Monday, August 2, 2010

Crappy Tippers

I was just trying to catch up on some blog's I follow today. I haven't been feeling so great the last couple of days and so have been slow with pretty much every thing it seems.  I ran across a post that made me stop and think a little bit.  Now this is nothing to do with gardening or homesteading or any sort of thing like that.  It was just one sentence and it really irked me.
     Someone had been out to dinner.  They asked the waiter to bring them something and apparently the waiter answered in a "sarcastic" manner. The waiter tried to make it up to the patron throughout the dinner but she was having none of that!  So what did the patron do?  Stiffed that waiter.  Yep, no tip!  Even though it was apparent to the patron that the server realized the error and tried to "make things right".   Now I know that some folks would say hey, the waiter shouldn't have been "sarcastic".  I would agree.  What I don't agree with is the patron stiffing that waiter.  He, on her own admission, tried to make up for the mistake he had made.  
      Here are a few things that you might not know about waiting tables for a living. First on the list is the rate of pay.  Most servers are only paid a couple of dollars an hour and the rest of their money comes from the tips they make.  In Texas that hourly rate is (and has been for many years) $2.14 an hour.  Anything more comes from tips.  I realize that good service is directly related to good tips.  It does not mean a server should not be treated with a little respect. 
    Too many times I have been treated like a second class citizen and run ragged "fetching" things. I hate when a person will tell you that they need X and so you ask "Can I bring you anything else?"  No, they say, That's all.  So you bring X and sure enough they ask if you could bring them Y and so you ask again... Will there be anything else?  And the circle goes round and round. The tone of a patrons voice tells alot about how the whole experience will be for both. Trust me, the server usually has you pegged right away.
     Another thing most people don't know is that it is NOT ok to "camp" out at a table during peak hours. Peak hours only last 2-3 hours usually.  Servers are given a certain amount of tables.  With those tables the only way to make money is to "turn" the tables.  Which means the more tables you can wait on the more $$ you can make.  If a patron goes in and sits at a table for an hour and a half they have effectively shut that servers "place of business" down for that amount of time. They could have waited on 2-3 more tables in that amount of time.  It is one thing to to camp out at a table and tip the server for time spent there. It is quite another to spend that time and then either stiff the server or leave 2-3 dollars and act like everything is fine. The only person it is fine with is YOU. The only time a server makes decent money or gets many tables to work with is during peak hours. 
      Another thing is this... Tips should be at LEAST 10% of the check. And that's just a barely passable tip.  A tip that the patron above should have left.  A decent tip is 15% of the check and a great tip is 20% and up.  Trust me, the next time you show up in a restaurant ALL the servers will know what kind of tipper you are.  They DO talk and they DO remember, both the good tippers and the bad ones.  You wouldn't believe how many times I have heard servers in the "galley" trying to get another less experienced server to "pick up" a table because they don't want to have to wait on Mr. Gloomy Gus or Miss Snob-o-lot. I have seen servers leave the floor and hide out in the back of the restaurant so they don't have to serve a particularly hard to deal with customer who they know won't even leave a tip. 
    I am not saying that there is NEVER a time not to tip... only that more often than not that is not the case.

I am sorry that this turned into a Server Rant. If I have offended anyone I apologize up front.  I will gladly take the comments be they positive or negative and try to plead the servers case if I can. 


  1. Even when service is lousy, I leave 10% because, I, too, was a waitress and I know how hard a job it is. BUT...if I want to make the point that the service WAS pretty bad, I leave two pennies on top of the paper currency I leave for a tip. Experienced servers know this means "Your service wasn't worth 2 cents, but I left you a tip, anyway"

  2. I used to work as a deck hand on the "Barf Cat" (Wharf Cat) out of Port Aransas, which is a "party boat". Those people were the worst tippers on earth, after the crew busted their asses for them. Many would drop change in the tip jar, after spending $60 on a ticket, and drinking another $50 or more worth of beer. Some wouldn't even do that. Damn tourists... Things are much better on private charter boats, where me and the captain would split $200 or more. This from folks who had spent $1,200 for a day of offshore fishing. Too bad the government has killed the private charter industry with ridiculous regulations, fees, and taxes...

  3. You forgot one thing..Now a days at some resturants the tips go into a pot and when their shift is over the tips are split amoung all servers..My older Son Dan is a server and bartender and he said tips are down 80% in some areas..People are tipping less and less and customers say it is the economy. I feel if you can afford to go out then you can afford to tip...I always tip 20% no matter what..It's only because most servers are college students and they need money to live on or paying for college..Yes they may have a bad day to..I have never been a server and I have known many who are and where servers and it is NOT easy work..All I know is I would never rememeber the orders and I applaude all who serve because it does give me a night off so I tip good because I enjoyed not having to cook... :) When I go some where on a holiday I tip even more...

    So you keep up reminding people about all the hard work servers do do...I think this was a fantastic post...

    Have a great evening..

  4. I enjoy eating. It's not just the food, I enjoy the experience. When I go out to eat I enjoy interacting with those who are there to serve me. I like to be greeted by name with a smile. I like to be doted on. I like to be able to say "I'm in a hurry today, can you get me in and out quickly?" and have them do it. I like being able to trust those serving me to say "No, you don't want to order that today.." I like trusting that my food isn't spit in, or otherwise abused before it reaches me. I like finding that not everything I ordered and was served made it onto the bill. I like my ice tea glass to never be empty, which can be a challenge for any server with how much of it I can consume. I like knowing that serving me was a bright spot in their day.

    All this and more is what you get when you treat your server with kindness, respect, and tip them well.

  5. I don't get out more than maybe twice a month, but I always try to leave at least 20% for the servers. If they forget something I have asked for, nuts to them!

  6. my gramps was from the depression era, I remember when I asked my grampa how much to tip. hed say " I give em a dollar if they deserve it or not" lol I was so embarrassed.