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Old 12-06-2012, 12:02 PM   #21
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Sure, but this would apply to every person we come in contact with on any transaction. Should I tip the checkout person at the grocery store, the bank teller, my mechanic?

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I tip in situations where it is expected, and in many where it makes sense but few people do. Essentially, I tip if the tippee can affect my experience, positively or negatively. Many of these people make pretty good money, it isn't charity, and it isn't "doing managements job", it's trying and usually succeeding to improve my future experiences with these same people.

I also tend to give holiday bonuses to people, many of whom have never experienced this on this coast. If my relationship with this person is very likely to be ongoing, he/she gets good tips and Holiday bonuses. And good service always gets a good tip, even if I will never see the person again. It's the reason that they are working.

Ha
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:24 PM   #22
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Tipping of waiters/waitresses is generally not done in Europe. In my experience the service is not as good there. That's not necessarily a causative relationship, but I'd bet there's a link.

When I tip in the US I factor in the whole experience, not just the waitress's direct functions. If the table isn't clean or the silverware is dirty, that's probably the busboy/dishwasher directly to blame. If the food is cold then the tip is reduced. I'll let the waiter/waitress know about the problem if it's practical and maybe wait for a fix if it makes sense, but ultimately she/he is my "service rep" and so I'll let her take things up with the busboy.

Regarding Darden: Well, ultimately, of course, it is their company and they can do what they want, we can vote with dining-out dollars. I don't have a strong opinion on their policy--seems like a way to cut costs, and maybe folks will bump up their tipping if it becomes known that the busboys took a pay cut.

I think many businesses will be capping employees at 29 hours/week to avoid the health care costs. I also think a lot of companies will subdivide into smaller ones to stay under the 50 employee limit. That makes more paperwork and waste in accounting time, etc, but apparently it's what we, as a nation, think is best.
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:32 PM   #23
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I was just thinking back to those 'cards' that Midpack mentioned. I think I'm more likely to fill those out if there was something good/bad of note. If it was really bad, then I would talk to management.

The reason the comment cards seem more acceptable to me is two-fold. One, I think management probably does read them, and take them into consideration. And two, they are specific (was too warm, draft, music too loud for conversation, etc).

Compare that to how vague and imprecise tipping adjustments are. Let's say two people are seated at separate tables and waited on by separate servers.

Person A routinely tips 15%, will tip 20% for exceptional service.
Person B routinely tips 20%, will tip 15% for lackluster service.

What message does a server get? 15% might mean 'fine' or 'not so great', 20% might mean 'fine' or 'exceptional'. Sure, on average it should say something. But what and why? The food, the service, the ambiance, a dirty washroom? I guess it all seems so abstract to me, and rather pointless. I think that adds to the aggravation.

The only restaurant we frequent enough to actually know the servers and they recognize us, where you might actually get a tip-service feedback loop, is an inexpensive Mexican-style-food place, kind of 'diner' style - not high end at all. The servers there all help each other, and I'm almost positive that they pool their tips. They really act as a team. I always calculate a 15% tip, but round up from the bill and the tip, so closer to 20%, probably ~ 18% on average. If I had any issues, I'd mention it to the manager, as he collects the bill at the register. I think he'd take comments seriously. But it's not a high-end dining experience, so expectations are low, any little one-time issue is just kind of accepted, no big deal.

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Old 12-06-2012, 02:40 PM   #24
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Sure, but this would apply to every person we come in contact with on any transaction. Should I tip the checkout person at the grocery store, the bank teller, my mechanic?

If I buy a product that I think is exceptional - should I send an extra 15% to the company? Why not, someone is responsible for doing an exceptional job? It's really all the same thing - I don't understand where a line is drawn.

-ERD50
No, I don't see it that way. Few such transactions are "experiences", but dining out is, IMO.

Some individuals who go out of their way to give me exceptional service probably will get something back from us, like our Austin UPS delivery guy who was so awesome and did us special favors. Companies who create exceptional products or treat me very well get more of my business.
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Old 12-06-2012, 02:47 PM   #25
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Darden is doing some maneuvering to try and save money.

In addition to the OP's issue they "tested" cutting full-time staff hours to less than 30 hours a week in anticipation of the 2014 regulation requiring large companies to provide health insurance to full-time employees.

Darden worker hours Obamacare: Darden says it won't cut full-time workers to part-time - OrlandoSentinel.com

There was enough local pressure that Darden ended the test saying it wasn't successful, but it is believed that they will be limiting full-time employment opportunities in the future.

Shared tipping may be one way Darden is trying to level the playing field for their employees.
Exactly............companies are trying to get around the mandates in Obamacare and their costs........
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Old 12-06-2012, 03:09 PM   #26
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Around these parts tip sharing is quite common, and in some cases, the server must deduct a portion of the credit card fees from their tip.
For the nontippers, it is my understanding that server wages are reported as minimum wage, ( tips in excess reported separately) so if a tip is not given, the server actually loses money.
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:09 PM   #27
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I tip where appropriate and think the tip sharing is fine. If all workers responsible for customer service have the opportunity to earn more based upon good service then it should be a plus for me. Plus, if everyone is working efficiently then they can handle more tables during the course of an evening and earn more for the themselves and the restaurant.

One aspect of tipping I am curious about though is for newspaper delivery people. Every year around this time the carrier will put a Holiday card in our paper and that is certainly the hint that a tip would be nice. Do many people tip their newspaper carriers? Seems a strange profession to tip to me.

My wife and I scuba dive and tipping also comes into play there. The boat Captain and DM or Dive Master will set up our gear, guide the dive and point out lots of local sea life we may have missed on our own, assist us getting on and off the boat, serve snacks and drinks between dives and tear down and pack our gear after diving. We usually tip them $40 for the 2 tank dive or half a day's work. They split the tips. More than happy to tip for this service as vacation time is precious and don't want it fouled up.
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:32 PM   #28
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Darden's policy doesn't bother me at all. If the employees are underpaid versus what the labor market can offer, then they can quit and find superior employment elsewhere. I don't typically eat at any of the Darden brands anyway.

My goal with tipping is to spend as little time and psychic energy as possible on it. It is a cost of doing business, like paying ticketmaster fees, sales tax, shipping charges on online purchases, etc. I just figure whatever food we get costs an extra 25% when you tack on sales tax and a standard tip.

It is an inherently unfair system but it's the system we have to deal with every day. Why does the guy at the mexican restaurant get a buck for bringing me a $5 meal and a $1 beer but the guy at the fancy steakhouse gets $9 for bringing me a $50 steak dinner and tater plus a $8 glass of wine? Heck, the guy at the steakhouse only speaks one language! The mexican restaurant waiter is refilling my bowls of salsa and refreshing the chips on top of taking an order and bringing out food.

I try to care as little as possible, and we dine out infrequently enough that I don't think our tips impact service we receive at the next visit.

What makes me a little uncomfortable is those situations where I'm not really sure if I'm supposed to tip. There's a little authentic mexican joint we go to occasionally and I rarely see anyone tip. I'm usually the only white dude in the restaurant, and tipping isn't as common among the latin americans (in my experience). You order at the counter, but they bring food to your table, bring chips out, and bring drinks out. You have to get your own extra silverware and straw from the counter, and refill your own drink (or ask for water refill at the counter), and get your own salsa, lime, cilantro, and garnishes from the salsa bar. So I never tip, since I don't want to upset the natural order of things and make other patrons feel they have to tip too. Unless they really give a lot of extra service, then I might leave a buck or two. But if we are there with guests, there's always that awkward point at the end of the meal when you're trying to figure out whether to tip and how much, and we have to tell the guests that it isn't customary to tip at that particular restaurant.
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:13 PM   #29
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Curious what other people here think, as my friends only seem to have opinions on beer, boobs, bets, and ball games. I read today that Darden, the company of Red Lobster and Olive Garden recently implemented a policy of a "tip sharing program". Meaning waitresses and waiters must share their tips with the bus boys, bartenders, and other employees. Now that doesn't really bother me too much, as a bus boy in my younger years I remember getting some money from the waitresses and appreciating it, though they didn't make minimum wage and I did.
What pulls my chain on this, is Darden is using this to pay the other workers the far lower "tip credit wage" now since they receive a portion of the tip money also. It seems to me now, my tips aren't used to show appreciation to the workers, but is now used to subsidize the low wagers earners and increase the companies profits since they can pay less in wages.
This seems to me to be another reason to just eliminate tips and bake the whole price of eating out into the menu price. Am I wrong to be a little bothered by this "tip sharing program"? It seems a way to screw the low wage worker a little more for the benefit to the company. Am I wrong for thinking this way? I am usually a "whatever" type person, but this bothers me a bit.
I don't think you are either wrong or right for your thinking, but I don't know you can do about it. I guess you can write to the company with your views and not eat at the restaurants?
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:18 PM   #30
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RE - where to draw the line - tipping at restaurants versus every transaction:
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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
No, I don't see it that way. Few such transactions are "experiences", but dining out is, IMO.
I know it's convention, I guess I just fail to see such a clear distinction.

Quote:
Some individuals who go out of their way to give me exceptional service probably will get something back from us, like our Austin UPS delivery guy who was so awesome and did us special favors. Companies who create exceptional products or treat me very well get more of my business.
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I tip in situations where it is expected, and in many where it makes sense but few people do. Essentially, I tip if the tippee can affect my experience, positively or negatively. Many of these people make pretty good money, it isn't charity, and it isn't "doing managements job", it's trying and usually succeeding to improve my future experiences with these same people.

I also tend to give holiday bonuses to people, many of whom have never experienced this on this coast. If my relationship with this person is very likely to be ongoing, he/she gets good tips and Holiday bonuses. And good service always gets a good tip, even if I will never see the person again. It's the reason that they are working.

Ha
Maybe I'm just a bit of a Scrooge (well, not really - I understand what you are saying), but I guess there just aren't many things like this where I feel a tip is warranted/needed, or that it would change the service level I'd get. If you do, it makes sense to do it. Maybe I'm just blind to the opportunities.

Mail Carrier, UPS, Fed Ex, garbage pickup guys/gals - they all do a pretty good job for me. If I interact with them, I always try to be pleasant, smile, maybe make a little comment/small-talk, and say 'Thanks'. If I see them coming to the door, I try to get there before them - I know time is valuable to them. I guess just show them respect. But I've never tipped them, and I pretty much expect them to do their job. It seems to be working OK for me.

I do feel maybe a tinge of guilt for the paper delivery person. I don't think they are paid much, seems like a tough job to get out there early everyday, but I also manage to ignore the envelope that they include every year this time. I don't know, I just figure if I'm paying the Tribune Company for delivery, then I'm paying for delivery. And again, where does it stop?

Oh, and to FUEGO's post - that's another thing about restaurant tips - a % of the bill versus how much work they did. Again, it just seems so arbitrary. A glass of water is about the same work as a glass and bottle of beer. Sometimes a cheaper entree is more work for them than an expensive one. Makes no sense - why not a flat rate per item or something, then adjust that for service level received?

I guess I'm just trying to be too logical. As Leonard instructed Penny to tell Sheldon when he goes on about such things: 'It's a sub-optimal social convention'. Sheldon: 'Oh, OK'.

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Old 12-07-2012, 07:11 AM   #31
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I waited tables at Olive Garden back in 2001 and we were forced to share our tips with the bartender and bus boy, so I think this has been going on for quite a while even if it wasn't company-wide policy. Other cost savings come from limiting the veggies put on the salad (2 olives max, 2 slices of tomato max, regardless of the number of patrons at the table).
Another reason I'm happy to live in a neighborhood (Lakewood - East Dallas) where independent, mom and pop businesses are venerated and supported.
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:46 AM   #32
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One aspect of tipping I am curious about though is for newspaper delivery people. Every year around this time the carrier will put a Holiday card in our paper and that is certainly the hint that a tip would be nice. Do many people tip their newspaper carriers?
We do, each time we renew our 26-week subscription. There is a tip box on the form which makes it easy.

Also, it's safer. Our newspaper is usually delivered between 5-5:30 am and I don't want to leave an envelope (cash/check/gift card) in the paper slot overnight.
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:49 AM   #33
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One aspect of tipping I am curious about though is for newspaper delivery people. Every year around this time the carrier will put a Holiday card in our paper and that is certainly the hint that a tip would be nice. Do many people tip their newspaper carriers? Seems a strange profession to tip to me.
Tips I made delivering papers paid my first year of college.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:08 AM   #34
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Tips I made delivering papers paid my first year of college.
I remember the local paper boy, on his bike, collecting the newspaper bill payment from my parents every month and it was standard to also tip him a little extra (he was maybe12). We always send a little Christmas cash to the grown man who now tosses the paper from his old car. Ho ho ho, holly in my heart and all that as Cary Grant said to Deborah Kerr in An Affair to Remember.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:34 AM   #35
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Tips I made delivering papers paid my first year of college.
So I'm guessing you would be a yes.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:47 AM   #36
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So I'm guessing you would be a yes.
Good guess
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:22 AM   #37
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Curious what other people here think, as my friends only seem to have opinions on beer, boobs, bets, and ball games. I read today that Darden, the company of Red Lobster and Olive Garden recently implemented a policy of a "tip sharing program". Meaning waitresses and waiters must share their tips with the bus boys, bartenders, and other employees. Now that doesn't really bother me too much, as a bus boy in my younger years I remember getting some money from the waitresses and appreciating it, though they didn't make minimum wage and I did.
What pulls my chain on this, is Darden is using this to pay the other workers the far lower "tip credit wage" now since they receive a portion of the tip money also. It seems to me now, my tips aren't used to show appreciation to the workers, but is now used to subsidize the low wagers earners and increase the companies profits since they can pay less in wages.
This seems to me to be another reason to just eliminate tips and bake the whole price of eating out into the menu price. Am I wrong to be a little bothered by this "tip sharing program"? It seems a way to screw the low wage worker a little more for the benefit to the company. Am I wrong for thinking this way? I am usually a "whatever" type person, but this bothers me a bit.
My kid has been experiencing this as she works various restaurants. Each place has different rules, but the theme that is common is that the server is paying out of pocket what we oldsters used to remember as cash in pocket. Almost all goes on the computer, so the 15% waiter used to receive for good service is now 15% - x% tip out - x% witheld taxes. At one place the waitresses were paying the tax, and then had to tip out to the bus boy.

I've come to hear about an unseemly side to the restaurant business, and I agree that the low wage worker gets screwed. No surprise by this.

Other interesting thing seen: cash payout to banquet manager, under the table. More impact on the low wage worker.

What we do now is leave a low tip on the credit card, and slip cash to server.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:58 PM   #38
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... the low wage worker gets screwed. No surprise by this.

...
What we do now is leave a low tip on the credit card, and slip cash to server.
Aren't they screwing themselves by not reporting the income? A low income worker probably isn't paying much/any FIT, and by not reporting they aren't getting SS credits.

Plus, not reporting income is illegal. Why do anything to support an illegal activity?


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Old 12-08-2012, 10:44 AM   #39
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I never thought about it before but when I was young tips were considered to be about 10%. Now I think they are 20-25% (I am still at 20%). Is this cost shifting? If meals increased in cost with business inflation then the increased price of the meal should produce the increase absolute tip shouldn't it?
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:59 AM   #40
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I never thought about it before but when I was young tips were considered to be about 10%. Now I think they are 20-25% (I am still at 20%). Is this cost shifting? If meals increased in cost with business inflation then the increased price of the meal should produce the increase absolute tip shouldn't it?
That was one I never figured out either as far who were the powers to be who increased it from 10% to 15% to 18% to 20%. My dim witted friends response were things have gone up in price.That is when I responded like you did that the corresponding increases in prices would automatically cause the tip to be higher. Of course they never took their knuckles off the ground to count to figure this out until I explained that to them. I am used to it now, so it doesn't really bother me, but the companies forcing workers to share tips to lower the workers salaries does.
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