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Educate Yourself: Waiters, waitresses, restaurants, etc.
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Mark in Minnesota



Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Posts: 2019
Location: Saint Louis Park, MN
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The flipside of this is that I also see a lot of how other people's shit tips can ruin a server's night, even just for a minute or two. The basic dynamic is that relatively small amounts of money can, for a lot of reasons, incrementally make or ruin someone's day. The abstract questions about whether or not these businesses should work this way, for me, pale in comparison to the fact that this is how they _do_ work.

That's the important part, for me: not what I wish the world could be, but what it already is on the day I happen to show up. If you're more self-interested than that, the other piece is that when you make people happy when you didn't have to, they often look for ways to return the favor, even when they don't have to. Nothing says you have to participate, but I have a hard time imagining what it would be like not to do so, whether I'm leaving a generous tip at work, giving my mom an extra-big hug after we meet for breakfast, or going the extra mile to help out the new person at work. Do more than is required, because good decisions are viral too.

Sure, it can get messy, if only from the idea that I'm paying to participate and the other party is professionally required to be there. I don't see why that kind of messy would ever _need_ to become a cautionary tale, though. The ethical dilemmas of excessive personal generosity are the best kind of first-world problem to have. (I could probably start a whole second thread about that, the conflicts I've had with my dad and his brothers trying to pick up dinner checks for them, and similar situations.) All told, I'm a lot less shook by the "cool story, bro" from Sage than I am by the idea that one of my server friends might come across this post and think I'm representing something as charity when I do it fundamentally because it makes me feel happy to do it, and see it appreciated.
Post Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:14 pm
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Raoul DeGroot



Joined: 30 Apr 2009
Posts: 2437
Location: Son Quest
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It's all good. Altruism is just another self serving biological imperative.
Am I right fellas? You know what I'm talkin 'bout. Nothin wrong with that.


On a side note I think waitstaff would be much less in demand as a job option if it weren't for the lottery/street busker/keptwife-like qualities to the occupation. There's something scammy in the promise of occasional non-linear returns for effort. N people like things that are scammy. Love em. Love em longtime.

It's kind of like the female version of being a salesman.
Post Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:31 pm
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Mark in Minnesota



Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Posts: 2019
Location: Saint Louis Park, MN
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That's certainly true. (Edit: the female version of a salesman is a salesman. Service is service.) Malcolm Gladwell wrote in Outliers that the three keys to a fulfilling profession are autonomy, challenge, and a discernible relationship between effort and reward. I've had a server tell me that the thing she liked best about her job was being in control of her level of income. I've also had people (recently, an electrician who replaced my kitchen lighting) who aren't in traditionally tipped professions roll their eyes at me when given a tip, I think for the inverse of the same reason: the reward felt arbitrary, and therefore meaningless.

I think this is even part of the reason shitty tips bother servers so much when they didn't slack enough to deserve them: it robs them of the most important form of career gratification available in their profession. It's an abrupt and concentrated version of the same morale hit I've seen salary-based co-workers take after being told that their performance last year won't net them a raise this year because of recent news like "economic uncertaintly" and a low share price. Getting the rug pulled out from under you over reward for good work you already did.

If you don't believe in tipping, why not say so at the beginning of the meal?


Last edited by Mark in Minnesota on Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
Post Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:46 pm
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Rob-Raz



Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 151
Location: Cincinnati Ohio
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I don't get why Mark's story ruffled so many feathers. Seems to me he was just saying that by him tipping the bartender well, the bartender saw that he appreciated the service, and in turn appreciates him as a customer. So much so that she/he would take Mark's call and BS with his buddy and what not. I didn't take it as "bragging" at all.

Good vibes go a long way, whether they are monetary or not.
Post Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:48 pm
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21597
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Really? You don't see the "dance monkey!" aspect of it?
Post Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:53 pm
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Raoul DeGroot



Joined: 30 Apr 2009
Posts: 2437
Location: Son Quest
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Mark in Minnesota wrote:
(Edit: the female version of a salesman is a salesman. Service is service


Nah, sales is a testosteroney occupation. It's about sticking your dick in someone's brain and pocketbook.
Girls can be testosteroney too, but that's not the level of detail I'm viewing things from.

Waitstaffing is for catchers not pitchers. -Which isn't to say that a catcher can't win the game...
Post Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:58 pm
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Rob-Raz



Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 151
Location: Cincinnati Ohio
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Sage Francis wrote:
Really? You don't see the "dance monkey!" aspect of it?


I see how some folks could use tips that way sure....but I don't think that was Mark's intent.
Post Sun Oct 02, 2011 11:07 pm
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tommi teardrop



Joined: 12 Apr 2007
Posts: 2216
Location: Las Vegas
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It might be a tad scummy, but at least mark sounds like a human for once.
Post Sun Oct 02, 2011 11:59 pm
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Mark in Minnesota



Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Posts: 2019
Location: Saint Louis Park, MN
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I don't think Sage is making an argument about my intent so much as about the impact of my actions, the possibility that this bartender behaved in this way not because she was my friend and it was what she wanted to do, but because I tip her well and it was what she thought I expected her to do.

I'm not unconscious to this possibility and I've even brought it up specifically with some of my server friends, both while they were in those peculiarly inequal situations with me and after they've moved on to other positions. I've generally found that I'm more concerned with where these boundaries ought to sit than they are. Most of them are very lucid about the ways in which they're dancing for nickels, and don't seem to view my kind of patronage as demanding much dance in return.

I've even had a number of servers over the years, at a number of different businesses, remark about what low-maintenance customers me and my friends tend to be.
Post Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:05 am
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Prontoid



Joined: 07 Aug 2002
Posts: 1609
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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It's not like Mark's trying to say he's some baller or something...he's saying sometimes he pays an extra 5 bucks here or there, and sometimes that works out to 100% of the bill...I don't think I'd work well in a tipping country coz it seems freakin confusing..

Seems silly, it should be worked into peoples pay, then it would remove the 'dance monkey' element from it
Post Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:08 am
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Mark in Minnesota



Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Posts: 2019
Location: Saint Louis Park, MN
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Yeah, definitely not baller status. Other guests only ask the staff if my team is famous a couple of times a year. Three or four at most.
Post Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:30 am
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21597
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I don't really think that people who live in non-tipping counties understand what this issue is all about. Shit is weird here.

I tip really well now. In the 90's I was low on funds so I didn't tip too well but I tipped as much as I could without leaving myself completely fucked. Once I had more money, I tipped more than was expected. No matter what I tipped, I never expected (nor wanted) the waiter to do more for me than their job entailed on the most basic level. There are times when I've been with people who treated the waiter like a foot servant and showed signs of discontent no matter what the service was like. That is a major turn off. Hell, there are a couple people I refuse to tour with anymore because of that shit. Speaking of touring and tipping, I've never seen anyone tip more than Slug does. If that shit gets a person into heaven than he is going to have quite a guest list.
Post Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:27 am
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outpatient



Joined: 07 Jul 2005
Posts: 475
Location: haggis and scotch eggs
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so how the hell is it legal to pay wait staff 2 dollars an hour? if employers say they make up the minimum wage difference in tips, what happens if they don't?
Post Mon Oct 03, 2011 4:58 am
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english bob



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 839
Location: england, uk
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being in a 'non-tipping country', i begrudge tipping unless i think they warrant it. that's not the norm really though, and most people i go out with give me a bit of shit for that attitude (my wife in particular) but i just can't get down with giving people extra money just for doing their basic job. i worked for shitty paid job for years but because it wasn't 'tip worthy', i got fuck all extra from anyone, no matter how much i smiled. i know people that make far less than the waitresses i know and they don't get tips.. why should the type of job someone has automatically mean they get extra money from a customer(?)

don't get me wrong - i DO tip, but mostly because i don't want to deal with the fallout if i don't. it'll be bare minimum unless even basic courtesy has been shown and then i'll bump it up accordingly.

automatically added on tips fuck me off too. more often than not, it makes the waiters shitty as hell because they don't need to work for the money (no dance monkey). we went for a group meal a few weeks ago that ran to about 120 tip and collectively refused to pay it because the service had been awful (no menus, forgotten drinks, wrong orders, she got shitty about asking for vegetarian options, etc etc)..

oh, but when we've been in america, i grin and bear it unless it's really ridiculous. taxi-drivers were the worst. i had a full blown argument with one in seattle because he didn't think i tipped enough.. and in l.a. i refused to tip one at all because he was such a dick during the journey.

meh. i probably come across as a tight bastard, but i'm not a natural tipper.
Post Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:31 am
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T-Wrex
p00ny tang


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 6405
Location: Detroit, Michigan
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When I got my first tattoo, I had no idea that you're supposed to tip a tattoo artist... so, although I was happy with the service, I had trepidations about returning to the same artist and getting a "spitting on the pizza" treatment. (I'm probably making it into a bigger deal in my head and he probably doesn't remember me or the fact I didn't tip that day).

I still don't know what is an acceptable tip, either.. When I got my 2nd piece, it was $180.00.. I paid $200 and said he could keep the change and I still walked away, thinking to myself, "Was a $20 bill enough of a tip?.. It's only like 12%.. Should I come back next payday and give him more?.. Or should I bake him some cookies?.. Is he going to hate me if I return?.. Should I find a new artist again?.. Maybe I can just learn how to do it myself and I don't have to worry about this anymore.."
Post Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:48 am
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