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comment by Foveaux
Foveaux  ·  377 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Racist, Twisted History of Tipping

I thought that'd be the case - but I had a social anxiety kind of scenario play out in my head where someone was annoyed I tipped too much because it suggested they "needed it". I'm sure I've seen it in a movie or three and it's inaccurate but damn it's in my head sometimes.

Good to know though!

tacocat  ·  377 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Might as well just dump the finer points of tipping here and assume you may be interested. I'm in front of a real keyboard.

Servers tend to make $2.12 an hour. I've only made that once. I've worked delivery three times and those jobs tend to be in the minimum wage area. But I've known a lot of servers. The law is that if you make less than minimum wage then your employer has to lift you up to minimum if your tips don't cover the difference. How many companies do this and how many servers request this? I don't know. Doesn't seem to be many.

Tips are like being paid under the table if the tips are cash. Fuck those credit card tips; they leave a paper trail. So if you start asking for your three dollars an hour you have to claim all your tips and who wants to be taxed on cash payments? So servers or drivers tend to just eat the loss for slow periods and make it up later during peak hours. It's just easier than chasing an extra three bucks (or fiveish bucks now, hmm...) for a slow shift.

The rule of thumb is 15% of your total from the meal. But some restaurants have the servers split their tips with their busboys. Not all restaurants. How can you know? You fucking can't know if this is the policy at a given restaurant unless you ask. The server wouldn't mind. No one working for tips is ever offended by a big tip and if they're splitting tips they probably maybe also want the bussers to get their share.

So you make good tips by working the busy weekend dinner shift at Cracker Barrel or at a high end restaurant where 15% is easily at least $15 per table. This gives management leverage to punitively give you a shitty shift if they desire. Because your performance isn't great lately. So this is an argument for tipping. It incentivizes good performance. It also gives the scheduling manager the power to financially kneecap you for any number of petty reasons by sticking you on an afternoon shift where no one is there or just cutting you off from peak performance days of the weak. Maybe you didn't share your fishscale coke with him and he's salty.

It's a really shitty system. But not for the reasons you were concerned about. I'm broke as fuck as a rule and I always try to tip more than 15%. People appreciate any extra because it's a grueling, precarious payment system.

Foveaux  ·  377 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Hey thanks for going into detail - I'm definitely interested in how it all works. That is eye-openiing for sure.

I think I'm more concerned about someone making $2.12 an hour and relying on tips to stay afloat, along with how you've described they can be punished by having busy shifts taken away from then, but the social aspect of it was definitely why I asked my brother. 15% sounds like a good rule, bump it up when applicable.

As usual, Hubski rams home how good I have it in my little corner of the world.

kleinbl00  ·  377 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Some observations from a consumer that has never had to work foodservice but has consumed plenty:

- Servers on the West Coast make between $7 and $15 an hour plus tips. Some restaurants point this out by noting that a gratuity has been included, or that the final bill will include a 15% gratuity (they can pay wages out of that gratuity). Some don't.

- Every service industry fight I've ever heard about (I've worked bars, but not as a server) has been between front of house shafting back of house. Computerized point-of-sale terminals split non-cash stuff based on preset rules; restaurant owners can also get a cut of the tips pretty easily, whether or not it's legal.

- Los Angeles servers are trying to make the rule of thumb 20% for mediocre service and 25% for standard service. You will get a credit card receipt suggesting tips for 20%, 25% and 30%. They're also making $10.50 an hour minimum. This has had two effects: (1) I go out to eat very little in LA because fuck y'all (2) counter service and communal tables are super-hip because you can shove more people into the restaurant and pay fewer servers. Fuck communal tables. It was awesome. There's a restaurant in Long Beach where they tried to seat me outside at a communal table and I said I was eating somewhere else. Six months later the communal tables were gone. Fuck communal tables.

- Cracker Barrel may rule. Olive Garden sucks.

I always try to tip more than 15% too. But if you've convinced yourself that you're entitled to 25% (on an $11 "sangria" made with white wine and a $18 "pizza" that's basically a pita covered in Costco sausage and ragu) I will fuckin' eat tortillas and government cheese you fuckhead.

God I fucking hate this city.