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PLangfordJr

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I'd also suggest that most people spending $200 for a bottle of wine have the means and mindset to add the extra $30 tip.

I think that about sums it up... the customer has the money, the server should expect a cut. The amount of work is not relevant.

Following that example, then if I have the means, I should be happy paying $50 for the steak on the menu priced at $25.

No, I don't buy that.

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I'd also suggest that most people spending $200 for a bottle of wine have the means and mindset to add the extra $30 tip.

I think that about sums it up... the customer has the money, the server should expect a cut. The amount of work is not relevant.

Following that example, then if I have the means, I should be happy paying $50 for the steak on the menu priced at $25.

No, I don't buy that.

Who's on first? My "A" plus your "B" does not equal your "C". How does paying $200 for a $200 dollar bottle of wine compare to paying $50 for a $25 steak?

ToweringPine - A server can expect a 20% tip on a $200 bottle of wine, but the server's only recourse if the tip is less or nil, is sharing his disappointment privately with fellow servers and/or punching out a 50 lb bag of flour in the storeroom.


Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

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That $200 bottle of wine cost the restaurant something like $50.

Maybe $75 including glassware etc.

WHy can't they pay the server, or advertise its true cost as $240...

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That $200 bottle of wine cost the restaurant something like $50.

Maybe $75 including glassware etc.

WHy can't they pay the server, or advertise its true cost as $240...

and What's on second... The selling price is the selling price and the tip is based on that. Just as the amount of a tip is the customer's option, so is the host's decision to overpay for a bottle of wine.

Beyond that, there are all sorts of formulas for arriving at a bottle of wine's selling price. In an enlightened restaurant the formula you suggest might be applied to a cheaper bottle of wine, but the wine selling for $200 might have cost the restaurant $125. The restaurant is willing to give up percentage points to increase dollar profits... And to build customer loyalty and a reputation for value.


Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

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She was obviously in a foul mood.  Maybe the kitchen had been screwing up her orders all day? 

Low blow, Katie, low blow. Not necessary.

Maybe she got a speeding ticket on the way to work. Maybe she had cramps. Maybe she didn't have cramps when she should have as of a week ago. Maybe she just found out about her boyfriend's kid. Maybe her cat just died. Maybe those new shoes were not ready for work yet and the blisters had all just popped. Maybe she forgot to take her meds. Maybe her cell phone bill was freakishly higher than she thought and she was stressed about it. Maybe...maybe she was just in a really bad mood and couldn't control it.

I did not mean to offend or imply the kitchen could be the only problem. Believe me, I've had to work in a foul mood for any number of reasons that had nothing to do with the kitchen, and have done so with a forced smile on my face. I was only supposing that having the raw bacon set her off like that might have been because she'd already had a bunch of stuff go back to the kitchen that day, and the raw bacon on the burger was the straw that broke her. Wasn't meant as a kitchen slam, just the first thing that occurred to me when I put myself in her shoes for a second. Clearly the reaction was uncontrollable and poorly handled, regardless of the source of her irritation that day.

My apologies to all the back of house folks. Please don't hate me... :unsure:


Katie M. Loeb
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Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

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Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I'd also suggest that most people spending $200 for a bottle of wine have the means and mindset to add the extra $30 tip.
I think that about sums it up... the customer has the money, the server should expect a cut. The amount of work is not relevant.
Following that example, then if I have the means, I should be happy paying $50 for the steak on the menu priced at $25.

No, I don't buy that.

Who's on first? My "A" plus your "B" does not equal your "C". How does paying $200 for a $200 dollar bottle of wine compare to paying $50 for a $25 steak?

He's simply commenting on the logic of saying that if "the customer has the money, the server should expect a cut. The amount of work is not relevant."

Going on that premise, the server, regardless as to what he or she does, "deserves" to be tipped according to how much money the customer has. In other words, a "redistribution of wealth" system. The customer is loaded? Then I deserve part of what you have, just because you have it and I don't. You're really loaded? Then fork over an extra $25 bucks for the $25 steak. You shouldn't care. You've got it, you can afford it, so what's the problem?

"Just Jim" is just carrying out the "if the customer has the money" theory to the next logical step. Glancing over the clothing, jewelry, car, etc., of the customer, determing their means, and then figuring the tip based solely on that.

Obviously ridiculous. Although that's exactly what was said.


Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I'd also suggest that most people spending $200 for a bottle of wine have the means and mindset to add the extra $30 tip.
I think that about sums it up... the customer has the money, the server should expect a cut. The amount of work is not relevant.
Following that example, then if I have the means, I should be happy paying $50 for the steak on the menu priced at $25.

No, I don't buy that.

Who's on first? My "A" plus your "B" does not equal your "C". How does paying $200 for a $200 dollar bottle of wine compare to paying $50 for a $25 steak?

He's simply commenting on the logic of saying that if "the customer has the money, the server should expect a cut. The amount of work is not relevant."

Going on that premise, the server, regardless as to what he or she does, "deserves" to be tipped according to how much money the customer has. In other words, a "redistribution of wealth" system. The customer is loaded? Then I deserve part of what you have, just because you have it and I don't. You're really loaded? Then fork over an extra $25 bucks for the $25 steak. You shouldn't care. You've got it, you can afford it, so what's the problem?

"Just Jim" is just carrying out the "if the customer has the money" theory to the next logical step. Glancing over the clothing, jewelry, car, etc., of the customer, determing their means, and then figuring the tip based solely on that.

Obviously ridiculous. Although that's exactly what was said.

Thank you Jaymes, that is exactly what I meant.

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I'd also suggest that most people spending $200 for a bottle of wine have the means and mindset to add the extra $30 tip.

I think that about sums it up... the customer has the money, the server should expect a cut. The amount of work is not relevant.

Following that example, then if I have the means, I should be happy paying $50 for the steak on the menu priced at $25.

No, I don't buy that.

Who's on first? My "A" plus your "B" does not equal your "C". How does paying $200 for a $200 dollar bottle of wine compare to paying $50 for a $25 steak?

ToweringPine - A server can expect a 20% tip on a $200 bottle of wine, but the server's only recourse if the tip is less or nil, is sharing his disappointment privately with fellow servers and/or punching out a 50 lb bag of flour in the storeroom.

Except that the premise of this thread is that some feel a poor tip is worthy of chasing a customer down the street and 'educating' them rather than taking it out on the bag of flour.

A bottle of wine is a bottle of wine and requires the same amount of work to serve regardless of the price. Why does the server expect or merit a $40 tip on a $200 bottle and only a pitance on a $30 bottle? To sum it up that because the customer can afford it just illustrates the whole problem with this system.

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To sum it up that because the customer can afford it just illustrates the whole problem with this system.

Actually I summed it up as BOTH the customer can afford it AND the customer knows when ordering it that he will be paying a gratuity on the $200 bottle of wine as part of the total check - assuming that he buys into today's restaurant culture.

Based on the "$50 vs $200 bottle of wine takes the same degree of service rationale" - if I am at the Palm I should tip the same whether I order a five pound lobster or linguini with red sauce??? Logical on Vulcan perhaps, but not in Philadelphia.

I appreciate the custom of tipping in that it gives me a degree of control over a server's earnings based on the service I receive. I go to a restaurant expecting to pay, give or take, a 20 percent gratuity. I can remember one occasion where I left no tip and other occasions where, because of service, the tip has been more or less than 20 percent. I also avoid USA restaurants that impose a service charge unless they will waive it and I do ask. And, as related earlier in this thread, I can become irrationally vengeful if a server chases me down to question the gratuity I chose to leave.


Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

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I'd also suggest that most people spending $200 for a bottle of wine have the means and mindset to add the extra $30 tip.

I think that about sums it up... the customer has the money, the server should expect a cut. The amount of work is not relevant.

Following that example, then if I have the means, I should be happy paying $50 for the steak on the menu priced at $25.

No, I don't buy that.

Who's on first? My "A" plus your "B" does not equal your "C". How does paying $200 for a $200 dollar bottle of wine compare to paying $50 for a $25 steak?

ToweringPine - A server can expect a 20% tip on a $200 bottle of wine, but the server's only recourse if the tip is less or nil, is sharing his disappointment privately with fellow servers and/or punching out a 50 lb bag of flour in the storeroom.

requires the same amount of work to serve regardless of the price

Well, I think that service is about how you make the customer feel about what they are served. I'd bet that I could make you feel like you had a $200.00 bottle of wine although it may not taste that way, lol! I have always thought it is interesting to see when inexpensive, or even cheap food is served for a very high price. People that don't know any better may think it's high quality because of the atmosphere, quality service, etc... Perceived value goes a long way in this industry. Some of the highest quality items and service can be well hidden behind a low key atmosphere and reasonable prices. I'm not saying that servers make the food taste good, great, or the very best- but they definitely can make a diner love, hate, or feel indifferently about the dining experience over all.

You'll know the difference between a server that deserves 40 for serving a 200 bottle and a server that deserves 10 for serving a 200 bottle. Just today I gave my waiter 20 on a 10 tab, that's because I knew he deserved it- and I'm sure that I'll do it again some day.

Anthony Bourdain made an interesting statement at what he called one of the greatest restaurants in the world. When presented with two pre fix menus, he immediately grabbed the one titled "submit." He then commented on how being in the kitchen is about being in control of the elements to prepare a meal, and being a guest is about submission- letting someone else take control to prepare and present a meal for you to relish, to enjoy.

I find this concept very interesting especially when thinking about guests that come in and order a salad with 'everything' on the side. I couldn't believe that came out of our printer the other day. But again, where are the limitations on what a guest is reasonably allowed to expect? The chef and manager create a menu that they feel will be appealing, if it's not- is it right to rip the entire thing to shreds- or should the guest find something - or somewhere else to eat?

I still find it interesting how many people feel like any server that wanted to know what went wrong with poorly tipped service would literally chase someone down and harass them about what the problem must be. There are many ways that anyone can make a tactful inquiry. Everyone is different, and has different expectations when dining. I think that it is unreasonable to expect that any server should be able to subliminally interpret what could have went wrong during service. There is an infinite number of possibilities and virtually no way to determine and understand them all.


Edited by pastrychefjustin (log)

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I still find it interesting how many people feel like any server that wanted to know what went wrong with poorly tipped service would literally chase someone down and harass them about what the problem must be. There are many ways that anyone can make a tactful inquiry.

I don't believe there is any way such an inquiry can be made tactfully and if you will pardon my "Upstairs, Downstairs" attitude, it is not the server's place to do so.


Holly Moore

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I'd also suggest that most people spending $200 for a bottle of wine have the means and mindset to add the extra $30 tip.

I think that about sums it up... the customer has the money, the server should expect a cut. The amount of work is not relevant.

But *GASP!*, that's only a 15% tip! OUTRAGE AND ANGER!

That's quite the amusing entitlement attitude, there. Socialism at its best!

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I still find it interesting how many people feel like any server that wanted to know what went wrong with poorly tipped service would literally chase someone down and harass them about what the problem must be. There are many ways that anyone can make a tactful inquiry.

pardon my "Upstairs, Downstairs" attitude

I don't see why a server should pardon the "Upstairs, Downstairs" attitude - especially after having read excerpts from an article written by Christine Frederick who supports the 'scientific' method in regard to managing the work relations and conditions between house masters and servants.

I think this strikes a deep chord among those who feel that they 'deserve what they want' with disregard to the wellbeing or rights of the person who is serving them, and shows just how dated and literal the 'service' industry is.

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A server who considers customer confrontation to be acceptable conduct is better suited for a New York City deli or a prison cafeteria line.

A server who challenges or even tactfully questions a customer on the amount of a gratuity offends hospitality and has no place in a restaurant which includes hospitality as part of its mission.

Just as a customer has the responsibility of respecting the server as a professional, the server has the responsibility, as a professional, to treat customers as guests and to not do anything that would take away from an enjoyable dining out experience.

I think this strikes a deep chord among those who feel that they 'deserve what they want' with disregard to the wellbeing or rights of the person who is serving them, and shows just how dated and literal the 'service' industry is.

Afraid I don't get your point. Hospitality and dining without confrontation are not unreasonable expectations of a restaurant and its servers. Providing hospitality without confrontation places no stress on a server's wellbeing or rights as a person.


Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

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A server who considers customer confrontation to be acceptable conduct is better suited for a New York City deli or a prison cafeteria line. 

A server who challenges or even tactfully questions a customer on the amount of a gratuity offends hospitality and has no place in a restaurant which includes hospitality as part of its mission.

Just as a customer has the responsibility of respecting the server as a professional, the server has the responsibility, as a professional, to treat customers as guests and to not do anything that would take away from an enjoyable dining out experience.

I think this strikes a deep chord among those who feel that they 'deserve what they want' with disregard to the wellbeing or rights of the person who is serving them, and shows just how dated and literal the 'service' industry is.

Afraid I don't get your point. Hospitality and dining without confrontation are not unreasonable expectations of a restaurant and its servers. Providing hospitality without confrontation places no stress on a server's wellbeing or rights as a person.

Like many others who have commented on 'how "bad" this system is,' I don't agree with the hospitality attitude in the US in the sense that some of the 'guests' have forgotten how to behave as such.

I feel that providing a service or product comes with a price - and if a patron can't give a dignified reason for an undignified tip there is no reason to placate such behavior with ignorance.

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After reading much of this thread, I'll throw my own recent experience in the mix - the very first time I ever hesitated before tipping, for what its worth.

Four people, sushi restaurant, waited an hour past our reservation, served EXCELLENT food in a very cramped and high-turnover dining room by a waiter who was at best average and at worst inattentive and harried. (Note, the dining conditions are normal at this restaurant)

So.... $240 bill for the four of us for a 40 minute meal in which we felt like we were just warming the seats for the next party (though, like I said, the sushi was fantastic). I tipped $45 after wincing slightly, but I definitely didn't think the server had earned it on their own merits.

That's all.

[edited to add: In retrospect, I could have simply tipped $20 for the server and dropped a $20 in the jar on the sushi counter....]


Edited by misstenacity (log)

"You can't taste the beauty and energy of the Earth in a Twinkie." - Astrid Alauda

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I feel that providing a service or product comes with a price - and if a patron can't give a dignified reason for an undignified tip there is no reason to placate such behavior with ignorance.

If the patron has to give a "dignified reason for an undignified tip", then should the waitstaff also be required to defend (or explain) the crappy service they provided?

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I feel that providing a service or product comes with a price - and if a patron can't give a dignified reason for an undignified tip there is no reason to placate such behavior with ignorance.

If the patron has to give a "dignified reason for an undignified tip", then should the waitstaff also be required to defend (or explain) the crappy service they provided?

That would be interesting. Honestly, I think they should have a little comment section at the bottom of the bill. I know there's been at least one occasion I've made my own comment section for particularly bad service.

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I feel that providing a service or product comes with a price - and if a patron can't give a dignified reason for an undignified tip there is no reason to placate such behavior with ignorance.

If the patron has to give a "dignified reason for an undignified tip", then should the waitstaff also be required to defend (or explain) the crappy service they provided?

You'd better believe I do. I may be a very well paid server, but I am one of the most hawkishly-watched employees of any business that I know of. (Certain) people pay more attention to what I do and how I do my job than is paid to the person who stands guard over the red button that starts global nuclear war. (Well, almost.)

When we have a manager called to the table to question a gratuity, you'd better believe that if the guest says, "Well, the food was good, but the service, not so much. . ." their exact explanation of why they didn't tip well can very well mean I don't have a job the next day, so if I choose to call a manager to the table, you're darned tootin' I know that I've got all my ducks in a row, and no misstep on my part can be used against me.

In addition to that scrutiny, my managers regularly watch everything I do, from which hand I serve a table with, whether I provide open service, serve ladies first, crumb a table immaculately, word my "features" with exactly the appropriate and enticing language, offer dessert at the appropriate moment, never pass by an ungreeted or unbussed table, never walk by a piece of paper on the floor without picking it up, etcetera, etcetera. Every move I make all day long, every minute of every day is scrutinized to the nth degree. And there are video cameras so we can watch the replay, just in case there is a question about anything I've done.

And in addition to that, sometimes managers sit down at a table to "recertify" me: They sit down to have me wait on them so that they can grade every tiny aspect of my performance as a server. Last year, I fell and broke my arm in a really horrifying way - my surgeon thought it likely that I'd be partially crippled for life - and yet when I came back to work, working through physical therapy and all, my manager recertified me, and she marked me down a point for pouring a bottle of wine with the wrong arm. (Pouring the bottle correctly would have meant that I'd have to use my broken arm, meaning that I'd probably have dropped the bottle.)

So, yes, I think I'd say that I'm thoroughly accountable for whether or not my service merits an appropriate tip.

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If you were to ask me, which is unlikely, I would politely explain that while the tipping system may be locally widespread, and your service perfectly adequate, it is not my responsiblity if  the restaurant choses to under pay you; it is a matter for you and your management. I support honesty in advertising and am happy to pay any advertised price. Indeed I tendered the amount on the bill as I am legally required, and no more.

If you are an independent contractor supplying server services direct to the customer I would have been happy to negotiate the fee for such services before the meal,  but  I understand you are on the restaurant's payroll with duties as a server.

Further since the practice of not reporting the full amount of tips to the IRS is widespread you are asking me to collude in tax fraud, which is a felony offence.

If your case is that you plead poverty and are begging, then I can reccomend several charities.

We will then no doubt have a flaming row and shouting match, including your manager and several other patrons, to the amusement of all.

Restaurant patrons of the US stand up for your rights! Support honesty in advertising and proper wages! Stop acquiesence in this dishonest, immoral and possibly criminal system!

You're clearly just rationalizing your own cheapness, and it's a little sad.

More to the point, what's the difference between you leaving a tip and having menu prices be 20% higher? Why is one more honest, moral and legal than the other? At the French Laundry, they build an 18% service charge into the menu. It certainly didn't make my meal and less expensive or more enjoyable.

Save a small handful of tourists and rubes, everyone in America knows that a tip is expected. Your refusal to leave one is intellectually dishonest and your attempt to wrap yourself in a higher cause ludicrous.

You're forgetting patrons from Europe who are used to waitstaff getting a living wage and were a gratuity is really a gratuity and not an expectation. Sorry..talk all you must there is no other retail busines on the planet where I'm expected to pay soneone's salary. I usually pay 20% but its the expectation that burns me.

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You're forgetting patrons from Europe who are used to waitstaff getting a living wage and were a gratuity is really a gratuity and not an expectation.  Sorry..talk all you must there is no other retail busines on the planet where I'm expected to pay soneone's salary.  I usually pay 20% but its the expectation that burns me.

Actually, retail electronics store employees in the U.S. (not sure how they do it in other countries) earn their salary almost entirely, or possibly entirely, on commission. I am certain that they used to do this entirely on commission, with a back-up option that employees can be paid minimum wage for shifts where they make no sales, in which case they have the same situation that servers face, if they don't make minimum wage, in dealing with their employers.

Of course, the commission for retail sales is a set part of the price, but you still pay it, whether you received good service or not.

A number of retail electronics stores are going through bankruptcy right now, and/or closing all of their stores, so I'm not sure how long the system of guaranteed commission, if you make the sale, will last, or if it will become more like the restaurant model, or what will happen, actually.

As far as people who come from different cultures where tipping is not customary, the Japanese have been great about educating their employees before business trips about all of the customs of the land which they are visiting. I'm not sure why all cultures would not do this, but I am sure that I'd always learn the culture of any land I'm visiting, before I visit there, in order to improve my own experience, visiting there.

Edited to add that most other countries include health care coverage for everyone who works (or doesn't work) in any capacity. We don't. This is one of many things that might change in the very near future, but of course, that's another topic entirely.


Edited by TheFoodTutor (log)

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I guess what the service issue comes to for me is the social aspect.

As a server in a large-ish city who's been at it a LONG while, and has worked in several of the restaurants, one begins to know the ENTIRE set of service industry workers in the area. I've got at least two or three cohorts at basically every restaurant downtown.

Yes, it's like a mafia.

Yes, we talk.

A lot.

I would never question a poor tip in person. I would, however, have no intention of prioritizing that diner again. And assuming that same diner leaves another poor tip, the mafia is called into effect, and that diner will never be treated the same. A "scarlet letter" if you will. Servers, bartenders, and the like know EVERYONE in a town like this, and we share ALL of our information. I would never expect outrageously large tips, especially regularly, however I have clients who leave me extra, and lo and behold, they ALWAYS have a table ready, they ALWAYS get the last- best- and most- of everything, and ALWAYS have a much better time than someone who the industry recognizes as a "poor sport." Bad tippers on the other hand get pushed to the end of the line, and get mechanical service at best, from everyone, everywhere--because we've spread the word.

I even remember more than once friends of mine out on dates with guys I/we recognize from service, and us giving the "ABORT!" signal to them because of what poor guests they are...

SO, tip whatever you want. If you can justify it to yourself, congrats. Just know....

.....we're watching you. And we ALWAYS remember...


Torren O'Haire - Private Chef, FMSC Tablemaster, Culinary Scholar

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-F. Fellini

"We should never lose sight of a beautifully conceived meal."

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I guess what the service issue comes to for me is the social aspect.

As a server in a large-ish city who's been at it a LONG while, and has worked in several of the restaurants, one begins to know the ENTIRE set of service industry workers in the area. I've got at least two or three cohorts at basically every restaurant downtown.

Yes, it's like a mafia.

Yes, we talk.

A lot.

I would never question a poor tip in person. I would, however, have no intention of prioritizing that diner again. And assuming that same diner leaves another poor tip, the mafia is called into effect, and that diner will never be treated the same. A "scarlet letter" if you will. Servers, bartenders, and the like know EVERYONE in a town like this, and we share ALL of our information. I would never expect outrageously large tips, especially regularly, however I have clients who leave me extra, and lo and behold, they ALWAYS have a table ready, they ALWAYS get the last- best- and most- of everything, and ALWAYS have a much better time than someone who the industry recognizes as a "poor sport." Bad tippers on the other hand get pushed to the end of the line, and get mechanical service at best, from everyone, everywhere--because we've spread the word.

I even remember more than once friends of mine out on dates with guys I/we recognize from service, and us giving the "ABORT!" signal to them because of what poor guests they are...

SO, tip whatever you want. If you can justify it to yourself, congrats. Just know....

.....we're watching you. And we ALWAYS remember...

Impressive. As I remember, the Grand Rapids metro area contains something over a million people.

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You're forgetting patrons from Europe who are used to waitstaff getting a living wage and were a gratuity is really a gratuity and not an expectation.  Sorry..talk all you must there is no other retail busines on the planet where I'm expected to pay soneone's salary.  I usually pay 20% but its the expectation that burns me.

Actually, retail electronics store employees in the U.S. (not sure how they do it in other countries) earn their salary almost entirely, or possibly entirely, on commission. I am certain that they used to do this entirely on commission, with a back-up option that employees can be paid minimum wage for shifts where they make no sales, in which case they have the same situation that servers face, if they don't make minimum wage, in dealing with their employers.

Of course, the commission for retail sales is a set part of the price, but you still pay it, whether you received good service or not.

A number of retail electronics stores are going through bankruptcy right now, and/or closing all of their stores, so I'm not sure how long the system of guaranteed commission, if you make the sale, will last, or if it will become more like the restaurant model, or what will happen, actually.

As far as people who come from different cultures where tipping is not customary, the Japanese have been great about educating their employees before business trips about all of the customs of the land which they are visiting. I'm not sure why all cultures would not do this, but I am sure that I'd always learn the culture of any land I'm visiting, before I visit there, in order to improve my own experience, visiting there.

Edited to add that most other countries include health care coverage for everyone who works (or doesn't work) in any capacity. We don't. This is one of many things that might change in the very near future, but of course, that's another topic entirely.

Thank you for making my point. The management of the retail outlets you describe have decided to reward their employees based on sales. Just incedently provide the pubic with a price that reflects the true cost of the goods sold. Your issue is with your management for not paying a living wage and not reflecting the true cost of the meal in the menu price. I know its much more easy to complain about an individual rather than taking on big bad management but there you go.

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