Mr. Dixie and I love to eat out. For the longest time, we had a favorite restaurant and with it, a favorite waitress. Her name was Anna and we loved her for many reasons. She was, of course, a great waitress, always getting our food and drinks in the most timely manner; but more than that, we loved Anna because she was engaging, funny and always remembered our names. We were usually willing to wait until her table became available just so we could hear her laugh. For this week’s post about our relationship to money, I’ve reached out to Anna to help us take the headache out of tipping.
Taking the Headache Out of Tipping
The first thing we need to remember is that we are usually in a better financial position than those who are providing us with their service. Wait staff in the US usually make about $2.50/hour which is simply outrageous! Where is the outcry against slave labor!? Knowing this should influence our percentages.
Which leads to this question, how much should we tip for excellent, good or poor service? Most of my friends tip a minimum of 20% for good service, more if it’s better than average. Some say they leave 10% or nothing if the service was poor. But one friend shares this,
“Waitressing is a hard job. Sometimes waiters and waitresses get blamed for bad food or a slow kitchen. It’s not their fault. If a waitress is having a bad night, I try to be patient because I don’t know what kind of day they have had.”
According to Anna, one way we can make the day of a server go downhill fast is to be a verbal tipper. So who are these people who place such high value on their words?
“People who tell their server how much they enjoyed their meal and how great every thing was and only leave 10% or really anything less than 15%. And then there are my favorites; the repent or burn in hell pamphlets!
Another absurd thing people do is run you all over the place for a tiny amount of money. Some of the neediest, pickiest people I have waited on have the smallest bills and they, for some reason, think 15%-20% is a good tip. But if you run your server all over the place for an hour for a $10.00 check leaving only $1.50-$2.00, it is offensive.”
What is the strangest experience you’ve had, Anna, as a waitress?
“I have had people tip me random objects along with tips like- a free box of Krispy Creme donuts and once someone left me a toothbrush.”
I can personally attest to the beauty of Anna’s smile, so I really don’t get the toothbrush at all!
The History of Tipping
The word tip is actually an acronym for the phrase, “to insure promptitude,” and the practice began in England sometime during the 17th century. Apparently, the patrons of taverns would slip an extra coin or two to their servers to get better service. But in America, it has not always been an accepted practice. Some even tried to have it abolished from our culture. According to Service 101, a group of legislators even tried to enact a law against gratuity.
The anti-tipping group believed that tipping was the “vilest of imported vices” because it created an aristocratic class in a country that fought hard to eliminate a class-driven society.
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