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Regality's picture

Tipping (post #45284)

What are your thoughts/feelings on the system of tipping for service?

 


“For me, patriotism is the love of one’s country, while nationalism is the hatred of other peoples.”–Dmitri Likhachev


http://regality3.livejournal.com/profile


 



TracyK's picture

(post #45284, reply #1 of 106)

Personally, I wish we'd just pay servers a decent wage and do away with tipping, that way we would be free to tip for excellent service, or choose not to tip for shoddy service, without feeling guilty because the poor server is only making $2 an hour.

Why is it so cold on this beach? And what's taking the bartender so long?

ashleyd's picture

(post #45284, reply #3 of 106)

Totally agree. Many, many countries manage to do without tipping and are all the better for it.  Pay people the proper wage and have done with it.



Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's critical to know what it was.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

shywoodlandcreature's picture

(post #45284, reply #4 of 106)

Speaking as one who did her fair share of serving as a waitress many, many years ago, I totally agree. I hate the custom of tipping, though I do it, and do it generously. I see no reason why the customer should have to subsidize the management's labour costs in that way. Raise prices by 10 percent, and pay the staff a living wage.   





What would the world be,/Once bereft of/Wet and wildness?/Let them be left/O let them be left/Wildness and wet/Long live the weeds and wilderness yet.
GM Hopkins

Ricks503's picture

(post #45284, reply #2 of 106)

To Insure Prompt Service


I believe in what the word stands for and tip accordingly. If the service is average I might leave $2 - $4 tip. If really bad - a nickel.  If good 10% and if excellent 15% - 20%.


 


That being said, I knew of a place in NYC a number of years ago, where the establishment did not pay the waiters - the waiters paid them each week to work there and worked strictly for tips.  The service there was extrordinary as you can imagine. 


1 - measure the board twice, 2 - cut it once, 3 - measure the space where it is supposed to go        4 - get a new board and go back to step 1

 

 

" There'll be no living with her now" - Captain Jack Sparrow

Gretchen's picture

(post #45284, reply #5 of 106)

You've got to be kidding. $2-$4 on what level of bill.  If the service was bad was it because of the server or the kitchen?


Having a family of servers and restaurant managers we never tip less than 15%--and that happened a couple of weeks ago with some pretty mediocre service--by a team of servers.


Wishing we paid servers a good wage isn't going to change the present tradition--and you could probably find a lot of servers in good restaurants that wouldn't want that system either. It's the folks at Shoney's, etc. that scrape by.


Gretchen
Gretchen
Ricks503's picture

(post #45284, reply #6 of 106)

I am talking about a $20 - $40 bill. - typically 8-10% for average service.


And when I am talking service, I mean keeping an eye on drinks, stopping by to see how things are going, wanting anything else... problems with the food I blame on the kitchen.  I have worked as a waiter for a while, I also did hat/coat checking for a while and I was even a busboy and short order cook in my time.


A final note is that We end up with a choice of going out less often and leaving a bigger tip or going out as we do and leaving a mediore tip. And that is a 2 maybe 3 times a month outing where the total bill for 3 people comes out to no more than $45. Money is tightly bugeted in our hosehold at this time.


1 - measure the board twice, 2 - cut it once, 3 - measure the space where it is supposed to go        4 - get a new board and go back to step 1

 

 

" There'll be no living with her now" - Captain Jack Sparrow

Gretchen's picture

(post #45284, reply #8 of 106)

In my opinion, that % is cheap, cheap, cheap. What is "average" about what you are describing them doing. What else would put a $20-$40 dinner into exceptional service?
 So-- that server gives some of that exceptional amount of money to the hostess, and some to the busboys. You have really stiffed them.

Gretchen

Gretchen
TracyK's picture

(post #45284, reply #10 of 106)

ITA.


 


Why is it so cold on this beach? And what's taking the bartender so long?

Ricks503's picture

(post #45284, reply #13 of 106)

What I was describing is above average service and will get 15 - 20% tip


Exceptional service I will go 25 - 30% which is stretching the budget and will probably come out of the grocery money next week.


Why should I Tip someone, let alone well,  who makes me wait for them to get to table ( when it is not teribly busy) to take my order, then I never see them till they deliver the meal and then never again till they bring the check. If I want water or a refill on a drink or something else, I have to go hunt them up or flag them down from across the room. This I would either leave nothing or 5%.


When I receive surly or rude service I leave a nickel.


AS to stiffing, when I waited we pooled the tips (the waiters) and then split it at then end of the night. And I had issues with that as it rewarded the bad server with some of the money from the really good ones.


Ok, I will give the waiters a flat 15% from now on and only take my family out to eat twice a month - will that satisfy you?


1 - measure the board twice, 2 - cut it once, 3 - measure the space where it is supposed to go        4 - get a new board and go back to step 1

 

 

" There'll be no living with her now" - Captain Jack Sparrow

MadMom's picture

(post #45284, reply #26 of 106)

Geesh, you don't demand much, do you?  My DD is a server (a darn good one, I might add) and if she got a 15% tip, she would wonder what she did wrong.  I never leave less than 20% unless the service is really bad, and if the server brought me a whole meal (usually breakfast, which involves coffee refills, etc.) I leave a minimum of $5, regardless of the amount of the bill.  My personal opinion is that if you cannot afford to tip properly, you shouldn't be eating out.


Of course, I also think that servers should be paid a decent wage and tips should be reserved for exceptional service, but that isn't the system we have or are likely to have any time soon.




Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!
AnnL's picture

(post #45284, reply #27 of 106)

Wow, you make me feel badly for my $3 tip on a $7 breakfast.  ;-)


 


AnnL
Transitions Farm
Gardening, cooking, and riding
in Central Mass.

Ann
"The elders were wise.  They knew that man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too."  Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux

MadMom's picture

(post #45284, reply #28 of 106)

That certainly wasn't my intention, LOL.  Still, I think that people who would eat a $5 breakfast, expect to have refills on their coffee, more butter for their toast, some more grape jelly, etc., then toss the server $1 (or less) ought to be ashamed of themselves. 



Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!

Ricks503's picture

(post #45284, reply #29 of 106)

If people who can maybe afford a 15% tip but no more, due to financial reasons did not eat out, there would be more empty seats at the restaurant and the wait staff would make even less. As I stated, my family is on a very tight budget. 


We budget $45 2x a month and $20 once a month to eat out ( the $20 is burgers, pizza or subs )


The $45 covers the meal and the tip - Usually we come in about $37-$39 on the meal for all 3 of us ( that may mean only water to drink at times to get there ). if the service is real good, I will add an extra $3 to the $45 and take that out of the grocery budget the following week ( and I am a coupon clipper and specials buyer - I see what is on sale, what specials are running and plan out the meals based on that and then work up the shopping list).


Given our tight budget, would you advised not going out to eat, doing as we do, or opting for pizza nights only?  we currently eat at places like sizzlin sirloin, local chinese diner, and on a special occasion Chile's


1 - measure the board twice, 2 - cut it once, 3 - measure the space where it is supposed to go        4 - get a new board and go back to step 1

 

 

" There'll be no living with her now" - Captain Jack Sparrow

shoechick's picture

(post #45284, reply #31 of 106)

Stop putting French Onion Soup dip in your mashed potatoes and you can afford to tip more.

If Shopping Doesn't Bring you Happiness, You're in the Wrong Store.

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  ~St. Augustine

MadMom's picture

(post #45284, reply #32 of 106)

Rick, should the same logic apply to people who can only afford a 5% tip, or perhaps only a quarter or so?  I just feel that people should pay for what they receive; these days, good service at a decent restaurant should mean you leave a 20% tip.  I have left more for exceptional service, and slightly less if the service was inadequate.  It's difficult for the diner to always know who to blame if the service isn't up to par - did the kitchen mess up the order?  was one plate cooked too soon and left to get cold before the remainder were ready?  did demanding diners at another table take up more than their share of the server's time?  and don't forget, at most establishments, the server is expected to share their tip with the bus staff, the bartender, etc., etc.  Perhaps if you think of eating out five times in three months, rather than six, you could afford to leave a reasonable tip without getting into the grocery money.



Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!

Ricks503's picture

(post #45284, reply #33 of 106)

Ok, now define


a decent restaurant


Are KFC, Dennys, Subway, IHOP, Marie Callenders  decent restaurants?


The last time I spent more than $40 ( before tax and tip ) on a dinner for the 3 of us was probably 4-5 years ago and it was probably at least that long prior to that again.


I think it comes down to what you (generic you)  would consider a decent restaurant.


I do not really consider most of the places we go out to eat at as nice restaurants - they are adequate at best and the food is edible but nothing great. 


1 - measure the board twice, 2 - cut it once, 3 - measure the space where it is supposed to go        4 - get a new board and go back to step 1

 

 

" There'll be no living with her now" - Captain Jack Sparrow

shoechick's picture

(post #45284, reply #34 of 106)

So if they're edible and nothing else, why go?  why waste $40 for the three of you? you could get some nice steaks, a bottle of wine for $40.  Why waste the money to do mediocrity!  If you want some time together, make pizza dough and everyone make their own...so much better than the restaurants you are frequenting.

If Shopping Doesn't Bring you Happiness, You're in the Wrong Store.

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  ~St. Augustine

LibbyBoo's picture

(post #45284, reply #37 of 106)

"So if they're edible and nothing else, why go?  why waste $40 for the three of you? you could get some nice steaks, a bottle of wine for $40.  Why waste the money to do mediocrity!  If you want some time together, make pizza dough and everyone make their own...so much better than the restaurants you are frequenting."


Totally agree.

shywoodlandcreature's picture

(post #45284, reply #38 of 106)

I agree in theory, but in practice, I know that sometimes it's just important to get out of the house, to not cook anything, to not have to clean up anything, to have things done for me. And I've had my share of mediocre meals as a result - and I don't think I regret a single one, because it's not always about the food.





What would the world be,/Once bereft of/Wet and wildness?/Let them be left/O let them be left/Wildness and wet/Long live the weeds and wilderness yet.
GM Hopkins

ashleyd's picture

(post #45284, reply #39 of 106)

There are two distinct questions here, the first of which is should 'ordinary' tipping be abolished, i.e. should service staff be paid a decent wage and the answer should be a resounding YES. The second question is, if we accept that it is currently part of our culture, how much should we leave, either cash or percentage. I suppose a corollary to this second question is how much should we leave if the service is dreadful, some people here have indicated that even if the "service" element is totally absent they would still leave a minimum 15% and I have to say I don't understand this at all, for standard service maybe, for poor service no way.


Final point, if you are trying to tip your server give cash, do not put it on your credit card which effectively halves the amount you give, and depending on management policy it can be reduced even further.



Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's critical to know what it was.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

Gretchen's picture

(post #45284, reply #40 of 106)

What's this about the credit card.  I don't think so--at least where our kids have worked and are working now.


Rick, you're cheap. You try to rationalize it--just as my BIL did a couple of days ago. And I said the same thing to him.


The poor service we had recently led me to write a note on the receipt also because this restaurant is part of the best restaurant group in Charlotte and they PRIDE themselves on the training of their wait staff. The service wasn't so poor as it was indifferent.


And then there is the custom of restaurants adding a 15-18% gratuity to the check for tables of 6 or more. We often eat out with all our kids and the bill can be prodigious. We were at a nice restaurant at the beach, had a great dinner, good service and as usual, DH gave the bill to DD to do the tip.  On one occasion, the tip was already included and all the kids agreed--if he is dumb enough to do that then that is what he'll get. He just short changed himself.


Gretchen
Gretchen
Ricks503's picture

(post #45284, reply #53 of 106)

OK, I am cheap - I have an entertainment budget of $130 a month.


That has to cover eating out, going to any movies, renting any movies or buying any books. 


DW HATES to cook.  Every so often I like to not cook or clean, just sit down and have it done for me.  Many of the places we go ARE buffet style ( not sure if you are familiar with Izzys, Old Country Buffet, Sweet Tomatos...) When we go to a sit down dinner with a menu it is more often in the IHOP range.  Maybe for our anniversary we might make it to Chilie's or Olive Garden.


As I stated, I have been a server, so I know the drill.


We managed to scrape together and bought a house, and this house is 1300 sqft, in a large development - houses on either side are 5-6 ft apart, my backyard goes back 15ft from my back door. Not anything even close to what MadMom has - I would have to win the lottery to get something like that.  


How big is your house and property?


Should I sell the house and move into an apartment so that I can eat at nicer places, more often and be able to tip the way you believe I should?


We buy probably 75% of our clothing at thrift stores and 20% at end of season sales and 5% new. DW has size 15 US shoes - do you have any idea what they cost?


Should only wealthy people go out to eat?


Should servers be paid a living wage?  Yes


Should EVERYONE be paid a living wage?  Yes, but we are not likely to see that anytime soon.


Do servers at some of the nicer establishments make more a year than I do when counting in their tips - You bet. I know someone who used to work at one. This is not something I like to spread around, but My income was cut in half when we hit the recession in 2000.  I make $28,000 - $29,000 a year before taxes and counting overtime. DW makes a little more but not much as a teacher. Total family income last year was $63,480. We live in the Portland, OR area and that is one of the top 3-5 most expensive places to live in the country.


I am sure ( from the comments on the houses, vacations, kitchen appliances that people have)  that a good number of the families on this forum make a lot more than that and probably if both are working making more than that individually.


Finances and how my family gets by( sort of )  are a very tender spot with me. I had never really felt that the members of this forum were elitist about anything except making good food. If I am wrong in that please let me know and I will go away.


Should I tip for mediocre service? - I do not belive so.


Do I tip for mediocre service? - Yes at the 10 - 15% range usually.


Do I comment on excellent & bad service or food?  Yes, to the manager on duty and then mostly with a letter to the owner. I want them to know who their best people are and who needs to be watched or coached a bit.


Should I penalize my family and not take them out just because we are not well off and can afford 30 - 50% tipping or to go to someplace like the French Laundry? NO


My son loves lobster but there is NO WAY we can afford to go to a restaurant and have him order a whole lobster, so for his BD (the only time he gets this), I use some of our entertainment money to buy a whole, live lobster and make a special BD dinner for him and get a nice top sirloin for DW and me to share. - total cost for that one dinner at home is about $20 - $25 for all 3 of us (Lobster, steak, fresh green beans, salad, twice baked potato and a small cake with his choice of homemade ice cream) - at even someplace like Red Lobster, that would probably cost somewhere in the $50 - $70 range - (You tell me how much it would be at one of your nice places?) this dinner comes out of either the 2 burger joint dinners and the grocery budget for that night.


Do we have a family make-your-own-pizza night? yes - every 2 - 3 weeks or so. Not because of cost, but because it is a fun family thing to do.. We also have a build your own taco night and a build your own burger night once a month.


If DW had it her way, we would eat out 3-4 times a week. Not because my cooking is bad, but because she hates to help with the clean up and enjoys the relaxed, sit down, have it done for you with no cleanup thing.


As you can guess by now, I do not react well when I feel picked-on because of the choices I am forced to make for myself and my family due to finances.


 


1 - measure the board twice, 2 - cut it once, 3 - measure the space where it is supposed to go        4 - get a new board and go back to step 1

 

 

" There'll be no living with her now" - Captain Jack Sparrow

Gretchen's picture

(post #45284, reply #55 of 106)

OK Rick. But you put it out there for the showing--and it became a badge of honor for you initially.
And you have slightly changed your purported tipping pattern upward from your original post.  I will add that you make a lot more than say, my daughter (for the past several years), and she has never not tipped adequately because she knows exactly what it takes to be a server and there is a sense of fairness in understanding the system.


Yes, my SIL has very long and very narrow feet. Try Zappo's.


Gretchen


Edited 4/18/2006 10:38 am ET by Gretchen

Gretchen
Ricks503's picture

(post #45284, reply #56 of 106)

I just checked my original Post and I did get some of my thoughts a bit backwards.  I double checked some of that last recipts from the chinese restaurant and from IHOP ( the last 2 places we ate out) and figures for the tip left are the %  Chinese = 18%  IHOP = 22%


For a meal that is in the $15 - $20 range I will generally tip $2 - $4 (10% - 20%) For other meals where I am paying $35 - $40. I usually tip in the 15% ($6-$8) range, for good or better service it is usually up to 20+% ($7-$10) even if that means taking it out of someplace else in the budget.


Part of that little odd numbering is that I pay with debit card and when figuring tip usually make it come out to the next highest even dollar. ie  estimated tip is $8 at 20% and bill comes to $xx.35 I would include tip of $8.65 to make it come out to $xy.00 - that might make the tip 21% - 22%.


My days as a server are in the dim prehistoric past before Credit Cards were so common, so I was unaware of how things worked with them these days.  I usually carry $5 or less in cash, but I will start carrying more when eating out so I can tip with cash.


 


Just checked out Zappos - thanks for the tip, but there is an outlet store near here where I get them for about that price - admittedly the selection is smaller, but we can be sure they fit before buying. Astounds the heck out of me - I typically pay $20 for a pair of shoes or sneakers.  DW has large, wide feet (9.5 EEE) and needs arch support so hers cost $75 - $125 a pair - between them, their shoes are driving us to the poor farm!  LOL


1 - measure the board twice, 2 - cut it once, 3 - measure the space where it is supposed to go        4 - get a new board and go back to step 1

 

 

" There'll be no living with her now" - Captain Jack Sparrow

Gretchen's picture

(post #45284, reply #61 of 106)

Don't tip in cash. I really think Ashley has some odd info on this. The one place I might think that the waiters may get stiffed by the management is in some chinese restaurants. I remember reading about it long ago, but have no real info.

Gretchen

Gretchen
ashleyd's picture

(post #45284, reply #62 of 106)

I'm fairly sure the info is sound but I am beginning to think that it may be just a UK thing rather than a cross-Atlantic one.


Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's critical to know what it was.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

Gretchen's picture

(post #45284, reply #63 of 106)

I could see that. It just isn't what is happening here.

Gretchen

Gretchen
pamilyn's picture

(post #45284, reply #71 of 106)

But does your daughter have a family to raise? That makes a big difference. Pamilyn

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

MadMom's picture

(post #45284, reply #59 of 106)

Okay, Rick, since you mentioned me by name, I feel I have to respond.  I still believe that people should not do anything they cannot afford.  If that means you can never afford to eat out, then don't eat out.  If it means you can afford to eat out every night at The French Laundry, then do it.  Whatever you do, you should expect to pay for what you receive, and the standard right now is 20% for good service, more for exceptional service.  As far as the size of my home and property are concerned, my DH and I are retired after many years of hard work and savings.  I would be happy to discuss trying to get by on a food budget of $40/month and living in a one bedroom apartment, because I've done both, but the basic principle still stands.  When we could not afford to eat out and tip decently, we didn't do that.



Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!

moxie's picture

(post #45284, reply #64 of 106)

Whatever you do, you should expect to pay for what you receive, and the standard right now is 20% for good service, more for exceptional service. 


Yes, exactly. My budgetary constraints are not my server's problem. They should be paid the going rate, not expected to make less because "I can't afford it." Under our current  (admittedly unfair) system, tips aren't optional. They are part of what gives your server a living wage.  I don't expect to go through the grocery line and not pay part of my bill because things cost more than I can afford.


IMO, It's not an elitist attitude. To the contrary, it is an attitude that says "this person serving dinner is just as important as I am, and if I can't pay them the going rate, I will respect them enough to eat elsewhere where people do not depend on tips."


"I have always relied on the kindness of strangers." - Blanche Dubois