Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Tip-toeing

So this past Sunday, we met some friends of ours for dinner. We went here, because it is kid-friendly without being cartoonish, the kid's meals are well priced and come with dessert! What more can you ask for in a restaurant?

With all the kids, there were seven in our party. Our waitress was great, prompt with the filling of the glasses, more bread when we wanted, and even gave me a slice of birthday cake even though I admitted my birthday was at the beginning of the month. She had spotted the present our friends had nicely given me, and asked what the occasion was.

All in all, good service, right?

Hubba-hubba and our friend J were working out the bill and came to the question of tip. Hubba-hubba is a generous tipper, and it seems that J is not. They had a bit of a gentlemen's disagreement over the tip, and Hubba-hubba decided not to press it any further. Us gals had taken the kids out to run around the front grassy area when they came out, and Hubba-hubba whispered to me that he thought since our waitress did such a good job, he should add to the tip.

Hubba-hubba wound up going back and leaving some more money, I think with the excuse that he had to use the restroom. Usually if we like the service, we tip around twenty percent.

But I have been known a handful of times to stiff the server. That is only if something especially horrific was done. For example, when I was pregnant, I had gestational diabetes. At the Cheesecake Factory for lunch with my sister, I asked the waitress if the particular dish I wanted had any sugar in it, and I explained my medical condition. She, without checking with the kitchen, assured me that it didn't. I ordered it, but upon my first bite, detected sugar. Vainly, we attempted to flag her down, but wound up asking another waitress. She replied in the affirmative that the dish did indeed contain sugar. Our waitress was huffy when she found out I had changed dishes, and no apology. No apology for endangering my health and that of my unborn child meant zero tip. I don't think we felt bad about it for even a nanosecond.

It seems that J is on tip overload, and it's hard to blame him. I mean, it seems that everywhere I turn, there is a plastic jar with a cutesy marker-written sign. The smart ones put happy faces. From Chipotle to Coldstone, every low paying job puts out a plea for more money from its customers.

When is enough money enough?

Is it a sign of bad economic times that the people who are getting paid to stand there and hand me my burrito think they are entitled to extra money? A lot of these places aren't cheap to begin with, so if you add in a tip, are you really spending all that much less than a full-service restaurant?

Or is it just a mindset that lives by the old adage, "there's a sucker born every minute?"

13 comments:

Mega Mom said...

I guess that if they want to put it out, so be it, but I'm no sucka!

Granny said...

I don't usually tip at the fast food counter and most places here don't have the jars out.

I leave a small tip at the "buffet" style restaurants because they do keep clearing plates, filling glasses, etc.

I'm fairly generous at the sit down places. I calculate the tip based on what we would pay for adult meals (no senior, no kid prices or freebies). They work just as hard (and sometimes harder) serving kids and they pay taxes on tips whether they receive them or not.

I've also been known to leave nothing as you did. Also to sneak back when I'm with a cheap tipper. Usually for rudeness; anything else is generally the fault of the kitchen, not the server.

I'd love to see tipping disappear and wages increase but I don't think it's going to happen in this country anytime soon.

Awesome Mom said...

I tip at restraunts and the person that cuts my hair, that is it. Our @#!#@@$ing paper delivery person sends out cards and such hinting for tips but if this person can't even get the paper to my back gate instead of just throwing it behind my car then they are nto getting a red cent. Plus we are often missing papers. I have delivered papers so I know what it is to go the extra mile and when that day comes there will be a tip.

Hope said...

Heres the way I do it. I am a generous tipper when my server is good or responds to my concerns.
20%
Buffets, salad bars, if they keep my cup flowing and napkins onthe table. 15%
I walk up and order, you hand me?
Perhaps the change in my hand. Tips are for service. You already pay for the food.

Liz said...

David Hannum said that! Not P.T. Barnum as is commonly believed.

Oh....that's not the question?

We are pretty good tippers too. I try to remember the difference between the service and what has happened in the kitchen beyond the server's control.

Heather said...

One wretched summer during college, I cleaned hotel rooms for a living. Oh the horror! Once in a blue moon, someone would leave a tip for us and it would make our otherwise dreary days just a little better. Since then, I've been known to leave tips in hotel rooms. I don't normally tip at fast food joints though.

Anvilcloud said...

The problem is, at least here, is that servers get paid something below the min wage. I only don't tip at restaurants if I'm really put off.

heidi said...

20 % if they're good, 15% if they are mediocre and if they feed me sugar despite my medical condition...NO TIP FOR YOU! And I don;t feel one bit bad about it. If I had their job, I'd do it to the best of MY abilities. Hand me a burrito and I'm sorry, you get a smile and a thank you. Now, if the cook was also the guy to hand me my burrito, well then, maybe. But that would bring up some other issues about touching money and cooking...YECH.

Trabinski said...

I'm so glad you raised this issue. I've been trying to figure this out too. I'm a 20% tipper if the service is good - fast food? I don't think so. I've been a waitress, a barista, and had a janitorial company with my sister to put me through college - they are all hard work and deserve more money than you make.

My jobs as of late? Teacher and mom - um, yeah, the earning money compared to what you deserve issue can be found just about everywhere. At this point I'm ecstatic to get the smile and a thank you tip!! :)

PS - Loved your comment on my blog about raising boys! See my response in the comments after yours! (on my blog) :)

Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

We tip well at restaurants (20% or even a tad more, depending), usually because our boy will inevitably leave a crumbly mess in his place, and someone's gotta clean that up.

At counter-service places, I only tip if I'm placing a huge, complicated order and they do a masterful job of filling it. If the dude's just getting me a skim latte, no tip.

Karla said...

I pretty much tip 15%, unless the service was awesome, then I'll add more. Nada if it was horrible.

I limit my tipping to cab drivers, servers and bar tenders. (unless on vacation down south...then I tip everyone).

J said...

I had a fabulous massage a few weeks ago...I was in a LOT of pain, and she cured me. I tipped 20%. I got my hair cut, and she did a great job. 20%. In a past life, I was a waitress, and my mom before me (while teaching at the same time, but teaching doesn't pay well, as you know, so she had to waitress too...fun being a single mom), and she always told me the tip was 10% for breakfast, 15% for lunch, 20% for dinner. Has anyone ever heard that before? I've never heard it anywhere else. Anyway, we pretty much tip 20% or nothing, though truly mediocre service might get 15%. As for the jars? Depends on the mood. If I'm in a good mood, and they do a good job, I'll throw a buck in. I remember what it was like to make crap wages for being on your feet all day, and if my $1 can cheer someone up, it's money well spent. But if I'm broke or in a crummy mood, I might not do it. No real system, I guess.

KMae said...

I always tip a LOT, even tho' I don't have much money after my company's frickin' pay cuts. Being in a service orientated field, I KNOW how hard it is to run back & forth trying to please everyone! Plus those servers are usually young kids & they appreciate it. No tips for fast food or snitty little bitches who endanger pregnant women. Actually, no tips for snitty little bitches, period... or maybe just $1.