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February 04, 2010


I can't believe people who don't tip. I know someone who's had to wait tables to make some extra dough, and she says you just wouldn't believe the number of people who don't tip. I think restaurants should automatically add the tip into the bill then people can add to that if they want to.

Mystery Writing is Murder

I have worked in an ice cream parlor (*grins*), for a caterer, in a restaurant, and in a pub in downtown London. So I feel safe saying yes, food service wages are crap and tips make the difference between survival and desperation.

Neither my mother nor I ever worked as a waitress, but my mother has a axiom she pounded into her children and I can never tip at a restuarant without hearing it in the back of my mind. "It's good to give charity to those who can't help themselves. It's even better to be generous with those who are working hard to take care of themselves."

My mom's a Depression Era kid. She's thrifty. But I've never seen her be anything but generous in her tipping. I've also watched her rent prime properties at half their market value for years on end to people who needed a home and couldn't afford a decent one.

I think the way people tip tells you a lot about them.

and my pet peeve is almost the reverse - I too worked through high school as a waitress in a diner and later an italian restaurant and in college as a cocktail waitress in a local bar.

but my pet peeve is almost the reverse of yours - I feel for a new waiter who you can tell is struggling or the overwhelmed waiter who is doing their best on a busy night with too many tables - but let me tell you when the occasional inattentive and indifferent waiter in a slow restaurant on a quiet night gets my table it grates the heck out of me that they expect 15 -20 percent for doing a lousy job. When I only see him at my table to take the order and hand me the check- and I've had to ask other waiters for a drink refill, or missing condiments from the table, and then my companions refill, and who knows what else every penny of that tip stabs at me. lol.

and please don't ask me what I want for dessert when my empty appetizer plate is still on the table next to my empty dinner plate and then the check comes and there's no place to set it down with all the appetizer plates, dinner plates and now dessert plates- oooh that drives me nuts - I've been known to buss my own table rather than converse over dirty dishes. lol.

but I'm willing to guess that anyone who has ever waited tables is usually a pretty good tipper - I rarely leave less than 20 percent and even strapped for cash have been known to leave more for a really really good waiter.

you know - you're right- I do feel better - : )

I once worked (briefly) at a Chinese restaurant for an owner who threw dishes at us if business was slow. Waitressing is very hard work.

I waited tables back in my high school and early college days. I loved it actually, even though there were lots of poor- or non-tippers. It was fun, we were all teenagers at this place, and the restaurant was always hopping. But... it was hard work and I've become a generous tipper because of it.

I have three daughters and I've pounded the "tip well for good service" rule into their heads. When they go out with their friends, I can imagine that the waitstaff groans (teenagers!!) but if the kids are treated with respect, the waiters are tipped well.

I agree about the bad waiters and waitresses. I have gone so far as to leave the most minimal tip for egregiously bad service. I always tip something, though, so they don't think I forgot.

I do have a question for recent waiters/waitresses... do you care if tips are left on credit cards? Do you prefer cash?

Just wondering...


Such great stories!

And, Chris K, I actually agree with you. I (think I) can spot the difference between a server who's phoning it in and one who's a newbie. One has my sympathy, the other not.

While I think servers ought to get paid (tipped) for doing their jobs, if you *don't* do your job, you don't get paid ...

I'm the same way with my students. If you're clearly trying, I will cut you some slack (no As for effort, here, but I'll work with you to get through the material). But don't expect to skip my class because you're hungover and then have me reteach the material in office hours. :)

Thanks for the info, Wendy. I always tip generously but I never released the base pay was still that low. So 20% seems more reasonable now, no matter what the service. Now to convince the stingy husband ....

I think pretty much anyone who had had to work for tips themselves, get it. Interesting question about cc vs. cash. I'd be interested in seeing that answer also.

Having worked as a waiter before, I really feel for those servers who are genuine people. I can't stand servers who treat my like they're my best friend, who try to sit next to me and play cute. I like a server who is kind and professional, who I barely know is there. They are the ones who get the big tips.

I know a lot of people who dont understand how LITTLE wait servers get paid. Or maybe they don't care. I had a former friend who contantly undertipped so I tended to end up paying pretty much the whole tip anyway. And I had a former boss who had to sneak money back as they left the restaurant with her parents in law.

When I was waiting tables, I rather liked credit card tips (because I collected those in larger bills at the end of the evening). But in self-serve places that have a tip jar, I always leave cash tips so that they can be divvyed up at the end of a shift (so the money goes into the pockets of the people who waited on me).

Over on my facebook page, I've gotten some interesting comments about who counts as a tipped employee ... I'm hearing that Sonic servers and Dunkin' Donuts employees are considered tipped employees (and thus subject to the lower minimum wage). I haven't independently verified this, but now I feel like a heel for not tipping these people!

Wendy, I have to confess I used to be like your Dad. Until we had friends whose daughter became a wait person and she set me straight. I have the utmost respect for servers/wait persons etc. No way would I be able to keep everything straight writing it down, much less in my head the way some folks do. I hope lots of people see this. It's a valid peeve. Sounds like there must be a book in there somewhere, too. Marsha

That minimum wage info is astounding. I'm sending this link to friends ... maybe we can spread the news and encourage others to tip more generously when the service is good.

I've never waited tables, but I think it would be fun to do once or twice. I knew servers got pd low wages because of the tip situation, but had no idea about the rest! I always tip well though. It's just good karma and hopefully saves my salad from being tossed on the floor and then served with saliva vinagrette. :-)

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