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'tipping' in restaurants and other places

Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

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Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

I'm leaving for a city visit soon and will be eating out for most meals, and using taxis to get here and there. What is tipping etiquette nowadays? How does one discern whether 'tipping' is encouraged or not?


Star Spangled C...
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Joined: Sep 15 2008

Is this other city in North America? In some countries, it's quite different. Iknow when I went to Japan, tipping just wasn't done. In North America, it's pretty standard everywhere - definitely for restaurants, taxis and hotels.


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

I'm going to Sept-Iles. Two questions for anyone who cares:  1) I only get out once or twice a year. What's the more-or-less standard rate of tipping - 10%? 20%?  2) Why do we tip? Why aren't people paid a proper salary instead?


Star Spangled C...
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Joined: Sep 15 2008

1) I think 15% is considered "standard" e.g. anything less is considered a bad tp. Obviously if someone does gives excellent service, give more.

2) That was the reason you don't tip in Japan. Waiters were paid more money - and this was reflected in the cost of your meal. But here, waiters, bartenders, etc. get paid less than the minimum wage on the understanding that they will be getting tipped. At least in most places. Some restaurants have an automatic "service charge" that they add to the bill.


Sineed
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Joined: Dec 4 2005

Usually I tip 15-20%; I like to err on the side of generosity.


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

I don't understand the rationale behind paying less than minimum wage and expecting that 'tips' will make up the difference. Sounds like exploitation to me. On the other hand, I recall reading that some folks do really well with tips, especially in bars. 

 

 


Star Spangled C...
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Joined: Sep 15 2008

I'm sure if you asked most people if they'd rather get paid whatever the hourly minmum wage is or get tips, they'd go with the tips. I'm sure it depends on a lot of factors but I'd imagine that if you're working in a nice restaurant that gets busy, you're probably clearing a lot more per night than you would on minimum wage.


Freedom 55
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Joined: Mar 14 2010

Sineed wrote:

Usually I tip 15-20%; I like to err on the side of generosity.

 

Same.


Sven
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Joined: Jul 22 2005

Freedom 55 wrote:

Sineed wrote:

Usually I tip 15-20%; I like to err on the side of generosity.

Same.

I agree.


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

My income is fixed as I am on disability. I'm being sent to the city for hospital appointments. My travel is paid, as is that of my hearing escort. Accomodation and other expenses such as taxis are not (there's no bus service in Sept-Iles). I hope I'll be forgiven if I tip on the low side.


jas
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Joined: Jun 6 2005

Tip what you feel you can afford, Boom Boom.

Fast food restaurants require no tips.


peterjcassidy
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Joined: Apr 27 2001

10% to 20% is the general rate in Canada for tips. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tip_%28gratuity%29

I would vary the amount depending on the service, inlcuing how the person involved in providing the service treats and helps you. E.g if the cab driver is friendly, helps you with your luggage and gets you to the right hotel in a friendly and timely manner, you may want to tip around 20% but if you get someone rude and unhelpful, 10 % or even nothing may be appropriate.  Rounding to a dollar amount may be easier for everyone than counting out the loose change. - When I was a cab driver. with a  $17.60fare for  cab ride, a $20 bill and "thank you, keep the change" ( a $2.40 tip), was appreciated more  than  they give me a $20, I count out the change and then they count out a  $1.76 tip  (10%) or even $3.52 (20%)/

 Along with a tip,, you should  try to be a good customer, make things easy and as much as possible enjoyable for the service provider. e.g. for this ex cabbie a friendly manner and  a clear destination - " Hi, can we go to the Plaza Hotel on Main St.please?" -was very much  appreciated.  Same, for regular meals at a restaurant , I would follow the 10% to 20% range, rounding up or down as appropriate, and trying to be friendly and a good customer.

 For the hotel, there is a tip expected if someone helps you with your luggage and/or escorts you to the room,($5?)  but that  service seems to be disappearing. Probably should leave some money for the chambermaid or whoever cleans your room- I would guess $5 to $20 depending on your available money and the service provided- e.g if you are there for 3 messy nights, tip more than if you are so neat and quick no-one noticed you were there. Overall ,  you should show your appreciation for good friendly service, with a smile, a thank you and a tip you feel comfortable with. Cool.

 

 


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

Thanks for the feedback. The only part that surprised me was tipping the cleaning person who makes up the motel room. Surely these folk are paid well? At any rate, I watched these folk (usually women) clean the room and replace the sheets, and it was all done with 45 minutes. I have never tipped the cleaning person before - usually they're gone quickly to another room before I even have a chance to look at my room after it's been cleaned. I've left money on the bureau beside the TV for whoever cleaned my room, and it was never taken.

I was generous in tipping when I was working and travelling a lot, but those days are gone for me.


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

Just had an idea: wouldn't these folk who rely on 'tipping' to earn their income be better off by joining something like a food and commercial workers union? Just an idea. I'm still waking up from a deep sleep.


pookie
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Joined: Dec 13 2005

Boom Boom wrote:

Thanks for the feedback. The only part that surprised me was tipping the cleaning person who makes up the motel room. Surely these folk are paid well? At any rate, I watched these folk (usually women) clean the room and replace the sheets, and it was all done with 45 minutes. I have never tipped the cleaning person before - usually they're gone quickly to another room before I even have a chance to look at my room after it's been cleaned. I've left money on the bureau beside the TV for whoever cleaned my room, and it was never taken.

I was generous in tipping when I was working and travelling a lot, but those days are gone for me.

 

They are not paid well, boom boom.  It has been standard to tip hotel cleaning staff for a long time.  AFAIK they will not take the money so long as you are in the room - they would be concerned about being accused of theft.  You leave the money in the room the morning that you check out.

 

ETA: I had terrible service in a restaurant just this past weekend, the worst in a very long time.  Like, Marx bros levels of thoughtlessness. We left around 6%.

BTW, I've been clinging to the 15% figure for over a decade (just tip the equivalent of the tax), but many people have informed me that 15% is now considered on the low side and the standard has crept up to 20%.  Gulp.)


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

At what point will we as a society decide that it's time to question the practice of 'tipping' and instead have the realistic price of prepared meals, waiters, taxis, hotel/motel cleaning staff, etc.... included in the cost of what you have received, and drop 'tipping' as an acceptable practice, and allow these workers into trade unions?  I'm curious as to how the Japanese have achieved this.


Star Spangled C...
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Joined: Sep 15 2008

Yeah, 20% seems to be standard now. I think anything less than 15% is considered really bad, 15% is like the bare minimum and above that is considered good. Personally, I think being a waiter or bartender at a busy place would be one of the most stressful things I can imagine, so think it's a good karma to leave a good tip and show taht you appreciate their help.


Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001

I agree that 15% is the bare minimum, and 20% is standard.

As pookie says, hotel workers are not paid well.  Some are unionized, but even that doesn't mean they get paid really well - it just means they're not paid the starvation wages of non-union hotels.


Maysie
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Joined: Apr 21 2005

Boom Boom, I occasionally travel for work and I used to tip the hotel cleaning staff at the end of my stay, but then realized that shifts may change over the course of my visit. I now tip a smaller amount every day that I'm there. Leaving a note that says "for housekeeping" under the cash will ensure that they will know the money is for them.

peter's advice at post #12 is excellent.

 


Caissa
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Joined: Jun 14 2006

Standard may verify by region. Restaraunts in maritimes would be about 15%. 10% would be considered on the low end.


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

You're definitely right, Boom Boom, about the culture of tipping being exploitative. I think all restaurants should include service charge in bills as an automatic fee--around 17% or so. That way, patrons are never left wondering how much they should pay if the server forgot to fill their water glass but remembered to put the pickles on the side. Furthermore, serves don't have to ingratiate themselves to their patrons at the fear of doing something that will compromise their tip. Bar staff should get a percentage of the bar sales.

Many years a go I worked at a corporate restaurant whose response to raises would be: "You can give your self a raise! Remember to upsell at every table!" "Upselling" would be to constantly ask people if they wanted cheese and bacon on their hamburger while nodding and smilling, pushing bottles of wine on people who ordered our shitty pasta, and generally making people consume as much as they could. The logic was that this would translate into a higher tip, because of a higher bill. But the fact is that at most restaurants in that range as the bill gets higher your tip gets smaller. While 5 dollars might have seemed ok on a 30$ bill, when that bill reaches $100 or $200, who's going to put $40 down as a tip at a restaurant that buys its vegetables precut and pre mixed?


Snert
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Joined: Nov 4 2008

Quote:
At what point will we as a society decide that it's time to question the practice of 'tipping' and instead have the realistic price of prepared meals, waiters, taxis, hotel/motel cleaning staff, etc.... included in the cost of what you have received, and drop 'tipping' as an acceptable practice

 

Great idea, that would probably save customers a lot of money in the long run.

 

Presumably, there's some reasonable amount I should expect to pay for a server to go to the kitchen a few times for my appetizer and entree, and maybe a detour by the bar if I order a drink, and a few courtesy calls to ask "Is everything all right?". Whatever that is, add it to my bill.

 

But here's the thing: it doesn't cost a server anything MORE to go to the kitchen for an expensive prime rib than it does to go for a burger. It doesn't cost them more energy or time to bring me a $40 bottle of wine versus a $5 domestic beer. So customers wouldn't have to prorate the tip against their total bill the way we do now. It could be a set fee for a fairly set service.

 

Dunno how servers would feel about that, though. I think they're going to be used to getting extra pay based on the cost of my meal, not on what work they had to do to bring it to me.


Star Spangled C...
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Joined: Sep 15 2008

Catchfire, I think that's why you tip as a percentage rather than a flat amount. If you'd tip 20% on a $20 meal, you should put down 20% on a $200 meal.

By the way, there's a great blog called "Waiter Rant" written by a former waiter, documenting his experiences in a restaurant in NYC - talks a lot about issues related to tipping. www.waiterrant.net


Star Spangled C...
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Joined: Sep 15 2008

Actually, I just went to that site right now and the first post is a discussion about "Who are the worst tippers?" The first response in the thread declared CANADIANS to be the worst! http://waiterrant.net/?p=1597


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

Quote:
Catchfire, I think that's why you tip as a percentage rather than a flat amount. If you'd tip 20% on a $20 meal, you should put down 20% on a $200 meal.

Yes, of course. But I'm saying that that doesn't happen, especially in groups. 20% becomes a lot harder to justify in one's mind when it is 100$ then when it is 5$. Little niggling concerns that you generally wouldn't sweat--like not refilling your coffee the second time, or bringing out appetizers slightly later than usual--blossom into big reasons justifying why you dodn't quite merit a standard tip this time.


Snert
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Joined: Nov 4 2008

Quote:
Catchfire, I think that's why you tip as a percentage rather than a flat amount. If you'd tip 20% on a $20 meal, you should put down 20% on a $200 meal.

 

What's the logic behind this?

 

I understand that if your bill is large because you're a party of 20, each getting a $20 meal, that's a lot of work for a server, and their tip should fairly reflect that.

 

But what if four people are dining, each getting a $100 dollar meal. Same total bill, but about one fifth of the running around. If we're discussing "fair pay" for servers, shouldn't the tip (or addition to wage, if it comes from the employer as proposed) be proportional to service rendered, not to overall price?


Star Spangled C...
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Joined: Sep 15 2008

Catchfire wrote:

Quote:
Catchfire, I think that's why you tip as a percentage rather than a flat amount. If you'd tip 20% on a $20 meal, you should put down 20% on a $200 meal.

Yes, of course. But I'm saying that that doesn't happen, especially in groups. 20% becomes a lot harder to justify in one's mind when it is 100$ then when it is 5$. Little niggling concerns that you generally wouldn't sweat--like not refilling your coffee the second time, or bringing out appetizers slightly later than usual--blossom into big reasons justifying why you dodn't quite merit a standard tip this time.

Yeah, that's true. I notice more and more that for large groups (like 8 people or more) restaurants frequently add an automatic gratuity since, apparently, large groups are more likely to give a bad tip with everyone pitching in and trying to keep track of who owes what.


genstrike
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Joined: May 1 2008

During the Spanish Civil War, in Barcelona where the anarchist movement was strong and the workers were able to take control of their workplaces, they abolished tipping.


Star Spangled C...
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Joined: Sep 15 2008

Snert wrote:

 

But what if four people are dining, each getting a $100 dollar meal. Same total bill, but about one fifth of the running around. If we're discussing "fair pay" for servers, shouldn't the tip (or addition to wage, if it comes from the employer as proposed) be proportional to service rendered, not to overall price?

Well, restaurants have finite space. So I'm assuming that if you have a table of 12 people, you'll have fewer other tables. So you might wait on one table of 12 versus waiting on 6 tables for 2 and it would probably even out in the end.

I would also imagine that in places where the food is cheaper, the turnover on tables is much more frequently. So the average table at cheaper palce may stay in the restaurant for an hour whereas the restaurant with a 5 course tasting menu that is higher priced may have their customers staying for 3 hours.


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

There's definitely a funny logic to tipping. My partner used to serve at a buffet restauarant. She had to run around basically non-stop--way more plates to change and extras to bring to the table than at a similarly priced regular restaurant, yet because it was "buffet" most people felt they didn't need to tip. More work, less tip. Hmm.

Part of the logic, I think, is that serving is a vocation--so you are just good at it. If you serve four people with the same bill as a table of ten, the idea is that those people are getting better service. Better restaurants (with higher bills) usually take serving more seriously--I'm not sure if the example you cited is at the same establishment--it could be, I guess.

Obviously, the way around that would be to demand a liveable, fair hourly wage for the service industry. Ha! Obligatory service charges would be a nice, foreseeable middle step--for the Olymipcs here in Van, for example, all downtown restaurants and bars adopted this policy. I'd like to see them keep it!


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