Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Who Should Get Tipped?

I am definitely asking for some comments on this one.

This post is inspired by a question on one of the comments I received not too long ago.

There are several types of professionals that our culture expects customers to tip. Each performs a different type of job and receives a different amount of pay from the company they work for.

I have my own personal policies for who I tip, how much I tip, and why. I am curious to find out how others treat the same situations.

Waitresses -
I never tip less than 20%. If a waitress has been exceptional, I will tip 30% or more.
WHY? I know that waitresses only make $2.63 per hour. If they do not receive tips, they go home empty handed. The tip I leave is the only form of payment for their time.
I also know that the extra $2 I may leave means very little to me when I am eating out, but when I am the waitress, that extra $2 means far more.

Workers at Buffet Style Restaurants -
Since most of the meal is self serve, I only leave a 10-15% tip on the table for the busser who has to clean up the mess. However, if there is a waitress who brought my drinks, condiments, extra plates, etc. I would still leave 20%
WHY? Out of habit and politeness. If I had everything I needed, I leave a larger tip.

Hairdressers -
I usually leave 15-20%
WHY? Even though I know that hairdressers make more than minimum wage, I still leave a larger tip. If I happen to find a hairdresser I like, I know I will be back. I want to get another good haircut, and I am willing to pay for it.

Coffee Shop Drive Through Workers -
I usually leave the change from my order or at least $.50.
WHY? After a lengthy discussion with a coworker about this very topic, she made me realize that there are a ton of jobs out there expecting tips. However, out of all of the jobs, waitresses are the only ones still making less than minimum wage. Since the other professions actually get paid by the companies that they work for, they should not receive a standard 18-20% tip. (However, I frequent the same coffee shop and I order a very distinct coffee made a very unique way. They know me - and after I started leaving a little more every time I went in, my coffee started coming out perfect every time.)

Gas Station Attendants -
I actually started pumping my own gas so I wouldn't have to deal with this issue. I really don't know the right answer.
If it is really snowy and freezing cold out, I will generally go to the Full Service Island. I ask for $9 in gas and hand the guy a $10.
WHY? Because it's freezing and I feel bad for watching him as I sit in my heated car.

There are several other types of people that I have tipped on either a one time basis or at Christmas. (Mailman, garbage men, babysitters at the gym, etc.) For the most part, I tip very generously. Good tippers tend to stand out and they are usually remembered. They also get better service the next time around. This is a fact that I can attest to from both sides of the tipping dilemma.

If you have a tipping theory to share, please feel free. I am certainly interested in seeing other points of view.


heavenabove said...

I have worked in restaurants where waitstaff makes at least the state's minimum wage and some places get more, so it is hard to tell without asking what the real base wage is. I know many waitpeople that make A LOT of money, generally more than regular cooks. Sometimes, cooks are tipped from a pool also. This said, I still believe a person should tip the 20%-inless for some reason the service was horrible. People that work for tips rely on that money to survive and it is rude to be a cheapskate. For other professions, I really never have anyone to tip except my hairdresser and then I tip her as well as I can-she knows my life situation. I always leave the change for things like buying a coffee, also. I really feel that working in the hospitality industry gives people a whole new light on why it is good to tip. Everyone should have a job like this once in their life just to see what tip earners go through. They would all tip better and whine, complain, and demand much less.

Anonymous said...

Loving this! I've worked in several Customer Service venues and share many or the same stories, different circumstances. I am currently in Health Services where I'm often mistaken for waitstaff, cook, personal butler, maintainance & repair, and psychologist-often selectively forgetting that they are only one of many under my care and not understanding that merely calling my name will NOT summons me faster than the speed of light, wheather or not, I'm elbow deep in someone else's business.
Thanks for sharing your light hearted and enlightening stories!!

ps~ I used to manage in a lingerie store 10 years ago-oh, the stories of what we would get in that store and our award winning selling tactics!


I think we tip too much as a culture - I'd much rather pay more, have waitresses earn a good salary, and forget the whole tipping thing. I always worry I'm getting it wrong!

Waitress4Life said...

Thank you for your comments!

Yep, waitstaff are generally the highest paid people in the restaurant. There are nights when I've made more than my manager. But none of it comes from the restaurant itself.

As a customer, I agree with Jill, about just paying people to do their jobs and not worrying so much about tipping. It would make life so much easier.

However, as a waitress, the thought makes my bank account cringe. There is no way that I would get paid as much as I do if the restaurant paid me an hourly rate. Plus, I like the cash in my hand on a daily basis.

As much as we complain about nights when we get paid very little, they are all balanced by very good nights. It's part of the excitement of the waitressing biz - Sort of like a gamble, every single night.

And I would love to hear some of the lingerie customer service stories!!

Tony said...

Good Job! :)

Waitress4Life said...

After years of going back and forth between waitressing jobs, I finally lost the passwords to this blog... But I haven't given up! Or lost my absolute desire to share the JOYS of the restaurant world!!
Join me on the blog I CAN access and will be updating (hopefully!!) far more frequently in the near future!!
It's great to be back... I really need to vent! Waitress4Life