If you’re someone who believes that restaurant servers are entitled to tips merely for their existence, then you might want to stop reading this. Seriously…because it won’t be pretty. First warning.
First of all, I tip generously whenever my family and I go out to eat. I don’t expect much. A little professionalism and politeness goes a long way with me. Things don’t even have to be perfect. I get that it won’t always be. I’m not the only person in your restaurant, so this is just the reality of it. That doesn’t bother me. We all have bad days and we’re entitled to them. I also get that it’s not always the servers fault when food isn’t prepared the way it was asked.
However, those tips are EARNED. Period. If you don’t like that I said that, then stop reading. That’s your second warning.
Once upon a time, tips were for EXCEPTIONAL service. These days, not only is it for a person’s mere existence, but the consumer is actually put down for not tipping or tipping what servers feel is a “small” amount. Why? Because the employers decide to pay what they do? How is that the consumer’s responsibility?
Third and final warning. If you don’t like where this is going and want your blood pressure and stress level to remain where it is, I highly suggest you stop reading now.
Still here? Okay. Now to get down to business.
Here are ten things I feel restaurant servers and those who complain about bad tips need to stop saying. If the shoe fits, you know the rest.
1. “Restaurant servers get paid only $2.13 an hour.” Not exactly. Read here, from the U.S. Department of Labor’s web site:
Seriously, read it. I was about to summarize, but we’re all grown adults, correct? Open up the link and read it for yourself. You’re on the internet anyway. If you’re going to whine about something that isn’t even factual, it’s probably in your best interest to make sure you have ALL the facts and not just what supports your point. Take your time. If you choose not to read it, that’s up to you, but seriously, you have no viable argument if you don’t.
2. “If you can’t afford to tip, then stay home or go to a fast food place!” No. Perhaps you have me confused with someone who was asking for permission to take my family out to eat. I wasn’t asking for permission and that’s because I don’t NEED it. I go where I choose. Not to mention, where’s the logic in that a person should automatically be able to afford to tip just because they just ate at your restaurant? Whether they can or not, how do you even know that they tipped a low amount or none at all because they “couldn’t afford” to tip more? How about the fact that tips, despite what people will tell you, are an OPTION? There is not a single law out there that says tips are mandatory. None. You can call me everything in the book, but at the end of the day, that law still doesn’t exist. People can do whatever they want with their money. The bottom line is that it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with whether or not a person can “afford” to tip. Some people simply choose to tip low or not tip at all. That is THEIR choice. However, to tell them to “stay home” or to “eat fast food” doesn’t even make sense, because if every person did this, you would be out of a job. Not to mention, we could easily go to a different restaurant, you know, where people actually APPRECIATE their customers and don’t whine about tips (these are the servers my generous tips will typically go to). How about you? You’re out of a job now because everyone who frequented your restaurant is now eating elsewhere. You really showed US, didn’t you?
3. “TIPS stands for ‘To Insure Prompt Service.” No…it doesn’t. This isn’t even the right word to use here. “Insure” means to “protect” (i.e., INSURANCE). If you wanted to “protect” the prompt service then that’s the word you’re looking for, but it’s not. You want “ENSURE” with an “E.” Ensure essentially means to “make sure of” or to “guarantee” (so-to-speak) prompt service. In the context of how people use this term, ENSURE is the word most want to use. I know that “insure” helps with the whole acronym, but it’s not the correct term. I’m sure there are sites all over the internet to disprove this, but there’s only one book I need to disprove all of that, and that book is the dictionary.
4. “You should always tip well because that server is not making very much.” I didn’t tell that server to work there. I’m not that server’s employer. When did it become my responsibility to pay someone’s salary who doesn’t work for me? No, serving is not “working” for me. It’s doing your job. While I can have sympathy for people all day, I’m also not going to just sit around and feel sorry for everybody because their circumstances are not the best. I get tired of people spending so much time whining about their circumstances instead of doing something about them. Now I will never say that serving in a restaurant is “not a real job.” Of course it is. It is a job I GREATLY appreciate whenever my family and I go. However, I’m there to eat, not cover what your employer isn’t giving you. That’s it. Hell, if I pay you so much then I need to pay this person and that person too. It never stops. Your issue is with your employer, NOT the consumer. As long as you keep raising hell to the consumer, restaurant owners know that they’re off the hook and can continue paying you what they have been when you deserve much more than that. That will never be made up by the consumer, no matter how much you fuss at US about it.
5. “If you worked in restaurant, you would understand.” Understand what? That YOU chose a sometimes thankless job in which you’ll have to deal with people from ALL walks of life? That YOU chose a job in which it is ESSENTIAL to have customer service and/or people skills? This isn’t rocket science. It’s not that hard for an intelligent person to understand. Tips, while not mandatory, are a nice gesture and great to receive to reward great service. Some days people will tips generously and others will not. What’s there to understand? If that’s me, I approach each day realizing this. I don’t serve people with the expectation that I WILL be tipped. It is my job to make that person’s/family’s dining experience among the best they’ve ever had and that I will EARN every tip I receive. One hand washes the other, so-to-speak. I think the average sensible person is okay with that. They have no problem giving a generous tip if you treat them as though you deserve it. Not ENTITLED to it. There’s really not much to understand there. I don’t need to work in a restaurant to get that much and no, I will not “STFU” (or any other childish nonsense) if I haven’t. I haven’t worked as a server and I’m still talking.
6. “People who don’t tip are cheap motherf%!@#s!” Point being? Why do people use the word “cheap” as if it’s an insult? If by “cheap” you mean that I work hard for my money and I’m not going to just throw it away to whoever, whenever, just because someone feels they’re entitled to a portion of it, then yes, you can call me “cheap” all day. It’s not going to change anything. You may as well call me a doo-doo head.
7. “Bad tips mean ‘someone’ might spit in your food or worse.” If that is your mindset, then you deserve your poor salary and lousy tips, if you get any at all. Seriously. I have no sympathy for how little you’re making or how bad your life is if that’s the way you approach work. On top of that, let me tell you why this doesn’t make sense. The food is served FIRST and then paying with (or without) the tip afterward, so even if you were disgusting and trifling enough to spit in someone’s food, how would you KNOW ahead of time that they will be leaving a lousy tip? On top of that, let’s say that this happens and your manager finds out before the person eats the food. Now you’re out of a job and likely won’t be able to get another one in that arena because of what happened. However, the consumer basically just went elsewhere and weren’t hurt at all. See how stupid that sounds? You sound like a whiny little brat to even suggest that this is okay for someone to do because a customer did not give them something they are NOT entitled to anyway. However, since this is mostly said online anyway, let me help you out. My wife and I enjoy traveling. If you are really as “serious” about doing that as you claim, then put your money where your mouth is. Tell me when I walk into your restaurant that if I don’t tip you what you feel is adequate, then this is what will happen to my food. Say that DIRECTLY to me. Since I know that will never happen, then quit saying it online. You’re not “scaring” anyone into doing what you want. You just sound like a crybaby throwing a wittle tantrum. You’re probably kicking your feet as you wrote that.
8. “If you think we won’t remember you, we will, and if you go somewhere else, servers all talk to each other.” I can think of a lot of things wrong with this one. Okay, so you’ll remember me if I tip poorly in your restaurant and come back another time. That part I can accept. You go to a restaurant enough times and people remember you. I got that. But again, you’re there working and working for tips. So how do you know that better service won’t get you a better tip? How do you know that it wasn’t just a one-time thing that you didn’t get the tip you wanted? If someone else is telling you about, let’s say, me, and that I “don’t tip well” because of the last time, how would you know that it wasn’t just a bad day for that other server? Are you really going to take a chance and give lousy service because of what your fellow server said? I’ve seen and heard that happen MANY times. A server with a horrible attitude “warns” another server about the person and them being a lousy tipper and when that new server ignores that, providing great service, they end up getting double or even triple the tip the other server did. That comes back to that whole “entitlement” thing. That new server probably “earned” the tip rather than “expected” it. Again, the average person can appreciate that effort. Of course, you will get those who are notorious for leaving horrible tips. I get that also. But do you really want to take that chance and believe what your friend says? Personally, I don’t think a sensible person would. Again…that would be the “sensible” person who gets the generous tip from me. But if I tip poorly or leave no tip at all, I’m likely not going to return to that same restaurant, so you can get my picture, video or whatever else you need. Then again, if you’re busy actually WORKING, then you wouldn’t have time to be doing all that.
About all servers “talking” to each other…stop. Just stop. So I’m supposed to believe that if I tip poorly on a given night in THIS restaurant, somehow a server in THAT restaurant will be told about me by you? How? With what proof? Video footage? Secret photos being taken? Visual descriptions? I mean seriously…that is just asinine and more desperation to make us feel guilty. With the THOUSANDS of restaurants out there, I’m supposed to believe that EVERYONE talks to each other and gets along just SO well that my name, picture and whatever else will circulate just like that and I will have something to be afraid of? Please. If you have that much time to do all that, you must not be working very hard. Hence, the lousy tips, if you are getting any at all. Any self-respecting person would not get caught up in all that because they simply wouldn’t have time to. They’d be too busy working to earn tips that most sensible adults would give them once they see that they’ve earned it. But to “threaten” with “OOOH…I’M GONNA TELL!” that didn’t work when I was little and it damn sure isn’t going to work on me now as I’ll be 36 in a few months.
9. “You need to pay your server their tip in cash.” Again…no. You’re not in charge of how someone decides to pay someone else. This is why the sense of “entitlement” continues to exist. Be thankful that you’re getting a tip at all. I get why people say this. Cash is always the best. However, it’s not always ideal for people to stop and get cash for a tip just because someone tells you to. If I happen to have cash on me, then yes, I’ll pay a tip that way, but if not, oh well. You’re still getting the tip. Be grateful.
10. “Even if the service is bad, you should still give a tip.” Even though I do this more often than not, that makes no sense and I’m likely going to stop doing it. So where is the incentive for the person to actually EARN the tip? I get the whole deal that the server isn’t responsible for what the cooks do, but then again, isn’t the server’s job to take my order and make sure it’s correct? Shouldn’t that be checked on before the food is brought out? I shouldn’t have to “just deal with it” because the servers aren’t the cooks. This is part of your job. Any fool can grab a plate off the counter and bring it to someone else with no regard to what’s on there. There’s more to being a server than just doing that and if that’s your attitude, your tip will reflect that. Period.
The bottom line, in case I haven’t made this clear enough, is that tips are earned as far as I’m concerned. That’s it. You can say what you want about me and guilt trip me until the cows come home, but they will still be EARNED before I give my hard-earned money away. You can come back with whatever you want and my opinion and actions will remain the same. My name is right here in this blog and if this bothers any of you, I challenge you to do as I said above and LET ME KNOW TO MY FACE when I come into your establishment that you’re going to “do something to my food” if I don’t leave a good tip. No…I’m not going to fight you. That’s not what this is about. This is about a grown person having the intestinal fortitude to carry out what they claim they will do as they’re sitting online behind the protection of a computer screen or their phones. It’s okay to be bothered by a person who stiffs you on the tip. I get that. But it’s going way too far to expect ME to pay for what your employer fails to do properly. Again, that is the person you have the beef with, not me.
I’ll end this by saying that to those of you reading this who are great servers and treat your customers as though you actually care about earning their tips, thank you. You are the reasons we continue to come back into your restaurants and why you will continue to receive generous tips from us, even on days that aren’t your best.
Those of you who don’t or you say a lot of what I said above, then good luck with that. You’ll need the luck way more than me.