Just a Tip…

tippingI’m coming out of the closet here and now. No, I’m not gay, I’m not a Democrat. But it’s almost as drastic.

I hate tipping. HATE it.

When did it become my job, as a customer, to bear the responsibility of directly paying someone’s salary? And now I walk into nearly every establishment that serves any kind of food, and there’s a Tip Jar sitting there. In Dunkin’ Donuts? Really? What am I tipping for? Turning around and taking a donut off the shelf? You didn’t even move your feet!!!

Legend says that tipping started off long ago, “To Insure Promptness”… T.I.P. get it? But then, I also read that back when tipping started, acronyms weren’t commonly used, and “tipping” was actually taken from the criminal slang of the day. Regardless how it started, it’s now pervasive. Everyone expects a tip. Consider this partial list, from Tipping.org (yes, tipping has its own website!)

  • Baggers – $1 or more per bag, $1-5 for bringing it to your car (this would NOT fly in my town)
  • Barber/hair stylist – 15% of cost, more if you’re not there much
  • Casino Workers (including security officers, repair personnel, and cashiers) – $1-2, 5%-10% of a big win
  • Catering – $10 per server. $20 if it’s just one server
  • Clown – $15-25, depending on the length of the performance and how hot it is outside.
  • Contractors – $50 to the foreman, $30 to each worker
  • Electric cart transport (airport) – $1-$2, more if driver is nice
  • Pizza Delivery – $1-5 depending upon distance and size of order
  • Rental car shuttle driver – $1 per bag… more if they help you with the bags
  • Ushers – like at a football stadium. 50¢ – $1 per party when they show you to your seat
  • Wait staff in a BUFFET restaurant – 5% – 10% of the bill, because they just clear dishes and replace linen
  • Wait staff in a regular restaurant – 15% – 20% of the bill. Minimum 20% for a large party

I have problems with many of these.

My first and biggest problem is with waitstaff at restaurants. The way I see it, restaurant owners are obligated to pay the staff at least minimum wage, and then if the service is exceptional, the server may deserve an extra couple of bucks. None of this “two bucks an hour and split the tips amongst the busboys and management” or however that works. I pay $10 for my plate of food. It’s up to YOU to see that your staff is properly paid. If you can’t make budget on $10 per patron, then raise prices, cut spending, or whatever. Don’t guilt ME into making it up because I feel sorry for the less-than-attentive waitress with the shaggy fingernails and the popping gum, who called me “sweetie” and made eyes at my blind husband.

So now I scan down the list. The first one to really get me was the clown. Mind you, this is a clown hired for a kid’s party – something I wouldn’t do in the first place, but that’s another post. You’re supposed to tip according to the weather, since those costumes are hot. Really? If the uniform is too hot, choose another profession. It’s not MY job to make you more comfy. I’ll happily provide a glass of ice water, even an ice-cold Mountain Dew, if that’s preferred, because I’m nice.  But I’m already paying for the service, I shouldn’t be expected to pay extra just because the guy shows up.

Contractors. An extra $50-80, minimum, just to have you walk on my property, take off your shirt, and swear at my siding? Ok, I’ll give you the extra if the shirt removal provides an excellent view, but otherwise? No. I hired you to do a job for a set fee. Accept the fee gracefully. If it’s not enough, raise your prices. If the market can bear it, great. If not, you think too much of yourselves.

I know this little rant isn’t going to change anything. I’m not trying to ‘dis’ the service industry, either. I get that being a waitress is hard work, that they have to put up with surly customers and rotten pay. Honestly? As a customer, I’ll work on the surliness, and I am a pretty generous tipper.  But i shouldn’t have to be.   Their the pay isn’t my problem. That should be between the wait staff and the employers. And everyone else shouldn’t be expecting a tip, either… if you make my hair look good, if you get me a donut or a cup of coffee, or give me the right number of chips for the $20 I give you at the casino, that’s what your paycheck is for.

Although, if you come and fix my roof, and you have rock-hard abs, I just might consider an extra fiver.

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18 Responses to Just a Tip…

  1. Sue says:

    I think you make some good points. I never did understand why waitresses have to split their tips with every other employee in the restaraunt…I’m tipping the waitress b/c I like the service she gave me, not the hostess that sat me in a chair or the bar tender that may or may not have made me a drink.

    The grocery store in my town would NEVER accept tips to take out your groceries. Never has and never will b/c it’s part of their service. The clown?? I DON’T THINK SO! And the contractor I found surprising just because they already gave you a bid that includes all their fees and mark ups and stuff so why are you tipping them more? I do tip my hair lady well b/c it’s not her day job, she always gets me in when I need to and she’s CHEAP!!!!!!! Like, $10 cheap and she didn’t charge me for coloring the last time 🙂

  2. Vicki says:

    I tip the waitresses, the hair dresser and the massage therapist. It don’t bother me to say the least, Ive never heard of tipping a contractor. I dont like when the gratuity is added in on the bill i feel its my choice as to what i want to give and I dont care for tip jars that sit on counters it seems like begging to me.

  3. SKL says:

    Tipping is a pain. A whole separate area of etiquette that we have to learn. I never heard of half of the above rules. Contractor? When they are already charging more per hour for having barely graduated high school than I earn with my multiple graduate degrees? Where is MY tip??

    I understand the wait staff thing, actually. But you have to use tipping the way it was designed. If the service sucks bad, give them a quarter. They’ll learn a lesson. If the service is passable, give them exactly 15%. If they make a real effort and you can afford it, give them 20% and even round up. After all, it’s hard work, especially the part about keeping a smile on their faces no matter what idiot customers they’ve dealt with today. And they have different “minimum wage” scales than everyone else. Their employers can legally pay them a couple bucks less than everyone else’s minimum wage. So if they’ve done their job, they really do need to earn a tip. But, I do think it’s wrong to force everyone to pool all their tips – especially those above the standard 15%.

    I don’t tip a lot of people that probably expect a tip. I don’t like to carry around a lot of cash, and when I’m dressed up (which I usually am when I use those kinds of services), I don’t have a pocket to stash loose bills for the doorman, etc., etc. It also bugs me that the jobs where the customary tips are highest are almost always held by men. Did you ever notice that? I rarely let them help me. I can manage my own luggage, etc. And when I have no choice, I still don’t tip, because it’s outrageous how much money they already make from others. You know, like if you’re at a seminar at a hotel, and on the final day, everyone needs a place to stash their luggage after check-out. So some guy will be sitting there “taking care of” all the bags, and people will give him $X per bag for doing basically nothing. Do I feel guilty when I don’t do the same? No. Sorry. I have worked very hard for my money; a lot harder than those guys (who, by the way, are also receiving a salary for all that sitting around). I hereby propose a rule: women don’t have to tip men.

  4. pammywammy says:

    I will tip a waitress if I recieve great service from them.If they really make my stay excellent,I tip better.But I do not like it when the tip is already on the bill.Then to me,I have had waitress’s not give a darn about you.Not all, but some.And when that happens,I ask to have the tip removed from the bill,I refuse to pay and explain why!
    I was a waitress for years.I loved it.And living on minimum wage was hard.It paid my rent,phone,hydro and a few groceries.Then I was broke.So for me,the tips gave me extra pocket money till next payday.Usually I counted on tips to fill my car with gas to get to work and back.
    I dont believe tips should be expected by a waitress,they should be earned and appreciated when you do get a tip.

  5. joz1234 says:

    I think the part that bugs me about all of this is that employers are not forced to pay those waitstaff reasonably for their work, yet those people are taxed on whatever their clients buy in food and drink…even if they are not tipped adequately for it. (at least that is how it was when I worked as a waitress back in high school).

    The contractors that i hire better realize that whatever they quote me is what I’m paying…not a dime more. If I set my tutoring rates, I don’t expect an extra tip. I set the rates at a reasonable price and make sure that I am profiting and able to pay my overhead. That ‘s how it works.

  6. nikki says:

    I just recently found out that the pizza place that delivers to us includes a tip in the total!!! A “delivery charge.” And I have been tipping on top of that! That made me a little irritated. What if it was late or what if I had bad service on the phone? I’d like to decide what if any tip you get! If I get good service I don’t have a problem giving a tip. I don’t like that tips are shared either. The ONLY time I tip baggers is when they have a charity thing going on. The high schooler sometimes go over and bag for money for the school. I tip hairdressers…a very good friend of mine is a hairdresser and I know it is greatly appreciated. She not only has to give a % of what she makes to the salon owner, she also has to pay her booth rental.

    I tip what I feel is appropriate and what I can afford. People remember good tippers and you are likely to continue getting great service depending on how you tip. I don’t necessarily think that’s right…people should give great service no matter what. That’s just not reality in most cases.

  7. mssc54 says:

    Okay now let’s try to remember when we say that we would like the employer to pay their employees better what you are really saying is that you want to be charged more for the product you are consuming.

    I typically tip the barber $2 for my expensive $8 hair cut.

    Our grocery store does not allow tipping. Dang it!

    I will tip the wait staff at least 20%. I believe in the precept of sowing and reaping. That’s paid off pretty well for me over the years.

    • Laura says:

      Like I said in the article, if the $10 doesn’t cover the expenses, raise the price. I’m fine with that. At least it’s honest. Don’t charge me $10, and then pay your waitresses, expecting me to make up the difference.

      I feel the same about pizza delivery, guys carrying my luggage, and even my hairdresser – and I go to a place that charges $30 for a simple cut!

      My problem is that the choice has been taken out of my hands. A tip should NEVER be expected. It should ALWAYS be a gift.

  8. Just a Mom says:

    I’m coming out of the closet here and now. No, I’m not gay, I’m not a Democrat. But it’s almost as drastic.

    ROFLMAO….Not a Democrat!!!
    Great post. If I get great service at a restaurant I will leave a great tip. If I get bad service you get nothing and I tell the manager to give you a verbal tip on how to do your job better!

  9. Joy says:

    I have to say I agree with JAM about your “democrat” remark! LOL!

    I tip where I feel I should. When someone is doing something just for me. My hairdresser, I tip her very well but she’d so anything for me. Paul tips his masseuse (Jenny) and we do tip very well when we eat out. Paul would tip big even if his service was bad but that’s just how he is but I wouldn’t. I feel a tip is “bonus” for how well you do your job. It is sad that we have to do that in order for them to make a living out of it but it’s been that way since the beginning of time. I also think the sharing of tips is wrong. I can see sharing it with the chef and the bus staff that did help you with the tables they helped you with but don’t feel the whole place should share. We know there are slackers everywhere so why should they benefit your good work while they hide out somewhere?

    There is no way I’d tip a contractor or some people on that list.

  10. javajunkee says:

    ok I had to jump down before I read all of it….when I worked at this fairly fancy restaurant as prep cook the owners sons were busboys…all of the waitresses at the end of the night had to split their tips with them. PISSED me off because a LOT of the time their boys were jacking around doing nothing. I said there was NO WAY IN HELL I would be a waitress there with that crap going on. …ok now I gotta go back and read somemore!

  11. javajunkee says:

    I don’t think there should be a percentage attached to a tip just like I shouldn’t go to church and hear 10%. I think everybody is entitled to tip whoever however much they feel they want to.
    I do tip at restaurants if there is good service..if not then no. don’t tip at a buffet either because most of the time we never see a waitress. I’ve gotten up and got my own refill on pop before. It’s a crazy world!

  12. Gary says:

    I tip the wait staff in restaurants and pizza delivery people but that’s it for me. I never knew you were even supposed to tip some of those on that list. Wouldn’t matter though, I still wouldn’t tip them.

    The whole wait staff having to split tips is bogus! Sometimes I tip some waiters/waitresses better than others because they went above and beyond or whatever. I was tipping THEM and NOT the other waiters/waitresses working there that didn’t really give a damn that I was even there.

  13. Interesting post 🙂
    How would you tip someone who makes a job for free? 10% of 0 is 0 (just asking because of my guide blog)

  14. lwayswright says:

    some of those on your list I have never heard of tipping and they are ridiculous…contractors? Don’t they charge like a million dollars an hour as it is? I do, however, tip waitresses. but there again, if the service really is bad I don’t tip as much. My daughter is a waitress and the problem there is that the resturant owners don’t even pay them minimum wage because they factor in the tips as part of their wage. So, without tips my daughter makes basically 2.00 an hour. There are nights she comes home after working 6-8 hours only earning like 3.00 an hour with tips if it has been a bad tip day! She is working to put herself through college, pay bills, she has done everything on her own and she is a really great waitress! So, there are some cases when tips are appropriate, but there are also some times when they are not!

    • Joy says:

      I agree. Waitstaff people work their butts off. I couldn’t be “nice” 24-7 to some of the people I know so I give them a lot of credit.

  15. Shai says:

    You are right. Restaurant owners and managers SHOULD be the ones paying their staff, and this is actually the way it is in other countries. Unfortunately, this is not true in the U.S. I used to be a server and I think the law should be changed. As far as your server being crappy, I am sorry. some of us are nice…. With regards to everything else I completely agree with you. The customer should not be responsible to pay paychecks. The business should. That is what we pay them for. All this needs to be changed. By the way. I wrote a similar post not too long ago, I would be happy if you will give it a look:
    http://www.waiterworld.com/?p=68

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