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Are you planning to go out to eat today?

We did. My wife and I went out to Mi Mexico in Alexandria for a celebratory lunch (she has put up with me for 34 years! Yay!). It was very good — they have a vegetarian menu and prices were reasonable.

But just before I left, I was reading this terrible site, Sundays Are the Worst, which has a huge collection of stories from restaurant waitstaff about serving the Sunday-after-church crowd. You know where this is going: appallingly rude Christians stiffing people right and left. And then we went to a restaurant.

I think I over-tipped. I felt like I had to compensate for Jesus’ selfish followers.

Comments

  1. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I have tipped less than 10% maybe twice in the last 15 years. It only happens when service isn’t bad – my server is horribly offensive. Still I don’t tip zero, but I don’t want servers to think that they can make anti-trans jokes to me with impunity, and that’s the mechanism I’ve got for feedback.

    Other than that, I think I haven’t tipped less than 17% more than 2 other occasions in that whole time. There was a time when I was really poor and rarely ate out, and when I did I skated 15%, sometimes giving as low as 12% if I thought service was poor, but not outrageously offensive. I don’t do that anymore, and I’ve been through some money-difficult times since. It was a combo of poor and young/inexperienced/economically naive. For those first few years on my own I treated 15% as the standard tip for standard service. Now I treat it as a hard floor, not to be given unless outrageous offense is dished out with the food or I suddenly find myself with less money than I thought and I am scraping pennies out of my purse. And still, I keep scraping to get 16.67% or more or I’m red in the face.

    On a larger bill, I feel more comfortable with 18-19%. On small bills, giving 25%+ is common. I’m known too many people living on servers wages to do anything else.

  2. says

    Back in my theist days, it was customary for the pastor and his circle to go out for lunch. His partner (this was an MCC, gay pastor and all) had worked for many years as a waiter. Both would get downright cranky if they learned than anyone in the flock was not leaving AT LEAST 15% of the with-tax total as a tip. I remember several times when he worked it into sermons, from allegorical “give back to those who have given to you” to flat-out “it is part of their wage, and the Bible is VERY clear about what God thinks of people who hold back pay.”

    It’s a pity that there are so few clergy like him.

  3. says

    Yeah, I gave a bit over 25%. We’re not hurting, unlike so many other people, we can afford to kick in a little extra.

  4. says

    @Crip Dyke #1 – The rule of thumb my step-father taught me was 15% if the napkins are paper, 20% if they’re cloth.

    I always tip, but I’m glad I live in a state where waitstaff aren’t held hostage by the whims of customers. Washington is one the few (four, I think) states without a server wage: everyone gets paid at least the standard minimum. And because we were the first state to tie minimum wage to increases in the Consumer Price Index, we have the highest minimum in the United States, currently $9.32 an hour.

  5. david says

    “15% if the napkins are paper, 20% if they’re cloth.”

    I would go the other way around. It’s just as much work for the server in a lower-priced restaurant. Also I agree with others here – my average tip is 20%.

  6. carlie says

    I don’t even understand the hand-wringing and penny pinching some people do over the exact percentage to tip (I know a few people like this). Let’s say you’ve got a final bill of $60 at a meal – the difference between a standard 15% tip and a good 20% tip is $3. And when you’ve already spent $60 on dinner, what more is an extra $3 going to hurt? Throw it in, the server’s happy, you feel generous, everybody’s a winner. Yet some people would rather not. I don’t get it. When in doubt, or when the amount’s weird, an extra buck isn’t going to kill anybody who is already well-off enough to be eating out in the first place.

  7. Anders says

    Tipping is a screwed up system, it is in fact, not a system at all, and it favors people who don’t give a fuck about people working in a tips-based job. I don’t really have an answer, because the whole non-system is now so worked in that not tipping on principle is just mean to the waiters/staff. In Norway, tipping is somewhat new, here, the tip is expected to be in the 10% / optional range, but I suspect its going to get worse (ie lower wages and more expected tips). The term comes from To Insure Proper Service, and was originally expected to be given before service, which would make somewhat more sense. Its a class-based “system” that doesn’t work, and leaves both parties in an awkward situation (I find being served dinner for money awkward to begin with)
    Not enough tips: You’re cheap and the waiter hates you.
    Too much tips: You’re insulting and the waiter hates you(but is happier)
    Just right? youll never know, and the waiter.. happy.. but still on a crap pay..?.
    Its a lose-lose deal as far as I can tell.

  8. Anders says

    Not to mention the whole travelling problem, where you have to figure out how much tips is expected in every little corner of the world you find yourself in, lest you more easily fall into any of the above traps.

  9. Anders says

    Worse still, there is no real feedback, say you are a lousy tipper, and its just because you are ignorant of the local customs: no way to tell! even if you return to the same waiter, their job description requires them to give you proper service, and it all comes down to judging hints, faces, and the missing “extra” care or whatever. aaargh!. Just thinking about it makes me never want to dine out again.

  10. Alverant says

    #3 we can afford to kick in a little extra

    This! This! 1000x this!

    There is no reason not to tip will. If you can’t afford the extra buck or two, then you shouldn’t go out at all. My rule of thumb is $1/$5 of the total bill rounded up then round up to the nearest dollar. I don’t work out exactly how much the tip is for that line in the check in case I make a mistake. I just write the total amount in the right space.

    It pays off too, there’s this one restaurant I only go to a few times a year (it’s a Brazilian steak house so it’s expensive and you’ll have enough meat to last you a week or more), but I make sure to tip well and write a small note at the bottom of the check complimenting them. And you know what, they remember me. They know I like lamb and I don’t take seconds on the side dishes because I won’t finish them. These are people handling your food. You want to cultivate a good relationship with them as a customer.

    I’m also speaking as a solo diner, I’m not sure if it’s different for groups.

  11. mmLilje says

    Ate out at the Vietnamese café around the corner today (which is about five hours ago). Tipping culture in Norway, at least in the non-posh places, is usually of the ’round up to the nearest round number then add 10 NOK (about 1 dollar 50) on top of it’ type so in my case the tip ended up around 8% — the notion that you *have* to tip at a certain threshold is a kind of alien concept around here, and some cafés (especially the Turkish ones in my district) don’t even expect it since most people pay with cards nowadays.

  12. Alverant says

    #7 how is tipping too much insulting?

    As for a solution I think it’s simple. Pay them a good wage and eliminate tipping completely. If they did a good job, go back. Learn their names and ask to be put in their section if they’re working that shift. If no one wants to be in a certain section then you know there’s a problem.

  13. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Whenever we ate out at one of the local “family” restaurants, where the meal included soup, salad, entree, and desert, along with a take-home carton, I usually tipped a fiver for about $20 worth of food. The wait-staff hustled to earn their meager salary, and were usually cheerful and helpful. A little extra showed their effort wasn’t for naught.
    Sadly, a number of those places aren’t very handicapped friendly.

  14. carlie says

    The other thing a lot of people don’t realize about tipping in the US: servers are taxed based on the amount the government assumes they get in tips. They are allowed to keep track of the actual amount they get to be taxed on instead, but that requires the cooperation of the employer (who has to verify the amounts), and many restaurants refuse to do so and force the servers to take the government standard amount. (see IRS instructions here, specifically under “allocated tips”). If the actual tips received is less than the allocated, too bad, you still pay taxes on the allocated amount. So they get hit both by not getting the tip wage and by paying taxes on that nonexistent money. The US is entirely screwed up when it comes to service jobs.

  15. es0tericcha0s says

    @Alverant – You think restaurants are just going to up and multiply servers wages 4 – 6 times and it not be reflected in your bill? It would be a whole new round of complaints from the cheap asses. Most restaurants would rather deal with grumpy waitstaff vs pissy customers.

  16. carlie says

    Plus, at a lot of places the tips are required to be split with the back of house employees (even though they make more than the servers on base), so out of that $5-10 you are giving your server, they may only get to keep $2 or so of it.

  17. nich says

    Remember, just because that kids meal came free with your gut-bomb and fries doesn’t mean it wasn’t served to Junior. Tip accordingly.

    Breakfast and lunch bills can be so low that the standard 20 percent is chump change. Tip accordingly.

    Those bags of nicely arranged boxes and plastic-ware and sauce packets and napkins didn’t just pack themselves and (often) carry themselves out to your car. Tip accordingly.

  18. Vicki, duly vaccinated tool of the feminist conspiracy says

    Yes, tip reasonably well unless there’s a specific reason not to—even if you live n Washington, where the waitstaff aren’t as dependent on tips as they would be in most of the United States—but I strongly disagree with Alverant’s “If you can’t afford the extra buck or two, then you shouldn’t go out at all.” Or even the related “if you can’t afford to tip generously by my standards, you should get fast food, not something with waiter service.” If you pressure people into not eating out because they can’t afford to tip as generously as you think they should, that doesn’t benefit them, and it doesn’t benefit the server who they aren’t tipping at all because they stayed home. We’re not talking about stiffing the waitstaff, we’re talking about someone who is trying to make ends meet, wanting to go out for a meal once in a while.

  19. kimberlyherbert says

    I often eat out on my own on Saturday or Sunday while doing errands. Personal rules
    1. $5 is my minimum tip

    2. After that always tip at least 20%

    3. If I see staff being abused I make sure management knows about the abusive behavior and I expect them to do something to stop it.

    4. Call ahead about food allergies. Don’t try and get a good answer in the middle of the rush at best things get confused and worse people lie because they don’t get the I can die if I touch much less eat peanuts isn’t all in my head.

    5. Lie to me about peanut content – I do NOT pay the bill and the restaurant WILL be paying for the ER trip.

  20. says

    Anecdotal, but in my experience working at restaurants, Sundays were without a doubt the worst day to work. The site is spot-on that the church crowd is the worst to deal with. Rude, entitled, and very cheap. It was far worse back when I actually went to church, though, and got stuck with Sunday shifts to cover it. Take the normal bad behavior and add on that they’re actually worse to you when they know you “skipped” church in order to head to your shitty-paying restaurant job to wait on them.

    After all, you’re should be in church and all pious, etc. Never could quite figure out who they expected to work at the restaurants to wait on them if no one should have been there…

  21. twas brillig (stevem) says

    To be nasty; I’ll just say, “If you don’t like the concept of ‘tipping’, then, move to Japan!!!” Japan forbids tipping waitstaff and they will be insulted if you even offer to tip. /nasty
    Please, think of the euphemism for “tipping”, which is “gratuity”, as what it really is. It is not *payment* for good service; it is *thanks* for polite service.
    Don’t worry about the “local customs”, when traveling abroad. Just follow your own traditional procedures for tipping. What harm can there be from *over*tipping? Very unlikely to *under*tip.
    Don’t go the “it’s too confusing to know what amount to tip” route. Never goes well.

    I thought the OP was going to present the old horror story of “after church diners”, leaving bible verses as the only tip for the waitress. Or the “left handed tips” telling the waitress to go find a man who won’t let her work on Sunday against God’s orders.

  22. says

    This is one of those contentious issues: coming from Canada, where 20% is normal, I meticulously tip 20-25% and round up when in the USA. Over the course of the last decade I’ve had waiters in the US (Washington DC; Philly; San Diego) 1) throw my 20% tip at me, 2) verbally insult me (‘we don’t serve ugly whores’ was the best one) and 3) because I’m a woman travelling alone, and thus dining alone, seat me at the worst table in the place and ignore me. And, routinely, I’m told that I HAVE to pay 50% on top of my meal to make up for the fact that I’m ‘taking up space’ that could be used by a real party.

    This doesn’t happen in Europe and it doesn’t happen up here, only in the USA. I just don’t get it. Or rather, I do: you don’t want to serve a single woman because she’s not going to tip well. When servers routinely treat me like this, what am I supposed to do?

    Although I do indeed love a good meal, now when in Washington for research trips I’ve taken to falling back on counter service or pubs.

  23. Alverant says

    Well Vicki, since taxes are determined by how much in tips the wait staff is expected to get NOT tipping when you go out takes money from them. Not going at all doesn’t do that. So would you rather get no extra money or less money?

  24. Andy Groves says

    Tipping is an instrument by which people get to control and punish others, principally women. There were some very interesting articles on this topic at the end of last year:

    nomoremister.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-punishers-want-to-run-country-or-we.html

    jayporter.com/dispatches/observations-from-a-tipless-restaurant-part-1-overview/

    Other civilized countries manage to pay wait staff and bar staff decent, living wages without demeaning them with tips. The US should too.

  25. bronwyncaveney says

    Long time reader, mostly lurker. As a restaurant worker for eight or so years, (and only minimally a server) I saw this kind of behavior as well. After reading many pages of that blog with stories that would either preface or mention ‘being a Christian’ then telling people this is not how real ‘Christians’ behave in such a No True Scotsman fashion, I thought that was a real obvious tell – like an elephant in the room. There is nothing worse than having very real bills to pay and being tipped (after running around ragged, as well as being verbally abused and treated like sub-human shit) a few quarters.

    So many horrible stories on that blog, and not anyone has figured out that it is not a few bad apples? From what I could tell it was very consistent, down to there being a typical M.O. right down to the trying to stiff the restaurant on the bill, let alone leave a tip, and yes, that did come out of our pockets at the end of the day, if we wanted to balance our registers.

    It was a long time ago, back in the early 80′s, so I don’t particularly remember getting the ‘why are you working on the Sabbath’ stuff, but we did get the stupid tracts instead of tips and the smug superior faces. Becoming a cook didn’t make it that much better, as we often had to deal with servers that were near to breaking from the abuse. Who is so evil that they get off on making someone cry?

  26. Desert Son, OM says

    carlie at #16:

    The US is entirely screwed up when it comes to service jobs.

    Seconded. So very, very seconded.

    Also,

    Dear United States of America: Stop with the predatory capitalism. Pay—pay attention! Stop it! Oh, sure, it gets packaged and sold like it benefits a lot of people, but even the very few that really reap economic gains are ultimately participating in an economic philosophy the equivalent of standing atop the piled corpses of your competitors and your customers and the infrastructure.

    That’s not victory. That’s just you, alone, in a wasteland, the hollow wind around you howling like death, eyes completely blue, mumbling “The spice must flow!”

    We are preying on ourselves, with gradually increasing speed, and it has got to stop. Let’s go outside for a bit, take some deep breaths, walk around with our shoes off on the grass, talk, catch up. We can be a more sophisticated society than basing an economic and socio-cultural model on a cartoon duck swimming through lucre.

    Deep breath. Deeeeeep breath. *whew*

    Still learning,

    Robert

  27. woozy says

    Back to the sunday crowd being worst tippers:

    I’m a bit surprised that there is a common attitude that they give the staff a “you are a bad christian because you are working on sunday”. That’s a type of hypocracy and with an obvious logical conclusion that had I not been told about it, I simply would not be able to comprehend anyone using it. Some people are just pigs. If you make someone do something, you lose any right to look down on them for doing it. I mean, that’s … obvious … isn’t it? I mean, how can you even *think* otherwise?

  28. Jacob Schmidt says

    This is one of those contentious issues: coming from Canada, where 20% is normal, I meticulously tip 20-25% and round up when in the USA.

    Really? In my part of the Canadian woods, 15% is the standard. It’s so common that, when given the option to tip using debit/credit cards, there’s usually a little button for it. I think it’s because 15% was the tax for a long time (it was dropped to 13% about 6 years back), and people just liked reading the tax the find out how much they should tip.

    I’ll admit, I love eating out on Sunday mornings. A quick walk over to a local diner in the morning for a big breakfast/lunch was usually a good time for me any friends who came with. I haven’t done it in a while; I generally work Sundays now, and I don’t remember the last Sunday I got off. Never had any problems with customers; reading those stories, I’ll count that as a blessing.

  29. kc9oq says

    I think the continental (French) approach is a good one: Add a service charge as a line item on the check. Many establishments here do that for large (>6) parties, some for smaller ones. I used to think this was an imposition but have changed my mind.

    Over the past summer we hosted a family reunion, a party of 10 at such an establishment and I had no problem with an 18% service charge on the bill. In fact our server was such a delight I slipped him a little extra.

  30. Sastra says

    I had a strange experience the other day involving a restaurant and a Christian fundraiser. The service was wonderful … but I had to walk out.

    There’s a popular Midwestern fast food chain called “Culver’s.” As fast food goes, they’re splendid, specializing in a home-made custard with a Flavor of the Day. Last Thursday I decided to pick up some dinners and ice cream, and pulled into a parking lot which was surprisingly full. The store sign by the road announced the specials and had “Thursday — Chaplain Fundraiser.” I knew the owner was religious and assumed that there was a special table selling sundaes, or perhaps a kettle to throw some change in to.

    It was a madhouse in there but a very happy madhouse. Numerous people dressed in special aprons were acting as some sort of hospitality hosts and hostesses, holding doors, helping people with trays, etc. Smiles, smiles, smiles. The lines were clipping along with what looked like twice as many workers as usual.

    When I was almost at the front of the line I asked an elderly helper “Goodness, why is it so busy today?” Big smile: “It’s a fundraiser for the county CHAPLAINS!” I blinked. “Wait, you mean that if I buy something here — anything — ALL my money is automatically going right to Christian chaplains??” She smiled wider, as if my surprise was an expression of the sheerest delight. “Yes indeed! Every single penny is going to help pay for chaplains throughout the entire county!”

    I said “No. No way. Absolutely no way.” And I left and — if anything — the Christians who were standing opening the door were even MORE polite (and pleasant) towards me when they saw my refusal. Awwww. They must have been encouraged to be especially tolerant to infidels, who are obviously not being forced to give. Happy happy.

    For fuck’s sake. It’s an established secular business. In Wisconsin. In a small town. Of course the owner probably has a legal right to do what he wants, but I would think that this sort of every-customer-penny-goes to the Cause fundraising should be a unifying sort of cause meant for the entire community, like cancer research or new park equipment. If you’re going to raise money for a political party, a religious organization, or something controversial it seems to me that this calls for a Brat Fry or special donuts or something that doesn’t involve the entire restaurant. Why effectively set up a Christians Only Night? Why put regular customers in a situation where they have to walk out — and have everyone see them walk out? Or else they will pay for the spread of someone else’s religion, just so they can get a Butterburger and a Concrete. Do they think everyone loves a Chaplain?

    Religion poisons everything. And the Flavor of the Day was butter pecan, too. Double damn.

    A small matter, perhaps, and I returned tonight and got my Medium-Sized Concrete Custard. But on Thursday I had to go to Dairy Queen instead and it was … not as good.

  31. robro says

    I can testify on this one. I went to a small Southern Baptist college in east Tennessee in the 60s. I worked in the school cafeteria most of my four years there. Because I wasn’t interested in church most of those years, I was available to work Sunday mornings. It was really quite a sight to see the holier-than-thou charging out of the big church in their Sunday suits and dresses, big Bibles flopping in hand, racing to be first in line for the weekly dose of friend chicken and mashed potatoes. No one was expected to tip, of course, so I don’t know about that, but the avarice and (in C. S. Lewis’s sense) gluttony was clear. And…their arrogant treatment of those of us working to fill their guts was palpable. It did more to turn me off to religion than what I learned about religion in class.

  32. lurker says

    As someone from the UK, when I went to America, I was horrified at the system of “tipping”. Here, a tip is something you give to say thanks, or to show you’re not an arse. It is the employer’s job to pay wages (essential business expenses). As for the arguement that increased wages will be passed on in your bill…So? That is how it should be. Besides, it is already passed on to you. Having temporary servants shouldn’t be cheap. But to leave staff at the mercy of customers is repugnant. If the staff are rude here, you don’t tip, or you complain. There are still consequences if they don’t represent their employer well, but at least they aren’t fined because you didn’t like them, or sadly couldn’t afford it. Also…I don’t like doing maths on a full stomach. And seeing them have to fake smile and say “have a nice day” (Florida) even to the rude people is sickening.
    But people who think they are special looking down on others is, sadly, not surprising. Neither is the hypocrasy of them punishing someone for working on Sunday, so their self-rightous ass could eat out.

  33. Rick Pikul says

    Really? In my part of the Canadian woods, 15% is the standard. It’s so common that, when given the option to tip using debit/credit cards, there’s usually a little button for it. I think it’s because 15% was the tax for a long time (it was dropped to 13% about 6 years back), and people just liked reading the tax the find out how much they should tip.

    Ontario? If so I can certainly say that 15% was standard well before the GST came into play, heck it predated the PST going to 8%.

    It’s also worth noting that in Ontario, servers aren’t getting ripped off the way they are in the US: The minimum wage drop is only to just over $9/hr from $11/hr and only for places that serve alcohol.

  34. Jacob Schmidt says

    Ontario? If so I can certainly say that 15% was standard well before the GST came into play, heck it predated the PST going to 8%.

    Yep, Ontario. I assumed the tax thing as a possible reason ’cause my parents taught me to pay what I pay in taxes in tips.

  35. mildlymagnificent says

    The US is entirely screwed up when it comes to service jobs.

    Yup. I remember a friend of mine had to travel to or through the USA quite often for a few years. She was horrified by the service industries, not just meal service but hotels and buses and everything. The thing that got under her nails most was that no one, ever, said please or thank you to waiters or busdrivers or anyone. So rude!!!

    As for wages. I hate to tell you folks this but my wait/wine server daughter gets $23 an hour here. And because it’s a mid-level, cloth napkin place there are good tips as well. By and large, we don’t pay tips at all here for cafe or chain restaurant meals. Tips are for the up-market places or for extra-terrific service anywhere and everywhere. Come to think of it, there are tip jars beside most cash registers, a lot of people just dump all their change from their cash payments in there. Many others have charity boxes in the same place, or as well as, the tip jar.

  36. yubal says

    Funny. We WENT out today for lunch (because we were too lazy to cook).

    The food and service were not as good as it used to be in that place, but we still tipped the same percentage we always do.

  37. rorschach says

    It is not *payment* for good service; it is *thanks* for polite service.

    Nonsense. It’s employers getting away with not paying their staff properly, and enlisting the customers to pay part of the wages of their employees.

    Librarians don’t get tipped for their work, neither do nurses, or plumbers, or cleaners. But somehow with waiting staff there is this expectation that on top of the price for the purchased product one is supposed to pay part of the employee’s wages. I’ve never been able to understand it. It’s mainly a US peculiarity, like gun laws.

    Waiting staff do really hard and demanding work, and they help make their employers a fortune. It’s the employers duty to pay them properly, not the customers’.

  38. Muz says

    As a foreign devil I can’t help but think when I read this sort of thing, that it’d all be fixed if people were just paid properly.
    It’s that very American style of principled eating of cake while delighting in its appearance: we want to incentivise work and reward and so on as well as give room for a lot of competitive labour and low list prices for food etc, so criminally low pay rates are fine. But if people are just socially compelled to pay more to the servers it all balances out most of the time. There’s none of that nasty socialist cost of living style wage rules or higher prices actually on the books, even though the outcome is largely the same as raising prices to pay mandated higher wages.
    (I guess that’s the theory, anyway. Although, as mentioned by carlie a lot of tax stuff kind of ruins that idea if you’re paying attention)

    I’m sure loads of people would say the sky would fall if minimum wages were raised though. So I dunno. It would be good if it did change though. There’s always rumblings about changing to a similar system in Aus. As soon as the Libs get in power their list of ideologue projects start creeping to the fore once again (along with dismantle public education, destroy public broadcasting, remove exploitation restrictions on national parks and reserves etc). If the US started going away from it, that’s one less plank for the neo-liberal argument.

  39. stephenuk says

    Just as a matter of interest, how do you guys in the US give your servers tips – in cash or added on to the credit card bill? The reason I ask is that this point was highlighted in the news a couple of years ago in the UK, and it emerged that if you give the server cash as a tip separately, it is legally the server’s, but if you include the tip in the total bill and pay on a card, it is legally the restaurant’s and there is no guarantee (and in some restaurants, no chance!) that the server will get it.

    Some restaurants forbade servers from telling diners what the restaurant’s policy was for distributing tips, even when they asked, or risk being fired. I now make a point of giving the server cash separately. The standard tip over here is 10% (don’t think we would be capable of doing more complicated calculations – especially after a heavy meal!)

  40. coldthinker says

    As a non-American, or actually even worse, a Scandinavian fan of this site, I have to say I hate the very system of tipping. It is probably the thing I hate the most about traveling in the US: the fact that every other person seems to be putting their hand out for petty cash, which I never carry around normally, and never really know what amount would be appropriate lest I get discontented looks from a service provider. One dollar? Five? Ten? A hundred? Or is too big a tip just showing off by blowing my own limited budget ? It’s constant conflict that ruins every single day on any US trip.

    Restaurant workers and other people in the service industry must be paid appropriate wages to begin with, and whatever the service charge, it ought to be automatically included in the bill. I find it demeaning to the waiter that such basic income is left on the discretion of the customer and his/her whim to even deny it.

    I know it’s different in the US. But to me, tipping makes the relationship between me and the waiter uncomfortably unequal, as if some medieval beggars were asking me for alms. Waiters, drivers, porters, attendants etc. are professional workers. The employers should pay them the wages of a professional worker.

  41. methuseus says

    I know there are plenty of servers who would say they love it in general, because they tend to get more in tips than they would make if they made a flat $10 an hour. But then there’s the people who barely make do in other restaurants because they’re seen as lower class, etc. So it all balances out that the tipping system tends to be worse than straight paying people. Plus, if we go with what other countries do, there would still be the tipping system to reward good service. The servers would just not rely on it. To be honest, when visiting Germany, which pays their servers actual wages, we still tipped, just not as much as in the US, and the food wasn’t really any more expensive.

  42. mildlymagnificent says

    I know it’s different in the US. But to me, tipping makes the relationship between me and the waiter uncomfortably unequal, as if some medieval beggars were asking me for alms.

    The thing that amazes me is the idea of Americans lauding the idea of tipping at all. They were supposed to be getting away from the worst of the English aristocratic/religious system that disadvantaged them. So why is a relic of the practices in the private English manor house or gentleman’s club so popular and desirable in the land of the free?

    Why keep all that class-based baggage? The rest of the English speaking world opted for decent wages a long time ago.

  43. geekgirlsrule says

    Having worked service industry, in a nightclub so no after Church crowd, I will say that the better dressed people are, as in “on trend, up to the minute” fashion-wise, were the worst tippers ever. A woman wearing Louboutin or Manolos (or knock offs), shitty tipper. Bachelorette parties were THE WORST.

    As for the above stated, don’t go out if you can’t afford to tip, WA state is lucky that we still get minimum wage for hours we work. But that doesn’t go far in this area. So, no, don’t go out if you can’t afford to tip. Your server will be surface nice, but they will inwardly hate you, no matter how apologetic you are, because if you were sorry you wouldn’t DO that.

    Also, yes, it would be LOVELY if the entire service industry in the US did away with tipping and actually paid their employees a living wage, I agree. I also think it’s about as likely to happen as monkeys flying out of my butt. So, let’s quit fantasizing about a perfectly spherical cow of uniform density, and get on with working within the system we actually have, ok?

    Having worked service industry, 20% is my baseline tip, and it goes up from there. Even when we were broke, because I knew those folks were just a broke as we were. Some places, if you put the tips on the card will make the servers share them out with their managers, which is bullshit. Always tip cash if you can.

  44. Wylann says

    20%, rounded up to the nearest dollar, and I never leave less than $5. Then again, I worked a couple years at what was supposedly a ‘high class’ (read – overpriced, but good food) restaurant. Unfortunately, most of the clientele were old people who still thought $2 was a good tip, regardless of the bill.

    There were a few high points, like delivering room service to Carl Sagan, but overall, the experience left me with a low opinion of most people. The worst were 1) the sunday crowd, and 2) the holiday crowd (almost any holiday, but the ‘big’ ones in the US, xmas and thanksgiving) were terrible for tips.

  45. says

    Yep, the ‘tip the tax’ thing was a big reason why 15% was the norm and probably still is in some places: I’m math-challenged, so I find that 10% times 2 is easier to figure in my head. :)

  46. robster says

    Perhaps the jesus followers are penniless after forking out the dollars for their chosen religious fraud. It is expensive I’m told, those silly mormons want a blanket ten percent of your gross wage before you get the magic undies and give up the coffee. Outrageous.