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Tip of the Iceberg


Yesterday, Jodi and I ate at Mexican Villa and we had a waitress that did a great job. She filled our chip basket without asking, took our order quickly and flawlessly, and made herself very available if we needed anything. We ate, paid, tipped well, and left. However, the tipping part stayed on my mind for a while. This is why. I left three dollars on the table as that was all the cash that I had on me. When I used my debit card to pay for the meal (at the checkout counter) I added another $2.54 tip to the slip I signed to bring the total amount of the debited amount to an even $30. I hadn't done the math in my head to find out the percentage of tip I left, so I turned to Jodi and kind of quickly told her what I left to see if she approved. She did and so I was okay with that. I did, however, see a look cross the guy's face who was running the register. I hadn't noticed that the guy was sort of scowling at the $2.54 tip I left on a $27.46 meal until his countenance changed ever so slightly upon my incedental unveiling of the fact that I also left $3 on the table bringing the total tip amount to $5.54. This amount was apparently acceptable to him and so he therefore replaced his almost imperceptible scowl with an equally difficult to notice "oh, I guess I had this guy pegged all wrong" look. I did the math later to find out that my tip worked out to just over 20% which according to society is a good tip, so I should feel good about it, right? How come I don't feel good about it?

I have a problem with the way that someone can open up a restaurant, charge a small fortune for food and drink, and then hire a bunch of people for $2.15 an hour. As if the restuarant can't afford to pay their employees, so the customer should have to. They're not the customer's employees are they? And yet the everage customer pays them more out of their pocket per hour than the employer does.

Tipping's understood rules are pretty difficult to understand when examined. The average tip that I received for pizza delivery was about $1.50. Most of these orders exceeded $20. But, in the pizza delivery business, $2 is a perfectly acceptable tip. Not great, but good. Why then should the waiter back at the pizza restaurant get tipped $4. What did he do? He showed them a table they could've found on their own, took their order, refilled their drinks, and asked them a couple times if he could get them anything else. The pizza delivery driver drives his own car all the way to the customer's house no matter what the weather is doing (note: people tend to order delivery more in bad weather since it's not as safe to drive for them; nevermind the delivery kid behind the wheel with their food in their passenger seat). The driver risks life and limb, risks wear and tear to his vehicle, and risks getting traffic tickets. All of these things ON TOP OF the fact that he got the order put together, made the drinks if there were any, and collected packs of condiments with the order. Doesn't make much sense does it?

Before writing this blog I looked at a suggested gratuity list online. This list and some others like it that I found suggested that even upon bad service one should still tip their waiter/waitress at least 10% and inform the manager of the bad service. The word gratuity means "gift of appreciation" so why would I want to give one to waiter/waitress that I didn't appreciate? I saw a list of hotel employees and what is expected of people to tip them. Let me tell you, if you go to a nice hotel, you'll be completely surrounded by people looking for a handout. It's like being harrassed by bums and panhandlers. And then they turn around and call their hotels upscale. It's no wonder why richer people feel separated from the rest of society and look down on lesser fortunate folks. They're tired of the bums prodding them for a buck at all the restaurants and hotels they go to.

I think that this whole tipping thing needs re-evaluation. I know I'm not the only one that has an opinion on this subject. What's yours?

6 comments:

I am typically a good tipper as well. Maybe it is because I have worked in those kinds of various job markets and I feel for the person. I will not tip however and get quite angry when gratuity is added on. When I tip its because I want to, but when someone adds my tip in on me I get quite mad and have told a few waiters before "you know I would have gave you a better tip than that gratuity charge so now you are getting nothing from me" anyway thats my opinion.

I COMPLETELY agree. Restaurants should have to pay their employees, not the customer. When I worked in the waitressing bizness I did however find out why they pay so little. People tip so much, feeling bad (oh don't get me wrong, there are the ones who tip 2 cents, as an insult no less), but these tips, gratuity like Dustin mentioned, and your drunk people that want to show you how much they "love you" adds up. So the restaurant business gets off easy paying this ridiculous wage in turn leaving the patron feeling responsible for "filling that gap". It's horrible that people have to order out sometimes just to save on the tip. Like you said, is the almost $30 that we spent yesterday ON LUNCH mind you, not enough to have paid for the "atmosphere"?? Oh I'll definitely rally with you. Even though I did HATE waitressing and totally feel for the people doing it (hence the "feeling bad for them and ending up tipping them well"). Ya think Ron Paul could do something about this?? :)

I despise added gratuity as well. Lots of times people just pay for it and don't realize that the gratuity was added in. Then, they leave their tip on the table and may or may not ever realize their mistake later. I forgot about that. Good point, Dustin.

Also, Jodi brought up a good point. How does it make sense that just because someone gets good tips their employer is released from the responsibility of paying them. Are we to be paid based off of the amount of total income we accrue. Should employers refuse to pay the middle class since "they have money, they don't need it."?

It takes pretty bad service to keep me from tipping 20%. I believe a server must earn it though. While "To Insure Prompt Service" is not the origin of "tips" that meaning has certainly been adopted in todays society thus a tip is not an entitlement. Its like demanding a bonus from your boss or gifts from your parents at Christmas. One thing that irritates me is that many restaurants withhold a portion of the tips. First they pay pathetic wages and then steal from the waiters. That's a crime.

I could not stand to work for $2.15 that's just insane to me.

As far as pizza delivery goes since I was a fellow delivery driver I tip really well. I can remember many nights driving in the snow to get that pizza out. One time my car wouldn't make it up the hill so I walked the hill withtheir pizza and they didn't tip a penny. Those people ticked me off. Did he not see me walking up his block in a foot of snow. OK sorry for that rant.

I'm with everyone else and agree that I don't like it when they add the tip for you. That's annoying.

My question is how much should we tip the lady that cuts our hair. Today my total was $18 and I always giver her $23 so that's a $5 tip. Is that good enough?

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