I recently read an interesting article called “How to tip like a gentleman“. It was posted on Digg, and most of the comments disagreed with the article. There seems to be a lot of people that think our entire tipping system is ridiculous, and I for one agree.
Here is a comment from the Digg article: “I was paid 2.63 an hour to wait tables over the summer. I would get paychecks of about 1.23 after taxes.”
What? This comment doesn’t make any sense. That would mean you worked less than an hour in a 2 week period. Ok, so let’s assume that it was just a typo. Then you’re just a liar, and I’ll explain how it works. There are 2 minimum wage levels. The restaurants pay the servers the lesser of the two, UNLESS their tips don’t make up the difference. For example, if they go an hour without any tips, they’ll make the $5.15 minimum wage. I’m not saying that’s good, I’m just saying you can’t use the alternative minimum wage argument.
The tipping article suggests tipping with percentages. He suggests tipping up to $100 just for the guy that seats you at a 4 star restaurant. If that is the norm, I’m in the wrong profession. For that much money, I could seat people like nobody’s business.
Many people suggest that tipping should no longer be expected. Apparently in many other countries, a tip is only normal if the person did something truly exceptional.
Now, as for the entire percentage based system. I think this is completely absurd. The value of what you carry should have little to no impact on the amount of your tip. Imagine winning $1,000,000 on Deal or no Deal, only to have Howie ask for 20% because he carried you the check.
I actually had a guy get pissed because I gave him a $3 tip for delivering 5 pizzas. OH MY GOD, 5 PIZZAS, HOW DID HE EVER DO IT? If I would have ordered 1 pizza, he would have been happy. Next time, I’m going to pick it up myself, so I hope you can stretch out that $3 until you find a new job. And by the way, the pizza companies now have a delivery fee, which the driver does NOT get.
People think the percentage based system works well, because if you’re at a nicer restaurant, the employees are typically better at their job, and expect a better tip. That sounds nice and fluffy if you look at it in that direction. Effectively, you’re saying “screw you” to the hard working employees at places with reasonably priced food. Case in point, my wife used to work at Perkins. Their food is very reasonably priced compared to most places. Because of that, she was tipped poorly. Another co-worker told me one time that the best employees end up working at the more expensive restaurants. That’s not always the case. Perkins was close to our home, and she liked it there.
If we’re going to stick with the percentage based tip, then McDonald’s employees should get tips as well. At 15%, they would be making an excellent wage! Maybe that’s what we need to get good service at fast food restaurants.
Every place I’ve worked at told me that I was not allowed to accept tips. Thanks for that. I have to pay tips my whole life, but never get to be the recipient.
So what is my tipping philosophy? Do well, get a good tip. Do poorly, get little to no tip.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not because I’m cheap. I’ve tipped $10 for a $25 meal. The waitress was one of the happiest people I ever met. Her happiness rubbed off on my wife and I. It was worth the extra money.
Ok, I’m better now.