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boagman

Gratuities tacked onto bills...where's the line?

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:laugh: It's difficult to be outraged if you're gonna make me laugh like that.  :raz:

Ok 20% is truly way out there. That's a lot. I mean truthfully I hate any imposed gratuity. Really annoys me. Seriously.

However, I do pay it, ahem. Our kids are grown & gone  so we regularly tip 20%+

I mean I've had women so devious in escaping their entire bill in a previous life when I had my own place-- I'd still like to squeeze their coach purses till they bleed. And one of my kids is boh. The other kid worked foh and it's just wrong when a table stiffs a waiter. And you didn't stiff her. You just didn't want to go back and squeeze your friends who actually are the culprits here. Somebody didn't ante up, dude.

Idea, next time make someone else face the music at the cash register. Not to mention read the fine print.

I guess I can live with this. I didn't stiff her, and in my opinion, as a table, *we* didn't stiff her. I'll agree that, somewhere down the line, one or two of my compatriots didn't ante up, and that's wrong...on them.

I'm still going to find out about the fine print. That's one of my Things To Do in the coming days, since 20% is the highest autograt I've ever run across, and that was part of the original beef.

Oh, and I have never, and *would never* skip out on a bill, nor skint the server, unless said server was honestly *begging* for no tip via an absolutely crappy attitude... If I can't *afford* to eat out, I just stinking don't. I do feel just fine adjusting the tip commensurate with the level of service, though, and if things are bad, I say something to someone in charge. As a matter of being even-handed, when things are good, I *must* say something as well to someone in charge. If all I do is moan, and never praise, then that makes me a jerk. In fact, just this week, I called to speak to a manager to let him know about the superior level of quality I received from one of his servers on Sunday. Called him at an off hour, so as not to interrupt a major service. I tipped the server about 50%. But it didn't include the sales tax! ;)

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HERE'S a topic on mandatory gratuities for those who like to relive the fun!

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And no, you should NOT have gotten attitude from the server when you were short 87 cents - as stated, I would have let it go. But the fact that your server brought it up proves my point that an extra buck means way more to her than it does to you.

But to me this is about "deserves" versus "entitlement." I will pay far beyond 20% when someone deserves it. And just to note that I hate mandatory tips because of my tipping style, but I accept them because there are many cheapskates out there who aren't willing to acknowledge good service.

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Though I agree with you in principle, the thought that 87 cents means so much to somebody waiting tables in a cheap Mexican restaurant tugs at my heartstrings. I'd have forked it over myself and been glad that I had it to give.

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I think a lot of people are being a little rough on Boagman. Making him out to be a demon versus the angelic waitstaff just doesnt portray reality. In my experience, most waitstaff aren't worth 20%, and plenty aren't worth 15%. For the restaurant to charge them 20% is exorbitant. And, just as some people think Boagman is wrong/cheap/an asshole for not paying the 87 cents, you can just as easily flip the argument around and say the waiter/restaurant is the cheapskate for making a stink.

Apparently eGullet is made up of the world's elite hospitality workers, where every person is entitled to 25%, no customer has the right to be upset, and they can do no wrong... :wacko:

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Though I agree with you in principle, the thought that 87 cents means so much to somebody waiting tables in a cheap Mexican restaurant tugs at my heartstrings.  I'd have forked it over myself and been glad that I had it to give.

I'm not trying to bust your chops Mark, but how do we know that the 87 cents didnt mean a lot to the individuals at that table? Maybe the server makes more money than those folks?

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Though I agree with you in principle, the thought that 87 cents means so much to somebody waiting tables in a cheap Mexican restaurant tugs at my heartstrings.  I'd have forked it over myself and been glad that I had it to give.

I'm not trying to bust your chops Mark, but how do we know that the 87 cents didnt mean a lot to the individuals at that table? Maybe the server makes more money than those folks?

People who cannot afford to eat out should go to the grocery store instead or buy some angel food.

www.angelfoodministries.com

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Okay, so I'm out tonight with a decent number of friends at a casual Mexican restaurant in downtown Detroit.  It's a decent, low-scale, family-style restaurant, and the average per person charge is around $10-12.  Add on a couple of drinks (both alcoholic and non) here or there, the added-on sour cream or so, someone getting meat on one of their entrees that normally wouldn't have, and you come to a grand total of $121.56, tax included.

Then, there it is:  20% tacked on to the very end of it for a grand total of $145.87.

So let me get this straight... We're talking about an 10 person table, you all got good service and spending two bucks a head to tip the server seems excessive? It's heartwarming to learn that you each saved yourselves nine cents since clearly the restaurant was trying to rob you blind!

I think a lot of people are being a little rough on Boagman. Making him out to be a demon versus the angelic waitstaff just doesnt portray reality. In my experience, most waitstaff aren't worth 20%, and plenty aren't worth 15%. For the restaurant to charge them 20% is exorbitant. And, just as some people think Boagman is wrong/cheap/an asshole for not paying the 87 cents, you can just as easily flip the argument around and say the waiter/restaurant is the cheapskate for making a stink.

I don't know that people are being unduly rough on Boagman, I think that when you're eating at a dive and you get reasonably good service that leaving a few bucks a person for the server is the least you can do.

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So let me get this straight... We're talking about an 10 person table, you all got good service and spending two bucks a head to tip the server seems excessive?  It's heartwarming to learn that you each saved yourselves nine cents since clearly the restaurant was trying to rob you blind!

Allow me to *set* you straight: we did not get "good" service. I would have *recognized* that, had it happened. No, the service we received was merely "functional". I guess I'm just running roughshod over the service industry by thinking that a server should ask if we wanted more margaritas, sangria, etc., rather than just having the empty glasses removed. I guess that seeing empty baskets of tortilla chips is too difficult a clue that, gee golly!, maybe they should refill them.

We ordered the food, it came, it didn't make us sick (that I know of). We served ourselves our own beverages in ridiculously small glasses, because we weren't getting more beverages that would have made the restaurant more money, and increased the server's tip.

I'm afraid of your attitude, that anyone who schleps food in any joint, *however* they choose to do it, should thereby be entitled to whatever they decide their own service is worth, and that those who don't comply are thereby cheap, or curmudgeonly.

Will I be assimilated? Is resistance futile?

Is it so hard to imagine that others at the table weren't all that impressed by the service, either? At 19% for doing not a whole heckuva lot, I think she made out quite well, the more I think about it. I wish I could do so well for such work in my own occupation, which, believe it or not, is *also* very service-oriented.

You'd have a point had we left 10%, and perhaps even at 15%, but at 19%, *KEEPING THE LEVEL OF SERVICE IN MIND*, I'm inclined to disagree, strongly. I think that's actually more than she should have received. To have asked for more, in my opinion, was out of line.


Edited by Dave the Cook (log)

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So let me get this straight... We're talking about an 10 person table, you all got good service and spending two bucks a head to tip the server seems excessive?  It's heartwarming to learn that you each saved yourselves nine cents since clearly the restaurant was trying to rob you blind!

Allow me to *set* you straight: we did not get "good" service. I would have *recognized* that, had it happened. No, the service we received was merely "functional". I guess I'm just running roughshod over the service industry by thinking that a server should ask if we wanted more margaritas, sangria, etc., rather than just having the empty glasses removed. I guess that seeing empty baskets of tortilla chips is too difficult a clue that, gee golly!, maybe they should refill them.

We ordered the food, it came, it didn't make us sick (that I know of). We served ourselves our own beverages in ridiculously small glasses, because we weren't getting more beverages that would have made the restaurant more money, and increased the server's tip.

I'm afraid of your attitude, that anyone who schleps food in any joint, *however* they choose to do it, should thereby be entitled to whatever they decide their own service is worth, and that those who don't comply are thereby cheap, or curmudgeonly.

Will I be assimilated? Is resistance futile?

Is it so hard to imagine that others at the table weren't all that impressed by the service, either? At 19% for doing not a whole heckuva lot, I think she made out quite well, the more I think about it. I wish I could do so well for such work in my own occupation, which, believe it or not, is *also* very service-oriented.

You'd have a point had we left 10%, and perhaps even at 15%, but at 19%, *KEEPING THE LEVEL OF SERVICE IN MIND*, I'm inclined to disagree, strongly. I think that's actually more than she should have received. To have asked for more, in my opinion, was out of line.

First of all, I'm about as curmudgeonly as they get. If I'm paying twelve bucks for a meal all the service I expect is that my food be brought to the table without landing in my lap. I've got no idea what the cost of living is where you live, but I'd imagine a server with one table for the night at a dive restaurant is probably not driving a Ferrari, even if you tip 21%.

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First of all, I'm about as curmudgeonly as they get.  If I'm paying twelve bucks for a meal all the service I expect is that my food be brought to the table without landing in my lap.  I've got no idea what the cost of living is where you live, but I'd imagine a server with one table for the night at a dive restaurant is probably not driving a Ferrari, even if you tip 21%.

And here's where we disagree. While I don't expect four-star, white glove service for 20%, I do expect to be asked if I need anything else, like, say, another revenue-inducing drink. And that's at the least. If all I need is the food I order to *not* be spilled into my lap, well then, they can get a trained monkey to bring it to me. At least I'd be semi-entertained by a trained monkey.

I never tip less than $1, even if it's well above 20%. So those dipweeds who start parsing their $2.99 breakfast special? That's not who I am, either...chances are, that's just a $5 deal out the door. Even so, greasy spoon or not, I don't care whether my waitress is named Flo, chews her gum like a cow chews cud, etc. If they want to be compensated well for their service, then the level of service had better be commensurate with that expectation. If the $2.99 breakfast special gets dropped unceremoniously in front of me and my glass is empty without being addressed? I notice, and yeah: I adjust the tip. It's hard *not* to get $5 out of me on a special like that, but it *can be done*.

I do not now, nor will I ever, believe that "good" service ignores empty glasses and baskets on the table. On the pragmatic side of the restaurant management, if I found out that my server *wasn't* trying to sell more drinks to a large party of diners, she'd be on the business end of a serious derriere-chewing, if not out looking for a new job.


Edited by boagman (log)

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First of all, I'm about as curmudgeonly as they get.  If I'm paying twelve bucks for a meal all the service I expect is that my food be brought to the table without landing in my lap.  I've got no idea what the cost of living is where you live, but I'd imagine a server with one table for the night at a dive restaurant is probably not driving a Ferrari, even if you tip 21%.

And here's where we disagree. While I don't expect four-star, white glove service for 20%, I do expect to be asked if I need anything else, like, say, another revenue-inducing drink. And that's at the least. If all I need is the food I order to *not* be spilled into my lap, well then, they can get a trained monkey to bring it to me. At least I'd be semi-entertained by a trained monkey.

I never tip less than $1, even if it's well above 20%. So those dipweeds who start parsing their $2.99 breakfast special? That's not who I am, either...chances are, that's just a $5 deal out the door. Even so, greasy spoon or not, I don't care whether my waitress is named Flo, chews her gum like a cow chews cud, etc. If they want to be compensated well for their service, then the level of service had better be commensurate with that expectation. If the $2.99 breakfast special gets dropped unceremoniously in front of me and my glass is empty without being addressed? I notice, and yeah: I adjust the tip. It's hard *not* to get $5 out of me on a special like that, but it *can be done*.

I do not now, nor will I ever, believe that "good" service ignores empty glasses and baskets on the table. On the pragmatic side of the restaurant management, if I found out that my server *wasn't* trying to sell more drinks to a large party of diners, she'd be on the business end of a serious derriere-chewing, if not out looking for a new job.

It's two bucks. Get over it.

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It's two bucks.  Get over it.

The view from the cheap seats really must be something, eh?

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First of all, I'm about as curmudgeonly as they get.  If I'm paying twelve bucks for a meal all the service I expect is that my food be brought to the table without landing in my lap.  I've got no idea what the cost of living is where you live, but I'd imagine a server with one table for the night at a dive restaurant is probably not driving a Ferrari, even if you tip 21%.

And here's where we disagree. While I don't expect four-star, white glove service for 20%, I do expect to be asked if I need anything else, like, say, another revenue-inducing drink. And that's at the least. If all I need is the food I order to *not* be spilled into my lap, well then, they can get a trained monkey to bring it to me. At least I'd be semi-entertained by a trained monkey.

I never tip less than $1, even if it's well above 20%. So those dipweeds who start parsing their $2.99 breakfast special? That's not who I am, either...chances are, that's just a $5 deal out the door. Even so, greasy spoon or not, I don't care whether my waitress is named Flo, chews her gum like a cow chews cud, etc. If they want to be compensated well for their service, then the level of service had better be commensurate with that expectation. If the $2.99 breakfast special gets dropped unceremoniously in front of me and my glass is empty without being addressed? I notice, and yeah: I adjust the tip. It's hard *not* to get $5 out of me on a special like that, but it *can be done*.

I do not now, nor will I ever, believe that "good" service ignores empty glasses and baskets on the table. On the pragmatic side of the restaurant management, if I found out that my server *wasn't* trying to sell more drinks to a large party of diners, she'd be on the business end of a serious derriere-chewing, if not out looking for a new job.

It's two bucks. Get over it.

It doesn't sound to me like $2 is the issue here. I too think that from what has been presented Boagman is getting beaten up too much in this discussion. 20% tip (on tax no less!) is excessive as a mandatory gratuity at all but the finest places, especially for perfunctory service. I do not disagree with being upset by the charge. However, if the party felt that the final tip was excessive, they should have mentioned it to the manager then and there and not just come up short.

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It's two bucks.  Get over it.

The view from the cheap seats really must be something, eh?

It's common for a restaurant to include a gratuity for larger tables, you were concerned about it you should have discussed it with the staff before sitting down. The difference between a 15% tip and a 20% tip is six bucks, you're splitting that with the other nine people at your table. I honestly feel for you if this is a critical issue in your life. If that's the case, you probably should be eating at home rather than going out and risking going a fifty cents over budget.

This has nothing to do with anyone taking cheap shots at your expense. You went to dinner, you were served your food, you were given the bill and you short paid it. I'm not at all surprised at the response you're getting here - the behavior you describe is clearly inappropriate.

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Oh boy. Don't get me started. The tip is a crazy way to pay employees. What other industry works this way?

Why not raise the price of the food and pay the staff a fair wage?

Mandatory tipping is an offense against logic.

BTW my tips start at 20% so my objection is not born of cheapness.

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It doesn't sound to me like $2 is the issue here. I too think that from what has been presented Boagman is getting beaten up too much in this discussion. 20% tip (on tax no less!) is excessive as a mandatory gratuity at all but the finest places, especially for perfunctory service. I do not disagree with being upset by the charge. However, if the party felt that the final tip was excessive, they should have mentioned it to the manager then and there and not just come up short.

Okay, now *that's* something that I can get behind! Perhaps I should have done just that, but neither did I want to convey to said manager that I was angry/upset with the service, either. It just plain wasn't worth what we were being charged, and I thought, perhaps incorrectly, that letting her know she was getting $145 instead of the full $145.87 was the best way to handle it.

I do plan on talking to a manager regarding this issue, because I've been told that the online menu is current, and the menu clearly states that the tacked-on gratuity should have been 15%. I'll clear up this part of the issue early next week, I'm sure.

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It doesn't sound to me like $2 is the issue here. I too think that from what has been presented Boagman is getting beaten up too much in this discussion. 20% tip (on tax no less!) is excessive as a mandatory gratuity at all but the finest places, especially for perfunctory service. I do not disagree with being upset by the charge. However, if the party felt that the final tip was excessive, they should have mentioned it to the manager then and there and not just come up short.

At a mid-level restaurant I'd agree with you. At a place where the average cover is $12 in a state where the minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.65/hr I don't think adding on average a $2.20 service charge per customer to the bill is unreasonable at all. The staff needs to be able to afford to eat.

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It's common for a restaurant to include a gratuity for larger tables, you were concerned about it you should have discussed it with the staff before sitting down.  The difference between a 15% tip and a 20% tip is six bucks, you're splitting that with the other nine people at your table.  I honestly feel for you if this is a critical issue in your life.  If that's the case, you probably should be eating at home rather than going out and risking going a fifty cents over budget. 

This has nothing to do with anyone taking cheap shots at your expense.  You went to dinner, you were served your food, you were given the bill and you short paid it.  I'm not at all surprised at the response you're getting here - the behavior you describe is clearly inappropriate.

And no, we didn't. We paid the bill in full, and didn't feel obligated to fulfill the entire gratuity. G-r-a-t-u-i-t-y. "A gift of money, over and above payment due for service, as to a waiter or bellhop; tip." It's not *mandatory* by its definition. It's also *entirely* at the discretion of the giver. It's a *gift*, and one we didn't ignore.

And it's not just about the money...in fact, it basically *isn't* about the money at all. Your ability to miss the forest for the trees baffles me.

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At a mid-level restaurant I'd agree with you.  At a place where the average cover is $12 in a state where the minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.65/hr I don't think adding on average a $2.20 service charge per customer to the bill is unreasonable at all.  The staff needs to be able to afford to eat.

Key words there: "...I don't think..."

You are *welcome* to your opinion, but we disagree, as I've stated several posts up. You seem to have trouble just disagreeing and letting it go at that...no, you have to throw in "It's two bucks. Get over it." and little baiting barbs like that.

If *you* want to tip at that scale, that's fine. My problem with the entire situation is that I wasn't consulted on the tip, and when it was adjusted accordingly to the service rendered, it was questioned. Yes: I have a problem with that. You don't? Goodie for you.

Move on, then. Nothing to see here.

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Melkor that is ridiculous.

If the service is not worth the addition then you should not pay it. Thats why it is "voluntary". If its is not voluntary, then say so - "Our prices are increased by 20% after tax to pay the waiting staff".

Its the hypocrisy of a compulsory (at least socially if not legally)voluntary charge that gets me. Maybe the restaurant should add another tithe for widows and orphans or to support the church, or fuel surplus while its about it.

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I understand that servers are paid differently in Europe, I just resent the implication that it requires no skill!

You are preachin' to the choir.

Serving doesn't require a whole lot of skill, c'mon people. Good service requires a whole lot of skill. Easy to learn hard to master.

I am surprised that so many people seem to be so kneejerk in their assessment of this quandry. 20% is a lot for a tacked on gratuity. But I think you put the server in a weird position not willing to cough up the 80 odd cents, the charge is probably in the servers till and she/he probably has to drop the 145.80 odd cents no matter what you give him/her so its not necessarily that you are shorting them the 80 cents but actually 1.60, I think that makes sense.

Also serving is something that most people don't take seriously there is so much bad service in this country that I see from BOH. It makes me really angry that A.) generally people are jerks to their servers but also that B.) servers are treated like f***ing victims, they can get other jobs and they normally make more/do less than the BOH.

No more Boo hoos for servers and American diners: learn how to treat people.

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Melkor that is ridiculous.

If the service is not worth the addition then you should not pay it. Thats why it is "voluntary". If its is not voluntary, then say so - "Our prices are increased by 20% after tax to pay the waiting staff".

Its the hypocrisy of a compulsory (at least socially if not legally)voluntary charge that gets me. Maybe the restaurant should add another tithe for widows and orphans or to support the church, or fuel surplus while its about it.

Restaurants charge a service charge for larger groups because they require more work and people tend to under tip at large tables. You're always welcome to discuss it with the staff before you order. A gratuity is optional. A service charge on the other hand, if it's printed on the menu and you order without saying anything, you're agreeing to pay it.

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I just read through this and I think that yes, it might have been excessive, but the correct response would have been to call over a manager and complain about it, or just pay up and then never go back again. How much control does the server really have over the restaurant policy?

And no I dont think youre getting too much flak.. each time you *use* *stars* and *try* to *rebuke* what "people" are "saying, :rolleyes::rolleyes: , it just lends creedence to the appearance that youre looking down your nose at the server. And stop with the "I tipped 40%".. nobody forced you to pay up for your friends, the real question is why you didnt go down the line and itemize it for each person.. be mad at your friends for being cheap, or the restaurant for having poor policies, but not at the server.

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And no I dont think youre getting too much flak.. each time you *use* *stars* and *try* to *rebuke* what "people" are "saying,  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes: , it just lends creedence to the appearance that youre looking down your nose at the server. And stop with the "I tipped 40%".. nobody forced you to pay up for your friends, the real question is why you didnt go down the line and itemize it for each person.. be mad at your friends for being cheap, or the restaurant for having poor policies, but not at the server.

I use the asterisks for emphasis only. I do it here, I do in on other boards, I do it in private emails...it's just the way I write. I write the way I speak, and I prefer to convey that.

The only time I looked down at my server was when she expectantly asked for the eighty-seven cents. Then, yes: I sort of had to chuckle at the audacity of asking for more when, clearly, she provided less.

In the future, I will most certainly ask for itemized bills for each person. I will be told "No freaking way..." by the server, but I'll ask for it. So she does incur a bit of my ire for functional service with a "Ferrari attitude".

I'm not entirely sure that I'm unhappy with my friends, any more than usual in terms of group-dynamics. The restaurant's policy? Yeah, I can get behind being annoyed with that more than the server, though.

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