Tipping in USA

May 14th, 2007, 05:51 AM
  #21  
 
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Its Monday morning and I've not really started my own personal Rat Race yet, so I figured I'd weigh in on this issue.

Oscar, tipping is just the way we do it here, pure and simple. When you stop in for a nice steak dinner, your bill will be say $100 for 2. It is expected that you put in a tip of between $15-$20. If you were in Paris and you had the same meal (let's assume a 1-1 value here) your bill would be $120. What's the difference, $0.

Its been argued that the US tips to keep the staff honest. Its argued that our tipping system is "results based compensation". Granted, its good in theory, but its bad in practice. Personally, I tip at or close to 20% unless the service is horrendous and I can attribute it to the waitstaff and not a flaw in the restaurant itself. For example, one night 4 of us were having dinner in a boisterous restaurant. One particularly good joke had us all laughing. Our waiter, who was at the next table taking an order turned to us and shussed us. Did I mention that it was a loud and boisterous restaurant? At the end of the meal, we emphatically put a large $0 on the tip line and wrote "Never shuss us." But that's probably the only time I have failed to tip.

As many will tell you, tipping is so ingrained that we are at odds when we travel and do NOT tip abroad. I know that personally I feel like a cheapskate walking out without tipping.

So I guess the best way to sum it up, is that here in the US, our system is that in the areas that you mentioned, the employee's compensation is covered to a point by the employer and the difference is determined by the customer's satisfaction with the effort and professionalism accorded him/her. Without tipping, you bill would be higher. Your tip is your way of giving feedback.
altajoe is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 06:00 AM
  #22  
 
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Actually, I find mrw's response to be pointless -- no offense intended.
It appears the question is, reading between the lines, "Why is tipping the custom?" And it deserves an answer.

I personally like the idea of tipping. It represents direct contact and reward between me and the person who's providing the service to me. If I think the service is bad, I feel perfectly justified in leaving no or minimal tip. If I think it's good, I like the idea of directly rewarding someone for extra effort/attention.
Now, you may argue, "Yes, but they're SUPPOSED to provide good service. It's their job." True, but don't people perform their jobs at different level of competency? And why shouldn't those who perform at a high level get rewarded more?
And if everything in this world happened the way it was SUPPOSED to happen, we wouldn't need police and clergy.
Just one person's response and opinion.
j_999_9 is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 06:21 AM
  #23  
 
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Most waiters who think they have earned a 20% tip have worked in only a few restaurants and are often serving people who have dined in THOUSANDS of restaurants and are, therefore, better judges of when service should be rewarded with a 25%, 20%, 15%, 10% tip, or nothing.
happytrailstoyou is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 06:31 AM
  #24  
MaureenB
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For some reason, this topic always gets inflammatory. Maybe because different countries have such different customs.

I will say that when we visited St. Martin in the Caribbean several years ago, the tip was automatically added to the restaurant tab. It's the WORST service we've received anywhere-- very long wait for everything from drinks to food; wrong orders put on the table; no crackers or anything for starving children waiting a very long time for their food. This inattentiveness was probably because there was no incentive for better service, because the servers knew they'd get their 15% tip regardless. Not good.
>-
 
May 14th, 2007, 06:34 AM
  #25  
 
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Ditto to the last remark - while in Germany two weeks ago, where service is typically included in the bill, we couldn't believe how awful the service was almost every single place we ate. We had to really adjust our expectations of service levels.
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May 14th, 2007, 06:35 AM
  #26  
HKP
 
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You find the concept "objectionable and obnoxious"? I hope some of the answers here have revised your opinion, because it's not so much a concept as a system of divided compensation: the restaurant pays part, the client pays part. To put in another way, the restaurant or the taxi company is paid for the food/the ride; the server/driver is paid for service.

So if you refuse to tip, you are saying a very negative thing -- that you got zero service. Note the story about the server who "shussed" someone -- not leaving a tip was a punishment.

If Americans visit another country and refuse to do something customary because they consider it "objectionable and obnoxious" (say, staying in a queue or saying 'bon jour' in a store before making a request), the citizens of that country draw conclusions about rude Americans. Expect a similar conclusion about visitors who refuse to tip -- e.g., they are stingy and rude. Eventually, they will get service to match.
HKP is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 06:50 AM
  #27  
 
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So if you refuse to tip, you are saying a very negative thing -- that you got zero service. Not necessarily. Diners may have received service that was worse than no service at all--service so inferior that THEY should have been paid for enduring it.
happytrailstoyou is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 06:53 AM
  #28  
HKP
 
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I stand corrected.
HKP is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 07:02 AM
  #29  
 
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"What's the point of a minimum wage if people get paid less then it"

Bertorelli,

In some states there is a separate minimum wage for tipped employees. Nontipped employees minimum wage is one amount and tipped employees minimum wage is another. It varies by state.
From US Dept. of Labor:

http://www.dol.gov/esa/regs/compliance/whd/whd_fs.pdf

• Federal Minimum Wage = $5.15 per hour
• Tipped employees may be paid $2.13 per hour; if an employee’s tips combined with cash wage does not equal $5.15, the employer must make up the difference

vjpblovesitaly is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 07:31 AM
  #30  
 
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Only slightly off topic. Does anyone know if the waitstaff gets the entire tip indicated when paying with credit card. I tend to not put it on the card, just to leave cash on the table, but then I do not really know if the busperson is pocketing it. I do know that often caterers add a sizable tip "for the waiters" to the cost of the wedding party, etc., and the waitstaff never see a penny of it.
basingstoke2 is online now  
May 14th, 2007, 08:00 AM
  #31  
 
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Honestly, if you find tipping so objectionable then you shouldn't vacation in the US. Go to Europe or someplace else where tipping is not customary.

As previously mentioned, waitstaff make less than minimum wage, they rely on tips for their income. Cabbies have taxes to pay and often don't own their cabs, therefore have to hand over a lot of their income to the company they work for.

But it really doesn't matter why it's done, it just is and you should be a decent human being and tip what is customary if you receive good service. Why have such an attitude about it and anticipate ruffling feathers when you can just do the right thing?
wyatt92 is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 08:12 AM
  #32  
 
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if you find tipping so objectionable then you shouldn't vacation in the US. Go to Europe or someplace else where tipping is not customary.

And, if you are a US citizen and don't like the way the Republicans have been running the country and the war, you should move to Bangladesh.
happytrailstoyou is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 08:25 AM
  #33  
 
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"Does anyone know if the waitstaff gets the entire tip indicated when paying with credit card. I tend to not put it on the card, just to leave cash on the table, but then I do not really know if the busperson is pocketing it."

I am sure there are some restaurants in the country which take a percentage of the credit card tips to cover whatever fees the restaurant has to pay to the credit card company. I would think this would be a small percentage of restaurants, though. I am also sure there are some busboys who steal tips. They would likely be caught and fired, though. There are also some servers who change the tip amount on charge slips - only to be caught and fired. You could give the tip directly to the waitress whenever possible to make yourself feel more comfortable
vjpblovesitaly is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 08:39 AM
  #34  
 
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So happytrails, you think he just shouldn't tip then?

I really don't understand why he has to have such hostility toward tipping. As I said, it's much easier to do the right thing in this case.
wyatt92 is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 08:55 AM
  #35  
 
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oscar, ask happytrails for her email address. Then contact her about the best places she goes to stiff waiters, and bartenders and houskeeping. Then you will be able to sleeze into these places and not be too noticable.
Cole2006 is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 08:56 AM
  #36  
 
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I think that when in Rome one should do as the Romans do.

However, if somebody doesn't want to do as the Romans do, I believe they should still be welcome in Rome.
happytrailstoyou is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 09:02 AM
  #37  
 
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Please stop the hysteria.

I don't "stiff" anybody, I just don't tip 20% on tax or reward waiters for doing a crappy job.
happytrailstoyou is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 09:12 AM
  #38  
 
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It's bad karma not to tip where it was deserved and expected.
PlumeriaTattoo is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 09:24 AM
  #39  
 
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"And, if you are a US citizen and don't like the way the Republicans have been running the country and the war, you should move to Bangladesh."

That would mean only aprox. 20% of the US would still live here!!
jodeenyc is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 09:29 AM
  #40  
 
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Point taken happytrails. But I do expect you'd feel differently if you were the waitress or cab drivers that he stiffs. I suspect you're not working in either of these industries.
wyatt92 is offline  

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