• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

  • product-image-quickten.png.a40203b506711f7664fc62024e54a584.pngDid you know that these all-volunteer forums are operated by the 501(c)3 not-for-profit Society for Culinary Arts & Letters? This holiday season, consider a tax-deductible Quick Ten Bucks to support the eG Forums and help us remain completely advertising-free. Thanks to all those who have donated so far!

gfron1

Blacklisting Culturally Bad Tippers

91 posts in this topic

After following this topic for some time it is my opinion that you and your server really need to stop and take a wider view of this situation, i.e., this is just one customer, one tiny portion of your whole, large clientele.  Do both of yourselves a big favor and just suck it up.  Forget that he's a lousy tipper and concentrate on the big picture.  And make sure this server adjusts her attitude.

If he is, however, harassing people, that needs to be dealt with.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you been in the first class section on a plane?

 

You are being served by the attendants/stewardesses better than you are served in a restaurant

 

"Can I get you some wine? Here is the wine list", "Would you you like to have a blanket?",  "Can I warn up your coffee?", "What have you selected for dinner on the menu?", "Here are your slippers" --------------------------------------.

 

Do you tip them?

 

dcarch


Edited by dcarch (log)
2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After following this topic for some time it is my opinion that you and your server really need to stop and take a wider view of this situation, i.e., this is just one customer, one tiny portion of your whole, large clientele.  Do both of yourselves a big favor and just suck it up.  Forget that he's a lousy tipper and concentrate on the big picture.  And make sure this server adjusts her attitude.

If he is, however, harassing people, that needs to be dealt with.

That's essentially what we've done.  Anyone who's worked on the floor knows that you can't stay Susy Sunshine all the time, but the best ones are able to more than the others.  "Suck it up," and "Deal with it," and other harsh responses certainly aren't motivating, so we've had conversations over the past month or two that get her to the same place of understanding.  We're both getting a much needed vacation next week which will undoubtedly help.  And as other have suggested I've continued to reinforce the big picture of one bad tipper v. 100 great tippers, and when we've had a poor tip from other customers she's been repeating that line back to me so I think she's getting it.   As for the airline comparison - different system so its not really relevant to this discussion IMO.  

 

We haven't seen that specific guy for a while - I think he's a contractor who comes in and out for the mines - so all of the ideas about addressing his poor behavior haven't been addressed yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's essentially what we've done.  Anyone who's worked on the floor knows that you can't stay Susy Sunshine all the time, but the best ones are able to more than the others.  "Suck it up," and "Deal with it," and other harsh responses certainly aren't motivating, so we've had conversations over the past month or two that get her to the same place of understanding.  

I apologize. Reading my post back to myself I do sound harsh and unsympathetic, which I am not at all; I wish I had not used the pharase 'suck it up'.   I  do get that you've really tried to work through this problem and the customer hasn't made it easy.

I really hope you all of you will be able to work this out.  It may be that there's a good life-lesson to be learned here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I must just be heartless since I don't find the phrase "suck it up" harsh at all.  

 

The server is there to wait on people not turn the dining room into a fiefdom.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't take it as a personal attack, its a matter of how to motivate employees.  "Suck it up" is not IMO the most useful way of discussing the situation when it comes to long-lasting positive change.  So absolutely no need to apologize. 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would the problem be reduced if the US abolished the "tipped wage" concept, if employers were required to pay a competitive salary, and if the public were allowed to go back to the more logical system of tipping up to 10% for really good service, 5% for above average, and otherwise nothing? How did this prickly tension-producing custom become so ingrained, leading to ever-increasing tip %s? Bizarre.

 

As other posters have commented, I don't tip my car mechanic for keeping me alive, or my cardiologist, and I owe them both much more than the server at the local pizzeria. Ah, but they don't depend on tips for a decent quality of life, I hear.

 

Exactly.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would the problem be reduced if the US abolished the "tipped wage" concept,

 

 

It's a bit more complicated than that, Pedro.  Not all States in the US have a "tipping wage", but the ones that do have it set waaay below minimum wage, and in some States is it well below $3.00/hr.  But think about it for a minute.  In order to get a tipping wage you have to acknowledge that a minimum wage exists before you can go below it, and then you have to lobby to get it made into law.  

 

Who holds such clout?

 

Secondly, you have to realize that serving is not a "real" job in N. America, it's just something to pay the bills until something better comes along.  Because of this attitude, there is no standard/benchmark for servers--unlike most parts in Europe where a server completes a (usually) 2 year apprenticeship.  No standards/benchmarks for the profession, no salary scale.  Hence the (successful) lobby effort  to get a tipping wage.   

 

Things are different in Europe.....

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is an old thread but I'd like to offer one possible solution.  Would it be comfortable for either you or the server to say something like "I see you don't tip a standard 15% and am wondering if we're doing something wrong?"  But honestly I just cringed writing this :)  I think your solution is the right one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is an old thread but I'd like to offer one possible solution.  Would it be comfortable for either you or the server to say something like "I see you don't tip a standard 15% and am wondering if we're doing something wrong?"  But honestly I just cringed writing this :)  I think your solution is the right one.

Yeah, I cringed reading it too. Asking for feedback regarding food and/or service is okay... but not so much when you preface it by putting a spotlight on their tipping preference. You're basically asking them "Did we do something wrong or are you just cheap?".

 

2 people like this

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How about saying very nicely, "When you dine here you act like a douchebag, are we doing something to upset you?" Absolutely just kidding and think you've handled it very well. I would have a hard time putting up with truly rude behavior, I suppose I'm not cut out for customer service.

 

jb

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

.............way old thread.  but recent events repeat history.

a "tipping wage" - first understand that the wild-eyed "OMG they get paid nothing" is completely removed from the truth.  in the case a waitperson does not report enough tips to equal the minimum hourly wage the employer must pay them addtional over and above the $3.xx "tip wage"  in some states, employers are required to pay the full minimum wage (heading for $15+/hr) and the waitperson gets 100% of their tips _in addition_ to the state/local minimum $8-15/hr (current) wage paid by the employer.

if you wonder why so few waitpersons are chiming in about starving to death on less than no wages..... it's because so many of them make a lot of money based on tips - forget about _any_ hourly wage amount paid by their employer.  the $3.xx minimum/hour tip wage is a way long dismissed after thought.  one honest bartender cited making $1500 in tips _per night_ Fri-Sat-Sun.  do the math:  Fri+Sat+Sun=$4500 times 50 weeks/year (gotta do some vacation....) that's $225,000/yr plus hourly wage plus tips for Monday thru Thursday.  this is why we don't see a lot of whine from waitstaff.....

a waitperson whining to the management about a customer not tipping to the waitperson's expectations - well, the waitperson needs a different occupation.  he/she may seem to be popular - but his/her attitude is bleeding through to all the clientelle.  in my world, at the conclusion of his/her whining, he/she would have his/her walking papers in hand.  a business does not need a front line representative with that kind of approach.

in Germany, located in Europe, unless they've moved it of late....  the menus state at the bottom:  words to the effect "Prices include a 15% service fee."  if one is prepared to walk out of an eatery that includes / specifies a service fee, do not go to Europe - you will become very very hungry.  a lot of European wait staff just adore Americans.  because Americans don't know about the 'included' fees so they add 15-50000% on top of the 'tip already included' price.

I suspect legal requirements differ.  I have been to places for example in Italy....there's not a question remaining about being 'not local' after listening to my Italian...where I've been charged for the tablecloth, the utensils, the glassware - oh, and the food.....

it is customary in Germany to 'round-up' the bill.  but a percentage of 'rounding up' is not applied or expected from locals.  note also the overwhelming quantity of tabs are paid in cash.  none of that credit card writing in to the penny stuff.
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting that this thread has revived itself.  All these months later here's where things are. I still have my same server, who still is pretty damn amazing, albeit human. I don't live in this magical fairyland of abundance of applicants and staff with heroic professional and world experience like many of you. I have small town youth who, many have never left the area, and who do the best with what they have. Which brings me back to my server. As a result of this thread and me taking more of an educational and mentoring approach with her, she has grown immensely when non-American diners come into the restaurant. In fact, the couple that prompted this topic are regulars coming in weekly, and they still complain and they still tip at non-American standards. BUT, we both understand that they aren't complaining to be rude or mean, and they aren't tipping as a gesture of the service.

 

Last night we had two non-related couples from California, both of whom were Euro expats. Both of whom tipped at Euro standards, and one of which shared their criticisms throughout the meal. But to show you how far she (we) have come - my server acknowledged to me at the 2nd course that they were European, and laughed at their comments in the kitchen, but remained consistent in her positive attitude with the table. One big improvement is that the info that was fed to me by her prepped me for when I went out at dessert, and had a great time chatting them up. They were a lot of fun - loud, direct, borderline raunchy, fun. The tips was right at 10% for both tables. No offense was taken and I know that the tip was cultural because they were bidding on which of their cities needed us to move there and re-open. They loved their meal.

 

This thread has been immensely helpful.

4 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm glad your server was able to resign herself to accepting that people from different cultures just won't accept the US culture of tipping (despite them happily accepting 20% from me while I've been in Europe). It is frustrating, but certainly not personal.

However, I find it not so much misinformed when Europeans come to the US and don't tip appropriately as they just don't think it's a valid way to spend money and show appreciation. And that pisses me off. I don't go to other countries and expect them to speak English, or basically go with any assumptions that their culture resembles that of my own area of the US. I educate myself and behave accordingly. 98 % of visitors to the US from overseas are well aware of our cultural tipping standard, they just won't part with their money. Any international visitor that seeks out fine dining or well established and well regarded restaurants are well aware of the US tipping culture. They aren't going to Hard Rock or Applebee's, at least in this instance and the instances I found myself in (I have only worked in fine dining).

The other 2%? I attribute to business travelers who aren't used to expensing meals where a 20% tip is acceptable to expense. My husband had an awkward moment with one of his reports from the UK who on his visit to NYC only tipped 8% on all expensed meals. Said person genuinely thought any tip higher would raise flags with compliance as it would have had he been in the UK, my husband explained it was fine here. A difficult conversation, sure, but one my husband felt necessary.

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On Friday, October 02, 2015 at 9:55 PM, MetsFan5 said:

 It is frustrating, but certainly not personal.

However, I find it not so much misinformed when Europeans come to the US and don't tip appropriately as they just don't think it's a valid way to spend money and show appreciation. And that pisses me off...

 

The flip side of this is, can you think of any other country that expects 20% tip for its servers?  Europe isn't just one country, its many countries, as is S. America or Asia.

 

We N. americans have the expression" the squeaky wheel is the one that gets oil"  the Japanese equivelent is " the nail that sticks out is the one that gets pounded".    Again, how many other countries in the world expect its serves to get a 20% tip?

 

 

 

 

 

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.