Is tipping a Requirement, and how much? And why?

@vivasuzi (4127)
United States
June 5, 2009 10:09am CST
I was just reading a discussion on the Oprah site. Apparantly some peope are angry b/c she allegedly said that in these hard economic times it's ok to tip less. Now I don't want this discussion to be about Oprah or why what she said was so wrong. Instead my question is, why was tipping even invented? Where do restaurant OWNERS get off paying their wait-staff little to nothing and expecting the customer to tip? Nowadays it is pretty much expected that you will leave a tip at any restaurant, bar, etc. So we go out to eat and typically leave 15-18%, but honestly sometimes it's 12, sometimes is 10, it really depends on the total bill and the service. However in one discussion board various people were saying that ALL waiters DESERVE a 20% tip. What? They give a sob story that they get paid little to nothing and they NEED us to tip 20% in order to survive. I just don't think people should work in restaurants if they can't survive on base salary b/c what are they going to do if no one comes to the restaurant that day and therefore no one leaves a tip? I'd say if you gave me exceptional service and really made me enjoy my visit, then I might bump it up to 20%. If I'm with a large group, I probably will give you a larger tip because you had to deal with so many people. But to say ALL the time I should tip 20% is just going overboard. Do you know how many MUNDANE waiters and waitresses I've had? Do you know how many times I sat at a restuarant and the waitress never came over once to ask me I want a refill? I pay 3$ for a lemonade and don't get any refills! Or there's been many a time where I got the wrong item and it took them awhile to resolve it where my party was already done eating before they fixed it. That said, I'm a very pleasent customer. I always say "that's ok" and I always still tip 12-15%. As long as the person is apologetic, I excuse a lot, we all make mistakes. But why should I even have to go through this every time I go out to eat? Why should I have to decide what to tip? I hate doing the math first of all, and I hate looking "cheap" second of all, but I don't want to tip 20% if all you did was bring me my food and never returned until the bill was due. All I know is I work my butt off to help people and I don't get a tip! Restaurant owners and hairdressers and other service industries need to just get with the program and pay their employees more. Long story short: Don't cry to the customer that "I only get 2$ an hour". Take it up with the restaurant industry! And in addition - if your a crabby waiter, don't expect tips. Period.
2 people like this
4 responses
@heathcliff (1415)
• United States
10 Jun 09
I always get completely REAMED when I mention tipping is an outdated, unfair practice. Many employers make receiving any tip against their internal policy and grounds for dismissal, while restaurant owners are allowed to circumvent minimum wage just because their customers MIGHT tip. Restaurant owners blast me that they will go out of business if they had to run a business without tips! Now, I know they would struggle, and the public would probably see all their favorite meals jump in price because the restauranteers are too used to their gouged profits from not paying minimum wage, but if all other industries have to deal with minimum wage, they will learn. Restaurants must have one heck of a lobbying group! In the meantime, unless I breakdown and go to a place that adds the tip to your bill (doesn't that burn ya), I avoid tipping like moldy bread. Occassionally my wife feels a server did an outstanding job and will leave something, but that level of service is pretty rare. Bottom line, if the general public stopped tipping like automatons, things would have to change.
@vivasuzi (4127)
• United States
10 Jun 09
I LOVE Places that don't allow tips. We went to an all-inclusive vacation once, and the employees were not allowed to take tips because it was already factored into the cost. My husband tried once and the guy said "no no we can't take them". That's how it should be! And at a company like mine, you are not allowed to take gifts without justifying them or making sure they are under a certain amount... yet a waiter can get a 100$ tip from a generous customer and it's not under scrutiny. I think we are afraid to just stop tipping. I don't want to look cheap or like the person did a bad job. I wouldn't mind if meals went up a little bit if you took the tip factor out completely. But you are right, restaurants would probably double their prices. I say they should just higher fewer waiters and pay them better. I was just mentioning in another discussion that often-times I see a dozen waitresses sitting and chatting while only 2-3 do any real work.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jun 09
Yeh, my wife actually got a restaurant recently to give HER a tip of sorts ($5 off next trip) because her waitress was goofing off. Now that I can get behind. If the service is really bad the "negative tip" comes off our bill, right?
1 person likes this
@vivasuzi (4127)
• United States
11 Jun 09
That sounds like a good idea! Usually restaurants are only willing to reimburse you if the food is bad or something like that. Well they got you though - b/c in the end you'll go back and spend more than 5$ :-D
@mrtimharry (1180)
5 Jun 09
in the UK tipping is not as widespread as it is in the States but would say that I view the tip as part of the overall expense of an evening out. Therefore I expect ten percent to be added to my bill, and view this as something the waiting staff work for. therefore I wouldn't cut down on the tip, but would rather cut down on the number of evenings out to save money if that makes sense
2 people like this
@vivasuzi (4127)
• United States
5 Jun 09
I agree that you should expect to pay the tip going in, but if they do badly it might not be as big as you added in. If you can't afford to tip 10-15%, then perhaps you can't afford to eat out at all. I wish tipping were less of an expectation and more of a reward for exceptional service. I just don't know how the whole philosophy ever got started.
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Jun 09
This is a tough topic. I've been a waiter before, and they do get a sour deal a lot of times -- people tip less in economic times. Your advice that waiters should take it up with the restaurant industry and campaign for higher wages is good, in theory, but doesn't really work in practice -- waiting tables is one of those jobs that anyone can do, and the turn-over is high. If you complain, a lot of places will just show you the door and hire the next person on the list of 30+ applicants that a lot of restaurants have on file at any given time. Waiting tables is something of a gamble. If you're good at your job, make an effort to engage the customer and win them over, you can make a killing at it, especially if you happen to work in a place where the food is pricey or touristy -- I knew a friend that would work summers in Panama City, Florida, and he could routinely pull in several hundred a week just off tips. On the other hand, if you're a crappy employee, you're not going to get very good tips. I don't think this should change. Waiting tables is one of few jobs left where your job earnings are largely based on your work ethic. Customers do need to be more understanding, though. Stuff happens. Waiters get screwed over a lot -- the other guy calls in and you have to handle his tables as well as your own, or you've been put on a double shift, or you've got one obnoxious customer that is keeping you from devoting as much time to your other tables. If you see your waiter is struggling, and if they make an effort, I'd say still give them a good tip -- in fact, if I can tell my waitress is having a hard day, I'll tip extra just to help her out a bit. As a general rule, I double the tax. An 8% tax doubles to 16% of the bill. If the service was really good, I'll throw in a little extra. And don't punish the wait staff because the cook screwed up.
1 person likes this
@vivasuzi (4127)
• United States
5 Jun 09
Good points. Around here the tax is only 6% so I don't think I'll tip 12! I am VERY forgiving at restaurants usually b/c I'm in a good mood and out having fun. There have been VERY few times were I was realy upset with a waiter. Heck I once went out where the waitress screwed up our refills 3 times, forgot to put in the order for one of our meals, and placed the wrong order for another. Yet she was apologetic and we got free dessert. She was still pleasant and we still tipped around average. So personality has A LOT to do with it. You can screw up a million things, but if you do it with a smile and try to show you care, a lot of people will notice and will forgive. I know there are some ornary customers that won't forgive even the smallest mistake, but I would hope I'm pleasent enough that the waiter is HAPPY to serve me :) As far as having a hard day, there's one thing I DON'T like. I can't stand when the waitress tells me sorry and then apologizes with "2 people called in sick and yadda yadda yadda" or last week when the waitress said "sorry I'm a little slow I'm sick". The person serving me my food is sick? I don't want to hear that! Anyway, the point is, apologize, fix it, be pleasent, but don't start making excuses. If you are running around waiting on 30 tables, most customers will see the problem for themselves. Thanks for sharing! I know it would be hard to fight the restaurant industry, too bad that in these bad times people can't just quit and make them suffer.
1 person likes this
@vivasuzi (4127)
• United States
5 Jun 09
Oh and final point, even if it is tough to fihgt the restaurant industry - I still see no reason why waiters/waitresses should be TICKED OFF at customers for leaving less than what they consider a good tip. Acting as if you expect a 20% tip no matter what is just going to put a bad taste in my mouth.
1 person likes this
@saundyl (9686)
• Canada
10 Jun 09
I find it annoys me that places pay their employees less because they expect everyone to tip. I worked as a waitress - we got slightly higher than minimum wages but min wage here at the time was 7.75 not a couple dollars. Tips were not expected they were a nice extra but they werent expected. Good service is always expected...its part of customer service and working with people. That being said it rather annoys me that hair dressers - especially ones that own the business (as its illegal to accept tips as a business owner) expect tips - that goes for places like spas and massage therapy. I consider Massage therapy expensive enough as it is...I have to work an entire day to be able to afford it...and i'm going for medical reasons not for pleasure/relaxation. I dont tip my doctor or any other health professional - its not expected and in a medical setting massage therapists shouldnt expect it either. That being said if i was going for the heck of it and could afford it for fun i would leave a tip at a spa but i'd go to a spa not a medical clinic.
1 person likes this
@vivasuzi (4127)
• United States
11 Jun 09
I don't understand how restaurants get away with paying 2-3$. That just doesn't seem right. What's the point of "minimum wage" if they don't have to follow the rules. I always don't know what to do at the hairdresser. I see people tipping them like crazy so I give mine 5$ but I feel ripped off right after. She charges me like $25-35 to cut and blow dry my hair! You're right, it is expensive enough as it is. Some people tip the hair washer girl and I used to feel guilty for not, but now I just don't care anymore. Anyway, I factor the 5$ into my hairdressing bill before I go, but I don't even know if I'm expected to give MORE. It just makes for an awkward situation when you don't know what's expected.