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Dear Counterstaff

May 30, 2009

You’re not entitled to tips, please stop thinking so.

It doesn’t really get much simpler than that, but as ever I’ll elaborate regardless.

I feel compelled to point out in advance that I’ve worked service.  I know what it’s like, and understand the ins and outs.  Been there.  Done it, had fun and made great money.  I even have the t-shirts.

It’s bollocks to feel entitled to anything more than the wage one has accepted for the job.  Speaking directly to the service folks: you accepted the job knowing it had low proportional pay (in Canada, at minimum wage, in the US, below it) wagering that you could pull in more because of tips.  Most people aren’t servers out of passion, it’s out of a need for the money, and an understanding that tips can be more lucrative than any wage, especially in a swanky restaurant.  I know servers that pull in $300/night, for instance.  These same people, making far more than in any other job of the same skill level, complain bitterly when someone stiffs them on a tip.

The thing is – you aren’t entitled to gifts.  No one is.  It’s a server’s job to earn tips, and part of the package is that some people will stiff a server on tips, no matter how hardworking or charming the server was.  It’s part of the gamble made when accepting a job as a server.

As for being understanding, or “everyone has bad days” and other such BS – grow the fuck up.  Everyone has shitty days, and they are expected to keep it together and not let it effect their work.  You too, servers.  Your job is to be charming, if your pissy mood affects your ability to do your job, it’ll affect your bottom line, too.  Suck it up.

I tip anywhere up to 30%, roughly 10 – 15 on average, but I expect the server to bust balls just as hard as I did to earn it.  I’ve no sympathy or compassion for a server being shitty on an ugly night, or worse still, shitty on a normal night – I don’t care how rough it is, either tough through it or find a different job.  A server being decent on an awful night, though, they’re at least trying to tough through.  I tip them extra-well.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 2, 2009 11:26 am

    If the service is shitty, do you still tip just because? or do you use that opportunity to say, Hey, no, you suck, you don’t deserve even the average percentage that people are “expected” to tip. ( This is in regards to restaurants, not counter-level service.)

    • July 10, 2009 9:14 pm

      I don’t “tip just cause” ever. If the service is awful, I’ll leave a note and say so, so they don’t assume I’m just young and cheap. If it’s mediocre, I’ll leave a crappy tip. If it’s fantastic, though, I’ll lay about with the tip to no end; good service has totally earned the reward.

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