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Comments

  1. omnicrom says

    My family always taught me to tip 20% unless the waitor goes above and beyond the call of duty to be unhelpful or disrespectful or intentionally bad. Slowness, inexperience, tiredness, and being stressed out were no excuse, unless the waitor was actively malicious you gave them 20%.

  2. Alverant says

    Wow… just wow. I can almost hear the “free market” cries from conservatives.

    My own rule of thumb is $1 tip per $5 of the pre-tax bill or fraction thereof. Then after taxes I round up to the next dollar.

    It seems like the less people make the more they’re abused.

  3. eric says

    I realized they did not necessarily receive minimum wage. But $2/hour? That’s insane. Restaurants are America’s sweatshops.

  4. NitricAcid says

    $2/hour is ridiculous. In my province, the minimum wage for waitstaff is only slightly below the regular minimum wage ($9 instead of $10, last I heard).

  5. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Welcome to it folks. I was making 2.13 an hour 15 years ago. It was shit then and it’s even harder on waitstaff now. There were weeks when my paycheck was $15 after taxes, regardless of how well or poorly I did on tips. It’s an outrage. Hell, minimum wage itself is an outrage.

    I’m a little tired of USAians being or claiming ignorance about how badly treated and paid waitstaff are. It’s not like it’s ever been secret knowledge.

  6. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    And yes, there’s a segment of the public that gets absolutely wet at their ability to be King Of the Mountain and treat waitstaff like servants. Some of them fairly taunt servers with snotty remarks about their “attitudes” or whether they’re smiling enough (it’s far, far, far worse for women), and making off-hand remarks about how that may affect “how much I decide to pay you.”

    It’s fucking medieval and it should be illegal.

  7. says

    The article doesn’t seem to mention what I understood to be the tax rate for servers – I may have this wrong, but I read somewhere (here? Maybe Tony mentioned it?) that servers’ sales receipts are totaled and submitted to IRS and IRS calculates earnings based upon 18% of those receipts. Is this correct or have I completely dreamed this up?
    Anyway, I’ve had this discussion with the nifty offspring (as has my partner) and I also mention it to everyone I know. It’s both disturbing and a relief to realize how many people just don’t know this stuff! ‘Disturbing’, because it means it is an ongoing problem for servers, and a ‘relief’ because hopefully it means at least the short tipping may not be deliberate nastiness in some cases.
    One of my daughters’ partner is from Europe and he had been tipping maybe 5% because apparently in many European countries the rules are different and you can actually insult a server with an “overly generous” tip. (IDK if true – only reporting what I was told there). She was horrified when I mentioned the facts that are in the Salon article in a discussion a few months ago and said she has been grabbing the check to fix the tip for awhile, just because of our family commitment to 20% (and often 25% for really great service) which made her uncomfortable with her partner’s lower tipping. After we chatted, she said she was going to pass the info on to him too.

  8. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    The prices you pay at restaurants—especially craptastic chains—are artificially lowered because the house isn’t paying the share of labor that every other business does. This system allows diners—whether they know it or not—to fatten the house’s profits at no cost to the diner who decides to skimp on the tip. Waitstaff are exploited in ways none of you would ever tolerate in your own place of work.

    Can you imagine if a customer whose database you were fixing

  9. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    The prices you pay at restaurants—especially craptastic chains—are artificially lowered because the house isn’t paying the share of labor that every other business does. This system allows diners—whether they know it or not—to fatten the house’s profits at no cost to the diner who decides to skimp on the tip. Waitstaff are exploited in ways none of you would ever tolerate in your own place of work.

    Can you imagine if a customer whose database you were fixing simply deciding whether or not to pay you the full hourly rate, and having that decision come directly out of your paycheck? That’s exactly what happens to servers. It’s so common people feel free of embarrassment to state plainly that’s what they intend to do.

  10. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Sorry for the double post.

    Also, nifty, it’s never any relief to a server that bad tipping isn’t deliberate nastiness. Intent’s not magic, and it doesn’t pay the bills. I know you know this, just had to say it.

  11. HazyJay says

    Been in the industry for over 20 years now and worked every position in a casual dining restaurant from dishwasher to GM. The back of the house (kitchen) are the ones that need to organize. The wages are the same today as they were when I started.

  12. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Oh yay, thanks nifty! If I remember correctly, the minimum we could claim in tips to the IRS without fear of penalty was 7 or 8 percent of our sales per shift. So, yes, most of the time we did better than that, and yes, almost everyone claims that figure even if they do really well. It’s a small difference to Uncle Sam but a lot to a worker and I think it’s completely justified. Anyone who wants to quibble about tipping tax fraud will get a load of my spit in their salad dressing and an invitation to share their complaint with US corporations:)

  13. moarscienceplz says

    federal law allows states to deduct up to $5.12 per hour from the minimum wage for workers who earn more than $30 in tips per month.

    So, if someone works 160 hours in a month, they can lose $819 in wages if they make $30 in tips???? THIS IS FUCKING OUTRAGEOUS!

  14. says

    Also, nifty, it’s never any relief to a server that bad tipping isn’t deliberate nastiness. Intent’s not magic, and it doesn’t pay the bills. I know you know this, just had to say it.

    I totally understand this and agree with it. I selfishly meant that I was relieved to think that certain friends were simply ignorant and not malicious (relieved that I could avoid thinking less of them) not that it was Phew! well that’s OK then!

    Mind you, if I found out that people who I KNOW now know the truth (because I told them!) still undertip, sorry but they will lose my respect.

    Every one of us knows people who have been or are currently servers. Even if we didn’t, it is simple human decency to pay people what they have bloody well earned.

  15. glodson says

    Josh, I was a waiter just a few years ago. It was still 2.13 an hour.

    All the things in the article are par for the course. The on-call shifts, tip pools, shifting schedules, bad tips, abusive owners, abusive customers.

    That’s normal, sadly. It can get even worse when one examines the policies that a restaurant can have regarding how tables are dealt with. It gets absurd at times.

  16. josephb says

    As a non-American when ever I hear this debate I am baffled by the focus on peoples tipping habits and the lack of outrage that the minimum wage is so fucked up.

    Why is the federal minimum wage not something that someone can live on at a minimum? Isn’t that what it should mean?

    If that change was made and suddenly waitstaff were making slightly “too much” because people kept tipping, well that would be no disaster in my opinion. I doubt that it would be sufficiently high paying that any significant number of people would change carrier over it. Not likely anyone who gets their nose bent out of joint over the issue anyway…

  17. Ogvorbis says

    Boy is now in restaurant work. $8.00 per hour when he doesn’t get tips. $5.40 an hour when he is busing tables. He is making more than he made at Turkey Hill. And his chances of getting held up are much less.

  18. HazyJay says

    So, if someone works 160 hours in a month, they can lose $819 in wages if they make $30 in tips???? THIS IS FUCKING OUTRAGEOUS!

    Not quite. The way it really works is a bit more complicated. As a tipped employee in KS I make federal minimum wage, $7.25 an hour. If my declared tips exceed $5.12 an hour my employer is allowed deduct that $5.12 from the minimum wage they are paying me.

    That being said, if my declared tips do not come to at least $5.12 an hour and my employer has to make that up on my paycheck I will lose my job in a heartbeat.

  19. Anthony K says

    From the article:

    It’s illegal for employers to require tip-pooling, even though tipped staffers often share tips voluntarily with untipped employees like hosts, bussers, dishwashers and cooks. Still, forced tip-pools and other kinds of tip theft are common practices nationwide, according to Daisy Chung, executive director of the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York, an advocacy group for restaurant workers.

    I wonder if the law is different up here. I’ve never worked in a restaurant that didn’t require waitstaff to tip out bartenders, barporters, bussers, hosts, and kitchen staff– always a percentage of the ring-out, regardless of tips.

  20. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    There were weeks when my paycheck was $15 after taxes, regardless of how well or poorly I did on tips.

    Whaaaaa !?!?

    I’ll say it again, I think tip-based wages are a disgrace and an affront to human dignity.

    You shouldn’t have to fucking beg to be paid for your work. Else why the fuck should you even work ? Cut the crap and simply beg.

  21. Anthony K says

    $5.40 an hour when he is busing tables.

    Fuck, it really is a different world up here. I made $6.50/hr bussing tables in 1992, plus the tip-out I got from the servers.

  22. Alverant says

    OK I have a question. How the FUCK do restaurants get away with it?

    A few months ago when the news story about how a pastor tipped 0% and gave a snarky message at a Friday’s was on alternet, I remember a bunch of people telling their horror stories about bad tippers (usually pastors or other holy men). I’m not exagerating, but some of the stuff that happened is criminal. I’m surprised the industry doesn’t have a 100% turnover ratio.

  23. Don Quijote says

    If you are working as a waiter in England and expecting a tip, don’t hold your breath.

  24. HazyJay says

    I wonder if the law is different up here. I’ve never worked in a restaurant that didn’t require waitstaff to tip out bartenders, barporters, bussers, hosts, and kitchen staff– always a percentage of the ring-out, regardless of tips.

    Tip-share is considered different than tip-pools. Tip-pools are where all tips go into a common pool and everybody takes a cut. 100% illegal. Tip-sharing is a serious grey area. Tip-share is where a server pays in a certain ‘reasonable’ amount (usually around 3% of their sales or around 15% of their nightly take) into a pool that gets distributed amongst the various non-directly tipped front of the house employees like hosts, bussers, bartenders, etc. Kitchen staff and management cannot share in the tip-share. That is what Mario Battali got into trouble for in the article.

    The practice of tip-share is currently working its way through the court system with different rulings coming down from different federal judicial districts. Regardless it is another way for the restaurant to trim labor expenses because those employees that get tip-share also get the tip credit so their wages are only $2.13 an hour.

  25. harvardmba says

    Really? Is that where we are — again? Weeping for waitstaff? Oh — and I love the swipe the idiot author takes at animal welfare activists. Because, you know — getting tipped only 10% is as much injustice as a pig getting its head bashed in with a lead pipe. Or veal crates. Or gestation crates. Or de-beaking. Or de-toeing. Or dead piles.

    But a 10% tip in the most privileged society in human history — stop the presses at attack animal welfare people!

    Oh, and before the inane A+ crowd responds — use your brains for a change. I know the requirement is as low as possible to be admitted into A+, but in between telling feminists they need to be raped and telling religious people they’re crazy, take a little break and try using your own brains for a change.

  26. Anthony K says

    Just checked: the minimum wage here in Alberta is $9.75/ hour for most employees, regardless of whether or not they receive tips as well, though that falls to $9.05/hour if they serve liquor during the majority of their shifts.

  27. crowepps says

    It was my practice to routinely add the tip on the credit card, until a waitress clued me in that with the money being channeled through that particular owner, she might get all the tip or might not. I now carry cash specifically for tipping and hand it to the wait staff personally to be sure they know how much I tipped them.

  28. HazyJay says

    OK I have a question. How the FUCK do restaurants get away with it?

    A few months ago when the news story about how a pastor tipped 0% and gave a snarky message at a Friday’s was on alternet, I remember a bunch of people telling their horror stories about bad tippers (usually pastors or other holy men). I’m not exagerating, but some of the stuff that happened is criminal. I’m surprised the industry doesn’t have a 100% turnover ratio.

    Close. Industry average is around 80%.

  29. Anthony K says

    Weeping for waitstaff?

    What’s the problem? Your towel still wet from weeping for the airlines?

  30. ljbriar says

    The conditions for waitstaff are not QUITE as bad up here in Ontario and Nova Scotia, but I still never tip less than 15 to 20%. The one exception was for one particular time when I went to a restaurant with a friend where we were seated in a station with no server, asked to be moved after being left there for twenty-five minutes, followed by the hostess and server giving us attitude for causing trouble (ie. asking quietly to be seated somewhere where we’d actually be served), and then it still took another twenty minutes to get drinks, and another forty before there was actually food in front of us. First world complaint, I know.

    Anyway, I had heard about the miserable conditions American servers work under, so when I went on a family trip to NYC last year (first time there), I made double-sure that every bill came with a generous tip. It’s completely unconscionable how they are expected to work.

  31. Onamission5 says

    @HazyJay #11:

    Yup, average level wages for cooks were about $6/hr when I entered the biz back in 1988. $8/ hr was what I made ten years later. Guess what the last job I applied for offered me? Yep. $8/hr. That’s a completely stagnant COL in the past 15 years, while housing costs have more than doubled in some places.

    Even still, it’s not as bad as what servers put up with. Where I am from, at least they made minimum wage, even though servers still had to pay tip tax on their total sales whether they got tips or not, but where I live now, servers make $2.13/hr. Two dollars. AND they have to pay tax on a percentage of their total sales, whether they get tips or not.

    It’s not by accident that most servers I know have not one but two jobs, and sometimes three, just to make ends meet. They will wait tables and also clean houses and also do massage, or babysit.

  32. carlie says

    Harvardmba (which I seriously doubt is actually descriptive), the phrase you’re looking for is “Dear Muslima”. You’re welcome.

    I know waitstaff who ended up with zero paycheck at the end of the month after their employers took their too-low tips for a tip pool and also had to pay taxes at the standard tip tax rate because the same employer refused to do the work of documenting the actual amounts of tips received. From what I understand you can either report tips as the standard rate (that 18%, I think?) or the actual amounts received, but to do the latter the employer has to sign off on the amount received each shift and you have to keep all the receipts.

  33. carlie says

    Also:

    I know the requirement is as low as possible to be admitted into A+, but in between telling feminists they need to be raped and telling religious people they’re crazy,

    Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to?

  34. Onamission5 says

    Oh, and I feel inclined to add that the place I used to live, a lot of non-chain restaurant owners were switching over to paying all their staff a flat wage of $10/hr, and keeping the tips for themselves to “invest in the business.” Which is a whole other level of fucked.

  35. alektorophile says

    My parents own a small restaurant, I grew up around waitstaff, waited tables and washed plenty of dishes myself, occasionally still do, and know how hard a job it is. It is the same everywhere, and whenever I travel I make a point of being extra nice to restaurant and hotel staff. One difference between what I know and what is described in the article, however: the monthly salary of a basic unskilled employee at my parents’ restaurant is about $4000, with all benefits and mandatory healthcare, of course. Plus a 15% service charge is included in every bill, and extra tips rounding up the bill are usual. Why? It is in Europe, a.k.a. your republicans’ favourite socialist dystopian hell. How any soi-disant developed country can get away with paying people a couple of dollars an hour is beyond me.

  36. throwaway, extra beefy super queasy says

    Don’t mind harvardumbass, carlie, they’re the ones who agree with terrorism and murder as a means of protest against the use of laboratory animals.*

    *If that’s libel, then I’ll show you my cites when you show me yours, harvardumbass. Not that you’ll bother, you’re just a perpetual drive-by troll.

  37. WharGarbl says

    @Onamission5

    Oh, and I feel inclined to add that the place I used to live, a lot of non-chain restaurant owners were switching over to paying all their staff a flat wage of $10/hr, and keeping the tips for themselves to “invest in the business.” Which is a whole other level of fucked.

    Isn’t that… better for the waiter/waitress? Considering they’re actually getting a wage that’s above minimum wage?
    Vastly better than $2/hour.

  38. says

    Changing this is absolutely something that will need to come from the top down. While they do exist, the general population of American servers would not take a position at a livable wage wait job and few restaurants in the grand scheme are offering it.

    The potential for times when you make well-above minimum wage will distract from the reality that that’s amortized across the times when you don’t while the restaurants would never find wait staff as a result (on top of thinking it financially disastrous).

    And I say that as someone who made a good chunk of change for over a decade in the restaurant industry. It should still be different here because you see it can work in other countries. There’s no reason it can’t work here other than political will.

    I was lucky to wait and bartend in places with good revenue. It took two years of having a “real job” before my 9 – 5, Monday – Friday salary got anywhere close to what I made with three nights and a brunch shift a week. I still don’t get 156 days off a year, though I no longer wake up at night worrying about health insurance.

  39. says

    All I can say, every horrible thing you’ve heard about the labor abuses of the hospitality industry is true. And I only worked a couple years in it, and I saw most everything mentioned ever. Being paid trainee wage forever? Yep. Using only girls for a job, even though that’s illegal? Yep. Mixing chlorine and ammonia to ‘get the job done faster’? Yep. Assumed tips taken out of your pocket, even though you’re the dishwasher and the server might not split them with out? Yep. Firing random (literally) employees to scare the remainder? Yep. Firing for having the flu, even though they signed a waiver saying they wouldn’t come in if they had the flu? Yep. Fired for not being trained on something they hadn’t been trained on – since that task never was done on the shift they’d been assigned to? Yep. Fired for ‘stealing’ because third shift balances the books, and the gen. manager assigned the manager they were going to fire next to that supposedly important job? Yep. Using the wrong food? Yep. Using expired food? Yep. Using unsafe equipment? Yep. Using equipment that wouldn’t pass a fire safety inspection (because the gas was leaking) let alone hygiene? Yep. General Manager requiring weird alterations to recipes because said manager for instance doesn’t actually know the difference between yellow onions and green onions? Yep.

    Why does this topic always go to tipping?

    Personally, I tip based upon the meal and service, not price, for most of my tipping. I tip $10 for a sit-down meal, waited meal, minimum. $15 Pho for two? $10. $20 pizza? $10. $40 nice dinner? $10. $50 with drinks? $10.

    Above $50 I tip 15%. I might throw in an additional $5 for a hand-made mastery dinner like sushi, delivery, or fancy service; otherwise if they treat their employees (and the food) right. I tip $5 for a take-out or lunch meal. I tip $1-2 per cart item, depending upon how much I get. I don’t always tip fast food, because I’m not always allowed to, and it’s not always appropriate… That’s when they get whatever I’ve got in my pocket, ’cause that’s also generally cash and rarely do cashiers give you enough ones to tip them back.

  40. says

    The rule of thumb I grew up with was 15% of the napkins are paper, 20% of they are cloth. I usually compromise and aim for about 18%.

    That said, I’m pleased that I live in a state that does not allow servers’ wages to be reduced (see this page to find out about your state.) I’ve been a waitperson and I know full well how grueling it is, so I always tip anyway.

  41. says

    I do believe I’m tiring of HarvardMBA’s trolling schtick. He may be finding himself slapped away into some other blog soon.

  42. says

    @Crissa #42 – Tips earned individually by a server legally belong to the server, not the restaurant. Forcing a server to give up this money is theft.

    This is different from putting a tip jar next to the register. In that case, the customer is tipping the restaurant and not an individual; the money therefore legally belongs to the restaurant, who is under no obligation to redistribute it.

    Nolo has a page describing the legal issues of tipping.

  43. HazyJay says

    Isn’t that… better for the waiter/waitress? Considering they’re actually getting a wage that’s above minimum wage?
    Vastly better than $2/hour.

    Nope. I average $17 an hour waiting tables at one of the higher end national chains.

  44. ryanb says

    As with josephb I’m a non-American that finds not only this state of affairs insane but also the response to it. I just don’t understand why the uproar is “people who don’t tip are scum” rather than “why do we have such scummy minimum wage laws”?

    For the life of me I can’t understand why anyone would support tipped minimum wage laws taking into account all the cons of it. Are there any decent arguments for a lower minimum wage for tipped workers?

  45. WharGarbl says

    @HazyJay
    #25

    Tip-share is considered different than tip-pools. Tip-pools are where all tips go into a common pool and everybody takes a cut. 100% illegal.

    Isn’t tip-pools restricted to just tip-taking staffs?
    In short, only those who put into it gets to take a cut?

  46. says

    California allows tip-pooling.

    I find the ‘tips are earned by the server’ to be offensive. They did not earn it. They did not prepare the food to my specification. They didn’t wash the plates, which I appreciate. They did not wash the floor or the seats. And they may have not seated me, or processed my payment, etc, etc.

  47. glodson says

    For the life of me I can’t understand why anyone would support tipped minimum wage laws taking into account all the cons of it. Are there any decent arguments for a lower minimum wage for tipped workers?

    It saves the restaurant a bunch of money and keeps the cost of going out to eat down.

    So… no, there isn’t a decent argument.

  48. says

    Are there any decent arguments for a lower minimum wage for tipped workers?

    ‘Lower base wages makes the food cheaper for those who can’t tip.’

    But no, it’s BS. California has a hugely healthy hospitality industry and we don’t allow differences in pay between tipped and non-tipped employees.

  49. WharGarbl says

    @ryanb
    #47

    For the life of me I can’t understand why anyone would support tipped minimum wage laws taking into account all the cons of it. Are there any decent arguments for a lower minimum wage for tipped workers?

    I say we abolish the tipped wage thing and say every restaurant must pay at least minimum wage regardless of tipping.
    Make tip as it is intended, a gratuity for thanking servers for excellent services.

  50. Brandon says

    For what it’s worth, I’ve had some server friends that did pretty well. The thing is, it’s down to a huge amount of luck and random chance (how busy was the night, who did you happen to serve, what did they order, etc.) that makes it something I sure wouldn’t be comfortable doing. Some of the bartenders I knew did particularly well, but it takes a lot of hustle and memory to be good at that.

    Personally, I always go heavy on the tip. There’s absolutely nothing in it for me to save a dollar. No personal satisfaction, no financial relevance, just a vague feeling that I’m shitting on someone simply because I can. Why in the world would I want to do that? Why would any decent person want to do that?

    I’m not keen on the feigned ignorance of some Europeans when they tip like crap here. Even if this wasn’t pretty common knowledge, looking up local customs is a pretty basic part of travel, so as not to be a dick to the people you’re visiting. Since tipping is one of the more sensitive and ambiguous subjects around, it should be one of the first things to learn to do correctly where you’re visiting.

  51. Brandon says

    ‘Lower base wages makes the food cheaper for those who can’t tip.’

    That seems like just a means of enabling freeriding. If someone can’t afford to tip in accordance with custom, they probably should have picked a lower end restaurant.

  52. glodson says

    Crissa

    This is the law says:

    Q.

    I work in a large restaurant as a waiter. My employer told me that I am required to share my tips with the busboy and the bartender. Am I obligated to do this?
    A.

    Yes. According to a California court, Labor Code Section 351 allows involuntary tip pooling. Therefore, your employer can require that you share your tips with other staff that provide service in the restaurant. In this regard, it’s DLSE’s position that when a tip pooling arrangement is in effect, the tips are to be distributed among the employees who provide “direct table service.” Such employees could conceivably include waiters and waitresses, busboys, bartenders, host/hostesses and maitre d’s. Employees who do not provide direct table service and who do not share in the tip pool include dishwashers, cooks, and chefs, except in restaurants where the chefs prepare the food at the patron’s table, in which case the chef may participate in the tip pool. Additionally, tip pooling cannot be used to compensate the owner(s), manager(s), or supervisor(s) of the business, even if these individuals should provide direct table service to a patron.

    Source.

    So when you said…

    California allows tip-pooling.

    I find the ‘tips are earned by the server’ to be offensive. They did not earn it. They did not prepare the food to my specification. They didn’t wash the plates, which I appreciate. They did not wash the floor or the seats. And they may have not seated me, or processed my payment, etc, etc.

    This would be illegal. Tip pools should, legally, only be for those who do direct service for the table, as noted above. Which is where tip sharing policies run into trouble. It is one thing for a pay out to the hosts, bussers, and bartenders. They tend to get paid at a comparable rate to a server by the restaurant. It is another thing to tip out to the cooks and dishwashers as they should be paid a decent hourly wage.

  53. says

    I find the ‘tips are earned by the server’ to be offensive. They did not earn it. They did not prepare the food to my specification. They didn’t wash the plates, which I appreciate. They did not wash the floor or the seats. And they may have not seated me, or processed my payment, etc, etc.

    I’m guessing you haven’t worked in restaurant service.

  54. ryanb says

    Regarding tipped minimum wage to keep food costs down so people can tip…

    This still seems alien. Tipping in my country and most of Europe is for good service, it’s certainly not such an important thing that laws need to be made to protect the custom. If servers had a decent wage* then tips would become a luxury and so customers wouldn’t need to be worried about if they can tip.

    Honestly all tipped minimum wage seems to do is take the responsibility of ensuring employees get a fair wage away from the employer and dump it on the customer. This is doubly excellent news for employers who don’t want to pay fair wages because not only do they not have to it seems to create a culture where unfair wages are the fault of the customer, not them.

    Genuine question for Americans: when the discussion of waiters and poverty comes up in day-to-day life how much of the time is anger directed at the employer/minimum wage laws and how much is it directed at customers who don’t tip/don’t tip enough?

    *Don’t mistake this for me thinking that the US minimum wage is necessarily decent

  55. WharGarbl says

    @Gregory
    #50

    Take it up with the courts.

    I think tip-pooling is legal given that it fulfill a certain requirements.
    http://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1594&context=thesesdissertations

    @Crissa
    #49
    I think you’re a bit mistaken on what tip-pooling mean (at least legally).
    Tip-pooling is shared ONLY among staffs that normally receives tips. Tip-pooling can be mandatory if the amount each tipped staff to put into a pool is considered “customary and reasonable” (according to article above, <15% is considered customary and reasonable).
    What's you're talking about sounds like tip-sharing (where tip is shared with staffs that normally don't receive tips, like cooks), it is illegal to mandate tip-sharing, but it can be voluntary.
    Also, I think it is illegal to count tips gained from tip-sharing toward tip-credit in terms of reducing the minimum wage.

  56. w00dview says

    $2.13 an hour?! That is fucked up beyond measure. Really shows that “Why golly, if I just work hard I will become a millionaire someday!” is a freaking myth in the so called land of opportunity.

  57. HazyJay says

    Isn’t tip-pools restricted to just tip-taking staffs?
    In short, only those who put into it gets to take a cut?

    The tips belong to the person that receives them. The restaurant can force the person to contribute ‘a reasonable percentage’ of their tips to a tip pool. This reasonable amount has been unofficially set at no more than 20% of the server’s total tips or around 3% of the server’s gross sales. We refer to this as a ‘tip out’ or ‘tip share’. Employees that have direct guest interaction, in my store that would be hosts, bussers, and bartenders, get a piece of this. If management or cooks get any of this tip pool my employer loses their tip credit. That means I get a check for $5.12 an hour for every hour I waited tables for them.

    My current restaurant looked at all servers (or two or three servers) combining all of their tips and splitting them up equally per hour in an effort to promote teamwork (it failed. Hard.) This was referred to as ‘tip pooling’ and is why I draw a distinction between them.

  58. ryanb says

    @Brandon 55

    I’m not keen on the feigned ignorance of some Europeans when they tip like crap here. Even if this wasn’t pretty common knowledge, looking up local customs is a pretty basic part of travel, so as not to be a dick to the people you’re visiting. Since tipping is one of the more sensitive and ambiguous subjects around, it should be one of the first things to learn to do correctly where you’re visiting.

    Personally I’ve been aware that tipping is more important in the US pretty much all my life (I visited multiple times as a child) and I know that minimum wage in the states is lower than in most of Europe. But I didn’t know until just a couple of months ago that the minimum wage for tipped staff is separate and so much less than the rest of the workforce. I agree with you that it’s important for people to learn the local customs but to be fair for most people they wouldn’t even think that tipping is something that would be so drastically different because this isn’t just a case of “10% or 20%?” this is a totally different employment set up.

  59. Brandon says

    Genuine question for Americans: when the discussion of waiters and poverty comes up in day-to-day life how much of the time is anger directed at the employer/minimum wage laws and how much is it directed at customers who don’t tip/don’t tip enough?

    My anecdotal experience, which constitutes about a half dozen server friends, is that the enmity is directed entirely at non-tippers, not at wages from the employer. There’s plenty of other things that servers complain about with regard to the employer though, for what it’s worth.

  60. =8)-DX says

    In the Czech Republic, I tip 10%.. or round up. I know I’m wrong but our culture of minimum wage means that a tip is a “welcome extra” and not a part of your everymonth wage. The restaurants I go to for once-twice-a-week meals, then ANY tipping is seems chumming-up. Sometimes I tip more, but I’ve never been worried that my tip means the survival or existance of a human being.

  61. glodson says

    Genuine question for Americans: when the discussion of waiters and poverty comes up in day-to-day life how much of the time is anger directed at the employer/minimum wage laws and how much is it directed at customers who don’t tip/don’t tip enough?

    It all depends. Some of my anger as a former server will always be directed at a subset of people who feel entitled to my services but don’t want to pay for them. However, I was lucky. I was good at my job and generally avoided the worst of it.

    However, the whole pay thing is just fucked. It creates a mess. The industry, like a struggling restaurant, relies on this. A successful one exploits this. In theory, it should work out for the benefit of everyone. The servers should make a ton of money off their tips, and the restaurant gets a server heavily motivated to keep a customer happy. Everyone wins.

    That’s the theory. In practice, unscrupulous owners will take advantage of this. Various policies will reduce our ability to make money, like splitting a large party, or illegal tip pools. And there’s even abuses when it comes to how they treat their labor force, especially in right-to-work states.

    Finally, there’s a reason why you often see immigrants in the kitchens. It is hard and thankless work being a line cook. The places prefer to pay them as little as possible. Most restaurants don’t want to talk about employing illegal immigrants too much as they use that as a pool of workers they can underpay as well.

  62. glodson says

    $2.13 an hour?! That is fucked up beyond measure. Really shows that “Why golly, if I just work hard I will become a millionaire someday!” is a freaking myth in the so called land of opportunity.

    I’m surprised people didn’t know this. I know many states let places get away with this. Here in Texas and South Carolina let them pay that much. Even bussers, who often have to fuck around with the trash and all sorts of dirty jobs, just get a little more. And not by munch. They rely on the tip share of the servers.

  63. HazyJay says

    And after typing about restaurants for the past hour or so I now get to go to work…

    But I get to wear my manager pants tonight so just a base hourly wage for me tonight. Funny that, I get ‘promoted’ and it comes with around a 33% pay cut. When I get promoted to full on manager it will be closer to a 55% pay cut…

  64. says

    in any restaurant i have worked at, the waitstaff (under minimum wage, plus tips) was making significantly more in pay than those in the back of the house (over minimum wage, no tips). and i know that while i delivered pizzas i was taking home more money than those who were making the pizzas.

  65. The Mellow Monkey says

    I find the ‘tips are earned by the server’ to be offensive. They did not earn it. They did not prepare the food to my specification. They didn’t wash the plates, which I appreciate. They did not wash the floor or the seats. And they may have not seated me, or processed my payment, etc, etc.

    They, literally, serve you.

    The thing that the cooks and the dishwashers are largely shielded from–in addition to being spared the wages associated with tip work–is the dehumanization from the customers. Years later, I still vividly remember having to keep a pleasant smile on my face while I could overhear a table openly questioning my gender. Or the elderly gentleman who told me that this used to be such a nice town when they made all the Indians and Jews leave at sundown. Customer after customer of trying to anticipate their needs and ensure drinks are refilled and any questions they might have get answered, but I couldn’t be too attentive because that would irritate them as well. Dealing with men who would sit there for hours, nursing a cup of coffee that they got free refills on and making me wait on them hand and foot (for a fucking cup of coffee!) until they finally left after closing time, paying $2 and without a tip. Being expected to deal with each customer as if I had nothing else to do, as if no other tables existed, as though anything that might go wrong was my fault (the kitchen gets the food wrong? NO TIP) and anything that went right had nothing to do with me (their special order was handled exactly to the complex instructions they gave the server? GOOD COOK).

    Fucking right I earned my tips.

  66. says

    Genuine question for Americans: when the discussion of waiters and poverty

    There are no discussion of waiters and poverty. There are few discussions of poverty at all if people can avoid it.

  67. says

    Re: 59 Chris Clarke 14 March 2013 at 4:45 pm (UTC -5)

    I have, and I find it offensive. I don’t care what side of the counter they’re on, they work together to get me service.

    Notice they said generally, and in California, all employees have the same minimum wage.

    Of course, maybe you think the server does more work than a line cook or the dishwasher who spent hours slavering over hot machines and pushing mops and placing garnishes. I don’t.

  68. Brandon says

    Even bussers, who often have to fuck around with the trash and all sorts of dirty jobs, just get a little more. And not by munch. They rely on the tip share of the servers.

    Yeah, when I was working at a small local restaurant as a busser/dishwasher, I was making $5.35 an hour (this was about ten years ago) and there was no tip sharing at all. Not the best job in the world! Hard, greasy, fatiguing work for almost nothing is not the way to go.

  69. frog says

    This sort of nonsense is why I always try to tip in cash. When my sister and I take my mother out to a very expensive restaurant, we will make sure to stop at the ATM so we have plenty of cash for the tip.

    I understand from my restaurant-working friends (I am fortunate never to have worked in food service) that a waitperson who does not share tips with the untipped staff will find their job made difficult in innumerable ways. This strikes me as a fine arrangement: you learn to share with the people who support you, and they will, indeed, support you.

    I don’t know if the laws set a different minimum wage for ALL restaurant staff, including busboys and so on, or just for servers?

  70. ryanb says

    It all depends. Some of my anger as a former server will always be directed at a subset of people who feel entitled to my services but don’t want to pay for them.

    This is part of the big difference between having a decent minimal wage and not. Here when I go out to eat the service of a waiter is part of the bill, exactly the same in any other shop or place of business. But with a crap minimum wage it clearly isn’t because no one is giving the waiter a fair wage for their work so the customer has to sub them directly.

    The servers should make a ton of money off their tips, and the restaurant gets a server heavily motivated to keep a customer happy. Everyone wins.

    I see how that is the theory but I think it’s bullshit personally. Any worker who interacts with customers should have good customer service skills which includes keeping the customer happy. That should be in the job description and the incentive should be a fair wage* with tips as a bonus.

    *actually I think that is slightly bullshit as well. It should be because they find their job fulfilling but that’s another discussion.

  71. says

    …And no, I don’t buy the argument of dehumanization. Because any position had that, as a cog in the machine. But then again, I never worked a managerial position.

  72. glodson says

    Of course, maybe you think the server does more work than a line cook or the dishwasher who spent hours slavering over hot machines and pushing mops and placing garnishes. I don’t.

    So the server earning 2.13 an hour should share their money with the cook who is likely making around 10 to 12 dollars an hour?

    This is what it is like in most states. In fact, I would bet that even in California, the server gets minimum wage with no hope of a raise while the cooks get an actual hourly wage above the minimum wage. Part of the selling point of the job is that the tips are your compensation, and it is how you make money. It is the promise that you will likely more more than the others in the place, at the risk of not having a steady source of income form day to day. While the cooks get stability. A cook does better if they work many hours.

  73. says

    This is an issue of economic equality, but it is also a feminist issue. A disproportionate number of minimum-wage/sub-minimum-wage service type jobs are held by women. In NYS it’s over 60%. I reckon that figure is about the same throughout the nation.

  74. glodson says

    @ryanb

    It is bullshit. In a perfect world, it would work. I think. I know I did quite well for myself. But I was the exception, not the norm.

  75. says

    Haz: That does bring a question… Where do tips to a manager doing serving go? Legally, when they roll in at the till?

  76. ~G~ says

    Spent two years as a server in two large chain restaurants (cheap crappy place 3 months, nicer chain the rest of the time). This was around the same time as Josh- 1999-2000 and made $2.13. The first restaurant told me to only claim 7% of sales. At the second restaurant we made a decent hourly rate (~$15/hour) in tips and most of us claimed accurately because we did get a tiny vacation payment and for unemployment purposes.

    Because I claimed accurately, I never ever got a paycheck, only a stub. I also paid out some percentage of what I sold from the bar to the bar tender and maybe a couple bucks to bussers or something. The bar tip-out could be quite a lot on a busy Sat. night. In total sometimes I paid out $15.

    I liked the second place as far as that kind of abusive shitty job goes. It was unusually well managed, though. The real problem was lack of hours. Many would all try to pick up shifts but we weren’t allowed to get close to 40. Most people who had families worked at two or more restaurants in order to make enough. And I agree, the back of the house has it way worse. I’d never want to be a cook!

    I learned a lot about teamwork doing that and we treated one another like family. I met lots of wonderful people, many of them as intelligent as anyone I knew in my fancy college, but life had different hurdles for them so they served their whole lives. It reminded me of Billy Joel’s The Piano Man or Cheers. Everyone had their own reason for being there.

  77. =8)-DX says

    A good restaurant can be identified through its good cooking, service and the general style. I’ve learnt to pay what I expect as the result. As a European I’m still mystified by the US system: I want an everyday meal. I expect a general level of food, service etc. Tips are something extra, a pat on the back for great service, some % of my paycheck that goes to say thankyou. I almost always tip (sometimes before payday I’m short), but a waiter, cook (they getter good pay here), the kitchen staff, I assume they’re paid for their labours.

    If I ever go to the US I’m gonna enjoy good, cheap unhealthy food and tip well!

  78. ~G~ says

    Regarding not enough hours and families- There were a lot of pregnant women there, carrying around 15 pound trays as long as they could. One woman had to be forced to go home after she had labor pains because it was St. Patrick’s day and she was desperate to make more money. This was humbling to me. I didn’t have to be there but I was a FTL after getting my BA. So glad I did that instead of going right into an office job.

  79. Onamission5 says

    @ Whar Garbl#38–

    For someone making $2/hr and working at a lower end restaurant it might be better, for values of better where employers stealing from their employees is fine and dandy. It was also a better deal for some of the kitchen staff, like prep cooks and dishwashers. But in that state, waitstaff were paid minimum wage already and those tips still made up the bulk of their income, where during the “season” (read: when tourists come to town) a server could make as much as $150/night in tips. Living wage in that town, when I last lived there in the late 90′s, was $14/hr. So paying staff less than that was not enough to live on, and taking their tips was not only illegal but put many servers out of town because they couldn’t afford to live there any more, not in season, not in the off season. It was also perceived in some places as a reactionary measure to servers who complained about having to tip out the kitchen, which was “voluntary,” meaning you didn’t have to do it but if you didn’t you wouldn’t keep your job long, or complained about tip pools.

    It’s where I live now that servers are paid two bucks an hour. Even more disgraceful.

  80. says

    When I worked as a dishwasher (four restaurants) only one paid me non-tip wage, one paid only a training wage (a rolling forever training at which they’d fire you at the end of). I got some tip-share are two of them, but of course, that is based on whether the server would share it at all, no matter how much bussing or prep I did for them. You’d think they thought the tables and dishes sprang to life from magic, some of them. Another one of my friends, their manager took tips out (I never got a job where they did that) which meant some weeks, if the server didn’t share, he’d end up in the hole – but he held that for years, whereas I only would get a few weeks of work at a time, seasonal, at smaller restaurants. As a busses or server I never worked anywhere I wasn’t also the dishwasher, host, and cashier and so didn’t have anyone to share or pool tips with – not even a host. The best was delivering pizzas, but I did have to wash the pans there, too. But no way did tips ever cover insurance.

    But no, I still think the tip-pooling rules are BS. Kitchens should be open places. Yes, managers and owners shouldn’t stick their fingers in the till or the tips – I’ve seen them do the former, but never the latter; I didn’t get any managers that unscrupulous, but I’ve heard and seen it at other places.

    Which is why I won’t ever work in a restaurant again, despite liking to work retail with people.

  81. says

    Of course, maybe you think the server does more work than a line cook or the dishwasher who spent hours slavering over hot machines and pushing mops and placing garnishes. I don’t.

    You know, you’re really a fucking jerk sometimes.

    As it happens, I’ve worked quite a number of jobs in restaurants. Sometimes I’ve been a server, bus person, prep cook and dishwasher all in one shift. Pay being equal, hell yes I’d rather work as a dishwasher than a server. It’s easier, more straightforward, less liable to major fuckup, and you’re far less likely to have to interact with customers who think you don’t deserve your pay.

  82. says

    Err, the one that paid me training wage was a different one than the one that paid me flat minimum wage instead of the tipped-minimum. But aside from paying training wage on repeating cycle, I did get to do prep work instead of dishes, and once else. That was better than dishes, but it was tough because of nepotism: That job no matter what restaurant always seemed to go to someone’s brother or cousin.

  83. Ichthyic says

    It’s been interesting living in a country where servers really ARE paid at least minimum wage (usually above it), and there is no tip system at all (not even for delivery folk).

    took me a long time to get used to it, but having why it is this way explained to me repeatedly, I get it now.

    recently, because of the recession, some restaurants have taken to putting out a tip jar for waitstaff, but you are still expect not to tip your server individually. This system seems to work far more consistently, and in general I think most participating in it seem a bit happier than I recall back in the States. There’s no need for the song and dance, no need to kow-tow to badly behaving customers, and there’s never any temptation to apply subjective reasoning to how much you personally think you should leave someone as a “tip”. Feels more natural to me than it did in most restaurants back in CA. The only really big difference being that most of the time, you go and pay the bill at the front counter yourself, instead of a server doing that for you.

    overall, the whole system seems better to me, but it would take an entire generation to get something like that to work in the States I think.

  84. glodson says

    Pay being equal, hell yes I’d rather work as a dishwasher than a server. It’s easier, more straightforward, less liable to major fuckup, and you’re far less likely to have to interact with customers who think you don’t deserve your pay.

    This is why I became a line cook for a few years. Dealing with rude and condescending asshats wasn’t worth it. Even as a cook, the pay was lower than one would hope.

    But I can’t recount all the times I got fucked over by some jackass. At least in the kitchen, I didn’t have to worry about this. It was safe. And there was construction nearby which slowed the place down. When business picked up again, I went back out on the floor for the money.

  85. says

    Pay being equal, you’d rather be a dishwasher than a server?

    But hey pay isn’t equal, is it?

    I wouldn’t dishwash for equal pay at most of the places I worked.

  86. says

    So the server earning 2.13 an hour should share their money with the cook who is likely making around 10 to 12 dollars an hour?

    I don’t live in those states. Why should a server making $10 an hour share with a cook making $8 an hour in some states? This is also what you’re saying.

    Nowhere I actually worked was anyone but the head line cook or chef making more per hour than the servers, before tips.

    But I never worked anywhere that wasn’t on the west coast.

  87. Anthony K says

    They did not wash the floor or the seats.

    If you came into the pub in which I used to work Saturday opens, I sure as shit did. And if the kitchen got backed up, I washed the dishes too.

    Try to avoid saying things that are demonstrably wrong next time.

    That’s a tip, just for you.

  88. glodson says

    I don’t live in those states. Why should a server making $10 an hour share with a cook making $8 an hour in some states? This is also what you’re saying.

    Nowhere I actually worked was anyone but the head line cook or chef making more per hour than the servers, before tips.

    What I’m saying is that the pay rate of 2.13 an hour is the norm for this country. About half the states allow for this. Our tips were just that, our tips. We earned them by taking care of the customer. We worked our asses off, just like any other position. That’s our money, no one else is entitled to it.

    And that’s what the law says. We only are to tip out to other service positions, even in California. Bussers, bartenders, hosts, they work directly with tableside service.

    So people like me are “offended” that you can be so caviler about where our money comes form, and be so eager to give it to others.

  89. The Mellow Monkey says

    Chris Clarke

    As it happens, I’ve worked quite a number of jobs in restaurants. Sometimes I’ve been a server, bus person, prep cook and dishwasher all in one shift. Pay being equal, hell yes I’d rather work as a dishwasher than a server. It’s easier, more straightforward, less liable to major fuckup, and you’re far less likely to have to interact with customers who think you don’t deserve your pay.

    My experience has been similar to yours. I did everything there was to do in a restaurant, up to and including a management position. The physical labor of washing dishes (or cooking, or bussing) is flat out different from the emotional labor of serving. Yes, I might spend more calories washing dishes, but it was also a simple matter of following the steps exactly and pretty much always getting the exact same results. The same could never be said of customers.

    Emotional labor is taxing. At the same time, this form of labor is devalued (both socially as well as economically) and disproportionately falls upon women. It’s not just “being a cog in the machine.” There are specific demands that make emotional labor different from other jobs.

  90. glodson says

    If you came into the pub in which I used to work Saturday opens, I sure as shit did. And if the kitchen got backed up, I washed the dishes too.

    Not to mention the myriad of other tasks the servers had to do which other employees take for granted.

    Working in any position in a bar or restaurant can be tough work. We’re all underpaid and undervalued. When I was a server, I had to go out of my way to get things done, which included bringing kegs up from the back, helping out with dishes when we needed that done, cleaning spills, cleaning floors, all to try and ensure the place ran smoothly.

  91. Onamission5 says

    +1 to Chris @89. I have worked in restaurants for decades, and there’s a reason I prefer the kitchen to the floor. The work might be grubbier and sweatier and just as high pressure in the back, but yeah it’s straightforward, and the people are a lot less likely to be abusive (and that’s saying something, considering hello, woman in a restaurant kitchen/boy’s club). Customers can be mean. Like, really, really mean. It takes a certain kind of strength to deal with customers yelling at you because their food wasn’t right and then turn around and get yelled at by the chef* too, for bringing a plate back instead of magically forcing a customer to eat something they don’t want, and to be pressured to endure all of that shit with a smile and a flourish day in, day out, then get stiffed on tips to boot? Yipes, no thank you.

    *Pretty much I hate the whole front of house pitted against the back of the house bullshit. Both areas have their challenges and benefits, and the bullshit demeaning talk that comes out of the kitchen about the floor is based on so many sexist tropes it would be laughable if it wasn’t so divisive. <— another reason I prefer really small establishments to corporate ones, they tend to run more like a tightly knit family than two rival teams in a sport league.

    But I digress.

  92. Ichthyic says

    So people like me are “offended” that you can be so caviler about where our money comes form, and be so eager to give it to others.

    not criticizing, mind you, it’s just this reminds me of the line the ultra-rich give about why they don’t feel the need to pay the same tax rates they did before Reagan, and that anyone asking them to pay a higher share is a “communist liberal pinko”.

    makes me wonder if a lot of them say this because they DID in fact at least during one point in their lives, work quite hard for the money they earned, and it just carried over into the way they think permanently, regardless of the fact that they now “earn” so much money (through hard work, or even just sitting on their asses and letting their accounts do all the work) that one could make a legitimate hoarding accusation against some of them.

    makes me think twice about accusing them ALL of asinine privilege, at least.

  93. glodson says

    @Ichthyic

    I am sure they did work for it. Some of them. But there’s a difference, of course. One is trying to not pay taxes, and the other is an example of trying to get all their fair compensation from their bosses, on which they will still pay taxes.

    I don’t think we can accuse them all of the asinine privilege, but I think those that aren’t guilty of that have a blind spot in their reasoning. Which can amount to the same net effect.

  94. WharGarbl says

    @Ichthyic
    #91
    Coming from Taiwan (as with most of my relatives) some times ago, we got the reverse problem. It took us a while to figure out that we need to tip wait staffs.

    After being from Taiwan for so long, I no longer know, first hand, what it’s like now. But from what I know, you generally don’t tip wait-staffs in Taiwan, they’re paid just like any other staffs in the restaurant (subject to minimum wage laws, whether they’re livable wage is a different story). If you get bad services, you complain to the restaurant owners.

  95. jacobvfox says

    Restaurants go out of business at a higher rate than any other small business and many owners of individual restaurants are marginal at counting bucks and their beans. I put my way through college cooking in restaurants, and all, and I mean every one, of the wait staff made more money per hour than I did unless the restaurant was totally dead. I worked mainly in nice but not fancy restaurants and usually made 3-5 dollars over minimum wage. That said I’d prefer more of a European system of bigger pay and smaller tips, and I’m a good tipper who values and appreciates good wait staff and well prepared food. I also greatly admire a restaurant that does things well, keeps good staff and provides consistent quality food; it’s NOT easy! A good restaurant owner knows that his servers are one of the reasons customers come back and repeat customers are the only way most restaurants stay in business. Someday when I’m really impressed with a dinner (and feeling generous) I plan on buying a bottle of wine and having it sent back to the kitchen for the cooks to share because tipping is not for the food, it’s for the service!

  96. jacobvfox says

    Hmmm, #103 jacobvfox…, “his restaurant” assuming owners are always men are you? Toad.

  97. says

    Sorry, but I cannot and will not condone tipping under any circumstances. By tipping you are enabling the so called “employers” TO CONTINUE TO TREAT THEIR STAFF AS SLAVES.

    Tipping is an evil hangover from a less enlightened era and must be abolished forthwith.

    Perhaps we need ethical diners, who will only eat at establishments that proclaim they pay at or above the minimum wage. Tips could then return to their intent – an honorarium for a job done “over and above’; not the diner subsidizing the employers’ business costs.

    Pleased to live in a country where tipping is a reward, not the way a worker is paid.

  98. The Mellow Monkey says

    Perhaps we need ethical diners, who will only eat at establishments that proclaim they pay at or above the minimum wage.

    So…people patronizing Subway and McDonald’s?

    I don’t think you grasp how entrenched this is across the US. For most people, that would mean simply not visiting restaurants with waitstaff.

  99. The Mellow Monkey says

    For reference: Minimum wages for tipped employees.

    There aren’t a lot of states that require that much pay and the fact is, restaurants are only rarely going to pay more than they’re legally required. For the most part, they’ll artificially keep their prices down by paying employees as little as possible so that they can remain competitive against the other restaurants in their area.

  100. says

    Sorry, but I cannot and will not condone tipping under any circumstances.

    Who is “people I’m glad didn’t show up at the Jupiter meetup last month,” Alex?

  101. glodson says

    Sorry, but I cannot and will not condone tipping under any circumstances. By tipping you are enabling the so called “employers” TO CONTINUE TO TREAT THEIR STAFF AS SLAVES.

    I hope you don’t eat at restaurants. By eating out at a place where the employees need tips and not tipping, you are only hurting the employees. The restaurant gets your money, and your moral outrage only serves to hurt those serving you.

  102. carlie says

    Sorry, but I cannot and will not condone tipping under any circumstances. By tipping you are enabling the so called “employers” TO CONTINUE TO TREAT THEIR STAFF AS SLAVES.

    So you’re the type who would refuse on principle to leave a tip, grandly talking about how you are protesting the system, while in actuality all your actions do is leave an overworked waitperson with less money than they ought to have at the end of the night? Do us a favor and don’t ever visit the States, thanks.

    In the meantime, those of us who understand that in the US poverty is a dirty word, that the rich think that everyone has the money and social position they “deserve”, that nothing can or will be done legislatively to help the 95% of people under that $200k that politicians seem to think is an average middle-class income, will keep adding a few dollars to the total cost of the meal because we know that is the only decent thing to do.

  103. says

    For everybody outside the U.S. who’s gobsmacked at this state of affairs: It goes on in the U.S. because this is a Calvinist shithole full of people who are all too happy to live under a bridge and eat shit if there are at least some people who have neither a bridge to live under nor shit to eat.

    Oh, and as a bonus, I’ve seen people whining on a “progressive” forum that it’s “classism” to expect poor people to tip if they can just afford to go out to eat.

    Eric, #3:

    Restaurants are America’s sweatshops.

    Agricultural work is worse. Much worse. TW for death by hyperthermia and thirst.

    Crowepps, #28: Same here.

    Don Quijote, #24:

    If you are working as a waiter in England and expecting a tip, don’t hold your breath.

    No shit, Sherlock. Waiters get a living wage over there, so tips aren’t necessary.

    Mellow Monkey, #72: Co-signed.

    Crissa, #78:

    …And no, I don’t buy the argument of dehumanization. Because any position had that, as a cog in the machine.

    This is such “What about the [privileged people]?!” horseshit. I feel a lot less dehumanized as a cubicle worker interacting only with colleagues than I did having to put up with abusive, stingy assholes when I waitressed or answered phones.

    David “Googlemess” Brindley, #105: How fucking nice for you that you’re not the one being stiffed for the sake of someone else’s principles.

  104. says

    Uhh, no. Ms Daisy Cutter, if you read further I point out that for that job not only did I get the insults of the few patrons I met – because who wants to interact with the dishwasher? – I got paid less for it. Also pointed out above is the terrible crime of illegal employment in the backroom industry of food service. Undocumented immigrants are the privileged folk in your world? O-o

  105. Jessa says

    sc_mess @105:

    Tipping is an evil hangover from a less enlightened era and must be abolished forthwith.

    Perhaps we need ethical diners, who will only eat at establishments that proclaim they pay at or above the minimum wage. Tips could then return to their intent – an honorarium for a job done “over and above’; not the diner subsidizing the employers’ business costs.

    What an excellent idea, sc_mess! It should be no problem to organize a group of “ethical diners” with more organization, money, and lobbying power than the National Restaurant Association. Why didn’t we think of it before?

    Note: This post contains sarcasm.

  106. says

    Re: 95 Anthony K 14 March 2013 at 5:32 pm (UTC -5)

    Like I said, varies wildly from place to place. The only time any servers actually picked up a rag in the places I worked as a non-server was between customers. I washed the seats, the floors, the dishes, the pots and pans. In the biggest one, they had a specific staff for washing the dining room and floors in the kitchen. Cooks and servers were a completely different staff.

    But that may be culture variance; I’ve seen wildly different staffing across the country since. And I did work in a tourist-heavy area. That might have something to do with the exalted position of the servers where I worked as kitchen staff. I don’t know. Hey, let’s put down someone. Why? We don’t know, it’s just another reason to call someone an asshole for having a different experience.

    I still preferred pooled tips. And a living minimum wage that’s the same for everyone, tips or no.

  107. teele says

    “Of course, maybe you think the server does more work than a line cook or the dishwasher who spent hours slavering over hot machines and pushing mops and placing garnishes. I don’t.”

    Working the back of the house is grueling, hot, physical labor. Waiting tables is grueling, hot, physical work that is also mentally and emotionally draining. Most of the time, the server is getting grief from (some) customers AND the kitchen employees. The cooks have slips lined up in front of them to tell them what needs to be done; the server has to remember 8 or 10 tasks to perform, and who to perform them for, at any given time, and constantly re-prioritize. The dishwasher plugs into his music player and performs a repetitive routine that allows him to completely disengage mentally from his surroundings.

    “I find the ‘tips are earned by the server’ to be offensive. They did not earn it. They did not prepare the food to my specification. They didn’t wash the plates, which I appreciate. They did not wash the floor or the seats. And they may have not seated me, or processed my payment, etc, etc.”

    All servers are expected to do “side work” — often off the clock. Yes, they very likely DID wash (or vacuum) the floors; they wiped down all the seats, they refilled and cleaned the condiment containers, they made the coffee, cleaned the coffee-maker, and perhaps even cleaned the restrooms. In a burger joint, they probably put the coleslaw in the little plastic containers. In a more upscale place, they may be responsible for making the salads and heating the rolls. They don’t make your entree, but they try to accurately convey to the kitchen what you want, and if the cooks don’t do it to your specifications, they take it back and have to negotiate with underpaid, hot, angry people to try and get it right for you.

    Non-tippers are cheapsh*t sons-of-bitches, period. The tip is part of the price of the meal, and the ONLY part of the price you have any say-so over. Try negotiating the menu price with the owner/manager. If you can’t afford to tip, you can’t afford to eat at a sit-down restaurant. If you truly believe that tipping should be abolished on principle, you’d better start nagging your state legislators. When they pass laws that force restaurants to pay a decent minimum wage to tipped employees, THEN you can stop tipping. You still may not be able to afford to eat out, but you’ll know it up front. Of course, if you do decide you can afford to dine in a restaurant, you won’t be able to get away with being a jerk to the server. If he’s getting the same amount whether or not he kisses your behind, chances are good that he isn’t going to put up with any abuse.

    Twenty years ago, as a way of getting myself through college as a “non-traditional” (older) student, I waited tables for 4 years, mostly because of the flexible hours. The minimum wage for servers in Michigan at that time was $2.52/hours. Of course, things have changed since then — it’s all the way up to $2.65/hour now.. after twenty fricking years. I absolutely do not believe that any “non-tipper on principle” would be willing to do any kind of work whatsoever with no guarantee of making more than that.

  108. Jessa says

    teele:

    Great comment, but:

    sons-of-bitches

    Use of the word “bitch” is frowned upon here, as are other gendered slurs. There are many creative insults out there that don’t have the same splash damage.

  109. says

    I’ve never worked in a restaurant. To be honest, I’m shit at rush times. I slow down, screw up… I fail miserably under pressure. I know this working in fast food and catering. I never got paid under the minimum wage, though.

    I [i]always[/i] tip at [i]least[/i] 20%, unless the waiter or waitress is just a complete uncaring asshole, which I very rarely get (even at Waffle House, believe it or not, the three times I’ve eaten there in my life).

    Recently, though, I was out with my frat at a local pub. Those servers (all women) make $2.50 an hour. It was a packed pub that night and they were badly short-staffed (only four waitresses when they needed at least six). It was also inspection night for the place (they did well, considering). Most of us knew that, but one guy decided to be an asshole to the waitress anyways because she took a little too long to bring out his onion rings, which had cooled down a bit (she had been yelled at by another table just before because they honestly didn’t think she was walking fast enough… that table was the reason she didn’t get to the onion rings fast enough). So I basically yelled at him and never gave him a chance to defend himself. He actually shut up and didn’t talk the rest of the night.

    I tipped our waitress 110% (yes, over my actual bill… it cut in to my budget for gas quite a bit, but it was worth it), and found out the next day that almost everyone else who was with us tipped her between 75% and 100%, while the guy I yelled at tipped her 100%, too. Now I’ve heard that such big tips are usually frowned upon, but this was, I think, a special case. He had nearly brought her to tears before I went after him, and not for anything she did… and she was already nearly in tears because of the other table.

    I really hate going to restaurants when they’re busy, because I don’t want to add to an already shitty burden the workers have, and because I [i]know[/i] shit will hit the fan… it nearly always does. And in many cases, the waitstaff isn’t entirely (or even at all) to blame for how slow things are. Yet people treat them like slaves anyways. It makes me sick. And it isn’t fair. Restaurants should have to pay their staff at [i]least[/i] minimum wage. How the hell did restaurants ever get exempt from the minimum wage in the first place, and why the hell has the government not done something about it?

  110. funkydebunker says

    Recovering chef here (after 25 years in the biz): The idea of under tipping or not tipping has always horrified me. It is not only thoughtlessly rude, but it is stealing. Not cool. I used to feel oppressed when I heard the floor staff brag about how great the tips were on a good night. However, as a back of the house worker I could count on a regular paycheck, and could budget for bills. It must suck to not know from day to day how much money you are going to take home. The only time I got the benefit of tip pooling was when I worked at a fly in fishing resort. The tips were great, and I received my share once a month. A bit off topic this, but if you think you have seen nasty stuff in the restaurant biz (been there, done that), you would be utterly shocked and repulsed by what I have seen in oil field and industrial catering. Suffice to say that it took me many years after getting out before I could enjoy going to a restaurant again. One final thing: I have noticed that working class people tip better than rich folks. Why is that I wonder?

  111. Erik Jensen says

    Why all this patting yourself on the back over how good of a tipper you are? Just tip fairly and don’t be a jerk to the staff. I say this as someone who worked as a server for several years. I only got stiffed maybe twice, ever. I dealt with jerks maybe once a month. I got paid plenty, though I did work in a state without a “sub-minimum” wage. Sure, the people who tipped 10% no matter what came across as a bit tight-fisted, but life went on. People in the back worked just as hard for less money.

    I think a lot of this depends on the situation as there is so much variation in the business. A server at a pancake house in Delaware probably does deserve some pity, a fat tip, and some better legislation. A server at a high end restaurant or a bartender pouring beer non-stop can easily make a middle class wage, so I’m not going to worry about them.

  112. says

    Sorry, funkdebunker, not tipping is not “stealing”.

    The theft is the employer not paying a fair wage to the staff. The only thing a worker has to sell is his labour, and when the employer pays less than the value of that labour, the employer is stealing!

    Why should waiters be forced to beg for a decent wage?

    Why don’t we pay lawyers $2.50 an hour plus tips? Or teachers? makes as much sense.

    All work is valuable, all people are valuable and are entitled to be paid a fair wage for their time and efforts.

    Waiters should be like all other workers – employees, not mendicants.

  113. HazyJay says

    Haz: That does bring a question… Where do tips to a manager doing serving go? Legally, when they roll in at the till?

    Legally? They go to the store when I am clocked in as a manager. There are only two times I get tipped when I am running the floor, when someone orders curbside and the take-away person is running late so I have to cover or some server has made such a mess of a table that I have to step in and take over. In the first instance the tip goes into the nightly deposit as a cash overage. In the second instance I pull the server to the side at the end of the night, hand over the tip, and figure out what went wrong and what we can do to prevent that from happening again.

    When I am clocked in as a server I don’t perform managerial functions. It drives my current bosses crazy when I say nothing to my co-workers when they are on their cell phones or clustered up at the host stand on my serving shifts.

  114. glodson says

    Sorry, funkdebunker, not tipping is not “stealing”.

    So, when you don’t tip me out of your desire to crusade for my benefit, you get my service without paying for it, and I still get to tip out the 3%(typically) to the tip pool for bussers, bartenders, and hostess(as the case may be). Good to know. Because I would hate to think you were withholding the money I count on for a bad reason.

    Why should waiters be forced to beg for a decent wage?

    Why don’t we pay lawyers $2.50 an hour plus tips? Or teachers? makes as much sense.

    The tip should be a bonus. That’s true. That’s what it should be. But by eating out and not tipping, you are not getting your point across. You are just letting servers who are working suffer for your cause. That’s pretty fucked up.

    All work is valuable, all people are valuable and are entitled to be paid a fair wage for their time and efforts.

    Waiters should be like all other workers – employees, not mendicants.

    Yes. That’s true. But you don’t make the changes by rewarding the restaurant but not tipping. The restaurant doesn’t care. I’ve had a few managers that actually took care of their servers, though. I’ve had a few bosses that worked hard to take care of all their employees. It happens. But they are working within the confines of this system that is not easily broken.

    You are trying to fix the problem by affecting the people at the bottom rung of the ladder. If you are going to eat out, take care of your server. If you really want to make a change, you need to organize and try to have an effect through some sort of legislation. Which is already an uphill battle, but it works much better than not tipping.

  115. glodson says

    @mouthyb

    I’ll have to check it out. My experience in the church, a kid and teen in the late 80′s and early 90′s might have been different.

    Scratch that, I’m certain it was different. Being a male, I’m sure some of those issues slid off of me. The other part is that I really would zone out whenever things got boring. So… that was must of the time in Sunday School and even during sermons.

    I missed my shot at explaining why I’m an atheist. That might have been fun to explore and really nail down where it came from. I am rather sure I was one long before I admitted it to myself. Much like my being a feminist. I’m pretty sure that happened well before I actually acknowledged it to myself.

  116. Ichthyic says

    Because I would hate to think you were withholding the money I count on for a bad reason.

    FWIW, Sc_mess lives in a tiny rural town in New Zealand.

    not only do they not appreciate the background and history of the problem in the States, they simply can’t.

    I don’t think he means harm or insult.

  117. glodson says

    Harm might not be intended, but if one is going to talk about this problem in the states, one has responsibility to understand that people have to deal with this reality directly.

    Perhaps I was being a bit harsh in my responses, but I’ve heard rationalizations for not tipping before. Rationalizations that meant I didn’t make the money I needed to that night. Other like me who have worked in the industry tend to get touchy about this as it is a reality we face.

    In some ways, I got lucky as a male server. I only had to worry about poor tips. Women often had to deal with other problems in the industry.

  118. Rabid says

    I often catch a lot of shit from people for espousing my belief that tipping culture is patently fucking stupid. Not in the sense that it’s stupid because I don’t want to tip, but purely because it is S T U P I D. As a denizen of the UK I cannot even fathom how ridiculous it would be to have to count on purely on the mood, whim an good will of the public in order to get paid a decent wage.

    All I see are horror stories from wait staff on the wages they make and how much they get stiffed, yet when I make it clear I find the whole system dumb as a bag of hammers, someone jumps in and defends it and insists they make loads of money. All I’m left thinking is “how many people get shit on compared to you”?

    It literally boggles my mind to see people who think this is a good thing. Insanity.

  119. carlie says

    Of the people who have been servers, how many have gotten the piece of shit “here’s a tip for you” tracts without a real tip?

  120. glodson says

    @ carlie

    You mean like these?

    I’ve gotten them. Not by themselves, but hidden in a pittance of a tip. I’ve known a few servers who have only gotten on.

    Generally, I find that people who leave these, and others, tip less. I guess they see tipping me Jesus as making up for the missing 10%.

    I’ve also gotten Bibles, and other less obnoxious tracts than the ones I linked to.

  121. says

    No one comments on my tipping scheme. Ohwell.

    I don’t worry that I’m over-tipping where I live because it’s rare to not have pooled tips, and it’s frickin’ expensive to live out here. Which is why I came up with the bright idea to tips the same at the dive joint as I would in the expensive place; they both often have dress codes and the same hard work, so… Why should I tip less just because my meal cost less to produce? Half of the markup is usually the cost of the food out here, anyhow.

  122. says

    I’ve seen ‘em, but I never got them. I collected complaints, tho. I’ve seen those tracts on the street (literally, litter in the street) and I’ve been sorta sure I knew who dropped it, but never exactly sure. Pisses me off that some jerks would do that. Even doubly so that it’s more common in a tip-wage state. Ugh.

  123. thedude says

    I never tip, but I don’t live in a third world country where it is impossible to live on the minimum wage.

  124. says

    @Daisy #111

    As a server who currently works in the UK while supporting myself through university I would like to clarify we make MINIMUM wage which is £6.18ph. This is different from the LIVING wage which is £7.45 (I think) except in London where it is a pound higher. So servers here are not earning a living wage, we still rely on tips which fall between 5-10% of the total bill. Granted, we do not rely on them to quite the same extent as our colleagues in the US but do not be so quick to think the UK is some sort of paradise for hospitality staff, it is not.

    And I work in an incredibly posh restaurant and still earn min wage (and we pool tips, they are split equally between everyone from the managers to the KP – drives me mad!)

  125. Doug Hudson says

    Discussions of tipping (in the United States) are an easy way to identify douchebags.

    Ever seen Reservoir Dogs? Remember Mr. Pink’s rant about tipping? He’s a douchebag. Don’t be like him.

    Always tip your waiter, in cash if you have it.

  126. thumper1990 says

    OK, I didn’t finish the article because it made me angry, but I have a question: How the fuck can it be possible for someone to be paid less than minimum wage? Does the US have a different definition of “minimum wage” than the rest of the world? Because the term seems fairly fucking self-explanatory to me. Surely this is illegal?

  127. thumper1990 says

    @thedude

    I never tip, but I don’t live in a third world country where it is impossible to live on the minimum wage.

    Try living in London on minimum wage. Go on, I dare you. You fucking arsehole.

  128. thumper1990 says

    @moarscienceplz #14

    federal law allows states to deduct up to $5.12 per hour from the minimum wage for workers who earn more than $30 in tips per month.

    Seriously? That’s how they get away with it? This shit is written into Federal law? WTF? Again, does “minimum wage” have a different definition in the US? Fucking minimum, it’s not complicated. You can’t just say “Well, this is the lowest amount you can pay someone, any less would be inhumane… unless of course they earn X arbitrary amount in tipes, in which case you are perfectly within your rights to deduct way more than the value of the tip from their monthly wage! Makes perfect sense!”. It makes no fucking sense.

  129. glodson says

    I never tip, but I don’t live in a third world country where it is impossible to live on the minimum wage.

    Ah, so you are an asshole that thinks that my service comes free and I can live off the 2.13 an hour that I’m paid? Are you up front and honest about this when you eat out?

    If you don’t live in the States, that’s one thing. But then why are you blindly commenting on a story about how servers in the US get paid if that’s the case?

  130. Esteleth, stupid fucking starchild Tolkien worshiping douche says

    Maxhannan, a few minutes with Google informs me that $2.13 is equivalent to £1.41.

    Chew on that. That is how bad the situation is here in the US.

  131. Esteleth, stupid fucking starchild Tolkien worshiping douche says

    The wage situation is actually built into the price of food here. So, if you’re at a sitdown restaurant with waitstaff, and you see that the dish you want costs $14.99, realize that if the restaurant wasn’t able to pay sub-minimum wage, this dish would cost at least $16.49. If not $17.63 or $19.14.

    So someone can walk in, look at the menu, and say, “oh, $14.99 is a good price” and pay it cheerfully. But it is “worth” $17.63, and the difference is made up in the wages of the wait staff.

  132. Pteryxx says

    But you don’t make the changes by rewarding the restaurant but not tipping. The restaurant doesn’t care. I’ve had a few managers that actually took care of their servers, though. I’ve had a few bosses that worked hard to take care of all their employees. It happens. But they are working within the confines of this system that is not easily broken.

    ^ This. Along with organizing and pushing for legislation (federal, state, and city are all good targets) I suggest letting the management know you as a customer are watching. I flat-out ask my servers if they’re allowed to take tips, or if they have to share them, and I tell the manager that it’s a factor in whether I come back or recommend their restaurant to my volunteer groups and organizations. Same for customer surveys, if the place uses them. When they host sports teams or student groups, that can mean some significant customer exposure.

  133. feministdalek says

    Late to the party, but I just thought I’d throw in my story.

    Been a server for several years; the last place I worked at consistently and treated me fairly was a few years ago back in undergrad.

    I worked at a small business – maybe 15-20 tables in the restaurant, plus some counter space that was less popular to sit at. My responsibilities included hosting, bussing, prep work for sides, sauces, and salads, stocking, making drinks (boba teas – at my fastest, it took 2-3 minutes per drink) and any random task given to me by the owner or kitchen manager. I often worked alone, and the variance in the business was torture.

    The whole system is just ripe for abuse, even when, as in my experience, my boss was a very good-hearted individual with no malice toward her employees. But still, you run the risk of walking away with a $20 bill after a five hour shift if you have the bad luck to be there on a super quiet day. Now, granted, legally, employers are supposed to compensate servers if they make less than the minimum wage, but it was something that neither I nor my fellow servers ever saw followed through with.

    On the other hand, it could get REALLY REALLY busy and then you’re the only server in the restaurant; I was a victim of no-call, no-shows a couple of Saturdays and wound up WORSE off because I couldn’t keep up with the volume of customers coming in, and my tips from almost ALL tables suffered. Luckily, I had a great relationship with the kitchen staff, and would just as quickly help them out with cooking and prep work as they would help ME with refilling drinks/seating customers/etc when it just got so out of hand I could not keep up.

    Additionally, it was a pho restaurant and 99% of the menu was less than $10. Most customers ordered soup and water, so you’re looking at a 10-15% tip on a $7-8 bill.

    Even more additionally, a really large portion of our customer based relied on the huge population of Korean/Japanese/Indonesian international students who had very different expectations for servers, since it seems that tipping is less common in their home countries (this was also a common complaint of several acquaintances that worked in hookah bars). I was regularly stiffed, tipped by rounding up to the nearest dollar, or merely pocket change. I was often snapped or whistled at to get my attention, which was pretty demeaning and frustrating in the face of those teeny tiny tips.

    And I LOVED that job. My coworkers were great, the staff was small and tight knit…it’s hard to come to terms with the idea that that restaurant is a BEST CASE scenario.

    The last restaurant I worked at required me to be hostess, server, bartender, prep cook, and dishwasher. I never received a break – not even for food – and rarely took bathroom breaks. Any “mistake” would get you into some straight-up lectures from the owner/chef about your work ethic – I forgot a drink for one table early in my “training” (if it can be called that, since there was no formal training program beyond “shadow a server for one day and dump them in”), and got a 5 minute lecture about what a crappy teacher I was going to be.

    Run a plate through the dishwasher that has one piece of stuck-on lettuce? WHAT ARE YOU DOING WASTING WATER THIS IS EXPENSIVE. Have a couple of minutes of wait on a hot drink while you’re being lectured? WHERE ARE YOUR PRIORITIES YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE A PROFESSIONAL. The owner would criticize us for walking too slowly, or talking with other employees because we “weren’t being paid to socialize”.

    I finally broke down one night and quit, after having worked there for a month without ever receiving a schedule beyond “come in tomorrow night and we’ll talk about it”.

    I never received a paycheck.

    They played KLOVE (Christian praise and worship) 24/7 in the back kitchen.

    Yeah, so go ahead and tell me how easy it is to be a server. Or how I should take my $20 bill and lawyer up with all the cash I’m raking in so I can legally address my issues.

    Serving is a hellhole, maybe only equaled by freelance contracting in it’s lack of predictability and structurally screwing over workers.

  134. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    Ugh …

    In Ontario the general minimum wage (that is the minimum wage for anyone who isn’t a student under the age of 18 or a liquor server) in any industry that isn’t Hunting and Fishing or Homeworker is $10.25 an hour.

    I’m always disturbed by discussions about the minimum wage for hospitality services, restaurants in particular, in the States.

    A number of things always strike me:

    1) Americans don’t have basic health insurance and, even with the ‘Obamacare’, it’s nothing at all like what an Ontarian’s taxed for and provided by the Province.

    2) There is no expectation that your employer will provide extended health care. Most chain restaurants, and a good deal of independent restaurants offer extended health care buy-ins in Ontario. That doesn’t seem to be nearly as common nor, expected, of American restaurateurs.

    3) $2.13 isn’t a living wage. That’s perpetual poverty and living on the verge of homelessness, if not actually living homeless.

    4) Discussions eventually bring up tipping, which is silly. It’s obvious that the wage isn’t supporting the life of any given individual, so tipping would seem to be prudent, if only out of empathy. I certainly find that a disgusting necessity, since it makes tipping a way to coerce a server into debasing themselves rather than a way to express gratitude. However, just because my reality and the reality of servers in Ontario don’t reflect that of others doesn’t mean I’m not going to tip the generally safe 15%.

    (Never mind the fact that Canadians are known to be poor tippers nationally and internationally. Believe it or not, Canadians have the ability to be as ignorant of certain things when travelling abroad as anyone else, and we’re lax, I guess at home too. But, having had to earn a living while attending university, I can at least say that, without tips, and while not comfortable, ~$15,000 a year was still something I could live on. In any case, I always check what the culture of tipping is before I travel and I make a handy debit card-sized cheat sheet for conversion to make it easier to tip appropriately. That seems obvious, but it apparently, really isn’t.)

    6) Tips can be taxed! That’s fucking awful.

    7) Complicated and unjustifiably miserly laws surround taxation and compensation. To the extent that it’s apparently possible not to earn pay while working or by working.

    That’s in stark comparison to taxation in Ontario, federally and provincially. I actually have my tax forms in front of me right now (I still do them on dead trees), so I don’t even need to rely on memory to tell you that a person making less than $20,000 pays no Ontario Health Premium and that if their wages were taxed as the guidelines dictate would definitely get a reimbursement, never mind all the possible health claims and non-refundable tax credits they could claim against their income. None of which is to say that the situation is good for the working poor in Ontario, but that, and there are numbers to show exactly this, the situation is nowhere near as dire nor life-threatening as it is for the working poor of America.

    Hmm …to sum that up …Ugh! I’m always disturbed by discussions about the minimum wage for hospitality services, restaurants in particular, in the States.

  135. Don Quijote says

    Ms Daissy Cutter’s reply to me @111 is the funniest thing I’ve read all day. Methinks somebody hasn’t got the foggiest about how much it costs to live and work in London. And, of course, with an attitude like that waiters don’t need tips because, you know, they get a living wage.

  136. gussnarp says

    In all this damned arguing one could easily lose sight of the larger, and smaller points.

    The larger: Just about everybody who works in food service in the United States is getting fucked.
    The smaller: Lynns’ Paradise Cafe, and apparently other places, was engaging in illegal practices that were making things even worse for the servers.

    I’ve eaten at Lynn’s. I thought it was a great place. But I also got the impression that they weren’t exactly paying anyone well. I was sad when I learned it had closed, until I learned how they were treating their employees.

    Oh, and if you’re in a place (almost all of the United States) where servers are getting less than minimum wage, tip twenty percent minimum.

  137. cactuswren says

    For an idea of what serving is actually like, read the section “Serving in Florida” in Barbara Ehrenreich’s book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. It’s a vivid description of “tossing back drugstore-brand ibuprofens as if they were vitamin C” just to get through her shift;
    of six- to eight-hour shifts in which “you never sit down except to pee”;
    of stuffing paper napkins into her pockets before using the washroom because it’s always out of either toilet paper, soap, or paper towels (and this in a nationwide chain where, as she explains, “… hands are utensils here, used for scooping up lettuce onto the salad plates, lifting out pie slices, and even moving hash browns from one plate to another”);
    of dealing with the customers (“The worst, for some reason, are the Visible Christians — like the ten-person table, all jolly and sanctified after Sunday night service, who run me mercilessly and then leave me $1 on a $92 bill”);
    of being told at the end of her shift that before she leaves she’s to roll fifty sets of flatware and oh, just mix up another four-gallon batch of blue-cheese dressing (these last are counted in the “side work” teele mentioned @115);
    of desperately searching, during slow times, for something visible to do (“I wipe, I clean, I consolidate catsup bottles and recheck the cheesecake supply”) because if the manager-on-duty (who’s allowed to sit down all zie likes) catches her sitting down or even not looking busy enough, zie’ll assign some task such as “vacuum{ing} the entire floor with the broken vacuum cleaner, which has a handle only two feet long, and the only way to do that without incurring orthopedic damage is to proceed from spot to spot on your knees”.

  138. ck says

    The tip is part of the price of the meal, and the ONLY part of the price you have any say-so over.

    That first part is simply not true, and that’s the entire problem. You’re confusing a “should” or “ought” with an “is”. The entire problem of capricious or non-tipping customers would be eliminated if the menu flatly stated that a minimum gratuity of 15% will be added to your bill. As it stands, this sub-minimum wage thing is basically a subsidy for restaurants with the burden shifted onto the restaurant’s employees.

  139. Ichthyic says

    , this sub-minimum wage thing is basically a subsidy for restaurants with the burden shifted onto the restaurant’s employees.

    exactly.

  140. Ichthyic says

    Just about everybody who works in food service in the United States is getting fucked.

    not much of a stretch, really.

    might even work to remove the “United States” part too.

  141. Ichthyic says

    I never tip, but I don’t live in a third world country

    yes, you do, you just don’t realize it.

    the rich days of the Western World are simply over; put whatever face on it you like, but we sold off most of our assets and any goodwill we had built up since the end of WWII.

    and apparently were happy to do it.

    weird.

  142. says

    I can’t make it through this entire thread before commenting. Harvardmba angered me enough, but that was a drive by troll.

    I mean this with all the sincerity I have to offer:
    Crissa-you are a snotty, inconsiderate, insensitive jerk. Fuck you for shitting on servers or barstaff who LITERALLY SERVE YOU. I hope I never read anything from you again.

    I have not been this mad at someone in a while. I am nearly in tears.

    You can’t buy ‘being dehumanized’?
    Great.
    I am so glad you never got treated like shit by a guest who thought you were the help.

    You fucking make me sick.

  143. thedude says

    @thumper1990

    It is not common to tip where I live, besides the minimum wage in the restaurant business is equivalent to 21 USD/hour. As for your verbal abuse, you can stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.

  144. thedude says

    @glodson

    I didn’t notice any signs saying “US citizens only”. Why shouldn’t people from other parts of the world comment on posts about labour conditions in the US? Is it “Un-American” to know what happens abroad? You might be interested to know that the minimum wage in the restaurant business here in Norway is approximately 10 times what you made. For unqualified labor. It is slightly higher if you are qualified. I think that it is barbaric to pay workers so little that they are dependent on the good-will of the customers. It is also false marketing if a business advertises a meal for $10, and the customers have to pay $12 including tip.