This is a topic that seems to flair up from time to time in our society and it’s one I felt I needed to officially address. Before I go any further please let me divulge my credentials. I waited tables for a year (almost exactly) at a restaurant we shall refer to as fruitstinginginsect. On foggy nights when the fume hood stacks would spew fog/steam/beef fragrance farts I would refer to it as fogb**s. I think you figured out where I worked. On top of that, I was also going to school and using the money I made to survive and pay for school supplies and tuition. So as you can see I REALLY needed those tips. Now some of you may say that waiting tables for a year doesn’t give me enough “topic cred”. Well I would say do it for 3 months with no reserve money in the bank to fall back on and see how much you learn about needing tips.
With all that out of thew way I think we can move on. Some of you may think that I would stand with the position that you should always tip your server/waiter/waitress regardless of service because they need tips to survive. I do not. I am a firm believer that the tip should reflect 1:how you rated the quality of their service 2:your generosity 3:(by proxy) mow much extra money to have to just give to someone for doing their job. NOT A: how big your wiener is B: how much of a d!ck you are C: to explain to a poor person that you’re also poor but can come and harass them for nearly an hour.
Hint to the non-gamers “TFBS” stand for “that’s f*@%ing bulls#!t” At any rate, many people believe the word “tip” or “tips” was an old English term that meant “to ensure promptness” or “to ensure prompt service”. The thing is, acronyms weren’t really a thing back then and that’s probably not true. More likely (and by more likely I mean I found an article on a website that seems legit and thought it sounded cool too) “tip” in a payment sense refers to thieves sharing in loot or “swag” (not not the dumb kind). Which was later picked up by non-thieves and used to indicate a bonus for good service at places like restaurants/other various establishments. With that being said, tips were never guaranteed nor were they expected. Now granted, today’s servers are paid crap for an hourly wage (mine was 2.34 an hour) which is pretty much to cover taxes and that’s it. So now we have a dilemma of sorts. How do the servers get the tips they need to survive while in the same breathe admitting that they aren’t mandatory? First you would have to establish some sort of socially accepted rules to tipping. Such as the unwritten rule that if you don’t tip your an asshole. CHECK. Then you would have to establish some sort of standard amount for tipping so everybody who isn’t an asshole would know about how much to tip such as 15% for decent service. CHECK. THEN you would have to inform the servers that it’s their responsibility to do their job well and give their customers the experience they come to expect if not better in order to EARN those non-mandatory tips…… not so check. I knew many servers (men and women) who were under the impression that the fact that they showed up and walked food around all day meant that they deserved money to be heaped upon them. They felt like anything less than a 20% tip for their lackluster “I don’t care about you or this crap job” service was a direct insult to them. Let me be clear. I understand that being a server is a crap job, I did it, but when people go out to eat it’s to have a good time, not to watch their server resent everybody that walks through the door. Now I’m not saying that servers should be grateful for the opportunity to have stupid people complain at them all day. I’m just saying that every group/person that sits down is a fresh start and an opportunity to make them happy and be proud of your work, regardless of how “menial” it may seem. So can we agree that when a patron is paying for their meal, in fact it is two separate payments? One payment for the food and a second, non-mandatory, payment for the quality of service.
There are five main types of tips in the world and I will explain thusly.
S#!tty tips: Let’s face it, there are a lot of assholes out there who don’t tip and will use any excuse in the book to avoid it, such as this lady
If you’re going to skimp on the tip because you’re a single mom who doesn’t have much to spare. then you shouldn’t have bought $138.35 worth of crap. Also, how many kids does this lady have? 20? Was she paying for a group of people? I would say no to that one, because if there were other people, normally the people who didn’t pay for the food drop a tip. So there would be no reason for apologizing for not leaving a tip. Here’s an idea, if you’re spending over $100 on a meal, the single mom crap aint gonna fly.
Normal/good tips: Not much to be said here. If you do your job well and the people aren’t ass hats, you usually get these kinds of tips. Usually, if the patron was/is a server, they will add a little extra as a “I feel your pain” bonus.
Tips you should learn from: No I’m not talking about ones like “Never pet a burning dog” (1 internet to anybody who can tell me the game reference). I’m talking about the tips that seem to be purposefully insulting. Like when they leave pennies or something like this.
A tip like this is usually reserved for when the patron had a terrible experience. Now admittedly, there are people who have no idea what all goes on behind the scenes to get them their food. The issue could have been with the kitchen, but normally, it’s either the kitchen or more likely the server’s fault. Not as I said before, I did the job for a bit. I understand that you have bad shifts and sometimes you just get slammed and just can’t seem to catch up. tips like this in those circumstances shouldn’t necessarily speak to your abilities. But they kind of do. Your ability to handle tough situations and stress in a way that leaves the customer none the wiser to your blight IS part of your job. Again, they came to have a good time, not watch you struggle the entire meal. But if you did your usually routine and you got that tip…. that should tell you it’s time to either buck up and get better, or find a different job.
the $2 tips: Every server dreads these. Those tips in most cases are the most insulting of them all. Mainly because it doesn’t matter how well you did, or how perfect everything was. You got shafted by some F**K face who’s too stupid and inconsiderate to tip like a human being. In situations when I’m paying and the 15% is $2 (rarely but it happens) I will pay more JUST to NOT be that guy.
The Bandersnatch guard dog: You thought I was gonna say unicorn kisses didn’t you? Well then you don’t know me at all. Back on topic, these tips are the ones where the customer is way too rich and knows it so they do things like give you a $1000 tip to help finish paying for that vacation you’ve been saving up for. Those rarely if ever really happen so take it with a grain of salt.
Now on to the next point (I know it’s dragging but I have a lot to say one it, but thanks for hanging in there with me). After a while, servers can usually get a pretty good idea of how you’re going to tip before they ever approach the table based on a few things such as 1:how you dress/present yourself 2:if you have kids and their approximate age 3: how you act 4: what race you are. Now let me clarify this one. i’m not saying that white servers will spit in other race’s food. I’m just saying that in my entire serving career and talking to every other server I’ve ever known, there’s a reason nobody aside from single black mother servers want to wait on a black family that isn’t dressed nice, not NICE, but nice. I hate to say it, but if you don’t like the stereotype 1: there’s a reason there is one and 2: maybe you should try to break the mold. So I will admit, servers will pay more attention to the tables that they think have a better chance of giving them bigger tips and not pay as much attention to the tables they think won’t tip well. I am a perfect example of this. My wife, child and I like to go out to eat. Not because my wife is a bad cook, we just like to go have a good time. At any rate, we don’t dress really nice, normally jeans and T-shirts with a 7 year old. We fall into the category of “they aren’t going to tip well and the kid is going to make a huge mess I have to clean up” when servers first look at us. So it’s fairly normal for us to get put towards the bottom of the “gotta take care of them” ladder. The fun part is, we are usually ridiculously certain that our kid is well behaved and doesn’t make a mess. and we aren’t hard to deal with. We give our orders, wait for the food, chat quietly, pay and leave. But seeing as how both my wife and I have been servers in the past, we know the drill and we know what’s going on. Also, I am fortunate enough to have a fairly well paying job, so we have the money to tip in the “pushing REALLY good” range. With that said, we have a few restaurants we like to go to, like, 3 of them. So we go to each of them a lot. After a few times of going, we start getting AWESOME service. The servers chat with us, they get things pushed through for us, they do things that they don’t normally do for other customers (like make sure they put EXTRA cheese on the food and stuff like that. Not lap dances… perv). So after a few times of going we start having amazing times at those places and they are always happy to see us.
So in closing, tips are split into two categories. If you are passing through somewhere or have no intention of making it a regular spot, then tips should strictly be a report card of the service rendered to you. The second is if it’s a place you go to a lot or would like to go to a lot, then it is both a report card of service AND a down payment on the quality of future visits. I hope you all have a great day/night/lunar cycle. Keep smackerating those like and follow buttons and tell your friends and family (except grandma… she must never know). So join the tribe and keep watching for more posts. Cannibal out!