greenspun.com : LUSENET : Unk's Troll-free Private Saloon : One Thread

How much do you tip a food server? The standard for good service used to be 15%. Increasingly, it's 20%. If the price of the meal increases with inflation, why should the percentage tipped also increase? Food serving is hard, mostly thankless work. I want to tip a fair asmount but how much is fair? Do Servers report all their tips to the IRS?

The Stained Apron reports the Servers' views.

-- (lars@indy.net), May 14, 2002


Have ever pinched a waitress' tips?

-- (lars@indy.net), May 14, 2002.

I did once when I was 9 years old. I walked past an empty table and thought someone had just accidentally left some money there. I got a spanking for doing it, and it was explained to me why it was done.

I always tip good for good service, and tip less or not at all for blatantly bad service.

-- Cherri (whatever@who.cares), May 14, 2002.

An Open Letter to Parents

I've read your "Keep the Brats at Home" department with a lot of sympathy. Can you guys make a special splotch on the Apron in the form of an admonishment from a former busboy and frequent diner?

To the parent(s) who bring(s) their small children out to eat: When you decided to have children, it was you who gave up your leisurely meals out, not me. I've seen you try to have it both ways, sipping your coffee, oblivious as your children squawk, splash and run amok through the restaurant. It seems some parents regard the restaurant as a place where the rigors of parenting are suspended. You should know that staff and fellow diners alike resent paying the price for your ill-conceived vacation. Parents who try to control the proceedings become equally odious, threatening a bored and fidgeting young child with spankings if they don't settle down while Mommy and/or Daddy try to pretend they're still just a couple out on the town. Find me a three-year-old, any three-year-old, who can sit quietly through an hour-plus, sit-down dinner and I'll show you a Southern Baptist who tips 25%. What parental delusion tries to evoke polished table manners from a kid who's obviously too young to absorb the lesson? Now your fellow diners get to hear your shouting in addition to your child's. It's abominable — unfair to your kids, taxing for you, and unpleasant to everyone within earshot. If you won't shell out for a babysitter, stick to the hose-it-and-close-it kind of joint where your kids' top-decibel screeching, flying food, and hide-and-seek under the booths will go unnoticed. Or just wait until they're older. Although if they're depending on you for guidance in matters of etiquette, they will probably be yoked evermore to the same oafish lack of awareness you exercised in bringing them to a nice restaurant, where the rest of the diners wonder what they did to deserve your family's intrusive floor show.

—Hector B., Denver, CO

---------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------

A mom and her young daughter sat down at my table. As soon as I aproached them, before I could even say "Hello," the little girl shouts at me, "GIMMIE FRENCH FRIES!!"

I step back, and look over at the mom, expecting her to say something to her rude child, or at least apologize to me.

She looks and me and shouts "GIMMIE SALMON!!!"

—Anonymous, Washington, D.C.

---------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------

Child From Hell

I started a new job serving at a restaurant/ upscale deli in a brand new hoity-toity mall in Northern California. I had a tiny section (two tables, back dining room. coming from my lunch shift i got the shaft and a crappy section.) My pathetic section was the only one in the place with no air conditioning. (besides the patio) It was 83 degrees in there when I got in to buff the area, and the best improvement in temp I could make was to 82. Bad News, right there. It took about an hour before I was seated, no one wanted to sit in there. Who the hell could blame them? But they kept the room open....Finally we had some takers. A yuppie looking couple, and their children, a girl of about 11 and boy of maybe 9. when I greeted the table the young man at the table greeted me with "I want something to drink! Do you have root beer? Mom do they have root beer? Can I have root beer?" I shit you not, the kid managed to fray my nerves in 3 seconds. Mom asks if there is any specials. Boy cuts me off with: "Can I have some root beer?" I look at mom, with amusement. "Aren't children lovely?" says mom and I ask her if I can bring them something to drink, seeing as how it is really hot. "Yes, please, two KIDS root beers." (We have those friggin' tiny cups for kids drinks that they wolf right down the second you come to the table with it.) Mom and dad order a bottle of wine. I am thinking cool, this is my only table I am gonna' pamper the shit out of these people no matter how bad the asshole kid's attention deficit disorder is. I jam from the table to put that in and grab the kids root beers bread basket etc. I arrive at the table with these items, set them down and ask about an appetizer order. It went like this:

"Did..." I started.

"Mom" says the boy, I pause so he can say what he has to say. She ignores him. I follow her lead, once again:

"Did you see an..."


"...appetizer you like?"

"MOM MOM MOM MOM " I am thinking, shut the FUCK up! She still pretends like this brat isn't jumping up and down in his chair.

"I need root beer mom." Yes, just as I thought, the little shit snarfed it down. Still ignoring brat boy, she orders potato skins as an app, and tells me that they are going to just take their time since they had the room to themselves (yay! my section is a daycare now). I repeat the order, and tell her I would refill brat boys root beer.

Back to the table, I take another root beer, and the wine. I assume that the kid got a talking to or something because miraculously he didn't interrupt me during the wine service. With that out of the way, I see that it seems they are ready to order. Dad orders, mom orders, brat boy drinks his root beer down again. I go to sissy and he starts again...

"What can i get you little miss?" I say to the girl.

"Excuse me" says brat boy, I ignore him.

"Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me."

"Grilled cheese sandwich please" says sissy.

"Excuse me."

"Would you like french fries or applesauce?" I ask.

"Excuse me"

"French fries please" sis replies.

"EXCUSE ME! " (Why is it that children think that just because you say excuse me, it is ok to go ahead and interrupt an adult when they are speaking? And why doesn't this mother and father see that this is unacceptable behavior?) Whatever. It was his turn so I screwed a smile on my face and said: "What would you like?"

"ROOT BEER!" I think a puff of smoke escaped my ears. His mother finally speaks up...

"She means, what do you want to eat honey."

"Hotdogs, and I don't want those black lines on them." Grill marks. This kid is a shit. He can't sit still. As soon as he has ordered he is up bouncing off the walls. Let's fast forward a tad. Meal, almost done; wine, gone. Root beer, well that kid put down four cups of it to his sisters one.

Sissy cleared her plate, and it is our restaurants' policy to give them a little sundae for doing so. So I ask if they would like to order dessert, and you can tell mom and dad we ready to do just that. BB was jumping around the room. then he stopped in the doorway to the main dining room and looked over his shoulder at me, turned back towards the dining room and blew chunks all over the floor. he is just standing there now, looking at us when mom says "Couldn't you have done that on your plate?" which by the way he barely touched.

"Wow, that was neat." was all I could manage right about then and I got the manager, who sent a busboy over to clean it up immediately (you know I made $20 in tips that night; my busser got $10). I just couldn't believe it. They were in a private room for christsakes! He couldn't have done that somewhere where the other 120 people, eating their dinner couldn't see him? Dad takes the little shit to the bathroom.

"I am guessing you probably want your check now." I say with a smile and a laugh. Mom was mortified. She was apologizing, I was cool with it, shit happens etc. I bring the check, it came out to like 70 bucks. Mom asks me to wrap juniors food. No problem. I come back with the box, Dad is no where to be found, and thankfully neither is the brat. However, mom looks as if she is disturbed by something. I ask if everything is ok with the check.

"Well you would think that the manager would do something about it." she says in kind of a hurt voice. I look stupid. So she says, "well I don't think he would have thrown up if it wasn't so terribly hot in here." So I say, kind of jokingly but not, "the 4 glasses of root beer and jumping around didn't help any either I am sure."

"He wasn't jumping around at all, and that shouldn't have happened. I know we knew how hot it was when we sat down, but I just don't think we should have to pay for all of this." OK I am not even going to argue with this, I must have been seeing things when I saw him do a cartwheel in the back of the room, and the tumbling he and his sister were doing on the floor.

I take the check to the same manager who helped me out with the vomit, and gave him the run down. He was shocked to say the least, but gave them like 50% off of the check. I take it back. Mom is happy, but peeved that we made her son hurl (fucking brat). Of course as I am sure everyone is guessing, she tips on the discounted bill— $8.00 FUCKING LOVELY! YOUR SON LAYS WASTE TO OUR STORE AND YOU HAVE THE BALLS TO TIP LIKE THAT!?

When I say 'lays waste' I mean this: Later that night I find out that Brat Boy came running out of the bathroom hallway and slammed into one of the managers who was carrying a tray of sodas, drenching the poor guy, (kid didn't even pause either), and he kicked the bathroom door open so hard it slammed into one of our bussers who was putting away a booster seat, knocking him down completely.

I cant think of a moral to this story, but a statement screams in my head:


and then of course there is: people always want something for nothing.


-- LOL (these@are.great), May 14, 2002.

Celebrity Tippers

-- (lars@started.it), May 14, 2002.

Don't forget that cheapo Hillary didn't leave any tip to a waitress in Rochester(?) during the NY Senate campaign. The press picked up on it and she had to make a special trip back to leave the tip that she "forgot".

-- (lars@indy.net), May 14, 2002.

Pissed-Off Cook #1

Ok. I just had to respond to a few things that set my blood boiling from reading all the stories and (comments from the morons). First of all I have to say that tipping is usually expected but not obligatory. When I go out I do tip very well. (I work in the industry) BUT there are times where I will do the proverbial stiff if I feel that it was necessary to do so. Yes it sucks that we now must pay a percentage of the entire bill to the government.(9% in Quebec) but by doing so that should mean our level of service should rise. As for the whiney fuckheads who commented on this page the only thing I have to say to you is "Get Blown! "Now having said that it's my turn to blast the waiters/waitresses/hostess and management.

1.SERVERS—just because we are cooks (I wont let you think that we are good enough to be called chefs) don't think that you can treat us like dirt. We don't care if you are slammed, we don't care if you forgot to order something 20min ago and need it RUSH (won't happen). By telling a customer that it's ok to order something that's not on the menu or some special way to prepare his/her plate to get a bigger tip only puts us in the "juice" and we will hate you and fuck your orders up all night. If the kitchen staff wants a pitcher of soda and asks you to go get him one please do it. The temp. by the grill is between 100-130F so we get a little warm. Most of all....DON'T FUCK WITH US!!! as a general rule we are crazy...I personally had to be escorted from an East Side Mario's after I went after the General Manager. (Yes I was fired for doing that)

2.HOSTESS—Stay out of the kitchen. Don't talk to us because we will only make fun of your stupidity after you leave. Also a string of lewd comments about how many of your orifices we would like to fill after work.

3.Managers—FUCK OFF and stay the hell out of our way. Here is a little secret. Come closer to the screen I want to whisper it to you all. WE CONTROL THE RESTAURANT!!!! we can make life easy or make seem like a bunch of monkeys trying to fuck a football. When you see us sitting down for 15min smoking, shut-up don't say a word. Go hide in your office. We are relaxing because remember when all the waiters were slammed half an hour ago? Who do you think prepared 180 plates of food in the last hour?? the Food Fairy? Fuck no it was us. To top it off we are understaffed and yes my co-worker is hung over. By the way you see the dishwasher? He just did a big line of Coke in the bathroom!!! You don't pay us nearly enough to do this rotten job. (We love to hear how much the waiters made for a 4-5hr shift.) We really don't care about your labor costs!! It doesn't matter if we did 3000 that night or 15000.Our work remains the same. When you start cutting people to save a quarter point on labor we really hate you.

4.Customers—Don't walk into the kitchen and give us your nod of approval. We don't care. Don't ask for major alterations to your food. (Minor quick changes doesn't bother us) but when you start getting creative...we hold up your order for at least 10min. If you think a steak is undercooked send it back. We don't mind tossing it on the grill for another minute or two. But don't dare send it back a second time saying it's overcooked and you want a new one (unless they took it from a med/rare to well done, etc) do you have any idea of what happens to your steak before it hits the grill?? trust me you don't want to. Here is a kitchen secret (This applies to ALL kitchens everywhere in the world) It is called the 3 second rule. Any food that falls from a tray, plate, grill...etc can be picked up off the floor and served to you if the time spent on the ground was 3sec or less. (Timing is left solely to the offending cook and can vary depending on how many persons witnessed the event. It also depends on their rank at the restaurant.) When a server tells you the kitchen "forgot" to make an item that you ordered or they were given the wrong plate or any other story that puts the blame solely on us. They are 95% of the time lying to you!!! When a server says the plate is HOT they mean it. Probably because it sat under the heat for the last 15min.

Now if we could all just follow the simple rules and guidelines that have been set as per above we will all get along just fine. But alas, servers look down us, managers fuck with us and customers blame us. So ends another shift in the life of a kitchen worker.

—Demon1, Pte-claire, Quebec, Canada.

-- LOLOL (This is @great . shit !), May 14, 2002.

I think I'm turning into Flo from the show Alice.

If a customer hollers "YO!" at me while I'm approaching another table isn't it ok to totally ignore the asshole until I'm damn good and ready to respond to his inquiry about his ribs that are taking 25 minutes? If another table witnesses my ignoring of the rib-eating drunk, and claims I'm "rude" not only to the drunk but to their five brats who are obviously dehydrated and in need of immediate medical attention, is it wrong to roll my eyes at them and "forget" to pick up their credit cards and cash them out so they can leave? Forcing them to find a manager on a busy Saturday night and have him do it?

And is it wrong to treat teenagers like teenagers? Don't go to the bar and get your own drinks, especially when you are drinking Coke. The bartender doesn't like that, and neither do I. I say "Why don't you have a seat, the bartender is not your server tonight." Sometimes teenagers don't like that and they have to complain to a manager about me. I say to them "Did that make you feel better? We are all very PROUD of you!" Teenagers don't like that and they have to complain to a manager again! Hmmph! Poor teenagers, life is so difficult for you... By the way, we don't like you.

Oh, and is it wrong to inform customers after they send their fries back to the kitchen because they taste old, that if they let them sit on their plate for half an hour while they chat with their ugly date that they will taste exactly the same? "I know a manager is taking care of it and a manager can finish waiting on you too! Thanks...."

I must wear a stupid-ass button that basically says, "I'm gonna card ya so shut up and whip it out". So is it so wrong to card the 25 year old bimbo and not her balding middle aged husband? Do I go anywhere without my drivers license? NO. Do most normal people? NO. Its not my fault that she married beneath herself and is too stupid to put her drivers license, uh, in her WALLET! So lets talk to a manager again! Yeah! Oh, but I'm "rude"! Never heard that one before....please! I'm not here to be a cheerleader for your table and if I feel like carding you I guess I will, won't I? If you have to have that strawberry frozen margarita that bad with your Hickory Bacon Cheeseburger then you have a lot more to worry about than if I'm rude to you or not.

(God, this feels good!)

I read somewhere that when people are being "waited" on their worst personality traits come out. I believe believe believe. People, I am a person...I have a family; husband, daughter, step-daughter, just like you! I live next door to you and I see you at the freaking grocery store or at the bar all the time! Would you holler "Yo!" at the fucking check out girl? (Well, the drunk probably would..) You don't act like that at any other place you spend money, so why do you act like a complete and utter asshole when you are being waited on? Its just food! Its a half hour out of your life! Sometimes the food is going to take a little longer, sometimes mistakes are going to be made. Just deal with it and eat you fucking Chicken Fajitas and get the hell out of my restaurant! Ok?

On a closing note...

To the person who thought it would be a good idea for servers to sing IGNORANT fucking birthday songs for people in restaurants: You are a sadistic fuck and I wish you would die a slow and painful death. (I'm thinking a rusty can opener and isopropyl alcohol!!!) Ok?

—Not Flo, Wichita, KS

---------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------

One of my biggest pet peeves is customers who ask "what's your other job?" and stupid questions of the like.

Five months ago I moved to Maui to live & chill in paradise, I scored a job in one of the many upscale resorts.

Never before have I been asked so many questions about "my other job" or "are you doing this to put yourself thru college?"

Most weeks I make between $500-$700, and I rarely work more than 35 hours. No, I'm not putting myself thru college! I'm living on a beautiful island, working part-time and making great money, what's wrong with that??

Recently our resort hosted a convention of sales people (kinda' like Amway.) I had this 9 top who wanted separate checks (of course.) The host (some host, asking for separate checks!) was very concerned that there wasn't free refills on his guests drinks. I had to restrain myself from laughing hysterically, but instead politely asked him if he'd ever dined in a restaurant that had free refills on alcoholic beverages, and added that in most states it's against the law. They all pulled out papers and started working, covering the table, so when their food arrived it was a massive shuffle. They worked and talked shop all thru dinner. When they were finished the host called me over to his end of the table. He handed me his business card, thanked me for good service and then added that when and if I ever wanted to get a "real job" I should give him a call. I wanted to smack him!! I took a moment to compose myself, then I spoke up so the whole table could hear my reply. "I doubt you could promise me a job where I could pull in $500 a week and not work more than 30 hours, besides I wouldn't be interested in working for a company that expects it's employees to work thru dinner while on their vacation." I went and told my manager what happened, she sided with me and had the hotel manager contact the head of their company and request that they not solicit employment or products to our employees... Take that, fucker!!

Why do people look down on restaurant workers just because we're in the service industry? Depending on the restaurant, chances are we make more money per hour than they do, and once you're shift is over, you can forget about it. Not bad for someone without a "real job."

—Greenbuddy, Maui, HI

-- LOLOL (This is @great . shit !), May 14, 2002.

The place I work for invited Jessie Jackson to speak a couple years back. After his speech, I was asked to call an Italian place and ask they stay open late to accommodate Mr. Jackson and his small army so they could dine in private.

They owner was happy to comply, and told them to take their time, etc.

About 2 hours later, I receive a frantic phone call from the server. She is screaming that while she was taking dishes to the kitchen, they had decided to leave. No inquiry about the check, no tip, no thank you for staying open for us, kiss my ass, NOTHING! My boss ended up having to write her a personal check for the meal and tip. The company reimbursed him of course, but in the end they got a free meal.

It's one thing to be a public figure some like while others don't, but nobody ever has an excuse to be an all out asshole. If you ever have the unpleasant experience of dealing with him, watch your table or have a set of eyes on it at all times. There's just no excuse for this type of behavior from anyone no matter who you are.

—Anonymous, Central Kentucky

-- (cheap@jesse.jackson), May 14, 2002.

In that connection, I believe Bill Clinton is stiffing his lawyers.

-- Peter Errington (petere7@starpower.net), May 14, 2002.

What do you expect from trailer trash, regardless of color.?

-- A Couple (of@low.lifes), May 14, 2002.

Years ago when I had just 3 kids, my biological daughter and two foster kids, I would take them to "dinner" at the mall. Nice little restarant (gone now). I never could understand why people would stop by our table and tell me how well behaved my children were.

Guess it was my military training, I didn't allow them to act up or we would get up and leave. I would leave the amount of the meal and a good tip on the table so people were not forced to put up with acting out until I could get the check. They learned real fast to behave or they would have to leave their food behind. I didn't have a car at the time and I was pretty strict about behavior, had them march single file behind me through the mall. At home they were free to be loud, to be kids, within reason of course. I wish I could say my youngest behaved as well as the other three used to, but she takes after me too much, strong willed and outspoken. We have constant power struggles and she doesn't have the patience to sit in a restaurant for long waiting when she is hungry, or sitting quietly when she is finished. So I do not take her out to eat yet.

-- Cherri (whatever@who.cares), May 14, 2002.

Oh thanks Lars, after reading some of the stuff on that site, I don't think I'll ever go out to eat again, especially in New York. What a bunch of losers!

BTW, don't believe it's 20%; that's only in NY where they expect more than they deserve. Have you ever been to a NY restaurant with a few surly waitresses? And they think this is 'normal' behavior (I guess normal for NY), Unbelievable!

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), May 15, 2002.

Sorry, hit the submit too soon... I was a waitress in my college days, so we're going back some time. No I didn't report all my tips but the government had a 'standard' tip scale, so much per hour. Can't remember what it was back then but I know it was lower than my average hourly tip. Of course, they allowed you to claim more but I never did. I just claimed the standard rate.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), May 15, 2002.

Someone's gonna get audited

-- (smooth move@ex.lax), May 15, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ