Why Your Reasons for Demanding a Tip are Wrong

Waiters are understandably upset about why I don’t tip and have given many illogical reasons in support of this ridiculous practice. Here’s a rebuttal of the most common ones.

Bullshit 1: We only Pay for the Food. Service is Extra

The menu price doesn’t include just the cost of preparing the food and paying the chef. It includes the restaurant setting, the tables, the cutlery, the effort and investment that the restaurant owner has put into the dining area. Now guess what? Since I’m paying for it, the restaurant has to give it to me. And how do they accomplish this?

Waiters. Ding ding!

See without waiters, the restaurant has no way of delivering the dining experience to me that I’m paying for. I’m paying for sitting down in a nice place. I’m paying for the air conditioning. I’m paying for the nice tablecloth and for my food to be delivered to me in a reasonable time. The menu price covers all this. Waiters are just the restaurant’s way of bringing me my food. Of fulfilling their part of the contractual obligation.

Bottom line. Servers are not independent contractors. They’re not an “extra” that you have to pay for. By hook or crook, the restaurant needs to deliver the product. Whether they use waiters or conveyor belts (a term that many seem to object to), is not my business. I don’t care. The waiters can just melt into the background and let me enjoy my food in peace. If the menu includes free refills or whatever, then waiters are required to deliver that as well. Why? Because…wait for it….I paid for it!

Bullshit 2: It’s the custom. It’s ‘merica!

Yeah right. You do realize that not all customs are created equal don’t you? Slavery was a “custom” back in the day and so was race and sexual discrimination. Anyone with an ounce of integrity does what they feel is right. There are many harmless customs in the world like bowing instead of shaking hands, or using chopsticks instead of forks etc that are morally neutral. It really makes no difference if you follow them or not.

But tipping? Hell no! It’s not morally neutral. If you get better service because you’re a good tipper, then you’re essentially paying a bribe to servers to get them to do their job properly next time. All customs have a limit. And tipping is such a convenient custom isn’t it? Hell, I wish I had a custom in place for people to just throw money at me.

And just in case someone feels I don’t appreciate the US, there are many great things about this country that I love and I’ve blogged about repeatedly. Freedom of expression, the way Americans show respect to their armed forces, the politeness of people as you walk by on the road, the work culture, the individuality.

I just don’t like tipping. It’s not as if a person has to blindly accept everything in a country without judgment. There are good things. And there are bad things. Just like everywhere else.

Bullshit 3: The cost of food will increase dramatically

Someone needs to do basic math. Increasing the price of food to pay minimum wage to waiters will not double the price of food. Some have even gone so far to claim that it’ll increase 4-5 times. Ridiculous. Totally, utterly ridiculous. Let’s dissect this rubbish.

As an example, I’ll take Chilis. A waitress at Chilis was so kind as to comment saying that the price of food at her restaurant will increase by 3 times – $30 for a $10 burger. Using the statistics she herself gave in her comment, there are 12 waiters (at full capacity) who need to be paid minimum wage. That’s $5 extra per hour per waiter making it a net total of $60 per hour that has to be added to the price of food on a full day.

$60/hr? For 12 waiters. That’s it! It’s peanuts. If you assume even that each waiter is serving just four tables. That’s $5 an hour extra they have to make from four tables. Even if we say that each table sits for a massive two hours, the extra paid per table is way less than $5. On the total bill. Worst, worst case scenario.

You know what? Customers won’t even notice. So stop the garbage about the prices of food going up several times to pay minimum wage. It’s utter nonsense. The only reason waiters don’t want this system in place is because they earn a hell of a lot more than than minimum wage using our tips. And they come across as the victims.

Waiters are Struggling Mothers/Students

Look, it’s not as if I don’t have sympathy for those who struggle in life. I just don’t think it’s my problem. And I specially don’t like it being impinged upon me. Generosity is one thing. Having money demanded from you is something totally else. Any tip I give is out of the generosity of my heart and I expect some gratitude for helping those in need. It’s not something I have to do since…refer to Myth 1.

Bottom line: Socially mandated tipping is a scam. I can’t believe how intelligent people have been hoodwinked into it. Probably because they like to come across as “nice” people and feel sorry for servers who hover around looking expectantly. Well, I find that irritating and I won’t buy into it.

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Comments

  1. FSA says:

    The mentality is the same… waiters are just freeshitarmy in the end. demanding everything for nothing and crying when they don’t get it all the time. sorry losers, but you’ll be seeing 0%. screw with my food and not only will I *not* be paying, you’ll be getting fired at the very least, and I’ll be compensated for not suing the establishment.

  2. Xavier says:

    Sorry, but you’re being deliberately obtuse. The US has food establishments where you are expected to tip (Chili’s, etc.), and places where you are not (McDonalds, McAllister’s Deli, Panda Express, etc). If you do not wish to tip, you have the option of going to a place where you are not expected to. You also have the option of take out at 95% of restaurants, where a tip is not expected and you will not have to deal with a server “pretending” to be your friend. The fact is, you have options to not tip. You do not have to participate in a tip based system if you do not choose to. But if you CHOOSE to participate in the system and take advantage of the service (refilling drinks, cleaning up your mess, etc.), then you are in essence extending a separate merit-based, contractual obligation to the server, apart from the restaurant.

    And let’s examine what would happen if a large number of people adopted your philosophy. Servers would only be making $2.37/hr and taking home next to no money. Consequentially, servers would quit that establishment and go somewhere they make more money (either another restaurant where you don’t frequent, or leave the industry entirely). Without staff, the restaurants will either have to close, or significantly raise prices on everything to pay servers a reasonable wage. So in essence, you would be tipping ANYWAY, it would just be built into the cost of the food. So for all your blustering and “I’m not tipping no matter what,” you would end up paying the tip regardless.

    But you know the majority of Americans tip. You’re counting on the system not changing, and being able to save $5 here and there. You’re effectively skimming from the people who go to restaurants, use the service, and compensate accordingly. You’re a leech, a parasite. That’s not to be derogatory, it accurately describes what you are doing. There is no high-minded ideal about the inequality of the system or indignant stance on the value of service. You’re just cheap, and wrote a blog post to rationalize your selfish behavior and pretend that it is some intellectual epiphany. And maybe you wanted to post it on the internet to find the few people who do the same things, like the other commenter FSA, seeking out affirmation when society at large tells you that you are completely wrong. Just like pedophiles do.

    • ron says:

      Those things you mention are part of your job. The arrangement you have with your employer and yourself in regard to wages has nothing to do with the customers.

      Customers are under no obligation to hand you tax free money in addition to the bill for what wad ordered.

      If your getting any tips at all , be thankful and stop whining about those who don’t see the need to pay anything over and above the required bill and applicable taxes.

      Customers don’t owe you a living so stop this asinine ranting and bitching because your sense of entertainment is very annoying.

      • X says:

        The irony lies in the fact that you claimed the OP of the comment had a “sense of [entitlement]“(you said “sense of entertainment” because someone here is more focused on being a precocious little dick than double checking that their comment was intelligible, but, you know, whatever).

        Are you not displaying your sense of entitlement that you should be given superior service and not have to pay for it? Aren’t you displaying your sense of entitlement in the fact that it’s not your problem that kid waiting your table won’t go home with enough rent tonight to pay for their crappy run-down inner-city studio apartment–despite working every minute they weren’t in class or studying–even if they ran back and forth from your table 12 times over the course of your dinner to make sure all your “asinine” little requests were filled? Who cares if the busgirl tonight is scraping away every penny she’s getting tipped because she’s trying to make enough to be able to move out of her abusive, alcoholic father’s house? And we all know it’s not your problem your waitress at your local 24-hour diner is forgoing sleeping for the next 5 years because her child was diagnosed with cancer and she’s picking up a second job to help pay the medical bills–the only work that she can get because she’s at her regular job during the day and every other job that offers a graveyard shift either needs a certification or is incredibly dangerous. Who cares? Not your problem! The well being of other people isn’t your concern! DESPITE the fact that they are being paid such a small base pay to leave ROOM for you to pay them BASED ON THE SERVICES THEY PROVIDE! And the fact that most of them NEED more than minimum wage to survive (as minimum wage is no longer a livable wage and working 40 hours at minimum would put you below the poverty line) and have taken that job to be able to make a bit more based on how well they do–they can’t prove they’re worthy of a higher paying job because they have no work experience, so this gives them the opportunity to make as much money as they EARN by being the best employee they can be.

        You aren’t under any obligation to pay a waiter a tip. You also aren’t obligated give your seat up on a full bus for an elderly, disabled woman. You also aren’t obligated to let the police know you spotted the car that was on the news last night because someone saw the driver abduct a child (legally you are, but no one would ever know if you don’t). You’re not obligated to do any of those things, but not being obligated to do it doesn’t mean you aren’t a complete dick for refusing to.

    • tehy says:

      Sorry, but you’re being deliberately obtuse. The US has food establishments where you are expected to tip (Chili’s, etc.), and places where you are not (McDonalds, McAllister’s Deli, Panda Express, etc). If you do not wish to tip, you have the option of going to a place where you are not expected to.

      Too bad those are all fast-food take-out restaurants. a nice meal and mcdonalds don’t mesh well, unsurprisingly.

      You also have the option of take out at 95% of restaurants, where a tip is not expected and you will not have to deal with a server “pretending” to be your friend.

      Here’s a story to illustrate the problem with this idea. I was with my friend and his family, We were waiting for a table at this high-end restaurant. I suggest that we just order it take-out, because the time we take to get a table there is probably the same as the time to get home, which saves us the drive home and standing around like a bunch of chumps. This brilliant idea is shot down, of course, in a flash.Why? Well, people want to eat at restaurants. The ambience, the ability to get refills and order more dishes, not getting the house dirty with food stains, et cetera.

      The fact is, you have options to not tip. You do not have to participate in a tip based system if you do not choose to. But if you CHOOSE to participate in the system and take advantage of the service (refilling drinks, cleaning up your mess, etc.), then you are in essence extending a separate merit-based, contractual obligation to the server, apart from the restaurant.

      Wait, what? The restaurant PAYS you for giving that service. If take-out was even close to a primary option, the restaurant would be a kitchen with a few tables out front. Since it’s not, the restaurant needs a method of food delivery…which it pays for. What are you, a damn salesman or something?

      And let’s examine what would happen if a large number of people adopted your philosophy. Servers would only be making $2.37/hr and taking home next to no money. Consequentially, servers would quit that establishment and go somewhere they make more money (either another restaurant where you don’t frequent, or leave the industry entirely). Without staff, the restaurants will either have to close, or significantly raise prices on everything to pay servers a reasonable wage. So in essence, you would be tipping ANYWAY, it would just be built into the cost of the food. So for all your blustering and “I’m not tipping no matter what,” you would end up paying the tip regardless.

      Did you not see him explain in the article exactly the problem with the “significantly raised prices” thing? “That’s $5 extra per hour per waiter”. That’s less than a single tip for a party of four, so how could prices rise significantly?

      But you know the majority of Americans tip. You’re counting on the system not changing, and being able to save $5 here and there. You’re effectively skimming from the people who go to restaurants, use the service, and compensate accordingly. You’re a leech, a parasite. That’s not to be derogatory, it accurately describes what you are doing.

      You are the leech, the parasite. Stop trying to justify your sucking of money via societal norms. Once again bhagwad and many others have said THIS IS OKAY CHARGE US MORE.

      There is no high-minded ideal about the inequality of the system or indignant stance on the value of service. You’re just cheap, and wrote a blog post to rationalize your selfish behavior and pretend that it is some intellectual epiphany. And maybe you wanted to post it on the internet to find the few people who do the same things, like the other commenter FSA, seeking out affirmation when society at large tells you that you are completely wrong. Just like pedophiles do.

      Yes, not tipping is like pedophilia. I see your point, that they’re both “abnormal people” that seek justification, it’s still a purposely provocative analogy and you shouldn’t do that. Especially since I don’t think pedophiles do that?

      So far you’ve provided no actual reasons for not tipping other than ones disproved in this very article, nonsensicality about takeout (not that takeout isn’t an option) and of course you have added a lot of hominem to the discussion. SO kind of you do come again

  3. Laura says:

    Most of these points are more than valid. Yes, you have certain expectations when you go to a ‘sit-down’ restaurant and, yes, a server takes the job of serving knowing what their base wages are. I am a server, I am a mother, and I do not have a university education. I’m in my mid-twenties, I have a daughter, and I like to think I’m well-educated in spite of the lack of a degree.

    I add these personal tidbits solely for the sake of demographics, so that you understand that not all servers are unintelligent kids looking for handouts, as you (and some of the comments/replies) have implied.

    The problem I find in all of this is not with your argument but, rather, with your methods. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you want to tip. A tip is, as has been stated multiple times, a little something extra to show your appreciation of a service rendered, not something that should be mandatory. As a server, I do expect fifteen percent of your total bill to be given to me, because that’s what pays my bills and the is the understanding that my guests have.

    Is this right, or just? No, probably not. You’re right in that the employer (usually the corporation, for chain restaurants, rather than the general manager of the location) is to blame. There are multiple reasons that a restaurant will choose to pay their servers less than minimum wage (I work at Chili’s), the most substantial of course being that it’s less money out of their pocket. Yes, they are required to pay me more if my claimed tips (and I do claim all of my tips) equate to less than minimum wage. The problem there is that I’m unlikely to see that money, as it will all be taken for taxes, in the end. Most servers do not get an actual paycheck.

    But, that is how things are done. You know this, or you wouldn’t be blogging about it, and the real issue that I have, personally, is this: You KNOW how this system works, and yet your response is to decide “well, I’m just not going to tip. That’ll show them!” Except that it does nothing at all except make your server miserable.

    If you really cared about all of this, then you would boycott, plain and simple. Instead of going somewhere that you know a server is paid less than minimum wage, go somewhere they are (though I do wish you good luck in finding those places; they are rather rare, in the grand scheme of things). Tell all your friends. Tell your family and coworkers. When a restaurant starts losing business because people aren’t willing to pay their servers, that’s when they pay attention — because the best way to get a business’ attention is to fuck with their profit.

    The way the industry works is that a server is expected to work for tips and, until that changes, all you’re really doing is making things difficult for the person working that job. You can say that a server chooses their job all you want, but it’s also in our employment that we get a lower base pay, with the expectation that tips make up for it. If you don’t like it, that’s totally fine, but you should try to do something about it on a level that will actually DO something.

    Not tipping your server isn’t going to change things at all. I’ve seen other people say things like “if you don’t like it then don’t go out to eat”, and variations thereof. Your response that you’re paying for good service is kind of only half true. No, the menu price isn’t one hundred percent the-food-costs-this-much, you’re right. You’re paying for climate control, you’re paying to have someone else cook. You’re paying for your server to get your drinks, to clean up after you, and to get you to-go boxes and the like.

    But, the company has determined how much to charge for that food to maximize their profits while assuming that the customer tipping will make up for not paying the server minimum wage. If you do away with that system, there WILL be a price hike. Will it be something ridiculous, like three times the price? No, it won’t. For a ten dollar burger, the price hike might make it twelve or thirteen dollars. (I’m not a marketing expert, that price was estimated with little-to-no experience, and should be taken with a grain of salt.) But there will still be a price hike and, one way or another, you’d still be paying the server.

    Only, now the server has no real incentive to give you exceptional service. That’s not to say they’ll give you BAD service, just that you will get exactly what you pay for. You’ll get exactly what you’re saying you want: no conversation, pleasant or otherwise. No upsells (an up-sell, by the way, is meant to enhance your dining experience. Sure, you can come into the restaurant and order water, which you can get at home on tap — or, you can try the new strawberry lemonade, which is really good! Up-selling is, at heart, a way for the company to make more money. But personally, when I go out to eat, I want the whole meal to be delicious, including my drink).

    No annoying “hi my name is” (even though I don’t introduce myself because I want to be your friend. I introduce myself because I am not a dog, and shaking your empty glass at me or saying “hey, you!” is really rather rude. It’s a lot easier to say “hey Laura, when you have a minute, can I get another basket of chips?” That’s not asking a lot, and you have to remember my name for, what, an hour at most?).

    You don’t have to deal with a server pretending to be your friend. I won’t kneel and smile at your children, and make sure their food is good, too. I won’t worry so much about whether you’d like your salad now, or with your entree, because surely you’d have told me if you wanted it first, right? I won’t have to worry about anticipating your needs. I’ll get your food out and try to make sure it’s hot. I’ll make sure you have a drink, that your table is clean, and I’ll take your card or cash when you’re done. That’s what you want, right?

    It’s not an issue of not doing my job; it’s an issue of doing MORE than my job. And unless you’ve been a server before (I’m leaning toward you probably having NOT been a server, and I say that entirely without malice, I promise), I don’t think you realize how much we do work. That’s not to say that it’s not in our job descriptions, only that it is a lot harder than just getting your food and drinks. When it’s busy, and you have twenty people all vying for your attention, suddenly your “menial” tasks become a lot more difficult. It’s an exercise in time management.

    The point is, don’t tip if you don’t want to, but you’re not changing anything. You don’t have some moral high ground for being right (because believe me, I think you’re totally right in how this system of a server living on tips is unjust, and not your problem). You aren’t affecting any kind of movement by not tipping; you’re not changing the industry to be better. You’re just a normal Joe with a blog who thinks it’s okay to not tip because the reasons are there, when the reasons only work if something actually changes. Until it changes, you’re that dick that no one wants in their section because you never tip.

    And if, at the end of all of this, you still can’t bring yourself to tip regularly, then I challenge you to do this: When you sit down at the table, immediately tell your server that you aren’t going to be tipping, and see what happens. Given the level of (im)maturity I’ve seen from other servers in the comments here, I’d wager it’s unlikely to be a good experience. That’s unfortunate (because again, you’re right: terms of employment state that I have certain obligations to give you fair service), but it’s the reality of things.

    I have a woman who comes in two or three times a week. She has a religious issue with pork (she’s Muslim), so her orders are always complicated. She sits for a very long time, so I can’t turn over the table as quickly as I’d like. And she never, ever tips. I handle that by making sure she has her food, making sure her drink stays relatively full, and leaving her alone. She gets exactly what she needs; no more, and no less. Ideally, that should be what happens for you, right?

    But this is not an ideal world. You will more than likely get bad service, because you KNOW that the restaurant industry works a certain way and have elected to not tip. If you really want the moral high ground (which, judging from the somewhat patronizing wording of both of your articles), then you should probably try and change things in a way that might actually DO something, rather than making it hard on the server who’s just trying to make a living.

  4. R says:

    That math is underestimated. Servers are not the only ones receiving those tips. Usually, the whole restaurant shares tips in some form. Servers pay a certain amount of money each shift, usually a percentage of their sales, which is how tipping is based. So that lowly 10% doesn’t go into the server’s pockets. It’s usually about half of that. The rest is shared between all the non-serving staff: hosts, bussers, plate setters, cooks, prep cooks, dishwashers, managers, etc.

    Also, that math merely accounts for paying servers minimum wage. Trust me that the service given by someone working for minimum wage would not be worth paying the higher prices for the food. Despite what some may think, the majority of a guest’s appreciation for a restaurant is *not* the food, but the service. So if servers made minimum wage, the service would not be of high quality, and business would drop. That would require even higher prices to account for the lost business, and the servers are still making minimum wage and giving mediocre service, which no one likes. Tipping forces servers to give good service to make money.

    Another thing that math doesn’t take into account is the fluctuating volume of restaurants: it is *very* busy for certain hours of the day, and not busy for the rest of the time. A restaurant of 12 servers only needs 12 servers for a short period of time, so there are less servers working at non-peak times. If the servers made minimum wage, they would have to staff all 12 servers for a full 8 hours, which means food prices have to go up to account for the extra hours in labour.

    In the end, tips do account for the costs of good service, which is why they are still around. The people who run successful restaurants know what they are doing, otherwise their businesses would fail. They price the food to account for a certain percentage of tips, usually 15-20%. Guests who appreciate good service can leave more tips. Guests who just want the food – no warm, inviting atmosphere that friendly servers provide – can leave less tips. I suggest to anyone wanting to tip less or not at all, divulge that information at the beginning. The food will still be served, but it will be a glimpse of how a restaurant would be if servers received minimum wage.

  5. Jimmy says:

    tl;dr – I’m justifying my cheapness by making this blog.

  6. JeffMo says:

    You forgot one.

    You shouldn’t tip if you’re a passive-aggressive asshole set on shortchanging low-paid workers because of your frustration with U.S. tipping customs, restaurant owners, and the existing minimum wage laws, instead of working to change those things head on.

  7. servergirl says:

    I just think (no condescension intended) that you should go and try out a serving job. There are just SO many things about the job that you have no idea about. I’ll just start with your list from the first post.

    #1. “You act as if you’re my best friend”
    For this point, you say things like “just leave me alone” or “I go there for the FOOD”.
    Just so you know, I don’t like talking to you either, but if I don’t I will get in trouble with my manager. Managers and owners are usually the ones that are super involved in the “overall guest experience”, so if you’re angry about being bothered, it’s because managers make servers constantly check up on you. Also, in many restaurants, there are people who go in called ” secret shoppers” (I’m sure you’ve heard of them) who evaluate every aspect of the service that they receive. For example, I am a server at Texas Roadhouse and we are obligated by standard to:
    a. greet every guest within 15-45 seconds upon arrival, while also asking if you have been to the store before (If someone hasn’t I am obligated to tell them about the culture)
    b. suggest two specialty drinks and 2 appetizers
    c. bring drinks within 2-3 minutes, apps within 6-8 minutes
    d. mention 5 out of 7 aspects of the Texas Roadhouse “story” to every table, which includes mentioning our “fresh-baked bread”, “hand-cut steaks”, “legendary margaritas”, “ice-cold beer”, “fall-off-the-bone award-winning ribs”, and so on. If I don’t mention 5/7 things, I get docked points on the “server” section of the shopper report (which I will explain more about below), so you can see how it is that I need to initiate conversation with you if I’m not certain whether you’re a shopper or not.
    e. Take your order and repeat it back to you and make sure that you receive your food within 15 minutes upon ordering.
    f. check back within either 2 minutes or 2 bites of your entree to make sure your food is prepared the way that you like it.
    g. refill drinks/other requests (which means I have to talk to you or at least make myself available)
    i. pre-buss the table at least twice–once after salads/chili/app etc so that the table is clean for your entree and enough times to get the dishes from the entrees cleared from the table
    j. have the bill ready for you before you ask
    k. Thank you for coming into the store, wish you a good day/night, and ask you to visit again.

    Again, if I don’t do all of these things, I get in trouble.

    All of this matters because chain restaurants compete nationally against every store in the country and the owners usually want to be in the top ten. It happens at the store that I work at about twice per month. If a shopper receives “bad” service, it says so on the shopper report, which is given to your managers with your name on it. Getting a bad shop could result in several unwanted consequences, and if you get more than one you might be fired because you are not displaying the ability to progress the store. Trust me, I would much rather take your order, drop off your food and drink, and get to my other running work (work that is assigned to you to be completed during your shift) or other tables, but I am obligated by people that have authority over me to talk to you. I know that to customers it seems like all that servers do is take your order and carry your food out, but that’s not even close to all of the things that we have to balance. The only reason why people think that serving is easy, is because people are not usually made aware of all of the work that is going into serving your table. The less that you are aware, the better your server is (usually). For example, if you never have to ask for drinks, you don’t really think about the fact that someone was checking up on your table (without you knowing), and ran to get you refills. If the check is ready for you before you have to ask, you are unaware that someone was putting in effort to make sure the timing was right for you. This is why it is frustrating to hear people be so unappreciative. I don’t think that doing these things merits a huge tip or anything, but I think that it does merit respect when you have such a good server that you didn’t have to focus on any of those details, but rather enjoy the conversation you were having with friends etc…
    *Some tips* If you go to a chain restaurant like TRH, order right away when you sit down. Or tell your server what you want to drink before they ask you. A shopper won’t interrupt a server when they are suggesting things because they are evaluating them, so interrupting is one way for your server to know you aren’t one, and a cue for them to “cut the spiel”. I always like it when my guests do this because I then know that they are content and I can focus my efforts on another table.
    Also, getting stiffed really takes a toll on servers. They are unsure whether or not they offended you, didn’t accommodate your needs, or if you were just cheap. If you think that your server did a good job, but you don’t plan on tipping, at least leave them a little “thank you” or something on the check. At least then they will only be confused as to why you cheaped out, and not about their ability to serve well.

    #2. “You don’t get paid enough”
    I totally agree that customers should not have to cover the wages of workers. I am extremely upset at the system and that employer’s get away with paying people $2.13 per hour. I’m glad that there are changes being made around the country, albeit very slowly. However, I don’t see why you would choose to take your anger out on the random and innocent people that are serving you. If you really cared about this issue, you would boycott restaurants that don’t pay at least minimum wage to their employees. If you decided to only support restaurants like those, you wouldn’t have to tip and your crisis would be averted. Also, I WISH that my employer would include gratuity in the bill, but some restaurant owners don’t want to do that because they know it will drive some of their customer base away. They don’t care if we get stiffed, as long as they attract as many people as they can with their low prices. Another reason why it sucks when someone doesn’t tip is because servers pay a percentage of their wages to tipshare. For example, where I work I have 3% of my sales to pay out to the other workers in the restaurant after every shift. So, lets say you spent $20 at my table and you tip zero dollars. Out of the gate I am paying 60 cents to serve you, while also losing the opportunity to have made money if you were a normal person, paying about $4. So, you basically costed me about $5 so that I could serve you and attend to all of your needs. This type of situation is particularly hurtful to me because I take a lot of pride in my work and enjoy making people happy. It hurts a lot when I feel that I worked my hardest to make someone’s experience enjoyable, and then realize that the gesture was not reciprocated (while also feeling jipped that I just paid to serve you and confused as to whether or not you were unhappy with my service).

    Also, not every server under reports their tips. My store, for example, is very strict about this and if you get caught doing it you could be fired. So, I never under report my tips. Servers also get taxed very heavily. So although it may seem like all servers are so rich and make way more money than everyone else, it ends up being pretty similar by the end of taxes. (This year I will probably owe about $600-$700 from summer and fall alone)

    #3. “You’ll spit in my food if I don’t pay you”
    First off, I have never heard this in my life. How would someone spit in your food after you left (or didn’t leave) the tip? Wouldn’t you already have eaten your entree and boxed the leftovers by then? I’ve never seen anyone mess with a guests food before, and if someone ever got caught doing it they would be fired on the spot, so I don’t think this is commonplace in the service industry. I’m sure that if someone was driven to the point of spitting on a guests food, they were already expecting that they weren’t getting tipped and I doubt it was a form of “blackmail”, but rather revenge.
    Secondly, “being a waiter for life” isn’t some shameful fate that only occurs to losers or degenerates. There are a lot of people that choose to work in the service industry because they like it and they are good at it. My mom was a server in downtown Minneapolis for many years and she often made $80,000 per year. There is no shame in being a career server, especially if you are good enough to wait tables at a high end restaurant where your average person wouldn’t even know how to behave, nonetheless be an essential component in creating the experience and environment there.

    #4. “Bringing me my food isn’t worthy of being paid extra”
    Here I am curious as to why you decided to say “extra”. You know that employers don’t include the cost of our service in your bill, right? And that if servers could make employers do so, they probably would, right? You could think of it this way–You know that the employers of restaurants do NOT include the fees associated with the service provided by your server. The bill that you pay to the institution pays for things like managerial salaries, food costs, air conditioning or heating, and (if you stay for one hour) a little over 1/4 of the service that you are getting when someone walks over to your table and gives you access to the product that you want. So, about 3/4 of the service that you are receiving is unpaid for and it is not “extra”. Without a server, you would not be able to get anything to drink or eat, or even pay for yourself on a normal business day because your server grants you access to EVERYTHING YOU ARE GOING TO THE RESTAURANT FOR. Sure, if you decided to forego the server, and order from the manager you could eventually get the drinks you wanted (although my managers don’t even know how to make alcoholic or specialty drinks at my store so hopefully you didn’t want anything too special), you could also eventually get your food ordered from them, although my managers don’t fully understand the menu or the POS system (what orders your food and makes your bill), so you’ll probably be sitting there for a while without anything to eat while they figure it out (and simultaneously try to manage the whole restaurant). Once you have your food, they probably won’t double check to see if you need ketchup or refills or anything because they are busy dealing with other problems in the store. Bottom line is: if you want to be able to go and sit down at a restaurant and have the experience of relaxing and being accommodated, you are expected to not fuck your server over and pay for your own experience. Although it sucks that employer’s stick you with this charge, your server is not the person to take your anger out on.
    Also, compared to similarly paid jobs, serving jobs are high-skilled. That’s the reason why restaurants won’t hire someone as a server unless they have prior experience or if they work their way up from hosting. Also, being a server at a high-end restaurant is very competitive, so I’m not sure where you get the idea that servers are “unskilled”. Also, even at your average restaurant servers usually have several tables that they are waiting on at once. It’s not as simple as “bringing people their food”. The job requires higher-level multi-tasking and time management skills. And I don’t know if you’ve ever tried carrying a tray with a bunch of full plates, sides, and drinks, but it’s not as easy as it looks and it takes practice to be able to carry food for large parties. The POS systems also take quite a while to get acquainted with, and when you are being served you are paying for all of these skills that your server has that you do not. Have some respect.

    #5. “Money doesn’t grow on trees”
    Ironically, I agree, which is why you need to pay for the service that you received, rather than costing your server money to work for you. And you “expect me to be grateful and pray for you at night if you tip me 10%”? Maybe this logic would work if servers were being paid minimum wage, but again if you don’t want to tip, only eat at places that pay their employees accordingly to your logic. Otherwise you are just going around screwing people over.

    You paying for the gap in wage that employers do not cover becomes your moral responsibility when you decide to sit down and receive service from someone that grants you access to products that you would otherwise not be able to access.

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