'tipping' in restaurants and other places

190 posts / 0 new
Last post
Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I hate to interrupt the flow of a good conversation, but I have to ask: are there any major restaurant chains that pay excellent wages to their staff and discourage tipping?  (I don't get out much - I just don't know)

Michelle

In Iceland, there is no tipping.  You pay a higher price for your meal, and the servers get paid a regular wage (not sure how good the wages are, but they're better than here).

Michelle

But that's not really the point here.  Yes, the system isn't great.  But it's the system that's in place right now, and it's how servers pay the rent, so if you don't want to pay a proper tip then stay the fuck home.

Love this comment, and it doesn't surprise me a bit:

Quote:

I waited tables in Lynchburg, Virginia, home of Jerry Falwell (when he was alive), Liberty University and tons of Southern Baptist churches. The waitstaff used to constantly get Bible tracts instead of tips. It was like, "wow, good thing my landlord is accepting annoying bits of scripture this month in lieu of actual money."

This is always - ALWAYS - cheapness masquerading as piety. And the thing is, the people who pull this stunt, on some level, KNOW that this is the case. If there wasn't some degree of self-awareness attached to pulling that kind of asshole move, then people like Pastor Bell wouldn't get upset when someone other than the waitress they intended to shaft knows about their "tipping" habits.

Unionist

I'm sure this worker is very nice, but I have trouble being inspired by someone who targets a nasty customer instead of targeting the nasty employer.

And, I'm ashamed to say, I never heard of Applebee's until this very day. I pledge to do my best to keep these bastards out of Québec, where it appears they have not yet spread their tentacles.

Michelle wrote:
But that's not really the point here.  Yes, the system isn't great.  But it's the system that's in place right now, and it's how servers pay the rent, so if you don't want to pay a proper tip then stay the fuck home.

Um, no. If you want to help people, there are food banks, homeless shelters, etc. The way to help workers is to help them organize. There are no shortcuts.

 

 

Michelle

So I assume you never go to restaurants then, right Unionist?

lagatta

I even checked - no Applebees in Mtl. I'd never heard of them either. On their site, generic junky "casual dining" in the corporate sense. Hell, we certainly do casual dining, but it is at small, non-chain restos.

Restaurants should be obliged to state the full amount of meals, including taxes and "expected" tips.

Michelle, in most continental European countries, tipping isn't banned, but it is a small gratuity - in theory, waiters and waitresses make a living wage.

Unionist

Michelle wrote:
So I assume you never go to restaurants then, right Unionist?

I do, and I always, invariably, tip between 15 and 20%, depending on the circumstances.

But to suggest that workers are entitled to expect a handout from customers, to compensate for starvation wages, is to infantilize them and to create a relationship between server and customer which is oh-so-nice for the exploitative employer and no one else.

ETA: I don't know about Ontario, but you do realize, don't you, that in Québec, the minimum wage is lower for workers in industries where tips are the norm? These obscenities must be combated and defeated.

 

Michelle

I completely agree with you.  I never said that I'm for the system we have.  I prefer a system of no tipping and living wages.  But unfortunately, right now, we live in a society where that isn't the case.  So in the here and now, if you don't want to tip, stay the fuck home.

And it's ridiculous to compare donating to food banks to paying people for the service they're giving you.  The first case is charity.  The second case is paying someone for their work.  Yes, the employer should pay them directly.  If they did, you'd pay more for your food and the server would get the money from the employer.  In this imperfect world here and now (which I agree, we should fight to make better), we pay them directly for their work. 

So my point still stands: pay up or stay the fuck home.  And if you don't want to do either, then you deserve the internet hordes knocking down your virtual doors.

Unionist

Yeah Michelle, I agree. I don't actually know any non-tippers, whether from "principle" or from cheapness. But a worker getting fired because she mocked the customer? That's pretty standard fare, I'm afraid. The customer was a shit, no doubt. But this isn't where the battle lines are drawn. It's a diversion. You know how it is. You want a job in capitalist society, you obey orders, you be polite to the clientele, etc. When you need to stand on principle, you do so, and you organize to have the best defence and power that you can. This was just a real bad example of that. It's a non-issue.

ETA:

Quote:
“I had been well-liked and respected,” she explains. “My sales were high, my managers had no problems with me, and I was even hoping to move up to management sometime this year."

Them's the breaks.

 

jas

Tipping to me seems to be a guilt-based remuneration system, which I've never felt comfortable with, and even feel resentment for, especially when service is standard or mediocre or even unnecessary as I'm perfectly happy to go pick up my  own plate at the counter.

An argument could be made to abolish tipping, which would be short term pain for long term gain. If people en masse stopped tipping, underpaid restaurant workers would be forced to seek better paying employment, and underpaying restaurants would have a constant headache of high turnover, which, over time, would force them to improve working conditions and wages. This would be passed on to the consumer anyway, but would make everything more clear and upfront, and eliminate the guilt trip. Better for restaurants and workers in the end. 

Mr.Tea

Michelle wrote:

Boo hoo hoo.  Pastor Dumbass is "brokenhearted", because her reputation is "ruined".  She's the real victim here!  She got a minimum wage server fired for simply showing people what she herself wrote on the receipt, but she's the victim!

I remember in a somewhat parallel situation, a while back a waitress was fired for taking a pic of and tweeting the bill of football star Peyton Manning, who left a very large tip on his meal. Obviously, Manning comes off looking like a good guy whereas this guy looks like an asshole but I guess the principle is still the same you should respect the privacy of your customers.

Unionist

It's not a "guy", Mr.Tea. It's an African-American woman. When you go back and look at the video in Catchfire's post, it raises all kinds of other undertones. I find myself sympathizing with the religious nut, not the self-righteous wannabe manager. But that's just me.

 

jas

Michelle wrote:
or stay the fuck home. 

I do, more and more. Or eat take-out or counter-service food.

Bacchus

jas wrote:

Well, she wasn't insulted "on religious grounds" but she was certainly insulted.

What's more disgusting is that Applebee's builds in a suggested 18% tip on their bill, which is basically admitting, "we don't pay our servers enough so we would like you, dear customer, to make up the difference." That should be illegal. Maybe I don't get out enough, but I would also be offended if a restaurant factored in a tip for themselves like that.

If they want more money for their food and service, they can change their menu prices so that all costs to the consumer are up front.

 

 

Then you don't go to any restaurants aside from fast food. All restaurants have a 'service charge' for groups of x amount or more (usually 5 or 6)

Bacchus

Unionist wrote:

Michelle wrote:
So I assume you never go to restaurants then, right Unionist?

I do, and I always, invariably, tip between 15 and 20%, depending on the circumstances.

But to suggest that workers are entitled to expect a handout from customers, to compensate for starvation wages, is to infantilize them and to create a relationship between server and customer which is oh-so-nice for the exploitative employer and no one else.

ETA: I don't know about Ontario, but you do realize, don't you, that in Québec, the minimum wage is lower for workers in industries where tips are the norm? These obscenities must be combated and defeated.

 

 

Its the same in Ontario tho the difference between regular minimum wage is not horrible compared to the states where it can be as little as $1/hour for tipped jobs

Michelle

I don't know - I thought about that too, Unionist, when I saw the picture of the Pastor.  (Although to be fair, the internet got really riled up when they still thought the pastor was a "he", not an African-American woman.)  I know that it wasn't until I read about three articles with no pictures (and got furious, assuming the "Pastor" was a Jerry Falwell type) that I read one where her picture was posted, and then I thought about whether the reaction was racist or not.

But for all I know, maybe the server is African-American too.  I have no idea.  What I do know is that many of the articles about this over the past 24 hours have completely gotten the genders of the actors in this drama wrong (they assumed both the server AND the pastor were male), and no one knew the identity of the pastor until this thing had broken all over the media.  And that's partially because the server who posted the receipt referred to the pastor as "sir" in her post, so that it would throw people off the pastor's real identity.

So, I don't sympathize with the Jesus freak.  Sorry.

Unionist

I don't really sympathize with her that much either, Michelle. But just to go back to the actual incident, this isn't about the server. It's about the server's colleague who posted the receipt. The customer had nothing against the actual server - she just didn't like the automatic 18% gratuity. And the server in the video who was fired is definitely not African-American, unless my senses have become more dulled than I thought.

Anyway, all that's besides the point. The U.S. is a brutal society from every angle I can think of. The basic issue here I think is that there should be no question of conflict between worker and customer. It's the system that's broken, and it's employers that are allowed to exploit to the hilt. Tipping, or not, becomes an issue of divide and rule, as it did here.

 

jas

Bacchus wrote:
All restaurants have a 'service charge' for groups of x amount or more (usually 5 or 6)

I haven't seen this. If I'm in a group I'm either not paying or we're all paying our own bill.

Mr.Tea

Ok, I didn't actually click on the article link till now so was assming that the pastor was a man.

I don't think it really changes anything. She was still completely wrong to stiff the server. I also think the server was wrong to publicize her actions but don't think she should be fired.

But I know there are definitely stereotypes about black people and tipping. There have been some high profile cases where restaurants have automatically added gratuities to the bills of black diners, based on stereoptypical assumptions that they wouldn't otherwise tip properly.

Mr.Tea

jas wrote:

Bacchus wrote:
All restaurants have a 'service charge' for groups of x amount or more (usually 5 or 6)

I haven't seen this. If I'm in a group I'm either not paying or we're all paying our own bill.

It's fairly standard for restaurants to add an automatic gratuity for larger groups since when you've got a big crowd that a server is more likely to get screwed on the tip since people are coming and going at different times, everyone's trying to keep track of who ordered what, etc.

It's a fine principle but I don't know why they wouldn't just make it standard for every table to have an automatic service charge added to the bill, like 18% of the total or whatever.

Unionist

It occurs to me some may not have seen the video I was referring to. It's at the bottom of this page:

http://consumerist.com/2013/01/31/waitress-who-posted-no-tip-receipt-fro...

Bacchus

Speaking as a former server, married to one and friend to many, we dont mind separate bills because when its one, people ALWAYS cheap out on the tip or even the meal leaving even a generous tip from one just make enough to pay the bill wiith no tip. People rarely do it as easier when its just their own bill and everyone can see your a cheapass who prefers to moralize on something when it just makes the poor worker hurt and is really just your own base cheapness at play

 

So you are right Jas, just no quite in the way you thought. We are also kewl with one person paying the whole shot, because they too are usually good for the tip. Its when everyone is kicking in to pay one bill that its crappy

 

This in fact happened at my wifes birthday party/dinner out when people actually ducked out of even paying for their own bill on us

jas

Mr.Tea wrote:

It's fairly standard for restaurants to add an automatic gratuity for larger groups since when you've got a big crowd that a server is more likely to get screwed on the tip since people are coming and going at different times, everyone's trying to keep track of who ordered what, etc. 

I can certainly see that, but I think when a group is "going Dutch" (is that an ethnic slur? hope not) it's possible the server makes a bit more in tips because everyone is inclined to be a little more generous with their own tips, perhaps moreso than one person taking care of it. Don't know, but I've noticed servers don't mind if it's separate bills.

And I've never seen a service charge on any separate bills or on a bill split by a group. But (now that I understand that it's meant to replace the tip) that makes sense. And better sense than tipping, under those ciircumstances.

jas

Bacchus wrote:

We are also kewl with one person paying the whole shot, because they too are usually good for the tip. Its when everyone is kicking in to pay one bill that its crappy

Right. That makes sense.

Not sure what your first paragraph is saying. Not sure I need to know. :)

Unionist

Mr.Tea wrote:

I don't think it really changes anything. She was still completely wrong to stiff the server. I also think the server was wrong to publicize her actions but don't think she should be fired.

 

Actually, she didn't stiff the server. She says that she left a $6 tip on a $34 bill - but she got "stiffed" with the additional automatic 18% anyway. Read the "update" portion of the page I linked to.

This is essentially a non-story, in the sense that it's too specific. It's a one-off incident. I have little sympathy for the server's colleague. And I'm not sure how the media got hold of this story. Workers who don't organize, especially in a brutal heartless country where minimum labour standards are a joke - have nothing. They should expect nothing. And they should not blame their customers for the crimes of their exploiters. IMHO.

 

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Mr.Tea wrote:

But I know there are definitely stereotypes about black people and tipping. There have been some high profile cases where restaurants have automatically added gratuities to the bills of black diners, based on stereoptypical assumptions that they wouldn't otherwise tip properly.

 

wtf?

ryanw

or that black[insert any preconcieved ethnocentric observation] diners tip exceptionally well because they are waiting for that one time they actually recieve quality service rather than the self fulfilling prophecy that they dont tip

MegB

RevolutionPlease wrote:

Mr.Tea wrote:

But I know there are definitely stereotypes about black people and tipping. There have been some high profile cases where restaurants have automatically added gratuities to the bills of black diners, based on stereoptypical assumptions that they wouldn't otherwise tip properly.

 

wtf?

Colour me WTF too. 

Anyway, I'm not going to punish the underpaid worker because their employer won't pay a living wage. There are better ways to register one's outrage.

Unionist

The phenomenon Mr.Tea noted - that of stereotyping African-American customers - has been widely reported in recent months. No reason to go after the messenger here.

[url=http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/24/waiter-racism-40-percent-waiter... Racism Survey Shows 40 Percent Of Waiters Discriminate Against Black Customers[/url]

And there was this notorious incident last year:

[url=http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/04/bad-restaurant-tip-family-locke... Restaurant Tip Gets Family Locked Inside Houston Eatery[/url]

Quote:

According to NCB affiliate KPRC Local 2, Marks and her family were locked inside La Fisherman restaurant after they refused to pay the 17 percent tip that was automatically added to their bill.

The reason, Marks told the news station, was because the service was slow, she and her party did not get everything they paid for and the staff was rude. The restaurant claims, however, that the mandatory gratuity is customary for parties of five or more, like Marks'. It's a rule that they've even printed on the bottom of every menu, KPRC reports.

"We asked her, could the gratuity be removed? Could we give our own tip?" Marks said. The response she got was to speak with a restaurant manager, but when that didn't work, a staffer called the police to intervene.

The family was African-American, of course. Thank God the police were on hand to maintain law and order and defend the impoverished waiters' right to a tip!

My two observations:

1. I'm not prepared to proclaim heroes and villains yet based on what I read and saw about the incident Catchfire reported above. Turns out the African-American customer left a respectable tip and got hit with an additional 18% automatic gratuity on top of it - then she gets humiliated for scrawling her thoughts on the receipt? No.

2. We are talking about a society of unparalleled racism, brutality, and violence toward everyone who isn't part of the proverbial 1%. A society which treats workers like slaves and people of colour as non-human. A society which continues to function only by the Roman strategem of divide and rule.

The villains here are not servers or customers. Not by a long shot.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I've been living in an isolated community for almost 20 years now, and rarely visit the big city, so I'm out of the loop. Is there a national or even provincial movement to unionize restaurant workers?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I was outraged at the rudeness of the note until I understood that the author had already left a 17.65% tip and then an additional 18% had been added.  This worker posted a nasty comment because the tip was $6.00 not $6.12.

WTF is with this non story.

Unionist

A distinction should also be made between tipping autonomous workers who perform a personal service (e.g. taxi driver, someone you hire to shovel snow off the roof in this part of the country, etc.) vs. tipping someone who is an employee (restaurant server, attendant on passenger train, hotel workers, etc.).

In the first case, a tip adds to the worker's income and can vary to show appreciation etc.

In the second case, the very existence of tipping subtracts from the worker's wage - even the legislated minimum wage. By tipping, you merely bring the wage back to the level it should have been at in the first place. This means working people subsidizing the inadequate wages of other working people. Nice scam.

That doesn't mean we should individually "boycott" the type 2 tipping system. It does, however, mean we must see it for the scam that it is, and fight for better wages for workers, especially the lowest-paid. The only way I know to do that is through getting organized, both economically (in unions) and politically. Unfortunately, there are no political parties around right now that have the nerve to raise the minimum wage to a level where charity will no longer be required. It's up to us to change that too.

FUN FACT: Québec's minimum wage is going to $10.15 on May 1, and $8.75 for workers who get tips. My handy calculator says $10.15 is 16% more than $8.75. That's how much our wonderful society expects you to donate (indirectly) to the coffers of the owners in these industries.

 

 

6079_Smith_W

Add to that what the employer would have to pay in CPP and EI contributions and it is even more. I suppose you have a choice whether or not to pay the EI. Not so with the CPP. For those of us who are over the threshold and have to pay both the employer and employee portions it adds up to around 12 percent of all those non-wage earnings.

Me, I just try to avoid going to restaurants altogether I hate the institution of tipping so much. When I do go it is 10% and a bit.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Workers at fast food joints don't rely on tips. Are they paid better than workers at restaurants where tipping is expected?

Unionist

Boom Boom wrote:

Workers at fast food joints don't rely on tips. Are they paid better than workers at restaurants where tipping is expected?

Yes. If they're earning minimum wage (most do), they get the "non-tip" higher level rate - at least they do in Québec, and I would assume it's the same in any jurisdiction that has two tiers.

As a general rule, you would expect the "marketplace" to pay a lower hourly rate where workers also earn tips or commission.

 

 

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Thanks. Much appreciated.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

In Sept-Iles, our nearest big city, there's a MacDonald's across the road from a Mike's full service restaurant, and I've always wondered who was getting paid better. I really don't have any idea. MacDonald's is always full even in the late evenings, while Mike's is full only at regular mealtimes, and closes earlier.

ETA: McD's is open 24 hours while Mike's is only open 6am - 10 pm.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:
I was outraged at the rudeness of the note until I understood that the author had already left a 17.65% tip and then an additional 18% had been added.  This worker posted a nasty comment because the tip was $6.00 not $6.12.

No. The pastor scratched out the 18% tip (after attempting to duck the mandatory gratuity to a party greater than 8 by asking for separate checks) and claimed that she left a cash tip. The point, of course, is not the tip but the insulting note she left a worker not paid a living wage. And then of course, not only complaining that her public note was made more public than she intended, but asking that everyone who came in contact with the receipt be fired (from their shitty, non-living-wage-paying job).

So the real story behind this story is, as Unionist says, the shitty non-Unionized working conditions experienced by restaurant workers everywhere.

lagatta

There have been movements to unionize restaurant workers, but it is very difficult to organize a union representing workers in many small or medium-sized restaurants, in part due to inadequate (aka pro-boss) labour laws. There has been more success organizing hotel workers. The late Magnus Isaacson made a documentary about the struggle of McDonalds workers in Québec to organize. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxime,_McDuff_%26_McDo

There are a lot of outright thugs in restaurant management. Their spokesperson here in Mtl is a certain Peter Sergakis, a bar and strip-club owner who actually smashed the (very expensive carved wooden) doors of the Mtl City Council, some years back. Imagine if some group defending workers or poor people did that!

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2012/08/06/peter-sergakis-h...

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

In BC UNITE Here Local 40 [the revitalized Hotel Workers Union] is trying to become a real grassroots union in the hospitality trade. I also posted a link to their national website.

CAW tried to organize in the fast food service area a decade ago but given the transitory nature of the workforce the initial successes were overturned when management hired new employees who they knew would be complaint with a decertification drive.

Quote:

Local 40 members are organizing to protect and improve their jobs in food service. In airport terminals and flight kitchens, at Rogers Arena (formerly GM Place) and on college and university campuses, food service workers are on the move to organize the un-organized and win better contracts and secure jobs.

Over the last year, Local 40 members at GM Place arena and HMS Host at the Vancouver Airport demonstrated great courage in their struggles to win better contracts. Cara Flight Kitchen workers won a great new contract in 2010 covering hundreds of workers at the Vancouver Airport. Compass workers throughout the province are also in bargaining in 2010.

http://www.uniteherelocal40.org/campaign.php?campid=3

http://www.uniteherecanada.org/

Mr.Tea

I'd be curious if people who work as servers, bartenders, etc. would prefer to continue the system of tipping vs. being paid a higher hourly wage and getting rid of tipping. I imagine that in some restaurants (Applebee's maybe being an example), a higher wage would result in higher take-home pay. But, because tipping is usually reflected as a percentage of the bill, in more expensive restaurants, servers are probably making a lot more than the minimum wage based on tips. I also recall a friend in college who would bartend on weekends and could often clear $500 a night in tips.

It seems the most logical way to do it would simply be for restaurants to add an 18% service charge to their bills in order to standardize it. 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Well, the food service industry is already deeply flawed and unjust (as described here), so major reforms are required to make it fair for workers. But for the time being, I'll repost what I said earlier in this thread, which I still think is more or less valid:

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.

jas

Mr. Tea wrote:
But I know there are definitely stereotypes about black people and tipping

I don't know if there are stereotypes but there are, or were, definite attitudes around women and tipping as well. Namely, that female customers don't. Or don't tip much. I think I've heard this from servers themselves. Interesting that these two "cheap" groups traditionally have been over-represented among lower income earners as well.

Mr. Tea wrote:
It seems the most logical way to do it would simply be for restaurants to add an 18% service charge to their bills in order to standardize it.

To me the logical solution is to outlaw tipping, which would force restaurant owners to pay their staff a reasonable wage. Then tipping can go back to being less an expected thing and more an expression of appreciation for exceptional service. Rather than wait for an act of legislature to do this, I would like to see restaurants take it into their own hands to do this, by offering a good salary to their staff and informing customers that their restaurant is a 'no-tipping' restaurant. Not all restaurants would be in a position to do this, but some might. It would be an interesting experiment, anyway.

jas

Conversely, I guess we could simply keep the system we have and consider tipping to be a kind of leisure tax. Those who can afford it get to eat out more, those who can't afford it, don't.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Well, I don't live in an area with restaurants, so it's a bit of a treat for me when I travel out, to eat in a nice restaurant. However, since most motels nowadays have a kettle and/or a microwave in every room, sometimes I just walk to the nearest grocer and buy some food I can prepare in my room. I don't have much variety in the way of groceries here, so when I travel out, I really want to sample as much new variety as I can. Or call out for a nice pizza from a good place.

Unionist

Catchfire wrote:

Well, the food service industry is already deeply flawed and unjust (as described here), so major reforms are required to make it fair for workers. But for the time being, I'll repost what I said earlier in this thread, which I still think is more or less valid:

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.

That I think nails it, other than ensuring a fair system for sharing the fee among staff. Although it still amounts to a kind of collective "piece work" system, where the incentive is to push customers through faster to make more of the 17%.

 

 

6079_Smith_W

But again, the 17% fee isn't exactly fair either. the price of the food really has no bearing on the work of the staff.

And does anyone think restaurants are going to pass that all on equitably - with deductions? And if they do, doesn't it simply make more sense to pay people a proper wage?

 

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Should What Happens at Applebee's Stay at Applebee's?

excerpt:

As service industry jobs make up an increasingly large proportion of the American workforce, organized labor has made unionizing them a priority. Economist Tyler Cowen explains why he doesn't think that push will be successful. Either way, I expect that service industry workers are going to wrest more prestige from the culture than they've previously enjoyed, in part because we increasingly view the work done by baristas and craft cocktail bartenders as skilled, but also because folks who've never worked as a server in a restaurant or a hotel maid are increasingly exposed to the shockingly shitty behavior folks in those positions must sometimes endure.

Michelle

jas wrote:

I can certainly see that, but I think when a group is "going Dutch" (is that an ethnic slur? hope not) it's possible the server makes a bit more in tips because everyone is inclined to be a little more generous with their own tips, perhaps moreso than one person taking care of it. Don't know, but I've noticed servers don't mind if it's separate bills.

That's true!  Ever been out with the "tip skimmer"?  It can happen in small or large groups, but much easier to have happen in large groups with one bill.  The tip skimmer is the person at the table who waits for everyone to pay their share of the bill, and then puts in way less than they owe (or just the amount they owe with no tip), because they know everyone else's tips will cover theirs, especially if there are a few especially generous tippers in the bunch.  They are the reason for automatically-added gratuities on large tables.

Many years ago, I used to hang out with a bunch of friends who would go to the same pub every week.  We were outrageous tippers (because we loved our regular server so much), but one person in our group would sometimes throw in less than he owed even just for the meal itself.  Everyone was annoyed, but no one would speak up - we just threw in more to cover up for him.  (And before you ask - no, he didn't earn less than us - in fact, he earned more than some of us, and he still lived at home rent-free unlike the rest of us!)

We tried to do subtle things, like if he was going to arrive later than the rest of us, to get him on a separate tab, or something like that.  But finally, the shit hit the fan one time when he did the "I'll take everyone's cash and put the bill on my credit card" move.  If we'd let him get away with it, he probably would have MADE money on that bill, since the tip we left was more than the cost of his meal, and we wouldn't have put it past him to just absorb it.  So, I spoke up and said, "Okay.  Let me total this up just so I make sure I've put in enough.  Here's the total of all of ours, plus the tips we've left.  And here's what yours cost.  So, add yours onto what we have paid, and you will need to put at least X amount on your card to cover all of our meals and tips plus your meal, and then you can put whatever you want on top of that for your own tip."

There was relief around the table because none of them wanted to speak up, and I think they were amazed that I had the guts to do it.  And he paid it.  As far as I remember, the guy never did the credit card thing again.  :D

This can happen even when you just go out with one other person, too, if you split the bill and the other person is a terrible tipper.  I'm sweet as sugar when someone does that, because I always figure it could just be a mistake, and lord knows, I'm no math genius myself - but I do speak up.  "Whoopsie, I think we miscalculated...let's go over this again..."  And then it gets corrected.

Michelle

Unionist wrote:

Actually, she didn't stiff the server. She says that she left a $6 tip on a $34 bill - but she got "stiffed" with the additional automatic 18% anyway. Read the "update" portion of the page I linked to.

Oh please!  You actually believe that she left a 17% CASH tip after writing that screed on the bill?  I don't believe it for ONE SECOND.  I think it's a good story to try and repair her reputation after the note she wrote got a slightly larger audience than she intended it (it would have been just fine for only lowly servers to read it, but not so thrilled when the rest of the world gets to read her brilliant words of wisdom).

Sorry, I don't believe it for a second.  Not even a nanosecond.

Pages