jim_p: (octavian)
[personal profile] jim_p
I'm trying to suss out some attitudes regarding tipping in restaurants. Think about the question before you vote... don't just go with your gut reaction. Thoughtful comments are appreciated as well.

[Poll #1815036]

Date: 2012-01-30 04:22 am (UTC)
muffyjo: (Default)
From: [personal profile] muffyjo
In Europe, it's optional. In The States, it's mandatory for ME. Wait staff are paid a minimum wage that is specifically lower than other min wages because of the tips that are anticipated on top of their salary.

2. Can tipped employees be paid a different minimum wage?

Yes, the minimum wage for tipped employees (employees who receive more than $20 a month in tips) is $2.63 per hour. However, for tipped employees to be paid this rate, they must be informed of the law, must receive at least minimum wage when tips and wages are combined, and all tips must be retained by the employee or distributed through a valid tip-pooling arrangement. Tip-pooling arrangements must conform with the requirements of M.G.L. c. 149, ยง152A

Now, are you asking whether or not it's legally mandatory? No. It's not. It remains optional. But I have to have a really, REALLY lousy experience before I stiff waitstaff. They work harder than a lot of folks I know. It's manual labor AND they have to keep a smile on while remaining patient with even to most ill behaved humans.

Oh, and compare that to this:
1. What is the minimum wage in Massachusetts?

The Massachusetts minimum wage for most employees is $8.00 per hour.
Edited Date: 2012-01-30 04:23 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-01-30 04:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thespian.livejournal.com
servers are paid $3 an hour in MA. not tipping is the sign of a person who is a bit of a dick. If service is so bad you really feel that they were not worth tipping, you need to speak to a manager.

That means that a full time, 40 hours a week server earns $6000 a year from their employer, and needs to make the rest of that up in tips.

Unless you think you can survive in Boston on $6k a year, treating tipping as anything other than mandatory is thoughtless and occasionally cruel. It is a nuclear reaction, not something to use because your water was not filled often enough (*that* you mention to the waiter, because if you do not, they cannot correct themselves).

Date: 2012-01-30 05:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] surrealestate.livejournal.com
My answer applies to eating-in at a US restaurant, which I figured was implied in the question.

I'm curious to hear the rationales of folks who see it as optional. (I'm with Stephanie that any service bad enough to completely stiff warrants a vocal complaint of some sort.)

Date: 2012-01-30 06:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dianec42.livejournal.com
I don't tip when I'm getting take-out. There are some higher-end fast-food joints where I will tip if I'm sitting in. At sit-down restaurants, I always tip.

Date: 2012-01-30 08:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] r-ness.livejournal.com
I clicked "it's complicated" because my answer includes parts of muffyjo's and dianec42's. Geography, kind of restaurant, and whether you are dining in, taking away, or ordering delivery all matter.

I was recently reminded just how complicated this issue can be as I recently had to negotiate both a language and a culture barrier with a tiny place in Flushing whose customs on this issue seemed to have been brought from the old country. I don't think they were offended by my tip--that country is one in which tips are generally not given, particularly at small owner-operated food vendors, and no one else was tipping (regardless of ethnicity), despite their restaurant being on the line between sit-down and self-service--but then again I couldn't make out what they were saying in reply, between kitchen noise and non-standard dialect.

If you're asking surrealestate's question, then I'd go with "mandatory".

Date: 2012-01-30 12:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mama-hogswatch.livejournal.com
I'm presuming in the US. God, yes.

Waiters pretty much work FOR tips.

Now, if you argue that employers SHOULD pay a fair wage and that we should get rid of tipping, I wouldn't necessarily argue that, but as it stands, not leaving a tip is a dick move.

Date: 2012-01-30 12:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] donnad.livejournal.com
I say mandatory but the amount is based on the service. minimum of 5 to 8% for poor service. 15% for average and more if the service is exemplary. Buffet service, if the server brings you beverage, cleans up dirty plates promptly etc, 15% is standard. Take-out, no tip, usually you do not deal with a server but rather a host/hostess and they are paid a normal wage as they are not expected to get tips.

I say this because I once worked as a waitress, food servers get a lower wage to start with because it is assumed they will make it up in tips. Servers have to declare a certain percentage of the tips they make whether they make them or not.

When I was a waitress (I'm revealing my age here) Minimum wage was $3.65/hr. As a waitress, my wage was $1.86/hr. It was assumed I would make the rest up in tips. I was taxed as if I made $3.65/hr.
Edited Date: 2012-01-30 01:02 pm (UTC)

Assuming in the US...

Date: 2012-01-30 02:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] quietann.livejournal.com
I said "it's complicated" because every once in a great while, service is so bad that I do not tip. And if the service is bad but it's clearly not the server's fault, I'll tip extra. Also I tip extra if I am at a table for more than an hour, because the server can't earn a new tip if I'm taking up one of their tables.

My standard tip is 15-20% and a server has to screw up really, really badly to get less.

I always, always tip extra if my father-in-law is part of the group, as he is a PITA to deal with, tips badly, and is generally rude to servers. He's bad enough that sometimes he gets thrown out of restaurants. If he's paying for the meal, I hang back as we're leaving and slip the server an extra $20 and an apology, or more if I know that FIL has not left much of a tip. I once gave a server a $50 tip because FIL was SUCH a royal PITA.

Re: Assuming in the US...

Date: 2012-01-30 07:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] awfief.livejournal.com
This! Except it's my father, not father-in-law, and we know he never leaves a good tip. Whenever anyone goes out to eat we always throw down extra cash on the table or "forget something" or "go to the bathroom and I'll meet you at the car". My dad is a lousy tipper, which is abhorrent, because he WAS a waiter in the Poconos when he was younger.

Date: 2012-01-30 02:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xiphias.livejournal.com
Like Stephanie, I'm a bartender.

In the United States, if you don't tip, we'll still serve you. And you are an asshole who is stealing from us. You're stealing our labor. We're working for YOU, and we're expecting to be paid by you. If you don't pay us, you're getting our labor for free.

The $2.75/hour we get from our employer? They're subsidizing our sidework that way. But they're not even paying for the value of our sidework. We're paid by YOU directly. So, if you're comfortable stiffing the people who work for you, go ahead and do that. If you're comfortable stealing people's labor, go ahead and do that. We have no legal recourse against your theft, and our professional ethics require us to serve you to the best of our ability even when you ARE stealing from us that way.

Date: 2012-01-30 07:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] awfief.livejournal.com
I clicked "Mandatory" because I assumed "in my everyday life", and I live in the States where tipping in restaurants is absolutely mandatory, and built into the server's wages.

Overseas is a different story.

Date: 2012-01-30 10:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jim-p.livejournal.com
Interesting responses.

As far as I know, tipping is *legally* optional; as in, if I leave a restaurant without paying the bill I can be arrested and charged with "defrauding an innkeeper". If I stiff the waiter, a dirty look is about all that I risk (at least as far as *legal* consequences are concerned. Extra-legal retribution is another matter).

I'm actually going to go somewhere else with this, but I wanted to get some input on the social aspects of tipping first...

Edited Date: 2012-01-30 10:39 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-01-31 02:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spinrabbit.livejournal.com
I said "it's complicated", but socially/ethically as opposed to legally in the US, for seated-service restaurants, a tip is necessary absent serious misconduct. As others have pointed out, the compensation for waitstaff is structured to rely heavily on customer tips. I'm not a fan of tipping as a compensation structure, but if I've asked for a service from someone and I'm aware that their compensation relies on tips, then I have a duty to tip them. (I'm not a fan of tipping because it can be confusing. I'm not going to accidentally rip off the owner/management because they tell me what I owe them, but in cases I'm less familiar with than restaurant table service, I could accidentally rip off someone who works for tips.)

Date: 2012-01-31 06:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whitebird.livejournal.com
Tipping is, in fact, optional.

That said, it's an option I always choose.

Date: 2012-01-31 09:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hnybny.livejournal.com
Technically optional, but I always tip. In fact, if a waiter has been especially bad, a low tip sends a bigger message than no tip.
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