Allow Me a Slight Indulgence

This is one of my major pet peeves about our society, so please allow me a moment to rant. I stumbled across this in the Washington Post:

People like this exist, and I hate them. I already hated them halfway through, but when I got to the “if they wash my car” I wanted to hunt them down so I could spit in their food and save the wait staff from getting fired.

Now I am not going to get into a debate about whether our current system of tipping makes sense, because it doesn’t. Wait staff should be paid a salary. But I doubt we are going to change that, so here is my own personal rule of tipping. Always tip 20%, at least. If you go with a large group that takes up a lot of the time, tip 20%. If you are alone, then definitely tip 20%. And if your bill was super cheap, like say 6-7 bucks, just give them a ten.

These people work hard, bust their ass, and there are a whole lot of good reasons why you should tip well:

1.) They are not paid minimum wage.
2.) They have to deal with you. Now you may think you are a fucking ray of sunshine and source of eternal joy, but I am here to tell you that you are not.
3.) Most of the “mistakes” aren’t their fault. The cook fucked it up, their boss is a jackass who has a stupid system in place, they are overbooked, etc.
4.) They have to deal with you, and as mentioned before, you suck. You really do.
5.) Often times their owners find ways to fuck them on the wages they do earn.
6.) They work horrible hours, have shit sleep patterns, and almost never have a stable or normal schedule.
7.) If they are female, they are being sexually harassed all day every day. Trust me on this. And it probably isn’t just the customers doing it.
8.) It’s hard work. It really is. I was a waiter, a bus boy, a doorman, a bartender, a cook, and a barback at different times in my life. By far, the hardest job in there is being a waiter. You’re constantly on your feet, being yelled at by everyone, and they have to deal with you, who really suck even though you still don’t believe me.
9.) The absolute best way to put money into the economy is to tip people. These people will spend it.
10.) It makes you feel good.
11.) It ensures that you will get good service the next time you come back.
12.) When you tip appropriately or overtip, they aren’t getting rich. It’s probably just making up for the degenerate scumbags above who think 10% is appropriate.
13.) They probably don’t have health insurance. I remember hoping for a busy night when I was a waiter so I could afford a prescription for an antibiotic and cold medicine.
14.) MANY MANY MORE REASONS

Now look, I know not everyone feels this way, but my attitude is if I am eating out I should be able to pay 20% or better. If I can’t, and a couple extra dollars is going to break the bank, I should be eating at home. Most people tip 15%, which is the norm, but I have my own rules. Obviously there are different rules for booze, but since don’t drink anymore I am not up to date and don’t want to say anything.

So, for all these reasons and more, if you go out tonight, tip your staff well. I sometimes even write notes on the bill- “Service was great, thank you” or something of the sort.

And yes, I know this sounds strange coming from someone who seems grumpy and angry all the time. That’s internal. I believe in being decent to people in public because being in public is horrible because, well, you are there. And you suck.

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251 replies
  1. 1
    raven says:

    I read that this afternoon and thought the same thing you did.

  2. 2
    Mike J says:

    You left out that they’re taxed on what the tip *should have been* even if they don’t get it.

  3. 3
    Served says:

    The customer is always right.

    This phrase has never been said by a non-monstrous person.

  4. 4

    Excellent rant! I agree wholeheartedly. BTW when you are tipping is cash better than leaving a tip on the credit card?

  5. 5
    Shakti says:

    I think of 15% as standard, 20% as excellent post tax. I’ve been to a couple of restaurants where they helpfully calculate percentages on the bill and they start at 15%. I usually tip about 18% and if I have the cash I make sure the tip is in cash regardless of how I pay for the rest of the meal. YMMV.

  6. 6
    Belafon says:

    I almost always tip 20%. I have a few times tipped more.

  7. 7
    pat says:

    Here’s a tipping question: We have two guys working to replace the kitchen floor. (water damage) Is it done to tip workers like that?

  8. 8
    Tom Levenson says:

    you are a mensch and you are right.

  9. 9
    swbarnes2 says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    I thought that cash was better, because then you know it goes to the person you want it to go to, and management can’t f*ck around with the money.

    But I say this as someone who was lucky enough never to have to work in that field.

  10. 10
    Paul in KY says:

    Don’t worry about the spitting in the food, I’m sure that’s already been covered…

    Agree completely with rant.

  11. 11
    JanieM says:

    I’m with you all the way, John, right down to the “crabby as hell on the inside” but believe in treating people decently on the outside. (Except when they tailgate. Then the rule is, “The closer you get, the slower we go.” At least, that’s the rule if I can keep my temper. I do hope to die of something other than road rage, so I’m working on it.)

    I never tip below 20%. I might consider it if the server was egregiously unpleasant somehow, but even then it would probably be 15% at least, and anyhow, even though I eat out quite a lot, that has never happened to me.

    Ditto on the drinks. I had a girlfriend for a few years long ago who drank … lots … ah, never mind. ;-)

  12. 12
    Botsplainer, Cryptofascist Tool of the Oppressor Class says:

    I generally slide between 18% and 25%, depending on the monstrosity of my bar bill and how drunk I am when I sign the chit. The drunker I am, the more stupid the calculation, up to that 25% number.

  13. 13
    Yarrow says:

    10.) It makes you feel good.

    I love leaving a big tip. It feels great. I don’t eat out that much and usually only at lower-priced or mid-priced places so my “big tip” isn’t that much money. But you feel good about it and sometimes you get to see the waitstaff collect the tip and it makes them happy and that’s nice to see too.

  14. 14
    eclare says:

    Agree. When I eat out with my parents, I always insist on leaving the tip, because they are horrible tippers. Usually 20%, sometimes a little more.

  15. 15
    raven says:

    The Grove Park Inn at Xmas eve was $80 per and a 20% service charge. It also included a place for a gratuity but I declined. Seemed like 20% was good for filling water glasses and getting coffee.

  16. 16
    medrawt says:

    So the older couple here is, I agree, 15-20 years behind on modern tipping etiquette (when I was a kid, my impression was that 10-15% WAS the standard, and 20% was unusually generous). In this event I agree with the daughter.

    On the other hand, I do think it’s ridiculous for the kids to be apologizing for the parents not doing their part to maximize the restaurant’s profit model. Yes, splitting an entree and drinking water isn’t optimal customer behavior from the restaurant’s perspective, but so fucking what? It’s not inconsiderate; they should order extra food and either eat past their point of comfort or just waste it, for the sake of giving the house more money? That half of it would make me pretty mad.

  17. 17
    James Powell says:

    Additional reason for 20% – You can do the math in your head.

  18. 18
    LesGS says:

    @schrodingers_cat: My daughter is a waiter and prefers cash tips. And be aware that (at least here in SoCal) the waiters are expected to share their tips with the hosts and bussers.

  19. 19
    JanieM says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I’ve been told that cash is better because the credit card fee paid by the merchant comes off the tip if you do it on a credit card. (I.e., you’re tipping a little less than the face value of the tip that you write down.)

    Of course, you can always compensate for that by leaving a 3% larger tip, give or take. I’ve also been told by someone who was once a waitress that you’re only expected to tip on the non-tax part of the bill. I pay no attention to that. Sort of like John says: if I can afford to eat out, I feel like I can afford not to be nickel and diming the servers.

  20. 20
    karen marie says:

    I can’t believe anybody thinks it’s okay to tip only 10% for “normal service.” That is beyond absurd, not to mention insulting to waitpeople everywhere. I’ve never worked in a restaurant but I’ve eaten in plenty. It’s obvious how hard a job it is.

  21. 21
    amorphous says:

    For me the main reason is: if I have a $50 bill, 10% is $5, and 20% is $10. Like, if you’re eating at a restaurant who fucking cares about an extra $5? I always over tip because people who say “Oh those stray dollars add up!'” are wrong. No they don’t.

  22. 22
    Soprano2 says:

    We own a restaurant/bar, so I can tell you that in some ways cash is better, in some ways it’s not. We pay a fee on the amount of the tip that you charge even though we don’t get any of that money, so it costs us a little bit every time you put a tip on your credit card. OTOH, the servers are supposed to report at least enough income to make minimum wage, and they cannot lie about charge tips, so charge tips help keep them honest with the tax man. We have to pay withholding taxes on at least regular minimum wage for them; that’s the law. I think most servers would tell you that they prefer cash tips, but if most establishments are like ours they pay out the tips to the servers at the end of their shift every day, so they get the cash regardless.

    Personally I wish we could raise prices enough to pay them at least minimum wage, but most of them probably wouldn’t like that because in the end they probably make more from tips. I always tip at least 20% when I go out because of everything Cole said above. And yes, those people are asshats; the help probably cringe every time they see them coming and hope they sit in someone else’s section.

  23. 23
    MJLiberal says:

    Years ago I was a bartender/waiter. I always slipped extra money for tips when I went out with my now-deceased parents. I think my mother was aware but 10% was normal for them and their peers.

  24. 24
    James Powell says:

    @medrawt:

    It’s not inconsiderate; they should order extra food and either eat past their point of comfort or just waste it, for the sake of giving the house more money?

    I don’t think that’s it. When the diners split entrees and only drink water, the total tab is low relative to the time & effort spent serving them and, therefore, the X% of the total tab results in a much lower tip.

  25. 25
    Roger Moore says:

    They are not paid minimum wage.

    In most of the country. Here on the left coast (and in Minnesota and Montana) there is no distinction between tipped and untipped minimum wage. Of course the cost of living is higher out here, but it makes a huge difference. My favorite local restaurant has waiting staff who have been there for years or even decades, and it’s because they can actually earn enough to treat waiting as a career rather than something to do until a real job opens up.

  26. 26
    Soprano2 says:

    @JanieM: I don’t know how other establishments do it, but we don’t take that fee off the tip – we pay it ourselves.

  27. 27
    Betty Cracker says:

    This former server says a-fucking-men! When we dine out w/ our olds who still insist on picking up the check, we always leave the table last and have extra cash to supplement the tip.

  28. 28
    Yarrow says:

    I don’t know who that person is in the quoted column, but is she 150 years old or something? I’ve known since childhood that 15% is a standard tip. It’s expected. Has 10% ever been a tip for “normal service”? No etiquette book or anything else will say a normal tip is 10%. Where did she come up with that?

  29. 29
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    So the older couple here is, I agree, 15-20 years behind on modern tipping etiquette (when I was a kid, my impression was that 10-15% WAS the standard, and 20% was unusually generous). In this event I agree with the daughter.

    Why that change? I was always told to double the tax as a rule of thumb for the tip.

  30. 30

    A saw a FOAF say on facebook the other day that people who don’t tip 30% in san francisco are assholes. This is of course not taking into account that diners already pay an additional tax to subsidize low-wage health insurance in SF. Not sure what to make of that.

  31. 31
    chef hiking says:

    Hey, you can tip the cooks too! I have to say it. In the restaurants I work in the wait staff makes way more money for less hours. They work hard and deserve it. Restaurants that charge a mandatory tip so that they can pay the back of house better wages are just stealing from the wait staff. Also, the owners are getting a cut.

  32. 32
    canuckistani says:

    I try to tip well to make up for the cheap tips I left when I was younger and poorer.
    Also, I always try to be civil and friendly to the waitstaff but not treat them like they owe me love.

  33. 33
    Waldo says:

    That couple sounds like the bean counters at my company. On business lunches I’m not allowed to tip 20 percent “unless the service is exceptional.” So I just order extra stuff to go and leave 19 percent. Everybody wins.

  34. 34
    Jane2 says:

    I tip 20 percent or more in the USA because I know how shit their wages and benefits are. If they’re older they get a bonus tip because I have a pretty good standard of living in Canada.

    In my one foray into Mexico, I saw all of the people described in that article – getting pedicures for 8 bucks and tipping a dollar…and no polish because that would cost more. Seriously, if you can afford to winter in south Texas, Michigan and Minnesota oldsters, you can afford to tip ten bucks on an 8 buck pedicure. Or more.

  35. 35
    sam says:

    I know some of the “norms” are regional, but here in NYC, 20% is pretty much the norm these days. I never go out expecting to tip less. I think I’ve had one or two meals in my life when I’ve tipped less, and that was for genuinely bad, actually complained to restaurant management about how bad it was, service.

    and I don’t mean bad food – I mean things under the waitstaff’s control – the one that comes immediately to mind was when friends and I were at a fancy korean BBQ place where you cook your own food in the middle of the table, and the waiter literally rushed by and scooped up our “raw” meat plates. That were still half filled with meat. Because we were only halfway done eating dinner. When we tried to stop him and then when we were too late, to get him to bring our dinner back, it had already been trashed, and he refused to request new food. This was after he literally brought out two individual salads for three of us, and then spent ten minutes arguing with us that they were actually “shared” plates (nevermind that he also didn’t bring us an extra…plate). We couldn’t figure out what was going on that night, we had been to that restaurant multiple times before and had excellent service, but it was just…a hot mess. We basically spent the entire meal just looking at each other like WTF?, “are we on a candid camera show?” and “is this when we just walk out?”

  36. 36
    🚸 Martin says:

    “It’s not tipping I believe in. It’s overtipping.”

    How much I tip is somewhat dependent on what I think the base pay was or how much added burden I was.

    To start, if you use a coupon or split a meal or get some kind of discount, you ALWAYS tip based on what the full amount should have been. I’ve had a meal comped because it was undercooked. That’s not the wait staff’s fault, and I tipped as if the meal were not comped – often more in that case.

    But I tip a minimum 20%, and I’ll tip more in places where I know base wages are low. I tip at least 25% for haircuts, and usually 50% or 100% during the holidays. And I’ve gone back and tipped staff when my hosts were being stingy.

  37. 37
    RSA says:

    @amorphous:

    For me the main reason is: if I have a $50 bill, 10% is $5, and 20% is $10. Like, if you’re eating at a restaurant who fucking cares about an extra $5?

    Exactly. Years ago I had the thought, “Am I going to miss the difference between a 15% tip and a 20% tip?” It’s only a few dollars to me. But to wait staff it does add up.

  38. 38
    Stan says:

    Tipping in restaurants sucks, really badly, and should be abolished.

    Pretty much everyone who works in the business is working their asses off, and should be paid more.

    The biggest problem with tipping is that it creates a master/servant attitude with an awful lot of customers. And let’s face it, no matter how enlightened or generous you are, that economic relationship exists for the duration of the meal. It’s wrong, it’s semi-feudal, and we should get rid of it.

    The second-biggest problem with tipping is that it allows restaurant owners an excuse to pay wait staff poorly.

    The third-biggest problem is – it creates poor teamwork and is just unfair within the restaurant work team. Chefs, line cooks, dishwashers, bus staff – none are tipped. But it’s the line cooks who really produce a great meal. And they can’t do their work without the dishwashers, who are usually illegal immigrants. Cooks are not well paid; work weeks of 100 hours are common in NYC and 60-plus is common elsewhere. Job interviews for cooks often consist of a couple days unpaid work to see fi you can hack it; if you can, you’re hired. if not, thanks for the donated labor.

    This is not inevitable. There’s a movement in the field to abolish tipping. We should all support it.

    Of course until that happens, make sure you have enough cash to give 20% or don’t go out to eat.

  39. 39
    Chris says:

    Always tip 20%, at least. If you go with a large group that takes up a lot of the time, tip 20%. If you are alone, then definitely tip 20%. And if your bill was super cheap, like say 6-7 bucks, just give them a ten.

    My parents are European. (Technically, only one of them, but both have lived there for years). Getting them to tip the proper amount when they’re back here is like pulling teeth with blunt tweezers. And the same argument starts over again every time they’re back. Drives me fucking insane.

  40. 40
    JSinLA says:

    My wife and I regularly frequent a specific restaurant. Sometimes, the check is big, and sometimes it is relatively small. I always tip >20% based on the big check. The servers work just as hard and provide the same service regardless of what we order. Just seems fair, and we always get get good pours.

  41. 41
    Jane2 says:

    @Yarrow: Around these Canadian prairie parts, 10 percent is heard from elderly rural people who pretend they don’t know that it’s not 1946 any more.

  42. 42
    Roger Moore says:

    @medrawt:

    On the other hand, I do think it’s ridiculous for the kids to be apologizing for the parents not doing their part to maximize the restaurant’s profit model.

    The point, though, is that it isn’t just the restaurant’s profit model. If you’re getting a super-cheap meal, you’re also reducing the amount the tip is calculated on, which hurts the waiter again. I agree that there’s no reason to order food and drink you aren’t going to consume, but if you’re doing that you should be tipping more than the customary amount to make up for the small bill.

  43. 43
    Laertes says:

    At some point a decent human being notices that the difference between tipping like an asshole and tipping generously isn’t all that big, and then tips generously from that point forward. My rule is tip 20%, then round the bill up to the nearest dollar, and always tip at least $5 no matter how small the bill. It’s not the waiter’s fault if the food is cheap.

    I do worry, though, about the split-entree-and-order-water thing. I never know what to do about that. My wife drinks nothing but water, and over time that’s (mostly) become my habit as well. Restaurants in America deliver enormous portions. My wife’s a tiny thing, but I’m a 220-pounder, and one entree at any restaurant is more than enough food for the both of us. I won’t split entrees unless it’s an order-at-the-counter joint, because I understand that restaurants need to turn a profit. Each table needs to produce, and it’s not right to occupy a table and then order half of what one would reasonably expect. But maybe that’s overdoing it?

    We don’t eat out as much as we might, because I don’t want to be that couple that restaurants dread.

    So, a question for any restauranteurs in the room: Do you want patrons like us only on slow nights? Never? Any old time?

  44. 44
    SatanicPanic says:

    They sound like Trump voters.

  45. 45
    Julia Grey says:

    My daughter’s boss often engaged in wage theft by randomly appropriating her tips from credit cards. Sometimes he’d put it through, pull the full amount out of the register and magnanimously give her PART of it. Give them cash if you can.

    I always shamelessly overtip. 20% for adequate service, 25% or even more for someone who’s really good. Both my sister and my daughter were waitstaff at different times in their lives, and the stories they could tell could–well, nobody would need a salon wave anywhere in their vicinity. Your point about being able to afford to eat out being a measure of whether you can afford to tip properly is bang-on.

    I am also careful to give my mani-pedi techs cash, and lots of it. Low margin business leads owners to thieve from them routinely, and they are often “family” businesses who underpay their staffs. I even take care to give tips folded and slipped under the mat or something–as invisibly as possible, in case she is required to give up anything he (almost always) sees her getting. Oh, and I also give it in two or more bills when possible, in case their rule is that she has to surrender something after every customer who leaves no tip on the CC.

  46. 46
    Mnemosyne says:

    I think the only time I gave a 10 percent tip (and I felt guilty about it) was the time we got truly shitty service from the waitstaff. At one point, one of them literally turned her back on us and walked the other direction after making eye contact.

    Not surprisingly, that restaurant went out of business pretty quickly.

    Other than that, I’m an overtipper.

  47. 47
    Percysowner says:

    I always tip at least 20% to servers and 15% on delivery. I do add it to my credit card, since I almost never pay cash for anything. I guess I’ll have to think about upping the percentage on tips.

  48. 48
    Chris says:

    @Served:

    The customer is always right.

    This phrase has never been said by a non-monstrous person.

    + 20%.

  49. 49
    Stan says:

    I should add that specific comments about a dining experience ARE usually given the attention they deserve. I had a problem a few months ago that had nothing to do with the wait staff – so they got their tip. The cook really screwed up, (meal was inedible) and so did the manager on a separate issue (they were not enforcing their own legally-mandated no smoking rule), and I politely and professionally let them know how they could improve. Again, the wait staff didn’t suffer because someone else fucked up.

    The place gave me a gift certificate to cover the entire meal, which seemed pretty fair to me.

  50. 50
    🚸 Martin says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Given the cost of housing in SF right now, it’s hard to imagine a level of tipping that would be sufficient.

  51. 51
    Botsplainer, Cryptofascist Tool of the Oppressor Class says:

    I’m in my mid fifties, and from when I was a kid, tips were 15%. I never heard 10%.

    Did my time as pot sink guy, dishwasher, busboy, working the line, working the pass, bartender and waiter. My favorite was pot sink guy – it was filthy, but you never had to think. Hardest was working the pass four days of the year – Derby Eve, Derby Day, Mother’s Day and New Years’ Eve. We’d have 350 people for dinner over a 5 hour period, sometimes 80 tickets hanging at once, and all I could do was group them by 10-20 at any given moment.

  52. 52
    chopper says:

    people who undertip drive me up the wall. i imagine them all as trump voters.

  53. 53
    Groucho48 says:

    Cash is definitely better. The staff gets it immediately. They don’t have to worry about management sliding a bit off or of customers disputing the bill…apparently a very high % of restaurant bills are disputed. Something like 25% or more…and, they lose the whole tip if the bill doesn’t get paid. Lots of servers are managing day to day, so, the sooner they get the money the sooner the most pressing bill is paid. Just recently, at my regular spot, the workers were discussing Christmas and Christmas Eve being on a Saturday and Sunday and sighing that that was going to cut into their usual week end tips and how to deal with that. I think, also, that the tips on credit cards are divided up amongst everyone, whether they were working the day you dined there or not. So, if you want to reward your server for especially good service, definitely use cash. In fact, if it’s a place you like, you should try to pay the whole bill in cash. That extra couple or three % that doesn’t go to the credit card company is meaningful to their bottom line. Margins at restaurants are very thin.

  54. 54
    slag says:

    To compound the bad behavior, these people “don’t feel like they’re dining incorrectly” and are deeply offended when their behavior is corrected for. Look within, people; look within. Of course, if they were so capable, they probably wouldn’t have been behaving inappropriately in the first place.

  55. 55
    medrawt says:

    @James Powell: And as a caring, compassionate, generous human being, when I pop into my local diner and only get a dessert instead of my normal meal, I tip a little extra being mindful of this – but it’s not prorated to compensate the relative labor of my server. The system sucks, and in addition to sucking it’s imperfect. Yes, this is a nuance the parents missed, and maybe that’s the substance of the daughter’s complaints on this, which the mom then misinterpreted … but as written, if we assume the reporting is accurate, it feels like they’re being chastised for being stingy customers as well as stingy tippers.

  56. 56
    Stan says:

    @Chris:

    My parents are European. (Technically, only one of them, but both have lived there for years). Getting them to tip the proper amount when they’re back here is like pulling teeth with blunt tweezers. And the same argument starts over again every time they’re back. Drives me fucking insane.

    Right, but that’s because the wage scale in the business is very different over there, so tipping’s not expected.

  57. 57
    OlFroth says:

    My oldest daughter is 7. We often eat at a mom and pop place and we always tip 20% plus. I’ve been telling my young daughter that even if you just order a cup of coffee at a table service restaurant, you tip, at a minimum, five dollars, just to account for the staff’s time catering to you.

  58. 58
    randy khan says:

    @medrawt:

    They are way more than 15-20 years behind on modern standards. 15 percent was standard when I first started going to diners in high school, and that was a lot more than 20 years ago. (And I recall that Miss Manners, in one of her books I read 20+ years ago, was pretty firm on 15 percent being the minimum tip for decent service.)

    Granting that the rules are different in big cities (at least in practice) than in other places, around DC 15% is a bare minimum, 18% is a fair average, 20% is not unusual and 25% is not unheard of. I usually end up somewhere around 20%, a bit over or a bit under depending on rounding. If you’re tipping 10%, you’re insulting the wait staff, and if the service is that bad you should be talking to the manager.

    The other part of the article, about splitting an entrée and just drinking water, well, I don’t think there’s any need to apologize for that. Some people order a lot and some don’t.

  59. 59
    Turgidson says:

    I’ve never done that kind of work but it looks every bit as thankless and exhausting as Cole describes. The waiter starts out earning at least 20% from me. They have to be spectacularly incompetent to the point I suspect malice for me to go below 15%, which is what a lousy server gets. Above-average service usually earns 20-25%. Truly excellent or thoughtful service and I will go up from there. And I definitely follow the axiom that if I or the party I am in takes up a table for a while but does not order much and ends up with a small bill, the tip will at least somewhat try to make up for that, especially at a busy place that could have seated someone hungrier at our table.

    Those people in that blurb are probably Trump voters who will blame Obama when Paul Ryan kills “THEIR” Medicare because something something Obamacare something something freedumb. Oblivious, mean-spirited, selfish assholes.

  60. 60
    hellslittlestangel says:

    Needs a new, more accurate tag, maybe Old Man Yells At Fuckheads.

    The note on the check is a nice touch. It has never occurred to me to do that. Sometimes the waiter is so busy you don’t get a chance to tell them “great service” to their face.

  61. 61
    charluckles says:

    The fact that you would get that mad at your grown children for doing what they think is right in as discrete a manner as possible is just the icing on the cake. These people are a holes

  62. 62
    cosima says:

    Firm believer in big tips, and thankfully have been able to move my parents in that direction over the years.

    When we last went to New Orleans we were out wandering around and decided to go to a restaurant that got great reviews in Lonely Planet. We were in our tourist clothes — not fancy, probably looking a bit bedraggled after several hours wandering around in the heat & humidity. Anyway, it turned out to be an obviously posh “in” place to eat, with lots of people who were dressed very nicely, fab pianist to entertain while waiting hours for a table if you didn’t have reservations. So, I tipped the pianist hugely, and presume that he gave the maitre d’ (spelling? — also tipped well when he led us to our table) some secret hand signal, because our unimpressive selves were seated well ahead of some of the people who were obviously very impressed with themselves. Could be that they didn’t want us mucking up their waiting area, though.

  63. 63
    Miss Dashwood says:

    My father still thinks a $5 tip is sufficient for any dining out amount (and he wouldn’t ever leave a tip on a to-go order). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone back to get something I “forgot to leave enough cash to cover 20-25 percent because my mother is a nightmare to wait staff. I finally stopped going out to eat with them because it was always a horrible experience

  64. 64
    Central Planning says:

    @Laertes:

    Each table needs to produce, and it’s not right to occupy a table and then order half of what one would reasonably expect. But maybe that’s overdoing it?

    I understand what you’re saying, and I don’t necessarily disagree. However, my only counterpoint (just to argue really) is that if there’s one person that eats one meal, or two people that split a meal, the same amount of table space is used (unless you’re at a restaurant that squishes strangers together). My point is don’t feel bad about occupying a table with one person vs. two.

    We always do 20%, and round up. We’ve tipped better for great service, or when our kids were young and made a mess on the floor (lots better for that, and we still tried to clean up most of it)

  65. 65
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    One, John, you are absolutely right to allude to the utter idiocy of the “tipping” system to compensate waitpersons. But that is not, as you point out, the issue at hand. The issue is we have a shitty system right now and we need to work through it. If I may wildly speculate here, I’ll bet the writer and her husband are well off at a minimum. I find that the more socio-economically up the ladder a restaurant customer is, the more likely they are to be an asshole. Exception to this rule: fundigelical scum, who hand out “tips” about following “our lord and savior” often with a stupid fundy tract disguised as a Jackson; these people should be crucified, in the biblical sense.

  66. 66
    donnah says:

    Great rant! My sister waitressed for many years and her horror stories are still in my head. We always tip 20% and more for exceptional service.

  67. 67
    bobbo says:

    Agree 100%
    A few years ago my family went out to an expensive restaurant, where my parents have been going long enough that the staff know them. The waiter assigned to our table took the manager aside and a minute later we had a new waiter. I am almost positive that he asked for the switch because he knew that my parents are terrible tippers. My dad calculates the 15% to the penny – and before taxes, of course. If you can afford an expensive restaurant, you can afford a generous tip.

  68. 68
    Stan says:

    @Laertes:

    So, a question for any restauranteurs in the room: Do you want patrons like us only on slow nights? Never? Any old time?

    My son is a chef, and I think he’d say you’re welcome any time but each person at a table really ought to have something ordered for them.

    Doggie bags exist.

  69. 69
    Chris says:

    @JanieM:

    I never tip below 20%. I might consider it if the server was egregiously unpleasant somehow, but even then it would probably be 15% at least, and anyhow, even though I eat out quite a lot, that has never happened to me.

    I think if the server is being an egregiously unpleasant asshole, you’re entitled to be an egregiously unpleasant asshole right back, but not to stiff him on the tip. In a world where tipping is used to bring up people’s pay to a minimum wage that’s still far less than a living wage, that’s stealing from the poor box. Yes, it sucks hairy ass that our society is set up that way, but that’s the way it is.

  70. 70
    🚸 Martin says:

    @LesGS: That’s true pretty much everywhere in the US. It’s not unusual to work up from bus to wait to host, so tip sharing is a bit of a way to pay forward. And it’s in everyones best interest to work hard here. Restaurants live and die on the number of turns they can do. If you can do 4 sittings for dinner instead of 3, that’s ⅓ more tips you’ll get. That extra turn benefits from a quick table bus and an efficient host. The host doesn’t want irritated patrons waiting for tables. A good team effort makes money for everyone.

  71. 71
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @Served:

    This phrase has never been said by a non-monstrous person.

    It’s the “A Concerned Taxpayer” of the service sector.

  72. 72
    medrawt says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: I may be misremembering on 10%, btw, but I definitely know that when I was a kid, my dad – a generous tipper and person – tipped 15% regularly, and now regularly tips 20% or more … I was in college (in my mid 30s now) when I started becoming aware that 18-20% was the new normal. I think it happened because restaurant wages didn’t keep up with everything else.

    Doubling the tax is extremely locale-dependent. I bought lunch for my dad in Boston after years of living in Chicago and got confused about what I was doing wrong looking at the bill, until I remembered that sales taxes in Boston are much lower than in Illinois.

  73. 73
    JaneE says:

    Yes.

    I am math challenged, so I usually figure 10%, double it, then round up to the nearest dollar. I tip on the total bill, including the sales tax, and before the AARP discount is applied. If I am short of singles, I round up to the nearest $5. During the holidays, an extra buck or two just because, especially at places where we are regulars. I would rather overtip than undertip, and we always get good, friendly service.

    Lady – just stop going out with your kids. Believe me, they do not enjoy having to apologize for the behavior of their parents.

    I only did banquet work, and that was 50 years ago now, but I still remember the name of an exceptionally nice family and how hard it was to be pleasant to someone who has had too much to drink and thinks waitress means slave.

  74. 74
    Yutsano says:

    @Roger Moore: Tip wage is the biggest scam against servers. Of course it’s all done in the name of “small business owners” while ignoring the states where minimum wage covers serving staff.

  75. 75
    raven says:

    @chopper: Well, check some of the articles about folks in the service industry in New Orleans, black and white, and how they hate to work any of the big African American events.

  76. 76
    cosima says:

    I cannot seem to be able to edit my comment to add that yes we ARE fucking rays of sunshine or whatever it was that you said we’re not.

  77. 77
    sigaba says:

    I was raised by quiet midwesterners who never tipped more than 15%, and it was a hard habit to break. An acquaintance and bartender/waitress has given me an extended discourse on why 30% is appropriate in most cases and in exactly which cases I should give less or more, how I should use tips to cover comp’d items, etc.

    I have a friend who I occasionally eat with, she’s the heiress of a fortune conservatively worth a few hundred million dollars, she never tips more than 15% (also she never picks up the check). Our New Ruling Class have been carefully taught that generosity is pointless.

    Subversion of the trope- I totally resent tip jars at cash registers of stores and all manner of places that don’t actually provide table service. It totally corrupts the meaning of what a gratuity is.

  78. 78
    Chris says:

    @medrawt:

    On the other hand, I do think it’s ridiculous for the kids to be apologizing for the parents not doing their part to maximize the restaurant’s profit model. Yes, splitting an entree and drinking water isn’t optimal customer behavior from the restaurant’s perspective, but so fucking what? It’s not inconsiderate; they should order extra food and either eat past their point of comfort or just waste it, for the sake of giving the house more money? That half of it would make me pretty mad.

    Yeah, that I agree with. If that was all there is to it, I wouldn’t really care. The rest of the story is what turns them into egregious assholes.

  79. 79

    @🚸 Martin: SF servers get local minimum wage ($13, going to $14 this summer) plus tips for a median of $21.50, plus insurance through Healthy SF which is usually an additional line item of around 3%.

    I mean, one should still tip well, but I’d never even heard somebody talk about a 30% tipping floor before.

  80. 80
    ARoomWithAMoose says:

    Given that I almost always get some booze with a meal out, 20% tip. The inebriated math is way easier.

    I’m somewhat confused with what size a tip to leave at the end of a stay at a hotel, any suggested daily rate? I normally only just want fresh towels, I only expect the place to be sanitized when I check in.

  81. 81
    Groucho48 says:

    Years ago, here in NYS, the rule of thumb was to leave double the sales tax as a tip. Which would be right around 15%. Nowadays 20% is the standard and has been for a few years.

  82. 82
    Roger Moore says:

    @Served:

    This phrase has never been said by a non-monstrous person.

    Actually, that phrase was coined by a hotelier who wanted that to be the attitude of his staff. It’s only monstrous when it’s used as a stick to beat the head and shoulders of service people.

  83. 83
    01jack says:

    Agree on the 20%, and round up. People who count out pennies are being insulting.

    I remember faamily outings with my father hosting, where a brother and I would surreptitiously slip a five under our plates, to make up for, and by overpaying, apologize for our father’s crappy tipping.

    He did turn generous in later years – don’t know what caused that.

  84. 84
    delk says:

    I’ve pre-tipped wait staff when eating out with my MIL and her friends.

  85. 85
    Revrick says:

    If I’m dining out at a nicer restaurant, I generally tip 25-30%. At the diner last night, I gave our waitress 50%, because I know how hard those gals work, they’re all working class folks, and the clientele is primarily downscale.
    If someone ever gives exceptional service, I always make a point of telling the manager.
    As for spitting in the food of the scumbags who undertipped, I must take exception, John Cole.
    I would have stuck my finger up my butt and smeared it over their steak. (Kind of like the pie in The Help).

  86. 86
    Geeno says:

    I usually calculate my 15% and round up to the next round figure for “standard” service. I’ve tipped as much as 40% for what i regarded as exemplary service.
    And I have done what that son-in-law did before. In my case it was another relative. He bought us all dinner (which wasn’t cheap) and was going to stiff the wait staff with some measly tip.

  87. 87
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    Not tipping because you think servers should be paid more is like not voting because you hate the Electoral College.

  88. 88
    Keth P. says:

    If service is decent to good, I tip about 20%. If it’s great, I tip more. If it’s actively bad, not related to being swamped, *particularly* if it’s an expensive restaurant, I’ll tip a fucking dollar on a $100 tab and feel not a twinge of guilt over it.

  89. 89
    trollhattan says:

    Many jobs ago a significant portion of the staff traveled and there were plenty of road stories. An (in)famous cow-orker would have his breakfast thus: Get seated and order hot water and a spoon. On receiving them would pull out yogurt and/or a grapefruit and a teabag, eat, drink his tea and leave. It reminded me a little of Hillstreet’s Belker ordering his “sandwich setup.”

    I had to stop going out to eat with my in-laws as they became more unhinged with their antics. The first table would NEVER be adequate. My FIL would inevitably ask for clam linguini, regardless of whether the place what Chinese or what have you. My MIL would ask for her certain wine regardless of the length of the wine list (or lack of wine entirely). They would tip for shit and once when the owner came over to greet our table (at one of the city’s nicest places) my FIL jumped up and declared, “A redhead, my first wife was a redhead!” while giving her a noogie.

    Good times.

  90. 90
    Steeplejack says:

    I start at 20% and round up, give more for great service. (My current economic state: genteel poverty, bordering on abject.) I routinely give the guy who brings my once- or twice-a-month pizza 25%; that’s an even more thankless task, and I’m sure he (it’s actually several different guys) gets stiffed or undertipped a lot.

    Everything Cole said about the waitstaff life is true. Five years of working retail at Barnes & Noble pounded it into me how crazy and obnoxious a surprisingly large percentage of the public can be when they get into “wait on me” mode. Even at the worst, though, I always thanked God that there was no food involved. Somehow that seems to trigger really primal craziness.

    Another thing that working retail did for me is that I have almost completely shed any tendency to get riled up at perceived inefficiencies, waiting in line, etc. I now know that it’s almost never the fault of the person who is in front of me. Management understaffed, someone called out sick, the procedures aren’t set up right (but they must be followed to the letter!), etc. Even when it’s a direct mistake by the waiter, chances are they haven’t been trained well (or at all) and were just thrown into the situation to sink or swim.

  91. 91
    Paul K. says:

    One thing that I wasn’t aware of, until my daughter started working in a chain restaurant, is the potential that a server was required to tip out other staff (kitchen, bus staff, hosts) based on a percentage of the bill, not a percentage of the tip received. So, ostensibly, they could wind up in the hole; (and on more than one occasion this happened to my daughter) servers can go out of pocket if the tip is not high enough.

  92. 92
    rikyrah says:

    my reply was eaten.

    I have family members like the couple. I HATE going out to eat with them.

    My father taught me – if you don’t have the money to tip WELL..

    then, you don’t have the money to go out to eat. Period. I’ve never forgotten that.

    I used to argue with them. No more. I just handle the tip, because I can’t stand people who don’t tip well, and demand to be treated like Queen Elizabeth II when being served.

  93. 93
    tpherald says:

    Now I can feel better about my crappy tips because there are enough people like you to make up for the shortfall

  94. 94
    Chris says:

    @karen marie:

    It’s obvious how hard a job it is.

    A stupendous number of people think how hard a job is and/or how worthwhile the person doing it is can be determined simply by how much they’re paid. (That is, after all, the rationale that underlies the entire system).

    Either that or they’ll respond by digressing that “but THE TROOPS! have it worse,” increasingly the catch-all response to any attempt to improve the lives of anyone anywhere that’s not THE TROOPS!

  95. 95
    Gustopher says:

    I went out to eat once with my father, a notorious cheapskate, and my three brothers and their assorted spousal units. My father tipped his customary “10%” which was rounded down, and so I quietly and discretely slipped some money under my plate.

    Later, I found out that all my brothers and two of their wives had done the same thing. Total tip: about 100%. All because my father is a notoriously cheap and stingy man.

    My father is better than the person who wrote the letter though. He laughed about it when we told him.

  96. 96
    khead says:

    20% at least. In cash if we have it. More at our regular joints.

    Thanks for the post. This is the second day in a row that something in the WaPo has given me a blood pressure spike.

  97. 97
    PSpain says:

    @raven:

    Service charge can go to the house. A gratuity they can not legally keep.

    just another way to rip off the staff.

    Back in college 30 years I worked at a high end restaurant in Boston. At parties the bill could be over $10k. They always added a 18% service charge so they could steal the tip.

  98. 98
    Geeno says:

    @Revrick: You remind me of the British waiter who said that Margaret Thatcher had eaten his cum on at least four separate occasions.

  99. 99
    The Moar You Know says:

    Preach on, Cole.

    I’ve played a ton of bar gigs (I tip bar waitresses a minimum of half the drink price, because job is awful) as well as the usual teenage jobs as dishwasher, etc, but the absolute worst job of my life was when, about 15 years ago during a rough patch between gigs, I had to take a job at Starbucks.

    Only thing worse than customers who come in with the deliberate aim of shitting all over your existence is a company that encourages them to do so. That job was the end of my faith or caring about humanity. Every person is awful in their own special way, but for some reason, it ALL gets taken out on foodservice folks. Out of the thousands of people I dealt with there, I can count on both hands the number that were consistently nice and didn’t treat me as a combination punching bag/drink dispenser.

    Also: I was male. My female co-workers got it SO much worse I cannot even describe it. Every shit thing that men do to women got done to each and every one of them on a daily basis there save for murder.

  100. 100
    Ronnie Pudding says:

    Yes, splitting an entree and drinking water isn’t optimal customer behavior from the restaurant’s perspective, but so fucking what? It’s not inconsiderate; they should order extra food and either eat past their point of comfort or just waste it, for the sake of giving the house more money? That half of it would make me pretty mad

    I also agree with this.

  101. 101
    Chris says:

    @Waldo:

    That couple sounds like the bean counters at my company. On business lunches I’m not allowed to tip 20 percent “unless the service is exceptional.” So I just order extra stuff to go and leave 19 percent. Everybody wins.

    There aren’t enough likes in the world for this post.

  102. 102
    Shell says:

    Allah favors the generous.

  103. 103
    randy khan says:

    A few other random thoughts:

    1. I completely agree with tipping on what the bill would have been when you’re comped or have a gift certificate or for whatever reason aren’t paying full price.

    2. Although I totally hate the reason that this is necessary, I pretty much always drop something in the tip jar at my local take-out lunch places that I know are paying minimum wage.

    3. I’d be very happy if more U.S. restaurants went to the mandatory service charge system. It would be better for everybody.

    4. And, just a reminder that things are different in other places, when I went to Japan a while back, one of the key etiquette points I was given was that there is no tipping in Japan. This was emphasized with a story about an American who left a tip and found himself being chased down by a waiter as he was leaving the restaurant. Apparently the idea that you should pay for good service is thought of as insulting there.

  104. 104
    Pogonip says:

    @cosima: For his entire life my father tipped $1. 50-cent cup of coffee–$1. $10 meal at the chain restaurant–$1. We couldn’t budge him on this. So my mom would leave the correct amount while he wasn’t looking.

  105. 105
    Lizzy L says:

    Among my many jobs I have been a table server, a cashier at a music club, and a cocktail server — at The Magic Cellar in San Francisco. (It was a great place to work — it’s long gone now.) John is dead right — waiting table is hard, crappy work. These days I am a regular lunch diner at the Chinese buffet near me: enough of a regular that they let me choose my own table and carry my own napkin/fork/chopsticks. If I pay w/ a card I tip 15%; if I pay with cash I leave a 20% tip. I am always polite and appreciative of service. Sometimes, if the staff is very busy, I bus my own dirty dishes. As a result, the staff smile and say hello, how are you when I come in, they let me sit wherever I want, and they don’t care how long I take to eat.

  106. 106
    The Moar You Know says:

    The customer is always right.

    This phrase has never been said by a non-monstrous person.

    @Served: PREACH THAT TO THE SKIES

  107. 107
    Brachiator says:

    I start from 15 percent and work up from there.

    But I also look at it this way: I have a good friend who is not an ass, and who does not think that wait staff are peons. But he was raised not to tip, and can’t easily change his ways. When we have dined together, and he pays, I top off the tip, and even at times shame him into giving more. When I pay, he argues with me about the tip I want to leave, but it is brief and we move on. But I have come to observe that people are set in their ways on this, and it does not always reflect any deep selfishness.

    And I guess I try to be a good customer, especially at places I visit regularly. Cause the silly line from “Cheers” actually rings true, sometimes you want to go where everyone knows your name.

  108. 108
    Bobby D says:

    Just got my haircut at the BX an hour ago. $12 cut, $3 tip. My hair (what is left of it), takes about 4 minutes to cut, a “#2 all over” isn’t real demanding work. I tip better than avg because I make a good income, clawed my way out of generations of poverty in my family after growing up in, and know it will make a difference in these people’s lives, while I’ll never miss it. And I know it goes right back into the economy. You can’t really eff up a crew cut, so there is no “quality” issue involved, the only way they’d get less is if they literally cut me.

    I always try to tip in cash, and “off” the bill. Between tax reporting issues, “tip pooling/splitting” shenanigans, and managers “taxing” part of the tips for themselves I’d rather give it straight to the provider. My massage therapist is a good example. I always tip her 25% cash, directly to her, without any knowledge by the company. Company always asks when I pay, “would you like to add a gratuity to that?”, I’m sure they are taking a cut from the therapist as a “admin fee” or some such bs if I’d said to add a tip to my bill.

  109. 109
    sigaba says:

    @Served: “The Customer is Always Right” is a philosophy, not a fact. It’s sortof like Divine Providence, it’s subject to interpretation. I prefer to think of it as “the customer is always acting in good faith,” I think that gets closer to what Ritz meant.

    It helps that Ritz’s customers were all stupendously wealthy and considered it gauche to even ask what the price of anything was. When it starts coming down to line-items the whole concept of hospitality falls apart. Hospitality presumes the money is settled.

  110. 110
    Ronnie Pudding says:

    If service is decent to good, I tip about 20%. If it’s great, I tip more. If it’s actively bad, not related to being swamped, *particularly* if it’s an expensive restaurant, I’ll tip a fucking dollar on a $100 tab and feel not a twinge of guilt over it.

    The question is, how bad is bad? I think that’s half the issue.
    I know people who complain about bad service based on really nit-picky things (“she didn’t know what was in the soup and had to check in the back”). They are always under-tipping.

  111. 111
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Stan: This right here. The leftover feudalism part. We keep the bad things like the servility and the entire “you’re here to serve me, wench!” crap, and eliminate the necessary things, like sins of the father visited upon his worthless parasitical spawn (think the vile Drumpf brats), the last things that should go before we are actually an egalitarian society.

  112. 112
    Seth Owen says:

    @medrawt: When I was a kid, back in the 60s, I think 10% was the standard. By the time I became an adult and was ordering out often I was aware that the standard had become 15%. As the minimum wage for tipped workers has not kept up with rising prices for everything else, 20 % does seem to be the new normal.

    If you don’t want to tip, eat at Wendy’s or KFC.

  113. 113
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Shell: Well, there you go. If you’re being generous, you’re a Muslim terrorist looking to corrupt our youth.

  114. 114
    Roger Moore says:

    @01jack:

    He did turn generous in later years – don’t know what caused that.

    Sometimes people just have eureka moments when they realize they’re being awful, or sometimes they are politely taken aside and told to be more generous. I remember when I was working as a waiter (at the faculty club at my Alma Mater) there was one professor who was really terrible*. Eventually, somebody pulled him aside and had a talk with him, and he turned around and became one of the best people in the place. I think that basically good people who have been corrected on something like that try to be extra good after they’ve been straightened out as a way of making up for their previous bad behavior.

    *Not on tips, which were discouraged. Payment was by chit, which was added up and sent as a monthly bill. He was always trying to find some way of getting something without it being added to his chit.

  115. 115

    @Roger Moore:

    Actually, that phrase was coined by a hotelier who wanted that to be the attitude of his staff. It’s only monstrous when it’s used as a stick to beat the head and shoulders of service people.

    Yup.

  116. 116
    Chris says:

    @Stan:

    My parents are European. (Technically, only one of them, but both have lived there for years). Getting them to tip the proper amount when they’re back here is like pulling teeth with blunt tweezers. And the same argument starts over again every time they’re back. Drives me fucking insane.

    Right, but that’s because the wage scale in the business is very different over there, so tipping’s not expected.

    Yes, I’m aware. But this isn’t Europe, tipping over here is not a well-done reward something extra for quality service, and between the number of times that’s been explained to them and the fact that they have lived here for long enough in the not-terribly-distant past, I’m getting really tired of having to remind them.

  117. 117
    Darkrose says:

    Leaving all of John’s other excellent points aside, I want to focus on #11.

    Telesilla and I used to go to our nearest Starbucks on a daily basis; now not so much but still fairly often. We always make sure to tip. For an order of two venti drinks and a couple of breakfast sandwiches I’ll drop a five in the jar. When it’s not too busy, we chat with the baristas. If it’s packed, we thank them and quickly get out of the way.

    The baristas always notice when we haven’t been in for a while. If we go in alone they ask how “our other half” is doing. And sometimes they comp our drinks or food. Everyone wins! And it takes no real effort to be nice.

  118. 118
    AnonPhenom says:

    I start at 20%, and that’s on the total bill…cocktails, wine and any after dinner cordial included.
    Had somebody tell me a few years back that he tipped 20% “but only on food bill”.
    Seriously?
    Me: “Maybe you should get off your ass, walk over to the bar and pour your own”

  119. 119
    Shell says:

    When I was (a lot) younger I waitressed at a local pub. It was a relaxed, friendly place and I liked the job. Re: tipping, you quickly noticed that the more well-off the customer, the worse the tipper. Older women who probably had children working in the same job were pretty good. Young couples were also good. A few local fireman or cops stopping by were also usually good tippers. But prosperous looking older white guys-the worst.

  120. 120
    Gindy51 says:

    Apologizing for parental bad behavior was the norm in my house. My idiot father would get pissed off in a grocery line if the cashier wouldn’t take his expired coupons. I can’t count the times he just walked out of the store sans groceries over this issue. He was banned, yes fucking banned, from shopping at our local Albertsons, Safeway, and Dollar Store.
    I had to go and do the shopping when I lived at home.
    Tipping, forfuckinggetaboutit. He tipped nothing, ever. Eventually they only ate at those hog trough buffets, and they looked like it too. Same asshole stole the sugar and artifical sweetness every time they ate out and the fucking towels at hotels.
    I hate to say this, but I am so glad they are gone. I didn’t have to disown them.

  121. 121
    Suzan says:

    I agree except I think the son-in-law should have done it quietly, no apology. My father-in-law was a horrible tipper ($5 bucks for the full table) so my husband and I calculated the tip and made sure we had cash to leave it when we ate out with him. We’d slide it under a plate when Bob was not looking.

  122. 122

    @AnonPhenom: I know some people who only tip on the pre-tax amount, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me because how much money are you really saving and exactly what point do you think you’re making?

  123. 123
    JMG says:

    I can only say I agree with everything you said. And when you eat out with small children, 20 percent isn’t nearly enough. There was a cheap but good place near where I lived when our son, now in his early 30s, was a toddler. I’d tip 33-40 percent because of the crushed up crackers and rolls he’d leave all the floor and table.

  124. 124
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Yarrow: When I was a kid, the adults around me treated 10% as standard. (This is early 60s) FWIW. Climbed to 15% as standard pretty soon in memory — I remember that because part of the drill was having the youngest arithmetically checked-out kid work out the number. Mom never missed a chance to drill us.

  125. 125
    Chris says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Exception to this rule: fundigelical scum, who hand out “tips” about following “our lord and savior” often with a stupid fundy tract disguised as a Jackson; these people should be crucified, in the biblical sense.

    I’m a Christian, but every now and then, one of my brethren makes me feel like maybe the Romans should’ve fed more of us to the lions.

  126. 126
    Roger Moore says:

    @Steeplejack:

    Another thing that working retail did for me is that I have almost completely shed any tendency to get riled up at perceived inefficiencies, waiting in line, etc.

    This. Whenever a service person apologizes to me for a long wait, I try to say something sympathetic, even if I’m really annoyed about it. Part of that is sympathy for them- they haven’t been having a good time of it- but an equally big part is that I find trying to be sympathetic actually makes me feel better about the situation.

  127. 127
  128. 128
    Chris says:

    @Shell:

    Allah favors the generous.

    I’ve always loved the fact that charity is one of the five pillars of Islam.

    No wonder our right wingers hate it so much.

  129. 129
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I agree that there’s no reason to order food and drink you aren’t going to consume, but if you’re doing that you should be tipping more than the customary amount to make up for the small bill.

    This. If I go to a diner and end up with a check that’s $15 or less, I usually tip at least $10 anyway. It’s not like it was less labor for everyone.

  130. 130
    grubert says:

    I do tip 20% minimum.. but this fellow makes sense.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/.....pping.html

  131. 131
    trollhattan says:

    @Tom Levenson:
    Think it’s partly a product of minimum wage not tracking inflation so that it’s now well behind where it was in ’60s and 70s. Some states, IIRC including California, allow restaurants to pay subminimum wage. Believe CA also requires the restaurant to collect tips and add them to the paycheck after deducting taxes.

  132. 132
    Old Dan and Little Anne says:

    As a former server know that if your tip is any less than 15% then your server is muttering “motherfucking cheap asshole” under their breath the moment they see it. I always overtip. At least 20%.

  133. 133
    alce_ e_ ardilla says:

    @Belafon: Also, if for any reason you are given a discount, say >55 years, or military or whatever, tip the server on what the bill would have been without the discount. They don’t need to be screwed because of your bargain.

  134. 134
    Brachiator says:

    @Chris:

    I think if the server is being an egregiously unpleasant asshole, you’re entitled to be an egregiously unpleasant asshole right back

    I disagree with this big time, for the most part. If I have problems with the server, then I bring it up with the manager or owner. I do not see any reason to go to war with a server directly.

  135. 135
    Hungry Joe says:

    20% + round up to nearest dollar if service is good. If it’s bad — the same. If it’s atrocious — the same. I just HATE having to determine the amount of money this person will make today. It sets up (for me) an extremely unhealthy relationship: The waitperson has to adopt an obsequious attitude/posture in order to make a decent living. We’re both playing roles — I ask for water or more coffee or whatever, he or she has to bring it — but I refuse to treat that person as a servant. Say the waitperson is totally incompetent. So what? It’s my job to judge? I say, no; when I get my tires changed, or cash a check, or buy a can of tennis balls, the person I deal with might also be incompetent. Can I dock HIS pay? If the waitperson is that bad, the manager will eventually fire him. I consider it just plain wrong for me to mete out what I see as economic punishment.

    Okay … if the waitperson has a swastika tattoo, the tip plummets. But that’s what it’d take.

  136. 136
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Stan:

    There was one time when we went to a newly opened restaurant (it was a classic landmark that had moved to a new location) and we could just tell that while our server was doing his best, the kitchen was just total chaos with food coming out at different times, orders not coming up, etc.

    We ended up giving him a nice tip because it was very clearly not his fault and he really did try.

  137. 137
    mai naem mobile says:

    I pretty much always tip really well. My exception is when the server is intentionally ignoring us or is just being nasty (generally because of the color of my skin.) I’ve given decent tips even with relatively crappy service.

  138. 138
    Cain says:

    20% is standard for me now. Sometimes I’ll give more if I especially like the service. I’m sort of the “if I was in their shoes, this is how much I would want.. e.g. the golden rule.” That’s with me not working… 8 months thus far folks.. I have an interview with google next week, wish me luck!

  139. 139
    Hungry Joe says:

    @Chris: Are lions good tippers?

  140. 140
    patrick II says:

    When I dine alone, I normally tip 30-40%, figuring that the wait staff has to make just about as many trips for one diner as two. I am not sure what to tip at a buffet since I often pay up front, get my own food, and the waiter/waitress normally just checks for drink refills. My wife says 20%, so I go with that, but then I feel I am undertipping at a regular restaurant.

  141. 141
    Barbara says:

    Every person who has ever waited tables knows this kind of customer. I once worked at a pancake house and a customer called me over to complain about the prices because he could walk across the street and buy a dozen eggs at the grocery store for less than half what it cost to get two eggs at the restaurant. One of my co-workers told me she would have given him a couple of bucks and told him to go buy the eggs and cook them himself in the parking lot. And after underpaying her server, this cheapskate complaining the the WaPo is mad mostly because her son in law was more generous than she was. As an ex-waitress, I have an ironclad rule — you don’t punish the wait staff with low tips because you think the food is too expensive. That is obviously what was happening here. If you can’t afford it, find a cheaper place or do for yourself.

  142. 142
    Another Scott says:

    I think too many people have brains that are stuck on “what things used to cost” and don’t understand that times have changed.

    Some people still think that a whole dollar is a sensible tip.

    There are many people who tip out of spite, but I think most people simply don’t think about what the other person has to go through these days. Your rant is excellent, JC, but the kids in the story really do need to understand that their parents are unlikely to change, so increasing the tip as discretely as possible is probably the only solution.

    I always tip at least 20%, party to try to make up for the guilt I still feel decades later… One summer between classes I lived in a Y for a few weeks, was counting single every penny, and would have a $0.75 order of toast or something for breakfast at a local coffee shop and didn’t leave a tip. :-/

    The <a href="https://www.dol.gov/whd/state/tipped.htm"federal minimum tipped wage is $2.13 an hour. It’s an outrage. Some states have higher rates, yay! This WaPo column doesn’t say what state the writer is in, but if it’s Virginia, the server would get the minimum. Hax should have put some numbers like $2.13 in her column rather than concentrating on feelings, IMO.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  143. 143
    Calouste says:

    @Chris: I think it’s animal cruelty to throw lions to the Christians.

  144. 144
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    I’m in a country where tipping is very rare and then mostly in service jobs that are affected by American tourism. After reading this thread, I’ve just got to say, you’re all fucking nuts!

    This whole tipping custom has gone way beyond absurdity and is well into the realms of the surreal.

    Seriously, the customer is required to pay a large portion of the staff’s wages, because the proprietor can’t be bothered? Bloody hell, they stopped making coalminers pay for their own candles 200 years ago. What is it about restaurant staff that requires them to be treated as second class day labourers?

    I’m sorry, but what you guys are defending is a social disgrace. Work is work and should be respected as such by the employer through wages. The practices you describe are atavistic and arbitrary, otherwise there wouldn’t have been a root cause for this thread in the first place.

    I’m aware that restaurant workers need to get paid and that this is the only way you have to do it, but normalising this practice is not the way to do it. Start agitating for equal treatment of all workers. Work to change a system that treats restaurant workers as some special subclass that needs your charity because the value of their labour is deemed less than yours.

    In the age of Trump, are you really comfortable with turning fellow workers into transient servants? There to indulge your whims and massage your egos, as well as serve you food?

  145. 145
    Ronnie Pudding says:

    “If you don’t want to tip, eat at Wendy’s or KFC.”

    Which isn’t going to do the wait staff at sit-down restaurants any good.

    I do think the movement towards Chipotle-style restaurants and supermarket prepared meals is in part due to people wanting to save money on service.

  146. 146
    Another Scott says:

    @Another Scott: Sorry about the mangled linky – it said I had no permission to edit it when I tried to save the changes…

    https://www.dol.gov/whd/state/tipped.htm is the correct linky.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  147. 147
    trollhattan says:

    @Hungry Joe: @Calouste:
    When a lion leaves a tip, don’t dare touch it.

  148. 148
    AnonPhenom says:

    By the way, under the right circumstances, this:
    “splitting an entree”
    is fine.
    It’s called “Family Style”, and when you’re eating multiple courses (Italian, Chinese, etc…) it’s pretty much expected.
    And the more people, the more plates, the more fun.

  149. 149
    Chris says:

    @Brachiator:

    I can see that. It’s not like being an asshole to the waiter is no big deal either… I was more trying to say that “be an asshole” to the waiter is a line I’d cross long before “don’t tip the waiter.” One of these is bad manners, the other is theft.

  150. 150
    trollhattan says:

    @Viva BrisVegas:
    Ain’t nobody going to argue, it’s absurd, unfair and unworkable.The bigly restaurant conglomerates are utterly dependent on the existing system and will never allow it to be changed. Which sucks.

  151. 151
    Wapiti says:

    Here in Seattle we have a straight minimum wage, with no exception for tipped employees. The higher end restaurants are figuring out how to deal with tips, or lack thereof.

    One place, Ivar’s Salmon House, has increased their price a bit, done away with the tip line, and iirc they pay the waiters a commission scale as well, to encourage upselling (perhaps desserts, another drink?).

    Another place, Tom Douglas’ Dahlia Lounge, has a simple 20% service charge added to the bill, and iirc, no means to add a tip to that.

    In both of these places, I feel the intent is that if you don’t have an excellent meal and excellent service, the management would really like to hear from you and make an immediate correction.

  152. 152
    Jim Parene says:

    As a former server, I always tip at least 20%. I have stopped going out to dinner with a very well-off friend , a retired school teacher from Cincinnati. She gives me masses of shit because of my tipping. She thinks it is excessive. She does not buy that, as a former server, I know what the server or bartender goes thru.

  153. 153
    Bill says:

    I waited tables in college, so I almost always tip well. I made good money (for a college kid), but it’s shit work, and almost every restaurant owner I worked for was insane. It’s not an awesome job. I will withhold a tip is the service is really bad and it’s clearly the wait staff’s fault.

    I just got back from a country where what staff is paid a regular wage and nobody tips. Clearly a much better system, but I have to admit the service here is better. Whether it’s cultural differences or our tip based system that causes that I’m not sure

  154. 154
    walden says:

    In the early 1960s tipping was generally 10-15 percent at least in large parts of the country. Usually 15. 15 pretty much the norm in the 60s-70s and into the 80s in some places, but has been 20 percent for a very long time since then (or 18 percent in some places). So depending where these parents were from and when they “learned” tipping habits they just may have never gotten with the times. (The other thing is that the untipped federal minimum wage for restaurant workers has been stuck at $2.13 for 25 years — while other wages, prices, costs, inflation have gone up. So the parents may not realize just how much of the employee’s compensation really does rely on them, relative to many decades ago). Slipping the wait-staff some extra $ quietly was the right thing to do, and would have worked if the defensive mom hadn’t noticed and hounded the daughter.

  155. 155
    pluky says:

    Never waited tables, paid my dues behind a deli counter. However, lived with plenty who did and tip 20% of the whole bill rounded up to the next $5 standard. If the service is REALLY bad, tip 15% with a note explaining why (even sloppy servers gotta eat!).

  156. 156
    Josie says:

    I’ve been away from the computer (15 month old grand daughter sitting) and haven’t yet read the other comments. I just wanted to say “Bless you, John Cole, for this.” I have not waited tables, but my daughter-in-law has, and she can tell some horror stories. I hope this couple is clued in to how thoughtless they are and learn to change their ways.

  157. 157
    Steeplejack says:

    Gotta get ready to go out to dinner—at Sighthound Hall, no tipping!—but I have read through the comments now and wanted to add that I am happy that tipping was never an issue in my family when I was growing up. We were comfortably middle-class, traveled a lot (dad was in the Air Force) and ate in restaurants. Looking back, I can picture my father blanching at the sight of his three sons attacking a table of food like a plague of locusts, but he always seemed to tip well.

    And my brother, the squire of Sighthound Hall, also is a good tipper, even though sometimes I suspect that the reason he isn’t a Republican is because he’s gay. I’m a good tipper, but sometimes I’ll be shuffling cash and figuring the tip and I’ll ask him, “Do you have any ones?” And he’ll say, “Just leave the five.” (ETA: Not that the $5 is the total tip. LOL.)

  158. 158
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Viva BrisVegas: What can I say? The US is fucked up in a lot of ways, Obama or not.

  159. 159
    Chris says:

    @Hungry Joe:

    @Chris: Are lions good tippers?

    Hey, let’s see you try counting money without opposable thumbs.

    @Calouste:

    @Chris: I think it’s animal cruelty to throw lions to the Christians.

    That’s an interesting take on the circus. Innocent, persecuted lions thrown to the Christians to be viciously torn apart. I wonder if the Romans crucified lions, too.

  160. 160
    daryljfontaine says:

    When I was younger, poorer, and had a significant amount of debt, my tips when I could afford to eat out were close to “standard” 15%. These days, they’re likely to be a good round number somewhere between 20-30%, just because (a) I can afford it, (b) I’ve known more waitstaff personally, and (c) I’m not a raging asshole.

    I use 15% as a low threshold now. If you did something to piss me off — like the waiter at the hotel restaurant last summer who proceeded to ignore me after bringing my food for over an hour once a table of 8 arrived (not due to being swamped — the restaurant was mostly empty), including failing to deliver on the bread he said he’d bring three different times — then you will get 15%, and a note on the receipt indicating just how you’d missed out. I don’t believe in punitively low tipping unless they’re actively being an asshole, or unless they’ve disappeared on me entirely after bringing drinks (that’s happened before; I went to the front, paid for the drinks, not a penny more, and walked out).

    D

  161. 161
    WJS says:

    The attitude and the language used by the woman in the article is exactly what my mother had to deal with when she was a waitress at the Elks Club. The clientele, all wealthy enough to afford Elks Club dues, drinks, and steak dinners, were relentlessly picky about every aspect of their meal. They would send food back to the kitchen, they would complain about anything and everything (not everyone of course, but the mentality in that piece screams nitpicky Midwestern bullshit).

    Whatever she made in tips was never enough to make up for the fact that she always provided a level of service that went well beyond what they were willing to pay for, and after literally decades of waiting on these people, she knew exactly what her tip was going to be the minute they sat down. They always thought they were generous, kind, and correct in everything that they did and were never at fault. How she dealt with so many assholes for so long is a question I cannot begin to answer.

  162. 162

    @Viva BrisVegas:

    I’m aware that restaurant workers need to get paid and that this is the only way you have to do it, but normalising this practice is not the way to do it. Start agitating for equal treatment of all workers. Work to change a system that treats restaurant workers as some special subclass that needs your charity because the value of their labour is deemed less than yours.

    In the age of Trump, are you really comfortable with turning fellow workers into transient servants? There to indulge your whims and massage your egos, as well as serve you food?

    There are so many inaccuracies and distortions implied here it’s hard to know where to begin.

  163. 163
    trollhattan says:

    @Josie:
    Change their ways? More likely march down to their lawyer’s to redraw the will.

  164. 164
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Viva BrisVegas:

    Some places are trying to change it, and I think people are more aware, but in the meantime, are we supposed to take money out of working people’s pockets because the system is fucked up? Note above that the system is so completely fucked that in many places unpaid tips are subtracted from the server’s paycheck, so not tipping them means you’re actually docking their regular pay.

  165. 165
    ThresherK says:

    I am a big tipper. I’ve never been directly dependent for a chunk of my pay on things that much out of my control. I can’t imagine doing it, so I like those who do so.

  166. 166
    trollhattan says:

    O/T California Juicers and any visitors. I hope you’re paying close attention to the forthcoming weather.. Feet of rain in places that are already saturated is never a good thing, drought or no drought. When it’s warm enough to melt the recent snow it’s doubly not good. If you don’t need to travel, stay home and if you live in a floodprone area, pack the car before tomorrow.

  167. 167
    Chris says:

    @Viva BrisVegas:

    Seriously, the customer is required to pay a large portion of the staff’s wages, because the proprietor can’t be bothered?

    Yes. Yes, precisely, and for precisely that reason. And the proprietor will get sanctimoniously outraged if you impugn his sovereign right to do so.

    Bloody hell, they stopped making coalminers pay for their own candles 200 years ago.

    Don’t give them any ideas.

    What is it about restaurant staff that requires them to be treated as second class day labourers?

    Ask Herman Cain. I believe he was one of the pricks who was behind the rules that exempted people like this from minimum wage laws.

    I’m sorry, but what you guys are defending is a social disgrace. Work is work and should be respected as such by the employer through wages. The practices you describe are atavistic and arbitrary, otherwise there wouldn’t have been a root cause for this thread in the first place.

    Yes. They absolutely are.

    I’m aware that restaurant workers need to get paid and that this is the only way you have to do it, but normalising this practice is not the way to do it. Start agitating for equal treatment of all workers. Work to change a system that treats restaurant workers as some special subclass that needs your charity because the value of their labour is deemed less than yours.

    And I’m down with all of this, but until this change goes through, tipping 20% or more remains the way to do it. “Normalizing” doesn’t come into it. That’s the way it is, and the only people that suffer from not tipping or undertipping are the waiters.

    In the age of Trump, are you really comfortable with turning fellow workers into transient servants? There to indulge your whims and massage your egos, as well as serve you food?

    I didn’t turn them into that. That’s the status they had long before I came along. To put it another way, yes, serfdom needs to be abolished, but until that happens, this is one way you minimize the way the serfs are mistreated.

  168. 168
    Richard mayhew says:

    @JMG: AMEN… Each child under 5 is kids meal chocolate milk and 50% tip on that component. Sometimes it is to compensate for being a kid and sometimes it is just a good tip as everyone got lucky

  169. 169
    Richard mayhew says:

    @JMG: AMEN… Each child under 5 is kids meal chocolate milk and 50% tip on that component. Sometimes it is to compensate for being a kid and sometimes it is just a good tip as everyone got lucky

  170. 170
    Applejinx says:

    @Viva BrisVegas:

    In the age of Trump, are you really comfortable with turning fellow workers into transient servants? There to indulge your whims and massage your egos, as well as serve you food?

    My brother is, and it makes me really uncomfortable. He’s moderately wealthy and behaves as if his tip is a cudgel for improving the breed: if the service isn’t exceptional he’ll stiff them and never return, if he is satisfied he will tip 100% or more. It’s very tied to the performance of the whole restaurant, not just the server. I get that it’s a happy day for servers, pizza delivery guys etc. when he wildly overtips but it’s hard to get past the sense that it’s his way to be a superior human… particularly when I work as diligently as he does, but stay very poor.

    I’ve been having an odd start to 2017: I borrowed money from my Mom and among other things, I’ve gone and replaced my wardrobe with proper clothes (OK, LL Bean and Levis from a head shop that gets the ‘original’ line only). My existing clothes were literally falling apart leaving me with nothing.

    On the one hand I’m very pleased with having new clothes that will last for decades (regarding service, Bean is known to be so servile that you can bring in your old Bean clothes and they will simply give you new replacements: they’re kinda nuts) but on the other hand I’m very aware that now I can ‘pose’ as a wealthy person. I clean up okay. In good, well-fitting clothes, with a shower and a decent haircut and speaking intelligently, I resemble a rich person, and I do actually notice changes in peoples’ attitudes out in the world when cosplaying as one.

    It seems like a necessary step as far as stepping into that world, but I’m of two minds about it.

  171. 171
    Mnemosyne says:

    @ARoomWithAMoose:

    I’ve generally heard that housekeeping tips should be $5 a day, but I generally stay in places like Courtyard by Marriott, so you should probably increase that for nicer places.

    When I would visit family for the holidays, I would usually leave a ridiculous tip specifically on Christmas Day (like $50) because it sucks to have to work on Christmas.

  172. 172
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Applejinx:

    You are receiving some Unearned Middle-Aged White Guy Privilege. My husband gets it, too — he’s at the bottom of the hierarchy at his current job, but half the people assume he’s the boss because he’s a middle-aged white guy.

    Use your new powers for good.

  173. 173
    opiejeanne says:

    Somewhat off-topic: This is my middle kid’s new business in Seattle
    Fire & Scrape.

    Oh drat. Will try again

  174. 174
    Shantanu Saha says:

    When I eat out, I pay a minimum of 20% at full service restaurants, 15% at self service buffets (my family likes to eat at Chinese buffets) where there are only bussers. When my parents pick up the check (which they try to do every time but I ignore them most of the time since I make more than they do) they always ask me how much to tip. Since I seem to be the only one in my family to be able to do simple arithmetic in my head, I always make it as generous, more if they share an entree.

    Seriously, anyone who does less is an asshole.

  175. 175
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Hungry Joe: Okay that’s really funny (not a surprise).
    I recall reading an article (may have been in Slate, and perhaps even the linked one) where customers who objected to the tipless restaurant model did so because they wanted to punish what they believed to be poor service. They resented losing a means of punishment. Sound like Trump voters.

    I tip with a floor of 20% and usually tend to go higher. In most places here wait staff have to tip out the bartender and hosts. If my order is very small, I tip much better. Yesterday I had lunch at a restaurant near the university because I’d been lecturing at the med school. I’ve been a regular for a long time and I ate at the bar. The bill was $8.01 and I signed the slip for $16 (I had no cash or I’d have used it) because serving me my little lunch was as much work for the bartender as serving a big entree. We always had dinner at a bar table and always got generous pours from this bartender. Unless the owner was tending bar, in which case we got obscenely generous pours.

  176. 176
    EllenH says:

    As a mother whose children worked in food service, I’ve always been a big tipper. Especially when I know the server ;). I remember several years ago Chris Hayes had an excellent segment on this issue on his weekend morning show Up and the unfairness of the tipped minimum wage. Turns out thanks to Herman Cain that wage was frozen years ago at around $2.00/hour. I couldn’t find the video but I did find this article discussing the piece. It obviously made an impression on me.

  177. 177
    bupalos says:

    Don’t really care for the % of food value thing at all and prefer to tip on how hard the wait staff had to work with us. If it’s me and the whole fam (3 little girls and wife-mate and me) It’s always over 20%, usually more like 35% at the cheaper places we tend to end up with the kids. Could be as low as 15% at a fancy-pants place I guess, I’ve done like a 10 on $70, just the two of us if the waiter didn’t really add anything. But I generally don’t even look at the bill to figure the tip, I just think about the work involved. Been there, done that, It’s a hell of a job and it wears your body out.

  178. 178
    khead says:

    @Viva BrisVegas:

    I can recognize that shit needs to be fixed in the system for the future – while still helping the folks currently working in it. You may not share the same mundane juggling skills.

  179. 179
    opiejeanne says:

    This is my middle kid’s new business in Seattle:
    Fire & Scrape Raclette

  180. 180
    Ruckus says:

    @MJLiberal:

    but 10% was normal for them and their peers.

    This is a big part of this to me.
    I agree that they are behind the times but I stress even more that it’s wages that are behind the times. When the parents were younger wages and the cost of living were more closely a lined and 10-15% was not that far out of place. They just haven’t kept up with things, which they should reasonably do but look how many people live in this country that want to regress 60-400 yrs, thinking that was better. Another thing, do the parents live on a fixed income and just not eat out that much? Not really an excuse of course but that may explain a bit.
    BTW just in case you wondered, I tip 20% or more. I’ve seen the wages food service workers get for a shit job and I’ve traveled to countries where tipping is almost never done, New Zealand is an example, but the workers there get paid reasonably as minimum wage is a living wage, unlike here.

  181. 181
    Juju says:

    @pat: buy them lunch, or give them enough cash for a decent lunch.

  182. 182
    Bill says:

    Related question (If this thread isn’t dead); what’s the best tip you’ve ever left?

    A few years ago my wife and I were out and overheard a buss boy talking to our waitress about how much is sucked to have to work on her anniversary. We tipped her 100% on a $100 bill.

  183. 183
    danielx says:

    8.) It’s hard work. It really is. I was a waiter, a bus boy, a doorman, a bartender, a cook, and a barback at different times in my life. By far, the hardest job in there is being a waiter. You’re constantly on your feet, being yelled at by everyone, and they have to deal with you, who really suck even though you still don’t believe me.

    A-fucking-men!

    I agree with all of it, but #8 struck a chord with me. It’s been a while since I was a server, but I remember how hard the work was. Also remember how many people seemed to save up all their frustrations and issues until the weekend when they could take it all out on some poor server – sometimes me, sometimes others. Really learned the the definition of stress as being unable to choke the shit out of some asshole who desperately needs it. Anybody who has ever been a server tips at least 20% and usually more because they know exactly what the job is like.

    It sucks in spades.

    Another issue was getting off work at 1 am and going out drinking afterwards to work off the stress – frequently. One excellent reason for getting out of restaurant work and into other fields is that it tends to turn your liver into something like an iron ball. I don’t know what the alcoholism rate is among restaurant cooks, but I’d venture it safe to say it’s above 50%.

  184. 184
    Nelle says:

    One time we flew across the country to see the in-laws and at our first meal our, I quickly realized that MIL’s dementia had advanced rapidly but FIL was in deep denial. She would order something, they would bring it, she wouldn’t recognize it, and would send it back. My husband was nonplussed and just sat in shock. In between wrangling kids, I went and found the wauter, thanked him for his patience, explained the situation, dealt with MIL firmly, and got us out of there. Leaving behind the biggest tip I suspect he ever got up to that point.

    One time I was out with a bunch of church people and they began justifying a potential small tip on what they thought was inferior service. I asked them, “Wasn’t the sermon on grace, mercy, and kindness?”

  185. 185
    Nelle says:

    My son’s first job was in Pizza Hut when we moved to New Zealand. He was 15 and got minimum wage, then nearly $11 an hour. Double pay if he worked on a statutory holiday. Plus Christmas bonus. He broke his foot and was ordered not to work for six weeks. Got 80% of pay for those six weeks. We were amazed.

  186. 186
    danielx says:

    @Viva BrisVegas:

    Seriously, the customer is required to pay a large portion of the staff’s wages, because the proprietor can’t be bothered?

    Yes, precisely.

    I’m aware that restaurant workers need to get paid and that this is the only way you have to do it, but normalising this practice is not the way to do it. Start agitating for equal treatment of all workers. Work to change a system that treats restaurant workers as some special subclass that needs your charity because the value of their labour is deemed less than yours.

    In the age of Trump, are you really comfortable with turning fellow workers into transient servants? There to indulge your whims and massage your egos, as well as serve you food?

    I don’t know what you mean by ‘normalizing’ – this IS normal here in the US of A, which most definitely is NOT a workers’ paradise. I agree with what you say, but in the meantime, tip your server – generously – because your opinions about the way things ought to be is not going to pay his or her bills.

  187. 187
    Ruckus says:

    A number of people have said “double the tax” Well the sales tax in CA is generally 9% but can vary a bit, county to county. However decades ago the tax rate was about 5% so doubling the tax would be, 10%. 10% was easy, move the decimal. 20% is easy, move the decimal and double. Even for the math challenged that’s shouldn’t be all that difficult. I work blue collar and when we all go out to lunch we all tip well. Maybe it’s because we know what dirty manual labor actually is.

  188. 188
    Juju says:

    @medrawt: have you never heard of a doggie bag? I often eat part of a restaurant entree for dinner one night, then lunch or dinner the next night. In my personal experience, people who split entrees do it because they don’t want to pay a big tip. YMMV. Some restaurants have an entree splitting fee.

  189. 189
    diane durgin says:

    @raven: on major holidays and the waiter isn’t home with family I will tip even more than 20% and round up for my OCD friends’ lower tips. But never let your parents/loved ones know, unless they ask what to tip! I never worked that job myself, but know many who did and how hard it is.

  190. 190
    Turgidson says:

    @Viva BrisVegas:

    As other people have said, your description of the current system’s absurdity is shared by almost everyone commenting here. But your comments reads as if you think we should all take a principled, pro-worker stand and stop tipping the workers until the system is fixed.

    So on my next bill, I’ll write “as an act of solidarity with you and hard-working servers across this great nation, I refuse to “normalize” the sham of a current system by tipping you. You’re WELCOME, no need to applaud.” I’m sure that the next time I’m in that restaurant, the servers will literally fight over the opportunity to wait on such a heroic supporter of their cause.

    I’m not sure how we can prevent the “normalization” of a practice that has been going on for decades in this country. Lobbying for changes towards a civilized salary for servers sounds great and I support it. In the meantime, I’ll keep tipping generously, since my expressions of solidarity won’t help them pay their rent or next medical bill.

  191. 191
    trollhattan says:

    @Juju:
    FWIW the spouse and I split entrees all the time because we prefer the variety of “small bites” and also order appetizers, salad, etc. Better places recognize and happily accommodate. Am guessing The Cheesecake Factory, not so much.

  192. 192
    Francis says:

    This may be a dead thread, but in response to some comments above, California does NOT have a separate minimum wage for tipped staff. If you are working in California and earning less than minimum wage, go file a wage claim.

    (I am a dog-damned lawyer and if anyone wants further info on this point, please ask. I’ll check back later.)

  193. 193
    raven says:

    @PSpain: Here’s their policy

    SERVICE CHARGE AND GRATUITY
    A 20 percent service charge will be added to all food and beverage dining checks for parties of eight or more and in-room dining. For parties less than eight, gratuity is at your own discretion.

  194. 194
    danielx says:

    @Viva BrisVegas:

    Sorry – reread your post, and you live somewhere else. Didn’t mean to get all up in your grill about a custom you don’t (and can’t) know that much about. You’re right in what you say about how things should be, but as I noted your opinions about the way things should be in this country aren’t going to pay the server’s bills.

    This is one of many things that should be different here in the US, but I’m not holding my breath. As with so many things, a lot of people’s rice bowls depend on staying the way things are now and those people like things the way they are now just fine, thankyewverymuch.

  195. 195
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Turgidson:

    Nobody tell VivaBrisVegas that our restaurant staff also don’t usually get health insurance or paid sick leave, so they have to go to work while sick. The poor guy will rightfully refuse to visit such an inhumane country that’s trying to infect him into the bargain.

  196. 196
    J R in WV says:

    @Viva BrisVegas:

    What a line of bullshit! We’re trying to make sure people earn a living wage, and you’re giving us a hard time for that? Fuck That! There are more non-facts in your post than I care to attempt to count!

    I’m a big tipper. I want people at restaurants we visit often to like seeing us coming in the door, I want them to be making a decent living. They work hard to make things right.

    Every working person should receive a living wage, and that we have to make up the difference by tipping is sorry sad bullshit. But we need to do it as long as things are like this.

    Thanks John, for bringing this up.

  197. 197

    John, if I were not 60 years old and already married to a guy I really like for 32 years, I would be on my way to West-by-god-Virginia to marry you, whether you wanted to or not. For several reasons (good taste in pets, politics, and houses helps; I’d forgive you for being a Pens fan) but mainly because you get it.

    I’ve waited tables and tended bar too. More than half the people who walk through the doors are jerks from the get-go. On the rare occasion hubby and I go out to eat – unless I KNOW that my wait-person has slashed my tires while we were dining – I will overtip. Always.

    It’s an awful job, and they deserve a generous tip to make up for the crap they have to deal with. I don’t know anyone who has been a waitperson or bartender who doesn’t tip well.

  198. 198
    🚸 Martin says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Average 1BR apartment price in SF is $3,500 a month. Assuming you’re sharing it, $21 an hour means you’re putting 50% of your gross earning into housing.

  199. 199
    Wapiti says:

    @opiejeanne: Cool, I’ll have to check it out.

  200. 200
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    @J R in WV:

    We’re trying to make sure people earn a living wage, and you’re giving us a hard time for that? Fuck That!

    Nope. I’m all for you giving big tips to make up for lousy wages, but do you give big tips to every server? What about the ones whose service is subpar because they are sick or worried about their kid in hospital? Or the ones who aren’t as pretty or whose patter isn’t as smooth? Or any of a hundred other reasons? How fair is that?

    I’m trying to give you a hard time for complacently accepting such a situation.

    Tipping is the least you can do, but at least you could recognise that it’s the worst way of doing it.

  201. 201
    Roger Moore says:

    @trollhattan:

    Some states, IIRC including California, allow restaurants to pay subminimum wage.

    You have that backward. California is one of the few states that doesn’t allow restaurants to pay below the regular minimum wage.

  202. 202
    NotoriousJRT says:

    @medrawt:
    Want to split an entre and drink only water? Then your tip should reflect that you recognize your CHEAP meal requires as much if not more effort. The daughter is not deliberately embarrass her parents, but good for her for being honest.

  203. 203
    Roger Moore says:

    @Chris:

    I wonder if the Romans crucified lions, too.

    No, but they did have fights between wild animals and armed humans.

  204. 204
    Turgidson says:

    @Viva BrisVegas:

    Tipping is the least you can do, but at least you could recognise that it’s the worst way of doing it.

    Uh, we do. That’s why you’re getting so much pushback on your first comment. And pretty much everyone posting on this thread is saying they tip pretty well regardless of circumstance or performance, so your rant about not properly tipping people who aren’t pretty enough etc. is not well-taken either. Like I said way upstairs, I only even consider a substandard tip if the server is so terrible that I suspect they’re actively trying to piss me off. That’s only ever happened a couple of times, and I ate out a lot when I lived in a good neighborhood of SF with about 20 restaurants I liked within walking distance, before mortgage and kids sapped my budget liquidity and free time. And I appear to be toward the frugal end of the commentariat who has posted in this thread.

    I will admit that I haven’t marched in any protests or circulated any petitions about this industry’s practices. So you got me there.

  205. 205
    TriassicSands says:

    The mother in this tale is a creep. That is the kind of behavior I often associate with people who are rich.

    If I eat in a restaurant, I always tip at least 20%. Only once in my life have I stiffed a waiter and believe me, if we could have taken all the money he had in his wallet to compensate us for having to put up with him, we might have done it. He was rude beyond belief, very sloppy when delivering our food (spilling soups that he didn’t place on the table, but dropped), and insulted one of our party with a sexist comment. Since this was not the first time we had been “served” by this individual, we knew that he was not just having a bad day (something I understand). After that performance, we all frequented that restaurant less frequently and all of us refused to be waited on by him.

    And, yes, we did “report” him to management, something we wouldn’t have done if we thought he was just having a bad day, didn’t feel well, or had some other reason to be a complete ass. If asked, I would have suggested he get out of waiting and get a job at a collection agency.

  206. 206
    TriassicSands says:

    @Viva BrisVegas:

    Start agitating for equal treatment of all workers. Work to change a system that treats restaurant workers as some special subclass that needs your charity because the value of their labour is deemed less than yours.

    And while we’re doing that the wait staff continues to get unacceptably low wages. Sorry, but changing the system might be the best thing for the long term, but making wait staff get by on less than a living wage while we wait for the change won’t work.

    In some restaurants, waiters/waitresses or just plain old wait persons make so much on tips that they wouldn’t want to be paid a salary. I’ve known people who brought home $200-$300 a night. It’s very unlikely the owner would pay them a salary equal to their tips. Admittedly, these waiting jobs are the exception.

  207. 207
    Ha Nguyen says:

    @opiejeanne:
    OMG. I guess I’ll have to face the horrors of parking in Fremont, if I want some.

  208. 208
    Mark Haag says:

    Sometimes we do split an entre, or use a coupon, but when we do, we tip as though we had each ordered an entre (or paid full price when half). T hey work just as hard either way, why not get paid for it?

  209. 209
    trnc says:

    @Mike J:

    You left out that they’re taxed on what the tip *should have been* even if they don’t get it.

    Are you sure about that? Restaurants are supposed to pay at least the prevailing minimum wage if the waiter doesn’t actually make that during a shift – is that what you’re thinking of? The IRS has no way of knowing how many hours a waiter works because workers only declare gross wages on their tax forms, not the hours they work, right? Sadly, restaurants often ignore this law, so the waiter gets screwed anyway.

  210. 210
    TriassicSands says:

    @Mark Haag:

    I think splitting an entree (though I’ve not done that) is fine. People shouldn’t eat more than they want, need, or can afford. Portions are often ridiculously large. If one can afford it, ordering two entrees and doggie bags can work.

  211. 211

    But waiters need to reach out to these people! Just because they have plenty of money, doesn’t mean that they like watching black and brown people get their food first like they are equal or something. Their fear is genuine therefore it is the server’s job to meet them where they are.
    -Thomas Frank

  212. 212
    Juju says:

    @trollhattan: I’ve only eaten at a Cheesecake Factory once, so I can’t say. Whatever works for you is fine with me. I’ve actually eaten with people who admitted they split entrees because they don’t like to have to leave a larger tip. They also only have water with their meal. When I eat with them I always supplement their tip. I’ve been a waitress, I couldn’t do otherwise. Fortunately I see these people rarely. My dad always said ” if you’re not nice to the waitstaff, you’re not a nice person.” I’ve always felt that way, except when I was in single digits.

  213. 213
    Reformed Panty Sniffer says:

    I worked in a NJ diner for 10 years (HS and college) as a busboy, then waiter. 12-14 hour shifts on weekends, some shifts I worked 5 pm to 7 am and had the whole place to myself until day shift started (hours between 4-7 am). If a bus showed up it was just me, the manager, a cook and the dishwasher. (It paid for college and I have some good memories of older divorced waitresses from that time in my life. Mrs Robinson is real.) Always tip in cash if you can. 20% is the norm, more if you want. I remember being paid $2.01 an hour and had to make up the difference between that and the minimum wage at the time, which was $3.60 or so. So yeah, I tip pretty well unless the server is an an a-hole. I once gave a tip back to a group of 10+ a-holes who basically took up my section for hours, over a hundred dollar check at the time, and they gave me 2 bucks. My Greek boss told me not to do that again but he liked my attitude. Tip well and karma rewards you. Bartenders will keep your secrets better. Finally, also tip your barber a good amount so you avoid the bad haircut. Tip workers/delivery guys when they come to your house to do jobs and such. They appreciate it as a lot of people forget about them.

  214. 214
    R.Porrofatto says:

    Former bartender here. Agree 100+25%. Also, tip any waitstaff person who’s working take-out in a restaurant. Why? It has nothing to do with the amount of service you’re getting or not. Do it because they’re rarely making any tips doing take-out, and therefore they are not making a living serving you.

  215. 215
    KS in MA says:

    @Bill:

    A friend of mine once tipped a ladies’-room attendant $100 (speaking of jobs that are no fun and the pay is lousy). Made the attendant’s day.

  216. 216
    Aurona says:

    Long time lurker/occasional commenter (under another name) & want to send a big thank you to M. Cole on how to tip the wait staff. I have family members working in those salt mines; and if you are a major sports town (Seattle) and your restaurant hosts Big Game Parties, imagine what those kids have to put up with, even when the folks are nice. Being a good waitress/waiter takes a lot of work, and it helps if you are a social animal (I am not one) to get good tips. To those who are not in the food & beverage industry, what John said is all true.

  217. 217
    Truegster says:

    As a former waiter (The Oasis in Austin about 6 yrs ago) and a person who still hangs out with waiters, we tip 20% on the reg. But we also assume “you” people (who haven’t ever been a waiter) are going to tip 15%. I agree with Cole, but that’s because I’ve been one I think people can tip 15% without feeling too bad, it’s the standard that we all expected.

  218. 218
    Grover Gardner says:

    Years ago, my then-wife and I were invited to dinner by my uncle and his wife, who was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s but still conversant (if you dove back 20 years or so). We went to a small Italian restaurant and had a pleasant dinner, including some cocktails and wine. At the end of the evening, my uncle paid the check and plopped a five dollar bill on the table. My wife and I, who were actors at the time and had done our share of waiting tables, must have looked startled, because my uncle grinned and said, “I don’t tip for the liquor.” That was a new one on us. Now, this man had more money than Croesus, so much, in fact, that a year later when he passed away, my father, who was executor, said he didn’t know who to give it all to, even after the heirs were duly rewarded. Anyway, as my uncle steered his wife out to the car, we dug up fifteen dollars to add to the tip.

  219. 219
    Demomom says:

    I love you. That is all.

  220. 220
    steverinoCT says:

    @OlFroth:
    I’ve been training my grand-nieces on tipping, both because I think their parents may be stingy and I want them to learn properly, and also as a “mental math” drill to calculate 20% and add it to the bill (rounding up to the next whole dollar). And how the tip should be placed on the table with the coffee cup holding it down. But you don’t drink coffee? Then you’ll have to order a cup. Tradition!

  221. 221
    Ten mile dog says:

    Here’s a tip – your date will notice if you’re an asshole to your server.

    I regularly tip 10%…if I’m ordering to go. If I’m at a sit-down restaurant, I almost always tip 20%. I have to admit that I have tipped less, but you seriously have to be trying to piss me off enough to cut your tip.

    I’d push back very slightly on the original post – I won’t blame anybody for drinking water instead of paying $2.69 for an iced tea.

    Finally, I’d point out that those convenient tip calculations on the ticket generally calculate based on the bill before sales tax. I recognize that some folks tip that way, but I never do.

  222. 222
    Tehanu says:

    @medrawt:

    Yes, splitting an entree and drinking water isn’t optimal customer behavior from the restaurant’s perspective, but so fucking what? It’s not inconsiderate;

    Of course it isn’t, but if you do that it behooves you to leave a little bigger tip than the (whatever) percentage of the actual bill might call for, because the waiter is giving you the same service (# of plates, etc.) as if you had ordered two plates. That’s just … niceness.

    @Yarrow:

    Has 10% ever been a tip for “normal service”? No etiquette book or anything else will say a normal tip is 10%. Where did she come up with that?

    Maybe she got it from John D. Rockefeller, who never tipped more than a dime for ANYTHING. Cheap bastard.

  223. 223
    Gemina13 says:

    Mom was a waitress, a short-order cook, a cook for two small restaurants, a hotel front-desk clerk, and a hostess at various points in her life. I learned from her how to tip well, and I’ve done so ever since I started eating out on my own.

    I have, however, stopped placing tips on my debit card, and started leaving cash for the waitstaff.

  224. 224
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Viva BrisVegas: Who is defending the concept of tipping?

  225. 225
    jc says:

    I’m a cab driver, and I’ve noticed that the people who don’t tip, they’re either from a country where tipping never happens, or they’ve never had a job that depended on tips, so they just don’t get it. Or they mistakenly think they’re being ripped-off, so they refuse to play the game.

  226. 226
    Tehanu says:

    @Viva BrisVegas:

    There was a restaurant in San Diego, I believe, that tried to get away from tipping several years ago, for all those reasons. Problem was, the assholes in the general public screamed bloody murder: how could they be assured of getting good service if they couldn’t punish servers for bad service? They wanted that power over the helpless; they wanted to feel like lords of the manor ordering the serfs around. I can’t swear that the screamers were all Trump voters, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    Right, I should have read all the comments first. Great minds, yada yada….

  227. 227
    catbirdman says:

    Cheap bastards, plain and simple. Grandma knows it and doesn’t like to be called out on her shit, even through the back-door way of overhearing the appropriately-embarrassed son-in-law making up for her extreme cheapness. I’m tired of catering to idiots, and Trump hasn’t even taken office yet. All I know is that I’m going to be a serious piece of work by 2020.

  228. 228
    Larkspur says:

    @Brachiator:

    …In both of these places, I feel the intent is that if you don’t have an excellent meal and excellent service, the management would really like to hear from you and make an immediate correction….

    Yes, this. I’ve encountered very few situations – if any – where I felt the the wait staff was deliberately trying to fuck with me. If I’m not happy with something about the service or the food, I do my best to deal with it right away, in order to give the restaurant the opportunity to fix the problem in real time. I’m as pleasant as possible, which is not hard, because I’m coming from the position that the restaurant wants me to like the food and service and to tell all my friends good stories, not bad stories. I’d rather voice my objections than use a low tip as commentary.

    @trollhattan: Yes, heavy weather is coming. I topped off my gas tank today and am checking my flashlights. I should already have replaced the emergency radio (the kind that works with a hand-crank) that was stolen from my old car (it was part of my automobile go-bag), but I haven’t done that yet. Darn. I’m going to have to drive on Saturday night and Sunday morning to get to jobs – not too far, but definitely through some places with chronic flooding problems. Which reminds me: I generally tip the AAA road service people when I have to call them for a car problem. They are always pleased and usually surprised. It’s kind of self-serving, but whatever: it makes me feel better about car problems, like if I can be generous to the road service folks, then maybe I can deal with the car problem without my head exploding. It kind of drains off some of the angst. It’s my brain: it works strangely. Still, I hope I don’t have to tip any road service folks this weekend. Fingers crossed.

  229. 229
    Suzanne says:

    I tip at least 20%, rounding up, when I eat at a restaurant with table service. I often throw in a dollar at places where you just order at the counter, even though those people should be making (at least) the regular wage. And I tip at least 20% when getting hair, nails, or any other beauty treatment done.

    Honestly, the tip jar at places like Starbucks or Pei Wei or the deli annoys me a little bit, because it’s not full service. I still will generally throw some money in there, but what they’re doing is not really different than, say, cashiering or fast food work, and those people don’t get tipped. It feels classist to me.

    I worked at McDonalds for my first job, and I have never been treated so badly.

  230. 230
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Mnemosyne: I haven’t yet stayed in a hotel around Xmas, but I always leave $10-20 for each night of my stay because that’s only a small surcharge on the hotel’s rate, I don’t stay in hotels very often, and so many people never, ever tip. I have well off family members who leave maybe a couple of dollars a night, if they leave anything.

  231. 231
    Retr2327 says:

    @James Powell: exactly. I’m a big fan of splitting entrees, or just eating appetizers, because restaurant portion sizes are nuts, but the wait staff shouldn’t take a hit, because the labor doesn’t change.

  232. 232
    quakerinabasement says:

    Here’s my process: calculate a proper tip–twenty percent. It’s easy! Divide by ten and double the result. Then add a couple of bucks on top of that. Too many people are positively sadistic about exercising this tiny bit of control over a hard-working human. They figure the tip down to the penny and feel aggrieved at paying that.

    Dinner and drinks for me and the missus in our town (and in our price range) typically runs $50-$70. A standard tip is going to be another $10-15. After spending $60 to $80 bucks, why do I need to get stingy about an extra few dollars? Round upward and add a couple. It might make up for a jerk or a cheapskate. Who knows? It might make someone’s shift bearable.

  233. 233
    Erick says:

    @James Powell: exactly. Same with happy hour, the server did the same work as normal pricing, so you should tip on the original amount.

  234. 234
    Irony Abounds says:

    The absurdity of the tip system can be seen from the fact that it really is based on $$ spent and not effort. Two people go to a restaurant, one orders the most expensive steak, the other a less expensive one, one orders a beer, the other soda pop. The two bills, and therefore the two tips, will be substantially different even though the effort involved is the same. It really is just an incredibly dumb system. Nonetheless, I’m good about tipping at or near 20% (I do a quick calculation and like roundish numbers).

  235. 235
    Gretchen says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: I’m in my 60’s. 10% was standard when I was young. Double the tax? Sales tax was 4% then, so double the tax was generous.
    Where the writer lost me was, when told that her behavior was not very thoughtful, her response was to get angry at the messenger, rather than wanting to learn how to be more thoughtful. I’m guessing that son-in-law would be delighted if she’s too angry to continue this tradition.

  236. 236
    Gretchen says:

    I’m a former server, as are my husband, my son and my daughter. So 20% is my minimum tip. Except for pedicures. If someone has to mess with my feet, even if that’s their chosen profession, they deserve and get a good bit more than 20% from me.

  237. 237
    Gretchen says:

    @Laertes: I have a smallish appetite. One of the things I look forward to after eating out is the leftovers the next day. I order a full dinner, eat half, and get a to-go box. The restaurant sells its expected full dinner, I get the next day’s lunch, I tip 20% or a little more, and everybody’s happy.

  238. 238
    Gretchen says:

    @charluckles: Exactly! I went out to dinner with my grown daughter in NYC. She made a point of talking to the server and telling him what a good job he was doing, and I felt that I had done a great job as a mother raising such a decent daughter.

  239. 239
    SWMBO says:

    I went from South Florida to St. Louis to pick up my mom and her dog for Christmas. I brought my son and four dogs with me. When I stayed in a motel, I tipped a dollar a day per person. Dogs are family so that was $7 a day going up. Coming back, I added $2 more per day. The last day my husband was with us and we tipped $10.
    Back in the Dark Ages, when I was dating, if I went out with a guy who was rude to the waitstaff, he was off the list. Anyone who was rude was just exercising control over someone else who couldn’t fight back. And he wasn’t EVER going to have that much control over me, so make like horse shit and hit the trail.

  240. 240
    SWMBO says:

    @Gretchen: I routinely do that. Also I take in my own plastic containers with snap lids. The local restaurants have gotten used to me doing this and, if I forget, I have to ask for a to go box. I like the snap lid ones because they don’t leak like regular boxes do. I also won’t reheat leftovers in styrofoam so I feel like I’m helping the environment.

  241. 241
    Gretchen says:

    @SWMBO: Exactly! One of the pieces of advice I’ve seen to young women is to observe how your date treats the waitstaff. If he’s a jerk towards people who have no power over him, he’s ot a good person to be involved with.

  242. 242
    FridayNext says:

    @Hungry Joe:

    Yes in fact, they take great pride in it.

  243. 243
    LAC says:

    I am fighting a cold (and losing) and did not see this last night. I agree with everything you said and she is what the waitstaff dreams of feeding to the meat grinder during their after hour recap of the day.

  244. 244
    eldorado says:

    thread is dead but had to add my piece. cash is king. the owners will definitely try to screw you over in some way if they can manage it. and you know where a big part of that cash goes once rent/electric is paid? it goes towards a tip double the percent you gave when that person goes out to the bar/restaurant, which is probably right after their shift. service industry peeps take care of their own and that money circulates very quickly.

    also you do suck and you need to be told this at least a few times a day.

  245. 245
    randy khan says:

    Probably this is a dead thread, but the response to the letter was dead on, including basically telling her she and her husband were, in fact, stiffing the staff.

  246. 246
    Audio says:

    @Chris: Reminds me of Ben Affleck’s character’s retort in Mallrats when some said this: The customer is always an asshole.

  247. 247
    Robert Meyer says:

    The words “loveable curmudgeon” spring to mind….

  248. 248
  249. 249
    Anne Frates says:

    Those people who want to keep tips because it lets them punish the “serfs” for bad service are conveniently forgetting the other half of the feudal bargain: those who are lesser, owe service. Those who are greater, owe defense and care. It’s called Noblesse Oblige. You are supposed to be noble, not petty.

  250. 250
    Stan says:

    @Chris:

    Either that or they’ll respond by digressing that “but THE TROOPS! have it worse,”

    I’ve never heard an actual soldier or veteran say that.

  251. 251
    Dave says:

    I’m sure this is a dead thread, but I will leave this anyway. As a rule, I only drink water. Not just in restaurants, not to save money, I don’t think soft drinks are healthy. I tip at least 20% of the bill, plus add on to the tip the three dollars I would have have paid for a beverage. Even if it’s a ten dollar bill at a lunch counter–the server will get at least a five dollar tip.

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