A few months ago I wrote a post asking if tipping is out of control. I was at a restaurant recently and realized I have more to say on this topic.
While reading through the menu, I saw “parties of 6 or more will have 18% gratuity added to their check.” Why is this? What if the service is lousy? Can you deduct the 18% from the bill? I doubt you can. I get the idea behind it, that large parties are more work and that they usually take up extra seating that could have otherwise been used to seat other customers. But shouldn’t you work to earn the tip as opposed to just adding it on regardless?
When I was younger, a few of my friends would go to a diner to drink coffee and talk. We weren’t old enough to drink yet and didn’t want to hang out at each other’s house with their parents, so we opted for the diner. We would be there for hours. Coffee was $0.89 with free refills. At the end of the night (think 9pm to 1am), we would decide to leave. Our bill most times was around $5. We would tip $10. Not because the menu said that parties of 4 or more will be assessed a 200% gratuity. But because the waitress was awesome. She knew us because we went so often. She knew I didn’t drink coffee and to bring me a soda. She knew that after the third cup, we would all want water and would bring it without us asking. In a nutshell, she earned that tip.
Now, if you are at a restaurant with a large party and the service is super slow and they get your orders wrong, what recourse do you have other than to not go there again? You could ask for the manager and try to get him to take the tip off the bill, but why should you even have to do that? Charge me for the food and the service. If it was horrible and I tip a small amount, then you know you need to improve one or both of the above.
Furthermore, why do we tip minimum wage workers? Is it because we “feel their pain” for making so little? Why do we tip the girl who writes on a pad of paper “cheeseburger, no onion, French fries, small coke” but the dude that carries 100 pound of shingles up a tiny ladder and works in the blazing heat gets absolutely nothing? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? There is a pretty good chance the roofer will become disabled either on the job or years later from all of the manual labor than there is of the waitress burning her face with the oil from the deep fryer. I’m not saying it can’t happen, I’m just saying the odds are it won’t.
I just hope the economy picks back up quickly so that hopefully many of the tip jars that are all around go away. By the way, I am adding a Paypal button on this blog to make donations to me. There is no reason why, just because. Please leave a minimum of $2.00 per blog post read.