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Old 09-14-2012, 06:24 PM   #61
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That logic reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw in the parking lot today. "work hard today to keep your job. All the people on welfare are depending on you" now back to the original thread....
The "patriotic to pay taxes" comment was a snipe, ok? I was being sarcastic and snide. Sorry that you didn't get that.

The main point remains that because servers now have to pay their full, fair share of taxes is one of the reasons that 15% has evolved into an acceptable 20% tip.

The question was "why is 20% expected when it used to be 15%". As noted, the cost of serving has gone up because servers can no longer avoid paying taxes.
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:30 PM   #62
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I'd pay money NOT to have to dress up and go out to dinner.
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Old 09-14-2012, 08:33 PM   #63
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I think one of the reasons that 15% used to be acceptable but isn't now, is that in days gone by, a server could report little or nothing at tax time.

Those days are gone. Now, in most places it is pretty hard for a server to dodge the tax man...so, 20% now covers some of the tax bite. The cost of serving you has gone up!

Consider 20% as doing your patriotic part to help others pay their taxes!
So if I understand this correctly not only do I have to pay my taxes but now I have to be responsible for somebody else too. Somehow that doesn't strike me as being patriotic. I think there is another word or two for it.

Cheers!
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Old 09-14-2012, 08:37 PM   #64
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The "patriotic to pay taxes" comment was a snipe, ok? I was being sarcastic and snide. Sorry that you didn't get that.

The main point remains that because servers now have to pay their full, fair share of taxes is one of the reasons that 15% has evolved into an acceptable 20% tip.

The question was "why is 20% expected when it used to be 15%". As noted, the cost of serving has gone up because servers can no longer avoid paying taxes.
I think it's all psychological on the part of the dinner wanting to feel more generous than "average". Just like everybody thinks they are an above average driver, they also want to be seen as above average tippers.

Personally, I try to be generous with the tip because (1) I make quite a bit more than average and (2) as a visible minority I don't want to leave bad impressions.
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Old 09-14-2012, 09:47 PM   #65
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That is the case for us too. It has gotten to the point where we don't eat out because we're almost always disappointed with restaurant fare. Even with a simple 3-burner RV stove and no oven I can make just about anything I want. Just this week we added sushi to the repertoire, which is very exciting.
We have an oven (tiny in-wall) and 4 burners (old 1970's electric coil range top). And cheap pots and pans from walmart and kmart, along with cheap (but sharp) knives and cutting boards. Like you, somehow we also manage to turn out pretty good food. No stainless steel, 6 gas burner, dual oven $200 knife and $300 pan monstrosities in our kitchen! Seems like most folks that have a kitchen like that don't realize if you actually used it (which they usually don't), it is difficult to get spots and smudges not to show on stainless surfaces.
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Old 09-15-2012, 06:36 AM   #66
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My husband and I eat out every now and then - like other posters, I think I cook fairly well, so my standards are high for what I expect to eat at a restaurant.

We've eaten at hole-in-the-walls and 3 star Michelin restaurants and had the same quality at both. We just ate at a beach shack and had some awesome food - turns out the chef was French and knew how to do sauces (she had a lemon sauce on the fresh grilled tuna that was amazing - olive oil and lemon juice, however, cooked and emulsified just so). She also served lamb shanks in an amazing tomato based wine sauce - it was obviously slowly cooked - and fresh herbs make a huge difference in any cooking. The mashed potatoes had either cinnamon and/or cumin in them - so the Arabic influence was there (like Moroccan spicing - adds a bit of depth to the flavors over time). It might sound weird to use those spices, but in little bits it perks up the taste buds.

That's what I've found with the truly great restaurants - they have studied the biochemistry of the taste buds and have mixed flavors to enervate them so that your dining experience is enhanced. Like any sensors, there are resonant frequencies, so either using those or avoiding them is how you can change the dining experience. However, that is also true with comfort food - I'm a BIG fan of macaroni and cheese in all forms: pasta alfredo is just an Italian version of mac and cheese, kasespatle is the German version, and so on.

Back to the topic - so, depending on what you are looking for taste-wise, restaurant quality and prices can vary widely. I enjoy most of it except for most fast-food. What I use restaurants for is not only for a nice dinner with my husband and/or friends, but to see what other taste combination I might be able to do myself in the kitchen. I've also noticed that my husband and I have some very good conversations while eating a good meal and it cements our relationship more.

Tipping - uhh, when did it become 20%? I guess after living in Europe for quite a few years, I've not been around to see that. Frankly, I've noticed the food, service and prices are so much better in European restaurants and one does not have to tip but usually rounds up 1 or 2 of the denomination for good service. I have worked in restaurants in the US and understand the ethos, however, one was supposed to report the tips anyhow and the managers (even in the 70's) as well as the tax man could report out your tips to the IRS nonetheless - don't see how that justifies an increase to 20%,
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Old 09-15-2012, 08:00 AM   #67
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Yeah, they are worth something

But if you knew how stupid I was, you would not be impressed with the bill. I saw where it said omelette was $38 (or something like that) and a lobster omelette was $49. What I didn't realize was that was the price of the lobster per ounce! Oops.

(I may not have these prices exact...I was in a bit of a shock at the time) The water they brought out with the meal was like $10 too.
What, no truffles?
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Old 09-15-2012, 09:02 AM   #68
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Can't stand going out unless it is for something social. I also can cook quite well, I believe I may be one of the few males at work who seriously cook , and it's a pretty huge place. Generally the only time I've spent more than $10, and without using a coupon, eating out has been for social parties for work, usually at the end of completing training or some other benchmark, and for those three times, it was in the $14-$15 range each time. I will spend more, if someone else is paying, only if I know it will make them uncomfortable if I don't make a big order, this mainly happens with my affluent parents or during lunch interviews.

I have definitely noticed that restaurant food has gotten less and less impressive to me over time. While they do offer some initial variety, once you've tried a majority of the dishes out there, that strength goes away, leaving just generally mediocre quality. You can get the same sort of quality at a cheap place with a coupon for $4-5, my favorite is Quiznos, and not have to pay a huge tip for mostly unnecessary or mostly non-existent service.
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Old 09-15-2012, 10:49 AM   #69
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Part of me understands this perfectly

Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover View Post
I'd pay money NOT to have to dress up and go out to dinner.
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Old 09-15-2012, 12:46 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by marko

The "patriotic to pay taxes" comment was a snipe, ok? I was being sarcastic and snide. Sorry that you didn't get that.

The main point remains that because servers now have to pay their full, fair share of taxes is one of the reasons that 15% has evolved into an acceptable 20% tip.

The question was "why is 20% expected when it used to be 15%". As noted, the cost of serving has gone up because servers can no longer avoid paying taxes.
No, I got it very well and actually I thought your comment was funny. The one I posted was meant to go along with your type of post. I wasn't trying to make a comment on yours. I guess I should have clarified my intentions, sorry.
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Old 09-15-2012, 12:52 PM   #71
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No, I got it very well and actually I thought your comment was funny. The one I posted was meant to go along with your type of post. I wasn't trying to make a comment on yours. I guess I should have clarified my intentions, sorry.
ahh...the limitations of email, etc! No problem. Cheers.
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Old 09-15-2012, 01:16 PM   #72
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ahh...the limitations of email, etc! No problem. Cheers.
Marko, to further agree with you on your point, another reason why I tip 20% is in my neck of the woods, you would be surprised how cheap some of them are. I feel sorry for the workers, because some won't tip at all, or think its still 10% from the 1970's. I always thought if you can't afford to tip, you can't afford to go out to eat. Although I must admit, I really struggle to add that 20% on top of the occasional wine bottle we get!
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Old 09-15-2012, 01:25 PM   #73
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Marko, to further agree with you on your point, another reason why I tip 20% is in my neck of the woods, you would be surprised how cheap some of them are. I feel sorry for the workers, because some won't tip at all, or think its still 10% from the 1970's. I always thought if you can't afford to tip, you can't afford to go out to eat. Although I must admit, I really struggle to add that 20% on top of the occasional wine bottle we get!
Yeah. We winter in Florida and most places automatically add 15%-18% tip.

There's either some old codger who thinks that a buck is a good tip on a $50 meal or a European who doesn't think/conveniently 'forgets' to tip.
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Old 09-15-2012, 01:46 PM   #74
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Marko, to further agree with you on your point, another reason why I tip 20% is in my neck of the woods, you would be surprised how cheap some of them are. I feel sorry for the workers, because some won't tip at all, or think its still 10% from the 1970's. I always thought if you can't afford to tip, you can't afford to go out to eat. Although I must admit, I really struggle to add that 20% on top of the occasional wine bottle we get!
My approach is similar to this. I go out for a nice experience, not just to get calories. Because I tip well, my companion and I always have a nice experience.

I am not a slave to %s. If we sit forever on a nice patio, and the server is attentive but not pushy, I may tip 1/3 on a small bill. After all, my experience is related very marginally or even inversely to how many calories or how many grams of ethanol I consume.

No one will ever see me geeking out with a calculator.

Ha
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Old 09-15-2012, 05:04 PM   #75
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My approach is similar to this. I go out for a nice experience, not just to get calories. Because I tip well, my companion and I always have a nice experience.

I am not a slave to %s. If we sit forever on a nice patio, and the server is attentive but not pushy, I may tip 1/3 on a small bill. After all, my experience is related very marginally or even inversely to how many calories or how many grams of ethanol I consume.

No one will ever see me geeking out with a calculator.

Ha
I agree. Sometimes we are just going out for experience and the cost is real light, so we tip more just because they worked just as hard, even though we might have ate small. Unlike Amethyst, I don't like to dress up much and sometimes my attire is more in the side of a poor bloke (cleaned and showered still of course!). Usually the places I go the waitresses are high school or college girls hustling hard to make their money. It's funny to see their smiling expression on their face when I say,"know I don't need any money back", when paying. They probably thought I was going to be one of those dollar tippers, based on my untucked tshirts and shorts with flip flops.
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Old 09-15-2012, 08:29 PM   #76
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I've been reading this thread with much interest and finally decided to jump in here. Really, I couldn't get a word in edgewise. To be honest, eating out is my favorite passtime. I has gotten to be a favorite of my wife's also. Although WE cook at home about half the time for dinner (this includes leftovers), we would both prefer to go out . I said WE because I do the cleanup, and that is half the battle.

It used to be we had to to cook at home because we thought we couldn't afford to go out. Not so anymore and we find it almost as cheap to eat out as it is to cook in, especially when you consider the work involved. I'm certainly not speaking for those that love to cook, and I can see the attraction. We can sit here during the day and watch cooking shows because we find it facinating and would love to do some of that. Then someone mentions that "yeah, someone else is cleaning up their mess".

As I said, we love to eat out, and by that I don't mean expensive places. Someone mentioned Wendy's which we love for lunch. Our Wendy's doesn't offer breakfast, so they open at 11AM for lunch, and you better get there early (before noon). It's a hell of a deal. A big lunch would be a Monterey chicken sandwich, sour cream and chive baked potato and a senior coke for me. Wife will get a chicken Ceasar wrap, a sour cream and chive baked potato and a senior coke. (We might get an order of chicken nuggets for the puppies). Since the senior drinks are free, we can get out of there for about $5.50 and no tip involved. Wendy's is the one fast food place I will visit. I'm going to check on the breakfast thing because in this 100% retirement community, it would go over big.

Going out BIG for us is to our country club and from everything I have read it is reasonable by comparison. One night a week is a buffet and it will vary greatly, is always good and well supported. Big salad bar, last night was carved ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potato cassrole, fresh cut steamed veggies, and rolls. It was great. I had a glass of wine, wife just had ice water. Total bill was $33.00 including tax and tip. At the club the tip is always added on at 17%. I generally round it up to an even amount by adding a buck or two and the odd change. They used to call it happy hour where the drinks and wine were two for the price of one (5$). For some reason they changed the wording and now it's $2.50 for any drink or wine from 4-7PM. I guess it doesn't force you to drink two.

I know we are spending more than we ever did on eating out but we enjoy it and will probably continue spending a good part of our monthly income on food in general and eating out in particular. Tomorrow is my 76th birthday and my daughter has offered to take us to breakfast. Dang, eating out again.
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