All right, now I'm going to answer the responses many of you left.
Seems there are two groups on here, servers and those who work in customer service...
And those that don't.
They don't get it...
Maybe they don't understand, some seem personally affronted by what I say.
Well I'm not going to resort to name calling or anything crude, After this post I will return to my stories and try to not be so political.
I believe a point of some critics, yes I mean you and I haven't pointed out many commentators on here, was this...
"However, I think the incentive is there also for servers to not pay taxes on most of their tips, which I think is crap (the rest of us have to pay taxes on everything we make). "
As well as,
"(come on, most don't keep exact numbers and don't claim most or all of their tips when they figure income taxes)"
The last three places I have worked at compiled my sales and automatically claimed 18% tips to the government, it didn't matter if I had a bad week or not of tips, I still had to pay taxes on my sales...
More and more corporate restaurants are doing this to avoid the IRS digging around their numbers (which are often shady), or just to get rid of the hassle.
As well as paying taxes on my earnings servers pay taxes on sales that don't garner tips.
We actually have to pay out of our own pockets for the privilege of waiting on those who stiff or leave shitty tips that don't cover our taxed tips.
Now I am not saying you have to tip for bad service, but when you don't tip a fair amount for good service we have to pay regardless.
In addition to paying taxes, under the tip credit laws our employer pays bussers, hosts, food expediters and bartenders under the minimum wage.
Servers pay them out of their own tips based on a percentage of their sales, regardless of if tables tip them fairly or not for that night.
Think its not your problem?
Who makes your drinks, seats you, sets up your dinner table and cleans up the mess you make so you don't have to?
These hard working employees.
You don't want these services by all means go to a diner, see how great the service is there.
It all relates to the amount of service that you benefit from.
You want it, you pay for it, in a fair manner.
If gratuities are added, why the hard feelings?
"If I have to, then there is no additional monies on top of that automatic charge, the waiter gets exactly what I was forced to pay and no more. "
That's how it would be every day if the system was changed.
"I went to a restaurant last night, and when the bill came, they added 15% and put it on the credit card receipt. Tip was 8.50, but I wanted to give her $10 cause she deserved it. But they decided for me and that pissed me off. I didn't change it, but we won't be going back."
That's a shitty attitude, she deserved $10 due to her good service, yet you punished her because of a restaurant's policy.
Last I checked waiters didn't make store policy...
Yet always we are held responsible and pay the penalty.
Back to the service charge, if it is applied it is for a reason, most likely store policy, I can't remember how many times a party slips me an extra $20, 30 or $50 tip on top of the stated gratuity.
A couple weeks ago I waited on a reception dinner and the host gave each of us a $100 bill as extra appreciation.
At the same extreme are those who get personally insulted, I have a few instances of those and you'll probably see them as one of my tales.
Don't get insulted and take it out on the waiter.
Any other place you go and are charged for service can you bitch and maybe take it away payment?
f your mechanic takes longer than you want can you only pay for parts and not service? If you go to the GAP can you justify paying your bill less the commission if the cashier isn't up to your standards? If you call your insurance company and are put on hold is that grounds for wanting a discount because you had to wait?
Just keep in mind that as much as you want to blame someone, the server has little control over most happenings in the restaurant. If a service charge is added take it with grace.
If you feel the server did a great job give them a little extra, don't withhold it because of something out of their hands.
A great quote from a commenter, "As much as I hated the tipping system (where else can you get your pay docked because the person with the money is having a bad day?) I think doing away with it would be worse."
"I'm an excellent tipper when the service is good or excellent (20 to 25% usually). However, if the service is bad (and I don't care why it's bad) I want the option of tipping much, much less."
I disagree, when I go out as long as I see my waiter or bartender busting ass they will get a great tip.It is sometimes impossible to give the best service at times, and I consider this.
If they are being lazy, rude or don't know their job its one thing. Just please be patient, it is a virtue and I know many people only think about themselves, and believe that you're the only table in the place even though they're not.
There are a thousand reasons that they can’t be all over you, the kitchen is running slow, bussers are slammed so they have to clear their own tables, maybe the hostess sat two or three other tables at the same time in their section. I just think it's ironic that the harder servers work, at times they get paid less for it.
Of course another reason could be you have a bad server or they are lazy, just recognize the difference between them and someone that is doing an admirable job under extreme duress.
A great point of view from a comment was this...
"If the kitchen screws up your meal, that is not my fault, so why should you leave me a crappy tip because of it. The fact that I am the spokesperson for your perceived anger over things I cannot control gives you the right to punish me. This is not fair. A majority of the restaurant staff will make their hourly wage having never to see your face but if they make a mistake you take it out on me. How is this fair?"
It isn't fair, I judge my service experience from the moment my ass hits the seat at my table.
Why do people take out their shit on someone that is perceived to be subservient I don't know.
It isn't the server's fault if you had to wait because you don't have a reservation.
It isn't our fault if you were sat at a less desirable table. It isn't our fault the kitchen is backed up with 100 orders and you wait for your food.
It isn't our fault that the hostess wasn’t pretty enough, the sky wasn't blue, or that you had a shitty day.
Above all it isn't my fault if your steak is over cooked, pasta cold, or lettuce wilted. It does not constitute poor service to have these things happen.
What constitutes service is how we handle these situations.
Yet we are held responsible and punished on the whim of the customer for thing out of our control and beyond the realm of service.
This is by far my favorite quote from the comments belongs to my social communist friend...
"I will also admit that I have stiffed a few tips on occasion, though I plead ignorance or financial necessity in those cases."
The answer to this is there is no excuse for ignorance.
n the US it is expected that to tip for service, and the tip reflects the level of service one receives...
As far as financial necessity for stiffing, you'll love this one...
If you can't afford to tip, you can't afford to go out to eat.
Eating out is a luxury.
I work at tipped positions to make my own living, I understand that some people can't afford to go out much or tip, so don't.
Eat at home, get fast food or take out, don't waste my time.
Really, the only reason to not is if you receive abysmal service or are treated rudely...
Learn to live within your means, don't effect my income because you can't live within your own
That may sound harsh, but its true.
"I think a large part of the problem is many people just don't know how to do math to figure what 15 to 20% is."
Ah, the ignorance excuse again. It's basic math people, just that some are to lazy to do it, move the decimal one place over and double it, damn.
Or maybe you are too drunk and trying to cop a feel on your waitress to bother.
In addition here are some recent thoughts as well
"We are made to feel obligated and we should not be obligated!! I would rather get and order my own food rather than have some greedy waitperson kissing my ass for money. "
How is it greedy to want to provide a decent living for ourselves? You have the right to one why don't we?
"Getting tipped is a great racket... We are made to feel obligated and we should not be obligated!!"
You are obligated.
Otherwise get your own food and clean up your own mess.
"I would rather get and order my own food rather than have some greedy waitperson kissing my ass for money."
Please do then, I'd rather wait on people that appreciate my efforts rather than waste my time.
"Waiters are just hustlers or scammers living off of crumbs that we throw them."
That is one of the ignorant things I have ever read on this blog.
I might as well say shit like that. Doctors are quacks pushing unnecessary drugs and treatments for their benefit. Lawyers are scum and ambulance chasers. CEO's rape their employees and customers for their own gain. Office employees are prisoners of a bureaucracy that produces paperwork and no real productivity.
Harsh words and maybe a stereotype, but so is the perception of wait staff as beggars and thieves.
I am an honest hard working person, so are most waiters.
"Also, have you noticed that whenever the Server speaks of receiving a low tip, it's always because the customer was cheap? Never that the service was bad."
I am as accurate in my recollections as possible. Does that mean I haven't had an off day or at some point gave substandard service? Of course not, but chances are if I wait on you I'll bust my ass to make sure you have a great experience.
Maybe its just I wait on brats more often than I have days that I give shitty service.
"Taking a kid's tip” A large number of servers are not "KIDS" and they make more money per hour worked than most office workers. I would say a part time server at most restaurants can haul in around 30 to 50K a year (remember not full-time)!!"
Perhaps here's where the real bitterness towards servers exists, people don't think we deserve what we make because it is more than their income.
(Most servers I know are between 18 and 25, pretty much kids and young adults btw.)
Damn straight I make more than 30k and maybe you're just pissed that your job in a bureaucracy shuffling paperwork from level to level gets a much lesser reward at the end of the day.
But I'm sure when you screw up or are perceived in an unfair light by a consumer your personal pay isn't effected.
True we're not saving the world, but the part of the reason I do this is for the financial reward.
I'm damn good and work at a high end restaurant. I don't pretend to be anything more than a waiter making my way through this world, but I deserve my pay and those that I wait on get the greatest service I can muster.
One last bit of negativity from a comment post.
"Please learn how to use English. You might get better jobs, or fewer anonymous people complaining about your shitty writing! (not "you're shitting writing"!!)"
If I suck that badly don't read me.
My job is fine and I work everyday to get ahead of where I was yesterday.
I know its a huge deal that I screwed up a conjunction, seriously if you're that anal, I hate to see you in a restaurant, which is what this blog is about, not an English lesson.
Maybe I am a little bitter in this post. It seems to me the vast majority of dinners are considerate, fair, pleasant and a pleasure to wait on.
But about one table in five can't seem to think about any of this.
I can't tell them the way I feel, but I can tell you people, some of whom obviously fit into the latter category.
It does feel great to say to some of you what I can't say to my customers at work.
People like this are brats, cheap and I can't believe they treat another with disrespect and scorn when all we want is to be treated fairly and to make a fair wage.
Here are some of the things in a more positive light, quotes from people that "get it."
"You never know! I had a server just recently who was very, very sweet and nice, she knew what she was doing, and she was very efficient. Then, suddenly, her section filled up so fast she didn't have time to take a breath. I sat there and watched table after table get sat, and as a consequence, she never had the time to ask us if we needed refills on our drinks, and even if she did get the chance to ask, she had no time to fill them. (I also noticed that no one else with slower sections offered to help her.) She dropped the bill off in a rush, and I still tipped her $10 on a $16 bill because she was working her ass off."
"That doesn't mean that my server has to be 100% happy all the time, but be attentive, have a personality and be honest. If things are going shitty that day, then say so and take a minute to breathe. I'm not that high maintenance."
"On top of that, I'd like to add that it should be mandatory for everyone to work a job for tips at some point before they reach 22"
Maybe many more people in this country would have common courtesy when dealing with the public.
"Tipping is a far better system. As a waiter/bartender I prefer the gamble. It's just a fun game to see what happens. Plus, where I work some people leave some pretty big tips and I'd miss that. I like to turn around and buy drinks for the guest with the tip they gave me."
But we're all greedy cash hogs lining up for your pocket change, aren’t we?
"Personally I feel tipping is good for me-I can give good servers that little bit extra that I know (or think I know ;)) they'll appreciate."
I always feel good when appreciated, thank you.
"I would rather keep the tip system or else waiters have no reason to give me good service. I'm an excellent tipper when the service is good or excellent (20 to 25% usually)."
People don't do a job well just because they are employed. Research has shown when there are motivating factors productivity increases exponentially.
Think we are greedy for that?
Then get first in line to give up your stock options, employer 401K contribution, raise initiatives or whatever, does that put things in perspective?
"Everyone should be paid a fair wage, period. If the customer gets great service, you get a great tip."
You got it!
See the whole point of this post is not for me or my comrades to get what we don't deserve, it is to get what we do. I'm just tired of getting slapped in the face for a job well done. Or for some people to find whatever excuse they can to pay less on their bill. The easiest way to do that is to hit the server, not the establishment. If you can't afford the prices go somewhere you can. Don't take it out on the person working their ass off for you to enjoy a good meal.
In the future I'll try not to be as negative, more stories and less issues. I just felt I had to refute some of the notions that had been in the comments box and give my opinon.