The Round Up Tip

The round up tip is usually not good, but this guy must only figure out his checkbook in increments of $50.

S. L. Ehrisman (c) 1/2/13

29 Thoughts on “Ugly Table #73

  1. Wow! Come on, unnamed diner, the House passed the bill to keep us off the fiscal cliff – dust off that wallet!

  2. Oh, I saw it coming. Nerd boy was about 19 and had just bought a necklace for his girly friend. Teenagers are usually terrible tippers. About a month ago a teeny bopper bought for his girlfriend and stiffed me. I went back to the table, leaned into him and said, “The next time you want to buy your girlfriend’s meal and not tip, may I suggest Burger King.” He slopped so far down in the booth I thought he was going to hit the floor.

  3. Ol' Timer on January 3, 2013 at 7:03 am said:

    LOL on BK.

    But hell you got over 5%, the county commissioners only got about 8.5% or $2,000. Oh wait never mind!

  4. I have to be honest DL, if I was managing a restaurant and one of my servers said something like that to a customer I’d probably send them home.

    Respect towards the customer should not vary depending upon your compensation. There will always be people who fail to tip appropriately, but it isn’t your duty to provide them with an education on the proper etiquette when eating out.

    Making a comment like that is entirely unprofessional, which retroactively makes his tip seem somewhat appropriate.

  5. Craig, wait tables full-time for 3 years straight, and you will find out that my comment was VERY appropriate.

  6. pathloss on January 3, 2013 at 9:54 am said:

    Can’t make out the signature. Entenman?

  7. I’ve worked in customer-facing jobs in the past DL, and I’ve worked in management over people in customer-facing jobs, and yes I’ve even worked in restaurants years ago… but even if a customer is rude, I never find it appropriate to be rude in return. I’m not saying I’m perfect and I’ve said and done a few things I wish I could take back but I don’t think I could ever justify belittling a customer.

    As a server your job is to address the needs of the customer by taking their order, delivering their food and drinks, making them appreciate the experience, and overall addressing their needs. Your job is not to teach the customer the difference between a butter knife and a steak knife, or that 15-20% is considered a fair tip for acceptable service.

    That is why they call it “serving” and not “educating”. I realize putting customer service at the top of your list of priorities will often require you to hold your tongue (at least until you are back in the kitchen), but contrary to what television and movies suggest the best managed establishments which are also the most profitable almost always treat customer service as their number one goal.

  8. Oh I do. I was the top hourly tip earner at said establishment for 2 years straight. Like I said in a different thread, no one is forcing you to eat at a full-service restaurant, but if you choose to do so, you should know the rules of paying for service, it is a two way street, I give you good table side service, you tip. If you have a problem with tipping, go eat at BK. I have never believed in the ‘customer is always right’ BS. Sometimes they are very wrong.

  9. I agree – sometimes, perhaps even many times the customer is wrong. You know better than anyone that some people are complete jerks and even though they may not deserve your respect, you are the bigger person by offering it.

    I simply feel the level of respect shown to a customer should not be dependent upon how much money they give you. I’ve over-tipped a server more than once for how they dealt with a difficult customer, but if I saw one belittle a customer and make them feel an inch tall – even if they treated me like a king, I would tip them accordingly (which means they are likely to get short-changed on two tips rather than just one had they taken the high road).

  10. I take the high road 99.9% of the time, trust me, you don’t become a requested server by being lousy at your job, but when someone blantantly does something to you, out of lack of respect for what you do, you lose your cool. His friends at the table had separate bills, and he saw all of them tip me, he knew he was supposed, but was being a brat, and to add insult to injury he buys his girlfriend’s meal to act like a big wheel. He surely didn’t look like a ‘big wheel’ after I told him to go to BK.

  11. Elaine on January 3, 2013 at 12:50 pm said:

    I worked in a restaurant as a server and bartender for nine years, and your comment is one EVERYONE wants to make. While it may not have been your most professional shining moment, that kid will think about how he tips from now on. Even if he keeps tipping like an a-hole, he’ll realize what he’s doing.
    After working at a restaurant in Sioux Falls, the same restaurant in a different state, and then back here, I find it appalling how crappy most South Dakota tippers are. The crazy thing is that many think tipping 5-10% is okay, and if they tip 15%, they’re hooking you up.
    Of course, this isn’t true for everyone, but it is very common.
    Yes, it is a choice to take a job in the service industry, but for people working through school or with a non-traditional schedule, it is the best way to get by. Perhaps if servers were paid more than $2.13, tipping wouldn’t be such a major issue.

  12. anominous on January 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm said:

    $2.92 is almost 3 twilight tacos.

  13. The whole dining tipping thing is passé and should be rolled into the price of everything as is the case in Germany.

  14. Poly43 on January 3, 2013 at 4:24 pm said:

    What to do in this scenario? Once a week I buy a round with some friends. Every week the tab for that round is $16.50. Every week I tell the same waitress to keep the change from a 20. A couple of weeks ago I gave her a 50, and she gave me back a 20 and a 10, then walked away. I thought she was taking a lot for granted and reminded her as such. The next week I gave her a 50 again, this time intentionally, and I got back $33.50. I gave her the $3.50, I smiled, she smiled, and again everything was cool.

    I guess my issue is a waiting staff that ALWAYS expects a gratuity regardless of the degree of service. How about a bartender? I’m sitting at the bar, order a 12 ounce Bud, the bartender bends down into a cooler and serves me a beer I can purchase for $1.00, charges me $4.00 and frowns if I don’t tip at least a buck. Where does it end?

    Don’t get me wrong l3wis. I’m really on your side. The problem I have is with management that pays these people poverty level wages and expects the consumer (me) to pick up the tab, while the owners rake in the big bucks by charging 4 to 5 dollars for a 12 ounce can of beer.

  15. Poly – I never ‘expect’ a tip. Trust me, working at a franchise in Sux Falls will teach you that. BUT, when people go out of there way not to tip, (when they know they should) it galls me. Which goes into what John says. What some people don’t realize is that the ‘tipping’ system is a good one. I don’t tip very well for bad service, and should not either. The whole point is to give good service and get good tips. If you ever hang out with servers, like I do, you will find out we are a bunch of fake bullshitters when we are waiting tables, why? Because we like to make money, at least I do. Not only do servers make only 2.13 and hour, we most likely subsidize the hosts, bartenders, bussers (and in some places the cooks and dishwashers.) If the tipping system was eliminated you would almost see the price of your meal doubling virtually overnight, and on top of that service would be in the shitter. Give your 20% and just be happy it’s not 100%.

  16. Well keep in mind poly you aren’t just paying for that 12 ounce can of beer. You are also paying for the cooler to keep it chilled, the frosted mug they pour it in, the air conditioning, the fancy brass stool you are resting on, the flat screen TV you are using to monitor the latest game, the attractive hostess who found you a seat, the water used to flush the urinal, and the roof that keeps the elements at bay.

    Not all bar owners are crooks and not all rake in money hand over fist. In fact many of them are very middle class people who probably make no more than the average person after expenses are paid. Sure there are some fat cats out there who abuse the people who work for them and who refuse to allow anyone more than 35 hours a week for fear of having to pay them benefits … but I’m not sure they are the norm.

    I’d love to see management / owners pay their staff a living wage, but how long would a business last if that were the case? Hard to sell a burger and fries for $14.50 when the guy next door sells it for $9, and it is difficult to sell a tap beer for $8 unless you happen to be in an arena or sports complex of some type and have a captive audience. Mentally it just doesn’t work even if you try to tell people they don’t need to tip. The mind is programmed to look at prices and ignore the taxes and fees (tips) until the bill comes – so anyone who tries to rock the boat will fail.

    The only way the equation works out is if EVERYONE uses the same playbook (ala John’s reference of Germany) and they all agree to eliminate tipping in lieu of an actual honest and fair hourly wage. I really don’t see this happening, but I’d be all for it.

  17. Poly43 on January 3, 2013 at 5:30 pm said:

    Hey….my spouse and I are both retired now, so we watch a little closer how we spend our “fun” money. My tip takes in a lot of factors. If the price, in my estimation is too high, the waiting staff suffers the consequences. For instance, if I pay $30 for a 6 oz steak at Parker’s Bistro and can get the same, or better steak, at the Hartford Steak House for $10….odds are very good the waiter/waitress at Hartford will get a better tip.

    Lately I’ve found we’re better off just getting a steak from Uncle Ed’s and grilling at home with friends. Not only is it a hell of a lot cheaper, but we don’t have to deal with the nearly nightly “saturation” patrols that keep us safe from those “drunks” who have a couple of drinks a night.

  18. I have always said that every one should wait tables and work in customer service at least once in their life. You learn life lessons on how to treat people.

    I don’t believe in “the customer is always right” anymore. Too many people abuse it for their own gain when they know full well they are in the wrong.

    I have some relatives in a small town that only have a few eating establishments. These people have no problem spending 6 bucks on smokes but never tip more than a couple of bucks regardless of ticket size. They once mentioned how much better service was in Sioux Falls than it was in their home town and couldn’t figure out why. Funny how that works.

    I also suggest that everyone should watch the movie Waiting.

    I request Lewis every time I eat there, I will even wait twice as long. Good service makes all the difference.

  19. Poly, I don’t agree with your logic. Thats like saying I put regular gas in my Mercedes but my husband puts premium in his Kia since it didn’t cost as much. If you feel the price is too high don’t eat there. What you are doing is rewarding the owner and punishing the server for something that is out of their control.

    Never mess with the people who handle your food, unless you like the flavor of floor-spice.

  20. . . . floor-spice, spit, ass-crack, etc. LOL!

  21. I’ve never fully understood the mentality of those who tip less at their small town eatery. If anything I’d tip MORE because those people will recognize you and your reputation as a horrible tipper can have consequences.

    I also agree with shyne – why short the server when they are the ones setting the prices? It isn’t as if the owner will ever be impacted. You would be better off just avoiding spending your cash at a place you feel is overcharging.

  22. Poly43 on January 4, 2013 at 5:59 pm said:

    Never mess with the people who handle your food, unless you like the flavor of floor-spice.

    Perhaps you misunderstood. I do not mess with the people who serve my food. There have been rare occasions when we have not tipped…very rare, and I guarantee the servers own doing. If we go to Parkers Bistro and get a $100 tab, (not unusual) the server will prolly get a $10 tip. On the other hand, if we go to Hartford Steakhouse, get the same quality steaks for $40, the server will likely get that same $10 tip. So what’s the dif? Same steak. Same service. Same tip. No one is hurt. And if your floor spice analogy is as prevalant as you make it sound…all the more reason to grill out at home.

  23. anominous on January 4, 2013 at 6:39 pm said:

    Poly, in your calculations are you spending $100 on two people or four? Because if I read you right, and knowing that the steaks and stuff at Hartford are $8 a person, you are tipping like $2.50, per person in your party of 4. Which kind of sucks ass. And don’t worry, I’m not a server. As far as you know.

  24. Poly43 on January 4, 2013 at 10:37 pm said:

    Party of two. $8 is a bare bones meal. $40 is a couple of pretty good steaks and a couple drinks. Of course if I want to spend 2 to 3 times as much I can go to places like Parker’s and rub elbows with the city’s movers and shakers. Personally, I’d rather go to Hartford and rub elbows with the Joe and Jane Sixpacks of the world.

  25. A tip o $2.92 is an insult when the customer has received good service. I’ve dined in high-end restaurants all over the USA and believe me , there are restaurants in California and NY that would not welcome that person back for another dinner.

  26. Like I said earlier, just be happy the tipping system exists, because if it didn’t food/service would be double what you are paying now. I have a friend who tips 50% all the time, because he understands it. It is funny, because he is kinda a slob and never demands much of a server.

  27. “Like I said earlier, just be happy the tipping system exists, because if it didn’t food/service would be double what you are paying now.”

    Actually for those of us who tip properly, cost would probably decrease on average, because the additional cost would be spread amongst those who shortchange the servers / bartenders / staff. So Billy Bob who typically drops a buck on the table for a $30 steak dinner would be paying more for certain.

    Japan, China, and Brazil are pretty much non-tipping nations (rare exceptions) – and although difficult to compare to the US, their rates aren’t that much different. In the UK, Germany and a handful of other European nations the tip is added to the bill and is typically 10% with a max of 15% at the nicer places.

    So double l3wis? That is slightly inflated I’m afraid.

  28. I did some quick math. Bare with me.

    Let’s say on an average I have three $50 tabs in an hour if you tip 20% you get $30 in tips. Now, on average servers make about $18 an hour in tips + $2 an hour in wages, it equals about $20 an hour (based on the tipping system) the other $10 goes to tipshare.

    Now we have to share that with hosts and bartenders.

    Bartenders make about $8 an hour plus tipshare.

    Hosts make the same $8 an hour plus tipshare.

    But let’s bring the bartenders up to $20 and hour (no tips) and hosts at $10 an hour. If you combine each of our salaries that is $50 per hour if you just paid us flat out. Right now restaurants are paying us $18 and hour for the 3 of us. That is a difference of $32 an hour the restaurant has to make up without tipping. So it does come to a little over 20%, so you are right. BUT, factor in bad service (which actually takes longer, which is lost revenue, and benefits and you are looking closer to 30%.

    So like I said, the tipping system works for better service and cheaper prices.

  29. I agree it is better for service… because there are a lot of servers who are great actors and who kiss ass just because they know it will earn them a bigger tip. If there was no incentive here (and they were being paid the same no matter what) some of them would probably not be quite as chipper, the service would suffer, and they wouldn’t even have an incentive to turn the tables around as quickly.

    When you get paid the same no matter what kind of job you do, in most cases the work suffers as a result. Sort of like a government employee if you think about it.

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