Anna Gregoline | August 17, 2004
Should the practice of tipping be abolished?

Lori Lancaster | August 17, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | August 17, 2004
No, I mean, should tipping be eliminated from our culture?

Scott Horowitz | August 17, 2004
No, I think if you get good service, you should be rewarded. However, when I was in vacation in Mexico, all the people that helped would always ask for "mi propina" or in English "My tip." I found that rude. If you deserve a tip you'll get it, if you ask for one, you'll piss me off.

Lori Lancaster | August 17, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | August 17, 2004
I think you guys are still missing what I meant.

Tipping is really a custom - it's in no way mandatory. If tipping was done away with, servers would be paid a normal wage - as of now, in many states, they make much less than minimum wage.

I am thinking about this stuff because I am reading a book on waitressing and have read this site, which is a big eye-opener:

Bitter Waitress

Melissa Erin | August 17, 2004
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John E Gunter | August 18, 2004
I've been told that the way we tip is completely different from the way the custom originated. Apparently, in the past, you paid a tip to get good service, not because you got good service.

So you would go into a restaurant and pay the maitre d for a good table. Then you would pay the server for good service. Then you would eat your meal. Course, I believe this kind of tipping is more European than American. :-)

I've also heard of a restaurant in, I think it's France or England that you go into and pay what you feel is the right amount for the meal. There are no fixed prices, but it is a very successful restaurant, or it was, heard about it over 12 years ago. But I know if someone did that here in the states, they'd go out of business.

I personally make sure I tip the waiter at least 15%, but it's usually closer to 20%. That is unless they give me really bad service. I'm not talking bad food, that's the responsibility of the chef, but if I have to wait, dying of cottonmouth because they aren't filling my glass, then that's bad service.

John

Anna Gregoline | August 18, 2004
Everyone should read bitterwaitress.com, and read this book called "Waiting" that I just read. It totally makes me want to tip 20% or over in every situation, unless my server calls me a pig or something.

Scott Hardie | August 20, 2004
That's strange, because bitterwaitress.com makes me want to tip less than I do now, which is 20-25%. There's such a sense of entitlement, of being owed the tip the moment the customer sits down, that it turns me off just like the Mexican wait staff turned off Scott Horowitz.

We say that tipping isn't mandatory in this country, but it may as well be. We're ostracized by our fellow dining partners for leaving little or no tip, we're scorned by the wait staff for it, and society holds low tippers in poor regard. We know full well that unless the service is terrible, we're going to leave a good tip because we're going to feel like shit (and be made to feel like shit) if we don't. And the wait staff knows it too, but when they try to acknowledge it like Scott was saying, that's a turn-off. I think we have a covenant in this country: Us patrons will pretend as if we are giving good tips of our own volition, and the wait staff will not reveal that they expect good tips. I can live with an understanding like that; it's hardly the only little game of pretend by which our society functions. Besides, it gives us a financial incentive to express disapproval of bad servers, by letting us save a few bucks in the process.

In addition to the sense of entitlement demonstrated by some servers, what irks me about the process of tipping is the inflation that has occurred over the years. There was a time not very long ago when 5% was considered a decent tip, then it grew to 10%. In the nineties, it rose to 15%. Now anything less than 20% is considered unusually low. When will this trend stop? In a few more decades will we feel guilty for leaving less than 50%? An inflation in cash value I can understand, but an inflation in percentages is the kind of genie that can't be put back into the bottle.

Scott Hardie | August 24, 2004
Wow, nobody else has something to say?

I will add that, to my understanding, cash tips are better because the server can get away with not declaring the full amount at the end of the night. Even when you pay by credit, try to leave a tip in cash.

Scott Horowitz | August 24, 2004
I heard on the radio the other day the reasons why you should be tipped if you work at Starbucks and why you shouldn't at McDonalds. I personally don't
tip at either. It doesn't take that much talent to be a coffee maker (sorry, a barista I hate their fucking trendy names for everything). I tip only for waiter/waitress service. And, in my opinion, you have to work for your tip. My friends and I were at a coffee house once. We sat down 10 minutes before this one table and they got their stuff 45 MINUTES before we did. We had less than half the people they did. I was pissed. I spoke to the manager, and he was a jackass. So, I left a tip of $1 for a $30 bill. I tend to go to the Fridays near my house rather frequently. I know many of the bartenders and they hook me up all the time. We had a $40 bill, that he knocked down to $15. We left $50. Good service deserves good rewards.

Scott Horowitz | August 24, 2004
And just for the record. I normally tip 15%.... 20% if I go out in Manhattan.

Scott Hardie | August 24, 2004
It took me a while to warm up to the concept of tipping the Papa John's employee who serves to passing cars in my apartment's parking lot every Friday evening. He's just standing there waiting to hand me a pizza, it's not like he even brings it up to my door let alone serves it to me at a table. But after a while I realized how hot the sun can be here in the late afternoon for hours at a time, and he has no place to sit. Besides, he's just about the kindest old gentleman I've met since it was my job to meet senior citizens, and he knows my name every time I walk up. He's been getting a sizeable tip the last few Fridays to make up for my poor judgment in earlier weeks.

Erik Bates | August 24, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | August 24, 2004
No one should complain to you directly about your lack of tip. It's kind of like demanding panhandlers to me - I'm not OBLIGATED to give you money. You are not entitled to it outright.

No, you shouldn't tip at Starbucks. They make a real wage, unlike waiters and waitresses. I always feel weird about tipping for pizza, but I do give them a little bit. Another one is taxi cabs - I tip a couple bucks, tops.

Jackie Mason | August 24, 2004
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Erik Bates | August 24, 2004
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Melissa Erin | August 24, 2004
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Melissa Erin | August 24, 2004
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John E Gunter | August 25, 2004
I didn't mind sharing my tips as long as those that I shared them with kept their side of the bargain. If I spent more time clearing my tables or had to constantly bug the hostesses to seat people at my tables, then I had a problem with tip sharing.

I'm not saying that I didn't help bus my tables, it is kind of my job also, but if I was busy handling another table's order and I had a table that needed clearing, with a busboy just standing around scratching his ass, then I had a problem with it.

Also, as far as getting the food out to my tables, I always watched the time it took for me to put in my order, to the point where the cooks were supposed to get my order out and if it was taking to long, I first asked the cooks what they were doing and then went to the manager about it. Granted, if the cooks were in the weeds, then it would take them longer to get the food out, but every once in a while, a cook and I wouldn't be seeing eye to eye and they'd drag my food. Also happened to other waits, and when it did, I'd get after the managers to get on the cook's ass.

Since I was working at Bennigan's, in fact the top Bennigan's in the city, they would take care of it, either the cook himself, or the manager. Would probably be a manager there myself if they had let me into manager training, but when they turned me down because I wasn't dedicated enough, worked there for 3 1/2 years, was head waiter & trainer, 'assistant manager', for at least 2 of those years, I left the company.

John

Erik Bates | August 25, 2004
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Scott Horowitz | August 25, 2004
If I were you Eric, I would have given him 9 cents the next time, and 8 the following and so on. If he's going to be a dick, so should you.

Melissa Erin | August 25, 2004
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Jackie Mason | August 25, 2004
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Melissa Erin | August 26, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | August 26, 2004
Yes, because it's cheaper for them. That's why laws should be passed so that everyone gets paid a decent wage. In my humble opinion, anyway.

John Viola | August 26, 2004
I agree Anna.

At the same time I do like tipping, because it allows me to show my appreciation directly to the person serving me as opposed to going through the company's bastard profit skimming - effectively giving the person a set amount and taking the rest, no matter how much more the rest is! A set wage leaves it up to the company, and a stellar employee has to rely on the company to reward them if they so choose.


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