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Tipper's Remorse


Chef Shogun
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Let me start off by saying that I consider myself a good tipper. It takes a lot to really negatively affect a tip from me, and very little extra to raise it. I base at around 18% and work from there. But last night I went to a diner for some after-movie food with some friends and only tipped....fifteen. Barely. Service started out well. The waiter seemed nice enough, too. I went the 'coffee and pie' route. Decaf, even...as much as I consider it an affront to all good and decent coffee, it was pushing midnight and I wanted to sleep at some point. So, long story short, service levels dropped quickly. No coffee refil until we got to ask for the check, which in itself was an agonizingly long process, followed by being ignored once again with the cash on the table. Our waiter, mind you, was standing no more than 20 feet away, chatting with other waiters in the basically deserted and nearly-closed diner. I know waitrons aren't mind readers, but come on...pay attention a little! These things work both ways.

So, when the time came, I tipped badly, and it hurt! By the time I got back to the car, I was well into "What have I DONE??" Maybe because I had to had the reciept back to him, in person, rather than leaving it on the table and running, the obvious stiffing was all the more personal.

Anybody else get this, for over- or under-tipping, or am I just insane?

Matt Robinson

Prep for dinner service, prep for life! A Blog

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Mmmm, I regret over-tipping when I get bad service only because I wish I had been strong enough to tip less! I do think of tipping as a reward for good service, so I try to tip accordingly. Sometimes, though, I wish I could fill out a customer service sheet before tipping badly because I just know the waiter's not going to think of my poor tipping as a punishment for bad service but merely that I was cheap!

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At establishments that do not "pool" there tip money at the end of the shift the tip is the only opportunity for the servers to make any money. Now, there is two ways to look at this truth.

One, that this is there only opportunity why should not servers give you the best possible service to ensure your happiness and consquently ensure a bigger tip. With the restaurant being nearly empty this should not have been a difficult task to accomplish.

Two, being that it is there only chance to make money it is the diner's obligation to tip them a certain, but fare percentage of the bill even if the service was bad.

If I go out and get great service I usually tip a little more than what I should, but if the service is bad I just tip the amount that I should and leave with a healthy heart.

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At establishments that do not "pool" there tip money at the end of the shift the tip is the only opportunity for the servers to make any money.  Now, there is two ways to look at this truth.

Actually, there are three ways to look at it...the restaurant owner should be paying their employees a decent living wage instead of asking their customers to subsidise their cost of doing business.

The tip is to show gratitude for exemplary service. If service is lacking, then there should be no tip or a reduced tip. Let the employer pay his own bloody wages!

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Actually, there are three ways to look at it...the restaurant owner should be paying their employees a decent living wage instead of asking their customers to subsidise their cost of doing business.

The tip is to show gratitude for exemplary service. If service is lacking, then there should be no tip or a reduced tip. Let the employer pay his own bloody wages!

Ha, unfortunately most restaurant owners pay their service staff the minium wage that one gets when they are a tipped employee. That is, its below the $5.15 or $5.50 wage that non-tipped employees recieve. If you tip no money then that server better had said nasty things about your mother to deserve a zero tip.

There are some ruthless and disgusting people in the restaurant buisness, but at the same time there a lot of good people.

At the 3-star and 4-star quality restaurants the service staff makes twice as much money than the cooks who are busting their butt for 15 hours preparing this wonderful meal for you. Is this fare? No.

However, at the lesser quality restaurants, diners, etc.. the kitchen staff makes a little more than the waitstaff.

Fare wage compensation and tipping have been a long problem in the industry. I think the only fare way to deal with it is to include the tip in the bill.

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I visited a restaurant and requested my pasta Al dente. Since this was a fairly well known and good seafood restaurant I figured it would be no prob. What I got was a soggy version of Chef Boy RD. At first the server didn't even know what Al dente was, so I thoughtfully explained and she brought me out another dish which was equally soggy. She already had an apologetic grin on her face. I then asked her if the chef knew what Al dente was and she left again. I was hungry and irritated at this point. She came back and explained that all of the pasta was cooked in the morning and just dunked in boiling water when needed and they don't cook pasta Al dente.

I was paying $20 for what?

Needless to say, she removed the pasta from the bill. I tipped 15% on what we actually paid for.

Afterwards I felt very guilty. This server did a wonderful job. She was patient and did everything possible to turn me in to a satisfied customer. I should have tipped her 20% for everything she did and send a note to the manager about my dissatisfaction with the food...

I still cringe when I think about it today.

"Live every moment as if your hair were on fire" Zen Proverb

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Eh, I don't think 15 percent is a punch in the chops either. But, if it's going to bug you more than your server anyway, why bother trying to send a message that may not even be detected? Just tip your usual and chalk it up to experience. Having been on the other side of the transaction myself, I generally try to stick to three personal principles as a customer: tip 20 percent, smile and always say "please" and "thank you." If the service really stinks, I'm happy to initiate a conversation about it with "Is there a problem?" even if that conversation does, occasionally, have to finish up at "Well, screw you then, we're leaving!"

"Mine goes off like a rocket." -- Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, Feb. 16.

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I was thinking the same thing as Juju, tipping 15% is not a stiff, that is a normal tip for the majority of people.

Waiters/Waitresses are in a service based profession, therefore, if they are not providing a service I deem acceptable, I feel no obligation to pay them for it at all. IF they are exemplary, I will pay them what it is worth. Typically I tip 15% (I see that in some places this number is raising, but as entree prices are raising too, I see no reason to double up the money I am putting out). If service blows me away or they are extremely personable, I will tip more, sometimes much more. If service is unacceptable, I will $1 or less. No one should get paid for sub-par job performance.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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I have no remorse in tipping or recieving tips.

Crappy service? They still get the minimum of 15 percent. I work in the biz, and tip because I can.

Nor do I feel any sort of moral remorse when one of my cocaine dealing regulars comes in and tips me $400 throughout the course of the evening.

I really hope this doesn't turn into the broken record discussion of restaurants need to pay their FOH staff a decent hourly... :blink: The system works, and yes I do know servers that are earning $90,000, declared income just from the credit card receipts. (One of my coworkers is a CPA and his father's firm does the tax preparation for his girlfriend and all her coworkers from Johnny's Restaurant).

Never feel bad about a 15 percent tip. That is par for the course.

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Let me start off by saying that I consider myself a good tipper.  It takes a lot to really negatively affect a tip from me, and very little extra to raise it. I base at around 18% and work from there. But last night I went to a diner for some after-movie food with some friends and only tipped....fifteen.  Barely.  Service started out well.  The waiter seemed nice enough, too.  I went the 'coffee and pie' route.  Decaf, even...as much as I consider it an affront to all good and decent coffee, it was pushing midnight and I wanted to sleep at some point.  So, long story short, service levels dropped quickly.

I found myself wondering if the service dropped when the waiter saw you weren't ordering much. Coffee and pie might cost 6 bucks - and the difference between 15% and 20% on $6 is a big 30 cents. Even if there were 4 of you...and you all got coffee and pie - then he was possibly sacrificing $1.20 - which he might have felt was worth it, for some time to goof off, that late in the evening.

Back to your question...As far as remorse - I would probably feel it from time to time if I didn't obsess about the amount to leave before I leave it! Usually by the time I am walking out of there I have come to terms with whatever my decision was.

"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best --" and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called. - A.A. Milne

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Never feel bad about a 15 percent tip.  That is par for the course.

Thanks for clarifying this. I know I'm a little cheap but 15% seems fair. I'm too lazy to deduct the tax and always round up in the server's favor so it's really a bit more but I was starting to feel like a heel.

Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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I tip 20% on a normal bill. I sometimes feel bad for failing to reduce a tip for bad service that's obviously the server's fault, but I really cannot bring myself to leave a low tip unless the bad service comes with attitude. I'm prepared to go down to 10% in those cases. If a server is just bad and probably hasn't been taught any better, I'll give them 15% but I will not give that restaurant too many chances. Quite a bit of the bad service I've had seemed to me to be stuff the management should have been addressing with their staff.

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Chef Shogun, it seems you have been stricken by something called a "conscience". I don't know much about it, but it seems some people have one. Just stay calm, try and suppress it, alchohol usually helps...But seriously, you shouldn't feel remorse for tipping 15%. That server was lucky to even get something from you, IMHO.

"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the War Room!"

-Presiden Muffley, Dr. Strangelove

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i will ordinarily tip 20% for fine service (20?! it's easier to figure the math than 18...). i understand that servers depend on tips to make a living; i've been there. but if i get crappy service--problems that were avoidable on the part of the server--the tip goes down (way down) accordingly. to tip poor service and exceptional service at the same level degrades those that do their jobs well.

i'm ambivalent about gratuities included with the bill. the absolute worst service i ever had was at a top-name northern california restaurant that had that set-up. i've never seen such a lack of enthusiasm--very unprofessional.

i know trotter's just went with the gratuity-added concept. a friend dined there recently and didn't go over her bill too closely, adding 20% to the total. they actually called her at home the week after and brought it to her attention that she may have missed that the tip had already been included and that they would be happy to credit her card for the overage. she was so impressed, she just said, "let 'em keep it".

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My sister got stiffed by so many jerks at this one deli she worked at, I just can't find it in me to do that to anyone else. I usually tip 15% only when I get bad service. If it's really, really bad, I go and talk to the manager. Otherwise, I tip the usual 18% or 20% unless the service is really good and then I'll do more. If someone tries hard, they should be rewarded. Anyway, it's not like I'm going to the French Laundry.

Sometimes I tip less when i'm in a group. But not below 15%.

Edited by jschyun (log)

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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Anybody else get this, for over- or under-tipping, or am I just insane?

I respectfully submit that you're just insane :biggrin:

I don't believe I've ever overtipped without good reason unless it was overtipping a female bartender when I was 18 or 19 and thought her attentions to me meant something other than her desire for a better tip.

Bad service justifies a bad tip, good service justifies a much better than average tip and exceptional service that really enhances my evenign and makes my dining experience stand out deserves an exceptional tip. I have never once thought back and questioned how much I tipped. There was once an occasion where I left no tip at all and felt that it was still too much. Only an outright firing of the waiter in question would have left me feeling as though justice had been effected due to the circumstances of our dining experience. And I don't make that statement lightly.

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I usually tip 20%, more for exceptional service. Even if the service is somewhat lacking, I tip in the 18 - 20% range.

The only time I've felt guilty about tipping was last week, and I shouldn't feel guilty at all.

A friend and I were out to lunch, and our waitress was also waiting on a table of people that she was obviously friends with. After she served our meals, she went over and talked to her friends (in between serving other tables). She never came back to ask how our meals were or if we needed something else to drink.

Well, my friend did want another cup of coffee and this girl wasn't even glancing in our direction the entire time. My friend actually got up from the table and called over to her to ask for more coffee.

Are you ready for this? The waitress said, "Sure", AND SAT DOWN AT THE TABLE WITH HER FRIENDS!!!!!

We were speechless!

I then had to chase her down for the bill and, being the idiot that I am, left her 10% AND FELT GUILTY ABOUT IT!

After reading this thread, I no longer do.

Thank You!

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You should absolutely not feel guilty for leaving a 10% tip in that situation, PattyO. As a general rule, I tip 15%: for being served my dinner in a timely fashion and getting what I need when I ask for it from a friendly server. The bar, of course, is raised in higher-end establishment, but for your typical Wednesday night dinner this is my rule.

If you have a server who sits down at another table and does not get you what you need and ask for, why would you tip them a standard amount set for good service? I guess it all depends on what your minimum is. I have a friend who insists on always tipping 20%, good or bad. She says that she was once a waitress and understands the plight of waitresses around the world. I never realized that it was my responsibility to make up for the fact that some people do not get paid enough, out of pity for them. That sounds harsh, but I'm paying someone to do a job for me. If they don't do it, they don't get paid for it.

"After all, these are supposed to be gutsy spuds, not white tablecloth social climbers."

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