Tuesday, July 12, 2005

10%? 15%? 20%? We Are What We Tip.

I hate tipping. I do it only because it's expected, I especially hate the fact that it's expected no matter what kind of service you get, or situations where it's automatically added to your bill. If I don't have a choice whether or not to pay it, then don't make it a tip, include it in the price of the service.I hate all the arguments for tipping, and especially those that try to make me feel sorry for the person working for tips. It's not my fault if you don't make more money. If you're not happy with your pay, go talk to your boss about it, leave me alone. I do a great job at work (I was employee of the year, after all), but I don't get a tip when I do something particularly well, and I sure don't get one for simply doing exactly what my job is. I know, I know, they make less money than I do, so I should be sympathetic, but so does the greeter at Wal-Mart and no one says I should tip that poor old guy. Yeah, and I know that people who get tips make lower hourly wages because of it, but that wasn't my idea. And I'm sure if someone proposed a law that would make them get the same minimums as everyone else but would also get rid of tipping, then the people who get tips would be the first to complain about it. The whole concept is ridiculous to me. It wouldn't be if it just wasn't expected. If you truly got such great service that you felt that person needed a little extra, then I wouldn't have a problem with that, but when it's expected no matter what, that bothers me. Maybe I'm just cheap.

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21 comments:

maurinsky said...

You've never worked in food service, have you? I mean, you make some good points, but the fact is that food servers often make crap for money, it's a hard physical job, and in many places, they don't have an option to take the cash and not report it. I don't shop at Wal-Mart so I can't tip the greeter, and I refuse to tip at counters - I only tip in restaurants where I sit down and the server comes to me to take my order and delivers my food to me.

You aren't required to tip even if it's recommended, so if you don't mind looking cheap, or having food servers do unpleasant things to your food, then don't tip.

MDC said...

I don't particulary like tipping, either, but I base the empathy I use to motivate tipping on all of the complete assholes I see in restaraunts who who treat the wait staff like shit for no other reason then their own personality defects. Some people have a sense of entitlement that corrupts the way they treat others, particulary those working in positions they feel are "below" their standing.
But anyway, 15 percent, 10 if the service is bad, 20 if it is exceptional (i.e. the cook screws something up and the wait person does a great job correcting the situation)

John Howard said...

No, I've never worked in it, and I don't care how hard it is. Those people chose that job, not me. It's up to them to negotiate their pay with their boss, I don't want to be involved in it.

I know I'm not required to tip, but I don't like looking cheap because everyone else decided I should tip. And if people do unpleasant things to your food if you don't tip, that's a whole other argument against tipping, as far as I'm concerned.

John Howard said...

See, mdc, that's the attitude I really don't get, 10% if the service is bad. Why on Earth should people pay extra for bad service?

MDC said...

Valid point, I suppose to avoid looking cheap...

Robert Bayn said...

I usually tip about 15%...if the service is bad....i won't tip at all. People know before they become a waiter it's a bad job, so it really dosen't mean much to me if they complain about wanting more. My mom on the other hand would never tip, and to a extent i don't blame her, the menu prices are expensive enough. Really if waiter's are not getting paid enough don't look at the customers, look at your boss.

maurinsky said...

Some people don't have a lot of career options open to them, John. I have lots of friends who put themselves through school working as waitresses because of the flexibility the job offered - something they would not have had in an office environment - and because tips offered them the opportunity to make more money than a retail job would. You don't need skills to get hired at some restaurants. My single mom friend Lorraine works as a banquet server on the weekends her ex has their son, to supplement her income - that job helped her buy a house, offering her son more stability.

I do think it has become too expected, that the tie between the quality of service and the tip has been obscured or just become non-existant, but the way to change that is to start not tipping when you get bad service.

We don't go out to eat much, and we nearly always go to the same places where the staff knows us, so we get good service. Loki is good luck at restaurants, several people have noted that if he's at the table, we get better service. But he's left a one cent tip and a note explaining why he left the one cent tip on occasions when we've had crappy service. (I can only remember that happening twice.)

BeagleMommyof3 said...

Knowing John personally he is CHEAP! With that said I do also feel that tipping shouldnt be expected. It should be just a little extra. Have you ever noticed how the waiter or waitress is VERY nice when she hands you the bill? At this time is when they take the time for some chit chat. I tip because I think I am expected too. I tip very well for GOOD GREAT AWESOME service. I tip in the middle for just OK service. I also will not tip at all for TERRIBLE service. Like the women at Cracker Barrel on Sun. She got a big fat ZERO!

Rob the Dirty Liberal said...

I usually tip between 15-20% depending on how good the service was. I won't tip if the waiter was really bad or was a jerk to me. I feel for people working as waiters, its a shitty underappreciated job. Besides, they only get paid like $2.30 an hour, so without tips they are screwed.

John Howard said...

I realize that people have limited career options, but that doesn't make it my responsibility to supplement their income. I'm not complaining that people get tips or that some people like to give them, I'm complaining about it being expected.

I don't tip if I get bad service, I also don't explain it to them, that's not my job either.

I don't go out to eat much either, and I really don't get as upset about this at restaurants as much as I do with other services. Like, recently when we went to Universal Studios, my wife suggested that we were supposed to tip the houskeepers, which I had never heard of, and I think that service was pretty well covered in the ridiculous price I paid for the room.

maurinsky said...

If you're just tipping because you feel it's expected, then just don't tip. But I wouldn't go to the same restaurant twice, because some servers are vindictive and they will do bad things to your food if they know you don't tip.

John Howard said...

That's what I'm talking about maurinsky, that's my whole problem is that it's expected to the point of if I didn't do it, I would have to worry that my food would be messed up. That's ridiculous.

Me4Prez said...

I once served a table of 20 or so Focus on the Family people as a waiter at Denny's in Colorado Springs while I was in the Army. They made a mess and my tip was a business card asking if I had found Jesus.

I guess I have always been a good tipper. Waiters, cabbies, strippers...

John Howard said...

Don't strippers do ok without tips?

Me4Prez said...

That was a slip. I meant the people at mass who hand out the eucharist. I tip them well.

John Howard said...

Isn't that unethical or something?

Robert Bayn said...

They made a mess and my tip was a business card asking if I had found Jesus.

I always laugh when i hear that, cause i think of forest gump.

"I did'nt know i was suppost to be looking for him"

Me4Prez said...

I like that line too. I used it a couple of times on kids in the mall in Fort Collins

Holly said...

If you tip the housekeepers, sometimes they leave cute little towel animals on the bed to amuse your son.

Or so I've heard, it hasn't happened to us so far.

Also, retail is physically demanding and the hours are flexible but suck, ask John about the times I'd come home at 1 or 2 am after doing complete store floor sets. And I didn't get tipped (but I got a hell of a discount!)

Miranda said...

I hate tipping too. Hairdressers too. You already pay them enough then add the tip. sheesh.

Porlock Junior said...

Tipping is a rotten system, but it's the system. Underpay the people grossly because they get tips, and if the customer rebels against it, he's taking it out on powerless people, which is also rotten. Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed is recommended reading about the lives of the powerless.

So I have to cooperate with the rotten system until the Revolution comes and people are paid fairly and sanely. Not holding my breath till that happens. But what stinks worse is the constant raising of the ante. I am ancient enough to remember 10% as a basic tipping rate in non-hoity-toity restaurants. In fact, that's not ancient at all. Who the fuck decided that 15% is barely adequate for service that's not quite up to mediocre? That's the line that's being laid down, after a few years in which it rose to 15%. Now it's supposedly 15% for the privilege of being served at all; 20% if it's any good at all; more if it's actually good. This rule is laid down in, for instance, the Lonely Planet guide (by and large good guidebooks) to New York. Ok, maybe New Yorkers are such a bunch of timid brow-beaten conformists that they put up with that kind of crap, but do we self-reliant Wild Westerners go along?. Then again, maybe they just think they can put it over on tourists; so why do people buy into it?

However, I have had the actual experience of wanting to give a tip. Consider arriving in Kyoto, duly tired from the air trip (changing planes in Tokyo to make it a little longer) and getting into a violent rainstorm and finally getting to the hotel and checking in. The staff are utterly gracious and helpful to this band of bedraggled wet gaijin; they deal well with the language barrier with which we couldn't have dealt with on our part; an impeccably courteous and helpful bellhop gets the huge amount of luggage to the rooms and introduces all the features of the place. And I can't give him some huge tip! Shit!! It would insult him.

Is no system perfect?