The Taxman Cometh

“No dessert Waiter,” the man on Table 32 says, reaching for his wallet.  “Just bring us the check.”

“Perhaps some coffee, tea, or cappuccino?” I ask, trying to add another dollar to my tip.

“No thanks,” the man’s wife says. “We’ve got to get over to our accountant’s office to review our return. We’re gonna owe this year.”

I look at the wife, surprised she divulged so much information. On closer inspection, I notice her face is a taut mask of anxiety. She’s caught in the grip of a stress that only comes from worrying about money.

“Hard to believe it’s time for the taxman already,” I say, for lack of something better to say.

“We don’t know how bad it’s going to be,” the husband says, speaking like I’m not even there. “Let’s wait until we review the return.”

“We’re not getting a refund like last year Herb. We’re just not.”

“Try and relax Phyllis.”

“I can’t.”

Knowing that I might as well be a mannequin at this point, I go to the POS machine, print up the check, hand it to the man, run his credit card, and return with a pen.

“Thank you, sir,” I say, placing the check presenter on the table. “And have a good evening.”

“You’re welcome,” the man replies.

“Did you do your taxes yet?” the wife asks me in a shrill voice.

“I’m all set,” I reply.

“I hope you don’t owe.”

Since I’m not discussing my personal finances with a customer I just shrug and say, “I’m looking forward to my $600 stimulus check.”

The man laughs ruefully. “That’s a drop in the bucket.”

“Indeed, sir.”

The couple gathers up their coats and leave. When they’re out of sight I go to the table and open the check holder. My tip on a $63 check? Five lousy bucks.

I feel a white hot spurt of anger surge up my esophagus. This wasn’t a mistake. This couple is so anxious about money that they decided to stiff me on the tip. As I watch the couple walk down the street, I silently pray that the karmic hammer of the IRS falls on their heads with righteous fury.

Assholes.


Comments

The Taxman Cometh — 245 Comments

  1. Holy CRAP! First commenter!! WOOHOO!!

    Yeah – I gotta think (hope?) that’s some bad karma for them. The things we do when under stress really reveal our character.

  2. Funny thing – they said they were “going to owe this year”. Don’t we ‘owe’ every year? The only question left for most is did you give the government more than you owe in taxes last year or did you give them less?

    Scary part about taxes is you can ask 100 people on the street how much they paid in taxes last year and probably 99 will not know or say something like “I didn’t owe this year, I’m getting a refund”. Good lord.

    Things would be a lot easier with the Fair Tax plan. Check it out: http://www.fairtax.org.

    No matter how bad your taxes are, waiters are people too and deserve to be compensated for making your dining experience pleasureable. I rarely tip less than 20% if the server is efficient and pleasant.

  3. That sucks, Waiter. If they’re so worried about money then what they hell are they doing at Cafe Machiavelli anyway? Try Denny’s next time.

    Leaving a 20% tip may not be mandatory but it’s sure as hell expected, especially if you get really good service.

    Always take into account if you can leave a decent tip when trying to figure out if you can afford the meal.

    -Trinity

  4. I was out to dinner with my mom and sister the other night and had horrendous service (an hour later, we didn’t have our food, but every table around us that came in and ordered after ours had theirs) and the incompetent woman still got 15%. If she had been pleasant and apologised for not putting in all of our order, she probably would have gotten more, but repeatedly blaming the kitchen when she forgot part of the order was not kosher.

  5. oh, i bet they’re ripped with cash too. like, one of those couples where if their bank account dips just under around $10k they start panicking.

    must be nice to panic in the company of a big number like that. aye.

    maybe if they’re so “broke” they shouldn’t even go out to eat in the first place. jdlka;gh.

  6. When the revolution happens, these people will be the first type that get their head on a pike, after government officials.

    Gas goes up, food goes up, everything goes up…except the working class wage. Minimum wages get raised up 2 bucks an hour, but nobody higher up the ladder sees the same raise.

    The class war is coming. There’s too many of us angry, poor and downtrodden to not have one.

  7. Less than a month ago you were complaining that nobody was going out to eat… Surely $5 is better than $0..? (unless you had a full section and customers waiting)

  8. I’m trying to figure out if your description of their quotes was verbatim or not. Their conversation seems entirely bland, and that’s not your usual writing, so I’ll have to assume that’s what they actually said.

    Now, with THAT being said, you know that they were going nowhere near a tax man and that they put on a lovely little show for you just so they could cheap you. Who doesn’t love dinner theatre?

  9. If their taxes are so complicated that they use their accountant (not something like turbo tax) and they have no idea where they stand going in then the karmic hammer of the tax preperation fee should scare they more than the possibility of paying the IRS.

    See waiter, proper karma is already in process

  10. I can’t believe that! If you’re so worried about money, then DON’T GO OUT TO DINNER! Geez, people can be so freakin’ stupid. And you’re right, they ARE assholes.

  11. @ gunther

    You do realize that servers don’t make shit on their hourly wages, right? It’s a service industry and they make their living from tips.

  12. Gunther…. go asphyxiate yourself on a long hard, phallic object. Unless you’ve ever been a server making less than minimum hourly wage, you have no room to talk.

    I feel your pain waiter. It happens to me all the time. People will start bitching about how broke they are right before I bring the check, and then that’s when I know…. It just happened to me last night as a matter of fact.

    Seriously, if you can’t afford to tip your server, DON’T EAT OUT.

  13. Chances are, they probably tried to stiff the IRS as well. Only the taxman can come get them whereas you can just hope the power of the universe eventually repays their miserable attitude. Which clearly it already is :)

  14. They did tip their waiter – almost 10%. It’s not like they didn’t leave anything/totally ran out on the bill. Maybe it really was that bad for them and this was going to be their last chance for a bit of luxury for a while and they wanted to make the most of it

  15. As soon as they started complaining about taxes and money, you should have known you were gonna get stiffed, Waiter. That being said, a bit of sympathy would not be amiss. The economy pretty much sucks for everyone right now.

  16. yeah that’s messed up! if you can’t afford to eat out, cook at home!!! pack urself a sandwich and don’t waste the time of the restaurant staff. although i’m not sure i agree with your last statement — i think i hope it won’t be that bad for them because then maybe on some level they’d feel remorse for not leaving a proper tip. if they get hit hard, in their mind it would be justified to tip poorly in light of nearing tax expenses.

  17. I love your writing, and check for updates nearly every day (since I hate using RSS feeds and all of that). But I actually have to disagree with what you wrote this week.

    I know how much it sucks to get stiffed on a tip like that… I worked long enough in service to have experienced it many times. But at the same time, you have to show some compassion. I know that my parents started their own business out of our tiny townhouse when I was just starting school, and my mom would always send me off and pick me up every day, and dad would come stop working at 5 to eat dinner and spend time with me… and then they would both stay up late into night to keep working.

    Often, when they were stressed, the only thing they could do to get even an hour to unwind would be to go out and eat. These people seem like they are a bit more well off, but they seemed to be similarly stressed. Maybe they just wrote the first figure that came to their mind and left, preoccupied. Maybe they didn’t stop to think about the percentage, and thought that $5 sounded like a decent tip, without factoring in the more expensive bill. They didn’t DECIDE to stiff you on the tip, it just happened.

    I’ve heard similar conversations to theirs many times from my parents, and knowing that, I hope that they get a good tax refund this year.

  18. First, gotta high-five poster Clay upthread for posting the link to the Fair Tax site. I wish more people would take the time to learn about and understand this idea. People should NOT be taxed on what they work so hard to earn. Please click the link!

    Not to sound like a broken record here, but another wonderful post, and you really have a way with words. Can’t wait to buy your book and help put some money in your pocket!

  19. Yeah, you do sound like a whiner. You were complaining that no one was eating out. Five bucks is five bucks. But I guess it’s blog material.

  20. I just wanna know if your book is gonna be made up of stories like the ones that appeared on this site before the book deal, or the ones from after, cos personally if I were your publishers and still reading this site I’d be worrying right about now. The old Waiter was witty and clever and had a human side to his posts. This new one is pompous, arrogant and supercilious. Get over yourself and go back to the Waiter that had people flocking to this blog and actually won some awards for his writing

  21. well… I do understand him (the bad tipper) to some degree…
    He said: “Just bring us the check” and still you had to try to sell something more… that would annoy me too, maybe even as much as to reduce the tip, depending on how it’s done.

  22. Interesting to see some discussion on both sides of the fence. When I delivered pizza, the compensation for which was largely based on tips, I suffered from the miserable tippers also. However, I also benefited from the generous and the high. I would sometimes get tips in excess of 100% just because people couldn’t do the math, or were too stoned to know what they were doing. You take the good with the bad. I am now a cubicle dweller. I get a salary. I don’t have sudden drops in my paycheck, but I don’t have surprise bonuses either. I also don’t get to sit and read when things get slow, but then I also don’t have people barking orders at me all day. Oh wait, I do.

  23. I silently pray that the karmic hammer of the IRS falls on their heads with righteous fury.

    Oh, that’s good. You’d rather them not come in?

    Out of curiousity, did you do $5 worth of work? less? more? did they run you? where they rude and abusive? you didn’t mention any of those attributes, so I’d have guess they wheren’t rude, abusive and didn’t run you.

    Stuff happens. Perhaps this was the Karmic Hammer falling on you, Waiter? or is that impossible?

  24. ergh. Next time don’t be confident. They probably thought you were in a better situation than they were.

    Hope things are looking up and stuff.

  25. Probably wasn’t the wisest idea to title off your stimulus package to them; but at the same time the y’re probably upper-class tax evaders who in a time of this economic downturn actually HAVE to pay their taxes for once.

    In any event, they should not have stiffed you like that.

  26. I suspect I know the type: asset rich, cash poor. They live and die by the cash flow. If they get hit with a big one, they have to liquidate something, maybe take a loss or gain before they were ready to.

    So they actually feel poor, though they’re not. Out of control, yes, and thus panicky, because they’re used to control. But they can control one thing, and that’s your tip, so they do. Even though it’s a mean-spirited and meaningless gesture.

    If there’s one thing to take from this, it’s that these two are privileged potted plants who’ve felt the hothouse door open a little and the cold air come in. Give them your contempt, but spare your anger. Better for you.

  27. Totally stunned people, worried by money, still go and eat out! It’s one of the first things I take off my list when cutting back…

  28. Gordenjcp-

    In the US. you have to file your taxes no matter what- it’s not like how it is in the UK. In fact, the US is the only country that makes its citizens that are living in other countries file taxes on income earned in that country.

    I live in the UK, but if I earn over a certain amount I would owe US tax on top of the UK tax even though I have no intention of living in America again. . .

    Good times.

  29. I think they staged the whole thing. Whenever someone suddenly starts talking about something and you get that “why are they telling me this” feeling, they are usually trying to work you.

    And it is sad that there are losers out there who actually plan their excuse for not tipping well by setting up a reason, in this case the tax-man.

    I would venture another thought, but it is a racist one so I won’t post it on this blog but I’d be curious to know what ethnicity or religion these people were.

  30. So here’s the thing. Sucky tips… suck. At least your restaurant didn’t close suddenly without any notice or time to find a new job. That’s what happened to me. I worked Saturday and all was fine. Now I am supposed to be at work except that our owner skipped town and locked the doors. Now I’m taking finals and trying to worry about cash flow. It’s a bad situation.

    I’d take the $5.

  31. Bethany: I am sorry for your troubles. I hope you do well on your finals and find a job to get you through.

    Tax anxieties hit the high and the low. I prefer to break even as I then know that the government has not had free use of my money — wasting it no doubt — when I could have used it myself. Waiter, my guess is maybe you had some axieties yourself and the $5 was just the last straw. You’ve been stiffed even worse before without getting as riled.

    Cheer up, pally. Once those books start flying off the shelves and the royalty checks come in and you sell the rights for a movie or TV show… you will never have to wait tables again!

    But you may end up with a giant tax bill! : )

  32. I’m not a big fan of the idea that most wait staff will deem 20% tips as mandatory and will get in a huff if they don’t get it. Although, it does take a lot of bad service for me to stiff on tips.

    BUT I do think the customers stiffed you. As someone else pointed out, they could’ve gone to Denny’s. McD’s even. But they chose to go to Cafe Machiavelli. They were able to choose to afford that and unless you’ve left out some part in the story were you were a horrible waiter, I agree that they stiffed you. No class.

  33. Nicole – so why not just get an accountant? They’re relatively cheap, and if they don’t at least mostly pay for themselves when they do your tax return, then they’re not getting the job done. How much is your time worth?

  34. Gordonjcp-

    Lots do. Or I always used an online software called Turbo Tax- However that doesn’t stop you from needing to write a check to Uncle Sam April 15th if you haven’t paid enough during the year however. . .

    Sometimes it will go the other way and you get a refund.

    It depends. . .

  35. We never get the other side of the story.

    Maybe the service was lousy or slow. Maybe he sneezed on their entree. Maybe his condescending tone rubbed them the wrong way. Dumbass, incompetent waiters are a dime a dozen.

    I reserve judgment until the other side is heard!

  36. Gordon,

    I would have to pay an accountant at LEAST $200 to do my taxes. It takes me an hour while I cook dinner to do them. So instead of watching a repeat of Friends, I do my taxes. Why should I waste money paying someone to do something for me that I can do for myself? (I am not self-employed.)

    Waiter,
    Better tips next time. Hopefully the stimulus check will stimulate some people to eat out (and tip well).

  37. I agree with what everyone else is saying. From all your other posts I gather that Cafe Machiavelli is pretty expensive, and they should’ve just gone elsewhere if they didn’t want to tip the proper percentage. The more expensive the meal, the higher the tip. Yes, maybe they were stressed, but it’s still not an excuse for forgetting your manners.

  38. Bethany @ #45-

    Hang in there girl! My restaurant closed 2 weeks before Christmas this past year. Same deal, no warning, no nothing. I worked there for 7 years and I was floored. These things almost always are a blessing in disguise. :)

    Good luck on your finals!

    cookgirl

  39. with success, apparently, comes a hell of a lot of criticism. seriously, who leaves a comment JUST to call the author of a clearly successful blog and soon-to-be book a whiner? or to argue that 5 on 60+ is not “stiffing” the waiter? or to say that they really hope the book is old stories not new stories. or to say that the people may not have “DECIDED” to stiff you but it just happened. please.

    these people should get a life, or go write a blog. you don’t like it, click another link. then go to a nice restaurant, complain about the free bread, order some fucking diet tonic water and chicken no sauce, stiff your waiter and die alone.

    great story.

  40. “I silently pray that the karmic hammer of the IRS falls on their heads…”

    Good one Waiter ;)

    ==

    I know from the context the “POS” is the ordering machine thing. Just curious what the acronym stands for–for me, “POS” only means one thing [you won't have to work to hard to guess! ] ;) lol

  41. so for anyone who does not know how being a server works…this is for you…at the end of a shift one way or another you find out how much you sold that shift…we have to claim all of the credit card tips as part of salary…it has to equal a certain percentage of our sales…it is by no means free money…and we do depend on tips because after paying all the taxes on the credit card tips we get…we have a paycheck that says void…yes this is true…has happened to me alot…

    im all for the if you cant afford to tip..find a drive-thru..

    i hope this adds to some understanding as to why a $5 tip on a $63. bill is like being stiffed…

  42. That is pretty brutal. But think of it this way – the couple might have gone out to dinner thinking it will be their last night out in a while. While $3 extra bucks shouldn’t have been a big deal to them, I wouldn’t let it bother you so deeply. If we’re going to talk Karma, compassion would be more productive than hoping a hammer falls down…

  43. I love paying taxes. I love having libraries and cops that come when you call and teachers, etc. etc. “Oh but the gov’t wastes my money!” Well, guess what, they haven’t wasted more of my money than I have! I lived 10 years in a country that doesn’t have personal income tax, and you can have that. Me, bring it on!

  44. Waiter, that’s ridiculous! The nerve of some people. If people can’t afford to give a decent tip and all they complain about is owing money, then they shouldn’t be out dining in the first place. Those type of people truly get under my skin. I have been faced with so many unhappy customers that complain about the price of our restaurant, yet they love the food and the service. I only wish I could tell them off.

    Waiter, I hope that is the last time you will have to serve that couple again.

  45. Did my panicking about taxes yesterday. E-filing is wonderful, first time I tried it.

    Turns out that the only time you have to worry about owing taxes is when you’re underwithheld.

    I’m guessing they each have a job and weren’t adjusting their withholding to account for the marriage penalty. Either that, or they had extra income and had spent it already. I’ve been burnt by that a few times.

    All of which is to say,

    1) It’s a bit late to be worrying about this folks, you should have thought of it earlier, and

    2) Don’t go out and then stiff your waiter if you’re worried about money. There’s not much connection between saving $5 by stiffing the tip and having enough money to pay your taxes.

  46. I may not be eating $63 meals when I eat out, but rest assured the waiters who wait on me get a proper tip. Nuts to that couple!

  47. Good god, Daisy, you couldn’t be more wrong with your comment. It’s actually a great deal of good writing when you can ascertain the writer’s true feelings from different periods of time in his/her blog. It’s been a horrible two weeks (or so it seems) for the waiter, and you just assume that now his entire mentality is that of a superficial, pompous asshole. Well, when it comes to putting up with shitty management, crappy tippers copping out to taxes for their own frugality, and all the other crap that gets dealt to anyone who works in the food service industry, I think he deserves the right to post maybe one or two blog articles solely on how awful working in the profession can be. If you can’t weather the “storm” he’s going through, and at current time sharing with us, you don’t deserve to judge, mock or degrade him with your petty comments.

  48. I am so glad we don’t have tips in Australia. I only ever tip if the waitress/waiter goes above and beyond what I think is necessary. But then, I think they get paid a lot better than their American counterparts to start with.

    Tipping confuses me. I thought the rule was 10% until I started reading this site. Thank god I’ve never been to America, or I would likely have been thought of as “that cheap Aussie bitch” wherever I went!

  49. I think something is going around, Waiter, because I’ve been having a hell of a week, too.
    I really wonder why obviously well-off people think it makes them look good to act like they don’t have a dime to their name. I just feel embarassed for them. Do they think they’re fooling anyone?

  50. I am a little taken aback by those commenting that you should be grateful for the $5 on a $63 check. I wonder how quickly someone would bitch about receiving $5 for a completed project at work.

  51. Hm. The last bad tip I gave was at a Chinese restaurant in New York. The tofu was sour. I didn’t think tofu could really spoil until then, when we asked for a new plate and they gave us an even bigger platter of spoiled tofu.

  52. Does anyone ever question the whole tipping system? Why should adequate service entail a gratuity rather than a wage? Do you tip your brain surgeon? What’s up with this that causes rants like the Waiter Rant? Not that it isn’t sort of fun to read, but there’s an underlying weirdness about the whole economic picture.

  53. I m with Waiter in hoping the Karmic Hammer via the IRS smacks the couple right between the eyes.

    Sub 10% tip BEFORE the Waiter pays tip share (I pay 3% out in Texas so I can ASSUME Manhattan has a higher percentage for its tip share) is INEXCUSABLE. Waiter still has to declare 8-10% of the sale as income to keep the IRS off his ass.

    To pull this shite after whining and being visibly concerned about their tax situation is ludicrious.

  54. I taught my daughter the importance of tipping properly from the time she was 13 or 14 yrs old. Like other mothers of kids that age, I dropped her off at the local casual dining restaurant one evening to meet her friends. It was a big deal for her then because they all felt like “grown-ups” out for an evening of dinner and fun together. Before I left her at the door, I asked how much cash she had. She had just enough to probably cover her meal with apps & dessert. I slipped her an extra fifteen bucks and taught her how to figure a 20% tip and to make sure that what she ordered left enough to cover that amount. I also gave her the run-down on being a gracious and respectful diner. Respect for other diners around you – no horseplay or obnoxious behavior, don’t run your server ragged over refills and tedious special requests, always say thank you when they bring what you ordered, and most of all treat that server and the establishment with respect. She is now in the food service industry in management training and does her job very well. It’s sad that most people are never taught this when they are young. My mother taught me about tipping properly and she was from Europe where tipping is not a common practice. Teach your children!

  55. Heh, I somehow suspect that the negative posts are all the same person.

    I had great tips tonight and then my very last table with a 153 dollar check left me… 4.50.

    In other words, I PAYED (Because of tipout at the end of the night) 45 cents to take care of the table ><

    Le sigh, hehe.

  56. in australia, waitering is a profession, and professionals do things according to what is expected of them–without tips. can you educate us why tipping is such a big deal in the u.s.?

  57. Because in the US waiters make about half what minimum wage is set at because it’s assumed that they will also make tips. Which we do, don’t get me wrong, but the tips are our source of income, not our hourly wage. At best the hourly winds up paying most (some) of the taxes that are taken out.

  58. i’ve only been in the U.S. (NYC) for about 7months… and I thank sites like Waiterrant (which I started reading a couple of years back) for teaching me what to tip and WHY i must tip :P

    i usually tip between 18%-22%.

    And yes, if you can’t afford the tip, don’t eat out. It’s so much cheaper to cook! $63 for 2 people?! They could just as easily have popped into another cafe/restaurant and pay 1/2 of that cost.

  59. i hate people like that…you can cook an amazing meal for that much or even eat at mcdonalds where the tip is not expected. and that they tried to play the bad tip off as worry that they are not going to be able to pay their taxes. Fine dining, dining out at all for that matter, is not a necessity, even though there are some that will argue that. bitches

  60. So glad we don’t have tipping here in New Zealand. I wouldn’t know what to do. I think waiters should be paid a decent wage in the first place.

  61. @jamesgreater:
    That’s what the comments are for; so that the readers can give both positive and negative opinions, you craven douche. How would a blogger ever know if what they were writing was complete garbage if only positive commenters (which, for some, might just be their mothers) wrote responses.

    In that spirit of free commenting, I’m just going to tell you that I’m not going to read your blog anymore, and as a person who has been a faithful reader for a long time, I have to tell you why.

    The one (very unpopular) person who said that they hoped your book would only have pre-deal writing in it was right, but for the wrong reasons. I don’t agree that the book deal actually had anything to do with the change in writing, but whereas your first posts were original and interesting, I’ve personally found your later writing to be stale, and at times completely pompous and arrogant. So I wish you the best of luck, and if I hear good things about the book maybe I’ll check it out.

  62. anger waiter… anger… not experienced that from you in a while…

    though a good post, i do agree in that they were working you over…. sorta a preparation for the worst.

    fuck em’

    you go the book

  63. @James

    Wow man, ease up. You can express opinions in a civil manner either way. It just so happens that when an opinion is negative, it is often coming from someone ignorant (not used as a negative term here) of the service industry. That, or it sounds like an angsty 15 year old found this site and is out to make people mad.

    Opinions are great either way, but they should be made in a constructive manner. I hardly see “craven douche” as constructive. (Though very funny… I’ll have to call one of my fellow servers that some day for fun ><)

  64. My tip on a $63 check? Five lousy bucks.

    I feel a white hot spurt of anger surge up my esophagus. This wasn’t a mistake. This couple is so anxious about money that they decided to stiff me on the tip.

    And yet funny how they could afford the $63 check. Maybe if they’re so ‘poor’ they should eat in a bit more. If you can’t afford the tip, you certainly can’t afford the check, which is far larger.

  65. for the furtherance of my education:

    is there a service tax imputed in your american meals?

    why don’t waiters raise up the legal issue of implementing a minimum wage for waiting? is this difficult to lobby in your congress? if such move is not even welcomed, exactly how much do waiters earn from tips? honest answers please.

  66. I’m a bartender at a sports bar. Our prices have gone up twice in a year “because of gas prices.” We don’t get raises on our $2.13 an hour because “If prices go up, tips go up.” Screw that noise. Guests just shaft us because they don’t HAVE to tip! The true crap part of it is that there are a lot of VERY nice people who either don’t understand the tipping process or don’t have a lot of money and are trying to treat themselves to a meal every once in a while. It’s hard to hate people for cheating me on my rent when they’re actually nice…

  67. Not telated to the post, but : What should you tip (in USA) when the service is below par, you wait and wait, your food takes forever, not a smile or and helpful input from your waiter at all? After eating you feel like your waiter has spent perhaps 5 minutes on your table at most. If your tab is $100 it seems bizzar to me to pay 15% or $15 for that amount of work.

  68. Booply – I’ve read this blog through from the beginning – and there’s been plenty of complaining along the way. The early days were amusingly (and very well) written, and they fully conveyed the waiters emotions when he was being left crappy tips or had other stuff going on in his life that was less than perfect. These days it seems that his posts are trying to portray an image of the waiter as this really cool guy above and beyond what used to be the meat of his posts. How many of the last few months worth of posts detail what was going through his mind while he’s standing there casually sipping a perfectly made espresso? What happened to the conversations he used to have with the kitchen staff? or even the customers? Seriously, the guy needs to get over himself and go back to the person he was… Stop letting the (once well-deserved) success go to his head.

  69. Nice to see all you waiter-haters out there. ‘He needs to get over himself’ ‘$5 is better then Zero’

    If you can’t stand the truth, get off the blog.

    Period.

    Go AWAY.

    This site isn’t FOR YOU.

    Go start your own blog and see if you want to read people complain about your life. Get over YOURself.

  70. I delivered pizza for several years and I am always amazed that I averaged about a buck a stop in tips and that is for driving across town.

    Waiters get considerably more for just walking across the room. I don’t begrudge the 20% tip but it could be a lot worse.

  71. I’m sure the 7 bucks or so that they could’ve left Waiter is going to really help pay that tax bill. (I’m being sarcastic, in case it doesn’t translate!!)

  72. Considering I’m actively trying not to throw up on an hourly basis about taxes, I have some sympathy for them.

    That being said, don’t go out to eat if you can’t afford to tip. I have some lovely lentil recipes for them if they want.

  73. It’s certainly not you, Waiter. Not that it is really any consolation, but at least you know it’s not the service you gave. In fact, I’m fairly convinced there’s just a group of people out there who, for whatever reason, feels it’s appropriate to tip $5. I’m a waiter right now, too, and even when people tell me how great everything was, the tip is sometimes very crappy. No matter whether the bill is $47.50, $37.60, or $51.00, the tip will be $5. These people probably feel it’s large enough for you to notice but small enough that they aren’t stiffing you entirely, but what they fail to realize is that it’s probably going to screw you over in the end because there’s a set amount you usually tip out or, in my case, have to tip out to bartenders, hosts, and bussers.

  74. well, here in outer mongolia the chef just throws you your food from the kitche-

    WHO CARES?

    This is a blog about a waiter in the United States of America. The references are American and the assumptions are those of American tax, employment and tipping norms.

  75. Speaking as a tax CPA, it always irritates the hell out of me when people go off about getting a refund. You should never be in a refund situation. That only means that the government has had free use of your money for the year. A tax refund is the poor man’s savings plan. Smart thing to do, pay in 90% through the year and pay the remaining 10% at tax time. That way you can at least have some earnings potential on the 10%.

  76. You know, I was not expecting that ending. I have been reading your blog for a while and I have ‘seen’ you do some nice things for people and have nice things done for you (ie Jimmy in the previous post). I am not about to tell you how to do your job, but maybe you could have brought them a coffee on the house and maybe you would have gotten a better tip. I am sure that you are a great waiter, but they were obviously stressed about money, like most of us are these days, and a little bit of kindness goes a long way. Karma does come around full circle and even if you think you are on the short end of the stick extending kindness to someone and not having it returned, it will come back to you someday.

  77. Sami-Ann…

    You wrote “Gunther…. go asphyxiate yourself on a long hard, phallic object. Unless you’ve ever been a server making less than minimum hourly wage, you have no room to talk.”

    So I have to have been a waiter before I can critique anything about the practice of tipping? Ok. You have to survive being boiled and then held underwater before you can have an opinion on tea.

    I’m sorry, but Gunther is right. Complaining about being tipped less than 20% is old. First, it doesn’t even bother to address why the tip should be based on the dollar amount of the meal (as if the steak I ordered was more work for the waiter than the salad my friend ordered), and second it reeks of an entitlement mentality.

    Waiter…I love your blog, and read it every chance I get. However, you may wish to save the tirade on poor tips. All they seem to do is point out, in a rather revolting way, the entitlement attitude that many seem to have. Tips, or gratuity (coming from the word gratitude), are a sign of extra thanks for a job well-done. Just because one expects a tip all the time does not mean they are entitled to what they expect.

  78. Oh My.. I would have left $12 at least.. I can’t even imagine stiffing that poorly. This is America for crying out loud. Don’t these people realize that people live and eat off tips. Geeze.
    I don’t want my “tax stimulous rebate check in the mail”.. I’m going to owe that back next year aren’t I?

  79. The font you’re using now is hard to read- it looks very pale and broken. I’m young and I’m having a hard time reading the site now.

  80. There seems to be an awful lot of confusion as to how tips work in the U.S., and why you should pay someone extra for “doing their job.”

    Here’s why. For the majority of servers, their only income is tips. Understand? They may receive a very small (way under minimum) hourly wage, but because of taxes and so forth, that paycheck is VOIDED before it gets to them. Tips are their only source of income. You don’t tip your brain surgeon or your plumber or whoever because they receive a regular salary. Waiters do NOT.

    If you do not tip your waiter, for whatever reason (the food was bad, the meal was too expensive, you didn’t bring enough cash, you just forgot), your waiter gets NOTHING for all the time he spent serving you.

    And for those saying that they don’t tip, or tip poorly, when the service is slow or the waiter screws up the order, let me ask you: have you ever had a bad day at work? Have you ever been tired, sick, or grouchy, and just couldn’t give 100% to your job that day? Seriously, who hasn’t? But did your boss say, “Wow, you’re not on your game today…sorry, you don’t get paid for the work you did today.” That’s what happens to waiters if customers decide not to tip.

    Also, reducing the waiter’s tip because the food was bad is horrible. He didn’t prepare the food. Complain to the manager if the food was that bad; don’t dock your waiter’s salary.

  81. If dining out is part of my life style, then I am entitled to it for as long as I please. Moreover, it’s justified to do what’s in my power to keep it the way I like. If that means stiffing a person or two along the way, so be it.

    Don’t we all feel this way from time to time? Maybe it’s not dining out. Maybe it’s something else.

  82. Breathing is not mandatory either. Be happy you can still breathe.

    People who talk about the gratuitous aspect of gratuity have never worked in the service industry nor know anyone who do.

    Sure you can comment on it whether or not you do, but don’t you research a topic before commenting so you sound intelligent?

  83. i don’t have time to read all your comments so I hope this isn’t a total repeat of many. What brought to mind was a thought I had as a waiter, when receiving tips like that is why can’t waiters make a decent wage without having rely on a percentage tip to supplement their income? These people had a bad day, they wanted a night out, and then subjugated their stress and money anxieties on your services.

    I think the blame lies with the industry as a whole and then trickles down to the individual consumer. Damn greedy cheap restaurant owners.

    :sighs: there goes your trip to the Seychelles.

  84. I have been in the service industry for many many years now, and I have gotta tell you that, there have been times when money was really low, but If I decided to treat myself out the tip has always been included. How can you really seperate the 2? If you can treat yourself out then your saying I want to look and feel good. At least that is how I feel I want the waiter to feel good because I feel good. I appreicate being waited upon, instead of being the “waiter”. Oh with that said there are us of the service industry that think they should get tips even if they don’t provide a service. Ie in my experince cab drivers. My fellow co-workers and I where catching a cab to our hotel, the cab driver did not get out of the cab to help us with our luggage either at the origin or the destination, he just popped the trunk. He then expected a tip, and when I just paid the fare I was cussed out. He didn’t provide any service except for the one I was paying for so no tip.

  85. There are lots of people who don’t understand what life is like for those who work. Many who went through the Great Depression are still sharing its lessons with those around them. My mother in law thinks a two dollar tip is appropriate no matter what the bill. My husband and I have to work hard to sneak an appropriate tip onto the table making sure she doesn’t see, because she will take home what she views as excess. This woman also gave her 12 year old grandson a five dollar bill in his birthday card, when he’s good enough to get a birthday card. And yes, most likely she will find a way to take her money with her when she dies, because her family would just be wasteful with it. One of her joys in life, besides telling us everyone’s latest disease and illness; is sharing how she gives her excess, unused medicine to friends who can’t afford to see the doctor or pay their mortgage. She enjoys telling us how generous she is to others who “have it rough.” She also tells us how much things cost, because we live in some oblivious world where all our needs are taken care of by magic gnomes and cleaning fairies. I wish I was joking, but I’m not.

  86. Hey there -
    Working for tips sucks, but what really sucks is working a minimum-wage job in America – tips are just a buffer for an extremely tiny, slice of all employees.
    Of course tipping should be about thankfulness – for good service. Ideally we as a nation should be generous enough to pay waitersFor that matter landscapers, caterers, bussers, cleaners, and everyone else – an actually livable wage. Ideally we as individuals would then tip for above-average service, and thus encourage it.
    Unfortunately, it seems that some type of dependency is nescessary, in both directions.

    In england, for example, waiters are paid better, don’t need a tip, and give very poor service. Customers, perhaps knowing the service-person is being paid a fair wage, don’t tip.
    In america, waiters are paid a shitty wage, and so are tip-dependent, and so go out of our way to give good service. Customers, in turn, know that tipping is expected.

    To me this inspires three questions:
    Would the removal of the wage gap also remove any incentive for workers to give good service?
    Conversely, would americans be generous enough to tip for above-average service if they felt workers were already being well-paid?
    Thirdly, why do we only tip waiters?

    My opinion? If waiters didn’t need tips they wouldn’t work as hard – they don’t in england or ireland. But that’s ok. Maybe then employers would be more selective about who they hire for the front. It’s more important that everyone get a decent wage than that I get a crouton-less salad.
    Unfortunately, I think americans, and citizens of every other first-world nation, are such cheap lazy bastards that they would never tip if they didn’t have to (unless they were really hitting the town).
    It puts the lie to the ‘caring’ sytem that most people don’t tip anyone but waiters and sometimes bartenders. Other service workers and labourers work just as hard for their money, often in much less comfortable and safe conditions (waiting… in the rain with a cahinsaw… anyone?), but we ignore them because its convenient.

    Many jobs pay poorly, and it’s obvious what they are; unfortunately many are without other options. Some, though, including ‘waiter’ here, aren’t! If he didn’t want a shit-pay job dealing with cranky, cheap people… he should have chosen differently.
    I stand for the rights of labourers everywhere to recieve a living wage, but I also say that those who had other options shouldn’t complain, constantly, in forums filled with like-minded people – it’s tedious and self-indulgent.
    It’s also filler. I think ‘waiter’ has run out of things to write about.

  87. In response to poster tipping point, and others who ask why a regular minimum wage isn’t paid to waiters and waitresses: not only do our employers not want to pay it, but we’d actually very likely make out worse with a flat wage!

    I can’t speak from fine dining experience, but in the casual dining atmosphere where I’ve waitressed, I doubt there’s any way my employer would pay me a wage equivalent to what I make in tips, even on a bad day. Minimum wage in this state is around $7/hr, and I have never once worked a normal shift (i.e. didn’t go home sick or somesuch) where I didn’t make at least that minimum wage through tips and my $2.63 an hour combined. On average, I make maybe $15 an hour all told.

    The restaurants I’ve worked in don’t even pay their longest employed cooks $15 an hour. There’s no way in hell they’d pay a waitress that much, because there’s a general consensus among employers that waiting tables just isn’t very hard. (It is a lot harder to be a *really good* waiter than they give us credit for, though!)

    Also consider, if our employers paid us what we could make in average from tips, you the diner are going to be seeing your food cost go up to support that anyway. It’s not as though restaurants are making huge piles of profit that they’re just refusing to pay out to the staff. Extra expenses require extra income to meet, and the cost will have to be passed along to the consumer.

    So, you can argue for a “fair wage” for waiters and waitresses, causing your cost of eating out to remain the same as if you had tipped reasonably and causing your server to have less money to live on, or you can just be a nice guy and tip 15-20%, make your server’s day and feel good about yourself for your generosity. Your call. :-}

  88. “we have to claim all of the credit card tips as part of salary”

    “Waiter still has to declare 8-10% of the sale as income to keep the IRS off his ass.”

    Actually, andi and Food Service Ninja, you’re required to report ALL tips as part of your salary, including cash tips. If you don’t report all of the cash you receive, then you are cheating on your taxes. (The fact that you will probably never get caught is not a justification.)

  89. i know that the tip was unfair but at least you don’t have their anxiety problems. i feel like calling them a*holes was uncalled for. even the IRS comment was not really appropriate. they are dealing with something that causes a lot of anxiety already. karma is not only about actions. it’s also about words.

    i’ve been reading your blog for sometime now and i like all your posts. i just had to disagree with you this time. i found it a little harsh.

  90. So you hope they get hit by the hammer of karma and call them assholes for stiffing you on your tip? WEEOOOWEEOOO, hypocritical statement.

  91. Everyone can have an off day at work. I generally love my job as a server but do not ALWAYS love it. Some days it is harder to go above and beyond. Even people who have their dream jobs have off days. Waiter is entitled to have a “cranky, go stuff it up their ass” kind of day. It isn’t always easy being nice to assholes. It isn’t always easy to smile away a “bad tip”. Sometimes you just want to see the asshole in question fall on his face. It isn’t nice and maybe it is a setup for a karmic rebound, but we all have those thoughts that aren’t nice sometimes. The difference is that Waiter shares them with all of us. He isn’t a saint. He isn’t some kind of super-hero waiter. He is a very competent and mostly kind server who is also HUMAN. He has human moods and human ways of thinking. But from my point of view he is amazing because he tries to be a better person and is honest when he fails. More people should take a look at themselves and learn a lesson from Waiter.

  92. Everyone needs to come around to the fact that tipping IS mandatory in the US. When you enter a restaurant for service it is a reasonable expectation you will leave the socially pre-determined norm tip of 15-20%. That is why the waiter shows up for work. Think of it as part of your bill. Yes, it’s unfortunate that the restaurant doesn’t add it to your bill, but society does! If the service is especially bad then you reserve the right to adjust accordingly, but if tipping was automatically added to your check no matter what you would have some rude, lazy waiters doing nothing for your mandatory tip.

  93. I wonder which option the Waitstaff of America would prefer: Receiving a lousy tip from people who “can’t afford to eat out,” or not receiving a tip at all because those people took the advice and decided to stay home…

    Just a thought…

  94. I may date myself here, but I recall a time when tips where considered undeclared income.

    It seemed that when the laws changed regarding declaring tips as income, changes where also made regarding minimum wage for food service workers. Restaurateurs got the benefit of reducing some of their labor costs, while FSW’s watched their incomes dwindle.

    I have worked both FOH and BOH. My mother was a bartender. I don’t believe that you should pay 15%-20% regardless of the service. If the service sucks than you can kiss my ass. I’ll gladly pay for the food, but if you expect me to pay a FOH worker not doing their job. F**k that. I earned that tip money doing my job.

  95. In 1953, after graduating high school, I waited table for a summer. The experience taught me that I would rather serve hard time than serve as a waiter. Back then, the basic rule for tipping was: 10% for a place with no tablecloth, 15% for a tablecloth, and 20% for service above and beyond the call of duty. Times have changed. A year ago, on my wife’s birthday, we went to a highly-touted resort restaurant in Tucson’s Catalina foothills for dinner. The food, the room, the view and the service were excellent, beyond reproach. The bill for the two of us, including 20% tip, came to about $300. This is perhaps no big deal for the Big Apple, but rather pricey for this cow town. No matter. We had a great meal, and the tip was appropriate to the price. I have no sympathy for people who under-tip. The tip should be an expected part of the whole experience. Hell, I can cook, and now that I’m retired, we go out only as a special treat for special occasions. But when we go out, we expect to tip appropriately.

  96. My thought- grow up.

    I love to tip well…it’s nice when I can let someone know they’ve done a good job. BUT if I was at a table where the waiter was going to get pissy because he felt he was entitled to more I’d be happy to stiff him. If you don’t like your job conditions work to change them…especially if the good tips don’t make up for bad. The conditions YOU choose to compensate your work are not my fault, and it’s not my obligation to make sure you are happy.

  97. Could someone translate this following Australian dining experience into an American dining experience.

    A friend and I sit down at a reputable, but not necessarily ‘fine-dining’ establishment.

    We enjoy a bruschetta entree each, share a nice Cabernet, I have the seafood risotto, friend has the warm chicken salad. We enjoy a coffee each at the end of the meal. The service is prompt, polite and enjoyable.

    Total cost is $95, and we tip $5 each, to which we receive a sincere ‘Thanks!’

    A friend of the owner tells me that they pay their wait-staff between $12 and $17 per hour depending on experience.

  98. from the comments generated here, i am beginning to understand that in american tip=additional income. in this case, diners are subsiding the income of waiters.

    hello? tips are tips, not income. ventilate your frustration to resto owners who underpay waiters. and rant against the weakness of your industry practices. if waiting is a profession, tip is an appreciation of your service. and salary.

    don’t blame the diners, pleeeazeee, if they can afford only $5.

  99. aussie ben,

    americans have a lot to learn from aussie when in comes to profesionalising the hospitality industry. how can one enjoy fine dining in the u.s. when waiters buzz around you waiting like buzzards for tips. and then complain how stingy you are when they get no higher than $5.

    reform your industry.

  100. Well, most waiters stiff the rest of society on millions of dollars by not reporting their earnings.

    You deserved to be paid a decent tip, but the rest of us deserve not being stiffed by certain groups of workers (and don’t give me the “waiters are poor” speech. The rest of us who make the same salaries pay taxes. Cry to congress about it).

  101. student-the only places allowing the undeclared income you refer to are independently owned places. All chains force you to declare your tips when you clock out of the POS system which in most cases ALREADY has your credit card tips tallied-the VAST majority of diners even at the casual level of dining use cc or debit cards to pay their bills. THUS your premise is moot the ability to under report is taken away. I have even woked in places that do NOT allow for you to declare your tips AFTER tip share THUS forcing you to declare your wages INFLATED by 3-4% of their the REAL TIPS.

    and everyone ignore Tipping Point as he is a tightwad, anal retentive type.

    Aussie Ben -tips =income, not additional income when you earn 2.13 per hour (since 1990) and you pay 3% of every dollar of food and drink sold as tip share, PLUS the US gov wants fed withholding, social security, and Medicare taxes for 8-10% of every dollar of food and drink sold. You wait 40 hours you get a check for $85.20 gross. Deducted from the check will be withholding (federal income tax), social security tax, and Medicare tax based on your reported tip incoome. They add the tips to the $85.20 to get your gross income then do the tax deductions. This will leave the server on avg $0.0 to less than $5.

    For example by August of last year my weekly paychecks had totaled less than $160 which include hours I worked in a job paying a higher hourly wage or it would have been much lower.

  102. From past experiences like this, I make it a point to never look at what they left me in gratuity. I stash the receipt aside and move on. This way, the risk of getting pissed off followed by a negative behavorial change for the rest of the evening is mute.

  103. The labor laws in the US assume that the diner will bear part of the service cost. It’s been explained a gazillion times on this blog so I’m not going to rehash it. It does strike me as cheap that a couple could lay out $63.00 on dinner but not cough up the extra $5 that would have made the tip reasonable and less of an insult. How bad off could these folks have been that they couldn’t have tipped $10 instead of $5? Maybe they needed their last $5 for Starbucks?

  104. It was all a set up. They fished you with the story and thought they had landed a real sucker. They sound like accomplished salespeople to me. No matter how you slice it, they stiffed you. That really is terrible.

  105. Sami-Ann: Please look up the definition of the word asphyxiate.

    Waiter: The tone of the past two blog entries is slightly off from your usual dry wit. I hope all is well with you.

  106. If you can’t stand the truth, get off the blog.

    Period.

    Go AWAY.

    This site isn’t FOR YOU.

    I guess the blog nazi has spoken.

    “If you don’t agree with me, then no opinions from you.”

  107. Hi Waiter-

    I’m sorry your customers were cheap. Nobody likes tax day. I got my first pissy customer at Rock Bottom yesterday, and I’m guessing she owed the government too. I’m ready for May already.

    xoxo
    -Hostess

  108. Waiter,

    The Tax Man cometh and me makes everyone else’s sphincter pucker. Smart people got their taxes done in February- it’s not like you don’t have four months.

    Really smart people stay in if they can’t afford to tip. I used to deliver pizza, and the assholes who liked to flip me a quarter in a tip made me want to go nuclear. Oh, thank ya, that really covers the gas it took to find your poorly lit home with no house numbers in the middle of NOWHERE.

    Ahem, for all the Haters: blogs are akin to public diaries. Being in the service industry is very rewarding, but it can be extremely stressful. If you don’t like what you are reading here there is no one forcing you to read it, and no real need to leave rude comments. There are plenty of other places to take that- 4chan comes to mind.

    Waiter- I hope you bet some better tables soon. Everyone always seems to calm down after tax season. Cheer up- mother’s day is coming up!! :P

    Hope you get a little more time and energy, you sound wiped.

  109. Waiter,

    You have my sympathy.

    And I never realize how many stingy people there are in this world until I read the comments.

    [shudders]

  110. Food Service Ninja:

    see, the root of the problem is resolved not in tips but reforming your salary package. what i am telling you is that you have the voice to ventilate your need for industry reform: ask for a higher basic hourly wage, for steaksake! if you think $2 is pittance, raise the roof!

  111. You sound stressed. I don’t think it was just the tip thingy. Sounds like it’s a bunch of other things worrying you and it’s coming out on bad tippers. Hope you’re better soon. Keep writing though.

  112. I’m merely suggesting that you wouldn’t kick someone when they’re down if you once thought they were your “friend”, giving you insight into their daily routine and showing you the goods and bads of a service industry they pretty much call their livelihood. That is what most people are doing here. Everyone has horrible days, even weeks at work, and even worse people to work for. I see his writing as more of a vent now, sure, but to be true to how he felt at the time, you can’t simply state he was being pompous in his writing, but true to how he gauged himself and his angst about how his customers and his manager treated him. I would rather have someone (this friend) true to his own thoughts and feelings than have him subterfuge his and our intelligence; by lying about or making up his emotions, he would find himself just pleasing us with light-hearted stories, and who the hell wants Martha Stewart all the time after we know what kind of a bitch she really is?

  113. Maybe the diners had a poor experience; maybe the service was slow or unsatisfying and they left a poor tip to show their disappointment. It seems unhelpful to criticise something when you don’t know the full story.

  114. Money is tight, yet they’re able to afford a dinner out? It can’t be that tight.

    Sorry you got stiffed for your hard work at making they’re night pleasant. Too bad they’re assholes and can’t reciprocate by “sacrifcing” a few extra dollars for your tip.

    People have zero perspective on what it really means to have little money with which to live on.

  115. What I find amusing is people’s frustration when they find they owe the IRS.

    Why the frustration? You owe, you pay, you get on with your life. Do you get frustrated when you get to the cash register while shopping? You shop, you take shit, and you have to pay for shit. Logical, yes?

    In fact I think people who owe the IRS money should feel happy because they’ve been using free money for a whole damn year.

  116. Meh, most people are unaware, but claiming 10 is also the best way to save money. Sure you owe more at the end, but it’s better you have your money now than getting a refund check later. It’s the same % taken out anyway, just you pay it later than right away. What the government does, is they put the extra money you lose by claiming less into a bank, and they make interest, whereas you could be making interest on the extra money you’re getting every check, or putting into an ira, cod or working in the stock market. Of course, doing anything but a standard APY interest accruing account may be a bit dangerous, you can still put that extra cash into something more reliable, and find yourself with more returns at the end of the year. Plus, you can even pay your taxes over the course of the remainder of the year, and the interest they charge you comes out to almost fractions of pennies on the dollar, assuming you don’t make like… 200k+ a year or own a business. The government doesn’t charge much interest to people who are working for someone else, but they do tend to charge substantial interest on higher income households and businesses. Just thought you all might like to know these facts, and stop letting the “tax refund check” give you any incentive to not claim more of what you earn every paycheck. It’s your money, why let the government make interest off of it?

  117. I used to work as an orderly in a hospital for minimum wage. Do you know how much orderlies get tipped for their work? 0 as in ZERO %
    Hearing some self-righteous prick complain about not being tipped enough pisses me off every time. Fuck you, waiter. Fuck you very much.

  118. “I used to work as an orderly in a hospital for minimum wage. Do you know how much orderlies get tipped for their work? 0 as in ZERO %
    Hearing some self-righteous prick complain about not being tipped enough pisses me off every time. Fuck you, waiter. Fuck you very much.”

    Now this is an uncalled for response. My guess is, when you were hired as an orderly, you knew you wouldn’t be getting tipped. It’d be no different if you worked as a dishwasher, a driver, or an engineer. Because there was no reason to expect a tip, you would have had no right to be upset at not getting one. Serving tables is a different story, because the tip is part of the job.

    Look, I’ve worked jobs where I would have liked to make more money. Most people have. But it’s pretty ridiculous to say that because you didn’t get a tip for doing a low-wage job when it was never expected, Waiter is being unreasonable when he gets pissed for not receiving a tip.

  119. “Meh, most people are unaware, but claiming 10 is also the best way to save money.”

    Maybe I haven’t been paying close enough attention, but as I’ve claimed less and less as tips, my refunds have gotten bigger. In fact, when I get credit card tips that force me to claim more than I’d like, my paycheck at the end of the week is always not actually a check.

    Do you have the situation backwards in regards to how much the government takes out?

  120. People who don’t get the way tipping works:

    In the US, waiters are paid LESS than minimum wage. Like $2-3 an hour. They are ASSUMED to be getting tips. If you aren’t tipping AT LEAST 15%, your waiter is not getting fairly paid.

    Minimum wage, BTW, for jobs other than waitstaff, is still far lower than an actual living wage. In some states, below HALF of it. So you can imagine what a waiter’s $2-3/hr pays for without those tips: JACK. SH*T.

    Yes, we should all be contacting our goverment officials and/or voting for candidates who intend to raise the minimum wage. That doesn’t change the fact that a waiter who didn’t get tips would literally starve, and that owners and the government expect you to pay the waiters with your tips. (This doesn’t apply to take-out places, btw, as those operate like normal retail, but does apply to delivery – where your tips are instead paying for the uncompensated wear and tear the driver puts on their car.)

    If you can’t afford to tip at least 15%, you can’t afford to go out to eat – at least not somewhere as expensive as you were considering. The waiter, the owner, and the government all assume the waiter is getting that 15% tip, so it really IS part of the cost of the meal.

    And yes, waiting tables really is hard work – you’re on your feet, moving around, making nice to complete assholes all night, and when someone in the kitchen screws up or someone brings in a crying baby, YOUR wages suffer for it.

    Meanwhile, as for the tax system, you have to file taxes even if you make only a couple thousand dollars. An accountant is worth nothing unless you make enough money to take advantage of itemized deductions and such – it’s faster AND cheaper to do it yourself unless you make at least high five-figures, even if you ARE self-employeed. We do, however, have free websites and software that can help.

    And yes, I am bitching about taxes this year, thanks to a evil thing called the self-employment tax, where the government takes $4kish of the $20kish I made, simply because I am paid as a contract employee… and I will likely never see those social security funds either because the system’s about to break down. I’m now looking for a second job, effectively just to pay my taxes on my primary one.

  121. @Starving Artist:

    That’s a good explanation of the tipping situation, and although I now understand it better, I still don’t support it at all.

    If the tip is supposed to be ‘the other bit’ of a waiter’s income, then why do we have a choice about how much we tip (if any). This leaves the achievement of minimum wage up to the customer. Shouldn’t the government be the one ensuring minimum wage is met?

    I’d be more than happy for a “15% wait-staff income supplement surcharge” to be included on the bill, and then I’ll decide whether I’ll give the waiter something extra for the actual quality of service.

    What can I say, the system sucks and should be changed. All I can do for now is promise I will tip at least 20% (in cash) next time I’m in the States.

  122. @Aussie Ben:

    Giving the customers the choice of how much to leave a server leaves a person with a sense of control and power. Americans would not respond well to having that taken away. Not to mention the fact that there are a lot of servers out there that would take advantage of a guaranteed percentage and not even bother going above and beyond the call of duty. There would be no push to do better. Not all servers are like that but there are a lot who are. I think service quality would go down. It is a broken system but it is a system we are used to.

    … and thank you for promising to tip 20% when you are in the States next. It can be so frustrating serving foreigners and knowing the whole time that the chances of getting screwed at the end are pretty high. I love serving people from other countries because it is an interesting change of pace for me, but financially I can’t take the hit more than once a night.

  123. “Waiters and waitresses come into the business for a variety of reasons. How long they stay in it is also determined by a number of factors. But I can almost guarantee that all of them would agree that while they are there, their motivator is the tip. Tips are not just a side perk. They are not an added bonus. For a waiter or waitress, tipping is the raison d’etre of a restaurant, considered an absolute right by those on the receiving end. Thou shalt not fuck with the tip. The tip is everything.”

    -Debra Ginsberg
    “Waiting: The True Confessions of a Waitress”

    This is a great book for anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant and for all those who think they understand what it is like but don’t.

  124. If the tip is supposed to be ‘the other bit’ of a waiter’s income, then why do we have a choice about how much we tip (if any). This leaves the achievement of minimum wage up to the customer. Shouldn’t the government be the one ensuring minimum wage is met?

    my point exactly, aussie ben. instead of whining against customers (why stop people from dining if they can’t afford to tip–is dining primarily an experience of tipping?), whining against your government. last i heard, u.s. is still the bastion of democracy.

  125. “An employer may credit a portion of a tipped employee’s tips against the federal minimum wage of $5.85 per hour effective July 24, 2007. An employer must pay at least $2.13 per hour. However, if an employee’s tips combined with the employer’s wage of $2.13 per hour do not equal the hourly minimum wage, the employer is required to make up the difference.”

    Might be tradition but it isn’t the customer’s responsibility to push you up to minimum wage. The entitlement you feel might also be seeping through causing some to downsize your tips.

    Hope your book deal takes you places. You are too bitter to continue down this career path, if you are indeed still a waiter.

  126. Gee waiter, I hope that they just did the math wrong and didn’t deliberately stiff you.

    and to Clay, isn’t A progressive national retail sales tax an oxymoron. Retail sales taxes by their nature are regressive and not progressive.

  127. “As I watch the couple walk down the street, I silently pray that the karmic hammer of the IRS falls on their heads with righteous fury.”

    You wish for evil to be visited upon a couple because their monetary situation did not allow them to show more gratitude.

    My, we have fallen far from our days in seminary.

  128. Tips are important to waiters, and waiters are usually not responsible for delays to the customers.

    So, why are tips still at the choice of the customer? Why not just price the meal and give the waiter a salary, or percent of bills served, with no tips for usual service?

    The customer can give 5% more if the waiter does something special, and can complain to management if he got bad service.

    So much easier. Do waiters support the current system? Would they shirk their job if they didn’t have to work for the tip? The tips are spread around in many restaurants, and the waiters tip the busboys. So, why all these internal payments? Most businesses don’t work this way, so why restaurants?

    Really, who is supporting the current system for restaurants?

  129. I second some people’s comments above. We don’t get tipped for doing our jobs. We work hard for our money. It should be at our discretion how much to tip you. You didn’t specify how well you served the table…maybe you deserved the tip you got. You’re an author now… screw the anonymity, start doing some shows and appearances, quit your job and start making better money so you don’t have to whine about it here. Or does that then mean there will be no more waiter stories to talk about?

  130. Waiter’s writing is stiring up some real anger here.

    Who says entertainment can only be lighthearted bullshit? Negative thoughts and emotions draw just as many addicted audience!

    Keep up the good work, Waiter!

  131. “I second some people’s comments above. We don’t get tipped for doing our jobs. We work hard for our money. It should be at our discretion how much to tip you. You didn’t specify how well you served the table…maybe you deserved the tip you got.”

    Nonsense, absolute nonsense. The reason you don’t get tipped for your job is because it’s not expected for your job. We don’t tip doctors, lawyers, accountants, assistants, or retail workers, but we do tip waiters, deliverymen, and other people like that. This is nothing new, unless you’re recent to the U.S. Don’t pretend otherwise. It is up to you how to tip, because nobody can force the money from your hands, but the standard fifteen to twenty-percent tip is customary. It’s common courtesy for someone who did a good job with the table.

    And if there was a problem with the table, Waiter would have mentioned it. Of course, if there was a problem, he wouldn’t have written the post, because he wouldn’t have been surprised by the tip.

  132. They can afford a $60 meal but not even $10 more for a tip? That’s some bullshit right there. Those people make a lot of money and they spend every penny.

  133. Speaking of taxes… how much of that 8% tip do you plan on declaring Waiter?

    It is fair to say that most, if not all, service providers don’t declare all their tips. I know that there is some sort of minimum that service workers are compelled to declare… however my server friends all seem to laugh at how little this amount is when compared to how much they took in overall in tips over a year. Funny… none, zero, zilcho, $00.00 of the income I earn in a year gets paid to me ‘tax free’.

    Next time you rip some customer for leaving less than 14%… consider that the 14% you get is roughly what most workers get AFTER TAX on their paycheques!

  134. There are a few of us out here who do in fact claim all of our tips as income. The other servers I work with are always shocked, but each and every day I claim exactly how much money I’m taking home, despite the fact that the system at the restaurant I work in only requires us to claim 12% of our total sales.

    Many of the people I work with simply don’t understand that by law they are required to claim *all* of their tips and not just that 12% number, and I always explain it to them when asked why I claim so much. There are practical reasons to claiming your full income, too- if you were ever to need disability or unemployment payments or a home loan, for example, you benefit from your income on paper being as high as it is in reality. Even after being told this, however, most people I’ve worked with choose to keep the short term (and rather insubstantial) benefit of owing a little bit less in taxes for the year.

    I may be alone in this, but as a waitress I definitely *do not* support getting rid of the tipping system. I would definitely suffer by it, and customers certainly wouldn’t see much benefit. Sure, it irks me when I give a table good service and they give me a less-than-standard tip, but I’m still fully aware of the fact that on average I’m making good money for the amount of time that I put in, and I’d rather not give that up for a guaranteed lower hourly wage.

  135. Seriously, those who question the tipping system in the States just don’t get it and all of you that come from other cultures where tipping is not understood should just get over it. The system is what it is. It would take a huge upheaval of our economic structure to change a system in which servers are paid for their SERVICE by the customer! Americans are (or should be) used to paying that extra service charge as a part of their entire “dining experience”. I, as a patron, feel very comfortable with being in the position to enhance a server’s pay as I see fit. I would rather tip a great server 25 to 30 percent for an enjoyable evening than pay a fixed price for a great meal with no ability to give feedback to the server or the establishment via my tip percentage.

  136. @ Ama
    BTW Ama, you hit the nail on the head – You are the kind of server that we, as managers, are happy to have in their employ. You know your pay is directly in proportion with quality product and the service you provide. That motivation in combination with good management supporting you is fundamentally equivalent to the perfect dining experience. That is what American Fine Dining is all about!

  137. “You wish for evil to be visited upon a couple because their monetary situation did not allow them to show more gratitude.”

    Give me a break. This is a couple who saw fit to drop $63.00 on a meal for two people, not a couple that scraped together enough for two McDonald’s value meals. Being careful with money in responsible ways means carpooling, using the library instead of buying every book and bringing at least some lunches instead of always eating out. Undertipping is just passing the money problem to the next guy who in fact did his job.

  138. They can afford to spend $63 on a meal, but they can’t afford to leave a decent tip? Ridiculous. If you can’t afford at least 15%, you can’t afford to eat out. End of story.

  139. What makes me giggle is the people who spend their time reading the blog, and then complain about the contents, as if it’s some sort of ‘debate’.

    Just another reminder that the right to freedom of speech guranteed no-one that their speech would be intelligent, appropriate, or appreciated.

    I love people who listen only because they are waiting for their turn to speak.

  140. $5. on a $63 bill? i’m admittedly cheap – though i try to tip at least 15%, more if it was good service – and even i know these people are raging assholes. i hope they DO owe uncle same a TON. sorry for the jerks.

  141. Join the club my friend. I’ve been getting stiffed because of other peoples economic problems steadily for the last month. For me it seems: people can’t afford to go out to eat. people don’t want to give up the luxury of a meal out. people don’t want to suffer for having to pinch pennies. So people stiff the server, and don’t feel any repercussions themselves. Thank you US of A.

  142. Complaining about being tipped less than 20% is so old.

    Get over yourself.

    He wasn’t even tipped 10%. 10% of a $63 meal would have been $6.30.

  143. Waiter – ever thought of moving to Australia? In a major city a guy with your experience would be on $30hr mimimum PLUS tips and benefits like superannuation. Owners are screaming out for staff and from what I’ve read on your blog it’ll be like a holiday from asshole managers and asshole diners. Seriously if you have Barista or Silver Service training you will have no problem getting a visa.

  144. Let me ask. Would those of you that work as waiters/waitresses rather have customers coming in making low tips, or no customers at all? Want a guaranteed decent wage then maybe wage laws need to be changed? I don’t necessarily defend what this couple did, but a lot of people are really hurting right now and from what I’ve been reading the restaurant industry is taking a beating.

  145. You are uneducated doing a food job, you should be so lucky you don’t work a minimum wage job where you don’t get a tip. If you need the money so bad go work at a warehouse.

  146. OK, wait…so $600 is just a drop in the bucket, but they don’t have a second thought about gyping their waiter out of a couple of bucks? Assholes is right!
    And to all these people defending them because “everyone’s got it hard right now,” well, not everyone who has it hard goes out to a restaurant for dinner. If you’ve got it that hard, stay home and have a fucking tuna fish sandwich!

  147. So you can tell they are hugely anxious about money but you’re pissed that they didn’t give you more tip? $63 isn’t much of a bill, sounds like they had a minimal dinner, probably because it was on the way to their accountant. I suppose you think they should have gone to burger king instead.

    I don’t think they are the assholes here.

  148. My husband and I don’t make a lot of money, but whenever we go out to eat we make sure we have enough money to cover the meal and a good tip. Usually, we tip 25%, but it’s not uncommon for us to tip 50%. We tipped a full 100% before, when the poor girl, who couldn’t have been more than 17, was clearly having a horrid day and nothing was going her way. We won’t hold it against a server for how the other patrons behave, or if the food comes out wrong, because that’s not their fault.

    HOWEVER, last night we had the rudest, nastiest waiter we’ve ever encountered. Even though it wasn’t visibly busy, it took a solid 15 minutes from the time we were seated to when he walked over to us to tell us his name, another 20 before our drinks got to us. I had ordered a Sprite; he brought me a Coke. When I asked him to change it he rolled his eyes at me and said “Can’t you just drink that?”

    He would snap at us, roll his eyes at us, tap his pad with his pen and glare at us when we were trying to order.

    After we ordered (straight off the menu, with no special ordering or substituting), it was an hour and fifteen minutes before we flagged him down intending to ask him about our order. He came over to the table and said ” what do you want?”

    My husband finally had it, and said “your manager at this table now.”

    So my question is: why should he have gotten tipped ANYTHING? If I had behaved at work with my customers the way he did, I’d be in jeopardy of being fired, not just shorted or out a tip. I know he makes less than minimum wage, but I don’t think we owe him a penny for the way he treated us.

  149. @Kinsey

    As a server I have a problem not leaving 20% every time I eat out. My one exception is when a server is rude, hostile or out right nasty. You should not have left him anything. Speaking to the manager was the correct thing to do in such an extreme situation.

    You should have asked your server what was going on with your meal after 30 minutes. Be proactive.

  150. This was interesting…

    “Perhaps some coffee, tea, or cappuccino?” I ask, trying to add another dollar to my tip.

    As a professional waitress I never try to upsell and I sure as hell don’t brag about it. I get tips based on my performance not on how much I can sell. That means I have to be good at what I do. America could learn a lot from Australia in that regard. Our waitstaff are paid PROPERLY and tips are a gratuity, not an obligation. I feel sorry for customers in the USA who have to put up with snide waitstaff and have to PAY for the privilege.

  151. Most of the restaurants in South Beach (Florida) automatically add 15% gratuity to the bill (whether a sniper, deuce, four-top, etcl.).
    Most of the waitstaff in Europe receive high enough salaries not to rely [entirely] on tipping due to a 7-12% “service” charge (gratuity pendant onto waitstaff) included in the bill or calculated into the price of food and beverages alike. The majority of customers tip an additional 2-10+% depending on country and culture, for the most part.

  152. @ square

    Great comment. People should be warned how important in the process of preparing food is this holiness – bringing food to the table and intruding with stupid questions on coffee (if I want it, I’ll just tell you) really is a holy job. Get over it and get another job if you’re so nervous, Waiter!

  153. There are practical reasons to claiming your full income, too- if you were ever to need disability or unemployment payments or a home loan, for example, you benefit from your income on paper being as high as it is in reality
    Another really important one: when I was going to school, Maryland required a minimum income to be considered for in-state status when figuring college tuition. Skimp on declaring your tips and suddenly school was 3x as expensive because you paid out-of-state tuition

  154. @Ilze

    We are required to ask if you would like coffee at the end of a meal. It is the same in the beginning when we have to ask if you would like a beverage. It doesn’t matter if one server is doing it for a bigger tip or just following orders from owners or managers. At fast food places they ask if you want fries with your meal and in restaurants we ask if we can get you a cocktail or a coffee.

    As a server I do not try to up-sell for the sake of a buck extra on my tip. I offer what we have and don’t flinch if you say no thank you. I do not feel comfortable pushing a sale but some servers do. The owners/managers are VERY big on the up-sell. I get around it by offering but not pushing.

    Don’t be so quick to blame the server for offering. Everyone has a right to say “No” or “Yes” to something offered. However, with that being said, I too do not like the pushy servers who try and up-sell at every turn. It is kind of a vicious circle with servers, managers, owners and customers. A lot is going on behind the scene that is unseen by the rest of the world.

  155. WTF, waiter?!? why all the hate? we’re in the service industry. we deal people like this all the time. stop being so sanctimonious and drop the sense of entitlement. a tip is a tip is a tip. no matter how small. seems you’ve been a waiter for too long. (bitter, party of one?) you’re totally living up to the WaiterRANT name.

  156. “Why are American waiters so greedy? Why do they feel entitled to a gratuity for doing their job?”

    Uh…maybe they are paid mostly by tips, because in the US there is a very strong norm of tipping and thus a waiter’s salary is less than $3.00/hour because it is assumed they’ll be paid via tipping, and that’s not changing anytime in my lifetime? Not tipping or seriously undertipping is like asking someone to run three or four errands for you and then refusing to perform even a small favor for them later. I know it’s elsewhere in the world but the norm is that strong in the US. Honest. So over here your comment sounds like “Why do people expect others to do them a favor after they’ve helped the others repeatedly?” or “Why do people get so mad when someone takes advantage of a naive or young person?” Or maybe even “Why doesn’t someone read the 3,000 explanation of how tipping works in the US before getting on their high horse and criticizing waiters?”

  157. Hey Waiter,

    I think a lot of your stuff is pure fiction. Embellished for the sake of entertainment. And I really like it. You’re a great writer. I don’t mind the attitude too much, and I like when my waiters ask me if I would like this and that. I don’t really care what their motive is. I just like them to be men, hot, and attentive.

  158. If you can’t afford to tip, don’t eat out. Especially since we get fucked over by taxes since we’re living off of your fucking cash.

    People don’t understand how much it sucks to be a waiter. Thanks for trying to teach people a thing or two.

  159. Hey Ava,

    Waiter’s stories are not fiction. As a server I can tell you that I could have written a number of his stories verbatim. We couldn’t make this stuff up. Believe me it is more true then you think. Sad but true.

  160. Oh Come on. He’s some clever guy sitting in Nowhere North Dakota, watching the cooking channel, and hoping one day his excellent writing will break him out of his dusty little town, so he can actually go to New York and eat in a restaurant like he has created here!

    He’s brilliant.

  161. Ava, you are someone who has never served tables before. But if I am wrong and you have served tables before then you are lucky to not have had the same experiences as Waiter or any number of us servers who love to read his blog have. The reason I love Waiter’s blog so much is the fact that it reflects my own experience serving tables so closely.

    He is a brilliant writer. I agree with that. He is able to write something with honesty and insight and inspire people to comment about it 214 times. But make no mistake about it, what he writes is true to my experience of serving. More true then you can imagine.

  162. Well, he’s very handsome. Oozing with Charm. Has a little temper, but it’s really just his smoldering sexiness not being put to proper use.

    And yes Server, I too read this blog because it brings back memories of my days in Chicago. I plan on getting the book to take poolside this summer and laugh and laugh!

  163. “So is it the waiter my employee, or an employee of the restaurant?”

    Well, that’s an interesting question. The waiter is an employee of the restaurant but rather than the waiter’s salary being reflected in the cost of the food, the customer pays the waiter directly. This is understood to be the norm in the US. However, unless stated otherwise in the menu or at the hostess station, the customer is not compelled to tip.

    In some areas (not sure how widespread this is, maybe others can comment) the income tax paid by the waitperson assumes a certain percentage of tipping based on sales, which means that if someone stiffs a waiter, the waiter has actually ended up paying to serve that person since he/she still has to pay taxes based on the person’s bill. If the waiter has provided good service, this hits him/her twice: he or she could have served a table that tipped appropriately in the time it took to serve the non-tippers, and the non-tippers’ bill will still be reflected in tax deductions. The “salary” paid the waiter serves mostly as the basis for withholding taxes.

    A customer in the US is not paying the waiter twice by tipping. If the US went to a no-tipping salary system, menu prices would change to reflect the additional cost to the restaurant owner.

  164. “If you can’t afford to tip, don’t eat out.”

    “A customer in the US is not paying the waiter twice by tipping. If the US went to a no-tipping salary system, menu prices would change to reflect the additional cost to the restaurant owner.”

    Both of these comments suggest (again) that the business owner is entitled to hire staff at WELL below the base rate because their patrons will take up the slack.

    This does not occur in other industries. The employer makes a living out of the labour of their employees, yet they think it’s acceptable to pay their employees an appallingly low wage and ask their customers to make up the difference.

    I’ve been a waitress for 20+ years and I have always appreciated the tips I have received. But my tips are based on performance. It makes me fume to read how American waitstaff assume that they are entitled to a tip no matter how bad their service is.

    Sorry folks. Over here, you get tips based on whether you deserve them. And you get paid because you are an employee with employee entitlements.

  165. Well, in the US the restaurant is legally entitled to hire staff for very low wages. They are one of the few businesses that are not subject to the minimum wage. I for one don’t see that going away soon…the idea of tipping for service is entrenched in US culture.
    I don’t understand how the patron is “taking up the slack”. He or she pays either way. If waitpersons were paid a reasonable wage, the patron would have to pay more for the food because menu costs would have to reflect increased labor costs.
    I’m not defending the system; this is how it is. But how is expecting a tip no matter how bad the service is (not that I think that’s the norm) different from getting paid no matter how bad your service is? Are there no bad waitpersons outside the US? Remember here the “tip” IS the payment and some have argued here that this is an incentive for better service.
    Part of the waitstaff fuming at undertippers, I think, is pride. In addition to the $$ issue, the patrons are saying in effect that the server wasn’t doing a good job and if that is not the case, I imagine it’s insulting.

  166. To all the servers in OZ- Come work over here for awhile and you will understand. Don’t judge us until you have been in the trenches with us.

  167. As another (former) waitress from Oz, I wanted to add a couple of thoughts to this interesting discussion.

    I also think that staff should get paid properly by their employer, not directly by their customers. If I turn up for a shift it is not my fault if the restaurant is having a slow day (or week!). In the tip-dependent system evident in the US, the waiter will make hardly any money for slow shifts, and yet they are still at work. Such shifts can easily eat away your expected earnings. I hate the devolving of responsibility from the employer to the customer for providing the waiter with their basic wage. If you can’t afford to pay your staff decently you don’t deserve to be in business!

    As others from Australia have said here, for us tips are a bonus, not a matter of pure survival! Having also been on the other side, travelling in the US I also find tipping irritating and pointless. I would rather the restaurant charged me a higher price and then it is my choice if I felt that I want to leave extra because the service was particularly good. I don’t want to have to do mental calculations constantly to make sure I am making the minimum requisite 15% payment in addition to total bill.

    Some waiters have commented that they would rather not have a higher wage and give up their tips, which suggests either they are doing well out of tips, or they fear that no one will tip if wages are better. In Australia people still tip, even though wages are decent. But the tipping is not compulsory so it is a true, unexpected ‘sign of appreciation’ for good service.

    Regarding whether waiters do not try if they do not live off tips, I don’t think that is true in Australia. I generally get very good service. Where the service is not up to standard, that is up to the manager/owner to keep an eye on, as their business will suffer as a result of poor service. Customers who do not get good service complain, and waiters who do not give good service do not keep their jobs.

  168. To all the servers in OZ- Come work over here for awhile and you will understand. Don’t judge us until you have been in the trenches with us.

    apparently, it’s you who needs to go down under and learn how an effective system works: no complaints from waiters and customers who are willing to pay good money for meals that already factor in service tax. no one’s judging here, just comparing notes.

  169. The saying “If you can’t afford to tip, don’t go out” is all good and well, but if noone goes out, restaurants shut down and everyone’s out of a job. While it sucks that waiters are underpaid, getting SOME money has to beat getting NONE.

    Also, the tipping structure is bullshit. Staff wages should be incorporated into all meal prices, and no tipping should happen. That way all staff are paid guaranteed wages and there is some form of stability in that area. People will still eat because a) everyone gets hungry and b) noone wants to cook every night of their life.

  170. Two additional things I omitted from my previous comment:

    1) Tipping should be scrapped because of the income tax factor. If income tax is calculated on what somebody THINKS waiters have earned, but people are stiffing them and paying under this amount, waiters are essentially being OVER taxed. Which, for low income earners, sucks balls. Proper wages should apply and so too correctly calculated taxes as a result. This would also save tax evasion in the instances where people are consistently tipped very well (25%+).

    2) Money not great in waiting / hospitality? Get a new job.

  171. Waiter, you sound like a pompous asshole in this one. READ some of your feedback from loyal readers – you sound pissed off at the world, not just the people in this posting.
    I’ve watched your creative writing flourish, was riveted and now I think you’ve got a book deal and are updating this site just so you continue to draw traffic to it and therefore, possibly sell more of your books. Fair enough, but you’ve lost a reader. You just sound like a fucking jerk to me at this point. I’m actually sad about it.

  172. The way I see it, I go to a restaurant and have to pay twice: first for the food as in the bill, and second for the service, as in the tip.

    I understand Waiter’s frustration, I think everyone would. Not nice to be stiffed for money you feel you have worked for.
    However, from a customer’s POV who doesn’t have a lot of money: I don’t mind tipping, but I am not happy to pay for something twice. It is your industry, if it’s bad then do something about it. Demand better jobs, etc.

  173. Most servers need to claim at least 12% of their sales as income.

    If every person only tipped 8% then the server would need be paying taxes on income he didn’t earn.

    Can you imaging having to fill out your tax forms to calculate tax on $30,000 when you only made $20,000?

    Not only do servers not get minimum wage but they are taxed on tips if they make them or not.(in many cases)

  174. Pingback: Andy Blackburn & Friends» Blog Archive » Tipping at restaurants

  175. Why do people continue to leave comments about how other people don’t get tipped for doing their jobs so waiters shouldn’t expect to be tipped either?
    How many times will they need it explained to them before they get it through their thick skulls?!
    The people who don’t get tipped for doing their job make enough money to live. We as servers DO NOT. At least in Wisconsin our employers pay us $2.33 an hour.
    Why don’t you try living on that and ONLY that?

  176. There seems to be quite a lot of anger towards those who’ve posted without knowing the tipping culture, so I won’t go there. However, for those who have said that if a %15 service tip (or similar) was written into every bill then certain waiters would take advantage, whatever happened to having pride in your profession? I’ve been to other countries where the ‘service tax’ is mandatory and received excellent service everywhere I went. If you’re not doing your job properly, you deserve to be fired. I only hope that when I’m in the states later this year that I feel compelled to pay the expected 20% by similar service!

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  178. I bet a lot of people would feel a WHOLE lot different if “The Waiter” in this story was their son, daughter, wife, mother, brother, etc.

    Of course you think Waiter’s being an asshole when it doesn’t really matter to you.

    Waitstaff LIVE off their tips. I tipped well even before my sister became a server and told me how hard it is. If jerks stiff my sister, they in turn stiff my nephew since she cares for him alone.

    And before anyone says she should get another job…she is paying her way through school and this works for her.

    Jesus, just be nice to other people. We’re all human.

  179. I hate when that happens! Sometimes people don’t understand that most of our income is made off of tips. I think everyone should work in food service at least once in their life, just so they know how it feels to get stiffed on a tip.

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  181. OK, i know we have lots of labour problems here in Australia as well, but at least noone goes home without a wage after waiting tables all night – why? Cause waiters make a decent wage before tips. Tipping here is completely optional (but generally polite when you have received good service). I read Waiter’s explanation in a previous post of why he would RATHER work for tips than for a flat rate, and it seems to me that he sort of wants it both ways. If you want the security of a decent wage, then you might have to forego the idea that people will hand you mega-bucks on top of that. If you want the big tips from big clients, you sort of have to take the bastard-tippers with that. I worked for years in a bunch of different retail and service jobs and I can tell you what I would prefer. That said, heaps of waiters I know in posh restaurants actually make huge tips ON TOP of their regular wage (which is enough to live on without tips). I think the USA needs to take better care of its waiters and service staff- not just to ensure better living conditions for them, but to stop this weird parasitic rivalry where waiters and patrons are out to rort as much as they can from each other. Over here, as you don’t expect to be tipped a percentage of the bill, there’s no need to push extra food and drinks on people to get a decent tip, and also no need to give better service to high payers than low payers. Makes for a more relaxed night for all involved I think.

  182. @ Brain (comment #54, 4/17/08)
    Wow. I’d like to find some artistic way of calling you an idiot… but you’re really not worth that much thought are you? I’d like to see someone who is this quick to get pissy over a blog post, wait on an impatient eight top. Kid, if can’t read a post without getting mad, you’d be crying an hour into your shift on a busy day as a waiter. A tip is non-verbal thank you. It’s measure of how people in the service industry feel appreciated. Why don’t you think about (if you’re going to list off all things you don’t get in your profession) not getting bonuses, weekends off, nights off, paid holidays, health care, credit for being intelligent, etc. Should I cry about everything I don’t get with my job? Talk about being “self-righteous” you inept moron. Go eat a bullet.

  183. The whole USA tipping seems to me very unprofessional. In fact, it even seems abusive and threatening. “I will only treat you well if I can get money from you and if you don’t give me the money I want then watch out!?”. What sort of business would employ someone who does that? I really think these workers should get a flat rate like everyone else. If it’s not enough, get a new job.

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  185. I’m also an Aussie, but I live in Canada now and I have served in both countries for a number of years. I generally prefer to work for tips- it is really nice to have that safety net with the high wage, but there is nothing like coming home from a busy night with $200 in your pocket. Having said this, right now I work in a chain restaurant, that’s unfortunately next to a bad part of the city. Most of the people that go in there generally leave around 10- 15% on the bill, and I’m happy with that! I don’t expect a 20% tip, but it’s really nice when it happens. I am however offended when somebody leaves less than 10%. Its just plain rude and ignorant! You hear the words recession, broke, taxes every single damn day, but don’t you people understand that if it’s hitting you guys (IM TALKING TO THE BAD TIPPERS OUT THERE RIGHT NOW) then it’s probably hitting us worse!!! People don’t go to restaurants as much when money is tight, obviously, so servers don’t make as much in these times obviously. So what the hell makes you think that you can go to a restaurant in these times and fuck with the servers by stiffing us on bills? We have bills too, we have rent and we need to eat like everybody else, except our wage depends almost completely on you! If you think you can afford to go out to eat, then ask yourself if you can afford to leave a FAIR TIP (absolutely no less than 10%) and if you cant afford to do that, then there is no way you can afford to go out! Also, treat us with the RESPECT, just because we serve you food and drinks, doesn’t mean we are stupid or second class citizens, most of us are in school, or have degrees, or just wanted a change in place. Generally it’s a fun job, and decent money, we are working in these places because we want to, not because we are too stupid to get a job anywhere else. So fuck off all you drunk douche bags who want to yell at us because we cant change the TV to another sport channel because other people are watching it, and to hell with you people that order a well done steak and freak out and talk to us like we are the biggest idiots in the world because its been 20mins and you still don’t have your steak, and to all you mumblers out there don’t speak clearly when you order, but also don’t listen to us when we REPEAT the order back to you, then freak out and complain that we are stupid and incompetent, NO ITS YOU THAT IS STUPID AND INCOMPETANT, AND ITS YOU THAT FUCKED UP YOUR ORDER!!!!!
    Respect, decency and a fair tip is all we want from you, that’s not too much to ask.

  186. 108.just my penny wrote on 04/16/08 at 8:34 am :

    If dining out is part of my life style, then I am entitled to it for as long as I please. Moreover, it’s justified to do what’s in my power to keep it the way I like. If that means stiffing a person or two along the way, so be it.

    ITS PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO SHOULD JUST STAY HOME… AND IF YOU DO OUT OUT, THEN WE AS WAITERS RESERVE THE RIGHT TO FUCK WITH YOU… IM NOT GONNA RUSH TO TAKE YOUR ORDER, IM GONNA GO TO EVERY OTHER TABLE IN THE RESTAURANT, THEN MAYBE FOLD SOME CUTLERY, CHECK THE BATHROOMS ETC, THEN MAYBE I WILL GET ROUND TO U. AND AS FOR YOUR FOOD, PICKY BASTARDS, OOOOOHH, YOU SAY YOU ARE ALLERGIC TO GARLIC, WELL, EXTRA GARLIC IT IS!!! AND, I REALLY DONT CARE THAT YOUR RUM AND COKE HAS BEEN WAITING ON THE BAR FOR 10MINS, IM GONNA GO TAKE 3 OTHER TABLES THEIR ORDERS AND MAYBE THEN WHEN THE ICE HAS MELTED SOME MORE, I MAY RUN IT…
    BY THE WAY, JUST MY PENNY, HOPE U HAVE A NICE MEAL!

  187. I’ve read through every post and comment up to this point, it just occurred to me (because of the untypical 244 comments on this one) that the book must have been a success to draw so much interest. There’s no doubt I’ll be purchasing it (along with a few more copies as gifts) after I catch up with all the other posts. My take on the tipping is that the service people are in a no win situation with the way their compensation is set up. But I’ll expand in another comment after I get current. You’re a good writer and an exemplary person, waiter.

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