I recently read an article noting the best and worse cities for customers tipping in the US. Thankfully, Raleigh did not make either list but it felt on point with the reference in my last post. So here goes, my attempt to address the controversy from my own perspective. I should preface this with, I was a waitress and worked in food service for almost a decade so my opinion on the matter comes from having done it and is not a privileged perspective of someone who hasn’t been there.
With that being said, I have a reputation among my family and friends for being a bad tipper. I take their “light hearted” jabs and even overlook the insult of being “tipped-over” by those who follow behind me as we exit the table. I’d like to take a moment to defend myself in saying that I am not a bad-tipper I am an expectation tipper. I will give the minimum even if the minimum was not met for the simple reason of it is what is expected. I will not, however, give above and beyond for waiters who meet the expectation or who seem extra busy simply because they are a waiter and I am expected to.
Here are my reasons,
a. At some point in our society meeting the expectation alluded to greatness. We overly reward for everything and that is simply not true or realistic. I go above and beyond in my job almost everyday and there is no instant gratification of monetary inflation to go along with it; and if there were I don’t think I’d have too many bad days. A raise is something you work your tail off for and doesn’t come from one project (or table) to the next. It’s about overall performance and hard work over time.
b. Having been a waitress I am fully aware of how little they make, BUT I also know what it takes to make money. I know that being a waitress is a choice; and a waiter with a crappy attitude expecting 20% just for setting a plate in front of me with little to no respect for their customers is not getting 20% simply because of their job title. Not all, but many, waiters have an arrogance about them that expects I’m going to just give them an hefty tip, no I’m sorry you must earn that tip. Just as I must earn my pay.
C. Extra busy means everyone is leaving them a tip so combined they are making decent money and if they are really good at what they do they will make GREAT money and I am more than happy to contribute; but just because they are working their tail around a dining room does not equate money out of my wallet, it is their job to do so. This is not meant to be a jerk perspective but is simply calling a spade a spade.
I’m not trying to be heartless, it’s a thankless, sometimes gut wrenching job that can be a huge pain in the ass. I have experienced the long hours, shitty pay, burns, sweat, stress, heck I was on the waitstaff of a restaurant-opening back in the day. I have dealt with the crappy customers who complain and bitch and moan and are downright assholes, but as a decent, polite and understanding customer (who has been there) it is not my job to make up for those who lack. That expectation is unrealistic and simply not true to any other job or career. It’s not the way things work. I understand that this post may cause its own bit of controversy and be it as it may, that’s fine. My job for my family is to work as hard as I can to provide, budget, and stay on track with expenses. It’s not about “gipping the waiter” I’m not trying to be cheap but just as I wouldn’t pay an inflated price for something that is just as well and accessible for a lesser amount, I’m not going to just give that money away simply because the industry says I’m supposed to. No, that’s not how it works. Go above and beyond, and show me why your service is worth more than the minimum rate and I’m happy to pay it, give me the minimum- you’ll get the minimum. That doesn’t make me a bad person (cheap reference to the cheap articles who make such claims) but rather it makes me an honest individual who works hard for every dollar I make and expects only the same for people I am paying. End of story. End of rant.
Stay Warm ox