Tipping people

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Re: Tipping people

Postby Nath » Mon Nov 10, 2008 2:06 am UTC

Quixotess wrote:
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?

Yes, I tip. Though honestly, I can't really be bothered to adjust my tips to suit the service I get. I just go with what's expected (typically 20%) without really thinking about it -- effectively a fixed service charge, but with more math.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby Xeio » Mon Nov 10, 2008 4:14 am UTC

PictureSarah wrote: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.
That says more that the payment scheme of servers is wrong. Any system that relies on the general public to be knowledgeable of the system or polite is probably a bad system.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby AngrySquirrel » Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:56 am UTC

I've spent some time working as a waitress, bartender and kitchen staff. However, I never really cared all that much about getting tips. Of course it's nice to get a little extra, but I would really rather have the angry customers not yell at me and be unreasonable than have the nice customers give me some extra payment. The service is going to be the same anyway, at work I would always try to give the best service I could, that was my job after all.

However tipping isn't such a very usual thing where I come from, people earn enough without it here. It's more of a fashion thing that has come in over the later years, or so it atleast seems to me. If we are to tip anyone it's because they are doing something far beyond what they are expected to do. So my view on the whole thing comes from a rather different angle than what seems to be dominating in this thread.

As a customer I don't like tipping at all. As I said, it's not something I'm used to, and I never know exactly what is expected or when it is expected. The best thing would be if they just could put up a poster or note or such saying "This is what we recon is a fair amount for tipping, in this restaurant we expect to get tipped/do not expect to get tipped" and so on. Atleast some consistency would be nice.

Edit: Also, if people are expecting to get a tip no matter what the service is, why not just include it in the price?
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Re: Tipping people

Postby Quixotess » Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:59 am UTC

I dunno, why not just include sales tax in the price?
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Re: Tipping people

Postby AngrySquirrel » Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:02 am UTC

Quixotess wrote:I dunno, why not just include sales tax in the price?


Why not?
It is included in the price here.

Edit: Atleast if sales tax is the same thing as my translation (which is a bit confusing) says it is.
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Re: Tipping people

Postby Quixotess » Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:13 am UTC

Um. Okay, sorry if I assumed we were working off the same cultural thing here.

Here, something's priced $14.99. You go up to the register with that thing, unless it's food, you pay $16.35 (or thereabouts.) Everyone knows about this and no one is surprised, but the tax is only very rarely included on the price tag. That's sales tax.
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Re: Tipping people

Postby Princess Marzipan » Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:52 am UTC

To further clarify, sales tax in the US is a form of state revenue.

It's not exactly a great parallel, because people generally know the sales tax rates in their states and whether it applies to certain items. You don't have a situation where you go into one department store and pay 5% and another and pay 8.3%, unless of course you've crossed state lines in the process.
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Re: Tipping people

Postby phlip » Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:14 pm UTC

Well, here, if the price on something says $15, and you go to pay for it, you hand over $15. Y'know, what it actually says on the price tag. Service charges (when applicable), GST (roughly equivalent to sales taxes), and the like, are all included. It only makes sense that the figure in the tag is equal to the amount of money you have to hand over.

Anything else, I feel, is dishonest. A dishonesty that everyone knows about, and can correct for, sure, but dishonest none the less.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby Princess Marzipan » Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:59 pm UTC

It makes exactly as little sense as you say, until you factor in the fact that different states have different income taxes. A product sold in two different states has two different prices for the consumer, but the company selling it only has to worry about their one.

It's dishonest in a sense...but once you realize this, you also realize that changing to an honest approach is extremely complicated and hardly worth the effort.

Oh look we're off topic! But only sort of - there is an actual logistical reason why making price tags reflect true prices is less than optimal. Either different locations will have different prices for the same product, or companies will make smaller profits in states with higher sales taxes. This is entirely different from how a service charge replacing tipping would act. Companies would only have a single service charge - and most companies would probably settle on the apparently agreeable 18%.

So, yadda yadda yadda, sales tax is a completely different beast from service charges and aren't really analagous.
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Re: Tipping people

Postby phlip » Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:26 pm UTC

Nougatrocity wrote:Either different locations will have different prices for the same product

I'm not sure why this is a problem... after all, they are charging a different amount, after tax, for the same product... but I agree that we're getting sidetracked, so I'll accept "logistics" as an answer and move on. I forgot for a moment that this is an SB thread, and offtopicness is frowned on... I apologise.


But perhaps a better tangent to go off on... namely, a solution to the tipping problem (if indeed it is a problem... the fact that it's being discussed shows this isn't a given). Obviously, as has been mentioned in several places, a solution can't come from the customers... not tipping, in a culture that relies on it, is a dick move. It also can't realistically come from the waiters and suchlike, if they rely on the tips to get by then they can't start refusing tips to make a point. The answer, if one is coming, would have to come from the restaurant owners, as the only people left with a say in the matter.

Leaving aside for now the point of how to convince those owners to change their ways (which would be quite a discussion in and of itself), say that a restaurant opened which is, say, 15-20% more expensive across the board, but at which tips are optional, only expected if the service is exceptional, and no stigma is attached to not tipping (and, indeed, it is expected that the majority of patrons will not tip). Would you, as a customer, eat there?

Perhaps more interestingly, if you owned such a restaurant, how would you advertise? With tipping being such a societal thing... which people do, but restaurants rarely tell them to... if you don't mention it, people will assume you're expected to tip, and are just 20% more expensive for no good reason. But explicitly mentioning that tipping is optional sounds like "Yes! We cater for cheapskates!"... How could you get the message out?

I'm not qualified to answer the first question, not being from the appropriate culture, and on the second one, I'm drawing a blank... Maybe I'm just bad at spin...

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Re: Tipping people

Postby SJ Zero » Mon Nov 10, 2008 2:20 pm UTC

I tip whenever I go to a nice restaurant.

It's not that I'm happy about tipping, I'd just as soon not spend a bunch extra on tips. It's that I understand that labour laws put waiting staff at a disadvantage. In some states, it's legal not to pay your waiter at all, or to pay them a pittiance, because it's assumed they'll make living wages off of tips alone.

I make good money. There's no practical reason not to pay for the service I receive. Given the lack of practical reason to be cheap, and the ethical reason that they'll be terribly underpaid or unpaid if I don't tip, I just do it. It's not something I want to do, but it's something I don't want on my shoulders.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Nov 10, 2008 2:47 pm UTC

cspirou wrote:If so why isn't it explicit on the menu or the front of buildings.

I would actually be interested in seeing the results of a sign in front of a restaurant, or on the menu, saying, "Hey customers: we don't actually pay our waitstaff a livable wage, so please be a dear and give them tips!"
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Re: Tipping people

Postby SJ Zero » Mon Nov 10, 2008 2:52 pm UTC

I guess because it's tradition, that's why they don't bother mentioning it anywhere.

It's like using usual manners in a public place. They don't have any signs saying "Don't let a huge ripe one rip right in the middle of your meal", but it's understood that you don't.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby cspirou » Mon Nov 10, 2008 4:11 pm UTC

phlip wrote:But perhaps a better tangent to go off on... namely, a solution to the tipping problem (if indeed it is a problem... the fact that it's being discussed shows this isn't a given). Obviously, as has been mentioned in several places, a solution can't come from the customers... not tipping, in a culture that relies on it, is a dick move. It also can't realistically come from the waiters and suchlike, if they rely on the tips to get by then they can't start refusing tips to make a point. The answer, if one is coming, would have to come from the restaurant owners, as the only people left with a say in the matter.

Leaving aside for now the point of how to convince those owners to change their ways (which would be quite a discussion in and of itself), say that a restaurant opened which is, say, 15-20% more expensive across the board, but at which tips are optional, only expected if the service is exceptional, and no stigma is attached to not tipping (and, indeed, it is expected that the majority of patrons will not tip). Would you, as a customer, eat there?

Perhaps more interestingly, if you owned such a restaurant, how would you advertise? With tipping being such a societal thing... which people do, but restaurants rarely tell them to... if you don't mention it, people will assume you're expected to tip, and are just 20% more expensive for no good reason. But explicitly mentioning that tipping is optional sounds like "Yes! We cater for cheapskates!"... How could you get the message out?

I'm not qualified to answer the first question, not being from the appropriate culture, and on the second one, I'm drawing a blank... Maybe I'm just bad at spin...


Precisely why I posted the article in the first place. Raising the price of food across the board would be unfair to takeout customers who would effectively subsidies the restaurant patrons. Unless you're a restaurant that doesn't have takeout. That's why a service charge at the end of the bill is better. The restaurants mentioned in the article are places people go for the food. So people may object to the practice but they''ll just take it even though they would probably pay the same thing.

The restaurant in the article, The Linkery, is the only one with an explicit "No Tipping" policy. I know the website for the restaurant tells you all about it and it was driven by the restaurant owner. It may be on the menu as well, I don't know. But it's not something advertised because he made the no tipping policy to put emphasis on the food and working as a team.

What I've noticed about the USA is that people put a lot of emphasis on the service. They are likely to go out to eat because they don't want to cook. I go out to eat to have something I don't usually have at home. So I don't consider a great restaurant experience as great service but great food. Bad service should be noticed. But good service by it's very nature shouldn't. So advertising about better service doesn't do it for me but it might for other people.

gmalivuk wrote:
cspirou wrote:If so why isn't it explicit on the menu or the front of buildings.

I would actually be interested in seeing the results of a sign in front of a restaurant, or on the menu, saying, "Hey customers: we don't actually pay our waitstaff a livable wage, so please be a dear and give them tips!"


That would be awesome!

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Re: Tipping people

Postby grythyttan » Mon Nov 10, 2008 6:16 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
cspirou wrote:If so why isn't it explicit on the menu or the front of buildings.

I would actually be interested in seeing the results of a sign in front of a restaurant, or on the menu, saying, "Hey customers: we don't actually pay our waitstaff a livable wage, so please be a dear and give them tips!"
Wouldn't it be possible to put up signs like these as a form of protest? I think this should be done, because a system where someones wage is decided by how nice or how much of an asshole the customer is is just bad.

Edit: ninja'd, sort of.
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Re: Tipping people

Postby lazarus89 » Mon Nov 10, 2008 6:39 pm UTC

I dunno... tipping used to bother me when I was a penniless student (I always paid, mind), but now that things have gotten better financially , I don't mind it so much, and will gladly pay extra for good service.

I figure if I'm worrying about the size of the tip, I shouldn't be eating at that restaurant.
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Re: Tipping people

Postby ++$_ » Mon Nov 10, 2008 6:46 pm UTC

I don't really understand why restaurant patrons would complain about tips. In every other situation in the world, if you get crappy customer service, you have to pay for it anyway; it's just included in the invoice. In a restaurant, if you didn't like the service, you can choose not to pay for it.

On the other hand, if I were a waiter, I think I would rather have a service charge attached to the bill, which would protect me from jerks who don't tip even when the service is fine.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby Dazmilar » Mon Nov 10, 2008 6:56 pm UTC

cspirou wrote: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.


The salesman mentality is one that does not lead to better service. Consider that there are electronics and office stores that like to specifically mention that they do not pay their electronics associates on commission, because there's a perception that salesmen who work on commission don't see customers, they see sales. The secret to these stores is that they track sales numbers so closely that they might as well be creating a commission mentality in their associates.

If I'm ordering a gin and tonic at my local bar, I don't want the bartender worrying about "upselling" me to a nicer brand of gin. I don't want waitstaff being told by management, "Great job on table 5, but you missed an opportunity to cross-sell them on the chili fries!"

The current model allows me to control the level to which I tip service, has a direct correlation to the kind of service I get, and contributes to the wage of those serving me. What exactly is in it for me, the customer, if it's changed?

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Re: Tipping people

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Nov 10, 2008 7:07 pm UTC

..but only if you're a repeat customer, and repeat frequently enough for the wait staff to recognize you as "the guy who doesn't tip if he goes more than 5 minutes without a refill."

And if you get known for tipping poorly for what you see as subpar service, yet only tipping the "normal amount" when service is exceptional, there's no real incentive for the wait staff to bust their ass for you, as odds are you're going to find a fault of something they do and give them a crappy tip.. assuming you even tip.

It really boils down to - In the US, if you don't want to tip, don't eat out. Tips are what allow a restaurant to pay $3 to a waiter, which in turn allows them to (using an example from the linked article) sell you a porkchop for less than $20 dollars.

The real question I have is - who tips on pre-tax versus post-tax? I ask because I've never known anyone to not tip based on the number at the very bottom of the check, until I actually paid attention to what my mother was doing one day.. She didn't have her reading glasses, so she had me read the check and tell her what to tip. I then pretty much called her a cheapskate for trying to weasel out of tipping on a buck and a half or whatever the difference was. (Six percent sales tax in Kentucky, which amounts to $1.80 tax for a $30 check)


.. I also have a problem with taxing tips. As in, the waiter is supposed to declare all tips as income for the night, then gets taxed on them. Given the way tax code works, I suppose it's entirely possible for that extra $5 you slipped the waiter to end up punishing them as more money is taken out than what would have been otherwise.
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Re: Tipping people

Postby Xeio » Mon Nov 10, 2008 7:30 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:.. I also have a problem with taxing tips. As in, the waiter is supposed to declare all tips as income for the night, then gets taxed on them. Given the way tax code works, I suppose it's entirely possible for that extra $5 you slipped the waiter to end up punishing them as more money is taken out than what would have been otherwise.
But, their tips are also part of their income, thus liable to income tax. And if your $5 tip bumps them up a tax bracket, then they've been getting pretty awesome tips from everyone else too, so I doubt it would hurt them as much you would seem to imply.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby grythyttan » Mon Nov 10, 2008 7:36 pm UTC

But isn't the higher tax ony on the money that exceeds the limit for the lower tax? I mean, it surely can't be on all money that you make? *is clueless about the US tax system*
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Re: Tipping people

Postby mosc » Mon Nov 10, 2008 7:38 pm UTC

I don't have a problem with the restaurant tipping. It's handled appropriately. You have a discrete little black envelope and you do your thing. They bring you change and you choose to leave what you want. It happens at the END of your meal.

I know a lot of you are too young to have bar experiences but what pisses me off is the tipping for every FUCKING drink. I hate it. I hate if I don't want to tip because it took 15 fucking minutes to get the bartender's attention, I still have to because I have 10 drunk guys starring at me waiting for me to uphold the etiquette. They should just hand you a black envelope on your way out to put money in or whatever. I hate being judged by other people by how much money I give EXTRA to somebody. I want my beer in a timely fashion and poured correctly and I don't want to plop down a tip just for the privileged of being ignored while I stand at the bar.

I always seem to have particular trouble with attractive female bar tenders. They flirt like crazy and their utter inefficiency with distributing their product to the consumer in an effort to make a few more bucks by milking tips out of dirty old men drives me nuts. They're also the same ones who get overly pushy for NOT tipping their precious amusement machine.
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Re: Tipping people

Postby Gunfingers » Mon Nov 10, 2008 8:08 pm UTC

Tipping is instant feedback, it's awesome. If my waiter was a toolbox, he'll know it when he gets a 10% tip. I don't have to fill out a comment card and wonder if he'll ever get it.

I'm just a fan of performance-based pay in general. Commissioning can be annoying, because it encourages behavior that benefits shareholders, but tipping encourages behavior that benefits me!

Also, has anyone made the obvious "Like a Virgin" reference yet?

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Re: Tipping people

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Nov 10, 2008 8:11 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Given the way tax code works, I suppose it's entirely possible for that extra $5 you slipped the waiter to end up punishing them as more money is taken out than what would have been otherwise.

That's not actually the way tax code works, though. It's not possible to earn a bit more and then consequently take home less than you would have otherwise, because the percentage taken in a higher tax bracket only applies to the amount you've earned over the threshold separating that from the lower bracket.
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Re: Tipping people

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Nov 10, 2008 8:20 pm UTC

Xeio wrote:But, their tips are also part of their income, thus liable to income tax. And if your $5 tip bumps them up a tax bracket, then they've been getting pretty awesome tips from everyone else too, so I doubt it would hurt them as much you would seem to imply.
grythyttan wrote:But isn't the higher tax ony on the money that exceeds the limit for the lower tax? I mean, it surely can't be on all money that you make? *is clueless about the US tax system*
Sure they are. But there's a perception that you are tipping the waiter not because you HAVE to do it or they're essentially not getting paid for Doing Their Job at your table, but that you tip as a reward to them for doing a good job. In my mind, if I'm giving someone a reward, it's a gift from me to them. I don't expect someone I give a $20 for their birthday to go home and report it on their income taxes to Uncle Sam and the State they're in and dutifully take out a portion of the money to give the Feds & State their cut. So.. I suppose I'm really meaning that I'm looking for more transparency in how it all works, between the patron and the restaurant - what their average hourly rate is for their wait staff or anyone else who gets a cut of the tips and what the average in-house tipping rate is between the wait staff and the cooks, bartender, bussing staff, hosts, and so on. If I know, essentially, that I'm expected to tip 20% and that 16% of that is split evenly between the rest of the staff, with 4% remaining in the waiter's hands, I'm fine with that being taxed. Because, with it all spelled out like that, it's not a tip. It's a commission. Without me knowing where it all goes or even if the waiter is actually being paid minimum wage or not, I'd prefer that it not be taxed.

..that's pretty much why I tip in cash whenever I can, so the waiter can "lose" the tip in their pocket and not report it if they see fit.

Now, whether or not $5 is going to be enough to bump them to a new bracket, I don't know. ... Given my pay experiences, I'm assuming as much, but I may be mistaken as I'm no accountant.

mosc wrote:I know a lot of you are too young to have bar experiences but what pisses me off is the tipping for every FUCKING drink. I hate it. I hate if I don't want to tip because it took 15 fucking minutes to get the bartender's attention, I still have to because I have 10 drunk guys starring at me waiting for me to uphold the etiquette.

Go to smaller bars. I've never had that problem at small establishments, and I've always had that problem at popular, noisy, crowded nightclubs.

gmalivuk wrote:That's not actually the way tax code works, though. It's not possible to earn a bit more and then consequently take home less than you would have otherwise, because the percentage taken in a higher tax bracket only applies to the amount you've earned over the threshold separating that from the lower bracket.
I see I am mistaken. Does that apply to state as well, or is that only Federal?
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Re: Tipping people

Postby Quixotess » Mon Nov 10, 2008 8:27 pm UTC

Gunfingers wrote:Tipping is instant feedback, it's awesome. If my waiter was a toolbox, he'll know it when he gets a 10% tip. I don't have to fill out a comment card and wonder if he'll ever get it. I'm just a fan of performance-based pay in general. Commissioning can be annoying, because it encourages behavior that benefits shareholders, but tipping encourages behavior that benefits me!

Seems to me that tipping well will encourage behavior that benefits you. Tipping poorly seems an awful lot like it will do the opposite and perhaps create a negative feedback loop. I don't see any possible good outcome to punishment in this case, as the wait staff has no way of knowing whether you stiffed them because you thought the service was crappy or because you are, in fact, a jackass. (Note the two are not mutually exclusive.) And if you're costing them money, why would they exert themselves for you?
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Re: Tipping people

Postby Ixtellor » Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:21 pm UTC

I disagree with the OP.

Tipping has a variety of benefits.

1) It does result in better service if you are a repeat customer.
When I was in college and going to bars all the time, me and my friends were exorbanant tippers. Eventually, we would end up getting ridiculous small bills if not outright free drinks all night.

2) It makes you a better person and increases your Karma by something like 400 points.
3) It gives you endorphins. When you see the reaction of a waiter who just got a 50% tip, your body will be flooded with a high feeling.
4) It demonstrates your ability to empathize thus is a direct reflection on your intelligence. Bigger tippers are smarter than stingy tippers.


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Re: Tipping people

Postby Andrew » Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:28 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:It really boils down to - In the US, if you don't want to tip, don't eat out. Tips are what allow a restaurant to pay $3 to a waiter, which in turn allows them to (using an example from the linked article) sell you a porkchop for less than $20 dollars.

So what you're saying is that what allows a restaurant to sell me a porkchop for $20 is the understanding that I will choose instead to pay $23 for it? Does that not strike you as a really, really dumb system?

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Re: Tipping people

Postby phlip » Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:44 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:2) It makes you a better person and increases your Karma by something like 400 points.
3) It gives you endorphins. When you see the reaction of a waiter who just got a 50% tip, your body will be flooded with a high feeling.

If overtipping is your bag, then there's nothing stopping you from tipping regardless even if there's a service charge on the bill. You'd still get your precious karma and endorphins...

Ixtellor wrote:1) It does result in better service if you are a repeat customer.
4) It demonstrates your ability to empathize thus is a direct reflection on your intelligence. Bigger tippers are smarter than stingy tippers.

[citation needed] on both counts.

The only citations I've seen in this thread are the two newspaper articles linked to by the OP. And yet everyone's rushing in to counter them with matter-of-fact claims like these, backed up solely by anecdotes.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby phonon266737 » Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:10 pm UTC

It's becoming common for the restaunt to tack on 18% to the bill. Some places do this, some places don't. If you feel that places that don't add the tip to the bill are cheating their employees out of a fair wage, only eat places where the tip is included. If you eat elsewhere, tip?

Some people enjoy the wages from waitstaff / etc because they take home money every night. Not so if it were included in your wage.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby lazarus89 » Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:22 pm UTC

While I'll gladly pay an optional tip, I hate places that tack on an a tip automatically.
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Re: Tipping people

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:24 pm UTC

Andrew wrote:
SecondTalon wrote:It really boils down to - In the US, if you don't want to tip, don't eat out. Tips are what allow a restaurant to pay $3 to a waiter, which in turn allows them to (using an example from the linked article) sell you a porkchop for less than $20 dollars.

So what you're saying is that what allows a restaurant to sell me a porkchop for $20 is the understanding that I will choose instead to pay $23 for it? Does that not strike you as a really, really dumb system?

I'm meaning that rather than charging $20 for a pork chop, they can instead charge $15 for a pork chop, as they aren't paying the waiter $8 an hour, but $3 instead. So you can, in the uneducated theory I'm working with here (see below), not tip and pay $20, or tip and pay $18.

Now, how much of that is actually reflected in Real Market Forces, I'm not sure. I'm not quite sure on the average rates of pay to all staff on a normal night versus the average cost of a meal. Obviously there are expensive steakhouses that charge $80 or more for a plate of food. Granted it's prepared well and you're paying for the skill of the cooks preparing it as well as the cut of the meat, but I doubt the meat is what makes up the bulk of the cost. So it's the skill of the workers and how much they're being paid plus electricity and such - that is, the costs of being open for a night versus the money taken in for the various plates of food. Ten waiters at 8 bucks an hour is $400 for an 8 hour shift. It's only $240 for the same 10 waiters for the same 8 hours if you only pay them $3 an hour. How much that extra $160 helps to keep the price of the food down, I don't know.

So, it boils down to I've been lead to believe that paying wait staff below minimum wage and allowing them to have the bulk of their income come from tips is what helps keep the price of food down, and that if they had to pay their staff minimum wage or higher, they would no longer be able to sell said food for as low of prices as they do and remain profitable. How much of that is bullshit, I do not currently know.
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Re: Tipping people

Postby Griffin » Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:30 pm UTC

Maybe some people can't understand this, but, well..

I'd rather pay for the service I get than the service I'm promised, because its rare to come across a company of any sort who gives the service they promise, and the services value to me varies.

It's weird living here in New Zealand because of the whole anti-tipping thing. Sometimes I'll get really really good service, more than what I think the price I paid was worth, but I know I'll end up getting derision from the people I'm out with if I leave money to make up the difference.

I'm opposed to tips being mandatory - that's stupid, and against the whole point. Places that REQUIRE tips, or where tips are expected from every customer, can shove it. But I also can't understand the mentality that tips just plain shouldn't be given. Economic exchange is about finding what something is worth to both parties involved, and exchanging at a level where both parties benefit.

I had a long rant written, but I'll summarize. I don't think tipping should be required, anywhere, but I DO support donation based economics as I'd rather pay for the service I get than the service I might get, and it more easily lets me show my appreciation when the results are beyond what I might expect.
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Re: Tipping people

Postby SJ Zero » Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:40 pm UTC

I think the real problem is that it will BECOME mandatory. If waiters have this extra revenue stream, then governments and businesses are going to realise that, and like they have in most countries, they'll exploit that revenue stream for the purpose of lowering wages.

I don't mind tipping well either, but I DO mind the idea that you MUST tip because otherwise the poor sod isn't going to get a living wage.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby Andrew » Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:29 pm UTC

lazarus89 wrote:While I'll gladly pay an optional tip, I hate places that tack on an a tip automatically.

No such places exist. You're thinking of a service charge. Someone has carried food to your table and you're being charged for it. That's a perfectly reasonable model which you only object to because you're used to this daft system of tipping. In no other industry that I can think of does anyone perform a service that you ask for and then let you choose what to pay for it afterwards. The problem here is that the menu has arbitrarily reduced all its prices by one sixth and expects you to do extra maths for no reason. That's as dumb as an 'optional' tip being all-but-mandatory.

A better solution would be a prominent box on the menu that says 'tipping is not expected. the price on the menu is total the price of your evening'. Anything else is verging on dishonest. I find it hard to shake the notion that if someone pays their staff $3/hr then they're a dick and it's not my job to make up the difference. I tip, because I can't change the system, but it's still dumb. Tipping in principle is fine, I can take it or leave it, but it should be a reward for service above the basic level I expect and it should be on top of a good living wage.

SecondTalon wrote:I'm meaning that rather than charging $20 for a pork chop, they can instead charge $15 for a pork chop, as they aren't paying the waiter $8 an hour, but $3 instead. So you can, in the uneducated theory I'm working with here (see below), not tip and pay $20, or tip and pay $18.

I'm not sure I followed all of that, but it seems to me that if I pay $15 and leave a £3 tip then the restaurant gets $18, some of which pays the waiters. If I leave $20 and no tip then the restaurant gets $20, some of which pays the waiters. Where's the missing pound?

Edit: I suppose it's easier on the restaurant if they have a bad night this way. That, to me, is an argument for a flat wage. Why punish the wait-staff for a slow night? Maybe the food is bad or you forgot to advertise.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby lazarus89 » Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:35 pm UTC

I'm okay with the system in many European countries where service is conventionally included, but separately listed.

In the US, where gratuities are notionally optional, I find mandatory "tips" as line items on my bill to be tacky and annoying. I make it a point to never go back to these places again.
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Re: Tipping people

Postby Azrael » Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:37 pm UTC

Andrew wrote:
lazarus89 wrote:While I'll gladly pay an optional tip, I hate places that tack on an a tip automatically.

No such places exist. You're thinking of a service charge.


He is referring to an frequent American restaurant policy where the gratuity (and it's even called that) is automatically added to the bill, typically for larger parties. In short: Yes, such places exist.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby cspirou » Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:49 pm UTC

++$_ wrote:I don't really understand why restaurant patrons would complain about tips. In every other situation in the world, if you get crappy customer service, you have to pay for it anyway; it's just included in the invoice. In a restaurant, if you didn't like the service, you can choose not to pay for it.

On the other hand, if I were a waiter, I think I would rather have a service charge attached to the bill, which would protect me from jerks who don't tip even when the service is fine.



I don't see the difference between that and buying a new toy. You don't get to open the box until you've already bought it and you find out it's crap. You can't weasel out of paying for the item.

SJ Zero wrote:I think the real problem is that it will BECOME mandatory. If waiters have this extra revenue stream, then governments and businesses are going to realise that, and like they have in most countries, they'll exploit that revenue stream for the purpose of lowering wages.

I don't mind tipping well either, but I DO mind the idea that you MUST tip because otherwise the poor sod isn't going to get a living wage.


But you are required to tip. That's the thing I'm trying to convey. It's only done through emotional manipulation as opposed to being up front. You can claim you don't really have to do it but in reality it isn't true. It's like saying the pledge of allegiance. You don't have to say it but when everyone stands and gives you a dirty look for being unpatriotic you effectively are forced to say the pledge.

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Re: Tipping people

Postby SJ Zero » Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:54 pm UTC

But you are required to tip. That's the thing I'm trying to convey. It's only done through emotional manipulation as opposed to being up front. You can claim you don't really have to do it but in reality it isn't true. It's like saying the pledge of allegiance. You don't have to say it but when everyone stands and gives you a dirty look for being unpatriotic you effectively are forced to say the pledge.


Not in New Zealand. I should have made it more clear that I was replying to Griffin.

There are quite a few countries where tipping isn't encouraged as heavily.

My last girlfriend flipped out on me because I left a 20% tip. She's like "Just leave a toonie!!! IF THAT!!!"

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Re: Tipping people

Postby cspirou » Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:07 am UTC

Dazmilar wrote:
The salesman mentality is one that does not lead to better service. Consider that there are electronics and office stores that like to specifically mention that they do not pay their electronics associates on commission, because there's a perception that salesmen who work on commission don't see customers, they see sales. The secret to these stores is that they track sales numbers so closely that they might as well be creating a commission mentality in their associates.

If I'm ordering a gin and tonic at my local bar, I don't want the bartender worrying about "upselling" me to a nicer brand of gin. I don't want waitstaff being told by management, "Great job on table 5, but you missed an opportunity to cross-sell them on the chili fries!"

The current model allows me to control the level to which I tip service, has a direct correlation to the kind of service I get, and contributes to the wage of those serving me. What exactly is in it for me, the customer, if it's changed?


I think this is a philosophical difference. I still don't see an issue with what you are describing. When I go to an electronics store I know what I want. I tell them what I want and they give it to me. They can try to sell me something better and I'll listen to his pitch and I might even buy it if he's convincing. But 95% of the time I already know what I'm getting. So "upselling" isn't as much of an issue for me as it is for you. Restaurants make more money on more expensive drinks anyway so I don't see why management would encourage this in one situation and not the other.


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