Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tipping Point

When I used to work at a pizza restaraunt, I would take orders from customers, make the pizza, and bring it out to the patrons when it was ready - along with any condiments, utensils, etc., that they asked for. Most people would leave a few bucks as a tip. Except people over the age of 60.

They would leave anywhere from a quarter to a dollar. No more.

I always thought they were cheap jerks but now, apparently, I've began my descent into "crotchety," because I see where they're coming from. I hate tipping.

Wait, let me rephrase that: I hate the expectation of tipping.

Whenever I go to a restaraunt, it seems like the majority of the time I get one of two servers. 1) The guy with a sleeve of tattoos whose meth I'm no doubt paying for with my tip. 2) The girl who acts like I just took a dump on her birthday cake and now she has to serve me.

Here's how the whole ordeal of a night out goes down: I walk into the restaraunt and ask a 13-year-old hostess for a seat. She acts awkward like it's weird that I'm talking to her, and finally, inaudibly tells me to follow her. She sprints ahead and makes me think she's trying to ditch me. Then, when I've used my boy scout skills to follow her tracks, she's standing at a table to tell me my server will be with me in a minute.

Meth Tattoo guy or Dump Birthday Cake girl shows up and asks what I want to drink. 100% of the time they are disappointed it's not alcohol. And if I order water, I may as well have just told them I am going to kill their firstborn. They get all disgusted and walk away. Then I get my drink and my order is taken. If there's any deviation from the menu (no pickles, please) there's a noticeable eye-roll and sigh, then an "OK, sure."

Random strangers then bring me my food. When did the title "server" not including "serving"? Has anyone else noticed this new practice of restaraunts of having other waiters deliver your food?

Methy/Dumpy doesn't usually reappear until they throw the bill like a ninja star at my table from 10 feet away. The bill has a personalized "Thanks" with a smiley face. Now I'm forced to give them a minimum of 15% for doing little more than dictating the kind of food I want to the cooks in the kitchen.

Somewhere along the line, tipping went from GRATUITY (which I take to mean I'm grateful for their pleasant service) to PAY 15% NO QUESTIONS ASKED OR YOUR TIRES WILL BE SLASHED.

The way I look at it, servers are salespeople. Like a car salesman. If they are good at what they do, they get paid. If they can't close the deal, they go home empty-handed.

It should be that servers are hired because they have a personality that will win people over and make the dining experience enjoyable, thus customers will want to reward the server with extra cash to show appreciation. If they don't make my experience enjoyable, what am I tipping them for? 15% of my bill seems steep for something a simple cart with wheels could've done.

I'm starting a new scoring system for tips. 15% will be my starting point. If you fill my drink, make eye contact, get the order right, make me feel like I'm doing you a favor by eating at your restaurant, you get added percentages for these. I may even tip up to 25% or 30% if you're really good.

However, if you act like I'm in the way of you texting back in the kitchen, look at me like I just strangled a puppy because I want some extra ranch dressing, or tell me you "can't" substitute vegetables for onion rings (Really? You can't? Is there some kind of force field that doesn't allow that combination to occur? I'm willing to pay extra, but you just "can't" do it) your percentage will go down. It will never drop below 5% because I am willing to incentivize you for actually having arms and legs and the ability to walk while carrying food.

I no longer pay anticipated tips. If you want my money, you have to earn it.

Now, where's my cane? I need to catch the early bird dinner.


  1. I think you are unfairly characterizing people over 60. I’m approaching 60 and I’m the best tipper I know! I'll bet if you would have charted the amount of the tip to the age of the tipper you would have seen no statistical difference between 30 year olds and 60 year olds.

    However, having said that, I agree that the restaurant workers today are less than excited to be helping customers and that they expect a 15%, minimum, tip regardless of the service they provide. When I was waiting tables, back in the day, if a customer left a 2 penny tip it meant that they thought the service was terrible. If the waiter/waitress was smart they learned from that experience and didn’t let it happen again. Now days if a waiter/waitress get’s less than 15% it’s only because the customer is cheap.

    Just another example of the entitlement driven society we live in. ( I hope the President doesn’t get wind of this blog if he does we could see a new bail out program, TIPS – Targeted Investment for People who Serve, and it will be an add on of 20% to your food and bar bill). I guess it would take the guess work out of whether to tip or not.

    By the way the "taking a dump on her birthday cake" was a little to descriptive for me. SOmething less visual would have worked just fine.

  2. I think the previous poster is a little confused in old age. As a server I will tell oyu the facts: Old people are terrible tippers. If you tip well, you are the exception to the rule.

    But I agree with you. If Obama gets wind of folks tipping based on merit, he will bring down the socialistic fist.

  3. Agreed!!! Don't let obabma get to this!!! And, i tip exactly the same as this blog suggests!!

  4. For those of you who believe that America is so wonderful and that Obama will make us just another version of Europe... please make sure you know the whole story. Tipping doesn't really exist in Europe nor does birthday cake for that matter!