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Old 10-12-2008, 08:02 AM   #21
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How much should I tip the server when the restaurant owner refuses to give me a bill?
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Old 10-12-2008, 08:16 AM   #22
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I worked as a waiter in college, and tips had everything to do with my efforts to provide the best service possible. I think it's a good system and I would not want to see it eliminated, like an earlier poster I believe we'd get poorer service with the egalitarian approach. I'm OK with including gratuities for large parties, but I object to the places that otherwise price in "gratuities." My 2˘...
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Old 10-12-2008, 09:15 AM   #23
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How much should I tip the server when the restaurant owner refuses to give me a bill?
15% of what the meal would have cost?

Wall Street and Washington regularly fleece us for thousands of dollars. We pay Starbucks $5 for a cup of coffee. We buy Hilfiger clothing and Lexus cars and McMansions designed to show others that we can "afford" them. After all, the root of "exclusive" is "exclude".

Yet we begrudge some poor waitperson their $ tip...
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Old 10-12-2008, 10:06 AM   #24
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I have a blind spot with regards to tipping. I have a very hard time giving less than 20% even if the service was bad.
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Old 10-12-2008, 10:11 AM   #25
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What irks me is that many people seem to be reluctant to vary the tip depending on the quality of service. That removes the incentive.

About a fifth of the time, I double my normal tip due to exceptionally excellent service. Rarely, the service has been terrible and has ruined the meal for me, in which case I reduce my tip to exactly 10%, to the penny (that gets the point across). Perhaps I am deluding myself, but I think that I am rewarding those who go to the effort to provide good service.
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Old 10-12-2008, 10:37 AM   #26
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I don't like many of the things waiters are told to do to increase the bill - up selling, telling me the specials - I can read.
Asking me how I like the meal - especially when I have my mouth full of food or interrupting a conversation.
Pay the people a living wage and don't try to be my friend while I'm eating.
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Old 10-12-2008, 10:46 AM   #27
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Interesting, like another poster I usually agree with your posts, but not this one...
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I don't like many of the things waiters are told to do to increase the bill - up selling, telling me the specials - I can read. Agree, but if it gets out of hand (up selling esp), I reduce the tip accordingly - problem solved.
Asking me how I like the meal - especially when I have my mouth full of food or interrupting a conversation. It's a good practice to ask once, if the patron is unhappy it gives the place a chance to correct it. Some people walk away after having a bad experience, that could have easily been corrected. If I owned the restaurant, I'd want my servers to do this discreetly (it's not necessary to interrupt a conversation).
Pay the people a living wage and don't try to be my friend while I'm eating. I worked as a waiter in college and made great money thanks to the tips, I'd like to think I'd have provided good service but I doubt I'd have tried quite as hard for the patrons for a flat wage.
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Old 10-12-2008, 10:51 AM   #28
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I don't like many of the things waiters are told to do to increase the bill - up selling, telling me the specials - I can read.
I agree, though as you point out, that is a management problem and nothing the wait staff can change. They are told to do it.

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Asking me how I like the meal - especially when I have my mouth full of food or interrupting a conversation.
Recently we were asked over FIVE TIMES during a meal if we liked it. Granted, it wasn't all from the waitress - - the manager came by, and so did the chef and another server. Still, we were happy with the food and just wanted to talk. The waitress asked if we liked the food three times, and even asked us how we liked it before we had a chance to get our forks to our lips. A more appropriate question at that stage would have been, "Is there anything else I can get you right now?"

As long as we are being curmudgeonly, I really dislike being asked what I want to drink and if I want any appetizers before I have even had a chance to sit down and open the menu (which I always do immediately). The answers to these questions just might possibly depend on what I decide to order.

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Pay the people a living wage and don't try to be my friend while I'm eating.
I don't mind if they are friendly, as long as they are efficient and not in my face all the time. That's part of what I would consider to be excellent service. If they are constantly in my face for no reason like that, they do not get an especially large tip from me.
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Old 10-12-2008, 11:00 AM   #29
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Coming from the UK tipping was very new to me but I quickly found that I liked the flexibility to be able to reward service with a varying tip.
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Old 10-12-2008, 11:02 AM   #30
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As long as we are being curmudgeonly, I really dislike being asked what I want to drink and if I want any appetizers before I have even had a chance to sit down and open the menu (which I always do immediately). The answers to these questions just might possibly depend on what I decide to order.
Have to agree with this one. Drinks while we're being seated is irritating, but "can I get any appetizers started for you while you look at the menu, crab cakes, potato skins, blah, blah..." is enough to get me to walk out right then and there. But if we do stay, you can rest assured that the tip I leave will reflect our disapproval and we probably won't go back.

A great server, and what I tried to do, is one who takes care of (anticipates where possible) everything throughout the meal - while being as invisible as possible. Having your water glass refilled and not realizing it for example, being a great server is an art like most professions. And I will tip a great server generously...
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Old 10-12-2008, 11:20 AM   #31
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Oh, I hate tipping. I would *much* rather see servers paid a living wage and pay more when I go out than have to tip. I can see that it's an art, that servers do a lot, etc., so why on earth don't we pay them fairly to begin with?

I also don't understand why I'm supposed to tip when I'm paying solely for a service anyway...what I mean is, in a restaurant you are paying for the cost of food, kitchen staff, etc. But when you're at a beauty salon/spa, you are theoretically paying mostly for the service/labor anyway (except for what I assume are rather negligible costs of, say, nail polish or waxing strips), so why is an extra "service" tip expected? The line between what you tip for and what you don't tip for doesn't necessarily make sense, either...for instance, a therapist or financial adviser certainly provides a service, but I
wouldn't think of tipping them.
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Old 10-12-2008, 11:35 AM   #32
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Asking me how I like the meal - especially when I have my mouth full of food or interrupting a conversation.
I actually like being asked how our food is. It gives us the opportunity to address issues if things aren't right. My biggest problem is that they usually do it before you've actually had a chance to try the food. As far as my mouth being full, the odds are pretty high when I'm eating, so I just make them wait until I swallow.

If we have a problem with the food, it's how the waitress and the management deal with it that determines my tipping. If the waitperson tries to fix it, I don't decrease the tip. If it isn't dealt with properly by management, I ask to speak to them and give them hell. There is a lot that isn't in the control of the waiter.

I definitely change the tip depending on service. My base is 20%, and I go up or down for exceptionally good or bad service. I also write notes on the bill to explain why. Leaving a crummy tip is so normal for so many, the waitperson might not even realize they are being chastised.
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Old 10-12-2008, 11:35 AM   #33
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I also don't understand why I'm supposed to tip when I'm paying solely for a service anyway...what I mean is, in a restaurant you are paying for the cost of food, kitchen staff, etc.
Right or wrong, your tip should reflect how you felt about the entire experience, not just what he server does. If the server does everything that is expected, but the food is bad, late, cold, etc. --- the tip I leave will be substandard. However, I will tell the server that it was not because of his/her performance. Needless to say, a good server is not going to stay at a bad restaurant - as it should be.

This may come down to something else. For example, I truly enjoy the negotiations in buying a new car. It's an elaborate game that a savvy shopper can win at, but evidently most people don't. I know a lot of people who detest "haggling" to buy a car and like the fixed pricing offered at Saturn or CarMax. I know Saturn and CarMax get a premium as a result, but not my money. I like to negotiate, and I am more than willing to be confronted for a bad tip. For those who don't like to negotiate, some (NOT ALL) may also be afraid to leave a bad tip.
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Old 10-12-2008, 12:09 PM   #34
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My DD coed works as a food server at a fairly nice joint in the town where she goes to school. She takes the variability of tipping in stride. It's interesting that this group also has some significant variability in tipping practices. But what is most puzzling to her is the dining party that receives all their food on time, receives adequate attention during the meal, never complains about the food or service, but leaves little or no tip. It's as if the business transaction were left incomplete and unsatisfactory. Maybe they can't afford the tip; maybe they didn't like her personality or attitude; maybe it's something else. The problem is you just don't know!

I'll admit that I now tip even more since DD started that job. Sort of pass it forward I guess.
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Old 10-12-2008, 06:12 PM   #35
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Maybe they can't afford the tip; maybe they didn't like her personality or attitude; maybe it's something else. The problem is you just don't know!
Maybe some people weren't taught the niceties of polite behavior while dining out. You always tip, more for better service and less for poor service. But even if tempted to not leave a tip, I would still leave something for service performed, even if done poorly. If the service is horrible you go talk to the manager and politely explain the problem. If you don't get some satisfaction there, or the service doesn't improve on a subsequent visit, you find a new restaurant.

I am surprised at the number of people who are offended at the system of tipping. If you just want to pay for the food and not worry about service, go to McDonalds.

It's just another transaction folks. If you don't feel like you're getting your money's worth you can opt out. And Mickey D's takes coupons!
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Old 10-12-2008, 06:43 PM   #36
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About a fifth of the time, I double my normal tip due to exceptionally excellent service. Rarely, the service has been terrible and has ruined the meal for me, in which case I reduce my tip to exactly 10%, to the penny (that gets the point across). Perhaps I am deluding myself, but I think that I am rewarding those who go to the effort to provide good service.
I think you are and while I haven't read the research the media articles I've read about tipping (like this one) haven't found much relationship between service quality and tipping.

You and Frank walk into a resteraunt sit down and are greeted by your waiter. Odds are unless it is a place you frequent, and it is small, you will have encounter the waiter either never or only a few times. You get your meal and the bill.

The service is good the meal great and you leave 25%.
Waiter see the tip and interprets. Wow nice lady/guy, they didn't look rich. I wonder if they are always generous tipper or did I do something good.

The service bad you tip 10% to the penny.
Cheap %#$%. I wonder is she is too stupid to figure out how to tip 15%. I hope management adds the suggested 15% and 18% tip on the bottom of the bill for dummies like her. If you are lucky she recognized that meal wasn't the best but I imagine she blames the cook, management for not having enough wait staff much more often than for her own failings.

Several months later you return and meet the same waiter. At this point the waiter has to recognize you, remember your tip, and than modify their service based on the tip. I doubt this happens very often.
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Old 10-13-2008, 09:48 PM   #37
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I don't like it either, but try to be fair to people who may be working for ~$3/hour.
All other things being equal, we will choose a non-tipping place over one that would require a tip.

One of the main problems with tipping is that (I suspect) what one consumer thinks is a really good tip might be considered an insult by other consumers.

Would be interesting to hear what those who work or have worked for tips think.
Years ago I had a summer job waitressing at a local restaurant. We got paid low hourly wages, less meal credit, even if we didn't have time to eat, and less tip credit, even if we didn't get any tips. (This latter was often nothing to do with the quality of the service. The restaurant was a favorite place for harried mommies to bring a couple of dozen grade-school kids for a birthday party, and often they simply didn't have any more money after paying for all the food.) I don't think I have ever withheld a tip since those days, even the time I was forgotten when I went to a restaurant with a large party, and wasn't served until long after the other members of the group. IIRC I left a tip and the restaurant gave me a coupon for a complementary meal as an apology. I think the waiter would have to be deliberately insolent (like the one in the "Cafe Boeuf" sketches on Prairie Home Companion) before I'd even think of doing so. I'm talking about sit-down restaurants, though. Tip jars next to the cash register at take out places or at restaurants where you carry your own food to the table are just silly, IMO.

I too would applaud the complete elimination of the practice, not only in restaurants but for the whole gamut of other people it's customary to tip. My particular bugbear is luggage handlers. I don't travel often, and usually when I do I have only a carry-on, but if I take a cab or a shuttle to the airport instead of my own car, it's as if the driver feels that s/he has "dibs" on the bag and then expects me to pay extra for them to do something I'm perfectly able to and would just as soon (in fact sooner) do myself—and if I'm not careful it'll be the same again with the skycap when I get to the airport. The whole practice of tipping is nothing but a polite shakedown. Waiters, taxi drivers, skycaps, parking valets and the whole range of service people should be paid adequately by their employers for the work they do. Employees who do a great job should get kudos and maybe a bonus; if they keep it up they should get a raise and/or promotion.
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