Tipping people

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cspirou
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Tipping people

Postby cspirou » Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:11 pm UTC

I think one of the most controversial subjects I've ever talked about was tipping. Almost everyone I know is for it and I'm against it. They always throw out "well you've never been a waiter then".

However that doesn't mean I don't believe in fair compensation. I just think that the price of a good should be understood and if that price is met then all parties should be happy. I think it's better to have a service charge automatic on the bill. Not this system where the "true" price is never explicit. So even if I pay exactly what they charge me then I come off as a cheapskate. A tip is suppose to be a bonus. If you think you deserve more then I should be charged more.

I think there's a fallacy that there is a perceived influence in tipping. That tipping causes better service. That influence is a myth. Especially when you pay it at the end of the meal. It only really works if you get the same waiter every single time at the exact same place.

This article conveys why I think it's better not to tip.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/12/magaz ... ing-t.html

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Re: Tipping people

Postby TheStranger » Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:23 pm UTC

I'm always sure to tip a bit extra, because I know that the staff at restaurants are often underpaid (since they are expected to make up the difference through tips).

The whole tip well for good service bit is to encourage the staff to be as attentive as possible, in the hope of earning a big tip. You don't know, right of the bat, if the person you are serving is going to be a good tipper... but most people are willing to throw in a little extra if they are treated well.
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Re: Tipping people

Postby TheAmazingRando » Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:43 pm UTC

cspirou wrote:I think there's a fallacy that there is a perceived influence in tipping. That tipping causes better service. That influence is a myth. Especially when you pay it at the end of the meal. It only really works if you get the same waiter every single time at the exact same place.
If you go to the same restaurants often, especially if you go in groups, you're bound to get the same waiter, or at least be recognized. There's an IHOP near here, for example, that I go to frequently late at night, and I almost always get one of the same two guys waiting my table.

And, even so, as TheStranger said, it isn't so much that the tip makes the service better (at least not the first time), but that the service is better in anticipation of the tip. Customer service is a soul-draining job, and waiting is a busy and tiring one. Tipping gives the wait staff an immediate incentive to stay as pleasant as possible.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby cspirou » Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:45 pm UTC

Precisely why a tip is meaningless. If most people do it then doesn't matter. From my point of view if I enjoy my time at a restaurant then I become a repeat customer. That's how it is in any other business. If someone makes a product I like then I don't pay him extra for what I think he deserves. I pay the price he told me and I buy more if it's a good product and give free word of mouth advertising.

Another article to back some of this up.

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/0 ... surowiecki

In an extensive survey of tipping studies, Michael Lynn, a professor at Cornell, found only a weak correlation between the quality of service that people report receiving and the tips they give. On average, exceptional service raised tips by about 1.5 per cent, which, Lynn argues, is too small for waiters to notice. And countries where there’s no tipping—like Australia and Japan—don’t have worse service than the United States.


@TheAmazingRando

The article in my first post refers to The Linkery. I see you're in UC-San Diego and The Linkery is also in San Diego. Heard much about it?

Use the edit button rather than triple posting. I'm apt to get snarky when I have to clean up your messes for you.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby Princess Marzipan » Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:59 pm UTC

C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER

...on topic, I do so hate the idea of tipping - but it's just one of things that's so fucking ingrained into our society that there's no useful way to try to change it.

I'd prefer to not tip, but if you don't, you're a total asshole. And if you turn tips down...you're a stupid idiot, because the restaurant sure as balls isn't going to pay you enough on its own. There's no one place that this change can catalyze; everyone has to jump on board all at once, and that's not going to happen.
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Re: Tipping people

Postby Dibley » Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:11 pm UTC

I like tipping. It isn't at all vague, because there is a commonly accepted standard rate of 15% (Or at least where I come from). I always tip at least a little bit extra, because I like to make people happy, and it's usually a pretty trivial amount. Whenever I get coffee, if I get any change I leave it in the tip jar, and if I don't I might leave a $1, just because the barristas always looked surprised and grateful, which is fun. It's like smiling at people, or holding the door for them: it's trivially easy, and brightens everyone's day.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby TheAmazingRando » Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:21 pm UTC

cspirou wrote:@TheAmazingRando

The article in my first post refers to The Linkery. I see you're in UC-San Diego and The Linkery is also in San Diego. Heard much about it?

I've actually never heard of it before. I don't really get out to North Park much. Sounds like a nice place, though.

I wouldn't mind if the institution of tipping went away. But I enjoy doing it, so I'm fine with it existing.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby Andrew » Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:56 pm UTC

Dibley wrote:I like tipping. It isn't at all vague, because there is a commonly accepted standard rate of 15%

Sure, if you know that. If you don't, say because you're travelling or young, you're stuck. There's no sign or anything. I think an expectation of a certain level of tip is a huge opportunity for social gaffes and achieves very little. When tipping isn't vague, people will read things into the amount. A 12% tip and you're a cheapskate. 18% and you're a showoff. There's no graceful way out of that unless you know the rule. I'd rather they charged more and a tip was considered a nice thing you do sometimes if you feel like it.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby Intercept » Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:04 pm UTC

Personally, I have no problem with tipping when deserved. Fortunately for me, I have no qualms about being an asshole. If I feel my service was less than I desired, than they are going to get no or a very small tip. Period. Frankly, the best solution is if everyone took up this approach. That way service would actually be rewarded, and it wouldn't make you an ass for not tipping. This seems like it might eventually cycle back, but que sera, sera.
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Re: Tipping people

Postby Xeio » Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:05 pm UTC

Andrew wrote:I'd rather they charged more and a tip was considered a nice thing you do sometimes if you feel like it.
Or even better, a tip could be something you do when your waiter/waitress was, I dunno, actually GOOD at their job... :P Though, I'm of the opinion that if your service sucked, I wont be tipping as good as if it didn't.

Ninja'd :wink:

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Re: Tipping people

Postby TheStranger » Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:24 pm UTC

Intercept wrote:Personally, I have no problem with tipping when deserved. Fortunately for me, I have no qualms about being an asshole. If I feel my service was less than I desired, than they are going to get no or a very small tip. Period. Frankly, the best solution is if everyone took up this approach. That way service would actually be rewarded, and it wouldn't make you an ass for not tipping. This seems like it might eventually cycle back, but que sera, sera.


I very much agree. Average service does not see much of a tip, poor service receives none.
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Re: Tipping people

Postby qinwamascot » Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:29 pm UTC

I don't see why you have a problem with tipping. It's simple. Just assume that you'll pay 15% more. Then, if there's good service, you pay more, but treat that 15% like the base cost.

If you want to compare to other countries where tipping isn't standard, I've been to them. The service you get is not great, and at best it's not personal. The waiters here also prefer the tipping system, because they get paid more than minimum wage, which is all they'd get if they were paid normally, and they are rewarded for good service.

If you aren't willing to pay 15-20% more than what's listed on the menu prices, there's an easy solution. Don't eat at restaurants.

Intercept wrote:Personally, I have no problem with tipping when deserved. Fortunately for me, I have no qualms about being an asshole. If I feel my service was less than I desired, than they are going to get no or a very small tip. Period. Frankly, the best solution is if everyone took up this approach. That way service would actually be rewarded, and it wouldn't make you an ass for not tipping. This seems like it might eventually cycle back, but que sera, sera.


Not really. Then they'd just increase menu prices by 15% to make up for it. By keeping it like this, I can give 10% for poor service, 15% for average service, and 20% for good service, or some numbers around those lines. This rewards service as well. The only argument is that people have trouble calculating what to give. But if you can't do such basic math, do you really have a right to complain about 15-20% more anyway?
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Re: Tipping people

Postby nachtkriecher » Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:35 pm UTC

i tip because ive been a waitor and have a certain compassion for those doing that, especially when they're going to be doing it for the rest of their life. if they are rude to me, however, i lose that compassion and give them a very small tip.

but tips are by definition optional (well... i guess not always) so i dont see how you can take a particular stand against them. you can take a stand against people calling you an asshole if you dont tip, but i dont think there's a good case against giving money to who you want to give it to.
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Re: Tipping people

Postby telcontar42 » Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:52 pm UTC

Waiters are getting paid through tips. The actual hourly pay they get is very small. Waiters know this and are trying to give you the best service they can so they can get the best tips they can. If the service isn't great, its a lot more liekly that the restaurant is busy and the waiter is having a bad day than they just aren't trying to provide good service. Unless the waiter is rude or something, you should always give at least 15%. If the service is decent give 20% (this does depend some on the type of restaurant). At some places, waiters have to give a portion of their sales to the bussers/hosts/bartenders or whatever. If you don't tip or leave a very small tip the waiter might actually be losing money by serving you, so don't ever do that. You may not like tipping and would rather that the tip was just included in the price, but thats not how it is. If you go to a restaurant you had better leave a tip. Don't punish your waiters because you don't like the concept of tipping.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby Dazmilar » Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:56 pm UTC

You've never had a drink at a bar, right? Because that's a clear example of a situation where tipping matters. Unless we're only talking about tipping at restaurants. But if you want an experiment in how tipping affects service, go to a bar, pay by the drink, order only complicated drinks (that require extra work, like shaking), and pay the exact amount for each drink. Well, don't do it, because I'd feel bad for the bartenders subjected to such treatment.

My mentality for tipping in a restaurant is that I'm paying for the food, the tip is for the service. And yes, the tip can fluctuate, I don't think one of the above postesr has to be worried about being thought of as a showoff for an 18% tip. However, if you're hellbent on grading performance and choosing to not tip because of your perception of said performance, you should at the very least be aware that there are a number of factors that can affect your meal that the waiter has no control over. For all you know, the reason your food took so long to come out is because of a backup in the kitchen, and your waiter paid less attention to you because somebody called out sick and the waiter had to cover extra tables.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby cspirou » Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:04 pm UTC

I notice the conversation always veers to people saying "If you don't want to pay extra then stay home". Nowhere is that my argument. I'm advocating for an automatic service charge as opposed to leaving it ambiguous or an supposed option when it's a de facto charge.

I've been to other countries where tipping isn't standard as well. The times I've been to a restaurant I get fine service. As long as they bring my food then I'm fine. I don't need people to be my friend so I could careless if it's personal. I'm not saying your experience is wrong but I refute that it's universal amongst countries that don't tip. There are studies that show the difference is imperceptible. I consider the dining experience as a whole and I don't parse out between service and food. If the service is terrible then the restaurant gets a bad reputation and they lose business. That's incentive to hire competent waiters and to do their job well.

That's my other problem too. How much of your tip is dependent on the quality of the food? Sure the waiter has a duty to get the food to you before it gets cold but I'm going to go out on a limb and say 90% of that is because of kitchen staff. How much of the tip do they see? What if I order a rather expensive item? Does the waiter do any more work for bringing me an expensive entree?

You've never had a drink at a bar, right? Because that's a clear example of a situation where tipping matters. Unless we're only talking about tipping at restaurants. But if you want an experiment in how tipping affects service, go to a bar, pay by the drink, order only complicated drinks (that require extra work, like shaking), and pay the exact amount for each drink. Well, don't do it, because I'd feel bad for the bartenders subjected to such treatment.


I also clearly believe that he should get his cut for every drink. Raise the price in proportion to the work he does. If he does a great job then tip him. But if I don't tip him then I don't believe I shouldn't get shitty service as a result.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby phlip » Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:07 pm UTC

qinwamascot wrote:If you want to compare to other countries where tipping isn't standard, I've been to them. The service you get is not great, and at best it's not personal.

So... you're going to counter the studies mentioned by cspirou with... an anecdote?

Well, I live in Australia, tipping is rare unless the service is exceptional, menu prices are understood to cover not just the food, but the service and the preparation time as well (and while they're probably higher as a result, at least they're honest), and I've never (or at least, very rarely, and no counterexamples jump to mind) had a problem with poor service on the occasion I eat out.

So now we're one anecdote apiece. Frankly, I'd rather trust the studies.

[edit] And ninjaed by cspirou... I guess we're not one anecdote apiece after all.

Offtopic, is it bad that when I first saw the thread topic, I thought it was the logical extension to cow tipping?
Last edited by phlip on Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:13 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby Azrael » Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:13 pm UTC

telcontar42 wrote:Don't punish your waiters because you don't like the concept of tipping.

This. Very much this.

Advocate for a change to the system all you want, but for now should *also* abide by the system in place. Otherwise, you're punishing another individual for your own views.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby Belial » Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:19 pm UTC

cspirou wrote:I think one of the most controversial subjects I've ever talked about was tipping. Almost everyone I know is for it and I'm against it. They always throw out "well you've never been a waiter then".

However that doesn't mean I don't believe in fair compensation. I just think that the price of a good should be understood and if that price is met then all parties should be happy. I think it's better to have a service charge automatic on the bill. Not this system where the "true" price is never explicit. So even if I pay exactly what they charge me then I come off as a cheapskate. A tip is suppose to be a bonus. If you think you deserve more then I should be charged more.


There's two things at work:

Do you think tipping is a good practice to have ingrained into our society? Obviously not.

Is simply refusing to tip a good way to respond to this? Not really. It's like kicking children in the teeth as a means of protesting the education system. Stupid, pointless, makes you something of an asshole, and will probably reduce your estimation in the eyes of everyone who knows about it.

Edit: Ninja'd on this point

TheStranger wrote:I very much agree. Average service does not see much of a tip, poor service receives none.


Define "average service" and "much of a tip". Waitstaff get paid much less than they're worth by their employers, often less than minimum wage. In order to even get what's meant to be their "Standard" wages, they have to rely on tips. So if I understand you correctly, you're saying that they should be required to do an outstanding job to get their standard wage. Does that seem right to you?

Personally, I almost always tip 20% or more unless the service is dreadfully bad and I have little intention of returning. I also frequent the same restaurants often. Through some sort of strange voodoo, I more-often-than-not get quite outstanding service, and often little complimentary things like free sodas and such.

The trick is not to regard it as "They did good service, now I am rewarding them" or "they gave me shitty service. No reward. That'll teach 'em" because it doesn't usually work that way. If a waitperson gets a subpar tip from you, they're not necessarily going to say "I must've done a poor job. Gods, what am I doing?" they're going to think "that guy is an asshole. Fucked if I'm going out of my way for him again." Tip them decently initially, though, and they're going to think "That guy is pretty neat, let's make sure he enjoys his stay", or, more cynically "That guy tips like whoa, if I don't fuck this up, I can drink even more tonight"

So instead, think of it as "I am making myself the goose with the golden eggs. Motherfuckers better make me comfy once they see that metallic ovum."
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Re: Tipping people

Postby Kachi » Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:22 pm UTC

I've waited before, and it is difficult, but some waiters get tipped entirely too much and get a kind of spoiled attitude about it. Making $20-30 an hour in some places-- as tough as it is at times, it's a little ridiculous for unskilled labor.

I don't tip based on %. That's a bad system. I tip based on how hard the person worked. Whether they bring me a plate of french fries or lobster, it's still just plate delivery. Even the best servers typically only get $3 from me (except this one guy I tipped $5 because he gave me unlimited free soup even though he wasn't supposed to >_>). That's a pretty low % if I order a $40 meal, but if you rake in four of those per hour you're still doing pretty well considering you're an unskilled laborer.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby Belial » Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:30 pm UTC

You're aware that the kitchen staff, who have to work much harder to make that 40 dollar meal than they do to make a plate of fries, often share in the tips as well, correct?
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Re: Tipping people

Postby Intercept » Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:38 pm UTC

You're aware that's often not the case right? That is almost always the case when there's a tip jar, but usually not when you just leave it on the table.
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Re: Tipping people

Postby Azrael » Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:39 pm UTC

I have a couple friends that work in Joe SitDown Chain Restaurants and they're tipping out to the busboy, expediter, and kitchen. I think they're only keeping 50%ish of what is left on the table.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby Andrew » Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:48 pm UTC

Intercept wrote:You're aware that's often not the case right? That is almost always the case when there's a tip jar, but usually not when you just leave it on the table.

This is getting complicated.

By this point there's three separate rules and some inconvenient arithmetic, all of which vary from place to place, all aimed at supporting a system that doesn't make sense, but we have to do it because restaurant owners are blackmailing us by treating waiters badly. I just want a nice meal cooked for me. Why can't that be easy?

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Re: Tipping people

Postby roc314 » Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:59 pm UTC

Andrew wrote:
Intercept wrote:You're aware that's often not the case right? That is almost always the case when there's a tip jar, but usually not when you just leave it on the table.

This is getting complicated.

By this point there's three separate rules and some inconvenient arithmetic, all of which vary from place to place, all aimed at supporting a system that doesn't make sense, but we have to do it because restaurant owners are blackmailing us by treating waiters badly. I just want a nice meal cooked for me. Why can't that be easy?
Yes, but why punish the waitpeople badly because the restaurant owners are blackmailing you? It's like killing Americans to punish Bush. It just doesn't work that way.

Also, trying to calculate approximately 20% of a number is not hard. Divide by 5 and round up (or round and then divide by 5). Not inconvenient.
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Re: Tipping people

Postby telcontar42 » Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:00 am UTC

If you want it to be easy, give a 20% tip every time. Just consider that to be part of the cost of the meal.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby TheStranger » Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:02 am UTC

Belial wrote:Define "average service" and "much of a tip". Waitstaff get paid much less than they're worth by their employers, often less than minimum wage. In order to even get what's meant to be their "Standard" wages, they have to rely on tips. So if I understand you correctly, you're saying that they should be required to do an outstanding job to get their standard wage. Does that seem right to you?


It's fairly subjective and situational as to what defines "Average" service and "much of a tip".

Average service is not an exceptionally long time between receiving a menu and being asked if I'm ready to order. Getting drink orders correct (and otherwise not messing up the order). If the order is taking exceptionally long to prepare then a word or two to that effect. It's also passing by the table a reasonable number of times and refilling drinks if they are seen to be empty. How busy a place is influences this, if I'm (and the people I'm with) are one of the only parties in there then I expect more attention then if the place is packed. Not much of a tip is between 12%-16%.
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Re: Tipping people

Postby cspirou » Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:05 am UTC

Kachi wrote:I've waited before, and it is difficult, but some waiters get tipped entirely too much and get a kind of spoiled attitude about it. Making $20-30 an hour in some places-- as tough as it is at times, it's a little ridiculous for unskilled labor.

I don't tip based on %. That's a bad system. I tip based on how hard the person worked. Whether they bring me a plate of french fries or lobster, it's still just plate delivery. Even the best servers typically only get $3 from me (except this one guy I tipped $5 because he gave me unlimited free soup even though he wasn't supposed to >_>). That's a pretty low % if I order a $40 meal, but if you rake in four of those per hour you're still doing pretty well considering you're an unskilled laborer.


Not only that but a tip is supposed to pay for service. Yet there are many tricks employed to increase your tip that have little to do with service rendered. To quote the original article I posted.

Studies demonstrate that waiters can increase their tips by introducing themselves by name, squatting alongside tables, touching diners and drawing smiley faces on the backs of checks. While Cassinelli isn’t necessarily an advocate of such ploys, he says that waiters only excel at their jobs when they have the proper economic incentives.


Now to make it very clear I do tip. I realize waiters get below minimum wage and this makes up for it. But I clearly don't like the system and I'm therefore debating a better one exist. Whether the change is legislated or there's a waiters union that advocates this I don't know.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby Kachi » Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:06 am UTC

You're aware that the kitchen staff, who have to work much harder to make that 40 dollar meal than they do to make a plate of fries, often share in the tips as well, correct?


This is the way it was where I worked. I did everything that had to be done. Wash dishes, clean, cook, work the register-- anything that wasn't management, I did.

So, yes.

Edit: making fries or a fancy meal are generally not as disparate in difficulty as one might think.
Last edited by Kachi on Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:12 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby qinwamascot » Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:10 am UTC

the waiter's union here is (are?) very much pro-tipping. Just fyi.
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Re: Tipping people

Postby cspirou » Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:44 am UTC

qinwamascot wrote:the waiter's union here is (are?) very much pro-tipping. Just fyi.


With a low-skill job with such a high turnover rate I wouldn't expect the union to exist or have much influence if it does.

Nonetheless I am well aware that just about everyone is against a service charge. Waiters would get paid less, restaurateurs would lose their excuse to pay lower wages and customers think they would lose their influence over the waiter.

So why do I think an automatic service charge is better? Because the waiters would just focus on work instead of being stressed about what inane thing they have to do to get a higher tip, or doing everything right and not receiving a tip at all. Because the customer doesn't have to stress out about feeling cheap and probably overtipping for a job. Plus the last thing you want to do at the end of a nice meal is math, which arguably a large percentage of the population is incompetent at and also contributes to overtipping. Effectively taking advantage of the customer. Since it's a service charge it isn't attributed to a single waiter and is split between the staff and kitchen which encourages work as a team. Sort of like profit sharing at larger companies. In the end the same amount of money changes hands but the perception is different.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby Azrael » Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:46 am UTC

cspirou wrote:Plus the last thing you want to do at the end of a nice meal is math, which arguably a large percentage of the population is incompetent at and also contributes to overtipping. Effectively taking advantage of the customer.


Mathematically speaking, wouldn't it also lead to equally frequent under tipping?

In my experience, though, everyone who can't figure out that 20% is "divide by 10, then double" either uses a cell phone calculator or ends up under tipping.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby cspirou » Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:56 am UTC

Azrael wrote:
Mathematically speaking, wouldn't it also lead to equally frequent under tipping?

In my experience, though, everyone who can't figure out that 20% is "divide by 10, then double" either uses a cell phone calculator or ends up under tipping.


If the only determinant was bad math. However it's bad math and a fear of under tipping. So they generally tip more then they should.

You're experience is also just that. I assume that you are more intelligent then the average person and associate with people that are similar who are antiquated with technology. My mom has no clue how to use the cell phone calculator and I know she's not alone. I never use mine even though I'm bad at arithmetic because I don't have a full keypad and it get annoying so I use pencil and paper.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby Dazmilar » Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:03 am UTC

cspirou wrote:I also clearly believe that he should get his cut for every drink. Raise the price in proportion to the work he does. If he does a great job then tip him. But if I don't tip him then I don't believe I shouldn't get shitty service as a result.


So are you at least acknowledging that my bartender example defies your assertion that there's no such thing as a tip influencing what service you receive? The problem with what you suggested is that the tip is for the service, not for the drink. I assume in your scenario we raise the price of every drink in proportion to the work, giving the bartender whatever percentage of the drink's cost accounts for the work involved in preparing the drink. In place of the standard practice of tipping, we instead now have bartenders on commission. Instead of focusing on the service, we're now focusing on how many drinks the bartender can sell, which makes it less likely I'll get a drink on the house, since that cuts directly into the bartender's money. Which might actually be good for the bar, but bad for me.

I don't see how creating a salesman like mentality in my bartenders and wait staff is going to end up giving me better service.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby Nath » Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:16 am UTC

Another vote for the anti-tipping camp. I think the tipping system is needlessly complicated: in the food industry alone, there are separate conventions for sit-down places, cheap takeaway places, buffets, coffee shops, conveyor-belt sushi places... you get the idea. It's a lot to keep track of.

I understand the logic behind tipping rather than having a fixed service charge, but I don't think it works very well. Quality control is the responsibility of management; it shouldn't be the customer's responsibility to make sure the waiters do their job. Reward the managers with repeat business, and let them worry about keeping the waiters paid and motivated.

I've lived in places with fixed service fees, and I had no problems with the service. I don't want people to pretend to be my friend in return for a few bucks; that's just creepy. Besides, I've had sincere, personal service just as often in fixed-fee places as in the US.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby cspirou » Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:20 am UTC

Dazmilar wrote:
cspirou wrote:I also clearly believe that he should get his cut for every drink. Raise the price in proportion to the work he does. If he does a great job then tip him. But if I don't tip him then I don't believe I shouldn't get shitty service as a result.


So are you at least acknowledging that my bartender example defies your assertion that there's no such thing as a tip influencing what service you receive? The problem with what you suggested is that the tip is for the service, not for the drink. I assume in your scenario we raise the price of every drink in proportion to the work, giving the bartender whatever percentage of the drink's cost accounts for the work involved in preparing the drink. In place of the standard practice of tipping, we instead now have bartenders on commission. Instead of focusing on the service, we're now focusing on how many drinks the bartender can sell, which makes it less likely I'll get a drink on the house, since that cuts directly into the bartender's money. Which might actually be good for the bar, but bad for me.

I don't see how creating a salesman like mentality in my bartenders and wait staff is going to end up giving me better service.


I never really said it doesn't influence service. Not giving a tip may give you bad service but giving a tip would necessarily give you better then average service.

However I don't see the problem with your scenario other then you not getting free drinks. What exactly are the service aspects of a bartender? They make the drink at the bar. The bartenders have a salesmen mentality anyway. If you go to a trendy bar the hot bartender isn't flirting with you because she likes you. It's to get you to buy more drinks.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby PictureSarah » Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:28 am UTC

Azrael wrote:I have a couple friends that work in Joe SitDown Chain Restaurants and they're tipping out to the busboy, expediter, and kitchen. I think they're only keeping 50%ish of what is left on the table.


This. When I waitressed, I tipped pretty much everyone who helped me do my job...meaning the hostesses, the kitchen staff, and the chef.

Also, serving is not really as "unskilled" as one might think. I had to know a whole menu, wine list, beer list, how to recommend things, all the ingredients of things, etc. Just any old person off the street couldn't have done that job without a fair bit of training. Not to mention that I was working my ass off. I was lucky, in that I was working in California and getting minimum wage + tips. Had I been in Massachusetts, like I am now, I'd have been getting $2.64 an hour and counting on tips for the rest. People who don't tip well are pretty much bad people and they should feel bad.
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Re: Tipping people

Postby Quixotess » Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:38 am UTC

Nath wrote:Another vote for the anti-tipping camp. I think the tipping system is needlessly complicated: in the food industry alone, there are separate conventions for sit-down places, cheap takeaway places, buffets, coffee shops, conveyor-belt sushi places... you get the idea. It's a lot to keep track of.

But so you still tip, right? Despite being against the system?

This is definitely one of those cases in which a...I dunno...tipping strike is immoral, because instead of choosing to forgo your own job security for a while in hopes of a better deal, you're choosing to screw someone else out of theirs.

I've only recently come into a position when I have to pay for my own food, but I've tipped 20% when I've had the opportunity (and persuaded a fair few friends up from 15% when we're at diners together. If I can't afford to add that kind of tip to the price of the meal, then the food is out of my price range.

PictureSarah wrote:Also, serving is not really as "unskilled" as one might think.

And I think the interpersonal skills the job requires are also not to be underestimated. Wait staff put up with a lot of shit. Everyone should smile at them and say please and thank you and generally be immensely sweet to them.
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Re: Tipping people

Postby PictureSarah » Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:43 am UTC

Yes. Basically ANY job where one has to interact with the public constantly is a job that requires more skill and emotional stamina than people realize. This includes servers, post office clerks, cashiers, etc. People are frequently obnoxious and rude, and to return that attitude with cheerfulness and helpfulness takes a certain amount of mental fortitude. People in these kinds of jobs *deserve* a decent wage, which servers will not make if they are not tipped appropriately.
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Re: Tipping people

Postby cspirou » Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:51 am UTC

Quixotess wrote:But so you still tip, right? Despite being against the system?

This is definitely one of those cases in which a...I dunno...tipping strike is immoral, because instead of choosing to forgo your own job security for a while in hopes of a better deal, you're choosing to screw someone else out of theirs.

I've only recently come into a position when I have to pay for my own food, but I've tipped 20% when I've had the opportunity (and persuaded a fair few friends up from 15% when we're at diners together. If I can't afford to add that kind of tip to the price of the meal, then the food is out of my price range.


I think of it like being an environmentalist. I still drive a car but that doesn't mean I won't fight for an alternative.

Also, serving is not really as "unskilled" as one might think. I had to know a whole menu, wine list, beer list, how to recommend things, all the ingredients of things, etc. Just any old person off the street couldn't have done that job without a fair bit of training. Not to mention that I was working my ass off. I was lucky, in that I was working in California and getting minimum wage + tips. Had I been in Massachusetts, like I am now, I'd have been getting $2.64 an hour and counting on tips for the rest. People who don't tip well are pretty much bad people and they should feel bad.


Well unskilled doesn't imply that it isn't hard work. It just means you didn't have to go to college. Of course waiters deserve a fair wage. But waiters seem to direct their anger towards customers that don't tip instead of restaurant owners screwing them out of a fair wage. Do customers truly know this? More importantly do they have to? If so why isn't it explicit on the menu or the front of buildings.


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