February 02, 2005

How Wide the Blogosphere

A blog, Waiter Rant, dedicated to assorted shout-outs and grievances afflicting New York City's oft-disgruntled bars and restaurants workers...

Snippets from the front lines:

I was thinking about writing this long involved essay on tipping. I struggled with it for hours and then gave up. You know why? Because most of you are smart enough to know a waiter is supposed to get at least a 15% gratuity. Just let the following horror stories speak for themselves...

--A table’s bill is $208.85. It’s a four top. They have a $100 gift certificate. They ask me to deduct the gift amount and split the remainder between two credit cards. I present the men with credit card slips for $54.42 and $54.43. The tips are $8.16 and $8.17 respectively. They screw me down to the penny...

--A couple’s on a first date. The check is $150. The man leaves me $12. I’m pissed. His date passes me on the way to the ladies room.

“Just out of curiosity what did he leave you as a tip?” she asks.

I happily show her the credit card slip.

“What a cheap *^*&^,” she exclaims. She goes back to the table and angrily tells her date what a cheapskate he is. I guess he’s not getting lucky tonight. Come to think of it I saw her at the bar alone later.

--My all time favorite. A Birkenstock shod hippie couple’s check is $55. I present them with the bill.

“Waiter we don’t tip because we believe that would force owners to pay you a living wage,” Deadhead proclaims proudly.

I stare at him silently. My look says, “And you should tip me if you want to keep on living.” He squirms uncomfortably.

“Well maybe just this once” he says counting out a few bills.

“Thank you sir.”

Posted by Gregory at February 2, 2005 03:27 AM | TrackBack (9)

Re:the problem of tipping, I was recently told the story of a cheap diner who left far less than was appropriate. The waiter returned with change and a condom. "What's this for," the man asked. The waiter replied, "We don't want you to reproduce."

Posted by: the opinionated pawn at February 2, 2005 04:27 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Hmmm. I'm going to put the idea in my back pocket and save it for a special occasion..............

Posted by: Waiter at February 2, 2005 04:30 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


Posted by: greg at February 2, 2005 04:37 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

My waiter story. Working in Pittsburgh, this classy guy and his date are getting the full deal, appetizer, drinks, dinner, dessert. He says he doesn't want his garden salad that comes with the dinner course and asks me to take the price of a salad off his ticket. I tell him I'll try, but this is in 1983, we just switched over to computerized tickets, and I can't find a way to take off the $1.25 it probably costs as a stand-alone. I give him the check, he's pissed that I didn't knock off the salad, and stiffs me the tip.

In retrospect, I probably should have written off the salad on his bill and eaten the cost, but I was young and inexperienced. But honestly, why people have to be assholes in restaurants. You know, there are those advocates that think everyone should be drafted so they have a sense of national service? My belief is that everyone should have to work in a restaurant so they have a sense of personal service and working ethics.

Everyone who treats a waiter/waitress poorly should be a waiter in hell as penance.

Posted by: J. at February 2, 2005 02:19 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Hey, whaddaya know? A chance at a concrete answer.

Recently had dinner with a couple (he's a chef) and ordered a wine he (recommended) I followed suit later in the diiner. My bad - he ordered the $80 wine.

Now get this: when the bill came and I started tipping, he corrects me.

"No, no, no... You don't tip off the wine - you just paid a 300% mark-up on the liquor, and he's already spiffed for it. You tip off the meal."

OK. Never heard that before, but what the hell.

Is anyone else familiar with this? Never done it before, and really don't intend to again.


Posted by: Tommy G at February 2, 2005 03:48 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Personally, I've been in the habit of tipping 20% of the pre-sales-tax bill if everything was fine, 15% if there were one or two things to complain about, 10-12% if it was worse than that (since tips get divided up among more people than just the waiter), and 22-25% for exemplary service (I've only given a 25% tip twice). It's a bit on the high side to help counteract for the fact that I'm in the Silicon Valley and it's after the bubble (I heard that tips plummeted).

Posted by: fling93 at February 2, 2005 07:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

'Because most of you are smart enough to know a waiter is supposed to get at least a 15% gratuity. '

A tip is for good service. The whole problem is when the gratuity is expected. If you want crappy service go some place like St. Maarten where in most of the restaurants the gratuity is included.

Posted by: Jack Tanner at February 2, 2005 08:50 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I have two tipping stories from Denmark (where tipping is uncommon):

First my wife and I are in a restaurant discussing the tip when a Danish woman at the next table leans over and points out that Danes do not typically leave tips. We thank her and continue our conversation. She then leans over and tells us again. We thank her and continue. She is now visibly angry, and tells us in no uncertain terms NOT to lave a tip. We did anyway...

Seond we are in another restaurant when a young american man, obviously on a $10/day type tour, approaches us and asks if we are Americans. When we say yes he asks if he should leave a tip (Danish prices are quite expensive). When we explain that tipping is strictly optional he looks incredibly relieved and thanks us profusely.

Posted by: Robert Ramsdell at February 2, 2005 10:06 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Although I do tip, I have never understood why diners are supposed to subsidize the wages of workers hired by a restaurant. Years ago, I was told that the purpose of a tip was to insure promptness. If I'm tipping after the meal, how am I insuring promptness?

Posted by: Munir Umrani at February 2, 2005 10:59 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

1) Any person who didn't pay for dinner should not be in a position to complain about the money one has shelled out -- cheap or not.

2) You tip after the fact because it is a "thank you" for good service. A TIP (or Thanks In Percentage) is your thank you for the quality of service. My theory, start at 20% before you walk in... decrease to 15% for sub standard service... increase to 25% for exceptional service. For horrible, actually deplorable service, I leave a penny.

Note: My wife and I went to a restaurant where the service was actually deplorable, absolutely the worst. The waiter was rude, arrogant, intrusive, obstinate. For an upscale restaurant, I was horrified. I left a penny. One of the other waitresses asked why I left a penny and I told her, "I wanted the waiter to be as offended as I had been by his service."

About a year later, different restaurant, same waiter. I wanted to stand up and leave but we were with a business associate of mine. I couldn't. And, I was just hoping the waiter didn't recognize me.

Well, the service was absolutely the best I ever had at any restaurant. I paid with credit card. When the book with my card and slip came back I opened it to find a note with a "penny" taped to it. When I read the note it said "Point taken. Sorry for last time, hope tonight was better."

I left a slightly larger then 25% tip as a small way of atoning for my previous "penny incident". I guess we both learned a lesson from this experience.

3) did you also know that you should tip at a full service ghas station, flower delivery, and food delivery? And please, do not forget the chamber maid staff at hotels.

Peace out.

Posted by: J.A.H. at February 3, 2005 06:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

My story goes back to the Kennedy era. I was taking my wife out for her birthday dinner and we went to the Blue Room at the Shoreham. The next table to us had 8 people who had 4 waiters and a wine steward. The waiters were juggling the plates on towels because they were so hot and the table got excellent service all evening. The waiters practically bowed and scraped to them. There were there for the dinner, drinks and show and stayed until the room was ready to close. They left no tip at all - zero.

Our waiter told me later that the waiters had to pay to work there and what they earned was the tips. This was not to get a bigger tip of out me as I had already tipped and paid the bill. I had just heard the waiters for the next table complaining to each other.

That told me a lot about the service industry. I always try to tip a reasonable amount unless the service is really horrible. The waiter had told me that if the service is really that bid then leave a tip of a couple of cents. That way the waiter knows that you left a tip and did not forget it and that you were not happy with the service.

The waiter also told me that the cheapest people were the ones who would make sure their friends saw them leave a big tip in company. When they had no company you got shafted by them.

Posted by: dick at February 4, 2005 12:16 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


Posted by: online bingo at February 8, 2005 09:17 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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