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Topic: TippingIsit always req< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 12:15 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I need you folk's unbiased opinion on this. The other night, eight of us went to a restaurant for dinner.  We had reservations for 6:00 p.m.  We showed up at 5:50 p.m.  The place was crowded with nary a seat to be had.  I knew we might have wait a while.  At 7:00 we were finaly seated after standing for an hour.  At 7:50 p.m we were finally served - one hour and fifty minutes after our reservation.  I was not happy and would have left except I was overruled by more patient members of my party.  Here's the kicker.  The place automatically added 18% for a tip.  I may be old fashioned but I still think a tip is  a reward for good service.  A hour and fifty minute wait to be served, especially when you have reservations, is not good service  IMO.  I would have raised the issue or maybe left a dollar to make my point, but my sainted wife, who is much kinder than I, talked me out of it.  What say you?  Was the 18% tip warranted inthis case.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 12:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Would have left after waiting 20 minutes past the reservation time. Restaurants take advantage of good natured folks like you. A quality placed would have made you aware of the seating issue right a way and given you a choice with a discount coupon you could use on a return visit if you decided to leave. Also, they should have given all your party some type of freebie while waiting and extra perfect service during your meal. Please go on Yelp and write these folks up so others won't have to endure this rude treatment.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 1:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Withholding the tip does not punish the restaurant.  It punishes the wait staff--who get paid less than minimum wage to chase after things for you.  You should have talked to the manager and they probably would have deducted something from the bill or given you a voucher.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 1:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I doubt very much that it was the wait staff's fault you had to wait for your meal.  50 minutes from the time you sat down does seem like a long time to wait for food, but they cannot deliver what the kitchen does not put out.  Not tipping them does not deliver any message to the cooks, or management.

Yes, tipping is required.  18% added to parties larger than 6 seems to be the norm.

Now that you are feeling a bit calmer, you should call the restaurant and ask to speak with the manager.  Tell them how disappointed you were with the entire experience.  Maybe they were just swamped and did not anticipate something.  Maybe they had staff call in sick and could not get any other help.  Cook staff can make or break a place, so management needs to know what you experienced.  They may comp a future visit, or at least a meal.

That should not be the goal, however.  You should be able to quietly tell them how it made you feel, and they should tell you what efforts they are taking to ensure no other patrons experience that.  Chefs are hard to come by, but good cooks can be trained.  Been There, Done That.  


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 1:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I would have left the premises after waiting 15 to 20 minutes, and the question would not apply.

Otherwise, as No_granola said, "Withholding the tip does not punish the restaurant.  It punishes the wait staff. . . ." Who is responsible for reservations? Not the wait staff, is it?

Incidentally, I think allowing food-service establishments to pay less than minimum wage is unjustified. If food-service employees do the work, they earn the wages. If they do not do the work, they haven't done the job. They risk losing employment.

Plenty of other businesses in the service sector employ people that do not always provide pleasant and efficient service, yet they do not have to rely on discretionary tips from the customer. Why should food service be different?

Tips are traditionally discretionary, allowing the customer to reward good service. Making them mandatory at a certain percentage tacked onto the bill indicates that management has taken on the entire responsibility to reward or punish good service. So they can not justify paying less than minimum wage.

In other industries, employees that do not do an adequate job are not paid less than minimum wage. Instead, they face discipline or firing. I suspect relying on tips is an archaic excuse to pay women less than they have earned, since traditionally, in many locales, the wait staff was primarily comprised of women.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 1:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

A reservation for a table at a time is a contract with the establishment.  I would have walked after 15-20 minutes.  

I do agree with the thought that you don't punish the wait staff for mismanagement.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 2:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yes the 18% was warranted. That's likely there because too many people walked out stiffing the waitstaff, which is pretty common in areas with a lot of tourists who seem to figure they're never coming back so why not save some money.

Under those conditions I'll give the waitstaff a heads up we've been delayed in being seated (to flag some extra attention would be appreciated during the meal). They can't compensate for what they aren't aware of. The delay is from the staff not giving the bums rush to people who were seated ahead of you (and how would you react to a hovering staff pushing you out the door to keep to the reservation schedule?), who've extended their meals beyond what the house had calculated, that's not something to punish the table people for IMHO. Now the delay between placing our orders and being served should be explained and or mitigated by the waitstaff and their treating that as normal would be something I'd consider reduceing the tip for, but not by a dramatic amount.

I'm a habitual good tipper (I start out expecting a good time and plan on tipping accordingly, deductions are made as things don't work out, or bumped even further if my high expectations are exceeded) and I support those large group mandates as I'm constantly with groups who have enough cheapskates as to make me uncomfortable, or beyond when my generous tip (earned in my opinion, I'm not a patsy) is used as an excuse for another to just about not tip at all: my favorite is when they pull money out in reaction to my contribution, in effect reducing MY tip. There are people I'll dine with where my tip is dropped on the table as we leave to prevent that sort of obnoxious behavior.

The only thing I think is fair for those automatic tip amounts is that the policy be clear and openly announced and not a surprise.

If its a place you'd like to return to I'd agree with giving the management a call. Though if it's some tourist trap that doesnt live on repeat business they won't care.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 2:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It wasn't a tourist trap.  Perhaps the wait staff wasn't to blame but we never got a word of explanation or apology from the waitress other than they were busy. I have an underlying feeling that she kind of screwed up and forgot about us placing other orders first.  One thing that really bothered me is that there were several other parties that came in after us and were seated and served considerably before us.  Also, they had a significant business with takeout.  We saw a lot of orders being delivered to people who had called and came in to pick up their order.  The thought crossed my mind to call in an order and have it delivered to our table at the restaurant.  I did e-mail management and let them know.  Never heard back.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 3:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Not really answering your question, Hikerjer, but just stating my own view (and wish) that all restaurants, cruise lines, etc., etc. get rid of the whole tipping nonsense -- charge us a fair price without gimmicks -- and pay their  employees a fair wage!

To me, even buying a product entails some service.  And we don't "tip" the guy at REI, do we?  Life will be a lot simpler if we pay what we see on the price tag -- without further gimmicks.

Don't like the service of a restaurant?  Same, same as not liking a store.  Complain and/or don't go there again.

I detest this "tipping culture" -- which had LONG AGO degenerated into paying staff the bare minimum -- such that tipping has really become 'optional' only in form and not in substance.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 3:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

But answering your question...  I bet the 18% "gratuity" was stated somewhere in the menu?  If so, then by sitting down and ordering, you are in effect agreeing -- in exactly the same way as agreeing to pay the menu price.  Which, of course, goes right back to my post above -- restaurants and all should just state one price and be done with it -- but we are not there... yet.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 3:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Mar. 03 2013, 3:07 pm)
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I detest this "tipping culture" -- which had LONG AGO degenerated into paying staff the bare minimum -- such that tipping has really become 'optional' only in form and not in substance.

For once, I agree with you Ben.  It seems every service requires a tip these days.  My dog groomer, who owns the shop, has a tip line on the credit card receipt.  When I get my hair done, I have 1 person shampoo, 1 cut and 1 color.  That's 3 tips and a whole lot of math!

To the OP, I agree that the long wait wasn't the servers fault, but your table should have been compensated by the manager or host.  A free appetizer or round of drinks isn't out of the question.  And 18% is pretty standard for large groups.  I'm usually Ok with it as I used to wait tables and large groups were always a hassle (especially when requesting separate checks!)


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 4:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Always voice these things rather than "sending a signal" through a small tip or otherwise.  After a 15-20 minute wait, I would have approached the staff and mentioned that you had reservations for 6pm and asked what was the delay.  Don't just sit on your hands and steam while waiting like that.  But yes, the 18% gratuity is fairly normal for large groups, especially if they have to do separate checks.

Now you should call the establishment as zeke and others have suggested and voice your disappointment in the very long wait.  Be sure to mention the good things (hopefully the food was good) and state you would like to continue patronizing as well as recommending it to others except that type of wait after making a reservation is unacceptable.  Also be sure you are talking with the manager or owner, not an assistant manager or otherwise.  Speak with a pleasant and calm voice, absent of any snark or sarcasm.  If that doesn't get you a significant reduction in your meal or comped for a future dinner, then just write it off as a poorly run place and forget about it.

Rumi


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 5:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Mar. 03 2013, 3:07 pm)
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all restaurants, cruise lines, etc., etc. get rid of the whole tipping nonsense -- charge us a fair price without gimmicks -- and pay their  employees a fair wage!

+1.  I'm  in total agreement.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 5:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If people came in after you and were seated before you I would have raised that issue with the management. I've done that and had some say tough and others apologize and comp my bill.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 7:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Don't like giving tips?  Then ddon't eat at restaurants that require tipping ... simple as that.

Figuring out a tip is relatively easy.  It gets complicated when you are in an unfamiliar area or situation and are unsure.  When in hotels I always carry my own luggage and refuse the bellhop.  There is no need to tip a room maid or such.  If someone handles my baggage, then it is generally one dollar per bag.  Even then it is generally not mandatory or even expected so don't feel guilty if you don't tip.

In some restaurants, the wait staff make very good money and work very hard to assure they get good tips.  If I get good service I tip 10% to 15%.  If I get poor service I tip 3% to 5%.  If I get exceptional service, I tip 15% to 20%.  If I can't afford to tip, I don't go.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 7:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I like the general European way: prices all stated clearly with no extra tax additions once at the register (taxes already factored in...imagine that!), and no tipping culture for food and bar service.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 7:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(RumiDude @ Mar. 03 2013, 4:31 pm)
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Don't like giving tips?  Then don't eat at restaurants that require tipping ... simple as that.

My own view... I don't see it as anything "as simple as that" at all.

To me, there is something grotesque about business owners in entire industries publishing "low" prices -- then paying their employees what amounts to starvation wages -- with the expectation that they make their money on so-called tips!   In effect, we are expected to help pay the wages of their employees -- in addition to paying the purchase price!!

Even more egregious is the cruise line industry -- where "low" prices are advertised -- and then a mandatory "gratuity" is added to your statement!

Then, you have airlines that also publish "low fares" -- and then tacking on all sorts of fees.  I don't mind "a la carte" pricing at all -- but mandatory fees (e.g. so-called fuel surcharges) and taxes ought to be all included in any advertised or published fare!

I do not fault the waiters at all.  I do fault the business owners for evasive and complicated -- if not outright dishonest -- pricing!


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 7:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Reminiscence @ Mar. 03 2013, 4:37 pm)
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I like the general European way: prices all stated clearly with no extra tax additions once at the register (taxes already factored in...imagine that!), and no tipping culture for food and bar service.

Amen.  Not just in Europe, but Asia too.

Sadly, some establishments there are picking up on our American way.  Why "not" advertise low menu prices -- and then pay the waiters less -- and have the customers make up the difference -- in effect?  Pretty evasive way all around.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 8:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(RumiDude @ Mar. 03 2013, 7:31 pm)
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Don't like giving tips?  Then ddon't eat at restaurants that require tipping ... simple as that.

Figuring out a tip is relatively easy.  It gets complicated when you are in an unfamiliar area or situation and are unsure.  When in hotels I always carry my own luggage and refuse the bellhop.  There is no need to tip a room maid or such.  If someone handles my baggage, then it is generally one dollar per bag.  Even then it is generally not mandatory or even expected so don't feel guilty if you don't tip.

In some restaurants, the wait staff make very good money and work very hard to assure they get good tips.  If I get good service I tip 10% to 15%.  If I get poor service I tip 3% to 5%.  If I get exceptional service, I tip 15% to 20%.  If I can't afford to tip, I don't go.

Rumi

It's not a matter of not wanting to tip or being able to do the math or being able to afford it. Perhaps times have changed but I was brought up with the understanding that a tip was a reward for good service.  You alluded to that yourself.  I had what I considered terrible service for whatever reason.  Does this still require a tip which was in this case, mandatory since it was automatically addes to the bill?

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 8:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(RumiDude @ Mar. 03 2013, 7:31 pm)
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If I get good service I tip 10% to 15%.  If I get poor service I tip 3% to 5%.  If I get exceptional service, I tip 15% to 20%.  If I can't afford to tip, I don't go.

Rumi


Rumi, a bona fide  tipping system ought to be one where you tip only for exceptional service!  No one should tip waiters for doing their job and meeting the standards of their profession -- the baseline of which is to provide a good service!

But the reality is that a 10-15% is pretty much required  for waiters who do their job.  People "penalize" on their tips pretty much only when waiters screw up in deed or in attitude -- just as you yourself do as you described above!  And the worst part is that restaurant owners have built in this expectation -- by paying their employees the bare minimum of wages!

Which goes right back to what is essentially evasive, complicated and dishonest product (menu) pricing.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 8:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(hikerjer @ Mar. 03 2013, 8:07 pm)
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 Does this still require a tip which was in this case, mandatory since it was automatically addes to the bill?

A tip is a strictly optional gift from my point of view. A person from New Jersey was arrested in the touristy Lake George, New York area over refusing to pay a 18% gratuity that was printed on the menu for a table with over 8 people, for what he said was horrible, lousy food and service. The judge in the matter threw it out of court and read the riot act to the DA, county sheriffs and business owner. I believe the person arrested sued for damages and won.
I feel that by not tipping the wait staff for something like was mentioned is perfectly legit and the only way to let the unprofessional owner know what happened; trust me in that the people that get stiffed by no tip let the owners know by moaning or leaving to a better place to work.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 8:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(hikerjer @ Mar. 03 2013, 8:07 pm)
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Perhaps times have changed but I was brought up with the understanding that a tip was a reward for good service.

You have to consider whether the seating problem was under the control of your server.  It usually isn't.  The people who didn't seat you are usually unaffected by poor tips, whereas the people who receive poor tips usually have little influence on how customers get seated.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 8:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Buggyboo @ Mar. 03 2013, 8:35 pm)
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(hikerjer @ Mar. 03 2013, 8:07 pm)
QUOTE
 Does this still require a tip which was in this case, mandatory since it was automatically addes to the bill?

A tip is a strictly optional gift from my point of view. A person from New Jersey was arrested in the touristy Lake George, New York area over refusing to pay a 18% gratuity that was printed on the menu for a table with over 8 people, for what he said was horrible, lousy food and service. The judge in the matter threw it out of court and read the riot act to the DA, county sheriffs and business owner. I believe the person arrested sued for damages and won.
I feel that by not tipping the wait staff for something like was mentioned is perfectly legit and the only way to let the unprofessional owner know what happened; trust me in that the people that get stiffed by no tip let the owners know by moaning or leaving to a better place to work.

Seems very passive-agressive.  You could let the "unprofessional owner" know there is an issue by addressing management directly and telling them what the issues is.  

If you truly view a tip as an optional gift then you should stay home and serve yourself.


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(Buggyboo @ Mar. 03 2013, 10:28 am)
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Would have left after waiting 20 minutes past the reservation time. Restaurants take advantage of good natured folks like you. A quality placed would have made you aware of the seating issue right a way and given you a choice with a discount coupon you could use on a return visit if you decided to leave. Also, they should have given all your party some type of freebie while waiting and extra perfect service during your meal. Please go on Yelp and write these folks up so others won't have to endure this rude treatment.

I completely agree.
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(hikerjer @ Mar. 03 2013, 5:07 pm)
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(RumiDude @ Mar. 03 2013, 7:31 pm)
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Don't like giving tips?  Then ddon't eat at restaurants that require tipping ... simple as that.

Figuring out a tip is relatively easy.  It gets complicated when you are in an unfamiliar area or situation and are unsure.  When in hotels I always carry my own luggage and refuse the bellhop.  There is no need to tip a room maid or such.  If someone handles my baggage, then it is generally one dollar per bag.  Even then it is generally not mandatory or even expected so don't feel guilty if you don't tip.

In some restaurants, the wait staff make very good money and work very hard to assure they get good tips.  If I get good service I tip 10% to 15%.  If I get poor service I tip 3% to 5%.  If I get exceptional service, I tip 15% to 20%.  If I can't afford to tip, I don't go.

Rumi

It's not a matter of not wanting to tip or being able to do the math or being able to afford it. Perhaps times have changed but I was brought up with the understanding that a tip was a reward for good service.  You alluded to that yourself.  I had what I considered terrible service for whatever reason.  Does this still require a tip which was in this case, mandatory since it was automatically addes to the bill?

Yep, I hear you.  But as others have pointed out, if the policy is printed on the menu, then you are obligated.  If the staff never explained or apologized for the slow service, then I would definitely feel cheated.  I heartily recommend you contact the restayrant manager/owner and register your complaint.  Just remember to be nice. I never threaten something like a bad review online or similar, just tell them the situation and see if they will comp you a free dinner.  If they don't do something, then just write them off as a very poor restaurant and go on with the rest of your life.

If I ask for a glass of water or whatever, I expect to be serviced within a reasonable period of time.  If I have to remind the waiter of something more than once, then they aren't going to get a good tip from me.  Same goes for not coming around to check often. If they are rude, then generally they will get no tip.  But if a waiter hustles to take care of me, then I will usually give the extra 5% on top of the usual tip.  If we linger and get extra cups of coffee or such, then I also give extra.  A lot depends on the situation as to how I evaluate the tip amount.

Waiting is tough and the restaurant business is tough as well.  If the waiter gets the food to me quickly and courteously, then I appreciate that.  The quality of the food itself is not the wait staff's responsibility, so I don't ding them for that.  

Anyway, that's my take on restraurants and tipping.

Rumi


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 9:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

How did it ever get so complicated?  I suspose it's because of what Ben has been alluding to.  Guess the issue is over for me.  It took place in a city five hours from here and is hardly worth any further hassle.  Rest assured, I will not be eating there when I pass through there again.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 9:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(no_granola @ Mar. 03 2013, 8:44 pm)
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(Buggyboo @ Mar. 03 2013, 8:35 pm)
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(hikerjer @ Mar. 03 2013, 8:07 pm)
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 Does this still require a tip which was in this case, mandatory since it was automatically addes to the bill?

A tip is a strictly optional gift from my point of view. A person from New Jersey was arrested in the touristy Lake George, New York area over refusing to pay a 18% gratuity that was printed on the menu for a table with over 8 people, for what he said was horrible, lousy food and service. The judge in the matter threw it out of court and read the riot act to the DA, county sheriffs and business owner. I believe the person arrested sued for damages and won.
I feel that by not tipping the wait staff for something like was mentioned is perfectly legit and the only way to let the unprofessional owner know what happened; trust me in that the people that get stiffed by no tip let the owners know by moaning or leaving to a better place to work.

Seems very passive-agressive.  You could let the "unprofessional owner" know there is an issue by addressing management directly and telling them what the issues is.  

If you truly view a tip as an optional gift then you should stay home and serve yourself.

IMHO, if there is a situation like described, an owner worth his salt knows about it already and should do something about it to make it right with the affected person. If an owner is that unattached to his/her business not to do that, more than likely everything else is sub par; red flag to me!

Most time I do stay home and serve myself since most food in restaurants is rather lame at best and potentially harmful. Just do a Google of food poisoning in the USA and how often it happens. It's also a common occurrence to see hundreds of people getting sick on cruise ships from food borne illnesses.  

Frankly, I know I can do a much better job prepping, cooking and serving than in those places.


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(hikerjer @ Mar. 03 2013, 6:28 pm)
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How did it ever get so complicated?  I suspose it's because of what Ben has been alluding to.  Guess the issue is over for me.  It took place in a city five hours from here and is hardly worth any further hassle.  Rest assured, I will not be eating there when I pass through there again.

I think it has always been complicated, because that kind of stuff has always been a part of most cultures.  That is why in my way of thinking it isn't complicated but simple.  

Many restaurants have websites and thus a way of contacting them through email or such.  I would still contact them and tell your story.  If you explain it nicely, indicating how it spoiled an otherwise joyous occassion or whatever, it might at least get you a sincere apology.  Sometimes negative feedback done in a positive way can create change in a restaurant like this.  Ten minutes of time composing a polite email may make a difference to them and might even bring a certain amount of satisfaction to you.

Rumi


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 10:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(RumiDude @ Mar. 03 2013, 7:24 pm)
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I think it has always been complicated, because that kind of stuff has always been a part of most cultures...

Not meaning to contradict you personally... but no, tipping is not a part of most cultures around the world.  Unfortunately, this degenerate way of passing the responsibility of paying wages from employers to customers is being taken up by more and more businesses worldwide -- mostly due to our American influence.  ???


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(Ben2World @ Mar. 03 2013, 7:33 pm)
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(RumiDude @ Mar. 03 2013, 7:24 pm)
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I think it has always been complicated, because that kind of stuff has always been a part of most cultures...

Not meaning to contradict you personally... but no, tipping is not a part of most cultures around the world.  Unfortunately, this degenerate way of passing the responsibility of paying wages from employers to customers is being taken up by more and more businesses worldwide -- mostly due to our American influence.  ???

I was not refering to tipping specifically, but rather the whole idea of reciprecation and especially in service occupations.  Sorry I did not make myself clear.

It is funny in this particular case because the 18% gratuity (service charge) was most likely printed on the menu and thus NOT optional.  Service charges are frequently charged in several parts of the world for a variety of services, including food service in restaurants.

Rumi


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