Bad tips, no tips, and using Bible tracts as tips
“Frugal is fine, but being a cheap and inconsiderate SOB is not.” – Me
A good waiter or waitress (server, for the more politically correct) will work their ass off for you. They will smile at you, say nice things about your unruly kids and make endless runs back and forth to your table to refill your glass, restock your bread or rolls and make sure your every whim is satisfied. They will gladly deal with your primadonna attitude, and if you have to wait a little longer than you expected for your food, or if something is wrong with your order, they will deal it promptly and professionally. They will do their job with a smile – even when you insult, berate or threaten them – in spite of the fact that whatever problem you are having with the restaurant is almost never their fault.
For this, they get paid anywhere from two to three dollars an hour, plus tips – which should be right at twenty percent. More on percentages, later. If your server gave you good service, regardless of other issues you might have with the restaurant, not tipping them or tipping them poorly is not screwing the restaurant. You are screwing them, and you’re a douchebag. Oh, and if you are one of those self-righteous, uber-Christians who leaves a folded tract that looks like a ten or twenty-dollar bill instead of actual legal tender, well…
You’re A Double Douchebag…
Here’s how it works with most of the chain restaurants. They require their servers to “tip out” the rest of the staff, commonly three percent of the tab. This means that if you spend $100.00 in a decent restaurant and leave five bucks, you’ve not only left just five percent, but three of those five dollars have to go to the hosts, hostesses, bussers, etc. This leaves two bucks for the server to keep, in addition to their two-dollars an hour wage. The average stay is about an hour, so this amounts to about four bucks an hour for their blood, sweat and tears.
If you leave nothing, the server still has to tip out the rest of the staff their three percent. Your server ends up losing money, as they have to take money out of their pocket. It’s like paying to go to work. That doesn’t even address the fact that they also have to pay taxes based on a percentage of their sales. So you are not only screwing them at the table, but with the IRS, too.
I’ll get to those tracts I referred to a little further down the page, because people actually do this. But first, how to tip when your bill is discounted, and some third grade mathematics.
Coupons and Gift Cards…
Allow me to give you a lesson on how to use a coupon when dining out. It’s really simple, even you have a limited ability to comprehend simple instructions. All you have to remember is to tip your server based on the total bill before the coupon or discount is applied. If your bill comes to $100.00 and you’ve got a “half-off” coupon, you tip on the $100.00, not on the discounted amount of $50.00. If your bill is $65.00 and you have a $20.00 gift card, you tip on the $65.00. If the kitchen totally screwed up your $87.00 dinner and the manager decided to comp your entire meal, you still tip your server on the $87.00.
Did you understand? I will re-type it slower, just in case:
“Tip your server based on your bill before any discounts or coupons are applied.”
Additionally, you owe it to the universe to investigate the restaurant of your choice before walking in their front door. Regardless of what you’ve clipped out of the newspaper, what came in the mail or whatever gift card you’ve been given, there are going to be restaurants that you cannot afford to eat in – even if the meal is free. This information is not hard to find. There is an endless supply of websites that will tell you what a meal will cost at almost every restaurant in the United States. You can also call ahead, or ask to see a menu before you are seated.
Or, alternatively, you can still choose to be the insolent, inconsiderate douchebag who knows that without your half-off coupon the meal and tip would cost $120.00 – and still walk through the door with $55.00 in your pocket. Did I hit a nerve? Good, you deserve that uncomfortable feeling when you see yourself reflected in an article about douchy behavior. You didn’t bring enough money with you, so instead of being a cheap bastard, do your server a favor and go to McDonald’s.
I Am Terrible At Maths…
There are those who just suck at math and can’t seem to figure out how much to leave your server. If this is you, don’t assume that giving ten bucks to your server is sufficient because ten bucks is a lot of money to you. It doesn’t work that way. See my previous paragraph about there being restaurants you cannot afford. The proper and accepted tip is 20%, and if you can’t figure it out, use a calculator. You’ve got one on your phone, even if it’s one of those cheap-ass feature phones.
If you don’t have a cell phone, then all you have to do is look at your bill and mentally move the decimal point over to the left one digit – then double that amount. Really, it’s not rocket science. If you can’t figure this out in your head, grab a napkin and a pen. Say your bill is $100.00. Write “$100.00” down and then and make a decimal point one numeral to the left of where it is now.
If you have OCD or get confused at the presence of multiple decimal points, then just tear out the little piece of napkin where the decimal point was. If you happen to have a bottle of white-out on you, you’ve got bigger problems than figuring out a tip. But that’s another story. Now, you see what happened there? You’re napkin now shows a figure of ten dollars. Double that figure and you’ve got your twenty percent.
It even works with odd amounts, too, so don’t get all nervous. If your bill is $57.86, then write “$57.86” on your napkin, and using the same instructions I just gave you, move the decimal point over one numeral to the left. See, it happened again! $5.76 has magically appeared on your napkin. Double that, and you’ve got your tip – roughly about $12.00. Easy peasy…
About Those Tracts…
If you are one of those special douchebags who leaves a bible tract in place of a tip, you should be doubly ashamed of yourself. The server doesn’t give a rats ass if you and Jesus are best friends forever. This goes way beyond bad form. It is reprehensible, and will cause your server to wish bad things about y0u, like when you leave the restaurant your car has two flat tires, a parking ticket and has been completely sealed in Saran Wrap. As well, getting home to find out that your dog has chewed up your favorite bible.
Here’s an example:
I cannot say enough about how horrible a thing it is for you to leave something like this in place of a tip. You can’t imagine how it feels to work your ass off for an hour or more, providing excellent service only to find a tract sitting on the table – surreptitiously folded up to trick you into thinking you actually got a decent tip, or a tip at all. Christians are known for being notoriously bad tippers to start with. If you doubt me, ask any server. There’s a reason they dread working the Sunday lunch shift.
I have a bit of enlightenment for you tract-tippers. This is not clever. You are screwing with the livlihoods of the servers on whom you inflict your evangelism. Oh, and that smirk on your face as you walk away from your table after leaving only makes you more of a pretentious dick.
Here’s another example of a “tip” left for a server:
You want to know what else is not clever? Writing “Jesus Loves You” or some other bogus slogan to the line on your bill where you are supposed to add your tip.
Oh, and while we are at it, your “let’s eat most of our meal then send it back saying it sucked so we don’t have to pay for it or leave a tip” is a bunch of crap. It’s cheating, you are a douche for doing it and the entire staff sees right through you.
Selfishness is Not a Virtue…
OK, the ranting portion of today’s article is over. Just as well, the people who it was directed toward probably stopped reading it already. I know a lot of people who live outside the United States don’t understand the concept of tipping. However, most travel agents and other media aimed at new arrivals or first time visitors cover the tradition of tipping at great length.
Personally, I find it reprehensible that it is perfectly legal for a restaurant to pay someone a couple of bucks an hour and leave the responsibility of making up the difference in an already barely livable wage to customers. It is infinitely worse when those customers have zero respect for people who wait on tables for a living, are so cheap they squeak when they walk or are just plain clueless. A server is not “beneath” anyone, regardless. They are not less worthy of fair compensation because they happen to be in a service industry, and they do not deserve to be punished for something that they are not responsible for.
Yes, I know there are some horrible servers and more than a few restaurants that offer miserable service. They usually don’t last long, though. Established restaurants, particularly higher-end ones, generally do not tolerate incompetence and have high standards for their wait staff. If a customer has a problem with their server, then by all means they should let the manager know, and I have no problem with poor service reflecting a poor tip – or no tip if the service was especially bad. An incompetent server will either end up getting fired, or they will quit due to not making any money.
But if a server gives great service but a customer has an issue with something else, like a problem with the meal, the music being too loud or a table being next to an especially loud and boisterous party, the manager will be more than happy to compensate them somehow. But for the love of all that is good and right in the world, taking it out on their server is the last thing they should do.
If you know someone who is guilty of the things I discussed here, it would behoove you to print this out and either hand it to them or leave it in a place they are sure to find it.