I don’t usually talk about real, actual pet peeves on social media. When I do, it’s usually a joke. This is a little more serious because it’s about tipping.
People who serve at restaurants and bars are generally paid in such a way that tips are ESSENTIAL to their survival. To treat a tip like a “nice to have” thing is to miss the point completely. American employment practices have devolved to the point where people can fall below the poverty line if their customers aren’t tipping. And, no, it’s not fair, but it’s life right now.
Some people think that there is one condition that is reflected in a tip- the final check. So they put down some percentage of the check. This ignores the reality of serving. Some tables are harder. Some jobs are more time intensive. So I like to factor in all of this.
How long was I sitting there? If I ordered a 5 dollar cup of coffee and sat there for two hours while the server returned over and over again, I can’t just leave 20 percent of that 5. This is a situation where the tip may be much larger than the bill.
How hard was this? Did we have a lot of substitutions? Did the server have a lot of trips? Did we split the check 27 ways? Again, a much larger tip for this effort makes sense.
Were there 2 or more servers in the course of the meal- shift changes? That is something I should consider when calculating a tip.
I sometimes think, when I’m just rounding a bill upward, that this makes adding up tips a lot harder for servers when the time comes. Solid numbers simplify it a lot at the end of the night. 20 dollar tip. 30 dollar tip. Two a.m. is a shitty time to be doing the math.
I see people just like me sometimes- people who have been working since they were a kid- tipping badly- and it makes me furious. There are so few situations in life where we get to positively impact someone’s day reliably and this is one. We should take that opportunity.
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