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[P]
Tipping and Restaurant Service Quality Weakly Linked

By DesiredUsername in Op-Ed
Wed May 07, 2003 at 07:20:20 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

The theory behind tipping is that it provides an incentive for a service person to provide better service. Do the facts bear out this theory?


No, they do not. A meta-analysis (PDF) in Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly of 14 other studies reveals that "the tipping-service relationship can only be described as weak" and "...it is doubtful that servers would see the effects of spending extra effort to deliver good service...". In addition to this, the study finds that restaurant managers won't be able to accurately evaluate server performance or customer satisfaction by adding up tips: "...[tips] are not a good way to motivate servers, measure server performance or identify dissatisfied customers."

The article linked to doesn't give any reasoning for the discrepancy between prevailing common sense and reality, but another article (PDF) by the same author provides an explanation. In this study, a bellman was given instructions to randomly give good and "limited" service to customers. The tips he received "...suggests that tipping does serve as a strong incentive/reward for hotel bellmen...". What's the difference?

...more familiar and precise tipping norms...create[s] social pressure that may simply overwhelm service considerations when consumers decide how much to tip restaurant waiters/waitresses. The weaker social pressure to tip hotel bellmen may give consumers greater freedom to consider service when deciding how much to tip hotel bellmen.
This may strike some as non-intuitive, but it is what I have been arguing for quite some time now. The way to make tipping work the way it is intended to, as an incentive/reward, is to make it more rare. Flooding the system with meaningless rewards is no incentive. Instead, let us raise the wages for servers to a fair level and let tips normalize themselves with respect to actual service quality.

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Poll
I support
o the US system of semi-mandatory 15-20% tip 10%
o an increase in minimum wage with purely optional tip on top 59%
o an increase in minimum wage with no tip, as for other service industries 25%
o other 4%

Votes: 171
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o meta-analy sis
o another article
o Also by DesiredUsername


Display: Sort:
Tipping and Restaurant Service Quality Weakly Linked | 242 comments (231 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
Teh truth that dare not speak its name (4.66 / 39) (#3)
by K5 ASCII reenactment players on Wed May 07, 2003 at 09:23:32 AM EST

Here's your coffee, sir.
Will that be spit or no spit?
|
|          Is 15% all right?
| No spit  |
| it is.   | 
| |        |
\
  O        O
  |v&  ___/|>    
 /_\    |  |
 /|     |  |\


What is the point? (2.00 / 4) (#6)
by randinah on Wed May 07, 2003 at 09:27:45 AM EST

When you are talking about a server, as in waiter or waitress, the tip comes, as I'm sure you know, at the tail end of the meal. How am I, as a server, supposed to give you wonderful or limited service unless I see the tip at the very beginning?

And another point: What is the point of this article? That it is okay not to tip because a good tip does not guarantee good service? Why don't you wait until servers are at least getting paid minimum wage before you go on your crusade, okay?


"Why waste time learning when ignorance is instantaneous?"
Wrong way around (4.60 / 5) (#7)
by hulver on Wed May 07, 2003 at 09:32:10 AM EST

You give me good service, I will tip you.

NOT.

I give you a good tip, so you give me good service.

Also: Point of the article. I think it's to make people think about their own habits. Do you tip because you think you should, or because you received good service.

If you tip because you think you should (everybody does it) then why not just put the prices up 15% and pay the servers more? Then a tip really would be a reward for good service, rather than a prop for poor wages.

--
HuSi!
[ Parent ]

Why I tip (4.00 / 3) (#55)
by randinah on Wed May 07, 2003 at 03:38:45 PM EST

I tip simply because I know the wages that a certain server or bartender is making and I want to help them out however I can.

It simply feels really good to me to go to a restaurant, be an easy table that doesn't ask for much, and leave five bucks on the table.

But then again, us servers help eachother out.

Oh by the way, I believe it can go both ways. If a person wants excellent service, there's nothing wrong with giving some money at the beginning of a meal and saying : Please pay special attention to us, it's a birthday, we're in a hurry, whatever.

But usually it does go, good service first, good tip as reward in the restaurant business.


"Why waste time learning when ignorance is instantaneous?"
[ Parent ]
I'm sure the slaves helped each other out too (4.75 / 4) (#120)
by gnovos on Thu May 08, 2003 at 03:34:11 AM EST

I tip simply because I know the wages that a certain server or bartender is making and I want to help them out however I can.

It simply feels really good to me to go to a restaurant, be an easy table that doesn't ask for much, and leave five bucks on the table.

But then again, us servers help eachother out.

So, you tip because you know the server is being exploited, so you want to help him out, and you are ok with that becuase you too are being exploited...  That doesn't sound healthy...

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]

My point exactly (4.00 / 1) (#127)
by transport on Thu May 08, 2003 at 05:09:36 AM EST

This is exactly what I was trying to say here. It smells like "I'm a college student, I need a temporary job, so I'll accept being exploited, I'll be out of here in a few years, let the others fight for labour rights". That does not earn my respect.

[ Parent ]
I hear a bird outside.... (1.38 / 13) (#8)
by simul on Wed May 07, 2003 at 09:53:38 AM EST

Going cheeeeeeeep, cheep, cheep, cheep, cheeeeeeeep.

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
If that was true (3.83 / 6) (#9)
by DesiredUsername on Wed May 07, 2003 at 10:01:31 AM EST

then I wouldn't be advocating raising wages (and therefore prices). I would just silently continue my non-tipping behavior. My proposal costs me money, but also gives me more power (and restaurant owners and workers more information).

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
More power? (3.75 / 4) (#89)
by dipierro on Wed May 07, 2003 at 07:48:59 PM EST

How does it give you more power? If anything, it gives you less power. If prices rise, then you have less money left to give as a tip. So you have less information to give, not more.

[ Parent ]
What? (4.33 / 3) (#137)
by DesiredUsername on Thu May 08, 2003 at 08:34:54 AM EST

The amount of money I have available to leave as a tip is irrelevant to the amount of information I can convey. It's the variability in tips that determines information content and, as the article points out, there isn't much variability in restaurant tips.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
Variability (5.00 / 1) (#153)
by dipierro on Thu May 08, 2003 at 12:48:31 PM EST

The amount of money I have available to leave as a tip is irrelevant to the amount of information I can convey.

Assuming that you can only leave information by adjusting the amount of your tip, then the more money you have, the more variability is available.

It's the variability in tips that determines information content and, as the article points out, there isn't much variability in restaurant tips.

Raising the minimum wage isn't going to fix that. Instead of variability in tipping going from 0% to 25%, you'll charge 15% more for the meal and variability will go from 0% to 10%. The fact that 15% is the standard increases variability, since it allows you to go below the standard. If the standard becomes 0%, then you decrease variability, because you can't go below 0%.

But either way, the best way to provide information to your server is to use your voice, or write a note. Backing that up with a large tip (or no tip) can help convey your message, but merely tipping by itself conveys very little under any scenario.

That said, I'm all for setting minimum wage back to the same level for all workers (actually I'd personally have the unconstitutional minimum wage laws abolished). I don't have a problem with the current tipping system, but the government shouldn't sponsor or subsidize it.



[ Parent ]
Variability (5.00 / 2) (#156)
by DesiredUsername on Thu May 08, 2003 at 01:15:15 PM EST

The fact that 15% is the standard increases variability, since it allows you to go below the standard.

Ah, but does anyone go below the standard? That's the entire point of the first link. The variability has disappeared because people have started thinking of the 15% as "just what you do" no matter what. There's almost no link between the size of the tip and the quality of the service; the variability is gone.

The fact is, almost nobody ever complains about anything (especially in front of a date, when meeting the in-laws, on a night out on the town, etc) so undertipping is something that's going to be very rare under any system. This means that "amounts below 0" are basically moot. It also means that if we have the standard value as anything above 0, we'll get right back to where we are now because nobody would ever give less than the standard amount, for fear of offending or appearing belligerent. (And non-zero standards tend to rise somehow. I remember when tips were 10%.)

Also, there's no reason all information needs to be via the same channel. Excellent service gets a tip. Adequate service gets no tip. Bad service gets a complaint or, more likely, a customer who never returns.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]

variability revisited (5.00 / 1) (#162)
by dipierro on Thu May 08, 2003 at 03:05:19 PM EST

Ah, but does anyone go below the standard?

Of course people do. Besides, you were concerned about the amount of information you can convey. The fact that so few people go below the standard means that by doing so you convey a very strong statement.

That's the entire point of the first link. The variability has disappeared because people have started thinking of the 15% as "just what you do" no matter what.

And to the same extent if you raise the minimum wage, people will start thinking of 0% as "just what you do" no matter what. There are many who go above and beyond the standard 15% on occasion. In fact, I do so myself.

There's almost no link between the size of the tip and the quality of the service; the variability is gone.

How is raising the minimum wage going to fix that?

The fact is, almost nobody ever complains about anything (especially in front of a date, when meeting the in-laws, on a night out on the town, etc) so undertipping is something that's going to be very rare under any system. This means that "amounts below 0" are basically moot.

They may be rare, but they do happen. Besides, you were talking about how much information you can convey, not how much most people will.

Also, there's no reason all information needs to be via the same channel. Excellent service gets a tip. Adequate service gets no tip. Bad service gets a complaint or, more likely, a customer who never returns.

But you still haven't linked your two ideas together. You want to change the variability of tips. That's fine. But your assertion is that raising the minimum wage will raise prices (true), which will eliminate standard tipping (probably true), which will cause people to increase the variability of the tips they leave (huh?).

Again, it comes down to this. If the standard is 15%, and tip variability is 0-25% (or lets even buy your argument and say it's 15-25%), what makes you think that raising the minimum wage will do anything other than move the tip variability to 0-10%?



[ Parent ]
below the standard? I do (5.00 / 1) (#187)
by mcgrew on Fri May 09, 2003 at 07:23:04 PM EST

I'll tip a waitress 20%. If I don't get good service I give less. If I get REALLY shitty service I'll leave two pennies. That wakes 'em up.

Waitresses get $2.25 per hour and are taxed as if they got a 20% tip at each table- RIPOFF EXPLOITATION. I have pity. Unless, of course, the bitch pisses me off.

Now, the deal that started this multi-threaded tipping thread on K5 was the Barkeep's guide. Question: I know Joe, who owns the Track Shack and charges $2.25 for a bottle of Busch. If he's tending bar, do I tip him?

Now, down at Duff's (yes, I live in Springfield, honest go God, Duff's is at the corner of 6th and Laurel) the bartender, who looks like... well, the blonde waitress at the Simpsons' duff (I shit you not) was complaining that she had to work there as a favor for her uncle, who owns the place, and she was only getting $6.50 an hour.

That's fifty cents an hour less than a CNA makes at some nursing homes in town! Now, when the "nurse" (CNA), who has to have some medical training, pass a hard test, and be certified by the state, wipes your grandma's ass, does grandma leave her a tip?

Then why should I tip the blonde at Duff's? To keep her from spitting in my beer?

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Kill the tipping culture (4.14 / 7) (#10)
by jonathan_ingram on Wed May 07, 2003 at 10:09:17 AM EST

The insane 'tip everyone' culture is just another reason why I wouldn't feel comfortable in the US. Here in the UK, there's much more of an expectation that if you get given a price for a service, then that's the price you pay. I don't tip taxis, I don't tip waiters at cafes, and I wouldn't tip functionaries at a hotel. I do however tip at restaraunts -- that's really the only social situation over here where you are expected to tip. So, you're looking to move to a more UK viewpoint, where tipping would be an exceptional reward for good service, rather than a mandatory subsidy for the badly treated victims of poorly paying employers. The medium for this quite simple -- a decent, well enforced minimum wage.
-- Jon
Our tipping culture is out of control (4.75 / 4) (#17)
by Fon2d2 on Wed May 07, 2003 at 11:25:18 AM EST

There is little doubt about that. We have tip jars in cafes where the server does little more than hand you coffee or a muffin over the counter. Tipping at bars weirded me out at first too. The fact is its really just a big mess. You never really know when to tip or how much. Pretty much any service job could be eligible for a tip, so sometimes you don't know if it's expected. If you don't tip, it's considered cheap, no matter how bad your service. It doesn't feel as nice giving a big fat 25% tip when I know I would be giving at least 15% anyway. That's like only giving a 10% tip. The best thing one can do is like DesiredUsername says, tip only when the service is deserving. But then the problem is compounded by the fact that employees are paid less than minimum wage, expecting they'll receive tips. Whoever drafted that law is an idiot. How am I supposed to give a reasonable tip based on service when I know I'm expected to subsidize an underpaid wait staff? That law is a Catch-22. Waitresses are paid less because they are expected to take up the rest in tips. People pay higher than average tips because they know waitresses are underpaid. Ok, anyway, that's enough ranting.

[ Parent ]
What are you talking about? (4.00 / 2) (#21)
by MSBob on Wed May 07, 2003 at 12:23:02 PM EST

Everyone expects a tip in the UK. Everyone. Waiters, barbers/hairdressers, hotel staff (everyone), bartenders and even frigging cab drivers! The UK is hands down the most tip-mad country I have ever been to.

What exactly do you tip a cab driver for? "Oh, you've been driving so well today I guess I must give you a tip". Give me a break.

I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
You don't tip barstaff in the UK (3.50 / 2) (#27)
by the on Wed May 07, 2003 at 12:43:15 PM EST

They think you're weird if you do. If you leave a tip at a bar they'll tell you you've left some money behind or someone else will steal it. All of my British friends claim never to have tipped in a British bar. All of them who I've ever asked, and that's quite a few. (Rarely they'll buy a drink for the barstaff - but that's very rare.)

--
The Definite Article
[ Parent ]
I was told different (3.50 / 2) (#32)
by MSBob on Wed May 07, 2003 at 01:02:23 PM EST

I lived in Britain for quite some time and the locals told me that you should tip a barperson especially if you're getting some pub food. People don't do it on a Friday night because it's just too crowded and therefore impractical but if you go for a pint at the lunch hour you tip the barman.
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
Are you USian? (4.50 / 2) (#35)
by Nick Ives on Wed May 07, 2003 at 01:18:47 PM EST

Taking advantage of Americans is a national past time here in the UK. Most people expect a tip as soon as they hear a north american accent because we know that you have a big tipping culture over there =).

Unless you just happened to be hanging around with a rich generous crowd that is, I mean, just about every pub/bar I've ever regularly been to would think you were weird if you tipped them regularly. Not that it'd stop them taking the money...

--
Nick
Chao

[ Parent ]

He's right you know! (4.50 / 2) (#59)
by the on Wed May 07, 2003 at 03:52:43 PM EST

You emphatically do not tip in the UK. You'd tip if you ordered a meal in a pub but most definitely not the barstaff - absolutely no exceptions in a normal pub. Honestly, they'll think your a wacky foreigner if you tip! (Actually, in the few British pubs where they bring drinks to your table (I went to one once!) you might tip - but that's getting advanced and I wouldn't know about that.)

My question is this: does my barber expect a tip?

--
The Definite Article
[ Parent ]

Look in the mirror (4.00 / 2) (#65)
by MSBob on Wed May 07, 2003 at 04:43:30 PM EST

therein you'll find the answer...
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
That's right (4.00 / 1) (#97)
by gidds on Wed May 07, 2003 at 10:01:53 PM EST

I've lived in the UK all my life, and I can't recall ever tipping anyone except in a restaurant. And even then it's far from universal. (Though some restaurants include a 10% or 15% service charge in the bill, so then you'd only leave extra for exceptional service.)

FWIW I had a very good meal in a pub the other day, and it didn't even occur to me to tip! Maybe doormen in the most expensive hotels &c, but never bar staff, barbers, or whatever. Just restaurants.

There you have it - direct from the equine orifice!

Andy/
[ Parent ]

Yep, Straight from the horse's arse (1.00 / 1) (#121)
by hulver on Thu May 08, 2003 at 04:02:06 AM EST

Sorry, couldn't resist :)

--
HuSi!
[ Parent ]
Taxis? (3.00 / 1) (#129)
by Amroarer on Thu May 08, 2003 at 05:27:22 AM EST

Agree on the restaurants. I usually tip a little, but it's very rare that I feel compelled to by social pressure. (In the UK.)

Mechanics-wise, I'm curious as to whether there are differences between the UK and US. In my experience, generally over here:

The bill comes on a dish, you put cash on the dish. It's taken away and the change is returned on the same dish. You leave whatever change you deem fit on the dish when you leave.

Or, the bill comes on a dish, you drop your VISA card on the dish, the dish is taken away and returned with a chit on it. The chit usually has a slot to add in a tip, and then you sign it and the waiter takes it away again.

Anyway, on the matter of taxis I tend to disagree. Generally I would tend to tip taxi drivers, especially if I've ordered a taxi at some stupid time in the morning. Normally this would be by paying in a convenient denomination and telling him to keep the change. Actually specifying him how much of a tip to keep would seem rather awkward. (But maybe that's just me being English.)

.
+++ A terrorist is somebody who has a bomb but doesn't have an air force. - William Blum
[ Parent ]

I worked at Disney world for 5 yrs (none / 0) (#188)
by mcgrew on Fri May 09, 2003 at 07:35:20 PM EST

...in the early 80s. No tips allowed. None. Get caught accepting a tip and they'll fire you.

Now, of course everyone I met there had at least the price of an airplane ticket, hotel room and admission- so the only Brits I met were the rich ones. Most polite people I ever met. The Eric Idle caricature of a Brit in European Vacation was exactly perfect!

But any way, the Brits always tried to tip me! Never failed. I would refuse politely and thank them for the offer profusely. Once in a while one would jam some cash in my shirt pocket and hurry off, and I would put it in the cash drawer.

Except once. It was a single British coin, mint condition, brand new. Chuck and Di had just been wed, and it was a commorative coin in a plastic case. I still have it (is it worth anything? About the same size as a US silver dollar).

So when you tell me you only tip for food, I'm amazed!

(As an aside, the Brits were the most polite, the South Americans were the richest and the Japs were the rudest fucking assholes I ever had the sorry displeasure to meet. We shouldn't have stopped at Nagasaki IMO, fucking BASTARDS!)

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

indeedy (none / 0) (#219)
by blisspix on Sun May 11, 2003 at 02:32:04 AM EST

In Australia, in recent years, the jars at the cashiers of restaurants have started to appear. But no one expects you to tip, it's optional. Generally I usually leave my change which might be a couple of dollars but I don't go out of my way to tip from money that I didn't hand over to pay the bill, if you know what I mean.

Many times I've been in bars and gotten incorrect change and had barstaff coming after me to hand it back, and outside of cafes and restaurants tipping is non existent here. Which is the way it should be.

I'd rather have the extra 15% to give to charity or whatever, rather than subsidising a restaurant owner's wage costs.

[ Parent ]

I think it's more than just wage (none / 0) (#239)
by RevLoveJoy on Thu May 15, 2003 at 07:21:11 PM EST

Here in OR, minimum wage is almost $7 / hour (US). This is nearly $2 more per hour than the federally mandated $5.15 per your. Additionally, unlike some states, you cannot pay resataurant servers below minimum wage and clamin they make it up in tips. Regardless, the tipping culture is just as ingrained here as it it in any large metro area of the US that I have personally seen.

This leads me to believe that tipping is more a cultural problem than a problem of poverty (though I will not argue that making $3 an hour serving rude people coffee is a bad way to make a living).

Cheers,
-- RLJ

Every political force in the U.S. that seeks to get past the Constitution by sophistry or technicality is little more than a wannabe king. -- pyro9
[ Parent ]

As a waiter... (4.75 / 8) (#12)
by Sairon on Wed May 07, 2003 at 10:56:06 AM EST

I think it does affect service. I know that when I go out of my way for my customers, they generally tip me better. Therefore I do everything I can to give everyone the best service. The end result is that everyone gets my best effort, whether or not they tip, because I don't know until everything is done what the tip will be. I think it works quite well, actually.

As a side note, tipping is believed to have started in London coffee houses. You put some money in a box in order to get served quicker if you were in a hurry.

Also, some are entertaining this notion of paying servers minimum wage. Personally, I would quit. I am currently paid $2.38 by my employer. The minimum wage in the US is somewhere around $5.68 (I haven't worked for minimum wage in years, so I'm guessing). In tips alone, I make much more than minimum wage. Much more than double that. This system seems quite equitable, also. I know servers that I work with who make more than me. They are also much better at it, having done it for years. I know servers who really don't care about their jobs and make less than me.

Jared

Read the link (3.33 / 3) (#13)
by DesiredUsername on Wed May 07, 2003 at 11:07:08 AM EST

Tipping and service are related, but only weakly. You may have been lucky or you may be delusional. :)

(As a sidenote, the acronym "To Insure Promptness" doesn't work as an etymology, since it should really be "ensure", shouldn't it?)

You are right, I should be advocating minimum wage. I should be advocating a 15-20% pay increase. If you are regularly getting tips that are more than the standard theoretically you should see no change in your paycheck even as the absolute tip amounts decrease.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]

Errr (2.25 / 4) (#15)
by DesiredUsername on Wed May 07, 2003 at 11:14:05 AM EST

I mean I shouldn't be advocating minimum wage, but instead a 15-20% increase.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
Much more than 15-20% increase (4.66 / 3) (#20)
by GGardner on Wed May 07, 2003 at 12:14:24 PM EST

You'd need a much bigger raise to the servers than just a 15-20% tip. A 15-20% tip is the usual tip on the total cost of the meal. But only a small percentage of the total cost of the meal goes to the server's wage. To make up for lost tips, the wage would have to go up dramatically.

Let's run some numbers to demonstrate -- I'll round to make it easier on me. Assume a server is paid $3/hour today, minimum wage is $6, and can serve 5 $10 meals in an hour. With the tip system, they get $3 + .15 * 5 * 10, for a total of $10.50/hour. Bumping up their $3 wage by 20% get them to $3.60/hour.

[ Parent ]

Ah, you are right (3.00 / 2) (#23)
by DesiredUsername on Wed May 07, 2003 at 12:33:21 PM EST

I was implicitly (and stupidly) thinking servers get paid per meal. Will fix, thanks.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
I still like the idea (4.00 / 1) (#26)
by GGardner on Wed May 07, 2003 at 12:40:53 PM EST

BTW, I still like the idea of making tipping less uniform, and perhaps more rare. But perhaps you'd need to expand the scope of whom you tip. In a restaurant, for example, I'd like to think that the cook plays at least as important a role as the server. What about the person who allowed me to sit at the table by the window I wanted? Why should only the server be tipped for good service?

[ Parent ]
Uhh.. (3.00 / 1) (#124)
by wierdo on Thu May 08, 2003 at 04:27:21 AM EST

It is usually customary to share a percentage of your tips with the host/hostess and cook, if you are a waiter/waitress. (This also applies, although less commonly to pizza delivery drivers, who I think deserve tips far more than waiters and waitresses do, having to drive to your house and all ;) ).

-Nathan



[ Parent ]
But it's their job (5.00 / 1) (#132)
by pmgolz on Thu May 08, 2003 at 07:37:33 AM EST

They're paid for having to drive to your house. If they don't like the money then they should get another job. I don't get tipped for doing my job, even though I probably have more demanding work than a pizza delivery person.

------
Enthios
[ Parent ]
another mr. pink thing (none / 0) (#144)
by eudas on Thu May 08, 2003 at 11:21:09 AM EST

'society says, "tip these people over here, but don't tip these people over here". it's fucked up.'

eudas
"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]

Then don't tip them (none / 0) (#174)
by Wah on Thu May 08, 2003 at 07:01:27 PM EST

and sit in wild wonder at how cold a pizza can be when it gets to your house.   True, the other prisoner doesn't act like this until you screw them first, but revenge is best served cold, in this case literally.

Pizza delivery folk get generally screwed on one big area, their car.  While some places have a small extra bit built in for mileage and gas, thinkgs like wear and tear, oil, regular maintenence, etc. aren't part of the equation.

Anyway, nothing like breaking laws and rushing your ass off (drive fast = more deliveries = more tips = slightly above shit pay) all to have some jackass stiff you at the end.  

Can you guess which poster has delivered pizzas before?
--
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]

Have you ever tried not tipping the pizza guy? (none / 0) (#193)
by DesiredUsername on Fri May 09, 2003 at 08:18:32 PM EST

I never tip the pizza delivery guy and I've never gotten a cold pizza delivered.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
Well then... (none / 0) (#236)
by Wah on Tue May 13, 2003 at 09:51:26 AM EST

...keep an eye out for random negative occurences in your life, becuase I guarantee you've been cursed many times over.

No, I haven't tried it, nor do I wish to.  YMMV.
--
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]

Well don't do the job then (none / 0) (#242)
by pmgolz on Thu May 22, 2003 at 10:36:36 AM EST

If you haven't taken all these extras into account then thet's your fault. Why should I have to pay for your lack of foresight?

If the money ain't good then don't do the job. Don't expect the customer to make up the difference.

------
Enthios
[ Parent ]

Interestingly enough... (4.00 / 1) (#28)
by Sairon on Wed May 07, 2003 at 12:47:11 PM EST

your math is pretty good. That is to say, I think you've modeled the situation as I know it rather well. You went low on how many meals are sold, but thats easy to do. 10 - 15 meals with a value of $10 in an hour is more likely. If you are prompt and do anticipatory work, such as bringing out fresh drinks when you know they are close and bringing the check promptly you can have people in and out quicker. I handle between 5-8 tables at a time, with an average of 4 people at each table, therefore the checks are about $20 each. The money I get in the form of a paycheck is for little things I want to buy, like a book. You'd have to increase the wage alot to reach what I make in tips. A couple of the older waitresses I work with make about $40K a year. I only hope I can get as good as they are before I finsh college.

Jared

[ Parent ]

Re: Interestingly enough... (4.00 / 1) (#31)
by GGardner on Wed May 07, 2003 at 12:59:18 PM EST

I guess what that math teaches us is that you want to find work in a restaurant that is serving $100 meals! :-)

Forgive the stupid question, but does all of the tip money usually go to the server? What about the cooks, busboys, etc.? I would think that they play an equal part in my meal enjoyment. And the things which really upset patrons are usually not the fault of the server, I would think -- for example, if my meal is an hour late, my guess is that's the fault of the kitchen staff, or perhaps the person who scheduled the kitchen staff, not the server.

[ Parent ]

it depends on the restaurant. (3.00 / 1) (#62)
by pb on Wed May 07, 2003 at 04:03:26 PM EST

I hear that some restaurants put all their tip money in a pool and divide it up; others split the tips between the server and the cook. I'm sure the specific practice varies, but I would think that you could tip whomever you wanted, regardless. (give them some $$$ :)
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
kickback tipping (none / 0) (#68)
by eudas on Wed May 07, 2003 at 05:22:14 PM EST

it's a system of implicit symbiotic kickbacks.
waitresses who do well due to being favored by kitchen/cleanup/bar staff assist their customers better, get tipped better, then tip the staff who helps them out better, etc. waitresses who don't, well, don't. the saying that your co-workers are also your customers is doubly true here. or something.

eudas
"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]

True... (4.50 / 2) (#122)
by Sairon on Thu May 08, 2003 at 04:21:46 AM EST

getting work in those more expensive restraunts is better. It's something I'm working up to. I actually had a 'recruiter' from another restraunt come in and try to talk to me today. Interesting, I say.

At any rate, in our restraunt all money goes to the server. I've heard it works differently elsewhere. Everyone but servers have a higher wage, though. I personally give a portion of my tips to the busboys so that they favor me. I haven't really tried it with cooks yet. I don't think they have the ability to favor me, really.

And yes, most of the time the things that go wrong are outside our control. We get paid to suck up all the complaints and just fix it. Just make the customer happy when things go wrong. I think this is a good reason that we get tips and no one else does. We're doing alot of sales, customer service and such.

Jared

[ Parent ]

Read it again (3.83 / 6) (#19)
by davidduncanscott on Wed May 07, 2003 at 12:08:31 PM EST

You should be advocating a 100% increase, because right now the wait staff is making about 1/2 of minimum wage.

[ Parent ]
no, you are wrong. (4.80 / 5) (#106)
by Suppafly on Thu May 08, 2003 at 12:26:16 AM EST

You should be advocating a 100% increase, because right now the wait staff is making about 1/2 of minimum wage.

Waitstaff make the same $5.15 minimum wage that everyone else that works for minimum wage makes. Atleast $2.30 of it comes from their employer. If the $2.30 plus their tips doesn't equate to $5.15 an hour, the employer is legally responsible for making up the difference. People who have worked as waiters always like to skim over this fact letting you believe that if you don't tip they only make $2 an hour.
---
Playstation Sucks.
[ Parent ]
Hmmm (4.00 / 2) (#143)
by davidduncanscott on Thu May 08, 2003 at 10:47:40 AM EST

OK, I've worked in a couple of restaurant kitchens, but both were sufficiently upscale that it wasn't an issue, and I wasn't getting tips anyway. Any waiters care to confirm or deny this?

It makes sense by analogy with commission retail -- when I was commission at Sears there was a "draw" figure, which was effectively a floor payrate.

On the other hand, there are jobs in which the person up front is viewed as more or less an independent vendor. I recall that some waiters (high-end New York steak houses) actually pay the restaurant, rather like a store paying rent to the mall, and I believe that is also the case with some beauticians.

[ Parent ]

read my other post (4.00 / 2) (#171)
by Suppafly on Thu May 08, 2003 at 06:25:34 PM EST

http://www.kuro5hin.org/comments/2003/5/7/9640/56423/100#100
---
Playstation Sucks.
[ Parent ]
That would seem to cover the employee (3.00 / 1) (#181)
by davidduncanscott on Fri May 09, 2003 at 12:11:54 AM EST

but what about the "semi-independent contractor"? Anybody here dealt with that environment, like beauticians who are, in effect, renting a booth?

I guess "W2" is the precise indicator here.

[ Parent ]

re: side note (4.00 / 2) (#160)
by ethereal on Thu May 08, 2003 at 01:50:35 PM EST

People weren't as particular about how to spell things back then, though.

It's a damn poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word!
-- Andrew Jackson

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

the reason is simple... (3.40 / 5) (#16)
by Run4YourLives on Wed May 07, 2003 at 11:18:58 AM EST

tipping has become so customary that waiters/waitresses (calling them servers is stupid) expect a tip of 15% if service is considered adequate.

How can a customer expect good service if waiters expect tip for average service?

It's come to the point now that I always tip unless the service is exceptionally bad. (slow food delivery/rudeness and my personal favourite, waiting forever for the bill...grrr.

And before any of you waiters/waitresses get set to bitch, be glad I tip at all, since my experience with good/bad service is about 50/50.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown

I for one... (4.66 / 6) (#24)
by Sairon on Wed May 07, 2003 at 12:33:29 PM EST

don't expect anything, really. There have been times when my service wasn't exceptional, and I didn't accept the tip. There have also been times, whether within my control or not, food was slow or cold or what have you. I've bought customers a few meals. I think a good way to simplify things would be to get rid of the minimum wage altogether and continue the trend of tipping in food service.

And on a personal note, I'm sorry you've had such a mixed experience with waitstaff. I'd like to say that this is somehow untrue, but I know how my coworkers are. I know I've had bad days. Simply don't tip for bad service. No one says you have to. There are alot of people who don't tip for good service. Oh, and if you are ever in the Pittsburgh area, e-mail me: johhny(underscore)e(at)yahoo(dot)com. I'll give you directions to my restraunt and make sure you get taken care of. :)

Jared

[ Parent ]

Lots of people say you have to (3.33 / 3) (#87)
by dipierro on Wed May 07, 2003 at 07:41:44 PM EST

Simply don't tip for bad service. No one says you have to.

Actually, lots of people say you have to. If it wouldn't make me look bad in front of others, I think I'd subtract 15% from all my tips and donate the money to some charity which helps out food service workers.

But then I'd look cheap in front of others, would be embarrassed, and have to double check for human waste in my food products. So it's 15% minimum for me.



[ Parent ]
Flawed reasoning (4.72 / 11) (#18)
by NoBeardPete on Wed May 07, 2003 at 11:49:22 AM EST

You have a bit of a flaw in your reasoning here. The claim made in this study is that tips are perhaps too uniform at restaurants, and this causes them to be a weak incentive towards better service. The solution to this is to make tips less uniform, not to make them smaller.

Assume everyone went with your suggestion, and only tipped for exceptional service. Suppose I'm a waiter, and on some particular day, I'm not up to providing exceptional service. I could still provide either bad service or decent service. Tipping now provides no extra incentive for me to give decent service instead of bad service.

On the other hand, if everyone uses a system where actively bad service gets no tip, decent service a small tip, and good service a large tip, the incentives will work across the board. No matter what level of service a waiter is providing, he can get a bigger tip by doing a little bit more, so he always has an incentive to improve.


Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!

Less uniform tips (4.00 / 3) (#22)
by DesiredUsername on Wed May 07, 2003 at 12:31:32 PM EST

I didn't suggest tipping only for exceptional service. I said "let tips normalize with respect to service", which is exactly what you are saying here.

This requires two changes. 1) Increase in base pay. 2) Elimination of the "you must tip 15-20% no matter what" meme.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]

Why does it require those two changes? (4.00 / 2) (#30)
by NoBeardPete on Wed May 07, 2003 at 12:57:34 PM EST

I guess I was more concerned with your suggestion to make tipping more rare. For tipping to work as an incentive system towards good service, rarity isn't going to help.

If the center of the tipping spectrum remained at 15%, but the variation in tips increased in relation to the variation in service, no increase in the base pay would be needed. If you increase the base pay and lower the tips, you're only making the waiter's income depend less on the customer's satisfaction, which will decrease the potential strength of the incentive system.

I guess I just don't see the relationship between making the size of the tip more proportional to the quality of service and your two changes.


Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!
[ Parent ]

"If" (5.00 / 2) (#37)
by DesiredUsername on Wed May 07, 2003 at 01:27:03 PM EST

If the center of the tipping spectrum remained at 15%...

Why would it do that? If I was free to tip however I wanted, I would give an amount that corresponded to how much I valued the service. So would everyone else. "15%" is a totally arbitrary number and is unlikely to be the average across all diners and all dining events. Once we stop thinking of that 15% as being "earned" my guess is that it will trend downwards.

As for rare: Maybe "rare" is the wrong word to use, but there will definitely be fewer tips being given out. Right now, some people punish bad service by "only" giving a 10% tip. That nonsense would end under my system and bad service would get what it deserves: no tip (or worse, a complaint).

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]

Right (4.33 / 3) (#39)
by NoBeardPete on Wed May 07, 2003 at 01:53:26 PM EST

Look, there's no particular reason that 15% is a good, standard amount to tip. We could move to a system where waitstaff are unpaid by their employers, and only recieve tips, possibly averaging in the 30% range. This would provide them with a maximum incentive to provide good service. It would probably also be stressful, as their income would be subject to larger variations from week to week. We could move to a system where waitstaff get no tips, and recieve a larger, flat pay from their employers. This provides them with minimal incentive to provide good service - as long as their customers neither complain to the management nor sing the praises of the wonderful service, there is no relationship between the level of service and their pay.

As long as we're supposing we can redesign social customs here, we should also consider variation in tipping. If waiters make about minimum wage, and tips average 10%, but tips have a high variability (commonly ranging from nothing to 25% depending on service), the result may be the same as no pay, and 30% average tips with low variability. The important thing is the spread - how much higher or lower will the waiter's income be if he provides better or worse service.

As nearly as I can tell, you are proposing the following. The level of flat pay should increase some, the variability in tips should go up a lot, and the amount of tips should drop a bit. This is a fine proposal, but I don't think you should present it as the only logical solution. I don't think it's functionally much different than leaving the average tip size the way it is, and increasing the variability in tips by a lesser amount than under your proposal.


Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!
[ Parent ]

Functional difference (5.00 / 2) (#41)
by DesiredUsername on Wed May 07, 2003 at 02:10:09 PM EST

The variability of tips has to include $0, otherwise we'd have the same situation that we have now but to a lesser extent. Not to mention the fact that to maximize the information exchange (re: service quality) we need to make sure that the entire tip is expressing an opinion about the service and that no part of it is a "default amount".

I don't think my article makes any specific claims (anymore) about how much is a fair wage or a good tip, so other than the above I don't know how you can be making arguments about exact amounts by which we should change the system.

The biggest point to me is that we all agree the system is flawed and a better one is possible.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]

Oh, I see what set you off (4.50 / 2) (#42)
by DesiredUsername on Wed May 07, 2003 at 02:29:10 PM EST

I've re-read my article and now I see my "make tipping more rare" comment. Unfortunately this is already in voting so I can't clear up my thinking there.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
Also (4.00 / 2) (#44)
by NoBeardPete on Wed May 07, 2003 at 02:45:07 PM EST

You also seem to be tying a good idea (have tips convey more information to servers by increasing their variability, thus increasing the strength of the incentive to provide better service) with other, irrelevent ideas (increase the wage the waiters make). I don't really see the connection.


Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!
[ Parent ]

There is no mathematical connection (4.75 / 4) (#47)
by DesiredUsername on Wed May 07, 2003 at 02:52:25 PM EST

The concepts are linked in law. The only reason it's legal to pay servers less than minimum wage is that they get tips to supplement their income. My point here is that they should be just like any other employee, with maybe an optional tip situation added on top for those that like that kind of thing.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
Doesn't work that way though (2.50 / 2) (#85)
by dipierro on Wed May 07, 2003 at 07:30:30 PM EST

Right now, some people punish bad service by "only" giving a 10% tip. That nonsense would end under my system and bad service would get what it deserves: no tip (or worse, a complaint).

But that's where your system would only make the situation worse. Without a 15% base for average service, bad service could not be distinguished from average service, because both would get 0% in your system.



[ Parent ]
That's bad logic (4.00 / 2) (#74)
by rantweasel on Wed May 07, 2003 at 06:17:05 PM EST

I think what you meant to say was

tip badly for bad service - 5%

tip normal for average service - 15%

tip well for good service - 20%

Because there is no "you must tip 15%" meme - it's a "you must tip your server if they served you well, tip them badly if they served you badly, and tip them okay if they served you okay" meme.  It's just like the left lane on the highway.  Just because Joe BadDriver calls it the fast lane doesn't make it so - it's the passing lane and that's that.  Tip according to the service you got, with a 5/15/20 notion or so.

mathias

[ Parent ]

Uhh? (2.00 / 1) (#78)
by jmzero on Wed May 07, 2003 at 06:52:08 PM EST

That's great, until the client you're eating with thinks you're awful because he used to work as a waiter and that 5% tip you gave isn't going to feed his family because the waiters don't get paid anything because they rely on tips, blah, blah, blah.

Because there is no "you must tip 15%" meme

Uhhh..  Yes there is, and it's actually rather pervasive.  I noticed it much less in England, but the 15% base tip has been pretty well established anywhere I've been in US/Canada.

.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Base tip! BASE! (4.00 / 1) (#95)
by rantweasel on Wed May 07, 2003 at 09:19:07 PM EST

Work from there.  When one may need to save face, ask for the opinion of the others at the table, for instance "Gee, that waiter took forever getting us our drinks and then he attacked us with a pack of rabid weasels, do you think he deserves 15%?"  I do this all the time with other ex-waitstaff at the table (for tips over and under 15%), and nobody has ever gotten offended.

mathias

[ Parent ]

Weasels (3.50 / 2) (#131)
by ZorbaTHut on Thu May 08, 2003 at 06:28:35 AM EST

". . . and then he attacked us with a pack of rabid weasels, do you think he deserves 15%?"  I do this all the time . . .

I think you need to find better restaurants to eat at :P

[ Parent ]

Rabid weasels (none / 0) (#159)
by desiderata on Thu May 08, 2003 at 01:35:16 PM EST

It's not his fault you didn't like the appetizer...

[ Parent ]
But I ordered the surly goat on toast! (n/t) (none / 0) (#172)
by rantweasel on Thu May 08, 2003 at 06:41:13 PM EST



[ Parent ]
I might do that... (4.00 / 1) (#141)
by jmzero on Thu May 08, 2003 at 10:20:43 AM EST

If I was out eating with friends.  I'm not going to try that with 3 clients, 2 of whom I've never met before.  In any case, the only way it would work would be if the service really was atrocious - which it almost never is.  

In the end, it's often like DU says - you tip 15% for a minimum level of service because you're hand is forced, and you tip 15% for pretty good service because 15% is already a fair amount of money.  

As I've said other places, I've likely eaten out 1000 times in my life - mostly in the last 3 years.  Your plan of "evaluating server quality and giving a tip based on that" is something I see very rarely, and something that would offend a large number of the people I eat with.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Hmmmm (none / 0) (#173)
by rantweasel on Thu May 08, 2003 at 06:50:24 PM EST

Well, I've never been in that situation, so I'm not sure of the proper taking clients to lunch protocol.  I still think that it does work fine, and smallowing the extra couple of dollars is not that big a deal for better service.  Someone else mentioned that saying something, either to the server or the manager, in addition to leaving a larger tip, is a good idea, and I agree.  If you're taking clients out for food as often as you are, I'm guessing you've got a few regular places?  If that's the case, while you might not be able to do as much to deal with bad service, you can certainly get better service after a few visits.  Belive me, servers notice when a regular who tips well walks in.

mathias

[ Parent ]

You're weak minded. (none / 0) (#213)
by RadiantMatrix on Sat May 10, 2003 at 11:53:04 AM EST

In the end, it's often like DU says - you tip 15% for a minimum level of service because you're hand is forced,
Unless someone is putting a weapon to your genitals, your hand is hardly forced. If you believe that the service was poor enough to tip less than 15%, have the testicular fortitude to do so.

Instead, you want to change an entire (functional) system so that you don't have to feel guilty about doing what you feel is right. Here's a thought -- how about giving less of a fuck about what other people think of you? And don't hand me the "but they're clients" line either: if you can't be yourself with your clients, then you need another line of work.

----------
I don't like spam - Parent ]

Tips for those making over minimum wage (4.00 / 1) (#189)
by mcgrew on Fri May 09, 2003 at 07:42:32 PM EST

I don't get tips, why should you? I do my fucking job! Besides a waitress, who gets less than the minimum wage (who I do tip), why in th ehell should I tip? It's extortion!

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

TIP is an acronym (2.80 / 10) (#29)
by UltraNurd on Wed May 07, 2003 at 12:51:54 PM EST

TIP, like POSH, started as an acronym that shifted into general usage as a regular word. It stands for "To Insure Promptness", and I wish it were still the case that that was the point, as opposed to the expected 15% tip. My understanding is that we can't really go back, because employers like restaurants pay below minimum wage because the expected tips more than make up the difference.

I will definitely avoid a service where tipping is expected if I can do it myself. I was surprised to learn that skycaps at airports expect tipping: as far as I can tell, their job is no different from the people behind the counter inside the terminal, except that their counter is at curbside! I think I can carry my bags the extra hundred feet or so to the indoor e-ticket counter to save a few bucks.

There are also a few service positions that really freak me out. Take bathroom attendants for example: I was at a fancy restaurant for Thanksgiving last year, and the attendant turns the water on and off for you, squirts soap on your hand, towels your hands off, and then offers you assorted hygiene products. Very scary. I guess I have to draw a line somewhere between what I will always do myself and what I'd let someone else do for me.

On a slightly related rant, if you're going to be in the service industry and need to regularly interact with customers, I expect either you to have an acceptable command of the English language, or your employer to be in the process of providing second-language training. I know English isn't the official language of the US, and that there are some cases where it wouldn't make much sense (and I wouldn't expect it), like at an ethnic restaurant. If you're trying to sell me something over the phone, it might be helpful if I could understand your sales pitch so I could know when to hang up on you ;o).

--
"Your Mint Mountain Dew idea is hideous and wrong."
-Hide The Hamster

Origin of "tip" and "posh". (4.57 / 7) (#36)
by Kyle on Wed May 07, 2003 at 01:26:03 PM EST

The Straight Dope is a good source of information on this and other subjects. The article to answer the question "What's the origin of the 'F' word?" says:

This passion for preposterous acronyms seems to be peculiar to Anglo-Americans, and some believe it started around World War I, about the same time many acronyms began popping up in government. Others I've come across include P.O.S.H. ("port outward, starboard home"), said to have been stamped on the tickets of first class passengers on India-bound British ships who wanted their cabins on the shady side of the boat during the passage through the tropics; C.O.P. ("constable on patrol"); and T.I.P. ("to insure promptness"). All are rubbish.

The emphasis is mine.

[ Parent ]

Origins (4.00 / 1) (#96)
by EvilGwyn on Wed May 07, 2003 at 09:53:04 PM EST

The word "Cop" comes from the latin Capere, meaning "to capture". As in, "that's a fair cop".

[ Parent ]
Copper? (3.50 / 2) (#102)
by bigdavex on Wed May 07, 2003 at 11:49:39 PM EST

Merriam-Webster says it's short for copper.

[ Parent ]
I trust the OED. (none / 0) (#209)
by vectro on Sat May 10, 2003 at 05:02:51 AM EST

The OED says that cop as a policeman is probably adapted from either cop as a capture (e.g., "cop a feel"), which in turn might be a mispronunciation of cap, from French caper, to sieze.

Much of etymology seems to be of the form "this word looks like that word, so they're probably related".

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

And to think that I trusted a Newbery winner... (3.50 / 2) (#112)
by UltraNurd on Thu May 08, 2003 at 01:02:28 AM EST

I got it out of The View From Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg. It's a book about a quiz bowl team, and this was one of the trivia tidbits featured.

Never heard the cop one...

On the other hand, from what I learned in Intro to Linguistics, if enough people use something in a language, then it's true. So if enough people say that tip once stood for "to insure promptness", then for all intents and purposes, it did, facts be damned. I always hated this idea, because it goes against my thoughts on having a set grammar. Oh well.

--
"Your Mint Mountain Dew idea is hideous and wrong."
-Hide The Hamster
[ Parent ]

On linguistics: (5.00 / 2) (#182)
by Locando on Fri May 09, 2003 at 12:31:19 AM EST

Uh, no. If enough people use a word in a certain way, then they can change the definition, so maybe 'tip' could take on that meaning. Same thing goes with masses altering grammar. But what we're talking about here is etymology. You can't change history.

People are strange.
[ Parent ]
history can change (2.00 / 1) (#214)
by UltraNurd on Sat May 10, 2003 at 06:41:37 PM EST

What actually happened can't changeof course, but the interpretation of events definitely can, and has in the past. It seems to me that if enough people believe a certain origin, then it is effectively true. I don't like it either.

--
"Your Mint Mountain Dew idea is hideous and wrong."
-Hide The Hamster
[ Parent ]

OED on 'tip' (none / 0) (#208)
by vectro on Sat May 10, 2003 at 04:58:46 AM EST

The OED says that tip as gratuity has "obscure" origin, possibly related to tip as a light touching.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
Origin of tipping is HAT tipping [n/t] (4.00 / 1) (#119)
by gnovos on Thu May 08, 2003 at 03:26:48 AM EST



A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
I never looked at individual tips (4.33 / 6) (#38)
by lorcha on Wed May 07, 2003 at 01:41:00 PM EST

When I waited tables, which I did for about four years, I gave up on looking at individual tips for this very reason. I found that there are people who tip generously no matter what and that there are people who don't tip at all no matter what. So what good is it to look at an individual tip? It only added stress to an already extremely stressful job.

On the other hand, I did calculate my average tip percentage at the end of the night to guage my performance. Other servers did the same thing and we found some interesting things to be the case. First, on average, the male waiters (there weren't very many of us) consistantly received better tips than the female servers. Second, customers tend to tip better at dinner than at lunch and better at lunch than at breakfast, but best of all late at night when the drunk people had no idea how much money they were leaving. Third, kids (HS, Jr. High, college) hardly tip at all.

My favorite was when people ordered salad bar because it was expensive and I didn't have to do shit except take away plates whenever I had nothing better to do.

But I never bothered to look at individual tips. They were dependant on too many things other than my serving talent or lack thereof.

--
צדק--אין ערבים, אין פיגועים

I hate that stereotype (4.16 / 6) (#46)
by nosilA on Wed May 07, 2003 at 02:52:01 PM EST

About college kids not leaving good tips.  I realize it's probably true in many cases, but I've seen plenty of cheap professional bastards too.  When I was in college (a few years ago), a fairly large group of friends would regularly go out to dinner.  We were usually a loud group and required a lot of drink refills.  Plus, the server obviously has to remember a lot more with 8 people than they do with 2.  So in return, we generally tipped 25% or so.  The places we frequented recognized us and were very nice (and knew better than to put the "recommended" 16% percent tip on the bill, because that's all they would get).  However, at new places we generally got very poor service.  We generally still left decent tips at these places as an example... let's face it, the difference between a lousy tip and a great tip is $1/person.  It's not that big of a deal.  So anyway, it was frustrating to get bad service from people expecting us to be bad tippers.

</rant>

-Alison
Vote to Abstain!
[ Parent ]

$1 per person (4.00 / 1) (#218)
by lorcha on Sun May 11, 2003 at 12:00:25 AM EST

let's face it, the difference between a lousy tip and a great tip is $1/person
$1 per person x every hs/college student table you get over the course of your waiting lifetime. I agree that not all students stiff waiters, but that is the proverbial exception to the proverbial rule.

When I had (I don't wait tables anymore) 5 other tables of adult, tipping customers, there was just no reason to bother myself with those who were unlikely to tip, anyhow.

--
צדק--אין ערבים, אין פיגועים
[ Parent ]

so what's your point? (1.25 / 8) (#40)
by circletimessquare on Wed May 07, 2003 at 01:55:11 PM EST

we shouldn't tip? to suggest that would just make you an asshole

or, you have no point, you just want to fill the queue with witty banter?

newsflash: having children really sucks financially

and...

so what?

same feeling reading your submission

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Read about this years ago. (4.25 / 4) (#43)
by Kyle on Wed May 07, 2003 at 02:31:59 PM EST

I remember reading something a long time ago that talked about strategies for getting more money from tips. They tried:

  • Buttering up the customer (compliments, making friendly).
  • Urging the customer toward costlier orders (to increase their bill).
  • Sympathy (tell the customer a sob story about a sick grandma, junior's college fund, or whatever).
  • Serve faster (thusly serving more customers and getting more tips of whatever value).

The only thing that actually brought in more money was to serve customers faster. Take the order as soon as possible, deliver fast, get them the bill ASAP, and clear the table for the next customer before they're even done paying.

I roomed once with a guy who delivered pizzas. As an avid pizza delivery customer, I asked him how he felt about tips. He told me that it didn't matter to him if an individual customer tipped or not. Over the course of an evening he always got about the same ammount of money when they were all put together regardless of what any one person did.

Fast service (3.00 / 2) (#75)
by jmzero on Wed May 07, 2003 at 06:19:52 PM EST

For me, and a lot of people I know who eat out regularly (as in, at least one tipping meal per day), fast service and brevity are easily the most important factors in assessing service quality.  

Also, even after talking about service quality with whoever I'm eathing with, it's very rare that I put any thought whatsoever into the tip.  Usually it will come out to around 15%, but I tend to go for even dollar figures.  Only exceptional, once-a-year kind of service (either bad or good) will shake me from this.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

That explains something (3.50 / 2) (#98)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Wed May 07, 2003 at 10:26:07 PM EST

When I was in Europe, I came to realize that the servers were a lot slower about bringing the bill. I usually had ask them to bring it because they seemed as though they would never do so on their own. Sometimes it was nice; like out with friends, we had time to relax, forget that we were eating out, laugh, chat, order a bit more, and all that. But it was also annoying sometimes when I wanted to get moving.

I suppose it was all a throughput issue. In the U.S. servers want it high. There, they don't care.



[ Parent ]

Actually, its customary to ask (5.00 / 1) (#166)
by aralin on Thu May 08, 2003 at 04:28:04 PM EST

Its customary in Europe to ask for a bill. It used to belong to good manners of every waiter to be ready, but wait till the customer asks for the bill worldwide. Unfortunately, the US is too rush in everything.

[ Parent ]
OK, it may be customary... (none / 0) (#206)
by nairobiny on Sat May 10, 2003 at 03:46:37 AM EST

But need it be mandatory?

I've been in so many restaurants where the waiter asks if I want dessert or coffee - "No, thank you" - and then disappears for about 3 hours! Why should I have to beg them to bring me the bill, when it's their lousy establishment that wants me to pay it? If I don't want dessert or coffee, what else do I want... a hand job and a crack pipe?

A good waiter/ress will take notice of my desire to leave and ask if they can leave the bill. And they'll get a better tip in the process.

[ Parent ]
I think the idea is... (none / 0) (#207)
by vectro on Sat May 10, 2003 at 04:48:12 AM EST

... you don't want anything right now, but you're not ready to leave --- so they leave the tab open, in case you want to order something else. When you're ready to go you'll ask for the bill.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
relax! (none / 0) (#223)
by treat on Sun May 11, 2003 at 10:11:10 PM EST

I've been in so many restaurants where the waiter asks if I want dessert or coffee - "No, thank you" - and then disappears for about 3 hours! Why should I have to beg them to bring me the bill

People in Europe in general aren't in any big rush and don't mind hanging out in a bar or coffee shop or restaurant all day. A New Yorker visiting the South(ern US) might be surprised at how slow the pace is. But in Europe, there is no pace at all. Everyone's just hanging out having a good time.

[ Parent ]

Rude behaviour (5.00 / 1) (#230)
by borderline on Mon May 12, 2003 at 01:46:23 PM EST

So you wonder why you have to ask them for the bill. Probably because they do not want to insult you by implying that they would like you to leave. You yourself have the honour of deciding when you would like to leave their lousy establishment.

[ Parent ]
hmm (5.00 / 1) (#105)
by DrSbaitso on Thu May 08, 2003 at 12:21:04 AM EST

as a waiter with experience, i agree with the logic of your post - you do about the same regardless because most people don't vary their tip based on service (except on the lowest extreme, e.g. is verbally abusive/rude) and are either generous, normal, or in college (cheap :). However, i don't agree with its conclusion.

first, any competent waiter is already serving basically as fast as he can. delays are caused by customers who dither when taking orders, food not being prepared quickly enough, customers taking a while to eat, etc. in my experience, 95% of the time a meal came out slow it was the kitchen's fault, not the waiter's, yet often the waiter got screwed as a result.

second, good service should mean that the customer is only asked to order when he is ready, is never given the check until he asks, and is given ample time for everyone to finish before moving on to the next course. the goal of good service is not to rush people in and out but to provide a pleasant and relaxing dining experience. so i have no problem with acting on your deductions (which are sound) if you work as a pizza deliverer, but waiters shouldn't have to do that to earn higher tips. oh well.

Aeroflot Airlines: You Have Made the Right Choice!
---Advertising slogan for the only airline in the USSR
[ Parent ]

but then.. (3.00 / 1) (#125)
by the sixth replicant on Thu May 08, 2003 at 04:33:42 AM EST

...if you don't make minimum wage your employer has to pay the difference to make up for minimum wage and he's screwed and, then, you can say why. Isn't that how it's meant to work?

[ Parent ]
As a customer (4.00 / 1) (#142)
by wurp on Thu May 08, 2003 at 10:29:22 AM EST

I disagree with your notion of good service.  What I want is for the waitstaff to:
   * bring me menus essentially immediately and ask if I'm ready to order my drinks.
   * bring my drinks ASAP.
   * come ask if we're ready to order basically as soon as we put our menus down.
   * bring our food when it's available.  I recognize that usually the biggest part of the wait on the food is the preparation time.
   * bring my check basically as soon as I'm done eating.

Of course, I have young children so a long, slow dining experience is absolutely not relaxing.  However, even without the kids, I hate having to ask for my check, unless the waitperson is obviously available most of the time.
---
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]

kids (none / 0) (#146)
by eudas on Thu May 08, 2003 at 11:43:59 AM EST

bringing kids into the equation opens up a whole new can of forms.

but, speaking as a fellow diner, i hope that you train your kids well with discipline so that they don't misbehave in public, throw fits, yell and scream, etc.

if you do, i salute you.

eudas
"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]

Tough Stand on a Tough Issue (4.11 / 9) (#45)
by Mr Badger on Wed May 07, 2003 at 02:51:16 PM EST

Way to blow the lid off this whole tipping scam, Mr. Pink.

I'm all for raising the wages of waiters and similar service industry workers. And the moment their wages are raised, I will start getting more stingy with my tips. Until such time, not tipping is a pretty lousy thing to do.

You know they don't get paid crap. You know this to be true, if not right. Choosing not to tip does not send a message to the owners, it does not send a message to lawmakers in charge of labor regulations. All it does is screw some hard working man or woman out of a few bucks.


The same argument (4.20 / 5) (#49)
by DesiredUsername on Wed May 07, 2003 at 03:02:56 PM EST

can be made for telemarketers. In my view, employees have made choices. In the case of telemarketers this means they "personally" (in their work personas) have to take the heat for their company's public activity. In the case of servers it means that they have to get their company to pay a fair wage when customers no longer play along.

When IBM lays off workers right before Xmas, I don't send presents even though they were "hard working men and women". How are servers any different?

The reason wages are not being raised is that a semi-plausible argument can be made that it isn't needed. My feeling is that the argument needs to be invalidated before change will be effected.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]

Tips cont. (4.50 / 2) (#57)
by Mr Badger on Wed May 07, 2003 at 03:43:43 PM EST

First, I apologize for the smart ass remarks in the previous comment. It was rude.

Basically, I see that it works like this: the tip is not some add on. Restaurants, especially small restaurants need the reduced overhead. The ability to depend on tips keeps both the owners and the wait staff in business. Tipping is part of the consumer cost of going to a restaurant. If you don't want to do it, you shouldn't go to restaurants.


[ Parent ]

How do tips reduce overhead? (3.50 / 2) (#64)
by DesiredUsername on Wed May 07, 2003 at 04:41:13 PM EST

nt

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
salaroes (none / 0) (#76)
by eudas on Wed May 07, 2003 at 06:22:50 PM EST

allows them a thinner margin for their operating budgets due to not having to pay waitstaff as much, i suppose.

i believe that is what mr badger was trying to say; i'm not sure how true it really is though.

eudas
"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]

What I mean is (4.50 / 2) (#80)
by DesiredUsername on Wed May 07, 2003 at 07:05:10 PM EST

How are tips mathematically different than raising your menu prices by however much you increase wages?

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
You don't have to pay sales tax on tips n/t (3.00 / 1) (#83)
by dipierro on Wed May 07, 2003 at 07:16:11 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Oh yeah (3.00 / 1) (#88)
by dipierro on Wed May 07, 2003 at 07:44:54 PM EST

Another reason is because if the place raised prices, the cheap people who don't tip wouldn't go there. So the resturant would make less money.

[ Parent ]
Where would they go? (5.00 / 1) (#118)
by gnovos on Thu May 08, 2003 at 03:23:55 AM EST

If every place has to raise prices equally, it's not like they are all going to fly to myanmar to get a cheap meal, right?  

And if those resturants fail, so be it.  I could make a great PROFITBALE business if I could use slaves, but would you then cry for me that my business is failing once slavery is outlawed?

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]

To the supermarket (none / 0) (#151)
by dipierro on Thu May 08, 2003 at 12:21:49 PM EST

To their fat guts, to their parents' house, to a fast food place, to the dining hall, etc. A basic economics 101 analysis will tell you that when prices go up, quantity demanded decreases.

I could make a great PROFITBALE business if I could use slaves, but would you then cry for me that my business is failing once slavery is outlawed?

What does this have to do with slavery? The proposal is that these workers get paid exactly the same, just that it comes from different places. Actually, under this proposal, due to the lessened price discrimination, these workers would make less.

Besides, the question asked was "How are tips mathematically different than raising your menu prices by however much you increase wages?" The question was not whether or not this is a good idea.



[ Parent ]
It has everything to do with exploitation (none / 0) (#158)
by gnovos on Thu May 08, 2003 at 01:29:20 PM EST

What does this have to do with slavery?

Slavery is exploitation, and so is paying your workers less than minimum wage and expecting your customers to be kind enough to tip them.  Why even pay them the $2.00 an hour?  Why not just have them work for free and arbitrarily say that the'll make up the rest on tips?

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]

I don't think it's exploitation (none / 0) (#164)
by dipierro on Thu May 08, 2003 at 03:11:27 PM EST

Slavery is exploitation, and so is paying your workers less than minimum wage and expecting your customers to be kind enough to tip them.

Respectfully, I disagree.

Why even pay them the $2.00 an hour? Why not just have them work for free and arbitrarily say that the'll make up the rest on tips?

Because that would be illegal. Otherwise, it's a perfectly fine arrangement, as far as I'm concerned.

Are volunteer EMTs being exploited, because they aren't paid minimum wage?

Even if it is exploitation, I don't think that exploitation, in and of itself, should be outlawed.



[ Parent ]
Why do I care... (2.83 / 6) (#51)
by Jennifer Ever on Wed May 07, 2003 at 03:29:47 PM EST

If they're not paid enough? Nobody is forcing them to work that job.

[ Parent ]
Couldn't Tell You (4.50 / 2) (#60)
by Mr Badger on Wed May 07, 2003 at 03:52:49 PM EST

If you don't care, you don't care and I can't convince you. The only question is why do you bother to make your lack of concern known to people who do care. What could I possibly say that will make you change your mind? Why even bother to start the thread? You've already ended it by saying you don't care.


[ Parent ]
Because his point might be... (4.00 / 1) (#71)
by pschap on Wed May 07, 2003 at 05:45:19 PM EST

...that you really shouldn't care either. That's a perfectly valid argument. Of course he made a lousy case for it.

--
"In 1991, we had almost nothing. We'd only begun building cocks. After just 10 years, we have a very robust, active cock."

[ Parent ]
Assuming their being underpaid (1.00 / 1) (#91)
by levesque on Wed May 07, 2003 at 08:10:28 PM EST

Assuming it's the highest paying job they can get

Assuming that quitting and taking a pay cut will further harm their health or the health of their family

In other words, assuming they are forced to work that job and do not have access to free market balancing forces like striking, do you still not care.

[ Parent ]

mr. pink (none / 0) (#72)
by eudas on Wed May 07, 2003 at 05:59:08 PM EST

it would appear that waitress are one of the many groups that the government fucks in the ass on a regular basis.

i'm in total agreement with mr. pink.

eudas
"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]

wrong. (4.00 / 1) (#104)
by Suppafly on Thu May 08, 2003 at 12:08:30 AM EST

You know they don't get paid crap. You know this to be true, if not right. Choosing not to tip does not send a message to the owners, it does not send a message to lawmakers in charge of labor regulations. All it does is screw some hard working man or woman out of a few bucks.

They make the same minimum wage everyone else that works in America is entitled to, so if you insist on tipping at resturants, don't forget to tip the kid that carries out your tv at bestbuy for minimum wage or the guy that assembles your bike at walmart.
---
Playstation Sucks.
[ Parent ]
You keep making that mistake (2.00 / 1) (#113)
by rantweasel on Thu May 08, 2003 at 01:04:21 AM EST

Tipped jobs have a lower minimum wage.  Two dollars and thirteen cents.  2.13 < 5.15  Tips are suppsed to make that 3.02 difference.

mathias

[ Parent ]

the mistake is yours (5.00 / 1) (#115)
by Suppafly on Thu May 08, 2003 at 03:04:12 AM EST

Tipped jobs have a lower minimum wage. Two dollars and thirteen cents. 2.13 <5.15 Tips are suppsed to make that 3.02 difference. <br>
What you fail to understand, along with many of the people posting here apparently, is that if the person doesn't make enough tips to make up for the $3 under the 'regular' minimum wage, their employer has to make it up, ensuring that they make atleast the 'regular' minimum wage of $5.15. Use google, or read my other post where I provide the link to the .gov site that explains it in pretty clear english.

---
Playstation Sucks.
[ Parent ]
I'm sure the exploited worker appreciate that (3.00 / 1) (#117)
by gnovos on Thu May 08, 2003 at 03:19:11 AM EST

Tipped jobs have a lower minimum wage.  Two dollars and thirteen cents.  2.13 < 5.15  Tips are suppsed to make that 3.02 difference.

So, basically, "tipping" is a scam that lets resturant owners get out of paying thier employees a living wage as the rest of the country is bound to do by law...  So, if that's ok, why isn't it also ok to have child factory workers who make $1.00 an hour, but will make up the extra $4.15 in "pity donations" that people will thow at them as they crawl thier way home through the mud?


A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]

Mandatory (3.50 / 4) (#48)
by nevertheless on Wed May 07, 2003 at 02:57:52 PM EST

While I, in theory, have no problem with mandatory tipping for a group, I do have an issue with other types of mandatory tipping.  For example, Marche, in the Pru, which, btw, has to be one of the worst places to eat EVAR, automatically ads 11% to your bill as a "service charge" or "courtesy fee" or some BS like that. This, for a place that is nothing more than a glorified cafeteria, completely self-serve. And the self-serve bill says they appreciate any additional tipping for your server. Server? There isn't even anyone to clear tables, let alone a server.

bah.

--
This whole "being at work" thing just isn't doing it for me. -- Phil the Canuck


That's equivalent to increasing prices by 11% (4.00 / 1) (#52)
by rujith on Wed May 07, 2003 at 03:34:13 PM EST

Marche, in the Pru, which, btw, has to be one of the worst places to eat EVAR, automatically ads 11% to your bill as a "service charge" or "courtesy fee" or some BS like that.

I agree that calling it a "courtesy fee" is BS, but, monetarily, it's exactly equivalent to their raising prices by 11%, which, I presume, you'd consider an unexceptionable business decision.

By the way, I love their pancakes! I don't go there for anything except dessert. - Rujith.

[ Parent ]

Yes (4.00 / 1) (#58)
by nevertheless on Wed May 07, 2003 at 03:47:33 PM EST

Their prices are already some of the highest around for some really awful food, so, yes, it is unacceptable. In fact I have. I no longer go there.

Their alfredo tastes like skim milk sauce. Bleah. And since you have to go fetch everything yourself, and have to stand on line for everything, it's all cold by the time you queue up for a table.

In Germany, they actually have some pretty decent coffee, but here TEH SUCK!!!11!

--
This whole "being at work" thing just isn't doing it for me. -- Phil the Canuck


[ Parent ]

How tipping can be the same as not tipping (4.36 / 11) (#53)
by splitpeasoup on Wed May 07, 2003 at 03:34:21 PM EST

To repeat myself:

You said tips should be eliminated and menu prices raised by 15%. (I tend to agree.)

Now here's the workaround: as the end user, you can still pretend, with perfect results, that menu prices have increased by 15% and tipping is eliminated. All you have to do is tip an exact 15%, every time, regardless of quality of service.

QED.

-SPS

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

ha (2.12 / 8) (#54)
by zzzeek on Wed May 07, 2003 at 03:36:51 PM EST

once again the "free market" fails again.

Tipping as a percentage (3.20 / 5) (#56)
by gibichung on Wed May 07, 2003 at 03:42:40 PM EST

Tipping really is part of the cost of a meal. That's why it's a percentage rather than a fixed amount.

So I'm less interested in the individual server than the restaurant itself. If the level of service is what I expect from the establishment, I'll give an "average" tip. If it's better, I'll tip more; if it's less, I'll still give an average tip, but I'll think twice about coming back.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt

I didn't see much there about repeat customers. (4.42 / 7) (#61)
by elenchos on Wed May 07, 2003 at 04:03:13 PM EST

The better establishments do a pretty good job (consciously or not) of discouraging the wrong kind of cutomers (bad tippers) from coming back. Those types end up gravitating towards the bland national or regional chains (The Olive Garden, The Red Robin) where a woefully inexperienced but highly regimented staff can give the non-tippers the kind of service they both deserve and are capable of appreciating. It's really a beautiful system and I hope very much that nothing changes.

A poor tipper might well get great service on one or more occasions, but in the long run they will be weeded out, whereas the good customers will, in the long run, be made to feel more welcome. It is this pattern that must be examined closely, not just a collection of individual visits to a restauraunt. This is very well known: few managers will mind losing money on one visit if it means ensuring a good customer will keep coming back.

Anyone who's worked anywhere near the service industry knows that the experienced staffers have larger (often much larger) incomes than novices; there is obviously an element of quality that is driving their income level, and this has to be coming from tips. Wages suck no matter how many years experience you have, so where else is their money coming from than from tips? It isn't that individual cases of good service are brining in tips, but that good service in the long run is bringing back the best cutomers, and inducing the cheapskates to keep shopping around.

Libertarianism: The belief that all you should get for your taxes are war and freeways. And maybe not the freeways.

Exactly. (4.71 / 14) (#63)
by Kasreyn on Wed May 07, 2003 at 04:20:33 PM EST

"...more familiar and precise tipping norms...create[s] social pressure that may simply overwhelm service considerations when consumers decide how much to tip restaurant waiters/waitresses."

I agree with the quote above. Social pressures DO prevent customers from taking ONLY the service into consideration when deciding on a tip. It should be a very rational process: I received this quality of service, which I should reward with this quality of tip. Instead there is this weird "standard" tip (as if there were standard service!), and people do their best to shame each other into giving it regardless of how crapola the service was. It's gotten to the point where I either don't tip, or always tip at 15%, because I hate the whole "shame on you" routine every asshole I meet goes into.

Personally, I think tipping is BS and restaurants should pay employees a living wage (even at the cost of raising prices). I've been a waiter before, and yes, it was thrilling when someone gave me a 50 dollar tip. It was also really fucking annoying when a huge party would leave no tip after I spent all night helping them. It's that randomness that I hate. When I was a waiter, I would have gladly accepted the abolishment of tipping and pay raise equal to only 10% of my customers' sales, because I would have been CERTAIN of the 10%, whereas I have no idea if I'd get the 15% or anything at all.

I think the thing I truly hate about tipping is the humiliation factor. I remember clearly feeling humiliated about accepting some random stranger's chump change because I did a good job refilling his drinks. It's fucking undignified, if you ask me, and companies use tipping as an excuse to get their patrons to pay part of their waiters' (effective) wage.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Why do we tip? (4.20 / 10) (#66)
by jjayson on Wed May 07, 2003 at 05:15:13 PM EST

I think you are being very selfish in your analysis. Primarily, we don't top to ensure service. If this was the case, then at all these little restraunts we stop at on a trip, we should never tip.

When we go into a restraunt in America that provides full service, we are partner to an implicit contract. The management pays the server less than minimum wage, the prices are lower than they could get away with carging, and we agree to fill in that hole. We get some leeway in awarding the salary of the employee, but that doesn't mean that it is entirely voluntary.

You can view this as entirely the employee's problem and not tip, but that's very selfish and rude. Or you can just accept the fact that not everything is explicit in this world, but just add 15% to all the prices in the menu to help your conscience.

_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

True, but... (4.00 / 1) (#86)
by nicebear on Wed May 07, 2003 at 07:37:31 PM EST

...many restaurants don't actually have lower prices. Tipping just seems like an excuse for the restaurant owner to pay lower wages and keep the difference.

Of course, this is no reason not to tip: If you want to protest against the system, boycott restaurants entirely, or try to find those that do pay their staff decent wages. Most people who don't tip are just cheap --- unless they've been subjected to really terrible service.



[ Parent ]

The article doesn't reflect (4.60 / 5) (#69)
by jubal3 on Wed May 07, 2003 at 05:26:40 PM EST

my tipping habits, nor of most former waiters I know.
I tip a hard and fast 10% of the check for "adequate" service, 15% for "good" service and 20-25% for "excellent" service.
When it's truly atrocious, I leave a dime, and sometinmes with a comment to the manager that the tip I left was intended to send a message, Not because I am cheap. Conversely, when I receive truly outstanding service, I make a point to not only tip big, but to mention it to the Manager and the waiter/waitress.
Crappy service should be its own punishment. If more people tipped like they meant it, we would get better service.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
I'm sure it depends (4.00 / 1) (#77)
by jmzero on Wed May 07, 2003 at 06:39:59 PM EST

On the situation.  

I've probably eaten out a thousand times in my life - usually on business and usually at lunch - with lots of different people and different situations.  I've seen a lot of bills go by, and wild swings in the quality of service.  My experience has been very much like that suggested by the article - disconnected 10-15% tipping.

However, I'm sure noon is a different deal than Friday night.  Likewise Le Froufron is a different deal than Olive Garden.  Personal funds are a lot different than expense account.  
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

If the service is horrible... (1.00 / 4) (#107)
by calvran on Thu May 08, 2003 at 12:44:02 AM EST

If you really want to leave a message, what you do is this : Take your glass of water, place the tip in the water. Put something flat like a plate or a coaster on top of the cup. Flip it over onto the table so that the glass of water is upside down with the tip inside. Then remove the coaster/plate so that the water is directly on the table. It's impossible to remove without making a mess, and really gets the point across.

[ Parent ]
What are you, in high school? (n/t) (4.33 / 3) (#110)
by jjayson on Thu May 08, 2003 at 12:50:22 AM EST


_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]
Yes, thank you. (n/t) (2.66 / 3) (#111)
by calvran on Thu May 08, 2003 at 12:56:07 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Grow up, you deadbeats (1.78 / 19) (#70)
by A Proud American on Wed May 07, 2003 at 05:43:46 PM EST

You're the same losers who post articles to Slashdot about how diamonds are a big conspiracy and that you're giving your future wife a Linux-fish car decal as an engagement ring.

Suck it up, leave a damn tip, and join the rest of us in this civilized society.

____________________________
The weak are killed and eaten...


Yeah.. (3.66 / 3) (#93)
by jjayson on Wed May 07, 2003 at 08:39:13 PM EST

Stupidest Slashdot Article Ever
_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]
Exactly! Tipping for everyone! (none / 0) (#163)
by mafeesh on Thu May 08, 2003 at 03:07:37 PM EST

You're absolutely right.  Everyone should get tipped.

In fact, tipping should replace wages entirely, so that even a Java programmer will be paid in tips by the client - not by his employer.

Yay score one for civilization!

[ Parent ]

Tipping == civilized? (none / 0) (#168)
by SoupIsGoodFood on Thu May 08, 2003 at 05:12:56 PM EST

In other civilized societies, we pay people properly in the first place.

[ Parent ]
Minimum wage for waitresses (3.00 / 3) (#73)
by hovik on Wed May 07, 2003 at 06:09:13 PM EST

How much is it?

It's the same... (4.00 / 1) (#81)
by dipierro on Wed May 07, 2003 at 07:07:14 PM EST

It's the same as for everyone else, but resturant owners can count tips as part of the pay.

[ Parent ]
Are you sure? (3.00 / 1) (#99)
by Riplakish on Wed May 07, 2003 at 10:59:59 PM EST

Wow,

It's been ages since I "officially" logged in, but I had to reply to this.

When I waited tables, and this was some time ago, a waiters hourly wage was $2.01 per hour plus tips.  Regular minimum wage was $4.55 at the time.

[ Parent ]

depends on the location... (3.00 / 1) (#101)
by ShadowNode on Wed May 07, 2003 at 11:31:37 PM EST

Like most labour laws do.

[ Parent ]
but.. (3.00 / 1) (#103)
by Suppafly on Wed May 07, 2003 at 11:51:28 PM EST

You're neglecting to mention the fact that even though the tipped employee minimum wage was $2.01, that if you didn't make enough tips to make atleast the 'regular' minimum wage, your employee had to make up the difference.
---
Playstation Sucks.
[ Parent ]
More specifically... (none / 0) (#152)
by dipierro on Thu May 08, 2003 at 12:37:16 PM EST

Exceptions to Minimum Wage - Tips
An employer of an employer who receives tips is required to pay $2.13 an hour in wages if that amount plus the tips received equals at least the federal minimum wage, the employee retains all tips and the employee customarily and regularly receives more than $30 a month in tips. If an employee's tips combined with the employer's direct wages of at least $2.13 an hour do not equal the federal minimum hourly wage, the employer must make up the difference.


[ Parent ]
How much is it for everyone else in the US ? [N/T] (2.00 / 1) (#130)
by hovik on Thu May 08, 2003 at 05:39:03 AM EST



[ Parent ]
$5.15 n/t (none / 0) (#175)
by zarqman on Thu May 08, 2003 at 07:20:22 PM EST


# cat .sig
cat: .sig: No such file or directory

[ Parent ]

At least you can avoid sales tax... (3.00 / 2) (#79)
by dipierro on Wed May 07, 2003 at 07:04:55 PM EST

If they raised the prices by 15%, then we'd have to pay sales tax on the whole thing.

So if you're running a resturant and decide to do away with tipping, please, do it by including a 15% mandatory gratuity charge.



It's a gratuity (3.50 / 4) (#82)
by epcraig on Wed May 07, 2003 at 07:15:39 PM EST

Tip what you wish.

Remember that few restaurants can afford to give their waiters a 40 hour week, mostly it's a part time job.

The IRS officially presumes that tips are 12% of any service worker's income, whether or not the local culture supports that level of tipping (and mostly, outside the City, it doesn't).


There is no EugeneFreeNet.org, there is an efn.org

Where did you hear that? (3.00 / 2) (#84)
by dipierro on Wed May 07, 2003 at 07:21:02 PM EST

It's 8%, and you don't have to declare it as long as you keep records of your actual tips.

[ Parent ]
um, yes you do have to declare it.. (4.00 / 1) (#229)
by mlybarger on Mon May 12, 2003 at 01:39:54 PM EST

according to the IRS, you _have_ to declare all income.  tips being rather challenging to keep track of, the irs has decided that if you declare at least 8% of your individual sales that you'll be ok.  

resturaunt servers are the biggest tax avoiders around. there's the occasional honest server, but most stick close to that 8%, rounded up to the next whole dollar or so.  as most servers are bringing in at least 16% of their sales in tips, this leaves about 1/2 their income untaxed!  no social security, no FICA, no state taxes, nothing.  i was a server for over 6 years and it was the best money that could be had at the time.  you've got people earning just under 30k who on paper are bringing in 15k.

i think software development (my current line of work) should be done on a tipping basis.  let's take that 2.35/hr wage and then somehow our managers can tip us extra for our services performed.  

[ Parent ]

You know... (3.00 / 4) (#90)
by drivers on Wed May 07, 2003 at 08:06:35 PM EST

This topic was already covered well in 3rd Rock from the Sun. Leave a pile of ones on the table and each time the waitor/waitress makes a mistake take a buck off the table. I don't think it worked out well though. Moral: don't rock the boat. (The lesson of any sitcom.)

"let us raise the wages...to a fair level (2.40 / 10) (#92)
by kurtmweber on Wed May 07, 2003 at 08:35:26 PM EST

What the hell?

You seem to be implying that wages are a matter of social policy rather than a private agreement between employer and employee.

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
Well, of course. (4.28 / 7) (#94)
by dcodea on Wed May 07, 2003 at 09:10:30 PM EST

We always intervene to correct market outcomes deemed socially unacceptable, such as abuse of monopoly power, pollution, and whatnot. It's up to the community to decide what is and isn't acceptable.

Who Dares Wins
[ Parent ]

Free Market (1.50 / 2) (#126)
by ComradeFork on Thu May 08, 2003 at 04:35:44 AM EST

What about in the case of a monopsony? Where does your free market leave you then?

[ Parent ]
Well, I'll tell you (5.00 / 1) (#240)
by kurtmweber on Sun May 18, 2003 at 05:18:47 PM EST

It leaves you with a case of "Too fucking bad"itis.

You see, you can't have everything exactly how you'd like it, at least not in this universe.

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
[ Parent ]

be informed.. (4.60 / 5) (#100)
by Suppafly on Wed May 07, 2003 at 11:27:07 PM EST

Those of you that say "but waiters only make $2 an hour, they need tips to survive" need to be informed on what the law actually says.

An employer of a tipped employee is only required to pay $2.13 an hour in direct wages if that amount plus the tips received equals at least the federal minimum wage, the employee retains all tips and the employee customarily and regularly receives more than $30 a month in tips. If an employee's tips combined with the employer's direct wages of at least $2.13 an hour do not equal the federal minimum hourly wage, the employer must make up the difference.

So, tip whatever you want, and be content in knowing that the waiter is making atleast the same amount of money as anyone else who works for minimum wage. Also, several states have minimum wage requirements that exceed those laid out by the federal government, and the higher amount is the one that matters, so no state can allow people to be paid below the federal minimum wage.

---
Playstation Sucks.
I wish I'd checked this out too (5.00 / 2) (#136)
by DesiredUsername on Thu May 08, 2003 at 08:30:29 AM EST

Would have made a great addition to the body of the article. To sum up then:

We don't tip because it makes the service better.
We don't tip as charity, because they are going to make at least minimum wage anyway.

So why DO we tip?

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]

So why do we tip? (none / 0) (#157)
by desiderata on Thu May 08, 2003 at 01:19:08 PM EST

...going to make at least minimum wage

As someone who worked in the hospitality industry while going to school, I can attest that serving food or liquor is not an unskilled occupation. There are jobs in the industry which require less skill than others, just as there are in any other sector. To withold a tip because they are going to make the minimum wage is an insult to those who have advanced beyond the "Would you like fries with that" stage. Let's say you are an enterprise Java developer - why should you make more than the Visual Basic code weenie - you're both programmers, right?

[ Parent ]

If you're better, demand a higher wage (none / 0) (#170)
by Shajenko on Thu May 08, 2003 at 05:36:53 PM EST

Your comparison between waiters and programmers is flawed. Programmers are paid entirely by their employers; they aren't paid directly by the customers of the company. The different programmers are paid differently because they negotiated with the employer for different wages.

[ Parent ]
Charity to the restaurant? (none / 0) (#180)
by davidduncanscott on Fri May 09, 2003 at 12:04:47 AM EST



[ Parent ]
I totally agree (2.33 / 3) (#108)
by CarryTheZero on Thu May 08, 2003 at 12:44:16 AM EST

Servers should get paid more, food should be more expensive to make up for it, and tipping should be completely optional.
However, until this is a reality, if you go to a restaurant you should be prepared to tip the standard amount. All arguments about how things should be aside, tipping in a restaurant is part of the implied social contract between yourself and the wait staff. Violating this contract to prove a point doesn't make you a courageous defender of your moral ideals, it makes you a dick.
If tipping is so repugnant to you that you can't bring yourself to do it, don't go to restaurants.
Pretty simple, right?

--
You said I'd wake up dead drunk / alone in the park / I called you a liar / but how right you were
iTunes users: want to download album artwork automatically? Now you can.
That's not the way you argue (4.66 / 3) (#116)
by gnovos on Thu May 08, 2003 at 03:07:14 AM EST

All arguments about how things should be aside, tipping in a restaurant is part of the implied social contract between yourself and the wait staff. Violating this contract to prove a point doesn't make you a courageous defender of your moral ideals, it makes you a dick.

That's not right.  Regardless of how you feel about tipping or not tipping, you are under no obligation to follow "implied social contracts".

If the "implied social contract" is that blacks sit at the back of the bus, does Rosa Parks make a dick out of herself for riding up front?

Or if that's putting too fine a point on it, lets just say that the "implied social contract" that patting the secraty on the booty is A-Ok, does that mean I'm a dick if I think it's demeaning (even if she enjoys the attention)?

Or more simply, it is NOT cutomary to tip your cashier or greeter, so does it make you a dick to violate that "implied" contract and give him/her a tip?

If somone feels that tipping is wrong, for whatever reason, they are under no obligation to pay.  Likewise, if somone feels that a tip is important, even if no tip is required, go for it.


A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]

Oh brother (none / 0) (#178)
by CarryTheZero on Thu May 08, 2003 at 09:21:38 PM EST

So now I'm a racist and a sexual harasser? Why not throw in "Nazi" for good measure?
Listen, the point is pretty simple. Restaurants expect that you will tip. This is reflected in the food prices and the pay rates for wait staff. If you go into a restaurant and order a meal with no intention of tipping, you are taking advantage of that social expectation in order to pay less for a meal. No, it's not illegal, but it is sneaky and cheap. In my book, that makes you a dick, and passing it off as a moral crusade makes you a hypocrite on top of that.

--
You said I'd wake up dead drunk / alone in the park / I called you a liar / but how right you were
iTunes users: want to download album artwork automatically? Now you can.
[ Parent ]
Contrariwise (5.00 / 1) (#192)
by DesiredUsername on Fri May 09, 2003 at 08:13:59 PM EST

We also have social expectations about calling people during dinnertime, accosting them on the street to solicit products and invading their privacy. When it is pointed out that these things are sneaky and underhanded of a corporation, the reply is that "their only function is to make money". If consumers can't fight fire with fire, what can they fight with?

I'm not conceding to your description of events and not that two wrongs make a right. The real problem with your response is the words "in order to" in this sentence: "...you are taking advantage of that social expectation in order to pay less for a meal. Please keep in mind that I'm advocating a system where I'd pay just as much, IF NOT MORE, than I do now.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]

Aaargh! (none / 0) (#194)
by CarryTheZero on Fri May 09, 2003 at 08:49:55 PM EST

Damn your obsessive checking of comments! I didn't want to continue this, but I couldn't resist replying to accusations that I want to make black people sit at the back of the bus.
Anyway, I'm all for the system you're advocating. I think it's a great idea. But I do think that not tipping now, with our current system, is a terrible idea. Honestly, the reason the language in my other comment is a little harsh is that I can't imagine that it applies to you, that is, I can't believe that you actually don't tip. I mean, you go out to eat with your wife, right? I can't imagine that she would let you get away with that.

--
You said I'd wake up dead drunk / alone in the park / I called you a liar / but how right you were
iTunes users: want to download album artwork automatically? Now you can.
[ Parent ]
Do I really tip? (none / 0) (#195)
by DesiredUsername on Fri May 09, 2003 at 08:56:16 PM EST

When I'm out with Mrs U, she pays (I haven't written a check in probably 5 years). So she can do what she wants, which is tip (she's like you, she thinks the system is stupid but plays along). I haven't been out by myself in quite a while (2 years?) but when I was I didn't tip.

This is mostly irrelevant, but I never noticed an unacceptable decline in service, either. If the servers are happy that I'm being sufficiently punished, I'm happy continuing to "stiff" them.

In any case, if you agree the system needs changing, how do you think that will come about unless you just stop tipping? Or are you fatalistically thinking that "as it was and is, so shall it ever be"?

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]

Hrm (none / 0) (#196)
by CarryTheZero on Fri May 09, 2003 at 09:17:28 PM EST

How would I solve the problem? Maybe by lobbying for an increase in the minimum wage, and an end to the minimum wage exemption for servers. Or by approaching restaurant owners and asking them to change their policy. (As far as I know some very fancy restaurants do ask that you don't tip the wait staff, because if the wait staff are allowed to accept tips they end up making more than the chefs.) Or by opening my own restaurant and implementing your new system. There's lots of possible ways to change "the system" without stiffing some unsuspecting waiter.
Irrelevant response to your irrelevant comment: maybe you didn't go back there enough for them to remember you. After all, they don't know ahead of time that you're going to stiff them.

--
You said I'd wake up dead drunk / alone in the park / I called you a liar / but how right you were
iTunes users: want to download album artwork automatically? Now you can.
[ Parent ]
Methods and recognition (none / 0) (#198)
by DesiredUsername on Fri May 09, 2003 at 10:08:06 PM EST

Since I wrote this story I have thought about leaving behind a little card explaining the lack of a tip to help spread the message (though I don't eat out often enough to make it worthwhile, really). However, I'd like to once again explain that I'm not "stiffing" anyone. This is not money they have earned that I'm keeping from them. It's up to me whether to tip or not and I choose not. If I tip just to keep up my end of a perceived social obligation, then I'm just making the problem worse, not better.

When a man pays for a date's dinner and she doesn't put out afterwards, is it, so to speaking, stiffing him? Should she do it anyway because he expected it and bought her dinner already? I'm not saying that sex is worth $5-$10, I'm just pointing out that not everyone feels the same obligations as everyone else and in any case other issues may trump.

For a while I was going out to the same restaurant several times a week. Except for a couple of occasions when I didn't get the extra mustard I asked for, I never had any service problems.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]

How about this? (none / 0) (#199)
by CarryTheZero on Sat May 10, 2003 at 12:00:33 AM EST

You let them know ahead of time (like when the server first brings you the menus) that, for personal reasons, you don't tip. That gives the restaurant the chance to ask you to leave, choose to serve you more slowly than the other customers, or whatever. This seems more honest to me than waiting till the end, when they've already invested a lot of effort with the expectation that you will tip them.
Re: "stiffing," I said above that:

Restaurants expect that you will tip. This is reflected in the food prices and the pay rates for wait staff. If you go into a restaurant and order a meal with no intention of tipping, you are taking advantage of that social expectation in order to pay less for a meal.

It's not a nearly universally accepted social custom for women to sleep with men in exchange for dinner (though I'm sure most men would prefer it that way), so I don't know if your "date" analogy really works.

--
You said I'd wake up dead drunk / alone in the park / I called you a liar / but how right you were
iTunes users: want to download album artwork automatically? Now you can.
[ Parent ]

Universal custom (none / 0) (#225)
by DesiredUsername on Mon May 12, 2003 at 12:45:07 PM EST

It's not a nearly universally accepted social custom for women to sleep with men in exchange for dinner...

I was never big on the dating scene, but I think that this was at one time a pretty big custom, at least in certain circles. See the bottom paragraphs here for the kind of circles I mean.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]

I was dubious (none / 0) (#227)
by CarryTheZero on Mon May 12, 2003 at 01:13:57 PM EST

But I asked my girlfriend, and she said that when men used to pay for everything, after three dates the woman was supposed to decide whether to sleep with the guy or stop seeing him. So I guess you're right, though I don't know that people would say she "stiffed" him if she broke it off after the third date. It was more that if she hadn't put out by then, the guy probably wouldn't call back.
Not being big on the dating scene either, all this is news to me.

--
You said I'd wake up dead drunk / alone in the park / I called you a liar / but how right you were
iTunes users: want to download album artwork automatically? Now you can.
[ Parent ]
Interesting (none / 0) (#228)
by DesiredUsername on Mon May 12, 2003 at 01:27:17 PM EST

This wasn't the custom I was thinking of. What if she breaks it off after the second date?

I remember a few (10?) years ago everybody was talking about how a woman didn't have to sleep with a man "just because he bought dinner". I distinctly remember some men making the case that they'd invested "so much" already and that they "deserved" to get something in return. This sounds a lot like waiters saying they "deserve" tips in return for employer-mandated adequate service.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]

Second date (none / 0) (#231)
by CarryTheZero on Mon May 12, 2003 at 02:01:36 PM EST

According to D., breaking it off after the second date was perfectly acceptable. I don't remember the debate you're talking about, but I think at the time I was less concerned with the finer points of dating etiquette and more concerned with cutting class and listening to Metallica. So that may have something to do with it.
D. did emphasize that at no point were you expected to sleep with a guy after being bought one dinner. I think her knowledge of the late 80's is mainly based on TV sitcoms, though, so you may want to take all this with a grain of salt.

--
You said I'd wake up dead drunk / alone in the park / I called you a liar / but how right you were
iTunes users: want to download album artwork automatically? Now you can.
[ Parent ]
You are very close to right (4.50 / 2) (#135)
by DesiredUsername on Thu May 08, 2003 at 08:25:02 AM EST

It doesn't make me a dick, it makes some people think I'm a dick. And I'm OK with that.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
So? (2.42 / 7) (#109)
by kitten on Thu May 08, 2003 at 12:47:18 AM EST

"the tipping-service relationship can only be described as weak"

So if you have a shitty waiter who does a bad job, are you going to leave a good tip? No?
Looks like a pretty clear link to me.

"...it is doubtful that servers would see the effects of spending extra effort to deliver good service...".

Those of us who have worked in the food-service industry as waiters will disagree by firsthand experience. If I do a good job, my tip is likely to be better. If I ignore the customer, my tip is likely to be poor. It isn't that complicated.

The article linked to doesn't give any reasoning for the discrepancy between prevailing common sense and reality,

There is no discrepancy. Ask any waiter. And ask yourself the question above: Are you likely to leave more or less of a tip for a bad waiter?

The way to make tipping work the way it is intended to, as an incentive/reward, is to make it more rare. Flooding the system with meaningless rewards is no incentive.

The system works fine; had you ever been a waiter you'd know this. When your customers sit at a table, yes, you know you are probably going to get a tip as long as you perform the bare necessities - but if that's all you do, it's going to be a crappy tip. It's up to you, as a waiter, to provide better service in order to get a better tip, and that's the incentive to actually do good work. As has been demonstrated repeatedly for decades, the system works.

Furthermore, you do realize that if you eliminate mandatory tipping and "raise the wages of servers", all that means is that the price of the food will go up? Where do you think the "raised wages" are going to miraculously come from? The profit margin at most restaurants is slim already - they can afford to pay next to nothing to their wait staff because the wait staff is really working for tips, not for the puny 40 dollar paycheck.

It's already been factored into the cost of your meal. Eliminate mandatory tipping and you'll end up paying the same anyway.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
I thought you were an advocate of reason (5.00 / 2) (#134)
by DesiredUsername on Thu May 08, 2003 at 08:23:45 AM EST

But now you suddenly come out with this "I don't care what some scientific study found, I was a waiter for 3 months and I'm an expert"? If you read the link, you will find that even a survey of servers found that only 50% of them thought that tips and service quality were linked.

As has been demonstrated repeatedly for decades, the system works.

What has been demonstrating this for decades? The fact that people still do it? I have news for you, kitten, people have been praying for rain for thousands of years--that doesn't make it effective or even non-harmful.

Eliminate mandatory tipping and you'll end up paying the same anyway.

Yes, if not more. But the servers will have gained a more stable income, the owners will have gained a better metric of performance and satisfaction, the customers will have gained power and everyone will have gained some integrity and dignity.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]

You thought right. (5.00 / 1) (#161)
by kitten on Thu May 08, 2003 at 02:39:44 PM EST

But now you suddenly come out with this "I don't care what some scientific study found, I was a waiter for 3 months and I'm an expert"?

Try two and a half years, buddy, at four different restaurants, and then a six-month stint as a bartender. You know what they say about "assume", don't you? It makes people use tired cliches.

What has been demonstrating this for decades? The fact that people still do it?

Naw. More like the fact that waiters actually talk about this sort of thing with each other, give each other advice on how to be more efficient or faster, compare tips with each other and figure out what they're doing right/wrong, or the simple notion that getting a higher tip is the incentive for providing better service.

If I, as a waiter, were paid a flat wage by the restaurant, what incentive would I have to do anything for you (the customer) beyond the bare minimum? None at all. Oh sure, I might get a tip out of you, but probably not - and at this point I'd be working for the paycheck, not the tips, which isn't how it works now. Now we work for tips, not paychecks, which means if we want to make a decent living we've got to provide you with good service. That's our incentive. This isn't difficult to understand.

Yes, if not more. But the servers will have gained a more stable income,

Frankly, one of the benefits of waiting tables is that it's instant cash. When I go home after a shift, I've got money in my pocket right then and there - no more waiting for a paycheck. And making seventy bucks for six hours of work ain't bad at all. It's stable as already implemented - why fuck with it? If I were paid a steady wage by the restaurant, no way would I make what I currently make in tips.

As an aside, although I'm speaking as though I'm currently a waiter, I'm not. It's more a "once a waiter always a waiter" sort of mentality.

the owners will have gained a better metric of performance and satisfaction

There's comment cards at many restaurants, which managers do actually read, and so do the waiters. And they (the waiters) actually do care because they want to do better, because of the incentive I mentioned before - the incentive you said doesn't exist.

the customers will have gained power

They'd lose power. I get paid a flat wage by my employer? Well then hell - I'll come by your table, take your order, drop off your food, and leave. Why should I bother being exemplary? You aren't likely to tip anyway, and I'm not working for tips under your system, so who cares? You'll get the bare minimum of service out of me - and I'll still get paid. I don't need your tips now, so I'm not going to go out of my way for you.


mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
Explain the data. And: (none / 0) (#177)
by DesiredUsername on Thu May 08, 2003 at 07:56:20 PM EST

You'll get the bare minimum of service out of me - and I'll still get paid.

But less than someone who gives better service. Because now tips really would be an incentive, as in the bellman case.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]

Doesn't work. (5.00 / 1) (#184)
by kitten on Fri May 09, 2003 at 05:07:09 PM EST

The bellman gets paid a flat wage by his employer, which is enough. All tips are just gravy for him. So if he's having a shitty night and doesn't feel like even being at work, he doesn't have to really do much for you beyond the bare minimum.

Sure, he wont' get tipped, but he's getting paid anyway, and he's in a pissy mood and he can afford to work a night without tips. As a customer there's not a damn thing you can do about it, either. Try again tomorrow - maybe he'll be in a better mood.

Now suppose the bellman was more like a waiter, and relied almost exclusively on tips for his financial support. Now it doesn't matter if he's in a bad mood and doesn't want to be there tonight - he's still got to suck it up, shove his mood aside, and be pleasant and courteous and all the rest - or else he doesn't get paid. He's got some real incentive now.

The way I see it, it breaks down this way:

Your plan:
  • Waiter's situation: He's making a decent wage from the employer anyway, so if he doesn't feel like working hard today for a little bonus, he doesn't have to, and he won't suffer much for it either, since he's already being paid a decent wage no matter what.
  • Customer's situation: He's paying the same, if not more, for his meal, and now he has less control over the waiter, because the waiter doesn't need the customer's gratiuity. Most of the time he'll want that bonus, but depending on his mood and level of fatigue and like/dislike of the customer, he may not care, and there's nothing the customer can do about it.

    Current method
  • Waiter's situation: If he only does the bare minimum he doesn't get paid. He's got to do a good job and shove his personal issues aside if he wants to get paid. Therefore, no matter what his mood, fatigue, or opinion of the customer, he will provide good service - or else.
  • Customer's situation: Probably ends up paying less than he would otherwise, and has direct control over the waiter's service, since the waiter knows his pay is directly tied to the quality of his service.

    Objections?
    mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
    [ Parent ]
  • Yes, I have an objection (none / 0) (#191)
    by DesiredUsername on Fri May 09, 2003 at 08:08:02 PM EST

    The data. According to 14 studies and the metastudy that aggregated them, restaurant tips and service quality only barely correlate. In fact, the data are exactly against you because the bellman's quality DOES correlate to tip.

    Reason: The secondary purpose of restaurant tips is misplaced charity. (Almost) nobody wants to look like a dick so (almost) everybody pays 15% no matter what.

    This was all explained in both my article and the two links. Let me know when you've read them and feel like conversing based on the available facts instead of ex assthedra..

    Play 囲碁
    [ Parent ]

    Two things. (none / 0) (#204)
    by kitten on Sat May 10, 2003 at 01:26:11 AM EST

    Actually, two primary points, though I'll probably go into tangents.

    Point the first: A bellman is not a waiter. They provide very different services in very different contexts to very different clientele. The situations are only mildly analogous.

    One tips a bellman based solely on the bellman's service. It is clear to all that the bellman is only a bellman and not responsible in any way for anything else.

    A waiter is viewed as responsible for the entire experience at a restaurant. The service may have been exemplary but if the food was not, the tip is likely to be less. There are dozens of other factors that go into a dining experience, many of which are not the waiter's responsibility, but he is viewed by the customer as being the only responsible one. Thus the acclaim or burden falls solely on him.

    Point the second: Suggest a workable alternative. By eliminating mandatory tipping you necessarily raise the wages of the waiter, which in turn necessarily increases the price of menu items, so the customer derives no actual benefit from a financial standpoint.

    I read your article and looked at the links you provided and I'm still not convinced, partially because of point number one, but also because it's so easy and trivial to test your hypothesis.

    It's the scientific method!

    Question: Is there a relationship between the quality of service and the tip provided to a waiter?
    Hypothesis: The tip amount is directly tied to the quality of service. Lesser service equates to a lesser tip.
    Materials needed: Two highly competant waiters who work roughly the same schedule at the same restaurant.
    Procedure:
  • Tell Waiter A to perform his job for the next two weeks as he usually would. He will exhibit no changes to his normal job.
  • Tell Waiter B to perform his job in a sub-par manner. For the next two weeks he will screw up orders, avoid pleasantries with the customer, not be personable, "forget" to refill drinks until the third time he's asked, and so on. (We will of course subsidize the poor guy so he doesn't starve by the end of the experiment.)
  • Wait two weeks while Waiters A and B execute your instructions.
  • At the conclusion of two weeks, compare Waiter A's tips to Waiter B's tips.

    Pretty damn simple. Are you seriously suggesting that Waiter B will make roughly what Waiter A will? I guarantee that Waiter B will make jack-fuckin'-shit as tips during these two weeks.

    Although this would be slightly harder to do in realistic terms, we could add another step to the procedure:
    Conduct exit surveys of the customers of Waiter A and B. Ask first what the customer thought of the waiter's service, and then ask how much they tipped and why. Waiter B's customers will tip low and explain that their shitty tip was a result of the waiter's shitty service. Are you proposing otherwise?
    mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
    [ Parent ]
  • Responses (none / 0) (#226)
    by DesiredUsername on Mon May 12, 2003 at 12:50:11 PM EST

    ...so the customer derives no actual benefit from a financial standpoint.

    Why must the advantage be solely financial or to the customer only?

    Not only am I suggesting that Waiter B and A will make roughly the same tips, I'm once again insinuating that you haven't read the article because your experiment is exactly what they did.

    Customers reported what they thought of the service and how much they tipped. The correlation was low.

    Your inability to read and/or understand this simple point doesn't give me a lot of confidence in the correlation you claim to have noticed between the service you gave and the tips you got.

    Play 囲碁
    [ Parent ]

    Hang on (none / 0) (#202)
    by bigchris on Sat May 10, 2003 at 12:41:34 AM EST

    So what you are saying is that the guy making the pay has to bear the brunt of the customer's crappy mood. So even if they give exemplary service, they have no guarantee they will be paid.

    Also, your continual level of service is directly related too how much you paid over what you would normally have paid! your level of service should ultimately be part of management's responsibility - they should be monitoring the situation and they should be getting feedback to maintain customer satisfaction.

    I fail to see why it's a customer's responsibility to pay for service that the management of the organisation should be responsible for.

    ---
    I Hate Jesus: -1: Bible thumper
    kpaul: YAAT. YHL. HAND. btw, YAHWEH wins ;) [mt]
    [ Parent ]

    They pay either way! (none / 0) (#203)
    by kitten on Sat May 10, 2003 at 01:05:14 AM EST

    I fail to see why it's a customer's responsibility to pay for service that the management of the organisation should be responsible for.

    As I've said before, they pay either way. If you eliminate tipping and increase the wages of the waiters, where do you think the money for those extra wages will miraculously come from?

    The customer, that's who. The management will simply raise the price of the items.

    That's like saying "I don't see why this computer should cost so much. A large part of the cost is going to pay the employees of the factory - why should I have to pay for that? It's the management's responsibility to pay them!"

    mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
    [ Parent ]
    I disagree (none / 0) (#215)
    by bigchris on Sat May 10, 2003 at 09:39:43 PM EST

    Tipping doesn't happen in Australia, it's already built into the cost of things in the service industry. It works pretty well, and although tipping occurs, I get great service without needing to tip.

    Because I live in a country where tipping is not required, I probably have some difficulty in seeing how tipping works in another person's culture. Not having seen it in action, it is quite possible that it works quite well in the culture it is practised in.

    It has also occured to me that the customer is paying for service anyway. It doesn't matter if it's through "voluntary" tips or whether it's built into the cost of the product they are buying. Which is why I argue that if an owner wants someone to visit and spend money at their business, this should be incentive enough for them to pay good employees more than bad employees.

    I don't beleive your analogy is very good, by the way.

    Computer manufacturing workers already get a decent wage, and this is already factored into the cost of the product you are buying. They are also not in the service industry, they're in the manufacturing industry. They don't need to receive tips from customers, because they don't deal with customers directly.  

    Besides which, our different analogies are talking about two different things. You are talking about the product itself, and I am talking about service you receive when purchasing the product.

    ---
    I Hate Jesus: -1: Bible thumper
    kpaul: YAAT. YHL. HAND. btw, YAHWEH wins ;) [mt]
    [ Parent ]

    Assume (none / 0) (#201)
    by bigchris on Sat May 10, 2003 at 12:34:18 AM EST

    Actually, assume is the contracted word for "making an ass out of u and me"

    ---
    I Hate Jesus: -1: Bible thumper
    kpaul: YAAT. YHL. HAND. btw, YAHWEH wins ;) [mt]
    [ Parent ]
    Pattern Recognition (none / 0) (#232)
    by FantocheDoSock on Mon May 12, 2003 at 02:05:07 PM EST

    So if you have a shitty waiter who does a bad job, are you going to leave a good tip?

    Yes, I'm sorry to admit that I will. And so will most other people. This was the outcome of the study, and furthermore is the common experience of the typical restaurant-goer. My own observation is that non-restaurant workers tend to tip out of tradition, habit, pity, and an attempt to avoid the cringing embarassment of feeling like a cheapskate. Restaurant workers (and former restaurant workers) tend to tip more rationally.

    Those of us who have worked in the food-service industry as waiters will disagree by firsthand experience ... As has been demonstrated repeatedly for decades, the system works.

    The unreliable nature of remembered experiences and gut feelings like these is the reason that more-scientific methods - like carefully tabulated studies - were invented. The human mind is a sensitive pattern-recognition machine, and it frequently sees clear patterns where none exist. I'm sure you know some people who swear by prayer, tarot cards, astrology, divination, or homeopathy - traditions which have been around for a lot more than "decades" - as forces that have a concrete impact on their lives. Would their "firsthand experience" alone convince you of their claims?

    On the other hand, the studies mentioned here actually took measurements - they have hard numbers. How can you believe that all fourteen studies constituting a total of hundreds of restaurant visits were all incorrectly skewed in the same way? Isn't it more likely that you view your memories optimistically?

    [ Parent ]
    Why tipping is wrong (4.25 / 4) (#114)
    by gnovos on Thu May 08, 2003 at 02:57:06 AM EST

    The theory behind tipping is that it provides an incentive for a service person to provide better service. Do the facts bear out this theory?

    No, this is not the real thoery currently in use today.  That is the excuse.  The real theory is that resturant owners can cheat thier way out of minimum wage laws by pushing the additional costs directly on to the customers.  It's not right.

    If you don't work in the service industry, think about it for a second, do you want to be paid by how satisfied your company's clients are and how much they "feel" like paying you?  Or do you want a fair salary paid by your actual employer?

    A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen

    Hey! (none / 0) (#176)
    by SPYvSPY on Thu May 08, 2003 at 07:53:32 PM EST

    Setting aside the article's conclusion, isn't there an argument that allowing customers to determine appropriate compensation for their servers is a good way to keep servers doing a good job?
    ------------------------------------------------

    By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
    [ Parent ]

    Not at all! (none / 0) (#205)
    by gnovos on Sat May 10, 2003 at 03:20:39 AM EST

    Setting aside the article's conclusion, isn't there an argument that allowing customers to determine appropriate compensation for their servers is a good way to keep servers doing a good job?

    Absolutly not, unless the customer and the server make a contractual arrangement before hand.  Business is not run on people paying what the "feel" like...  

    If I can change the pay of the workers based on a whim, why wouldn't that same argument work for everything?  

    Maybe I think that laptop over at fry's is only worth 80% of what they have listed, can I just pay 80% of the price and walk out with it?

    Maybe I don't think the doctor really thouroughly bandaged my arm, so can I pay only half the bill?

    Or maybe I just didn't feel that the contractor I hired to fix the roof hammered those roofing nails in with enough pizzaz, so I think I'll only pay him 70% of the price we previously agreed on.

    A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
    [ Parent ]

    Uh. (5.00 / 1) (#185)
    by kitten on Fri May 09, 2003 at 05:55:23 PM EST

    The real theory is that resturant owners can cheat thier way out of minimum wage laws by pushing the additional costs directly on to the customers. It's not right.

    Uh huh. So if they eliminated tipping, they'd have to up the wage of their employees - and exactly where do you think that money would come from?

    Oh. The customer, that's right! They'd simply increase the cost of their products to compensate.

    The customer always pays for the costs of anything they purchase - it's factored into the price of the item or service.
    mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
    [ Parent ]
    That's the point though (none / 0) (#217)
    by batkiwi on Sat May 10, 2003 at 10:48:59 PM EST

    Well three points:
    -the store owner doesn't have to pay social security tax, and the waiters never pay tax on their tips except enough to push them above minimum wage.  This is technically fraud, but I've never seen a restaurant that handles it that way.

    -if you weren't getting tips, the place would NOT pay you minimum wage... they woudln't get employees.  They'd probably have to pay close to what people are getting WITH tips now... look at other countries without tipping.  

    -My hamburger isn't 9$.  It's 9% + 15% for the person.  What if you had to pay the cashier at the grocery store?  Potatos are 5 for 2$, plus 15% you give to the cashier and 5% to the bagger?

    Now for crazy irrational time:
    Why am *I* paying the server?  Is the server an independant contractor there to bring me food?  Should we agree on a rate before hand, and should I send them a 1099 at the end of year?

    [ Parent ]

    You're full of crap (5.00 / 2) (#212)
    by RadiantMatrix on Sat May 10, 2003 at 11:41:59 AM EST

    The real theory is that resturant owners can cheat thier way out of minimum wage laws by pushing the additional costs directly on to the customers. It's not right.
    You're high. I make much more than minimum wage through tipping. If managment payed minimum wage and tipping was abolished, I'd quit. I'm a damn good server, my customers tell me so, and as a result I'm more highly paid than many of my collegues.

    I like a system that depends on customer satisfaction for my wage -- because I make more money than management would ever agree to pay.

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    I don't like spam - Parent ]

    question (3.33 / 3) (#123)
    by the sixth replicant on Thu May 08, 2003 at 04:25:00 AM EST

    Well, I don't live in America and I really can't say too much on it. But my question is : How many servers/waiters have had there wage topped up by their employer when they haven't made the minimum wage? Anyone? Or is this, just a small little scam. Illegal but, hey, maybe you'll make up for it next week. Which makes me think, what is the time frame for when the employer has to check that you've made enough. A week. End of the month. End of the year?

    I used to live in a country (Australia) where the taxis drivers would round the cost down, and that the waiters would refuse a tip.

    Those were the days :)

    Why "10-15% tip included" bills suck (3.50 / 2) (#128)
    by Quietti on Thu May 08, 2003 at 05:25:28 AM EST

    I've been in too many places, in countries that include a mandatory 10 to 15% tip in the bill, where the service simply wasn't up to par, or worse, the staff was downright being rude at me. I beleive that purposely reducing the amount and paying the bill MINUS the compulsory tip is fully justified in those cases.

    Anybody knows about the legal background on tiping laws and what can be quoted as justification for not paying the mandatory tip when the service was not satisfactory?

    --
    The whole point of civilization is to reduce how much the average person has to think. - Stef Murky

    You don't have to pay (4.00 / 1) (#140)
    by nosilA on Thu May 08, 2003 at 09:21:50 AM EST

    It's still an optional gratuity, it's just that they calculate it for you (how "nice" of them).  You are fully justified in not paying that amount, but you cannot pay less than the actual cost of the bill.  I've come across places that add on 18% for you.  While I am usually generous and would give the 18%, or more, I am insulted by that charge and frequently deduct from it.

    -Alison
    Vote to Abstain!
    [ Parent ]

    Open a dictionary to "compulsory" (none / 0) (#148)
    by Quietti on Thu May 08, 2003 at 12:06:53 PM EST

    In some countries, that 10-15% tip is actually mandated by laws, be them from the town, state/province or by the country's labour laws. That's mandatory, for you, it's not "they already counted the amount for you, how nice of them".

    --
    The whole point of civilization is to reduce how much the average person has to think. - Stef Murky
    [ Parent ]
    oops, I misread (none / 0) (#149)
    by nosilA on Thu May 08, 2003 at 12:16:48 PM EST

    I thought you said restaurants, not countries, and in turn were improperly using the term compulsory.  I can only speak to the US, where there are no compulsory tips, but many restaurants add the gratuity to your bill in an attempt to confuse or brow-beat the patron into paying.

    -Alison
    Vote to Abstain!
    [ Parent ]

    not a tip (none / 0) (#165)
    by btb on Thu May 08, 2003 at 03:23:18 PM EST

    That 10-15% is not really a tip, because it is compulsory. It's better known as the "service charge". If your servers do a good job, you are expected to leave a tip, above that amount.

    This is pretty much what is expected in the USA (at restaurants, anyway): 10-15% is the bare minimum you should leave, if you ever want to eat there again. You leave more if you got good service .

    [ Parent ]

    The first rule of economics (3.66 / 3) (#133)
    by auraslip on Thu May 08, 2003 at 08:16:38 AM EST

    people respond to incentives.
    124
    My experience (4.00 / 2) (#138)
    by spacemoose on Thu May 08, 2003 at 08:40:00 AM EST

    Well, I live in Europe, but I'm American.

    Service in Switzerland and Germany, and Italy for that matter, is crap, and there the waitrons make a good wage and don't rely on tips. When I say crap, I mean shockingly crappy. Mediocre to good service here is akin to really bad service in the states.

    I'm often shocked to wait at a bar while the bartender finishes their cigarette before coming to take my order.

    Is this cause/effect? Maybe, I don't know. But the correlation is certainly there.

    The dark sides of competition (none / 0) (#167)
    by omrib on Thu May 08, 2003 at 04:57:59 PM EST

    Maybe people in America are too scared to lose their jobs, because they know they should be thankful for every day they actually get paid, as they're so highly replaceable by people who are willing to work for less than the minimum wage.

    Fortunately, in Europe things are different, and people actually believe they have some sort of a job security, which is practically non-existant in America (even the highly skilled can lose their jobs within a day if someone thinks it's profitable).

    Competition has a few dark sides we'd rather not discuss in public, because it's slightly anti-American.


    [ Parent ]

    Culture (none / 0) (#169)
    by SoupIsGoodFood on Thu May 08, 2003 at 05:31:29 PM EST

    I'd put that down to culture. I haven't been anywhere else, but service is always pretty good in NZ, but we don't tip. I'm not sure we even tip in resturants....Well I've never seen it before anyway. With the exception of the occational US tourist of course ;)

    [ Parent ]
    Not just tips (3.00 / 3) (#139)
    by olethros on Thu May 08, 2003 at 08:59:34 AM EST

    If the service is bad in a particular restaurant, I will not go to that restaurant again. Also, in restaurants, the quality of the food is another variable that matters. In hotels, the only variable concerning the guy's tip is how well he serves you. There is nothing else.
    -- Homepage| Music
    I miss my rubber keyboard.
    Legality of minimum wage (1.66 / 3) (#145)
    by Silent Chris on Thu May 08, 2003 at 11:26:56 AM EST

    I've never actually heard of a person making less than minimum wage because "the tips compensate".  Anybody care to argue that's the case?

    Minimum wage (5.00 / 1) (#154)
    by desiderata on Thu May 08, 2003 at 01:05:04 PM EST

    At least in Ontario, there is more than one minimum wage, depending on the age and occupation. While the standard minimum wage is $6.85, the minimum wage for workers serving liquor is $5.95.

    The rationale is (presumedly) that they earn tips.

    [ Parent ]

    tip credit (none / 0) (#155)
    by trav on Thu May 08, 2003 at 01:13:11 PM EST

    I believe federal law is that if an employee makes over a certain amount in tips, then the min. wage is lower, UNLESS the lower wage + tips does not equal the higher wage. State laws vary, in California there is only one min. wage and tips do not figure in. I personally have never met anyone who made less than the higher min. wage figure, but then I live in California. Easy enough to Google it.

    [ Parent ]
    Oregon & WA (none / 0) (#183)
    by Katt on Fri May 09, 2003 at 06:22:42 AM EST

    Oregon is like this as well. The miminum wage was raised to $6.90 back in January, and this covers all jobs; there is no separate wage for tip-earning jobs.

    Washington state is the same, but I don't know their minimum wage offhand. It's higher then Oregon's, though.


    [ Parent ]

    tipping should be banned (3.00 / 3) (#147)
    by fhotg on Thu May 08, 2003 at 12:03:27 PM EST

    Its just a way to exploit better people in the service business. If you want to give money away, fine. If you want to get your living from what other people give away, fine. It's charity and beggar.

    If I work for a certain time, I want a certain wage independent of the customers mood, aka if he got it from his wife last night or not. Wage should depend on your work alone and be fixed in the contract.

    Bullshit (none / 0) (#211)
    by RadiantMatrix on Sat May 10, 2003 at 11:38:33 AM EST

    If I got my wage on the management's whims, two things would happen:
    1. you'd pay more for food -- eating out is relatively cheap because your server is paid $2.33/hr.
    2. I would have no incentive to perform beyond minimum requirements. Therefore, you'd get crappy service everywhere.
    I like the fact that by going the extra mile -- maybe cheering someone up who's had a bad day -- I exercise control over how much money I make.

    It is very much like a commission, but with customer satisfaction at a premium. The system works -- don't fuck with it.

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    I don't like spam - Parent ]

    cowshit (none / 0) (#220)
    by fhotg on Sun May 11, 2003 at 04:05:55 PM EST

    1.If I feel obligated to give 20% tip, what I do b/c I know the waitress can't live from her wage, the price for eating out stays the same, wether the service is included in the price on the menu or I have to to that extra bit of calculation.

    2.The whole idea is that you are getting payed for the work and not to fake niceness and good mood even for asshole customers to get the appropriate wage.

    What you call "the extra mile", I call prostitution. Nothing against it, but it should be payed appropriately and not be subject to the customer's whims.

    3. I personally prefer service personell who can afford to show they are humans, not the typical "I need the tips therefore I robotically smile and excrete slimy happy-good-mood vibes" variety.

    4. Obviously alternative systems work just as well or better.

    [ Parent ]

    Horseshit :) (none / 0) (#222)
    by RadiantMatrix on Sun May 11, 2003 at 09:09:12 PM EST

    My replies:
    1. It's a shame you fell obligated, but that's your own fault. If you have the opportunity to calculate the tip yourself, you will be able to adjust the price of your meal based on the level of service. If you have terrible service, your meal is cheaper. (In my resturant, if your service was truly terribly, they'd probably buy your meal anyhow, but I digress).
    2. The work of a server is to make the customer feel welcome and assist him/her in choosing and enjoying the meal. Being polite and courteous -- and even putting on a smile when you're having a bad day -- is part of the job. If management decides pay based on your ability to do that work, then I could get fired for not smiling at a table. That makes me a bit uncomfortable.

      As for "the extra mile" -- it isn't prostitution, it's gratitude. If you tip well, I know you appreciate good service. Thus, in the future, I am more likely to go the extra mile for you -- I know I'm not wasting my effort.

    3. Actually, many servers who are so nice that it seems fake are actually that way. This is something I discovered when I became a server. Besides, they are just doing their best to put aside whatever is making them have a bad day, so that you have the best experience possible. If you have a positive experience, they get tipped better. Also, even when I know I won't get tipped (regular customers who never do, for instance), I still want those guests to have the best experience -- it's part of my job.
    4. Alternative systems have not been shown to work. The sad thing is that serving has such a bad stigma around it that many people who serve are bitter about their jobs. That leads to much of what you point out. Those who serve because they enjoy it (such as myself) are the ones that want the system we have. And, they are the ones who wouldn't want you to tip 15% if you felt you had poor service.

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    I don't like spam - Parent ]

    cultural shit (none / 0) (#235)
    by fhotg on Tue May 13, 2003 at 06:21:16 AM EST

    I love structured comments.

    4. The "tip included" system works well in many countries outside the US. Of course that doesn't mean customers don't tip and servers won't try to maximize their tips. Actually only US tourists don't tip, because every travel guide explains they don't have to :)

    3. I don't like the attitude behind this. If I'm not able to have a good day, a random server can't help me with this. If the nice waitress smiles at me, I don't want to be sure that she does that because I have the power over a fifth of her wage. I believe you get cancer from hiding your true self for 8hrs a day.

    2. The work of a server includes usually behaviour which makes the customer likely to come back, yes. There is a lot of difference what kind of etablissement we're talking about. Working in a fine restaurant you'll have to have that constant politeness, tips included or not or, else get fired. In a bar environment, being rude at the right moment to the right person can actually increase your tips big time.

    1. I try to avoid to feel responsible for some alone educating mother who is working two jobs to get less than minimum wage, yes, even if she has a very bad day.As long as she does the essential I'm expecting, and that is to carry my food without accidents involving my clothes. Call that moralism, whatever. I don't like that feeling. I like clear cut deals.

    There sure are jobs which necessarily involve that you control and bend your whole personality for the time at work. These jobs, at a higher level, are and should be exceptionally well payed. Only in the low wage segment, people like servers can be forced to sell their personality without appropriate compensation by coupling a substantial part of their wage to their "personality performance". I think it's somehow against human dignity.

    [ Parent ]

    Iguana shit (none / 0) (#241)
    by RadiantMatrix on Mon May 19, 2003 at 12:49:38 AM EST

    We're running out of animals, so I'll be brief :)
    1. I try to avoid to feel responsible for some alone educating mother who is working two jobs to get less than minimum wage, yes, even if she has a very bad day.As long as she does the essential I'm expecting, and that is to carry my food without accidents involving my clothes. Call that moralism, whatever. I don't like that feeling. I like clear cut deals.
    This is the center of my point -- you are upset at the tippage system because something in your cultural training makes you feel guilty for not "supporting" a server.

    The reality is, if s/he doesn't do their job, then it's their own fault they can't support themselves. The system isn't flawed just because you have an issue with it.

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    I don't like spam - Parent ]

    We tip well because We're a royal pain in the ass (5.00 / 2) (#150)
    by Ricdude on Thu May 08, 2003 at 12:17:24 PM EST

    Neither myself, nor my wife, nor our usual dining companions can order anything directly off the menu; we always have to add or change the type of cheese, get the sauce on the side, ask for steamed broccoli instead of with butter (2 year old kid with a milk allergy), etc.  The kid winds up sending half of her food to the floor, but otherwise is fairly well behaved.  We always bother our server ten times during the meal for more sauce, lemons, drinks, napkins, etc.

    However, if you can put up with us and still smile, you will walk out with a 25% tip.  That's 25% on a dinner for 5-7 people; not too shabby.  And we'll be back to your restaurant again.  And if you get the extra napkins and remember the lemons before we remind you, you'll get 25-30%.  We're on a first name basis with several servers at our favourite restaurants, and we get excellent service from all of them.  Sometimes they'll throw in free cookies for the kid, or "forget" to charge us for some drinks, making it even more likely that they'll get the big tip.

    Servers (none / 0) (#200)
    by bigchris on Sat May 10, 2003 at 12:26:43 AM EST

    They love you cause you bribe them for good service. Shouldn't you get good service anyway?

    It should be management who rewards employees, not the customer! think about it... the entire system of service appears to depend on the tipping model. Ultimately the owner of the business loses out, because those who don't tip so well, but do buy the product from the store (thus give the store their income) get crap service. Hence they don't come back again. Hence the business gets less money.

    So don't you think that it's within the domain of the employer to make sure you get great service?

    Oh, incidently, all that said, I think that if you are being a royal pain in the butt, then good on you for tipping them well! My point is that tipping should be a bonus, not a condition of service.

    ---
    I Hate Jesus: -1: Bible thumper
    kpaul: YAAT. YHL. HAND. btw, YAHWEH wins ;) [mt]
    [ Parent ]

    Servers don't work for management (4.00 / 1) (#210)
    by RadiantMatrix on Sat May 10, 2003 at 11:34:44 AM EST

    You've obviously never worked as a server. Management strives to cut "dead wood", and servers regularly attend meetings for hours (for which they're paid minimum wage) to learn to improve their service.

    In the end, though, servers don't work for the management -- they work for the guest. It's only right, then, that they guest should pay their wage.

    What it comes down to is that there are two kinds of servers: those who give a shit about their job, and those who don't. Management is incapable of changing either group -- all they can do is try not to hire the latter. The former would give good service no matter what.

    Every server I know in the former category spends quite a bit of time and money studying the ways that [s]he can improve their service and increase their tips. Believe me -- I'm a server, and I'd much rather have the customer telling me (through tipping) that I do a good job than a pat on the back and a yearly $0.25 raise.

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    I don't like spam - Parent ]

    Employment, who by - customer or management? (none / 0) (#216)
    by bigchris on Sat May 10, 2003 at 09:44:34 PM EST

    I see where you are coming from, but I maintain that the employee works for management. After all, management has the power of hiring and firing, and they pay the (minimum) wage.

    ---
    I Hate Jesus: -1: Bible thumper
    kpaul: YAAT. YHL. HAND. btw, YAHWEH wins ;) [mt]
    [ Parent ]
    Management and customer (none / 0) (#221)
    by RadiantMatrix on Sun May 11, 2003 at 08:59:03 PM EST

    After all, management has the power of hiring and firing, and they pay the (minimum) wage.
    No, the management is more like a contractor -- they agree to cover your minimum wage, take care of federal/state withholding requirements, and provide a product. You sell your services to the customer directly.

    ----------
    I don't like spam - Parent ]

    Re: Management and customer (none / 0) (#224)
    by bigchris on Mon May 12, 2003 at 09:48:37 AM EST

    I find it an odd way of looking at it... but the more I think of it, the more interesting the idea is. That's a completely different perspective on things I'd never considered. Hmmm...

    ---
    I Hate Jesus: -1: Bible thumper
    kpaul: YAAT. YHL. HAND. btw, YAHWEH wins ;) [mt]
    [ Parent ]
    They say the Mullah Nasruddin ... (5.00 / 7) (#179)
    by cnicolai on Thu May 08, 2003 at 11:25:09 PM EST

    walked into a bath house one day.  He was scruffy and poorly dressed, and thus ignored by the staff the entire time he bathed.  As he was leaving, he left a fat gold coin as a tip.

    He returned next week, just as dirty, but was received like royalty.  Private room, attendants, a fine robe... but for a tip he gave them one penny.

    "What is this, a joke?"

    "The gold coin was a tip for today's service; the penny is for last time."

    Tipping at a buffet? (5.00 / 1) (#186)
    by arbofnot on Fri May 09, 2003 at 07:02:55 PM EST

    I often go to one of several restaurants that has a lunch buffet.  At some, a server seats the customers.  The servers do not give the customers a menu or take an order for food, since of course all the food being offered is at the buffet table.  At most of the restaurants, a server accepts orders for beverages, which sometimes are included with the meal.  Someone removes used plates from the table.

    At the first restaurant, the server seats the customers, puts bread and a carafe of water on the table, and that is about it.  I go to the register to pay, and I do not tip at lunch.  I have not been there for dinner.

    At a second restaurant, the server takes orders for beverages that are included with the meal.  The server also brings bread, water, and another small dish that is served with every lunch.  The servers do more work than at the first restaurant, but not nearly as much as when you order from the dinner menu.  I tip about 10% at lunch, and 15-18% at dinner.

    I do not tip at a restaurant that always serves a buffet.

    One last thing- (1.00 / 1) (#190)
    by mcgrew on Fri May 09, 2003 at 07:47:19 PM EST

    In the US, the minimum wage is WAY too low, and they tax the poor WAY too much. Especially since the poor can't afford health care.

    Impeach Bush.

    "The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie

    A weak correlation is still a correlation (4.50 / 2) (#197)
    by dirc on Fri May 09, 2003 at 10:00:16 PM EST

    DesiredUsername is wrong. The meta-analysis concludes that there is a weak correlation, but, none-the-less, a correlation between tip size and service quality. The meta-analysis recommends that management use additional techniques to assess server performance, but it does not reject the idea that tipping has some affect on service quality. The correlation is too weak for management to use it to differentiate between good and bad servers. It is not proven that it is too weak to increase the average level of service received.

    Anecdotal evidence, presented by several posters, bears out the effect of tipping on overall service quality. This has been my experience as well. The service by well-paid, and untipped, Europeans is typically far worse than the service received poorly paid, and tipped, Americans. My oldest son has worked in restaurants, and he certainly thought that he could get better tips on average by working harder. Right or wrong, the prospect of higher tips, born out by his experience, motivated him.

    As other posters have noted, people in America are not guaranteed jobs. This certainly reduces the number of poor performers that customers encounter. I remember when the economy was booming in the 1990s, and jobs were plentiful, the service I received was worse than the service I typically receive now. Management could not be as selective then and employees knew they were less likely to be fired, even if they provided poor service.

    (The lack of job guarantees in America also has had the beneficial effect of keeping American unemployment rates below the European average. Take a look at the unemployment rates in the EU and the US in the last two decades. Employers are far more willing to take on staff if they know they can discharge workers, than if they are "married" to the employees as is the case in parts of the EU.)

    To conclude, DesiredUsername is wrong because he states that the facts do not bear out the theory that tipping has a positive effect on service. The facts show that tipping can not be used by management to separate the wheat from the chaff. The facts also show that there is some correlation between tip level and the service received. It is not proven that this correlation is sufficient to motivate servers. Other economic factors (such as the overall job market) or cultural factors may predominate. The anecdotal evidence that tipping improves service is not proof. We need the study that apparently has not been done. That study would compare two establishments, in the same market, one which permits tips and one which does not, to lay the issue to rest.



    I agree totally (5.00 / 1) (#233)
    by werner on Mon May 12, 2003 at 04:47:59 PM EST

    It is wrong for serving staff to expect a tip and wrong for employers to expect their staff to live from tips. I also don't believe it actually encourages better service.

    Now, I'm from England, where tipping is not seen as compulsory, and I live in Germany, which is, as the Germans say, a "Servicewüste" - a service desert.

    Indeed, in England, being extremely pleasant to customers is a central concept to any front-line job: if you don't smile, you're not doing your job properly. If you ask a shop assistant where something is, they will take you there personally. If they don't know, they will find someone who does and they will both take you there. In Germany, on the other hand, it is extremely common for shop assistants to ignore you until they have finished gossiping with colleagues/smoking/doing whatever. Indeed, I have often asked, most politely (for that is the English way) , where I may find something in a shop. In 5 years, only one shop assistant has ever taken me to the goods. More common is a gesticulation in the general direction without even looking up to see who is asking.

    The strange thing is, tipping is much more common in Germany. Obviously, there are cultural differences involved (Germans tend to be very dismissive of and rude towards strangers, yet very loyal to friends, while I would say, the English tend towards the reverse), yet this only encourages in me the belief that tipping does not improve service.

    Certainly, there is no disputing that consistently giving big tips will probably ensure better service from the tipped staff, but this is bribery.

    Giving good service is a part of your job if you are a server: you should not have to pay extra to get it.

    In Canada, it gets pretty expensive (5.00 / 1) (#234)
    by zhiwenchong on Tue May 13, 2003 at 12:11:11 AM EST

    When I eat out, I not only have to pay the price of the meal, but:
    • 7% GST
    • 8% Quebec Sales Tax
    • 10-15% tip
    At Marché Mövenpick here in Montreal, they add 10% to your bill right off. And all the waiters ever do is serve plain water.

    At another restaurant, I once accidentally left something like twenty cents short of 10% at a meal and I was scolded by a waiter in front of other customers. (I was a only a poor college student, and the waiter probably knew this) I was intimidated by that, so I paid up. In retrospect, I should have just left without tipping. Any waiter who has the nerve to scold his customer should be snubbed.

    Tipping... (none / 0) (#237)
    by goid on Tue May 13, 2003 at 12:59:22 PM EST


    A waitress who had given bad service actually followed me out a restaurant, with my change in her hand.  It was a $25 meal for two, and she said "You only left $1.25!"

    Without missing a beat, I reached out and took the change from her and said, "Thanks", and walked away.

    I tip good when service is good, and genuine.  When staff gushes insincerely, or blames their poor service on the kitchen or whatever, its a turnoff right away.  My tips then are usually written on the receipt as advice for the future.

    In the US, taxes are going up constantly, and the meals in most places are overpriced, and many times you get too much food and and up leaving some of it.  This doesn't make me feel much like tipping.  It really kills you when you have to eat out a lot because of business.

    However, I have worked in a restaurant, and pretty much all aspects of it from kitching to dining room is a largely thankless job, so I try to tip if they deserve it.  It's just that prices are going up so much its hard to do.
    -- Xerox the Goid! One is NOT enough!
    [ Parent ]

    I'd go over 12% for that. - Nice Guy Eddie. (5.00 / 1) (#238)
    by I am Jack's username on Tue May 13, 2003 at 06:06:58 PM EST

    What I hate most about tipping, is that some customers think it allows them to flirt with the servers - who normally can't afford to tell the customers to get lost. While servers could go guerilla on the food, most won't despite being tacitly treated like whores.
    --
    Inoshiro for president!
    "War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell
    Tipping and Restaurant Service Quality Weakly Linked | 242 comments (231 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
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