Today, 29-95's Whine and Dine has a nice reminder about tipping and waitstaff/service industry pay. It's extremely topical at this juncture. Read your local news, the price of oil has shot up to record levels, nearing $100/bbl. How could this POSSIBLY be relevent to tipping etiquette? Have I taken complete leave of what senses I have left in my possession? NO. Tipping is likely to be my first in a series of posts about how we are cavorting around a perfect storm, economically and in my humble opinion. We are in the "cone of uncertainty and rising food costs".
In general, most service employees are earning less than $3.00 per hour, plus tips. Waitstaff tip-out and the end of their shift to everyone who helps them, bartenders, buspersons, and anyone else the establishment they work for includes in the pool. I will spare you the reiteration, click the link above and read the article, it's on point. Read the comments, too. I am a 20% plus tipper for decent service, never less than 10% for poor service. I have waited tables, I fully appreciate the work and effort that goes into making the general population happy. I fully appreciate that there will be at least one person, couple or family, each shift, who possesses some insane notion that they are "all that and a sack of chips" and you, lowly service person are chattle. They're jackwagons and likely tip for crap. Those upon whom the odd cup of coffee or sticky dessert must fall, on accident, of course. These people make the appreciative customers who do tip properly a shining light in your shift. One thing I should mention in particular, if you have a "koopon" or discount offer, it is proper and expected that you tip on the full MSRP of your meal. Also, doubling the tax on your bill is not really an effective means of calculating a tip. Those little tip cards? If you can't manage the basic math in your head...well, that's your first and last meal in my presence. What is twenty percent of a $40.00 check? Pssst, $8.00, just saying.
To those who say they never tip, I say, stick to fast food, buffets and institutions offering counter service. If you can't afford to tip properly, please only go where you can afford not to look like a cheapass. Say, Apple Garden, or whatever that place is. To those who think the employer making an alleged adjustment to ensure waitstaff make minimum wage: The lady at the drive-thru who couldn't get my order right after I repeated it three times, and then couldn't make change. That lady? She makes minimum wage. The person who remembers a four-top of orders and special instructions, keeps your drinks refreshed and works hard to make sure you have an excellent experience is worth far in excess of minimum wage. You try living on minimum wage. It requires an inodinate amount of sacrifice, if you've not done it in awhile.
Times are getting tough, that means it costs everyone more to travel to work. Groceries are going to be increasing in price. Spend wisely, and tip properly. Nobody likes a cheapass. Am I sure of that? Uhuh, just read the Tipping.org Forum on "poor tippers" if you have any doubts.