A few Unfavorable Thoughts on Tipping in the US.

I eat out. A lot. At least twice a week. Most of the time I eat at establishments that are more like fast food (more like) and tipping is not necessarily encouraged or necessary in these places.

However, I also eat at higher end places at least a few times a month.

I have seen a LOT of blow up recently on facebook, through friends who are waiters, etc about tipping. What’s fair, what’s not fair, how does tipping work? Who do you tip?

When you put “How much should I tip?” Into google, the little blurb that comes up says-
And frankly, that’s about what I work this out to, except that I have a personal policy of also tipping about 12% or less for “mediocre” services.

I have seen a lot of complaint and hallaballu about this in the last few months especially and so, I feel like (because I’m a narcissist) it’s time to give my two cents about the world of tipping and how it works.

It seems to me in the “eating out” world that there is an imbalance when it comes to who, when, and how much to tip.

I eat often at a restaurant called “Kula.” A quick search on google, seems to return that they DO in fact pay their employees 10$ an hour (I hope this is true). But in this sense, (since people don’t know that they make a regular wage instead of a waiter’s wage) I wonder, why do people need to tip these waiters/waitresses at all?
The reason that I think this is because (for those of you who’ve never been to Kula) It’s a sushi bar. A revolving sushi bar. Waiters and Waitresses do NOT bring you the food. It literally rolls by you on a bar. The workers essentially ask for your drinks. Bring you a little plate of wasabi, bring your drinks, and then you may never see them again. Am I honestly supposed to pay these people 15% on my bill for doing that?

Personally, I leave these guys a dollar or two. Sometimes a bit more. That’s about 10-12% of my check usually because honestly, they don’t do much. What am I tipping them for?

But let’s move on to a different change of scene.

My husband and I frequent places like Red Robin, and The Lazy Dog Cafe. Both have pretty decent food and great selections. The selections at Lazy dog are a bit more varied and interesting, but both are still very good establishments to eat at.

These are both places that I would generally suggest tipping 15-18%. (I’d like to add a footnote here that I really don’t know when it shifted to 18%. Growing up, I always heard that it was 10-15%) But back to the topic and why I feel there is another imbalance here.

The last several times that I’ve eaten at both restaurants (IF a person who doesn’t love us and normally cares for us is NOT there) the person who’s served us has essentially shown up, taken our drink order, brought drinks an disappeared to never be seen again until we get the check. -_-

Why am I paying this person a percentage at all? What did they do in the time that I sat there that was worth at least 7$ of my money? This (imo) falls back on the restaurant and again, the imbalance. If you’re going to pay your employees in pennies, but then your employees don’t do much to serve, there’s an issue.

I can tell you of countless times now that I’ve eaten at Red Robin AND Lazy Dog (other places as well, so you don’t think that it’s merely a coincidence) in which the server brought drinks, someone ELSE brought my food, and I had to ask a THIRD party to get me napkins, ketchup, ranch dressing, etc… and the person who brought drinks returned with a check……………………………………………………………………………….. is the American population really supposed to hand 20% of their bill over to that person? What if the person who got my extra ranch was MORE friendly? Do I tip them? How about the poor guy who brought all of my food?

Now, if you’ve ever eaten out with us, you know that my husband and I try VERY hard to be kind, considerate, and even overly friendly to our wait staff as we know that they have probably had it very hard. But when it comes to my hard earned money (and my husband’s), I personally don’t see why we have to give someone who literally spent sixty seconds at my table at 15% tip. (especially if the restaurant is not full and it’s obvious that they’re not doing their job- talking, standing around, etc).

No, you don’t get 5$ on my 32.$ plus bill for bringing me drinks and the bill and talking about getting your nails done to your friends. >_> I’ll probably leave you 2$.

Now, IF the girl/guy was friendly and spoke with us, even felt like a friend at the end of it all, you’ll find that my husband and I are often FAR more generous. There was a guy who waited on us at Cheesecake Factory a few weeks ago, and while he was not the one who brought our food out, he came back at LEAST three times to check on us, he was friendly, seemed to LOVE his job, and even talked Star Wars with us for about 2 minutes. He was willing to do a few little extra things and go above and beyond.

Our billy was about 45.00$ (i think) I gave him (I believe) 8$. He deserved it. He was NO dancing monkey, but he definitely seemed like the kind of waiter that I’d REQUEST to have again. 🙂 Someone who actually served as opposed to someone who’s mind set was “get em’ in, get em’ out, here’s your bill, where’s my tip?”

In all things, if you’re going to ask for extra money (or your job makes it that way) make sure you actually do your job, serve, and are cordial.

I UNDERSTAND there are jerks who will leave bad tips anyways and then you are in the right, of course for being upset about that (I know someone who got like a 6$ tip on a 134$ meal and THAT was not right at all), but keep in mind that if the customer has to ask “What the heck am I tipping you for?” It might be time to change a waiting tactic.

I guess what I’m saying at TL;DR is, if you’re a waiter/ waitress and you expect to always be given 15% (or often, as there are jerks) then please consistently be you who comes to my table, asks what I need, etc… Don’t show up once, leave, and show up again with the check.