Here is why I always tip my waitstaff, regardless of how my service is. But first, let me tell you a small story about what happened to me when I was 16. I went to a restaurant with an ex of mine1, along with a friend of his. I was surrounded by guy jokes for those two hours, but since I’m not very girly by any means myself, I didn’t mind it much. The waiter who helped us was, admittedly, not the best when it came to customer service. I don’t know if he had a bad day or something, but he wasn’t on his customer service A-game so to speak. As punishment, my ex and his friend decided to stiff him. I opposed the idea and told them to give him something. They didn’t listen, and as they walked out, I walked behind him, took out the tip and gave it to the waiter in secret.
My ex never knew about this. Or maybe he does now if he’s lurking around on this site, but highly unlikely.
Some people always talk about how underpaid they are, but they probably have never worked a job as part of waitstaff.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, tipped wage is $2.13. This is the minimum that a restaurant can pay, provided that the total tips they get total up to $30. Now there are state-to-state scenarios. However, the old adage of waitstaff living off their tips isn’t entirely false. If they’re not on their A-game, they get less tips, and thus less wiggle room for the essentials. If they’re awesome, they get more tips, and thus more wiggle room for the essentials. In other words, there’s a special place in hell for people who stiff them.
Let’s look at some of the reasons why someone would stiff a waiter or waitress.
- They weren’t on their customer service A-game. This is a common reason. They were probably having a bad day, under stress, etc. We’re all human with human feelings. Does it mean that they should bring it to work? No, but it does happen sometimes. We don’t know their story.
- You catch them doing something…erm…not so nice with your food. This doesn’t happen often, or at least you don’t know what goes on behind the kitchen doors. Those stories about snot ending up in your Egg Foo Young do happen, although it’s more kitchen staff than waitstaff, and they shouldn’t be blamed for that. If you feel that your food’s been tampered with, you do have a right to bring it up.
- The diner’s broke.…Then why the fuck are you eating out then? I’m sure that you can afford a few extra dollars to help out someone who probably can’t afford to eat out at all.
If you have ever worked into food service, then you know that it can be a thankless job at times. Don’t add on to their stress.
- There is a reason why he’s an ex, and that’s another story for another day ↩