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Old 05-26-2011, 10:30 AM   #21
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I must be cheap. I tend to tip in the 10-15% range. I have heard that "they" say you are now supposed to tip around 20%. When I heard that I thought to myself "Who are 'they?' Why do 'they' suddenly think the job is worth more than the traditional 10%?" When I figure out who "they" are, and why a job that hasn't changed is suddenly worth 10% more I'll think about changing.

I don't usually tip anywhere other than restaurants. But that is because I rarely use services that are tipped outside of such. I carry my own bag, avoid taxis, and go to an owner operator barber (Bud at Hairforce One is great if you are ever in Pullman, WA). When I do tip in these unfamiliar situations I have no idea what an appropriate amount is. I think I'm generous, but what do I know?
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:34 AM   #22
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My former lunch group have this question.
Do you tip on the total bill which includes the tax or do you exclude the tax?
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Stingy Tight@ss Frugal group, eh?
Nah, that one is pretty clear. No tip on the government's charges.
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:36 AM   #23
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My FIL was in the hotel and restaurant business so DH's family learned to always tip well. Around here the standard was always 15% but DH insisted on tipping more and I've learned to be generous in tipping, too. 20% is now standard. We don't eat out very often but I always include the cost of the tip in an estimate of a meal out. If I don't want to spend for a tip we'll get takeout instead.

We give the tip money to the waitress/waiter in cash. What they do with it in terms of busboys or staff who brought the plates is up to them. I like to know the person who handled our order got the cash.
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:40 AM   #24
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I must be cheap. I tend to tip in the 10-15% range. I have heard that "they" say you are now supposed to tip around 20%. When I heard that I thought to myself "Who are 'they?' Why do 'they' suddenly think the job is worth more than the traditional 10%?" When I figure out who "they" are, and why a job that hasn't changed is suddenly worth 10% more I'll think about changing.
The percentage we use for a tip is larger when the total bill is smaller. A waitress/waiter depends on tips to earn a living, and even if working in a cheaper restaurant often will work just as hard as those employed by expensive restaurants. We never tip less than $3, and that can be 25%-30% sometimes.
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:50 AM   #25
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The percentage we use for a tip is larger when the total bill is smaller. A waitress/waiter depends on tips to earn a living, and even if working in a cheaper restaurant often will work just as hard as those employed by expensive restaurants. We never tip less than $3, and that can be 25%-30% sometimes.
Back in 1989-90 when I waited tables, I remember our goal was $1 per head. So if we waited on a party of 2, we hoped for at least $2, and so forth. I'd say I averaged around $10 per hour, which was pretty good money back in that timeframe! And that was working for Denny's, in a not-the-best neighborhood. Their meals weren't that expensive, so the tips were often lower, and there were also a lot of families with small children, college kids, and elderly who came in. Things may be different now, but those weren't the most generous demographics 20 years ago!

When you factor in rising food prices, and the jump in the acceptable tip range from 10% to 20%, you'd think waiters would be cleaning up these days. For instance, if I was averaging $10/hour 20+ years ago, simply adjusting for inflation should put that up to around $18/hour today, using an inflation calculator I found online. And then doubling from 10 to 20% would put that to around $36 per hour!

However, I doubt that too many waiters and waitresses are making $36/hour, unless it's at a really swanky place.
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:59 AM   #26
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I must be cheap. I tend to tip in the 10-15% range. I have heard that "they" say you are now supposed to tip around 20%. When I heard that I thought to myself "Who are 'they?' Why do 'they' suddenly think the job is worth more than the traditional 10%?" When I figure out who "they" are, and why a job that hasn't changed is suddenly worth 10% more I'll think about changing.
I have always figured that "they" are the ones who prepare your food out of sight, and have much better memories than I do. I have also watched too many movies like "Waiting", where the penalty for annoying them is made clear.
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:59 AM   #27
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99% of the time, we tip 15%. I don't stiff the waitress/waiter when things aren't as good as they should be, it may not be their fault. Great service is very uncommon, can't recall the last time. Friendly and chipper doesn't equal great service to me.

Our old fashioned cell phones have a tip calculator, so easy to use.

We were in central Florida a few years ago, visiting my parents. Took them out to eat, and left our standard 15%. My mother was livid! As I recall, she said " These people aren't used to a big tip. If you do it, they will start expecting it from everyone."
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:03 AM   #28
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I side with those that believe tipping is part of the cost one pays when dining out or receiving other personal services. The difference between 15 or 18%, or the difference between calculating the tip before or after sales tax is just a couple of $$ for us but more important for the server. Add it in upfront, then hold back if there is a legitimate reason.

For lunch or smaller meals, we also leave cash.

One thing I find very distasteful is a restaurant that automatically adds the tip but then presents the credit card slip with the total charge including tip listed as "subtotal" and the tip line blank.
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:15 AM   #29
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Nah, that one is pretty clear. No tip on the government's charges.
Many years ago, my friends and I (we were all accountants, if that tells you anything) would play golf at a country club and go to the bar afterwards for some beers. The club had an automatic 15% tip added to the bill. However, the tip was calculated after sales tax. We always laughed with the wait staff about "tax + tip, and tax on tip".
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:19 AM   #30
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Is anyone else old enough to remember what Johnny Carson used to say? "Always overtip the breakfast waitress."

DW and I eat out with a group of retirees a couple of times a month. When the group is seated we make it clear to the wait staff that each couple will pay separately and get separate checks.

Around here many restaurants have the policy of automatically adding the tip to the check(s) for groups of 6 or more. The automatic tip is almost always less than I would have given on my own. The automatic tip is usually 18% of the total before tax.
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:26 AM   #31
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My former lunch group have this question.
Do you tip on the total bill which includes the tax or do you exclude the tax?
I bet if you asked the waitress they would say all of it That question reminded me of a preacher at a church I was attending a few years ago. It was in reference to should you tithe 10% of your pre-tax wages or your after tax wages. He answered his own question with "do you want God to bless some of your money or all of your money?" I think he was twisting the arms to up the tithing ante!
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:27 AM   #32
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A few months ago we were in Las Vegas staying at the Encore (one of the most expensive hotels in Vegas, but of course, we were there on a package discount rate). On a slow day in the mid afternoon, I was in one of the nicer bars and so i struck up a converstation with the bartender. After some small talk, we got into the conversation about money and tips. She told me she made in the mid six figures and was quite proud that she only reported about a third of it. Claimed it was all legal with the management and the IRS. She said it took her about 5 years to get to that job after working lower wait-staff positions with less tips. She was abut 30, very pretty, very well spoken and educated.

After my couple of drinks she now was paid mid six figures plus $10. Fortunately none of my $10 went to the government.
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:28 AM   #33
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My experience has been that if you have been established as a regular customer AND a good tipper you will generally get better service, as the staff know you will tip well.
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:43 AM   #34
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You gotta remember that certain employees are "tipped" employees. They get a lower wage, sometimes below minimum wage, because part of their wages are derived from tips. Restaurant employees are usually tipped. In Nevada, it seems everyone is tipped. Bartenders, dealers, valet, bell hops, cab drivers, etc. It is true most restaurants and bartenders, cocktail watiresses and such pool their tips. If your service is bad and you "punish" the waitress, you also punish the dishwasher, busboy, cook and hostess.

Tips are a way to motivate employees. A tipped employee's livelihood depends on them working harder and faster. Restaurants, hotels and casinos are abel to shift part of their wage costs to the consumer, while getting better service from their employees.

I agree sometimes it's tough to figure out who's tipped and who's not. Sometimes hairdressers, for instance, are independent contractors just renting space at a salon. They charge the salon's rates that have some profit built in for them. Tips are a way to reward good service, though they may not be "tipped" employees per the IRS. But like any business, if they do a good job more tips come in and they make more money.

I never tip non-tipped employees like fast food workers or the guys a Jiffy-Lube. I do tip a little to contract employees like hairdressers. I tip 15% at restaurants for standard service. 20% and more is for extraordinary service. Just because of inflation doesn't mean the tip percentage should go up. It's a percentage and will go up as the price of meals go up. I only tip based on the food price. No wine or expensive drinks. A nice bottle of wine could easily double the tip but all the server did was retrieve the bottle from the cellar.
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:51 AM   #35
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Since we got chip-enabled charge cards, they bring the POS machine to the table. Some have programmed choices like 12% 15% 18% and all are calculated on the total with tax. So 18% roughly translates to 20%. But they all allow a number to be entered and that is handy if the total includes an expensive bottle of wine. Sometimes all they do is pop the cork!
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Old 05-26-2011, 12:25 PM   #36
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As others have said a tipped employee is more likely to work harder to earn that tip. At least that is the theory which makes sense.

However, then people go on to say that they tip a minimum of 15% or some such. Which is somewhat counterintuitive to me.

I personally, tip 10% for "satisfactory" service. Food comes out in a reasonable amount of time and I'm able to eat it.

For good service I tip 20%. I am unable to eat a whole meal or even enjoy a meal without being able to drink water every few bites. I've probably programmed my body to be this way but I get most of my daily water intake during meals. So for me the single biggest factor that influences the tip is how topped off my drink it.

Never topped off = no tip or incremental tip to show the service was disapointing at best. Satisfactory = 10%. Good 20% and occasionally, I will even tip 25% if the server was exceptional.
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Old 05-26-2011, 02:06 PM   #37
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Since we got chip-enabled charge cards, they bring the POS machine to the table. Some have programmed choices like 12% 15% 18% and all are calculated on the total with tax. So 18% roughly translates to 20%. But they all allow a number to be entered and that is handy if the total includes an expensive bottle of wine. Sometimes all they do is pop the cork!
I really like Chip & PIN cards and Point of Sale transactions. Now you never have to lose sight of your credit card. You don't need a calculator. And if you don't like the programmed choices, you can enter a dollar figure.

I'm a 15% person, unless the service is particularly good or bad. Then I will adjust accordingly.
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Old 05-26-2011, 03:18 PM   #38
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Tipping is a great deal. I'd hate when the amount is included in the cost of services. If someone does a bad job, I don't want to pay it. If someone does a good job, I want control of their compensation.
I don't want control of anyone's compensation, unless I'm hiring them. Compensation should take into account their skills, experience level, local market shortages, etc, and be determined by agreement between the employee and the employer.

We get great service at the restaurant 500 feet from our front door. This is in France, so we don't tip a cent: we ask for the check, it comes, we hand over a card, it goes into the machine, we type our PIN code, we get the receipt and go. (If we're paying with cash, we might wave away the change on a bill of 29.20, but if we tried to leave the change from a 26.20 bill on the table, we might well be followed out by someone telling us that we forgot our change.) Tax is also included in the price on the menu, so by simply adding up what we order, we know how much we'll be paying. (Simple, huh?)

If we don't get good service, that's just one more item that gets factored into the consideration of whether we go back, along with whether or not we got good food, good value for money, etc. If the employer hires poor staff, he loses our business. It's not up to us to take out a bad customer service experience on a poorly-paid employee who could be having a bad day, or simply be in the wrong job; nor do I see why I should be involved in the compensation of the server but not, say, the cook, who is also providing a service, just not in my physical presence.

It's well known from experimental psychology that direct monetary rewards have either no or negative effect on performance, except for the most routine of tasks (so perhaps we should be tipping the crockery washer), partly because it conveys the message "This job sucks, you have to be paid extra to do it". Good waitstaff, over here at least, are pretty professional in their attitude and get satisfaction from a good job.
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Old 05-26-2011, 03:32 PM   #39
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Also, if we're having a meal as group and the tip is automatically added in, we pay EXACTLY that amount, and make it a point to let the waiter know that's OUR policy and that he/she probably could have done better without management's "assistance." I'll let the waiters put pressure on mgmt to change things.
I kind of laugh when we are stuck with an 18% tip at this one restaurant we go to with my extended family. Because of the pricing structure at this particular restaurant, I would usually leave a buck or two more than what they assess us, but since they force us to pay it, I'm going to pay exactly what they require.
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Old 05-26-2011, 03:57 PM   #40
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Stingy Tight@ss Frugal group, eh?
Engineers. Trained to be stingy, tight, frugal and cheap.

We do tip on the whole bill. As some of us say: "The servers need the money more than we do". That may or may not be true.
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