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Do You Say Something Or Not?


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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.

Do you also need to defend yourself to the customer? That was my question to the person to whom I replied--if the customer is required to explain to the server why s/he left a crappy tip, then does the server need to defend his/her actions to the customer? Then what happens? In your case, it's a little different because it's the management who approaches the customer, but I was thinking particularly about waitstaff approaching the customer.

For example, I was with a large group once and I didn't receive my order, while everyone else got theirs.

"I didn't leave a tip because you forgot my order."

"Well, I didn't hear it."

"But you repeated it back to me."

"Oh, well, I guess I just didn't write it down."

I explained myself, the waitress explained herself, but quite honestly, her explanation just made me (and my entire group) think she was incompetent. And if she had just replied with, "I'm sorry," I would have considered it to be disingenuous.

It had already been pointed out earlier that she hadn't brought my food, so she should have known the reason I didn't leave a tip. Why bother asking?

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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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...

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

Do you also need to defend yourself to the customer?

I would have considered it to be disingenuous [...] so she should have known the reason I didn't leave a tip. Why bother asking?

I thought that the other person answered that question in his own terms well, and if you're asking me - yes I do feel that way and agree with everything that he said. I believe a key element of confusion in ALL of these situations is that everyone is assuming too much. Getting upset because you think someone else should just 'get it' doesn't work very well.

The reasons why I advocate the concept of questioning a poor tip are to resolve the issue of poor service or to discourage indecent compensation for services rendered. There is nothing wrong, violent, or disrespectful in asking, talking, or communicating about how to improve.

As previously stated by another poster, there is an initially understood and intended level of respect and professionalism held between the guest and the server. I interpreted the situation of the initial thread question being that; in the case of the guest violating that 'respect' by leaving an indecent tip - is it ok to question that? I think that if the service was exceptional, then the guest has the responsibility to acknowledge that service with a tip that is near the standard percentage. If the guest is unable to do so - then they shouldn't be partaking of those services because it is understood, weather explicitly or implied, that the majority of a servers compensation is accrued from the tips left with a guest's check.

The common idea that there are not guests who consistently tip indecently for exceptional service is unfortunately widely overlooked by many diners and, I believe, a contributing factor to the reason why so many people feel that it is unacceptable to question an indecent tip. There are guests that violate that 'respect,' that 'professionalism,' and I do not believe in never approaching the situation simply for the 'sake of status' in the name of 'hospitality.'

What I find most upsetting is that some diners feel that it is unacceptable for a server to ever question poor compensation for exceptional service from a demanding guest, yet it is completely acceptable for a guest to be exceptionally demanding and leave an indecent tip!

Edited by pastrychefjustin (log)
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What I find most upsetting is that some diners feel that it is unacceptable for a server to ever question poor compensation for exceptional service from a demanding guest, yet it is completely acceptable for a guest to be exceptionally demanding and leave an indecent tip!

I've already given my reasonings, so I'll keep it blunt. I don't care if it's considered fair or not. If a server who works for me directly confronts a customer about the size of the tip, they will be job hunting the next day. Yes, it is acceptable to ask "Was everything ok?" but, unless the customer invites a discussion at that point, that's the end of it. Even if the customer is willing to dicuss it, at no point is it ok for the server to directly mention the size of the tip as part of the reason for asking if they enjoyed the food/service. If the customer picks up the hint and wants to explain, fine. Otherwise, suck it up. It happens. Maybe it shouldn't, but it does. You can come into the kitchen and quietly call them cheap in 12 languages if you want to but the customer better not hear it.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I think LoneSavant said my point for me... tipping was once a way for a wealthy person to flaunt their wealth and get better service than others could. It has now become a way to punish those who a server deems as cheap. A very twisted system.

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As it happens, someone over at the BBC is opining on this:

Any server worth their salt is going to try to persuade you that the two of you have been on a kind of journey together through your meal which can only be properly consummated with cash.

Sometimes if you are British this will begin with a moment of awkwardness.

A young man in Jackson, Mississippi, once recognised my accent: "Like the Beatles, right?" he said and asked nervously if I knew about "the tipping thing".

I confirmed that rumours of it had reached our side of the Atlantic, but had been received with widespread disbelief.

Often a server will squat on their haunches to give them eye contact as they would with a recalcitrant toddler and then act as though you are co-conspirators in a plot to give you a heart attack: "Have we saved room for dessert?"

Read the whole thing here: The mechanics of tipping - US style

Cheers,

Anne

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What I find most upsetting is that some diners feel that it is unacceptable for a server to ever question poor compensation for exceptional service from a demanding guest, yet it is completely acceptable for a guest to be exceptionally demanding and leave an indecent tip!

Yes, that's exactly right. You've got it.

For one thing, it's not up to the server to determine what was "exceptional service." That's entirely up to the guest, whether you think they're demanding or not. You thought you were solicitous and attentive. They thought you were hovering and obsequious. You thought you were witty and charming. They thought you were corny and annoying. You thought you got it all right. They thought you forgot his soup and her lemon slices.

Ultimately, what you thought doesn’t matter.

Unfortunately, like all sales, you take the customer as you find him.

You think it's irritating and unfair to work a table and give them what you've decided is "exceptional service," only to discover a low tip? Try working for HOURS and HOURS to sell a "demanding" customer an appliance, maybe even staying much later than your shift ended because they said they'd "be back later," putting a "sold" sign on it so that nobody else could take it, and then having them not even bother to telephone you to let you know they bought a different one elsewhere. Or owning a travel agency and working for DAYS and DAYS on a trip, including paying good money for international faxes and phone calls, ordering a souvenir photo album with their name on the cover, and otherwise spending money, only to telephone them after not hearing for eons despite leaving countless messages telling them their final payment is due, and be told they've changed their minds and want their deposit back. Or working for WEEKS and WEEKS to sell a prospective client a house, spending literally hundreds of dollars on postage and gas and meals and signs and advertisements and open house snacks and wine, only to be told that they've decided to buy a FSBO.

Them are the breaks, Honey.

That's just part of the deal. And while I'm sure, of course, that you personally have never been on the other end of this equation, for the rest of us in commissioned sales, like I said, you take the customer as you find him.

I can't imagine somebody chasing a customer out of Best Buy demanding to know why they didn't buy that TV after the sales person wasted HOURS on them.

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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What I find most upsetting is that some diners feel that it is unacceptable for a server to ever question poor compensation for exceptional service from a demanding guest, yet it is completely acceptable for a guest to be exceptionally demanding and leave an indecent tip!

Ultimately, what you thought doesn’t matter.

you personally have never been on the other end of this equation

LoL, of course, being that you have an inkling of knowledge as to who I am and where I come from... . I have had to work commission sales well enough to understand that sometimes 'that's just the breaks,' and I still feel the same way about an honestly unfair tip.

I stand up for what I believe in and I don't think I should have to lie down and take abuse from someone that thinks they are better than me, that's the difference. I'm not violent or aggressive when I approach the resolve of an issue of any kind, in fact I'm rather passive more often than not.

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I stand up for what I believe in and I don't think I should have to lie down and take abuse from someone that thinks they are better than me, that's the difference.

What? You don't think you should have to "lie down and take abuse from someone that thinks they are better" than you?

Did I miss something?

Um...

I don't think you should have to, either.

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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Do you also need to defend yourself to the customer?  That was my question to the person to whom I replied--if the customer is required to explain to the server why s/he left a crappy tip, then does the server need to defend his/her actions to the customer?  Then what happens? 

Well, I have been in this situation, but never because of confronting a guest. I've had a guest wait until after the meal was entirely over to give me a little "lecture" about why my service was bad and therefore I got no tip. The claims have always been so ridiculous that I was completely at a loss for words.

Some examples: One time I had a group of 4 ladies at my table who were quite taken with their conversation with each other, and so every time I went by the table, I didn't get an opportunity to speak to them and ask them specifically how their meal was, whether they needed anything else, so I assumed that my mere presence, going by the table every few minutes or so, was enough for them to know that they could ask me for anything they wanted. The lady who decided to pay also decided that she wasn't going to tip me, and she was going to give me a humiliating lecture. First, she was upset that I didn't bring her another lemonade when she finished one of them, but of course she didn't give me a chance to let me tell her that we don't have free refills on lemonade, so I'd have had to ask her if she wanted to order another one, which I didn't get a chance to do. Also, she was upset that I had dropped the check at the moment that I did the quality check on the entree, because it was our company policy to do so at lunch, which I didn't get a chance to tell her, either, because she was so busy dressing me down. Her friends did look a little uncomfortable as she did this, though, so I suppose my real tip is knowing that I don't have to live whatever kind of life she lives that she needed to do something so passive-aggressive (or perhaps just regular old aggressive) to someone who never did anything wrong to her.

Another lady told me that she didn't leave me a tip because I charged her for mango, which she had requested be added to her salad. I guess I just didn't realize that she's the woman who always gets free mango. Silly me.

Another lady didn't tip me because I wouldn't give her a to go cup for her Diet Coke, because my restaurant doesn't carry to go cups.

See a trend here? Really, sometimes it's better to just not know the reason, actually.

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While this entire thread is grist for the intellectual mill, to me the topics are relatively simple. In no particular order:

Many years ago I read a NY Times article on the most and least stressful jobs in the US. The two criteria were how much control the employee had over their work and how high the work demands were. The least stressful job was actuary, the most was waiting tables.

If one were to assume a bell curve around 80% of Americans understand that wait staff makes their living on tips. How much they tip may depend on any number of factors, but I've read numerous studies that indicate folks here in Philadelphia are some of the best tippers in the USA, averaging around 20%. The bottom line is, we know that it is culturally expected for us to tip at all but fast food restaurants.

All wait staff know that they are making their living on tips, not wages. Their tips are based on commission, which unlike other sales people, is left solely to the discretion of the buyer. The commission is based on what they sell and their serving ability. Like anyone else in sales, they know that there will be good tables and horrible tables. All the math in previous posts may or may not be accurate, but the best way to determine what a waiter will earn at a particular restaurant is to read the menu and speak with the waitstaff.

Getting rid of tipping will never happen unless a restaurant elects to pay their waitstaff a living wage and not accept tips (similar to Saturn not permitting negotiating; the price is the price) by building the tip into the price. It will never change from the consumer end.

It's perfectly acceptable to ask a patron if everything was okay if the tip was low, but it's unacceptable to comment on the small tip. There may be exceptions to this rule, but asking the customer in the first place should be meant to get information rather than get a bigger tip.

Back on the subject of selling more or higher priced food and drinks to increase the tip yield, IMO tipping 20% on a bottle of wine that's already marked up 300% is offensive. With all due respect to Katie and the sommeliers here I avoid buying wine at a restaurant because of the outrageous mark-ups. I know the mark-ups on spirits and certain foods such as pasta are just as high, but I guess that's just a peeve of mine.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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I know the mark-ups on spirits and certain foods such as pasta are just as high, but I guess that's just a peeve of mine.

At least some thoughtful preparation and labor went into the food, so there is certainly some justification for that markup. In the case of wine, there is no such justification.

"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

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Back on the subject of selling more or higher priced food and drinks to increase the tip yield, IMO tipping 20% on a bottle of wine that's already marked up 300% is offensive.  With all due respect to Katie and the sommeliers here I avoid buying wine at a restaurant because of the outrageous mark-ups.  I know the mark-ups on spirits and certain foods such as pasta are just as high, but I guess that's just a peeve of mine.

Mano:

All very eloquently stated. And I take no offense to your wine purchasing habits at all. I am more often than not found at a BYOB on my nights off, so I completely understand that aspect of it. And perhaps I just trust my own taste in wine more than all but a few of the other sommeliers in town... :rolleyes:

The markup on wine is another one of those things that won't change unless the restaurant is willing to build a lower profit margin on it into their business plan. Or if their circumstances allow it, like Friday, Saturday, Sunday, a lovely restaurant here in Philly that is the last man standing after the 1970's "Restaurant Renaissance". They charge $10 over cost for every bottle on their list. They also own the building and have obviously already paid off their 30-year mortgage. So no rent and no mortgage. Yeah - they can afford to do that where most places can't. Also, the cost of a liquor license is so prohibitively expensive here, that the revenue generated from marked up wine and liquor sales is what pays it off and generates the revenue for rent, payroll, etc. The side benefit of that high cost of a liquor license is the thriving BYOB culture of restaurateurs that have decided to forego that expense. It's all a tradeoff.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

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

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As has been addressed many times on the Pennsylvania forum the cost of a liquor license in this commonwealth is exorbitant and ostensibly leads to higher wine and liquor costs to recoup the expense. But in my experience, most all alcohol in restaurants across the country the mark up is no different. Obviously it's a system that works for them, otherwise they'd change it.

Give me a 40-50% markup and I'll buy the wine and no doubt far more people will. But why should they store, serve and wash glasses for between four and seven bottles to make the same profit by selling only one? Also, by lowering the price of a bottle they'll sell far fewer (and more profitable) wines by the glass.

Here in Philly we're enjoying some great BYOB's along with many restaurants with great wine lists that allow BYO, often with a reasonable corkage. The best experience I had was at one of the premier steak houses, which charged $35 corkage per bottle. There eight of us and we went through six bottles of our own damn fine wine. The waitress charged only a single $35 corkage perhaps because the manager and hostess knew several of our party. Suffice to say, the tip more than made up for the $175 corkage not charged.

Edited by Mano (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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Had breakfast the morning at Philadelphia's Parc, off Rittenhouse Square. The food was very good. Service was poor, though the floor management was on the ball.

1. It took a few minutes for someone to offer me coffee. My expectation at breakfast time is to be offered coffee within a minute or two of being seated. I'd say this was about five minutes.

2. I ordered orange juice, eggs benedict (Have been craving them since the Top Chef quick-fire), and coffee. I asked if the the eggs benedict came with the lyonnaise potatoes. The server paused to consider and then said no. I ordered a side of potatoes.

3. A runner brings me the eggs benedict with potatoes on the same plate and also the side order of lyonnaise potatoes. I sent the separate side order back to the kitchen.

4. No orange juice. I try to catch my server's eye, but no luck. The manager sees though and, after inquiring if I needed anything, brings me the orange juice.

5. My coffee cup is empty. The server had been by the table a few times, but no refill offered. Again I do my obvious looking around bit and a different manager comes by and chases down my server to bring coffee.

6. I give what I believe to be a universal signal that I'm finished - knife and fork together on the plate and I start reading my newspaper. At the time my coffee cup is again running on empty. Five or so minutes later the server comes byasking if I am finished. "Yes. Check please." No offer to refill my coffee. I decide not to ask.

7. The check comes to $18 plus tax. I leave a $3.00 tip. Normally it would have been $4.00. I'm guessing that the service never noticed my little gesture - either figuring $3 for breakfast was fine, or that I am simply a lousy tipper.

In this situation, how much of an obligation do I have to the server - to contribute to his standard of living? Should I have tipped 20%, because that is expected? Should I have left a note with my 15% saying the service was unsatisfactory so he would not think me cheap? Or should I have stiffed the guy or left a more communicative 10%?

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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Here's another part of that question:

There is a real cost associated with attracting, training and keeping a staff that gives exemplary service. What kind of service should be the expected at a place where you can get eggs benedict, coffee and a glass of orange juice for eighteen bucks? And how should that impact the percent tip?

For example, perhaps the service Holly got would be considered reasonably okay at a place charging twelve dollars for more or less the same items. And clearly it would be considered unacceptable at a place charging twenty-four dollars.

Interestingly, these might all come out to the same dollar value of the tip. Assuming a 20% "standard" tip: three bucks would be a 20% tip plus change at the diner (good), a 16.5% tip at the middlebrow restaurant (mild disapproval) and a 12.5% tip at the higher end restaurant (stiff).

I'd think that you'd need to go down to somewhere in the general area of 10% before the waitstaff will really notice. 16.5% is not going to register, since that's likely fairly close to other people's "standard."

Edited by slkinsey (log)

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There is a real cost associated with attracting, training and keeping a staff that gives exemplary service. What kind of service should be the expected at a place where you can get eggs benedict, coffee and a glass of orange juice for eighteen bucks? And how should that impact the percent tip?

For the record, Parc is Steven Starr's bistro on Rittenhouse Square. The Starr organization seems to place great emphasis in developing a quality service staff.

Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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I'm sorry, but that service would merit 10% from me. I'm sure, given the interaction you had with floor managment, should the server have complained about the miserly tip, the reason why would have been promptly explained.

As others have pointed out, 15% is average. What you left was not little enough to have caused him to rethink his service, which he clearly should have done.

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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The Starr organization seems to place great emphasis in developing a quality service staff.

Not sure I agree with this statement entirely. I think the greatest emphasis is placed on hiring an attractive, young and hip service staff. Quality of service only comes into play at the higher end places like Morimoto, and the two steakhouses. If the entree prices are above $26 then there's a modicum of service. Have you ever had drinks practically thrown at you at the Continental? I have. The service at Jones is nothing to write home about either. I haven't been to Parc yet, but reports from people I trust lead me to believe your experience wasn't atypical.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

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

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Or should I have stiffed the guy or left a more communicative 10%?

Holly, you're a restaurant guy and obviously thought you did the right thing, but I would have chosen the above and would have told the manager what you did and why. At a Starr restaurant the manager would counsel the waiter later on.

The waiter sucked and deserved no or a low tip. But you go to Parc frequently enough that if I were you, I wouldn't want to be identified as that sh!thead who leaves a lousy tip. Not to be paranoid, but who wants to worry about a pissed off waiter with a short memory for service but a long memory for bad tippers to possibly mess with your food.

By leaving 15%, an average tip, you're training him to be a crappy waiter.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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3.  A runner brings me the eggs benedict with potatoes on the same plate and also the side order of lyonnaise potatoes.  I sent the separate side order back to the kitchen.

Did the server take the side order of potatoes off your check?

Agreed that a 16.5% tip isn't low enough to send a message to your server, and a difference of $1 wouldn't make much of a dent in my day, regardless. Granted, one wouldn't make the same money if you inserted the same check averages into one of jackal's formulas, but I think most breakfast places allow their servers to take much larger sections, so that they can turn and burn enough to boost their overall sales for the meal period.

The tip probably had less of an impact on the server than seeing her manager bring you the orange juice that was apparently forgotten.

Another way to (unobtrusively) have an effect would be to tell the manager, when he stopped by the table - which I'm glad for your sake that he did - that service wasn't up to par. I'm the sort of person who'd say, "Wow, that poor girl must be really busy. I'm having a bear of a time getting a cup of coffee." Or something to that effect. He'd probably tell her to step up her game or give up one of her tables to someone who wasn't so busy, and this could have made the rest of your meal pleasant, negating the reason to debate later on whether $1 difference in your tip sent a message.

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I had to laugh when I saw this thread-I started a thread years ago called "Is tipping big the new black?" I'm on to another idea now, that will eliminate all the painful gyrations on both sides of the check-I don't tip, I stiff. And I'm starting a crusade to eliminate the humiliating practice, often for both parties, of being forced to leave or accept a 'tip'. Last night I stiffed two different bartenders, and basically got the same reaction I get when I leave a tip-a blank stare. If a beer is $6, and I give the bartender $6, the sales tax has already been figured into the price. So why not include the tip, too? I'm starting with bartenders because there is usually a good one-on-one with the customer, if they want to let it rip. Then it's on to the rest of the staff. Remember the sign in old bars that used to read "Tipping isn't a city in China". Well, neither is Stiffing!

Stiffing is the new Black!

Edited by Miami Danny (log)
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I had to laugh when I saw this thread-I started a thread years ago called "Is tipping big the new black?"  I'm on to another idea now, that will eliminate all the painful gyrations on both sides of the check-I don't tip, I stiff.  And I'm starting a crusade to eliminate the humiliating practice, often for both parties, of being forced to leave or accept a 'tip'.  Last night I stiffed two different bartenders, and basically got the same reaction I get when I leave a tip-a blank stare.  If a beer is $6, and I give the bartender $6, the sales tax has already been figured into the price.  So why not include the tip, too?  I'm starting with bartenders because there is usually a good one-on-one with the customer, if they want to let it rip.  Then it's on to the rest of the staff.  Remember the sign in old bars that used to read "Tipping isn't a city in China".  Well, neither is Stiffing! 

Stiffing is the new Black!

I think if you were really serious about this you would only frequent places that include a service charge. If enough people did this it would pressure restaurants to change.

Stiffing the service staff doesn't offer any incentive for the restaurant to change their business practices. You're just saving 15-20% on your meals, paid for by the people serving you.

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I had to laugh when I saw this thread-I started a thread years ago called "Is tipping big the new black?"  I'm on to another idea now, that will eliminate all the painful gyrations on both sides of the check-I don't tip, I stiff.  And I'm starting a crusade to eliminate the humiliating practice, often for both parties, of being forced to leave or accept a 'tip'.  Last night I stiffed two different bartenders, and basically got the same reaction I get when I leave a tip-a blank stare.  If a beer is $6, and I give the bartender $6, the sales tax has already been figured into the price.  So why not include the tip, too?  I'm starting with bartenders because there is usually a good one-on-one with the customer, if they want to let it rip.  Then it's on to the rest of the staff.  Remember the sign in old bars that used to read "Tipping isn't a city in China".  Well, neither is Stiffing! 

Stiffing is the new Black!

I think if you were really serious about this you would only frequent places that include a service charge. If enough people did this it would pressure restaurants to change.

Stiffing the service staff doesn't offer any incentive for the restaurant to change their business practices. You're just saving 15-20% on your meals, paid for by the people serving you.

First, I am serious about this or I wouldn't have put myself on the line here. Hey your way might work too, and maybe if I owned a restaurant I would include service in the prices. But since I am just a customer, I feel that the change has to come from me, as a customer. When enough people start stiffing to protest the system, believe me, those servers can put their low-grade grumbling to good use-by demanding the same thing the customer wants. Namely, elimination of the humiliating 'Tipping Game'. I think my way is more radical, more dramatic, and certainly more dangerous. Therefore, in the long run, more effective.

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Amen brother!

I refer to my post upthread

It will change if enough customers want it to, and are fed up with not paying the advertised price.

If enough people, the people reading this for example, make a fuss, then the media will pick it up and the snowball start. Soon servers will complain to their management that they are not getting paid, and hey presto notices advising of service charges (an easy change) will rapidly appear... Of course these may well be in excess of the 8% IRS assumption

I remember not that long ago 10% was the standard tip. Who decided it was 20%? Where next? 25%? 33%? 50%? Why is it a fixed percentage anyway? It takes no more to serve a $200 bottle of wine than a $20 one.

We can change the system

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