Are you a bad tipper?

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by Ambulance Chaser, Feb 4, 2005.

  1. Drew

    Drew Well-Known Member

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    (drizzt3117 @ Feb. 09 2005,02:22) I use a formula to calculate tips at US restaurants that are nicer than quick casual. I start with 15% and add or subtract based on certain events and guidelines. Generally if I ask for something, and it isn't done promptly, I will subtract 2-5% from the tip. If they attempt to remove plates w/o being asked or it being obvious that I want them removed (I will generally place them outside my eating area) then I will subtract 2-3%, I may also subtract 1-2% if my water (or wine) isn't refilled when it's obvious it needs to be. I always subtract 5% if I am brought my check before I ask for it, that is one of my biggest pet peeves. I will add 2-5% for good service and 5-10% for exceptional service.
    Jerry Seinfeld once said (and I'm roughly paraphrasing here) that tipping has gone from rewarding good service to rewarding "the absence of hostility." I applaud your willingness to deviate from the social norm that demands a 15% tip regardless of the level of service. Have you ever given a zero tip (which is theoretically possible under your guidelines) for bad service that met each one of your pet peeves?
    I am a fixed 20% tipper but also grade a little. I have only given a zero tip once, and it was a late night at a Denny's, a place I don't count on getting great service at, but it was obvious to my party that the waitress didn't want us there and did not want to serve us.
     
  2. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Senior member

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    Drew,

    If someone gave you barely adequate service (i.e. brought your food out, but was not warm, didn't respond well to requests promptly, obviously inattentive) what would you give them for a tip?
     
  3. Styleman

    Styleman In Time Out

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    Can we get something a little straight here; some of you are talking nonsense of the highest order. Firstly, lets start with the hard part, please, come off it, waiting has to be one of the simplest jobs, and with it comes far more prestige than other lower-end jobs, such as those in industry, and such the like, and let me ask you something, does a coal miner get a tip, does a cleaner get a tip? NO - simple answer. It is only complicated because it is habitually the first job that these students ever get in the life; cross the threshold - the real world. The fact that some of these people even dare to expect a tip is beyond me, when they do not have the slightest idea of any etiquette, or even, dare I say how to serve. Basic things people, you always serve from the guests right, not so hard, and yet these fools still expect a tip when the serve from the left, or even behind. Women should always be served first, except in the case of tasting the wine, followed by the guests, and then the bill payer - if you don't know, just ask, its not hard. However, when you serve in some arbitrary order that fits your fancy, I should more likely be deducting from the bill, but low and behold, they want a tip. Where did the custom of adjusting the cutlery and glasses between courses go, up the waiter's hard working arse - that's where. Once again, they want a tip; go fly kites. Let us face it, if you do not know how to serve, fine, I understand you need a job, but why anticipate a tip. Style is NOT giving money to the poor and being charitable. As for the children, I totally agree, if the children are well mannered, or the parents attempt to make their children behave. I have no problem with them. If they misbehave; I have no problem with the children, but I do with their parents, they should at least try, and there should be laws for this. Viro, I have not experienced many young children in restaurants in the UK, have you?
     
  4. ViroBono

    ViroBono Senior member

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    The nearest town to me is Stamford in Lincolnshire, an affluent area with many restaurants, some of them of good standard. Unfortunately, the place is infested with 4x4 owning arses who can afford to feed their children in restaurants. Not going early is no defence, either - last time I arrived at 9pm there were at least 3 tables with small children in various stages of animated mayhem.
     
  5. Drew

    Drew Well-Known Member

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    It depends on the severity of the infraction and how it impedes my time at that establishment. I can't think of a time where a server's bad mood or sour attitude affected my time out, so I probably would not deviate much below 20%.

    In a situation such as cold food or that sort of thing it is best to find a manager because they can and will accomodate you faster and more comprehensively than a server is even empowered to. A server will usually respond pretty quickly from a comment made by their boss, if self-preservation is an instinct they posses. But I have found that to be rare, and as such, it is rare that I feel I ever need to speak to a manager.

    I'm not claiming this as a cure-all, but I go out of my way to be pleasant to servicepeople, in this instance servers, because I understand both the demands of the job and that if they are empowered to serve me, they also can just as easily screw things up. I don't start off giving them any reason to. More often than not, they respond in kind.

    I give servers the benefit of the doubt that they are out to do their job well, and that they are people who are doing a tough job to get by. I dine out a lot, and feel that pretty much every server that waits on me has earned the 20% I leave for them.

    As such, I look at the tip as part of the expense of dining out and thus is less flexible.
     
  6. Styleman

    Styleman In Time Out

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    Lincolnshire and affluent, I do not mean to be rude, but is that a relative term? (What with being northern and all  [​IMG] ) EDIT: Colloquialism intended, "and all"
     
  7. Styleman

    Styleman In Time Out

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    (Styleman @ Feb. 10 2005,12:19) Viro, I have not experienced many young children in restaurants in the UK, have you?
    The nearest town to me is Stamford in Lincolnshire, an affluent area with many restaurants, some of them of good standard. Â Unfortunately, the place is infested with 4x4 owning arses who can afford to feed their children in restaurants. Â Not going early is no defence, either - last time I arrived at 9pm there were at least 3 tables with small children in various stages of animated mayhem.
    Sounds a bit like Chelsea [​IMG] 4x4s, whining kids, and plenty of money. 9pm is late? Must be another northern thing (just kidding [​IMG] )
     
  8. Drew

    Drew Well-Known Member

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    Serving is simple, sure, but it doesn't mean it's easy, low-stress, or not physically demanding. There is quite a bit of difference from fine dining, which you are ostensibly talking about, than the entire span of eating establishments. And there are also lots of differences in dining out between the US and Europe. Let us dispense with pointing out all of the double-standards of tipping practices within the service industry. If you wish to quibble over such matters, it would be far more intriguing to discuss that it is customary to tip a bartender but not necessarily a coffee barista, even in spite of the fact that most any coffee drink is on average twice as difficult and time-consuming to make than most any bar drink you'd care to order. Style may not be about philanthropy but IMO it is at least in part about assured self-sufficience and grace, the meaning of which in this case is twofold: 1) Someone else's bad mood or whatever ineptitude you wish to pin upon them should never be enough to put you in one of your own; 2) Excessive scrutiny of semantics as a means of keeping change in your own wallet is at the very least passÃ[​IMG].
     
  9. Ambulance Chaser

    Ambulance Chaser Senior member

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    I believe that tipping the bartender is to ensure prompt service for future drinks you plan to order later in the evening -- a not insignificant factor when the bar becomes crowded. I've always wondered whether tipping actually improves service in light of the number of customers bartenders serve in a night and the fact that almost everybody leaves a dollar a drink.
     
  10. Styleman

    Styleman In Time Out

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    Low-stress and physically demanding? Compared to what? Similarly paid jobs (coal mining and other hard manual labor) or a CEO of a major firm?

    I agree, the US and Europe do have vast differences, and I am sure a 0% tip would not be sneered at in the UK. I think that is just a matter of decorum.

    I do not agree with your points about comparison.

    Nor do I agree with your points about style, but again that may be down to regional cultural difference.
     
  11. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Senior member

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    As Ambulance Chaser noted, tipping bartenders ensures you get high potency drinks going forward [​IMG]
     
  12. Andrew V.

    Andrew V. Senior member

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    I don't disagree with your method, but I would never put that much thought into it. When I dine out I want to enjoy myself rather than feel like it's my duty to evaluate carefully the server's job performance.

    In any case, my idea of terrible service is a server who refills my water glass every five seconds.
     
  13. Styleman

    Styleman In Time Out

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    (drizzt3117 @ Feb. 08 2005,23:22) I use a formula to calculate tips at US restaurants that are nicer than quick casual. I start with 15% and add or subtract based on certain events and guidelines. Generally if I ask for something, and it isn't done promptly, I will subtract 2-5% from the tip. Â If they attempt to remove plates w/o being asked or it being obvious that I want them removed (I will generally place them outside my eating area) then I will subtract 2-3%, I may also subtract 1-2% if my water (or wine) isn't refilled when it's obvious it needs to be. Â I always subtract 5% if I am brought my check before I ask for it, that is one of my biggest pet peeves. I will add 2-5% for good service and 5-10% for exceptional service.
    I don't disagree with your method, but I would never put that much thought into it. Â When I dine out I want to enjoy myself rather than feel like it's my duty to evaluate carefully the server's job performance. In any case, my idea of terrible service is a server who refills my water glass every five seconds.
    The glass should be re-filled when it reaches a certain level, not at a set time interval.
     
  14. Andrew V.

    Andrew V. Senior member

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    Even the "certain level" approach to refilling seems a bit uptight to me. I much preferred restaurants in France where the server would gladly bring you a carafe of water upon request so that you could easily refill your own glass. Servers in the U.S. have actually told me that they can't put a pitcher of water on the table because of the rules or the health code or something.
     
  15. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Senior member

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    That's still better than them NOT refilling your water and you getting parched... which happens from time to time.
     

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