To tip or not to tip

A topic that is as hot as breastfeeding seems to be tipping.  Growing up, I assumed that tipping was like a reward for good service.  If you got a tip, that meant you were doing fantastic! If you didn’t, that was kind of like getting a ‘needs improvement’ on your report card.  I don’t know facts and figures on the food service business but recently, a lot of articles have said that waitresses and waiters get like $2.50 an hour so if you don’t leave a tip, they can’t really live off of that small of a check.  On top of being taxed for reported tips.  And sharing tips with other workers.

When in the crap did that become okay?  Chili’s seems to be doing just fine with their business as is Applebees and Olive Garden and all the other sit down places so why are they allowed to get away with paying their workers SO little, forcing them to literally live on tips?  What fresh hell is that?!

McDonalds pays their workers minimum wage.  In-N-Out goes even further and they make like $8 an hour or more.  And those people take the food from the food ready area to the counter.  Waitresses and waiters have to go back and forth, getting drinks and apps and food and dessert and the check.  Diner Dash much?  And they make so little.

My grandparents owned a restaurant and they adopted a waitress who I think of as an aunt more than a family friend.  She always told me to tip, tip, tip.  It’s a hard job.  I try to remember that, even when we get bad service.  But I have to admit, it’s difficult when you have a waitress or a waiter with hardly any people at her tables that can’t manage to get our drinks or our appetizer and is MIA when we want the check.  We are pretty easy to please.  I’ve never sent a meal back.  I occasionally ask for ketchup or ranch dressing or more diet pepsi or coke.  I smile a lot.  I don’t ask them to pick my dinner for me.  I usually know what I want right away.  I tend to study the menu on my phone before we even get to the restaurant.   We never linger and waste table time and space.

But lately I’ve noticed a real decline in effort when it comes to eating out.  I’ve noticed a decline in the manners of patrons as well but that’s another story.  I’m hella tired of asking for our already order appetizer to go because they never put in the order.  I’m tired of getting cheese on my burger when I make it very clear that I don’t want cheese.  If I want something on the side like ranch dressing, I always ask when I order so they don’t have to make an extra trip.  I wonder if, because we are easy going, all smiles, that’s why we tend to get forgotten.

So I’ve gotten in the habit of ordering out because it’s just simpler.  I can eat in our quiet home, without rowdy kids and lax parents and bad attitude service workers.  I tip the normal amount unless it’s really good service and then I add a little extra to let them know that they are the rare gems in that service field.

Another area that’s tricky is food delivery.  If I’m ordering from a new place, I always try to tip nicely to encourage good and fast service.  But that doesn’t always work.  We lived in a complicated complex a while back and no matter how many times we ordered and how hard we tried to explain the very easy way to find our door, some how my husband always ended up having to meet them out front.  After a while, they just got lazy and would call and say “meet us out front.”  It’s not like it was a big deal but these were places we ordered from weekly.

A question I have is a lot of times I order our food online and there’s an area where you can add a tip.  Is it better to tip in cash? Or do they get paid their tips at the end of the night?  I rarely carry cash anymore.   I have the random change in case I encounter a vending machine or coke machine that I feel like I should support.  I have a weird obsession with vending machines.

A lot of the comments on the articles go back and forth on tipping.  Some say they’ll leave even pennies if the service is that bad.  I feel like in extreme cases, yes, no tip or a very small tip sends a message that they need to step up their game.  But knowing how much they are making and if they try and make an effort, I’ll do my best to tip well.

Which brings us to inane tips that I absolutely hate.  I hate tipping the people who do my hair.  I’m already paying quite a pretty penny for my hair to be cut.  So I get a little pissy when I’m expected to tip on top of the insane prices.  It’s just hair.  I’m not asking for anything complicated.  Trim all around, frame the front.  $60 later and I’m expected to add in an extra $10-20 for what?  Really, $60 an hour is a lot of money and when I see a salon that’s packed, even after chair rental, you are making more than a normal office salary person.  Now, my opinion might be because it’s been years since I’ve had a good hair person.  If I found someone who did a great job, I’d probably be forking over my future first born child.

Cruise tipping is another one.  You are expected to know every single person and tip them all.  Or you used to.  They’ve made it easier but it used to be, they left envelopes in your room.  The head maitre d, a guy that literally only says hello to you as you are walking in, gets a tip envelope.  Really?  I’d rather give my money to the waiter who by the second day notices you and your cousin only eat the white rolls and brings a whole basket of them to your table.  And notices that no matter how fancy the dessert menu, you are going to order chocolate ice cream.  There’s some sort of head maid who basically does scheduling and of course they get their own envelope and again, I’d rather give money to the room steward who uses your sunglasses on the awesome towel animals.  At the bar, tips are included in the drink price on your receipt.

Another tip question, do you tip your mail wo/man or mail delivery people?  I never know how to handle that.  I usually email the head office and let them know what a fan-freaking-tastic job their people are doing.  I always hope that means a bump in pay but I really never know what happens.  And why don’t we tip airline workers?  The pilot defies gravity to get you to your destination for very little pay on very long hours and the attendants serve every person a drink or more and there’s no tip jar for them.

I think we could all do with a little reality check that everyone is getting screwed in one way or another and if we could be better to each other, the world would be a happier place.  Smile!  Compliment!  VALIDATE!  If someone is having a bad day, wouldn’t it be cool for you to turn that bad day into a good one just by caring?  Take a second out of your day to ask your server how their day is going.  And really care what their answer is.  Validate good service, by tipping and with words.  A lot of people use credit/debit cards so before you sign your name, leave a nice little note.  Thanks with a 🙂 is easy peasy to do.  You’ve got the pen in your hand already.

Just…be good to each other.  There’s not enough of that in this world.  Not nearly enough.

 

 

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1 Comment

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One response to “To tip or not to tip

  1. Barbra in Martin, Ga

    I WAS ALWAYS TOLD, ” IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO TIP, YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO EAT OUT” . iF YOU GET LESS THAT PERFECT SERVICE, LEAVE A VERY SMALL TIP SO YOUR SERVER KNOWS YOU’RE NOT HAPPY. PEOPLE IN FOOD SERVICE DEPEND ON TIPS TO MAKE THEIR WAGES. STIFFING THE SERVER IS RUDE.

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