Tuesday, September 23, 2008

We're all sitting in a café. As usual, our conversation has somehow drifted to the topics of marriage and money, both of which inevitably drive me to misery.

Her: "I just want to marry someone who does something, you know, respectable. Lawyer, accountant--"

I'm waiting to ask the question. My teeth are setting on edge.

Me: "What would you say is not respectable?"

"Well ... garbage man ... waiter--"

I cut in faster than a knife. "My dad's a waiter."

There's a moment of silence. Across from me, someone laughs in slight disbelief.

The preceding anecdote was given in the interests of full disclosure.

I always tip.

Save for the rare, complete service meltdown, I always tip 15% on a restaurant bill, which is the industry standard in Canada. My father works at a restaurant inside a busy four-star hotel, so I consider him a reliable source on these things.

I started dining at restaurants (low- and higher-end) once I got into my late teens. Part of it was seeing it as part of my newfound adultness; another part was finding more venues for socializing with good friends. The last part was initiating myself into a social ritual, and discovering the enjoyment that can be gleaned from a good, skilfully presented meal. I feel that tipping as an integral aspect to that social ritual, but I see it abused very often, in many creative ways.

I see people insist on meticulously calculating what is really a simple percentage (lest they tip a dime or nickel too much, le gasp), deciding it is a legitimate "comment" by paying anywhere from 12.3% to 13.8%, or, in quite magnificently ballsy form, excuse their pitiful offering because they're "poor students." If you're so damn poor, nothing stops you from staying home; if you're too poor to pay a decent tip on your meal, you're too poor to eat out.

People inform me that they refuse to pay a tip on the post-tax bill, usually in rather moral wording. The difference is so miniscule to me that I see it as nitpicky meanness that takes away from the server, the person it means the most to. On, say, a pre-tax bill of fifty dollars, the tip is $7.50; on the same post-tax amount, the tip is $8.63. The difference is little more than a dollar. For a bill split between two people, this is negligible. For a bill of a solitary diner, this is also negligible, as they can apparently afford a fifty-dollar meal.

Sometimes I hear that somebody doesn't tip because they don't want to be complicit in a system that places an undue social burden on the customers by denying its workers a living wage.

(At this juncture, I have to wonder whether they, a Paragon of Righteousness, have in the past decade ever eaten at any corporate fast food outlet, since most have waged fierce wars against the unionization of their workers, and some battles continue. Mmm, McHypocrisy.)

If you cannot bring yourself to submit to the apparatus of tyranny that the food service industry evidently is, don't eat at a restaurant. Refrain from arriving, partaking of the food and hospitality, and then refusing to submit to the terms of service (of which you had full prior knowledge), because this is alternately known as being a jackass.

posted at 4:14:42 pm

Mike
November 4, 2008   06:31 AM PST
 
I usually tip but not always and I used to be a waiter too. But when I was waiter, I worked hard to give the best service I could. I have seen fairly lazy or incompetent service too and I dont think those waiters or waitresses should be rewarded equally. Basically the tip should represent an appreciation of your work which is otherwise as close to slave labor as most other jobs.
I always hated having the tips pooled together and then divided out.. it seemed desperately unfair when I worked hard.
You know me.
October 26, 2008   04:55 PM PDT
 
I ALWAYS tip, depending on the serivce I tip from 15 to 25%. Sometimes I just double however much the tax is and add that as a tip, which in my state works out to 16%.
Deirdre
October 9, 2008   11:06 AM PDT
 
I love leaving high tips. I'm always the one fighing with the people I've dined with because they want to break it down by percentage and I just want to give what I think will make the server's day.

Even if the service was less than great, I still love putting a smile on someone's face -- you just never know what weight they may be carrying.

The other day, I ordered a pizza. I tipped the guy $10 on the $20 order and he almost fell down. He kept asking me if I was *sure* I wanted to tip so much.

It saddened me that someone would get that excited about $10. TEN. Sigh.

What that tells me is that ... people suck.

Eat less, tip more.
It's fun.
Halcyon
October 2, 2008   03:22 AM PDT
 
I don't always tip, but that's cos everyone gets teh same mimimum wage here, allowing me to save my tips for those who desere it; the people who serve me well, or have big boobs.
acturi
September 26, 2008   03:08 PM PDT
 
The thing that always bugs me is people's unwillingness to tip for taking up someone's table for hours. It seems basic to me. Sure, you only ordered a coffee, but then you sat at this poor waiter's table for three hours.

You owe him more than a dollar, you asshole. He could have had real customers at your table.

Plus, that makes the watiers your friends. Then they don't care if you take up their table.
J f Z
September 23, 2008   08:16 PM PDT
 
I absolutely agree with everything you've written here. It's one of my pet peeves.

My grandmother owned a restaurant. My mother worked in restaurants at times. I've worked in restaurants, too. When I go to a restaurant, something amazingly bad has to happen for me not to tip at least 15%. Heck, if I'm in a good mood, I even tip "the sandwich artist" at Subways.

Another pet peeve is someone who can't do simple math to leave a decent tip. If you can't knock off a zero and add half of that again to get to 15% of the bill in your head, someone should walk home with you so you don't get lost on your own.

I don't eat out very often these days. So, when I do, I'm very happy and I tip more than 15% ... 20-25%. Sometimes the people I'm with think this is crazy. But guess what? Even if I don't see that waitperson for several months, they remember me and I'm absolutely going to get great service again.

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Glo'ri'a'na, noun:
1. An alternative form of "Gloria."
2. As "Americana" defines itself as artefacts of American culture, "Gloriana" consists of the artefacts of my culture.


   



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