The first question in Q&A Volume 9 (aka, this one) really raises a good point. Should the tipping system in America be done away with? Already many restaurants in several states have already ditched it in exchange for a solid gratutity fee. I mean, just like any other job, if too many people complain the waiter would fired anyway right? I believe we should evolve like Europe and be done with the tipping system. We've had this since the 1920's! Meh. As always, if you have questions, write to email@example.com and leave your first name and the first letter of your last name. Like this: "John S.".
Q. I hate the tipping system in the U.S.! It's outdated and stupid. Service should be like other countries where servers are paid full wages, the costs are factored in with the food (a la gratuity fee), and servers can lose their jobs if they've been complained about enough. You can't depend on the judgment of the customer! It's ridiculous. Some customers are just plain cheapskates and buck the system. What other kind of job out there depends on tips? What if lawyers depended on tips? Hahaha! What do you think? Do you think the tipping system in America needs to be replaced?
- Jeff M.
Amen, Jeff! I never liked the system and neither does anyone else. Maximum effort does not always reflect maximum wages. This whole entity of the "unwritten rule" of the 18% is really being abused, and has been abused even before the recession years. Did you know the tipping system was created specifically for dining cars in old trains in the 1920's? It's obsolete now just like our daylight savings system. Today, the idea that a server has any control over their tips is an absolute illusion. Luckily, some states like New York are enforcing tipping. They're adding tipping charges, and I hope to see that here in Texas.
Q. So it's almost closing time, and I've made pretty good tips for the evening when a handful of drunks comes in. They were obviously alcohol-infused. I told them the bar was closed and they asked if my legs were closed. The nerve. Unfortunately, our manager/owner is a greedy fool and lets them in. What happened in the next hour became a tragedy of gigantic proportions. They soon went from being verbally loud, to being physically abusive. The waiter assigned for the table (I am so thankful it wasn't me) was grabbed and had his arm broken by the drunk patron, who was trying to be macho. Another waiter came over to stop it and a fight ensued. The fight was clumsy though, and what resulted was merely broken furniture and aforementioned broken arm of the first waiter. I kept thinking this would not have happened if the manager had made a smart decision and kept them out. Is the restaurant not responsible?
- Yan B.
Thanks to the idiots at MADD, ironically, people are no longer held completely responsible for their drunken shenanigans. Now-a-days it's up to everyone to protect themselves and these restaurants are not liable for life-ruining litigation lawsuits if these drunkards destroy a restaurant. Your manager wanted to earn around $20-$50 and ended up paying hundreds to thousands in broken furniture. He also destroyed the morale of the staff by allowing a situation where one of them suffered a broken arm! It sucks how any of the "charming" miscues of drunk diners won't be so funny anymore. Until waiting tables have their own union (sarcasm), restaurants are not liable to protect you, and in fact, can throw you in harm's way. Move on to a different restaurant where the waitstaff is better respected by the management. The thing is, if this manager isn't the owner, then he's in deep trouble for causing this much destruction to the restaurant. If it is the owner, he'll deeply regret it came out of his own pocket. The owner winner on this are the drunken idiots who were let in. Had the manager called the police for vandelism, he could protect the restaurant, but the waitstaff are on their own.
Q. I haven't actually done this, but I'm curious. How much can a customer get away with taste testing at a public restaurant? I've done this one a rare occasion, but for never more than a food item or two. They've always been accomdating. These are fancier restaurants, mind you. So just out of curiosity, what's the limit?
- Gene S.
Sadly to say, real life is not Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, and maybe that's a good thing because Godiva wouldn't stand a chance and I'd be really overweight (meh). In restaurants, unless you're some mega superstar (and even then there are limitations), the customer should be very adept at choosing an appropriate option. This is especially true for wines. In their defense, a lot of people generally aren't wine experts. Next thing you know, they're trying up to six wines, and they're still indecisive. Here's some word of advice: if you're not very knowledgable about wines or any other subject matter, use the server's brain and not their legs. Besides, by the time you're done with one wine, you'll forget what another tastes like. But in general, abusing to ask for a taste is like wanting a tour of the kitchen and having a table there. It's inconsiderate. Choosing what you want at a restaurant may be a little difficult when a lot of the menu looks good, and it could be even more difficult when none grabs your attention, but the restaurant should not have to deal with an inability to choose. If you live to 80 years old, you'll have around 90,000 meals in your life (did the math. Checks out...). Be fortunate that you're lucky enough to get to eat. And never be scared to try new things! If you make a mistake, then it's just that...a process of elimination for your next visit.
Q. Hey Yoyo, love your stuff. This is my first question ever. So, I went out of a place realizing I paid a lesser amount of tipping than I should. I wanted to go back, but I felt embarassed to enter in and tell them I didn't pay enough. Is it a what's done is done scenario?
- Peggy P.
Peggy, you couldn't have been wrong doing what you did. The worst thing you can do to a server, and to mix in some bad karma, is to not tip appropriately. Yeah, we understand, mistakes happen. Sometimes it's difficult for some people to calculate 18% in their heads, or they get distracted, or they've had one too many. It happens to everyone, and life moves on. Just know that while it's not robbing someone, you're taking from that waiter's paycheck. As soon as that food is served (assuming with good service), that money in that wallet is no longer yours. It's your responsibility to give it to that waiter or waitress. I won't matter to the server if you meant to leave more (they'll never know!). But please always ensure the right thing is done. There are phone apps now to calculate correct tipping. I have on my own phone.
Q. I've come to get aggrevated by a certain kind of customer. Guy comes in acts like he knows more than I do because he's a certain ethnicity (in this case, Chinese) and I'm not familiar with his culture. Look, if you're walking into P.F. Chang's you shouldn't have anything to talk about authenticity. That is all.
- Dean Z.
There are three types of customers when it comes out to dishing criticism. One are those who give it because they've had a terrible experience and those who always give it. The third is someone that's a little of both: someone that expects something unrealistic and decides to have a terrible experience, making it self-fulfilling prophecy. I agree, if this guy is walking into a P.F. Chang's and he's expecting Chinese waiters, he's either a very ignorant person or he's out for trouble. In my experiences, I've met a handful of these characters and they've always been out for trouble. If they're giving you crap just because you're not of that restaurant food's ethnicity, just recommend them a hole-in-the-wall place that would better fit their tastes (along with running roached, bad English and all). If they continue to be rude about it, simply treat them as any other customer that crosses the line, tell them you're not comfortable with them using certain words or saying things in a certain tone.
And that's a wrap! That was quick and fun! To ask questions, please send to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please leave your first name and the first letter of your last name (example: John S.). We'll take the five we like every 15 days!