage. The fact of the matter being that when you go to a restaurant you know a server will serve you. How many people that leave no tip based on performance also do not tell the manager about the poor service? If your concern truly is about the service and not finding an excuse to not tip..why would you not try to ensure that the server be corrected? As the “saving server” as I was called, my job was the difficult customers. I was the server they sent to people who were returning from a bad experience…or had a server in the beginning that simply didn’t belong in the industry. They held me responsible for “making up” for previous bad service. These expectations are self important. People forget that there is a person serving them…and mistakes are unforgivable…how about I follow you on your job every day and deduct pay for every little mistake you make?

        There is a degree of reason where a server can be expected to see a minimum of tips if they do not handle their mistakes well, do not provide a pleasant experience…ect.

        But lets go over a few faulty arguments.

        1)they shouldn’t be serving.
        I’m glad you are not living in an economy and job market still lagging from the recession. I know when I served several years ago that the majority were college grads, not students, that were putting out resumes on a daily basis but noone was hiring in their field.

        2) the restaurant should pay them.
        Well, they don’t. And as long as you patronize the restaurant they will continue to do so. Unless you stand up with other customers and make if clear that 3.14/hr is not acceptable you are contributing to the situation you complain about.

        I think that’s enough.

      • Charles says:

        2.14…blasted phone.

      • deelilynn says:

        Charles, it’s okay for the $$ amount boo boo and JZ42 probably doesn’t give a rats behind anyway because he/she is one of those folk who is so ignorant that they open their mouth and insert foot before even realizing that the majority of servers in this country receive discounted ‘server wages’ for the benefit of the restaurant employer … And I guarantee JZ42 earns more than either 2.14 or 3.14 per hour but doesn’t want to tip because he/she is actually the selfish one 😉

      • Charles says:

        Oh…I would also deduct pay for your coworkers mistakes…as servers are often blamed for the mistakes of the kitchen.

      • I cannot believe you think that is an argument. In logic it’s called “tu quoque” meaning in our vernacular “Oh yeah? You too!” If you are so cheap that you consider it “selfish” for a server to expect a tip for taking your order and burning themselves carrying your hot plate to your table and running his legs off refilling you drink and every other drink in his station then you are indeed Scrooge. Make your point by refusing to eat out at restaurants that don’t pay minimum wage, don’t stuff the poor servers who could be serving people who appreciate what they do.

    • Austin says:

      Spoken like a waiter. The only reason to HAVE a waiter, is for them to take care of their customers. This does not equal “ass kissing.” It equals the waiter doing their JOB. The whole system of tipping is pretty messed up, but if you choose to work in that business, and you’re going to expect people to give you money above and beyond what you’re already being paid, you should be providing service to your customers that is on the level of somebody expecting additional pay.

      There’s a reason it’s called “Gratuity” (look it up).

      • Well, how do folks explain a server going over and above to serve well, so much so that frequently, glowing compliments are left on the restaurant website about the level of service? And nearly all tip generously? Yet you can still practically point out the non-tippers as they wait to be seated? Before a serving sun has been committed. Ask a server what sort folks don’t tip. (If they trust you, they’ll tell you) It’s no secret who they are. And who they beg not to be seated in their section. And if you serve, you know who I’m talking about. These are the folks that need to read Matt’s article.

        We have not yet been given “bad” enough service to consider not tipping after nearly 50 years of eating restaurants. I guess we are very lucky…. Even “bad service” was still service. I have yet to take my own order, turn it in and help myself at the drink station before grabbing my hot plate to hustle it to where I’m sitting. I’m thinking if the server was absent, or perhaps tossed our food on the table and said “No!” when we asked for an item, that would be bad. But a lukewarm dish here or there or a forgotten condiment or refill? Don’t be a poop about it.

      • deelilynn says:

        And I did not say “Amen! Especially to the last paragraph” to you, Austin 😉

      • Charles says:

        See my comment above. Also, when it was implemented in service servers were paid minimum wage. The 2.14 they are paid hasn’t changed in decades. It was called gratuity before tips were necessary to live off of.

      • pattimcb says:

        Right on, Austin!

      • Shelly says:

        “Spoken” like someone butthurt over being called out for not tipping.

  3. Red says:

    I tip based on service. I work just as hard, if not harder, and it is a treat for my family to go out. For the woman who wrote to you: I’m sorry you are divorced and a single mom, and stuck at a below minimum wage job, but that was the choices you made in life that got you there. Go back to school and get a job that will pay you well. Quit playing the victim. I worked in restaurants and I understand they pay is crappy, but if you work hard, smile, polite, most people will tip, even for crappy service. Quit expecting the world to hand you something and earn it. If you are above 30 and still a server, you are not doing something right. Good servers don’t stay servers long, and get promoted. If you worked as hard in customer service as you did on that email you will do well.

    • Amanda says:

      I am a 32 year-old woman who, until very recently, worked in a high end steakhouse. My husband and I both have our college degrees, that we paid for ourselves, while working and planning for and paying for our wedding and having babies and buying a house and on and on and on. We took care of business and I chose to work in a restaurant so that my husband could work during the day and I could work in the evening and one of us could be with our children so that they did not have to go to daycare. So when you say, “If you are over 30 and you are still a server, you are not doing something right”, you sound extremely judgmental and very short-sighted. Servers come from all backgrounds and you have no idea what their circumstances are. And, fyi, being a server is not a “below minimum wage job”. You can make quite a good living by waiting tables in half the hours of a normal work week. Good servers do stay servers because that’s what they choose to do. But, take away the incentive that providing excellent service means making good money, and the entire dining experience will lose it’s appeal as the quality of customer service will plummet.

      • Dorothy says:

        Very well said, Amanda. I also find it hard to believe Red works harder than a waiter. It’s one of the most demanding jobs a person can have.

      • Austin says:

        Spoken like somebody who’s never had any demanding jobs…

    • Jess says:

      What a judgemental and nonsensical attitude. I’m 32 years old and I am a server, because it’s the only way I can get a living wage job. I get minimum wage in my state and I get tips, so it averages out to be quite well-paying. In fact, better paying than most jobs that my degree says I should earn. I worked hard for that degree, but I earn more money waiting tables as a thirty-year old. Figure that one out for a while, I stay a server because engineering just won’t pay. That’s got little to do with choice and more to do with the scam that is higher education these days.

    • Garrett says:

      Only one thing you said was true here Red. You are sorry. A sorry ass.

    • Charles says:

      You have no idea how many variables you just ignored with that foolish comment.

      “Good servers don’t stay servers long”.

      There has to be open positions to fill. Often there are more potentials than positions…and often these restaurants choose the younger employees to move up to management. I have worked in several restaurants in my lifetime. And the poor choices line you used? Tell that to the droves of college grads that have overwhelmed the job market and cannot find work in better fields than the unskilled job sector.

      Comments such as these only display your complete ignorance to the truth of the economy and job market.

      You think ” I did it, if you can’t then you made poor choices and are lazy or bad at your job”.

      By your logic you must suck at your job, must be a worthless slob and a drain upon your employer because Bill Gates became one of the richest men in the world…if he did it then you should too.

    • Katie says:

      Wow, that is rude. I know people are going to characterize me for my comments–“Oh, you must be ____ and ____.” Not that anyone cares, but I do have an education and am currently a SAHM. I have worked. I have never waitressed and am honestly not sure I could. 🙂 Never got the job when I’ve applied in the past.

      We budget somewhat, not perfectly. But I insist on tipping decently when we are out, and–I like to think partly due to my influence–now my husband does as well. I used to be irresponsible in the sense of thinking others should give me stuff because I was a poor single person. Now one of my standards to live by is to avoid benefiting from those who have less. If my husband has a decent job–and if we’re eating at Ruby Tuesday, it ought to be 🙂 –then we have NO business getting service from someone who needs those tips, then not tipping her, just as we would have no business “hiring” someone for child care for less than a fair wage–i.e. “We can only pay you $5/ hour, but oh! You can eat whatever food’s in the fridge!”

      WHY expect someone else to live at a much lower standard just so she can serve me, in whatever sense?

      This is not a contest about who works hard and whether you work in construction or a mind-numbing call center and how you may work harder than the waiter. So what if you do? That apparently enables you to go out to eat and pay for it. It doesn’t justify you not paying someone who is, in effect, your employee.

      Don’t benefit from the less fortunate. When you cheat someone of rightful wages, that is what you’re doing. And as for saying that if someone’s 30 and a waitress, she has made bad choices?? Huh?? Who HASN’T? No one’s telling you to pick up the tab for her to go back to school, to buy her a car, or to get her into an apartment. Just saying–pay people for what they do. Don’t like it–don’t eat at that type of restaurant.

    • Shelly says:

      How do you know that the woman who wrote to Matt is single by choice or doesn’t have a degree? And since when are great paying jobs handed to college grads once they are done with school? That in itself can be a lot of work for the recent college graduate. You and others who think like you clearly have your heads so far up your butts that the fact that there are now so many college educated people and only so many jobs isn’t a concept to you. Obviously there are going to be people who will have to take jobs that are “beneath” them.
      And what is with your comment about servers over 30? Do you think companies stop laying off and firing workers once they hit that age? Or what about those who run into financial trouble and need that second job for extra cash? Or maybe that server over 30 has a spouse who makes good money and they just prefer a job that won’t demand so many hours. I have married friends who do this. Some of them go to their jobs after their husbands get home from work so they can avoid putting their kids in daycare. According to you they are wrong for doing that. Are SAHM’s wrong too? What a piece of work you are if you think someone’s self-worth is defined by a high paycheck.

  4. JZ42 says:

    I tip based on service. Did a good job? Sure you get a tip. Did the bare minimum and clearly don’t care about providing decent service? No tip. It’s rare it comes to this but it happens. Most jobs you don’t get the chance to make more based on good service, if you can’t do this, don’t work in that industry. People whine about getting stiffed on tips, but clearly aren’t lining up to become cashiers at the local wal-mart. Because even with the occasional stiff, you get paid more.

    • Charles says:

      Most jobs offer raises based on performance…not so for most serving positions. Most jobs pay minimum wage…not so for most serving positions. And by the way…most of these servers not lining up for other jobs? That’s because they already have a second job.

  5. JGB says:

    I almost always leave a ‘good’ tip (defined as 20% these days) but I also reduce the tip on the rare occasions that the wait staff diminishes my enjoyment – and usually if I tip less than 20% I tell the reason to the host or the manager (If they have a surly, unprofessional server who is spoiling their business they deserve to know). I do not relish cutting back on my tips – I suspect I’m written off as a tightwad if I do not open my wallet to every teenager who manages to not spill coffee all over me – but rewarding bad service is worse than not rewarding good service

    Speaking of rewarding good service, since the expectation is 20% gratuity for basic service, I also look for reasons to up the tip. There are many intangibles which transform ‘eating’ into ‘dining’ and the folks who master these should be given tangible thanks. Likewise, I feel I should point out what they did and thank them for making the experience so wonderful. I like to believe the extra $10 means more to them if I tell them why.

    Additionally, I try to avoid lecturing other people on how they should spend their money, that sort of thing seems kind of offensive. Plus, it seems foolish to tell poor tippers not to eat out (or to order everything to go) since restaurants cut back on staff hours when business falls off.

    • Katie says:

      “Plus, it seems foolish to tell poor tippers not to eat out (or to order everything to go) since restaurants cut back on staff hours when business falls off.”– Paying less than $3/ hour, they don’t have much to lose keeping the waitresses in the restaurant, so I think it’d have to be awfully bad business that day.

      But how does it help the waitstaff if the poor tippers continue to go to restaurants…when they’re still not getting paid? Most would rather be sent home than work for $3/ hour.

      Other than that, good stuff about tipping well for excellent service. 🙂

      • It doesn’t help the waitstaff to serve non-tippers or poor tippers, but since they don’t wear a button saying “I don’t tip” there’s little way to know who the non- or poor-tippers are until they pay. As for sending staff home, customers are still customers and the restaurants will keep staff on hand to serve them. The restaurant that my son works for doesn’t keep servers at the restaurant if it is slow because they know that the servers work for the tips, and their paycheck is for taxes.
        BUT all that said, my son makes more money to pay for his college serving tables than he did as a customer service manager at Wal-Mart, and the good customers make up for the ignorant and those who are too selfish to leave a tip. The point of Matt’s blog (and so many others that address this issue) may simply be to make sure that the ignorant are informed, the selfish chastised, and the generous applauded.

      • pattimcb says:

        maranathahope, who are you to tell anyone what they should do with their own money?? And your continuing nasty, belittling comments to those who don’t share your opinion tell me more than I’d ever want to know about you.

        • cocobianca says:

          Pattimcb- let me fill you in on something. If you act like this and you are a consistent non tipper, you will have servers who remember you. And some (not all) are gonna do very naughty things to your food. And you won’t ever know. Guess what? Most managers don’t care either as long as they don’t see it, they don’t wanna know, because they were a server before they were a manager. I don’t think it’s right to put snot or other bodily fluids in customers food, I didn’t do that
          when I waited tables. I would try sneaky ways of finding out where the bad tipper worked or their husband or wife, whatever I could. It’s so easy. Just send the manager over and ask him to find out casually or “oh you look familiar, do you work at such and such”? I’m just having a nice conversation with a bad tipper, I gave great service then almost always

        • cocobianca says:

          My computer cut me off but i wanted to finish explaining what happens. I would almost always find out where they worked and then just go & get them back. If they were the owner I would send in someone they wouldn’t know. I’m not proud of it but I did it. All from sending a porn subscription to a married man’s home Addy, to making complaints on them to their employer, to going to someone who works for commission and wasting a ton of their time only to tell them I recognize them now and can’t go through with the sale but I’m very sorry to have wasted their time like they do mine on a regular basis. But I stopped because I made a man cry and I felt so bad even after all the times he treated me nasty and didn’t tip I realized he just didn’t think about servers being people too. I realized he was powerless in his life and being mean to waiter’s made him feel big and in control. After that if I had a table that I knew was gonna be a bad table from previous experience, I just focused on my other tables to try to make up the difference that I knew I wouldn’t get from the non tipper. I gave bare minimum service for what I knew would be less than zero tip. If they complained I just informed my manager that it was a known non tipperand if I had to tip out my bus ser and bartender and hostess I would have to really focus on the other tables. He understood as he had also been a waiter. He would give the non tippers a free dessert to shut them up and that worked well for me until I finished school.

  6. Marie says:

    We (my husband and I) tip well and regularly. We’ve only had two occasions, and only those two, where we were so appalled by bad service that we spoke with a manager, paid for our meal (even in the instance the manager offered to waive the cost of our meal) and left without tipping.

    The rest of the time that we’ve gone out to eat, the service is usually at least decent, when it’s fantastic and really makes a difference in our day because the server was just that awesome, then we really bump up the tip accordingly.

    We aren’t rich at all. My husband works very hard for every dime he makes. And that’s the thing, you have to earn your money. It isn’t a gift. It’s earned. If, as in the case of the two bad experiences we had, a server is either not doing their job or actively putting effort into making the customers experience as bad as possible, then no way. My husbands previous job was pretty miserable and we rarely had opportunities to go out and enjoy ourselves so when we did, we were really counting on a good experience and were willing to pay handsomely for it.

    All, in all I agree with Matt. But if a server puts coffee grounds in my husbands coffee to spite him or goes behind the bar to text on their cellphone and forgets to bring out the food for 20+ minutes after the 20+ minutes it took the cook to even prepare the food, you can make a sure bet they’ll get nothing.

    • Katie says:

      Seriously? It’s called a free market. The restaurants or other establishments decide if tipping is allowed/ encouraged. Publix, for instance, says to NOT tip, that it is their “pleasure” to escort you to your car, or whatever. What could possibly be gained by enacting laws regarding this?

      I know it’s not a simple thing because the job market can be hard hard hard, and cruel to college graduates with degrees in English or philosophy (mine was English initially). But still…if they don’t want to be tipped for wages, they need to just not work at that restaurant. This is NOT a “Be grateful you have a job!” sermon; this is simply an assertion that capitalism works. Adding more laws will not enrich; it will only impoverish.

  7. KevinVH says:

    I am constantly impressed by Mr. Walsh’s blog, but on this I have to take a totally opposing stance. When one goes to a restaurant, they are paying for service – and the agreed-upon value of that payment is clearly laid out on the bill. Taking the position that one must pay an unspoken & unspecified additional charge – or they are somehow ethically deficient – is ridiculous. Either the service warrants additional cost and the tip ceases to be a tip and becomes part of the bill, or the service doesn’t warrant additional cost and the customer should not be pressured to make donations to a cause without a cause. It is insulting to guilt someone into paying more than is on their invoice – and I’d like to see how that would work in many other service industries … the handyman, the gas station attendant, the architect, the university professor, the janitor. I could argue about how those waiting tables make too much for what they’re doing in the first place, or about how the average middle-class Canadian accepts such a low standard of service in comparison with the perfection that is expected in some restaurant arenas, or about how grating it is to hear the stereotypical employee whine about not getting more than their employment contract offers them, but suffice it to say this: the only thing more annoying than the person who doesn’t hold the door for someone else is the person who goes on a diatribe about how they’re entitled to it. Moral of the story: you’re not entitled, so leave off with your preachy feelings of entitlement – and don’t tell me what to do with my money.

    • deelilynnd says:

      Playing devils advocate:

      “When one goes to a restaurant, they are paying for service – and the agreed-upon value of that payment is clearly laid out on the bill.” “Either the service warrants additional cost and the tip ceases to be a tip and becomes part of the bill, or the service doesn’t warrant additional cost and the customer should not be pressured to make donations to a cause without a cause.”

      With this way of thinking in mind perhaps all restaurants who use the tip wage system (generally about $5.00 or so below standard minimum hourly wage per hour) instead of the regular minimum wage should automatically add an additional tip percentage to the bill for the food, beverages, condiments, extras, etcetera to the table. In reality it is the server who supplies these items to you as part of the restaurant ‘service’. That service is worth something even if the consumer feels it was poorly done.

      “It is insulting to guilt someone into paying more than is on their invoice – and I’d like to see how that would work in many other service industries … the handyman, the gas station attendant, the architect, the university professor, the janitor.”

      The handyman, the gas station attendant, the architect, the university professor, the janitor ……………….. and the hostess, the chef, the dish washer, the table busser ……………….. They all receive hourly wages that are at the standard minimum wage and not at the tip service wage. This brings us back to a required tip percentage on the check 😉

      • KevinVH says:

        I don’t disagree with the thrust of your reply. My point is that the issue at hand is *not* whether or not the server deserves compensation of greater value than is offered on his/her paycheck, but whether or not society should be considered justified in pressuring the customer to become a third party in their terms of employment. There is an unwritten law that the customer must tip, but where did this law come from? The employer and the employee agreed upon it, but the customer did not get a say. …Unless, they do say so by refusing to be pressured into it.
        I’m not opposed to tipping; I’m opposed to people telling me I have to tip. Similarly, I think life insurance is a good idea, but I strongly dislike my employer docking from my pay cheque without my consent.
        It may be unfair that the government excludes servers etc from minimum wage laws, but that’s not the customer’s problem. Clearly, the policy-makers figured the servers etc don’t need to receive minimum wage because they’re also being tipped regularly enough for the gratuity to be considered a significant part of their income. But by treating it like a mandatory part of the payment process, it ceases to be a gratuity.
        Look up ‘gratuity’ in the dictionary. The root word is also the root word for ‘free’ in French – i.e., freely given; the definition will be a variant on “something given without claim, demand, or obligation”. If that were true today, instead of the act of tipping meaning “here’s the rest of my bill that you made me calculate myself” or “here’s the money that society has pressured me into giving away”, it might actually represent a “thanks for the service”. That’d be nice, now wouldn’t it?

    • Tinel says:

      Love it! My point exactly.

    • Nels says:

      I agree with Kevin. I usually tip, but I do not like the idea of being forced to tip, or being criticized for not leaving a big enough tip. Also, others have pointed out that if you can’t afford to tip, you can’t afford to eat out. If everyone who couldn’t or wouldn’t tip (or wouldn’t tip as much as some suggest we should) stayed home, then that might cost the restaurant a lot of business. There are probably a lot of people out there who only tip because that is the custom. I am not going to feel bad if my tip is less than 15%, particularly since I am in a state where servers make at least $9.19 an hour before tips. Maybe I will try to tip more when I travel to other states, but I shouldn’t have to feel like a bad person if I don’t.

      • deelilynnd says:

        Am curious what state you live in because I’ve never heard of one where the server minimum begins at the standard minimum … As far as I know it is the same rule for all states … Yes, a server will end up receiving that state standard minimum wage but it is because of the tips they are given that bring it up from the server minimum to the standard minimum so they are not actually receiving any tips above the standard wage if the majority of customers do not tip them …

        There is much more to this than I am in the mood to explain this morning (LOL) but one more thing to consider here is there are also income taxes that the server must pay on the before tax receipt totals (the tax on the totals is 10%) … A server can end up paying oodles of taxes based on those receipts for tips they never received …

      • pattimcb says:

        Well said, Nels!

      • Katie says:

        As I noted on another post, how would it hurt waitstaff to “cost the restaurant a lot of business”? Would you rather work for $3/ hour or be sent home for the day? I think most would choose the 2nd–I know the old adage that “Any money is better than no money,” etc. But still…wouldn’t your time be better spent couponing, looking for another job, stopping by restaurants at closing to see if they were giving away food? Seriously? WHY expect these people to live on $3/ hour? You don’t do it. Do you view them as that lacking in value?

        We can dicker all day about how the restaurant should just change the prices to reflect the cost of actually PAYING their staff. But I think it’s absurd, frankly, and an excuse. Is it that hard to add 15%-20% to your bill? If you don’t like it, don’t eat there–I guarantee you you have MUCH more freedom in choosing places to eat than the server does in walking out and getting another job.

        • “We can dicker all day about how the restaurant should just change the prices to reflect the cost of actually PAYING their staff. But I think it’s absurd, frankly, and an excuse. Is it that hard to add 15%-20% to your bill? If you don’t like it, don’t eat there–I guarantee you you have MUCH more freedom in choosing places to eat than the server does in walking out and getting another job.”

          AGREED completely. People just need to realize that a tip is part of the expense of eating out.

      • pattimcb says:

        “WHY expect these people to live on $3/ hour? You don’t do it. Do you view them as that lacking in value?”

        Why should I care what these people make?? They chose the job. It isn’t up to me or anyone else to pay another’s salary. If they can’t make enough as a waiter/waitress they can find another job.

      • @pattimcb — You said “Why should I care what these people make?? They chose the job. It isn’t up to me or anyone else to pay another’s salary.”:
        By paying a tip, you are simply doing what has been expected in our culture for decades and decades. It is part of our system. If you don’t want to pay a server a tip, just choose to eat at places where you won’t be “paying their salary”. To not tip a server is wrong. If they were so very bad that “no tip” is warranted, please tell the manager so they can make a decision to let them go. Not telling and leaving no tip doesn’t solve the problem. I am sorry if you feel that I “resorted to name calling or insults.” If you leave your servers a tip, then you have nothing to be defensive about and nothing I have said should offend you.

        I defend my son who regularly works double shifts every weekend at an Applebees, running for 14 hours a day to serve people, most of whom leave generous tips because he is a great server, but there are those who regardless of what he does will tell him how great he was and leave him little to nothing. I think much of this is out of ignorance. A few will allow him to run ragged, eat up all that is served them and then complain unfairly in order to get the order comp’d and leave him nothing, because they intended on getting a free meal to begin with. How fair is that?

      • pattimcb says:

        Expected? I don’t care if it’s expected by many…just because it has been doesn’t mean I have to do so. It isn’t right or wrong to tip a server…it IS simply my CHOICE to do so or not & not yours nor anyone else’s place to tell me if I should or not.
        You DID resort to name calling/insults. Having an opposite opinion from yours does not equate to defensiveness…just stating my opinion same as you. Sounds to me like you’re the one on the defensive in resorting to name calling/insults, which do offend me and have zero to do with me leaving a tip…that falls in your court in that you sink to berating & bullying others when they don’t share your opinion.
        And if your son doesn’t like his job he can find another. He is not entitled to others’
        money, through tips or otherwise, just because you think so. Many people work hard but don’t arrogantly feel entitled to other people’s money.

      • Shelly says:

        Patti you are paying for their salary whether or not you tip. When you buy anything from the store, your money is paying the workers salaries. If tipping is done away with, guess what you are still not only paying their salaries, you would pay more for your food to make up for the lack of tipping. So what difference does it make if you tip or not?
        Yes, no one can tell you what to do with your money, and they may be able to “find another job”(because good paying jobs are a piece of cake to find). But without people willing to work at restaurants you would have no other choice but to eat at fast food, or cook your own food(which is good because no tipping is expected). If you(and I am speaking about all those against tipping )don’t like tipping, do something about it. I am tired of reading comments, or hearing people talk about how tipping is a great evil, but then these same people hurriedly add “oh and I do tip based on service”. You know what, like Matt said, tell your server upfront that they aren’t getting tipped. Complain to the manager about tips being expected. Better yet, don’t eat at a restaurant at all. The only way the business will change is if enough people speak out against tipping, and if restaurants lose a lot of business. By continuing to eat out and leaving tips, you are not giving a restaurant any reason to change.

      • pattimcb says:

        A great evil? LOL…I never said I don’t tip…I just get tired of being told who & how much I should be tipping my own money to; that it’s an expected thing/servers are entitled to which they are not–it’s a courtesy by the customer if they choose to do so; being bullied & berated/called names for my opinion on this thread by some who are determined to change my opinion to match theirs; that I should do so because it’s just something society has been doing for decades, etc. Bottom line–it’s always a customer’s choice who they give their own money to.

        • BrokerInCharge says:

          They are entitled to compensation for providing you with service. YOU could get up and get all your refills, clean your table, make your salad, pick up all of your dishes, but your server does those things as a job FOR YOU with the intent of getting compensated for their service to you like anyone else who performs a service would. The restaurant provides the building, tables, dishwashers and kitchen, the server provides additional service. Not tipping is equivalent to stealing. YES, I said it. You know when you go in a restaurant that it is customary and expected to tip. If you allow someone to wait on you and provide you with time and effort, you owe them compensation. If they knew they would not be compensated, they would not waste their hard work waiting on you. If you don’t agree, you should not patronize an establishment that allows the practice, but make no mistake, if you don’t tip for basic services rendered you are receiving services for free and in effect, stealing from that person.

  8. krepd says:

    For some reason I subscribed to this convo thread. I regret it as I had a higher opinion of humanity beforehand.

    Hoping I can figure out how to unsubscribe!

    • deelilynn says:

      Sorry you’re unhappy here so it probably is best you unsubscribe … It’s no different than unsubscribing to anything else … Just click on ‘unsubscribe’ link and follow the prompts 😉

  9. I quite agree that good service deserves a good tip, especially when you consider what some of these waitresses earn for the amount of work they are required to do.

    There is another side to this story, though, one which has come out quite recently. A gay waitresses published a receipt on her Facebook page showing an adverse comment about her lifestyle, and no tip. She was not tipped, she claimed, not because of the level of service, but because she is gay.

    This story has now been added to: people sent her money in place of the tip, so much that she began donating that cash to a good cause. All well and good, until the real family concerned published their copy of the receipt, with a tip clearly shown, and proof from their credit card bill, including the tip. The company employing the waitress commented – officially or otherwise – that she is known as an ‘excessive liar’.

    A tip is good, but don’t forget that there are those who take advantage of what they consider to be a Right, rather than something to be earned.

    • deelilynn says:

      Sadly there are bad apples in the basket everywhere who spoil it for the whole bunch 😦

    • Please don’t let this one example of a person who was known for being a pathological liar allow you to think that there is a whole contingent of “those who take advantage of what they consider to be a Right.” This incident was deplorable. The giant irony is that this sounds like a pot calling the kettle black. Lesbians are known for their poor tipping habits unlike gay men who typically tip generously. Go figure. (I dared to mention the unspoken. Maybe this will challenge lesbians everywhere, as well as church people who notoriously under-tip and others who fall into this category.)

      • Charles says:

        I regularly “traded” tables with other servers. They were convinced that the fleet of business suits that came in for lunch would tip better than the group that came in with torn jeans and paint stained clothes.
        The reality is that the business men would regularly give 10% or less. The group of construction workers would give a minimum of 20% (there were exceptions in both parties…but in my experience serving each, this was the norm).

        It’s the irony really. The after church crowd would give around 10%, maybe 15 if you were lucky.

        That’s another factor people don’t consider. And it’s the reason I left the service industry.

        It’s not just about the non tippers…it’s about what people consider a good tip. Customers like to use food quality to judge a tip…servers have nothing to do with such. And this expectation that a server always be bright and cheery without exception. The fact that many are viewed as lesser than those they are serving…the constant expectations of perfection and degrading comments when such is not realized. The money was good for me because of my skill…but it wasn’t worth it. The customers and the restaurants I worked for could never fully compensate for the disrespect I faced on a daily basis for no better reason than a person wishing to degrade me to fuel their own self-hate. The fact that you never knew who a good tipper was and who would stiff you for no good reason. The amount of times I bent over backwards for some self important idiot who pretended that because his money is “hard earned” I had no right to expect to recieve any of it. These are the people who drive away the good servers. And quite often it’s the ones that justify their actions based on bad service (clearly they don’t realize that if I know you never tip when you visit us that I have no motivation to even give you basic service).

        As the old saying goes…you get what you pay for. The more that people don’t tip and the more they use every silly little mistake to lower their servers wages the less they will get.

        And of course we can’t forget the months when restaurants aren’t all that busy and servers need a second job…therefore they are likely not as well rested as during the seasons when their serving job is sufficient.

  10. Charles says:

    I’m going to address a few justifications I noticed.

    1) the customer should not be responsible for the server making at least minimum wage.
    I agree. However, the vast majority of servers do not make minimum wage. You try to pretend that this shouldn’t concern you because you were not involved in the decision making process. Do you refuse to acknowledge reality every time you were not consulted in said reality? Do you refuse to adhere to rules that you had no hand in making? Do you ignore every law you disagree with? The point is that when given the knowledge that the server you are being served by is making $2 and change an hour it becomes your responsibly. You choose to eat at these restaurants, the prices you pay are based upon servers not making minimum wage. In essence when you use the fact that tips are not a part of the bill to justify not leaving a tip you are encouraging a situation of slave wages where servers are at the whim of customers and are not always fully compensated for their work. In the end if you don’t agree with the tipping system and refuse to tip then stay out of these restaurants.
    If your server was terrible, leave a few bucks (especially if you ordered bar drinks as many servers tip out to the bartender on a percentage based on bar drinks sold). But tell the manager! If you do not give a reason why you did not enjoy your service to a person of leadership in the establishment you are responsible for the continued failure of the restaurant to correct this oversight.

    2) tips are gratuity.
    Not anymore. As stated above servers, on the whole, make far less than minimum wage. The idea of tipping being an incentive for excellence is a thing of the past. Because of the fact that restaurants must only pay $2 and change an hour the tips are now simply to ensure service. You cannot hide behind the name and ignore the fact that until the customers stand up for the servers this reality will not change. As long as you are happy paying less for meals you are responsible for making up the difference to the servers.

    In the end…leaving a few bucks is not asking a lot as a basic payment. It is not the servers fault that they are not paid minimum wage. It is the restaurant, the customer and the server that need to work to change things. If all three are not working for the change then thigs will continue. If you justify that it is not your responsiblity to ensure the server makes at least minimum wage…that they earn what they earn…do not be surprised when you go to a restaurant and are faced with a fleet of unsmiling and irresponsible despots mangling your order and ignoring your wants (as saying there is a need in a restaurant is silly). The service you expect happens in unison with a tipping culture that encourages a behavior to endure servers make enough to live off of. The less a server makes the less skilled workers will be drawn…and the less you will enjoy your experience.

    Open your eyes and realize the myriad of factors that exist in the services industry outside of your individual experience with the server.

    • Charles says:

      Also…if you have a terrible server..ask for a new one if you notice early enough. I was the “saving server” as we called it. Many establishments have servers that are their go to for unhappy or difficult customers. And I’ll be honest….I made a decent amount off of making these people happy. But sometimes they were so self absorbed they didn’t notice that I had twice as many tables as I should and therefore could not be at their beck and call the instant they needed me.

      That’s another thing. Watch your server…see how many tables they have. Many restaurants significantly understaff…it’s not the servers fault.

    • Charles says:

      I just keep thinking of so many instances.

      You do realize that many restaurants do not simply expect servers to wait tables and that’s all? They have many many housekeeping duties. Servers have many tasks assigned by the restaurant because they are cheap labor. These are jobs that could be fulfilled by kitchen staff or others making at least minimum wage…but restaurants save massive amounts of money by assigning them to servers. This also translates to a cheaper bill for you that is provided by the work of the server.

    • Thank you Charles for your well-spoken and logical defense of servers everywhere. You must be a gem. It’s no wonder you are the “saver-server”. Please keep making your points. Eventually you may get through to some of these justifying cheapskates.

      • pattimcb says:

        maranathahope – What is it with you and others here who can only resort to name calling/insults when someone else has a different opinion?

        • deelilynn says:

          Have resisted commenting to your other comments but simply must say on this one that it seems the name calling only counts with you when it is applied to the cheapskates, eh?? 😉

      • pattimcb says:

        deelilynn–No, I don’t like it applied to anyone…it’s mean spirited and serves no purpose.

      • deelilynn says:

        Pattimcb,

        “deelilynn-No, I don’t like it applied to anyone. it’s mean spirited and serves no purpose”

        And you don’t consider what you said, “Why should I care what these people make??” …. THESE PEOPLE as if they are not worth the ground you walk on is not a mean spirited comment?? What a hypocrite!!

      • pattimcb says:

        deelilynn – And you don’t consider what you said, “Why should I care what these people make??” …. THESE PEOPLE as if they are not worth the ground you walk on is not a mean spirited comment?? What a hypocrite!!

        Good grief…there’s no mean spiritedness in saying I don’t care what another person makes…a server, you or anyone else. And I never said anything about anyone not being worth the ground I walk on…drama much?

        • deelilynn says:

          “deelilynn – And you don’t consider what you said, “Why should I care what these people make??” …. THESE PEOPLE as if they are not worth the ground you walk on is not a mean spirited comment?? What a hypocrite!!

          Good grief…there’s no mean spiritedness in saying I don’t care what another person makes…a server, you or anyone else. And I never said anything about anyone not being worth the ground I walk on…drama much?”

          Pattimcb, simply by calling them ‘these people’ instead of servers is indeed being mean spirited … Calling servers ‘these people’ does indeed make it appear you think that servers are beneath you … If you don’t want to sound like everyone else you are spanking for mean spirited remarks then perhaps you should be more careful about your wording too …

      • pattimcb says:

        “Pattimcb, simply by calling them ‘these people’ instead of servers is indeed being mean spirited … Calling servers ‘these people’ does indeed make it appear you think that servers are beneath you … If you don’t want to sound like everyone else you are spanking for mean spirited remarks then perhaps you should be more careful about your wording too …”

        No, it is not. Didn’t mean anything derogatory by saying ‘these people’…was just referring to servers in general so I’m sorry if it sounded like I meant something else. And you are not in any position to lecture me on ‘wording’ after all your nasty comments. Seems to me you & others here just enjoy picking people apart for your own enjoyment.

  11. Scot says:

    Reblogged this on I Was Misinformed and commented:
    As the parent and grandparent of people in the service business – please pay attention

  12. divemedic says:

    I have recently cut the amount I leave for tips. Here is a description of your job: You write down what I want, and then someone else prepares it. You pick up what I asked for (that someone else prepared) and bring it to my table. If I ask you for something like more sugar or ketchup, you bring it to me. You keep refilling my glass. That’s it. It isn’t skilled labor. That is why they call it the ‘service industry’.

    You complain about how hard your job is? Try working a summer in building construction, laying roofing tile. Think your pay as a server is low? Get a job running a cash register at Wal Mart.

    Look, let’s say that you work at a restaurant that assigns you four tables, and each table spends about an hour eating. Let’s also say that the average check for each table is $60, and let’s also say that your employer only pays you $3 an hour, and the rest of your pay comes from the ‘cheapskates’ that you are serving. Even if half the tables stiff you and the other half only tip 10%, you are still making $15 an hour. Where I live, that is double the minimum wage, and there are many, many people who make less than that. In this scenario, if one in four tables stiff you, and the others tip the 20% you constantly whine for, you are now making $39 an hour.

    Sorry, what you are doing isn’t worth $78,000 a year. So my new tipping policy: I tip 15% for GOOD service, and less for crappy service. My tips are capped at $10 for each hour I am there. That is more than enough, and if you work a second table during that hour, means you are making more than I am. For carrying stuff. Be happy you have a job.

    • Charles says:

      What you describe is but a fraction of what a servers responsiblity is.

      You have only described what servers do on the floor when they are actually serving. You leave out the non customer related tasks we must complete before and after we are taking tables. And this usually amounts to well over an hour of labor that the restaurant considers “covered in tips”.

      Also, you think it’s as simple as taking an order and plugging it in? The server (a good one) is constantly checking times and reminding the kitchen of long ticket times. We are the quality control ensuring all our food is correct (as far as we can without cutting it open to ensure its cooked properly. We hardly get only four tables. I might have had that when I was serving if we had an hour plus wait. Refilling your drinks with seven tables (at least) of multiple people drinking at different rates…checking on food…taking orders while you are downing your tea like a dehydrated camel…refilling your drink…grabbing bar drinks and checking on food that the kitchen forgot of had prepared incorrectly for a table looking at you like you are an idiot because the kitchen messed up the order.

      This is all after pre shift duties and before post shift duties which can include. Prepping small food items…silverware display and prep..cleaning the kitchen and dining room…dusting the whole restaurant…cleaning windows, doors, countertops. Scrubbing the kitchen floor with detergent and cleaner as if you are attempting to scrub the tiling from the floor itself. The list is lengthy and growing so restaurants don’t have to worry about these tasks being completed by a minimum wage employee.

      And lets not forget the treatment even the best servers put up with from self important tyrants who believe service staff are their own personal whipping boy.

      I have had harder jobs and easier jobs. But serving is not simply “taking orders and carrying food”

      That’s like saying a mechanic just changes oil or replaces a few parts.

    • Charles says:

      Oh…and you act as if the restaurant is always bursting at the doors. It’s the reason many servers have second jobs. The amount we make during the slow seasons barely, and many times does not even, cover the gas to get to the restaurant to “carry stuff”.

      • divemedic says:

        And these are my problems why? If you don’t like it, take it up with your employer. I am NOT going to pay some high school drop out $20 an hour to schlep stuff to and fro. Stop making your job into more than what it is.
        Don’t like your job? There is a support group for that, it’s called everyone.

        • Charles says:

          I left the service industry years ago. And so do all with my skill set. And really? High school drop out? Do you live in a cave? College grads are filling these jobs now. You really need to get out more.

          The point is…you want to pay your server pennies? Don’t whinge when your experience is horrible. And with the way you view servers it’s no wonder you recieve poor service where all they do is carry your food and little else….for you.

        • Charles says:

          Oh…and in response to why it’s your problem? The cost of your meal is due, in large part, to the significant money saved by assigning these tasks to people, in general, being paid less than half minimum wage by the restaurant to accomplish these tasks. Don’t like it? Take it up with their employer.

          I could easily spin it back. If you aren’t making more than a server then maybe you should change jobs or take it up with your employer.

        • Serenity says:

          You should watch the movie called “Waiting”.

      • divemedic says:

        and to add…
        My sister is a server. She typically makes $80 – 100 in tips during an 8 hour shift. Pretty good money for unskilled labor.

        • Charles says:

          Of course….during the busy season. Maybe you should ask her to keep a daily record so you can view the bi-polar nature of their income.

          I can spew cherry picked data and ignore reality if I so choose…but I prefer to use reality.

    • pattimcb says:

      Amen, divemedic!

  13. Charles says:

    Divemedic is a perfect example of what I have been referencing.

    You can see from his posts that his evaluation of servers is based upon a very restricted, antiquated and horrendously faulty and biased view of servers.

    He thinks that all they do is take orders and carry stuff. Any evidence to the contrary and he ignores it…why? Because his entire premise is based upon a lie.

    He also makes a gross, and horrendously, generalizing remark about servers being high school drop outs. Do you really need any more evidence that his point of view is based on a facade of superiority that he maintains with self deception? This is what is wrong with our service industry. We pretend that it requires no skills. That it doesn’t require proper communication skills, people skills, negotiation and empathy. That the majority of difficulty comes from the very customers claiming that there is no difficulty…ironic.

    Is our country so full of idiocy that we cannot realize that to treat customer service as a skilless occupation..to then pay bottom barrel wages thereby driving all skilled employees away or into higher positions where they no longer deal with customers, is not to blame for the lack of customer service we recieve?

    Is anyone really surprised that customer service personelle are viewed as high school drop outs and worthless beings, then treated as such and paid poverty wages…are then so unskilled?

    • divemedic says:

      So you are telling me that you have skills, but are being forced into a job that is the equivalent of slavery with bottom of the barrel wages, but you don’t take those skills and get a better, higher paying job?
      That either makes you a liar, in that you don’t have skills, or the wages aren’t as bad as you want us to believe, or it makes you a fool. Either way, next time I am out, keep my glass full, or get no tip at all.

      • Make sure you vocalize that to your next server. Exactly as you stated: “Keep my glass full or get no tip at all…” LOL. You are simply bitter for some reason. Maybe you are jealous of your sister’s income as a server.

      • pattimcb says:

        So maranathahope, he’s bitter & jealous because he has a different opinion than yours…making judgments on a total stranger isn’t a very convincing argument, lol.

      • pattimcb says:

        And like was said before, there are many people who serve us daily but never get or even expect a tip…restaurant servers are only one of many in the service industry. I don’t owe ANYONE a tip…that choice will always be mine alone to give…or not.

        • Charles says:

          Anyway….this debate has hit a rather volatile stalemate.

          I think in the end it comes down to perceived importance. The cold reality being that if any of us on this blog were to die this moment….the world, as a whole, would not notice.

          You will act according to your value system…and I to mine.

          I will contine to tip at a base of 15% and up from there…because I know how demeaning people can be.

          Everyone acts according to the knowledge they possess and their perceptions. We each learn from these debates (even if its nothing more than what the other side thinks and views).

          Perhaps my bias is towards the skills and competency that servers display…as I tried to display such in every moment….no matter how much I wanted to slap a certain customer around.

          I acknowledge there are bad servers out there…but I believe, in general, they are driven away.

          Just try to consider that serving isn’t just taking and getting orders. Dealing with people is tiring and degrading, at times, fun and enjoyable at others. In the end it’s not just a simple “serve the customer” job. Believe what you will…but ask every server you come across to tell you every detail of their job and it will never be simply what you describe.

          Good day.

      • @patti If you glance back at Divemedic’s posts, his anger or bitterness is evident. It’s not because of a different opinion. It’s that Divemedic and other tipping scrooges want to live outside the norm. Waitstaff are paid way less than minimum wage because tips are an expected part of their income. You would think that if his sister was a server he would be empathetic instead of desiring to buck the system, ergo the observation on my part. There are others in the service industry who get paid a regular wage, and I feel no compulsion to tip them (unless they go over and above) because I feel they are already fairly compensated.

      • Charles says:

        1) in case the pair of you are lacking in reading comprehension I will say it again.

        I left the service industry years ago. I left because the money did not even come close to compensating for the treatment I received regularly. I probably made the highest if not second highest tips in the restaurants I worked at…it still wasn’t enough to deal with the “public”.

        2) You assume that those with higher skills can just jump to a better position. Sure…I did…maybe the two of you did. But I know of many individuals that have degrees and have not been given the opportunity because their fields want experience. The fact that you think that it’s as simple as just “getting a better job” means you know squat about our current job market. Look up the statistics on unemployed and underemployed college grads.

        3) most of those other service people make minimum wage if not more. Take a look at the staistics…very few states require the restaurant to pay minimum wage before tips. So yes…you are, and should be, expected to tip when you knowingly are being served by someone making far less than minimum wage an hour. Don’t want to tip? Don’t go to those establishments. See how easy it is to suggest the unrealistic?

      • pattimcb says:

        And Charles, I have no desire to comment further to you when you make condescending comments like this: “…in case the pair of you are lacking in reading comprehension I will say it again.” Seems if we don’t adopt your opinion then we are deserving of your condescension, that our opinions don’t matter because the only possible right one can be yours.

        • Charles says:

          I admit my comment held venom. But when my comment regarding the fact that I have indeed left the service industry to a salaried industry is continually ignored to display this opinion it becomes rather tiresome. I admit I did let emotion get the best of me. But that tends to happen when someone generalizes an industry as being filled with unskilled high school drop outs…of which I am not.

    • pattimcb says:

      I saw no anger or bitterness in divemedics comments but only an honest, forthright opinion.

      • Shelly says:

        Yet it’s ok to generalize an entire industry as being full of high school drop outs?

      • Shelly says:

        I see you whine about people you think are being mean yet you agreed with what the one person said about service workers being high school drop outs. So as long as someone leaves a comment about tipping being bad, no matter how horrible and stereotypical, you’ll agree with it. Calling all service workers trash is far worse than what anyone else said here, yet you don’t call out divemedic on it. It’s ok to be nasty right as long as you don’t agree with tipping.
        Pot, meet kettle.

  14. David says:

    Three words…The Golden Rule!!!! I can only hope that you heartless, egomaniacs receive the same courtesies in life that you are so disgustingly bestowing on others.How can people be so ignorant???? It is absolutely sickening. “If you’re a server, that means you made bad choices” ~(in the dialect of an ignorant jerk, with eyes flopping around in their head). Actually, all people are different and dealing with different circumstances. People fall on hard times, people get laid off, people need extra money to pay for their kid’s braces, or take care of their sick father, or they made a bad investment (yes, people make mistakes…unbelievable). Furthermore, I guess teachers, who are also underpaid, aren’t doing something right???? How about our military? Our policemen? Our Firefighters? All of these people are in the “service” industry… and none are compensated the way our society compensates CEO’s, lawyers, politicians, and Paris Hiltonsses. You trolls come on here and talk about other human beings as if they were garbage, and I dare say I doubt you’d ever have the balls to stand in front of one of our under-compensated soldiers or teachers and tell them they must not be doing something right. You are cowards!!! Just like Matt said…go ahead and tell the server you’re not tipping them, tell them some of the stuff you’ve said here, oh and after you do, I hope they take a big dump all over your meatloaf or whatever ignorant assholes like you eat…possibly bat heads or tarantula ears.

  15. ryan says:

    Hey Matt, breaking news, the “Tips for Jesus” guy has been revealed. It is none other than Jack Selby, former PayPal vice-president. I surely thought it was you out there leaving those thoughtful tips. Oh well, maybe you two can get together and share a conversation over a bologne sandwich.

  16. Casey says:

    Matt, first and foremost I want to say that I do not support such ‘non-tippers’ as you call them. However, I do want to point out, in case you are not aware, that about 20% of the states in our great country make it illegal for an employer to use the “employer tip credit” to pay their staff less than minimum wage. I am from the West Coast originally, where most of these states are located, and you should know that almost all waiters and waitresses where I come from (not a major city, either) are living VERY well. in fact, it’s a somewhat coveted job for youngsters, much unlike the Midwest where I’ve lived for the better part of a decade. When I first moved out to the Midwest, I was HORRIFIED to learn that employers could pay under minimum wage! It really changed my perspective on tipping. Anyway, all this to say, I hope you are fully informed before you go making such harsh, blanket judgments. Many of the so-called ‘non-tippers’ may be from a part of the country where they don’t even REALIZE there are waitresses out there who are actually depending on the tips for their livelihood, not just for extra weekend splurging. This is a regional issue in America, and most Americans I’ve talked to who live in a state with EITHER system don’t even realize the other system exists anywhere! That was certainly the case for me. Any time you have cultural/regional issues, it’s important to be sensitive to the various assumptions and backgrounds involved. Thanks, love the blog.

  17. Pingback: If you were married to me it would be much easier for you. | Dalrock

  18. feminismismanhate says:

    Let’s see here…. princess man hater feminist (redundant),stole most of her husbands assets, including his children and now discovers that the future isn’t quite what the coven promised…. Hmmmm. She actually has to work ( oh noes, doing actual physical labor). I never tip such arrogant females, ever. I especially do not tip, or otherwise aid, those man haters that destroy their marriages and doom the children to a life without a father.

  19. I think this is the first time I have read an article by Matt that I disagree with, but here goes. (PS I worked in the food service industry for about a year while going to school, and I try to be a generous tipper when I can)

    1. 20% is NOT the minimum. 20% is considered an excellent tip. (If 20% were the minimum, why is it that establishments sometime charge 18% for parties larger than 6?) 15% is traditionally considered the “minimum” FOR GOOD SERVICE. 10% or less is considered indicative of “bad” service.

    2. A tip, traditionally, is something “extra” that a customer gives in addition to one’s wages, usually as a show a gratitude (which is why gratitude and gratuity share the same root). No one is “owed” a tip, even if that is all they are working for. (If you don’t like working in a service industry were most of your income is based on gratuities, FIND ANOTHER JOB.)

    3. While I agree that going to a restaurant with no intention of tipping is indeed crass, I’m not sure telling people that they can’t enjoy a meal out because they can’t afford to indulge the service industry’s sense of entitlement is much better. Not to mention that there is some faulty logic the arguments presented against paying servers an honest and doing away with tips altogether (for example: consider the fact that there are thousands of restaurants that do so already without the dramatic price increases)

  20. Debbie says:

    While in college, I began working as a server to help cover the expenses my parents were not able to. Even after I graduated college and found a teaching job, I continued to work part-time as a server. After 5 children and over 15 years of marriage, I continued to work as a server whenever we needed the extra cash to help pay for expenses such as Christmas gifts for our children, Catholic school tuition, school band expenses, skating lessons, soccer, etc., When you have children there are always expenses that need to be covered in addition to food and a mortgage payment. My husband works two jobs, too. Many servers whom I have worked with over the years are parents who are going to school to try and make a better life for their families. Servers work hard- it is a physically demanding job. You are required to lift heavy trays, walk across greasy kitchen floors without slipping and falling, plus put up with harassment form some co-workers in the kitchen. You are expected to remember at least 15 things at once while out on the floor, plus be patient and pleasant with the customers. If you bring food back to the kitchen because a customer did not care for the dish, you are often yelled at by the manager or the chef. I have worked at restaurants where the chef or the manager will yell and swear at you all night. That being said, most servers truly do enjoy servicing customers and their families. We have the opportunity to partake, if only for a moment, in birthdays, anniversaries, family reunions and other celebrations. We realize that going out for a meal is a treat for people, especially when you have children. I personally always enjoyed helping customers relax and enjoy their time together.
    Tipping is how servers make their money. If a server truly is rude to you from the time you sit down up until the minute you leave- I mean truly rude and insensitive to you- then do not leave a tip. I have worked with a few servers whom I would not leave a tip because I saw how they treated their customers. However, check your attitude at the front door, relax with your family, friends or your date and enjoy the evening. Then, be kind enough to leave a tip.

  21. garry says:

    Tips are earned not entitled .. when I go to a restraunt I expect good service and a friendly greeting. Not shown to my table have the menue dropped down and left without a word untill the server arrives with a greeting of Hi honey. This is your first mistake ..you should greet your customers as sir mam not honey. Myself and many others are offended by being called honey. Next mistake we are not your friends we are customers DO NOT try to chime in on our conversation or make comments on something you may have heard us say. Mistake number three. Dont come by our table everytime we have a mouth full of food to ask us if we need anything . This alone will cause me not to tip you. Mistake number four some of us don’t want our coffee topped off . Ask before you just start to top off a cup of coffee. .. if you expect a tip just because you yook an order and brought food to the table you are wrong. Good service and plasnt greeting will get you a tip.not just because your a waiter or waitress.

    • Kristen Bartlett says:

      You should read back over what you wrote….it’s all very “glass half full” .The problems that you have with servers sound a bit like this… “they greeted me very friendly, not the most traditionally polite way but they were really sweet about it” “the server tried to engage in friendly conversation with me, small chit chat and keeps actively listening to what I’m saying” “the server keeps checking to see if I need anything and my meal is to my liking” “wt does the

      • Kristen Bartlett says:

        Oops. Dumb auto correct won’t let me type. Anyways, you see my point….The issues you have seem like positive points to me. I’d much rather have too much attention given to my restaurant experience than not nearly enough, ya know?

  22. Madd says:

    Odd–I would’ve expected Matt’s response to go something like this, “If servers don’t like the fact that they’re not being tipped well, maybe they should get another job. Learn a trade, upgrade themselves, and get out of the service industry. Take responsibility for themselves, and don’t expect people to tip you when there is no requirement to do so. If tips were required, they’d be included in the meal price–they are not required. If you don’t like it, don’t be a server.” Most of Matt’s other posts are about taking personal responsibility for one’s lot in life. I think the only reason he cares about this issue is because it once affected him (i.e., he *has* walked in those shoes, so his usual ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ argument somehow doesn’t apply).

  23. Dalia says:

    I completly disagree with your arguments, in fact I find your entire article rather infuriating and demeaning.
    As someone else rightly commented, a waiter giving you good service equals no more than him doing his job, and we have no obligation (or reason; really) whatsoever to give the server extra money simply for doing this. We have an obligation to pay the restaurant, and the waiters have an obligation to serve us properly.
    Secondly, you say we benefit of the “tip system”, a system imposed on us by society. A tip is a gratuity, as it is justly called, and we are being reprimanded for not yielding to this unofficial system that we have been pressured into. Next thing you know, waiters will be forced to tip the customers for bringing them buisness.
    That being said, tipping is obviously the nicer thing to do, but I do not believe that we should be pressured, or even expected, to do so.

    That being said, I don’t live in the US and it’s late, so I’m sorry if this isn’t coherent. Open to comments.

    • Kristen Bartlett says:

      TIPS actually stands for “tip insure prompt service”. It is simply a cultural standard and is reinforced by wages earned in this industry. Bottom line; a tip , in this country, is absolutely expected because it is how the server earns their livelihood.

      • Kristen Bartlett says:

        “*to ensure prompt service” sorry

      • Stan says:

        As I have read and understand, when tips originally started, one gave a tip expecting better service AND it was given upon entering the establishment. Based on this tip, the waiters responded with better and more attention than those who did not provide a tip. Maybe restaurants should post a sign at the front door to take a colored token based on the tip you are going to leave and place this token on your table when seated. Would all these workers be happier? would it make a difference? Would the customers who did not commit receive no service?

        • Wouldn’t that change things? Paying the tip in advance I mean. I totally think it should be done but will it? Maybe not.
          I did learn that tipping a hotel desk clerk can get you a better room. I must have been a moron to not know that. I guess we ought to go back to the days of tipping the maître’d before being seated. I believe prior tipping would take care of a lot of gripes of both customers and servers.

  24. Kristin says:

    Ok, well I have a genuine question then. I was raised with the understanding that 10% tip is standard, let’s not argue the percentage here. I always tip at least the standard, usually plus some because I’m lazy & don’t like calculating, so I round up to the nearest dollar (or two if that gives me a nice 5 or 0 at the end of the bill with no change). However, there have been one, perhaps two times where I refused to tip because the service was so bad.
    One night I recall the restaurant wasn’t that busy, it took absurdly long to get our orders, then to get our food, then to get a fork wen I realized I didn’t have one, so I honestly, not exaggerating, spent most of my time with my meal just staring at my cooling food because I wouldn’t eat with my hands and no one who passed would bring me a fork. Are you truly saying that in that case I wasn’t justified in not leaving a tip?

    • If you felt justified in not leaving a tip (and I can’t blame you, that “service” seems outrageously bad) you should have talked to the manager so he/she could be made aware of the issue. Just leaving no tip doesn’t correct it. I’m sure they would want to know why they had few customers.

  25. Josh says:

    I am glad to tip. I am also very glad to open up doors for the elderly. My only issue is the entitlement to the tip. Do the elderly get pissed every time they don’t get the door opened for them? NO!!! They are so thankful that someone did it for them. If someone does not open the door for them, does it ruin their entire day and then go online and rant about how some a-hole didn’t open the door for them? I think not. What would happen if tipping were a nice thing to do, not just a required thing to do. I hear waitresses complain on the internet and in person about how they make so much under minimum wage. Obviously that’s what the tips are for. I have friends who work as waiters and waitresses and in a 3-5 hour shift they make their little wage, plus $40-150 in tips depending upon the night. Many of them say they make between $15-$50 per hour. Well, is that job really supposed to make that much? I am all about people making money, but drop the stupid entitlement attitude.

  26. Kristen Bartlett says:

    I’d like to point out that for many restaurants, actually, all restaurants that I’ve ever worked in charge the server tip out percentages based on their sales for the day. So, if you were to go to an establishment and tip 5% or lower, chances are that the server either made no money for the time they spent serving you….or they PAID to wait on your sorry ass.

  27. Stan says:

    MJ has a valid point of the specific incident as she describes it. Sounds almost as if the couple over ordered their cash availability. Prior planning based on cash in my pocket should dictate what/how much I order. They should have put the meal on a credit card and paid their cash to MJ!
    However, Matt, I have some issue with your opinion…I believe a tip is like a wage, it is earned; not just deserved or “owed me” as many people in this country who have gotten undeserved handouts and have come to expect something for nothing!
    These new “high class joints” have taken the normal working guy out of a nice family meal with their exorbitantly priced hamburgers, two for $20? And you’re right, they over stack the plates and you end up taking a box down the road! Give me a decent meal at a reasonable price like the blue plate special, you may not know what that was. I don’t find any of the items on many of these new restaurants’ menus to even be desirable. You find that wormhole by finding a “hometown” restaurant like we had before these new chrome and glass joints. But while traveling it is difficult to find these anymore, so find them near home for a reasonable meal at a decent price, but still tip accordingly.
    These higher prices don’t add up to a higher tip as you suggest a 20-30% tip? Ten percent is normal, 15% is for attentiveness like special orders, and 20% for exceptional service. What most American waitresses in these “johnny come lately” joints deserve is 10-15% because they don’t provide premier service as their counterparts in other countries provide in these upscale restaurants. I am a generous tipper if the service is provided and been up there with you at the 20-30% level if deserved.
    I’ve eaten in similar places overseas with prodigious service, e.g., where even the ashtray is removed before the smoker can finish a cigarette…where would you find a MJ that has ever done something like this lately? All those examples you mention affecting the tip, are atypical of expected service, but they certainly bear on how much tip I would leave. If the service is rude or non-existent, that’s when I find a manager and let them know why I’m unhappy, most of them take corrective action, or explain why this is not normal and requirements on the waitress causing the problems. If a MJ is busy serving away and my tea glass needs a refill, no problem I’ll wait until she has a moment; but, if she is not on the floor and doesn’t come by to see if everything is okay during the meal and just drops the ticket off after the food is cold, then the tip definitely is affected.

  28. Taylor says:

    I completely disagree. 100%. I find it so rude and selfish how people in the food industry EXPECT tips. It is so wrong to put people down for not leaving a tip.. Get real. Everyone is their own person, everyone has their own views on this topic. It’s no ones business. If you aren’t getting paid enough to support your family, maybe you should look into finding a better paying job! Should not rely on other people’s money.. So ridiculous! They go to work thinking oh I wonder how much I’m going to make today, and when their goal isn’t met they are pissed! Uncool. I don’t like to tip. Sue me. I have to work my ass off in RETAIL, and I don’t demand a freakin tip! I find that completely unfair in so many ways.. I do not tip because I do not get tips. That’s a good enough reason for me, I don’t care what anyone else thinks about that. Sincerely, a hard worker, who does not tip:)

    • You come across as bitter foremost, and I’m sorry that you feel that way. I would suggest that if you don’t want to tip, then don’t eat at establishments where waitstaff have to live on what they earn as tips. To eat there and not tip is “Uncool”. It is not “rude and selfish” for those in the food industry to expect tips. They accept the position with the expectation that their primary source of income will be from their tips. Personally, I think it’s “uncool” that the ticket prices for an NFL game are so stinking outrageous…..but I don’t rail on those expected ticket prices. Some people willingly pay that. I just opt not to go. I recommend you opt not to eat at restaurants where servers rely on their tips to pay their expenses. When you opted to work in retail, you accepted that job based on the salary expectations that you were given. So it is with waitstaff. They accept positions based on the expected tips as part of their salary. The same is true for someone who opts to work for straight commission. The difference is that someone doesn’t get away with buying the product at cost and then sneaks away before the salesperson gets their commission wages. It’s just that with servers, the “honor system” allows for non-tip-paying “customers” to get away with it.

  29. Mr. Slurpee says:

    Here’s a question. Why do we pay our tips as a percentage? Is steak so much heavier to carry to my table than a burger that an increased tip is warranted? It’s silly.

    I have decided to throw out the 10-15-20% rule. I will now be tipping per person/item. $x per person in my party. X will vary with how demanding we are and how good the service is.
    I’ll be tipping you the same whether I order the most expensive item on the menu or the cheapest. If you are friendly and make my meal more pleasant, your $x/person tip just increased to $y/person.

    One quick point. Let’s say I go out with 10 members of my family. We’re pretty quick to order and we probably won’t linger all day. Conservatively, we’ll probably be in our booth for 2 hours (or less). Most meals will run around $15, if we order appetizers/drinks/dessert. That means 10% (a “poor” tip) will be $15 for two hours work, plus the $4.28 you’re getting as minimum wage. Just shy of $10 an hour for one table. Yeah, I’m not really all that sorry for you.

  30. Mr. Slurpee says:

    Here’s a question. Why do we pay our tips as a percentage? Is steak so much heavier to carry to my table than a burger that an increased tip is warranted? It’s silly.

    I have decided to throw out the 10-15-20% rule. I will now be tipping per person/item. $x per person in my party. X will vary with how demanding we are and how good the service is.
    I’ll be tipping you the same whether I order the most expensive item on the menu or the cheapest. If you are friendly and make my meal more pleasant, your $x/person tip just increased to $y/person.

    One quick point. Let’s say I go out with 10 members of my family. We’re pretty quick to order and we probably won’t linger all day. Conservatively, we’ll probably be in our booth for 2 hours (or less). Most meals will run around $15, if we order appetizers, drinks and dessert. That means 10% (a “poor” tip) will be $15 for two hours work, plus the $4.28 you’re getting as minimum wage. Just shy of $10 an hour for one table. Yeah, I’m not really all that sorry for you.

    • cocobianca says:

      Wrong. Because we have to pay taxes based on a percentage of what the “expected” tip is. Also, we have to give a “percent” to the hostess, busboy, bartender, etc. So thanks for putting your server in the hole now having to dig out of her purse to pay her tip out. Good job. I wonder what you do? How would you feel if you provided a service for a price and I say hmm , I don’t think I will pay that. I’m going to give you this less amount instead.

      • cocobianca says:

        And I’m not getting $4.28 I’m getting $2.13. I promise what will happen (not from me) but many angry servers if they ever see you again. They will spit in your food or worse, and you won’t even know it. I’m saying I agree with it, because I think it’s wrong no matter how bad a customer treats you. But I’m am telling you , you or your family or whoever you bring WILL eat snot. It happens…..ALOT!

  31. JLi says:

    My brother is a server. 3% of every bill is tallied to “tip” the hosts and non-server staff (i.e. kitchen staff). If someone decides not to tip, guess what? He still needs to pay that 3% to the hosts and kitchen staff? That means the non-tipper ACTUALLY gave a negative tip, because now he needs to use his other tip money to pay back that 3%.

    And people have stiffed him on the bill before too…and he still owes that 3%. So now he has to cover whatever part of the bill said people decided not to pay and the 3%.

    From what I know, that 3% is not an uncommon thing. Think about it. Non-tipping might actually be negative tipping. How about instead of ordering a drink, leave a tip?

  32. UrictheOddball says:

    I am Australian and here we do not tip unless we are feeling especially generous or happy with service. I think the whole culture of tipping is a disgrace to the American work ethic, and benefits no one but the establishments who underpay their staff.

    The culture of tipping guilts customers into deciding how ‘generous’ they want to be, when they’re really just picking an arbitrary amount of money they want to pay to make themselves feel better about being nice to those who are less well off than themselves.

    The culture of tipping thrusts servers into living a lifestyle of low job security, with no ability to plan their finances from one day to the next, based on the charity of their customers. The middle class can manage their finances by making a simple budget based on their monthly income, but get frustrated with the lower classes for having poor spending habits. Budgets are annoying to make, but almost impossible when you don’t know what you’re making this month.

    The culture of tipping encourages establishments feel less obligated towards their staff and use the excuse that they get tipped to keep their wages low.

    The culture of tipping — WHAT?! I’m sorry, I just read some comments above to get some more context for this comments and saw that the ‘server’s minimum’ is well below the regular minimum. What the !&#&@^>? Are you @*&#ing kidding me? Do you not realise the culture of tipping has created this mess? Some people are saying it’s better to go home and cut some coupons than stay at work when it’s quiet, but who seriously gets a damn choice about whether to go home or not? If you’re a casual, you stay or get fired, or never called again, or all the crappy shifts.

    I was going to write something pithy and light-hearted about what an inconvenience it is to have to carry exact change with me to tip with, but I don’t have the heart to do it. What happened to equal pay for equal work? I once worked as a waitress and served about 4 people in the 4 hours I was there per day. I also worked as a receptionist and served even less people each day. Why is one unskilled job worth more than the other?

    America, I am deeply ashamed of you. And most of the commentators here are only adding to the problem, with comments like ‘it was your choice to work there’. Yes, you’re right, it is. An unskilled person chose to get a job, which would increase their skills, so that they could get a better job. They chose an honest job over a life of crime or living off charity. With no or minimal skills, what else could they have ‘chosen’ to do? And they deserve to get paid for the work that they do by their employer, because, in the end, that’s who they’re working for.

    With many minimum wage workers in the US living below the poverty line, I think it’s high time the government raised the minimum wage. Yes, food prices will go up. But Matt’s argument that the free salad bar and drink refills will disappear is nonsense. If prices were raised just the amount required to cover the wage hike, nothing disappears and tippers end up paying less – because what only the tippers used to pay for is now covered by everyone. After all, nations benefit when their lower-class is paid better wages – they end up paying more taxes, have less need for social security or charity, and can buy more stuff, which in turn goes back into the economy, which continue the cycle. It’s called capitalism and, on the rare occasion, it actually works. Seriously America, get your act together. A poor lower class is not something to be proud of.

    • cocobianca says:

      Also something people should know. When minimum wage goes up , server pay does not. Well states can over ride this in their own state but here in Louisiana just because minimum wage went up from I think $5.50 when I started and waiter min wage was $2.13 and now min wage is $7.00 and some change, server minimum wage is STILL $2.13 it was locked in years ago it will never go up no matter how high minimum wage is there is some clause I read about when I looked into why my pay didn’t increase a little when min wage did. Apparently when they made the $2.13 waiter pay law back in the day the restaurant/hospitality lobbyist group insured it would never increase. Sad thing is most of America is unaware of this.

    • cocobianca says:

      You are so right though. It IS a crazy system that only benefits the establishments

  33. Sue says:

    What’s even more awful is that our present president has also made sure the 15-18% gratuity has been done away with! I think this took effect right after the first of the year… My daughter normally is a bartender at a chain steakhouse, but was serving, one evening last week, with another server at a table of eleven. They were there quite awhile and the bill came to around $200! They did not receive the automatic gratuity and ended up only making $6 a piece… I’m totally astounded that this particular chain would treat their employees with such a lack of respect (especially when they only make a salary of $3.65 an hour… Thank goodness that this doesn’t effect the bartenders… But, maybe Mr. O can come up with a way to take away from them, too?

  34. I used to be a waitress. And I ALWAYS ALWAYS tip at least 20% or more. Most places make their employees share their tips, and regardless once you take out the cook, dishwasher, bust boy, and bartender’s portions you are left with sometimes just $20. The thing is what most people dont realize when they choose not to tip because it’s an “act of service” or they think that they “chose” that job…is that perhaps that job is the only one that could fit in their busy schedule of either going to school full time, working another one or two other jobs, or even just making enough money to help support her family. That’s just my opinion though. 🙂

  35. Tainted eye says:

    Interesting. I personally think tipping a is a joke, don’t get me wrong, I do it and I tip anywhere between 0 & 30% depending on the service. Here’s my logic. I’m a nurse in Canada, I provide a service & go above & beyond the norm every day ~ Do I get tipped for wiping your Dads bottom or performing CPR on your Mom or saving your 16 year old daughter from a drug overdose? NO, I don’t. It’s the career path I chose to support MYSELF & two children after a divorce. Maybe if patients & their families chose to tip me they could pay me less & the country would be less in debt. What a joke. The same goes for Teachers. Who’s tipping them to take care if your bratty kids all day? Again, more country debt… There are so many jobs out there where people perform a service & don’t get tipped. Why should a non educated server make more money a week than a teacher who is educating your kids?

    • cocobianca says:

      Nurse lady- do you make less than half of minimum wage??? Tips are the waiter’s pay. You get a salary and a good one I’m quite sure. If nurses made $2.13 per hour they would HAVE to get tips or there would be no nurses. The waiter works for the customer they are serving, so therefore the person they work for ” the customer” is the one who provides the salary. The $2.13 is just to make sure they have something to take out for taxes on a waiter’s check. And furthermore, if you don’t want to wipe someone’s bottom, then why did YOU CHOOSE that career path? I bet it was to take care of your family. Waiter’s have families to take care of too, and just maybe they are going to nursing school and waiting tables to get through school to wipe your daddy’s butt! The bottom line is if you are receiving a service then you should pay for that service or it is outright theft. Or at the very least just plain not decent. But I’m glad to know you some times tip. That’s better than some of the selfish cheapskate people who make a sport out of bullying waiters.

  36. Tim T says:

    “All of prices on the menu just doubled?”

    Uh, to compensate for 20% tipping, prices would go up ~20%, not 100%.

    • cocobianca says:

      They would go up more than 20% . You are not thinking of the fact that the manager would have to hire more servers to accommodate the patrons. A fact about tipping is that when you rely on tips, you try really hard to be fast and give good service if all of the servers were guaranteed a wage they wouldn’t try so hard, so service would suffer and most would give way below standard service, and would have to serve fewer tables because there would be a one many complaints. Having the tipping system in place is how you get the service ( the server wants to make as much money as he/she can). Without that, they just wouldn’t try as hard, it’s human nature. A place I worked tried this for a time and it was insane. Most of the servers were very early 20’s and they would forget about tables, stand around and talk, sneak off to the bathroom to smoke. Needless to say it didn’t last long.

  37. cocobianca says:

    Well, I was a waitress for many years while going to school and let me tell you who don’t think it’s necessary to tip. If you don’t tip or if you leave a really crappy tip. My best advice to you is never go back to that place again. Because you will eventually eat a lot of snot, boogers, and other ever more disgusting things you don’t want to know about and (I’m sure you already have ). I personally am against that behavior and didn’t participate in it but saw it many many times. When you don’t tip, the server tattoo’s your face in his memory ( or at least I did). You honestly think we don’t remember? A CO worker of mine once drug a soup spoon down in his underwear and up his but crack and served it up to a consistent non tipper. The man never knew. And if you thing most managers would care that it was done, well , they were almost always waiter’s first so they usually have a (just don’t get caught policy when it comes to retailiation). So enjoy your snot sauce non-tippers!!

    • Nels says:

      I think that says a lot more about the type of person the waiter is than what non-tipping says about the customer. The customer is just paying the bill they are given. For a server to go out of the way to get back at a customer is just mean and vindictive. The customer is doing nothing illegal, but those sorts of actions by a server would at least be a violation of a health code. Also, what you said in another post about stalking a bad tipper just sounds like the behavior of a deranged person.

      Also, I keep reading on here about how some of their tips go to other employees. I’m having a hard time finding info on it, but from I can tell, the only tips you need to claim are the ones that you actually receive. Any money that is going to other employees will need to be reported by them. If you are not making minimum wage even with tips, then the employer should be making up the difference. I’ve never worked such a job, so I don’t know first-hand how it all works. I’m guessing that a lot of people may not know what rights they actually have, and that makes it easier for the employer to take advantage of them. Or, it could just be that the employer doesn’t know what they are required to do either. Considering how bad people are at math in this country, I wouldn’t be surprised that people don’t know what they heck they are talking about when it comes to anything involving numbers. It is quite common for even otherwise intelligent people to openly admit that they suck at math.

    • Tinel says:

      Luckily I was not born in North America and don’t rely on restaurants for a meal. I can cook better and cheaper than the crap they are serving to all these overweight people. Your cheap food comes at a price to your health. And now reading that servers spit in your food and pull a spoon through their ass from which customers will eat. This has gone way too far. You are endangering my health and definitely do NOT deserve a tip, nor do you deserve that job. If I ever eat out again, I will 100% not tip. Tip for what? I’m right now so disgusted I have no words.

  38. Laura says:

    I just wanted to talk about Casino Players that don’t tip!!! Yes the dealers are only making min wage..they rely on TIPS as well! I can not tell you how many times I have seen people play..win ..and walk away…some don’t even say thank you! No matter how big the tip is it all adds up! Please remember that although the Dealer may not serve you drinks or food …he/she is still providing a service and as the recipient of the sevice a TiP is appreciated 🙂

  39. Daryl says:

    I’ve always considered 15% to be a standard tip so I usually just round up to the nearest dollar from there so my average tip is probably around 17% if I get really good service I aim around 20% or I just throw in an extra $5 or something on top of what I calculated. That being said I’ve left bad tips before, I’ve even stiffed a few people. I’ve worked in jobs where not getting enough money isn’t the consequence of doing a bad job, being fired is. Some of the people complaining about not being tipped enough truly and honestly aren’t doing a good job and should find work doing something they are better equipped to do. By the way, I don’t drive a nice car, or have a trophy wife or any of that nonsense, I have been held to high work performance standards my whole life and the only negative effect of that has been that it made me the best I could be at what I do. Find something that actually matters to complain about

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