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Last post Author Topic: Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?  (Read 15375 times)

Josh

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Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?
« on: September 12, 2010, 04:38:15 PM »
I have a few questions about tipping and why it seems to have become a requirement for most restaurants and food service locations.

First, let me preface this by saying I will typically tip between 10-30% depending on the service received. My issue comes into play when a business forces tipping or "gratuity" for parties of certain sizes, parties serviced after a certain time, etc. How can tipping be made mandatory? Why has the industry become so intent on tips being given? I spoke with a friend of mine who used to work as a waiter and he said tipping was introduced due to the low wages paid to persons who serve you your food.

Isn't tipping something that I am doing as a way of thanking you for good service or going "above and beyond" in some way, shape or form? How can any establishment mandate tipping in ANY circumstance? Why are customers looked down on for not tipping or showing "gratuity"? There are situations, as I said above, where I do feel tipping is warranted and earned but when you ask for tips after I walk up to a "snowball stand" and you make me a snowball? I am sorry, but no. You are doing what I just paid you to do and now I am being asked to give more?

I apologize if these thoughts seem random and thrown together but I am rather upset with an incident which just occurred with my wife. We went to the snowball stand and ordered a few shaved-ice snowballs for her, myself and my daughter. After being handed our cups, we proceeded to leave after which we overheard a comment from one of the staff members inside. The comment was something along the lines of "Oh great, another non-tipper". My wife came to the car and told me this at which time I walked up and asked for a refund. When asked why, I told them that we do not appreciate comments like that. I told them that I refuse to tip you for doing your job. I ordered a product from your business and paid you for said product. Now you get upset when I choose not to pay you more? If you require more money, raise your prices, but do not bad mouth a customer for not tipping you for doing your job. They tried the whole "We have a no refund policy" line with us which I promptly argued that we just paid, not less than 60 seconds prior, for the products. We ended up getting our money back and will not be going there again. We are even considering writing an article for our local paper advising of this incident.

Case and point, why have some industries come to rely on tipping as a supplementary income for their employees? Why are customers expected to give out more money after paying for the services offered by the establishment? How can any company mandate extra money in the form of "gratuity" or "tips" for given situations?

Thoughts?

mouser

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Re: Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2010, 04:46:05 PM »
Tipping is definitely out of control, and exerts a distortion on every industry that it touches, not to mention the ramifications for tax avoidance, etc. I think we'd all be much better off if we got rid of the entire practice of tipping.

Regardless of whether you are happy with the business of tipping -- i think you did the right thing and others should follow in your footsteps -- if treated rudely, do not just sit their and take it, demand a refund, and go up the chain of command until you get satisfaction or at least cause them to think twice before they treat someone else that way.

wraith808

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Re: Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2010, 05:43:50 PM »
You're looking at it from only the consumer side.  As a practical matter, tipping is not a way that people that serve supplement their income- it *is* part of their income.  If you are expected to receive tips as a part of your wages, in general, they can pay you a lesser amount (less than minimum wage when it is official) because of the fact that you *may* receive tips. 

So imagine that you do a perfectly satisfactory job and someone decides *not* to tip you "because they don't see why they should pay above the price of the service."  I think you'd be a bit perturbed too at the basic reduction in your wages because of that fallacious assumption.  And if it was a conversation overheard, rather than a comment directed at you, then I don't see why it should be so upsetting, IMO.  And the mentality of "I shouldn't have to tip" is the reason that on larger parties they automatically add tips- because serving a large party is very detrimental to the server's salary if no tips (or a subpar tip) is given.  In the course of the day, a server might serve X amount of people.. and perhaps Y as a percentage tip.  If they don't charge a set tip amount, then X becomes drastically lower (as larger parties tend to take longer than smaller ones... and more attention), and some not tipping (or not tipping enough) could be catastrophic to the server.

As to the why's and why not raise the prices... how would the customers react if the price was raised?  Not very favorably, I'm sure.  So it's just a case that this is the way that service jobs operate, and to penalize the server because of the system seems wrong-headed at best, to me.

Josh

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Re: Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2010, 05:53:49 PM »
I am paying the restaurant for food, for their employees to cook that food, and for their employees to serve me said food. That is what I am paying for with the price of the meal I purchase. Now I am being told that because the employee entered into an agreement with the restaurant where their income would be SUPPLEMENTED by tips and the base salary is lower than minimum wage, I am expected to tip them for that reason? I am sorry, but no. I did not choose that employees profession, I did not choose the employers base salary rate based on the assumption being made that I will tip them. I chose to eat at a restaurant where the price of the food is set and I am expected to pay for the service of having myself seated, order taken, food cooked and brought to my table, and then dishes removed and cleaned.

Tipping should not be assumed or expected. Minimum wage should be the LEAST an employee should be paid, regardless of profession. Tipping should be something I give for going above and beyond, not just doing your job. That many restaurants do not pay minimum wage on the assumption of tips is the choice of that establishment and the employee accepting the job contract with said establishment. I will, and do, tip for service that I feel merits it. I have left a 20 dollar tip on a 10 dollar meal before. Do not think that I do not reward good service. But for it to be expected, so much so that the waiters and waitresses try and rush someone out of a restaurant in order to bolster the amount of tips they receive, is wrong. I will not tip someone who appears to be rushing me out or not giving me the time of day in an effort to rush every customer they receive out as quickly as possible.

wraith808

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Re: Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2010, 06:11:52 PM »
I am paying the restaurant for food, for their employees to cook that food, and for their employees to serve me said food. That is what I am paying for with the price of the meal I purchase.

That is what *you* think and have always thought that you were paying for.  This is *not* what it has ever been in a restaurant where you are waited on.  This is nothing new.  And that perception is *definitely* a problem for people that are in the position of having to depend on this for a living.

Josh

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Re: Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2010, 06:20:29 PM »
What is different in the restaurants view then? You tell me this viewpoint is different, how so? What am I paying for in the restaurants eyes?

When I go to a restaurant, am I not paying them for a set of services? Do these services not include "renting" a table, paying for a meal, and paying for someone to cook/serve said meal? When I pay an individual

mouser

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Re: Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2010, 06:31:25 PM »
Wraith -- if your point is that in professions where people depend on tips, simply eliminating tipping without adjusting their pay would be unfair -- i totally agree and that should be obvious to everyone.  People who work in jobs where there are tips (such as restaurant waiters, etc.), receive much less in pay because employers assume that a portion of their pay will be from tips.

But it seems to me that the debate has to be whether it would be better to simply raise the wages of such people and do away with tips -- and that is what i would argue for.

I think a case against such a change could be made based on the idea that you want to reward people who do an especially good job more than those who do a bad job, and that tipping can help achieve that.  But my experience is that this does not work.  It fails because i don't think there is much evidence that good performers make more from tips than bad performers.  There are interesting studies of what affects tip size, but i don't think performance factors very high.  Better to use standard approach to evaluating  performance as is done on all other normal jobs.

And the downsides to using tips to offset lower wages seem very substantial, including unpredictable wages, biases against certain kids of people, tax evasion, social expectations of tipping amounts, etc.

The question is -- wouldn't we be better off just paying people higher proper wages and doing away with tipping?  On the average everyone would come out the same, and there would be less gaming of the system, and less frustration on everyone's part.

Josh

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Re: Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2010, 06:36:27 PM »
That is just it. I might tip one way based on performance but not everyone will. Some people have it set in their minds that "Delivery people only deserve 2 dollars for a tip" or "This waiter is only going to get 3 dollars". I've seen time and time again where restaurants post signs with "customary tip amounts". Why should I tip the waiter more when I order a 30 dollar steak which requires them do the same amount of work as it would if I order an 8 dollar meal which included 2 additional plates? Why should I tip someone based on some pre-defined notion of what is an acceptable tip? What if I simply cannot afford to tip them what they feel, or what has become the acceptable norm, to tip based on a given check amount? I have a feeling that even the poor performers, as said by mouser, make out just about the same as those who strive for customer satisfaction. Tipping based on performance simply is not the norm.

I also agree that eliminating tips should happen and the minimum wage for a waiter/waitress/any other tip worker be brought up to the national standard (wherever you may live). Using the "You make tips so I am going to pay you less" excuse is a poor way to save from paying your employees something reasonable.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2010, 06:38:18 PM by Josh »

wraith808

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Re: Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2010, 07:06:14 PM »
Why do you pay more for the 30 dollar steak?  Because it is of better quality.  By the same token, the wait staff at a place that serves $30 steak will be expected to be of a higher quality than one at IHOP or Waffle House.

cmpm

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Re: Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2010, 07:08:52 PM »
Tipping is not a requirement for the customer.

It is required to make any money if you are a food server/waiter/waitress.
They are called 'servers' mostly in restaurants these days.
Gender deal.

Servers are paid less then minimum wage and tipping is part of their source of income.
That's the way it's been for a long long time. Customers should know this.
They do have to declare their tips for the irs now though.

For good serving I will tip 10 to 15 %.
For poor service, I will tip less, depends on why the poor service.
For a terrible experience, I take it to the management.
And usually get the meal free.
Still I will tip, unless the server is the main problem.

If the server does not do their job they don't get tips.
They know that. We do too, or should.
If they do their job well, they should be tipped accordingly.
I used to tip more for great service, but I just can't anymore.

Large parties are known to stiff the servers on the tip.
That's why there is standards that vary at different places.

I was in the food service industry a long time ago.
And my wife was as well.
We'll never do it again, it sucks.

Josh

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Re: Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2010, 07:13:53 PM »
Why do you pay more for the 30 dollar steak?  Because it is of better quality.  By the same token, the wait staff at a place that serves $30 steak will be expected to be of a higher quality than one at IHOP or Waffle House.

But what is the SERVER doing that is different for the 30 dollar steak? The cooks are doing more, but they do not receive the tips. Why should I tip the server more for carrying the same sized plate out to me because I chose to order a pricey meal? Does this tip get disbursed to the cooks? If not, then I will not tip more because of the price of the meal I chose.

cmpm

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Re: Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2010, 07:25:10 PM »
The cooks are not doing more Josh.
Everyone works hard in that business.
The cook at your typical 10 - 15 dollar steak place.
at best I'd say $15 an hour.
High dollar chefs get maybe twice as much.
Depends on the place. And area of the world.
I've worked at some of the top restaurants, (USA),
with some great chefs trained in Europe and America,
and the stores in the middle as well as the low end ones.

cmpm

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Re: Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2010, 07:29:38 PM »
And most servers share a portion of the tips with the person that cleans the tables.
Thought I should add that to the info.

Renegade

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Re: Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2010, 07:37:49 PM »
Here's a tip...

PAY YOUR EMPLOYEES AND DON'T MAKE THEM BEG~!  >:(

I hate tipping. Why would you make me do math at the end of a nice meal?

Tip on 8~15% tax? Um. No.

That being said, service in North America is *generally* much better than it is elsewhere.

However, there are exceptions, and a lot of exceptions depend on your expectations.

Many of the restaurants that I would eat at in Seoul had better service than any places I would eat at in North America. When running out of greens, I'd just ask for more and they'd bring it right away. AND it didn't add to the bill. It was included already. However, the expectation is that when you need something, you'll ask for it. Servers don't always ask if you'd like more of something. That goes for food & booze.

Here in Australia there are tip jars all over the place. But the service level is far below that in North America. Why would I tip? They also get paid much higher than in North America.

Here's another tip...

If there's going to be gratuity paid, why not just include it in the bill? To take an old saying in the software industry... DON'T MAKE ME THINK~!

Speaking with a server in the USA, I found out that the hotel simply took the gratuities that were tacked onto the bill. Servers never saw it, or much of it anyways.

I do find that tipping is out of control in North America. Everywhere you go people want tips. They'll even ask for them outright. And it's not the 10% or 12% it used to be. I was in one place where they had an insert in the menu that talked about tipping and expected 20% to START! "at least 20%" Ahem...

Tipping at cafeteria-style places? Uh. No.

Begging is annoying. Tipping is nothing more than a euphemism for socially acceptable (presumably) begging.

Yes... This is a pet peeve of mine. When I moved to Korea, I found out just how nice it is to not have to tip. Adjusting back isn't possible. I've been spoiled.

I wish that restaurants would just pay their employees.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Josh

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Re: Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2010, 07:40:09 PM »
I wish that restaurants would just pay their employees.

This is the solution that needs to take place. Employees should not be required to push a customer out as quickly as they can in hopes of getting more tips in a shorter time frame.

cmpm

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Re: Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2010, 08:02:18 PM »
Yeah, when it started moving into the 20% range, I never went there.

Quote
I wish that restaurants would just pay their employees.

Yes they should just pay the employees what they are worth.
But they can get away with it in America because of the laws.

Quote
Tipping at cafeteria-style places? Uh. No.

lol, right on, no tipping there....

Quote
Speaking with a server in the USA, I found out that the hotel simply took the gratuities that were tacked onto the bill. Servers never saw it, or much of it anyways.

What hotel was that? Rhetorically speaking, I don't expect a name.
But that's grounds for a law suit.

Renegade

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Re: Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2010, 08:21:15 PM »
The Hyatt Regency DFW airport hotel. (Dallas Fort Worth)

I was shocked. You'd THINK that gratuity is going to the serving staff. It's blatant deception.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

cmpm

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Re: Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2010, 08:41:28 PM »
hm, well. ok!

The main problem, imo, is fear of loosing your job.
In a situation like that there is no support from others.
No unions in this working class I know of either.

They can just fire you and get someone else in a heartbeat.
High turn over in this food service business.

I worked as a cook like 30 years ago, and my wife was a server and a manager,
oh, about 10 years ago. Never again for either of us.
It wasn't all bad, but it's low pay and will not get better.
Unless you really like it and be a real chef it's an in-between job.

Renegade

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Re: Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?
« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2010, 08:59:39 PM »
@cmpm

+1

I worked in a French restaurant when I was a kid, and I made extremely good money for my age then. But it's not really a career choice unless you are a chef. Or perhaps a head waiter in an extremely high-end restaurant with massive prices.
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4wd

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Re: Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2010, 11:30:38 PM »
Speaking with a server in the USA, I found out that the hotel simply took the gratuities that were tacked onto the bill. Servers never saw it, or much of it anyways.

If you want to see an example of where this is prevalent, go on a cruise.

They add a Service Charge of US$9-11 per day per person, that's irrespective of whether there is more than one person in a cabin, (reduced workload on the cabin stewards, laundry, etc you would think).  This is open to negotiation at the end of the cruise but realistically, how many people would actually bother?

At the end of a cruise you get a performance rating questionnaire of the various areas/staff of the ship....on the last cruise we found out how this actually worked.

The very first question, (besides name/cabin naturally), is how you rated the cruise overall, from Not Very Good through to Excellent.  If you didn't tick Excellent then that resulted in your calculated, pre-paid Service Charge being kept by the company and subsequently deducted from the amount distributed among the various service staff.
They were never told why, all they know is for some reason they get less money in their pay packet.

You could bag the company all you like in the following questions but unless you answered the first with Excellent no one got anything.  This includes cabin stewards, chefs, waiters, laundry people and all the people you never get to see.

wraith808

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Re: Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?
« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2010, 09:22:32 AM »
^ Wow... thanks for that info.  I never knew that, and am planning a cruise currently...  of course, whether or not I'll be able to take it in the next decade is still up in the air...

4wd

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Re: Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?
« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2010, 10:00:32 AM »
^ Wow... thanks for that info.  I never knew that, and am planning a cruise currently...  of course, whether or not I'll be able to take it in the next decade is still up in the air...

I should clarify that this might only apply to the cruise line we used this year, (C***a - did I say that?), but where one does it I'm sure there's others.

See here for a bit of info.

And while you're there get a cheap deal :D

superboyac

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Re: Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?
« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2010, 10:06:14 AM »
My thoughts are mostly in line with cmpm's.  However, I am irritated like Josh by the whole thing, I just don't necessarily act on it.  I feel it's too complex of an issue for me to really act on.  The servers really don't get paid anything; their income is reliant on the tips, which is a shame.  So I have sympathy for them.  Still, I won't tip them if they treated me like in your story, no way.  But overall, I have sympathy, so I'll give the 15% even though I don't really want to.  It is lame.  It's not comfortable on a psychological level because it makes it harder to predict how much your meal is going to cost.  To figure it out, you have to add all the listed prices of the items you ordered, then add tax, then add tip...it's too many steps just to estimate how much you owe.

It's the same shit the cell phone companies do.  They break down their service into so many categories to keep you from truly knowing the bottom line cost, which is all anyone is after.  I often ask people (as a little test) how much their cell phone bill is.  Almost ALWAYS, they say it this way:
"Well, my basic plan is $50."
me: "Oh! That's pretty good.  I though it would be more."
"Well, I also get the data plan."
me:  "How much is that?"
"Well, we actually get a family plan, but it's like $30 extra."
me: "How much is it per person?"
"No, actually, it's just $30 for each phone a month."
.
.
.
You get the idea.  After a while, I'm just like, "Would you just tell me how much the fu--ing TOTAL monthly bill is?"

I mean, sheesh.  All this breaking down of costs is another tactic to keep you from figuring out the total.  I'm glad ebay started listing total prices in their searches instead of leaving the shipping out.  People were really making a racket off of that by keeping it somewhat hidden from the listed price.

On another note, when i was in London a couple of years ago, I noticed how much more rude the servers there were.  They don't get tipped.  So, they lose a little bit of that incentive to be nicer.  So it's a give and take.  Haha, I still remember when I asked for ice for my soda (they drink everything room temp, which is fine for Newcastle, bad for Coke), the waiter reached around the counter, grabbed a fistful of ice and plopped it in my cup of soda.  Wow.

wraith808

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Re: Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?
« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2010, 11:24:44 AM »
I definitely think removing tipping as an incentive with all of the crap they have to put up with would make for worse service.  It does need to be there as an incentive to do better (and a reward for those that do)- humans don't perform their best without such incentives in customer service- it's a proven fact.  However, when you can give perfect service and get zero for tip, that does indicate the something is broken...

Josh

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Re: Tipping - Why does this appear to be a "requirement"?
« Reply #24 on: September 13, 2010, 11:30:28 AM »
That's just it. You do not need to remove it, but you do need to remove the need for tips to be looked at as a primary portion of the income. Instead, raise pay to minimum wage rates, and then have tips serve as an EXTRA incentive for good service.