CommunityPam's House Blend

Question of the day: tipping

When we go out to eat, we often strike up conversation with the waitstaff because they do work hard. Most we’ve encountered deserve a good tip. Often we see other tables that stiff the waitstaff or tip poorly, and it seems to be rampant.

I wonder – do customers just not care or are they ignorant that waiters and waitresses earn very little base (one told us $2.13/hr.)? They really do have to earn their living on gratuities. In full-service restaurants, waitstaff have told us that tips are pooled and split in varying percentages by class of staff – servers, busboy, host, etc. Some waitstaff do a lot of side work (rolling silverware, making sure coffee/beverage stations/ice are stocked, etc.) and do bus their tables. All, in all, they do work hard, and we almost always give 20%, and minimally 15%, even if the service is marginal.

The sad thing is, a good tip must not happen too often, because waitstaff always seem to remember us when we come back — and they treat us well, and are friendly because we do ask about their work — when they seem the approachable type (that’s more often the case than not, because it is the South, you know). 🙂

I did leave a penny one time. It was when I was out of town (I think in Roanoke Rapids, NC) and stopped at a breakfast joint. The waitress there couldn’t be bothered to even refill my tea, never checked back to see if I needed anything, and spent the majority of her time chatting up this table of men right next to me, who looked like they were regulars – and who brought their own cereal to eat. All they bought was coffee. So I left the penny. When I went to the front to pay, all of a sudden the waitress appears and throws the penny on the counter and says “You forgot something!” Nice.

Anyway, what is your tipping philosophy? Share any good/bad experiences.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding