March 3rd, 2006

against demons


Josh waits tables at a restaurant...let's call it Pink Crustacean. Yesterday he had a table of mid-20 year old girls ate dinner and sang loudly like they were practicing to be American Idol rejects. They stayed at their table for 2.5 hours. 15% of $40 would be $6. They tipped him $2. That is a 5% tip for 2.5 hours of his time where he could not have another table and be making some more money off it. He makes something around $3 an hour, so he needs to pull in tips to pay for his rent, phone bill, utility bills, and student loans. He gets a lot of "verbal tips"; "Oh, honey, you've been great!" and customers have praised his service to his manager, but very few of these people seem to tip well (well meaning 15% or a bit more).

I know, I know. Why doesn't he work at a better restaurant, or not in food service at all? He's working on getting away from food service altogether to pursue something he loves, but in order to do that he needs to have a nest egg just in case he doesn't find a new job straight away. I just don't understand why people go out to eat if they are not going to tip their waiter or waitress. They want a dedicated person to answer questions about the menu and their dietary concerns, fetch them drinks and refills, bring their appetizer/salad out before the meal, bring out their food, and bus and clean their tables, yet they want to pay them .80 cents per hour?

I honestly think that 10% should automatically be added to the bill at any sit down restaurant with wait service. If you have the money to go out, I truly believe that you are obligated to pay at least that. I am one of those people who usually tips 20%. I can only remember tipping less than 15% once. It was after Radiohead at Madison Square Gardens when we had the worst waiter in the history of waiters at that diner I can't remember the name of. Karyn was with me and, between the two of us, we left big fat tips on every table we ever sat at together. This guy was yakking with regulars, neglecting to bring us menus for 20 minutes so we took one from a stand just to figure out what we wanted, brought us out our food luke warm (we thought we saw it sitting on the counter for about 15 minutes prior to getting it), and then he ran out after us holding up the $3 tip we left on $20 (estimated, I can't actually remember what the bill was but it was something like 5% we left). Karyn tore into him about how irresponsible he was and told him what his tip would have been, had he actually treated us with respect. That experience just made me tip incredible waiters that much better. Basically, I think this post is trying to say that people suck, but the government should add some kind of a law where 10% minimum should be in place. If people want to tip over that, they can (and should).
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