Skip to comments.I Was Banned For Not Tipping
Posted on 01/07/2010 9:51:07 AM PST by big black dog
Every Tuesday I go to Murphy's Taproom in Manchester to hang out with a bunch of liberty-oriented people. This is a famous event among Free-staters. About 40-60 people gather weekly for about 4 hours and eat and drink and are merry. I'm no longer allowed to go there, because I don't tip.
I've written some of my thoughts about tipping in the past, and have since fleshed out my position in my mind, so I won't focus here on the reasons to tip or not to tip. Here, I want to merely explain what happened tonight.
About 6 weeks ago, someone at Murphy's charged my credit card for a tip even though I did not pay one. I probably wrote a "0" (zero) on the tip line because I have done that for years, but perhaps the waiter, or whomever, hand-wrote "3.0" in front of that to look like "3.00," because they charged me a $3.00 tip. Next Tuesday I told Keith Murphy, the owner of Murphy's Taproom, and he refunded my $3.00. I did not ask to see the original receipt and he did not offer to let me see it.
Then, a few weeks later, I was again charged for a tip that I did not offer. In case you're curious, I do not tip ever, so I am positive that I did not tip in either of these instances. So tonight when I was gathering with my friends at Murphy's, I told Keith it happened again, for $4.00 this time. He said he'd look into it and refund my money if it was true (he has no reason to trust me, so I accept that he should trust the original paperwork). But then he asked me if I tipped the waitress in cash. I said "No." He asked me how I tipped the waitress. I said "I didn't. I don't tip." Keith then asked me to come with him into the back room to talk about it.
On the way back he said to me, "I've got to warn you, I was a waiter for 10 years." I'm sure this was meant to alert me to his position on the matter, which seemed to be pro-tipping, but it seems odd to think that me knowing his position would alter mine.
He asked if I received good service. I told him "The service is average here, but I can understand why: the place is a zoo. People are changing tables, moving around, it's crowded..." I was being conservative in that estimation of the quality of service: service at Murphy's is generally pretty bad (not always!) but for the aforementioned, understandable reasons.
He let me know that the waiters earned $3.00 per hour. I said, "Yeah, I learned that a month ago. That doesn't happen in California." He told me it's standard on the east coast, which I also learned about a month ago.
He asked me why I don't tip waiters that earn $3.00 per hour, and I told him "It's not my problem or choice. They chose to work for $3.00 per hour and could choose another job that paid more if they wanted to." He asked for more reasons, and I told him "I don't tip anyone" and "if I tip the waiters, why don't I tip the cook or the owner?," and possibly one or two more reasons. He said "But you do tip me [the owner], in a way. I get a small portion each time you pay." And I replied, "So do the waiters: $3.00 per hour."
To this, Keith replied, "I don't pay my waiters $3.00 per hour to give good service." I said, "Yes, you do." He said, "No, I don't." I said, "Yes, you do. You hired them at $3.00 to do what?" And he said "To wait on customers..." - and here he realized what he was saying, and added "...with the expectation of receiving the standard 15-20% tip in addition to their wages." He also told me that "tipping is a custom in this country - at least, and many others." I'm aware of this, and I'm aware of countries in which tipping is considered an insult (e.g., Japan), and I'm aware that on cruise ships, for example, that are in international waters and flying flags of convenience (i.e., they are not in any country), tipping is also customary; I did not mention any of this to Keith.
Keith then told me, "This is nothing personal against you, but if you're not going to take care of my wait staff, I don't want you in my restaurant. It's your right to not tip, but it's my right to not want you as a customer." I replied, "OK. I understand. Please refund my $4.00 and I'll leave. Can I have five minutes to say goodbye to my friends?" He allowed me five minutes.
As I was saying goodbye to my friends, Keith approached me and gave me my $4.00 and showed me the original receipt, explaining "It was an accident. The waitress though the zero you wrote on the tip line was a four, and you can see it does kind of look like a four." It did indeed look like a four. But I did not write it that way. When I write any dollar amount, ever, I write the full amount, like "$4.00" or "4.00" - never like "4" - but on the receipt, all that was written was "0" and that had a few extra lines and squiggles that made it look kind of like a "4." And the number "3" in the total amount at the bottom of the receipt had been written over as well, to make "$23.20" look like "$27.20" - I did not do that, either. I stuttered a few seconds, trying to find a polite way to tell Keith that it was not an accident, that his waitress intentionally stole my money, but I figured he was not going to un-ban me and I didn't see a point, so I just said, "OK."
I recognize that it is Keith's restaurant - his private property - and as such he has the right to choose his customers. I do not hold it against him that he banned me, or even that he disagrees with me about tipping. I am merely disappointed that I will no longer be able to go to Taproom Tuesdays. I really enjoyed that event. And there are some friends that I hardly ever see except there. Oh well, I'll have to make more of an effort to see them elsewhere.
I realize, though, that what Keith essentially did was ban me from the restaurant because he's too cheap to pay his wait staff better. That's not exactly true, because the government has a law saying that restaurant owners must pay their tip-receiving wait staff exactly $3.00 per hour - no more and no less. But Keith could make better arrangements with his employees and not hold his customers responsible for his wait staff's well-being. Keith could, for example, pay his wait staff more, but keep it under the table; or he could offer to give them, out of his own pocket, the difference between whatever his customers tip and 20% of their bill; or he could make a policy in his restaurant that tipping is not allowed, and then the law would allow him to pay them more; or he could even help his wait staff recognize that tips are not guaranteed like wages are, even as reward for good service. But he would rather pay them less of his own money and rely on his customers to follow tradition and give them more money. And his decision to do so, in this case, cost him a customer.
I really really dislike cheap bastards who don’t tip.
They should be banned for life from every American establishment.
They are cut from the same cloth as Hillary Clinton.
Two words, PAY CASH...
98% chance. And I knocked myself out waiting on them, too.
> and something i can talk with my father-in-law about, as he is from New Zealand... he sees many things differently...
Something else you might find interesting to talk to your Father-in-Law about is the famous “New Zealand Clobbering Machine” and the “Tall Poppy Syndrome”.
Essentially, it is a national trait not to stand out from the crowd by achievement. People who do are “Tall Poppies” and they get brought back down to earth quickly by the “Clobbering Machine” — the people around them.
Lots of people *do* excell in New Zealand, on the world stage. Perhaps a higher proportion than our population warrants. Yet nobody is allowed to be a “Tall Poppy”. It’s just culturally Not Done.
It is almost exactly opposite to the way it is in the US, where people are encouraged to excell individually and to stand out from the crowd.
It would be interesting to know what your Father-in-Law says about that.
I worked my way through college (1978-1981) as a waiter at a first class French/international restaurant. Here was the break down on my tips:
Start of shift -- $20.00 to Maitre'd to ensure good tables. End of Shift:
5% to the cocktal waitress
5% to Bartender
10% to Busboys
Two six packs of Coors to the kitchen, always given to the Chef, who then distributed it to the kitchen crew.
Average night in tips was gross of 75 to 90 bucks.
I would go home with $35.00 to $50.00
Double those figures on weekends. I would net about $250.00 a week. My rent was $200.00 a month, two short blocks from the beach.
I did not complain.
>>When I go to Walmart (or any other retail/department store) I dont have an employee of the store waiting on me, bringing me items from around the store so I can see if I want to purchase that/those items while I sit comfortably at a table.<<
One of the reasons my wife and I stopped going to restaurants is because it became more of a hassle than eating at home. First you have to find and pay for parking. Then you wait for a seat. Then you find you either get too little or too much service. I hate being asked every couple of minutes how my meal is. And then I want to leave, but first I gotta get the bill. Then they have to notice that I am ready to pay. Then they have to process it. Then, FINALLY, I can leave and go find my car and drive home.
More and more we do take out (which never includes a tip). If we want really good food, we make it ourselves.
Another way around the whole thing is to just go to a buffet. We learned to love those things when we visited our farm in Kentucky last week. We found several Chinese buffet’s that were, frankly, pretty good. Self serve and no tip. $13 for both of us.
I worked at a Baskin-Robbins because all my friends worked there. It was fun, but we were pain 2.10 an hour because we could get tips.
Ever tip at a BR? Not many do. In fact I got exactly one tip. It was a Christmas Eve and my only customer, who came in regularly, saw me sitting there alone. He bought a hand packed ice cream for 2.50 and let me keep the change on a five.
Why am I not surprised?
I wonder if he tips the young hustlers that he picks up at the bus station.
“I dont understand the poor waiter thing because frankly, they make out like bandits and make more per hour than a lot of jobs.”
Yep, a good waiter can make seriously good money on a good night. A good waiter can also make seriously bad money on a bad night. It’s random, and based on how much business the restaurant is getting, how good the tips are, etc. You can make a good living at it, or you can go broke. There are some people who will stiff you, no matter how good a job you do, and hopefully there are others who will make up for it.
Cash is fine. Just don’t think that it relieves them of the obligation of paying tax. Their tax estimates may be “loose”, but if the IRS wants to get stinky, they will.
We eat out a lot, and we always tip. Some of our favorite waitresses have been doing this for years, and they confide that they make good money. I knew one who worked in a bank days, and nights and weekends in a restaurant. She had 5 kids, a husband who did nothing, & a barn full of horses. She worked in the restaurant to support the horses and always said she made better money there than at the bank. Her basic wage at the restaurant was $2.75/hr, but she always took home more than $100 a night in tips.
I tip with cash, just to make sure the server (and anyone they share it with...like the bussers) gets the money.
A 20% tip for me is a given. The waiter can only lose it. They don't really need to do much to keep it. One thing I don't like, though, is the tip hound who is unreasonably perky, loud and in-your-face. No likes a brown noser. ;)
>>A waiter on the other hand can make your dining experience significantly better.<<
How, exactly? That is, beyond what the owner is paying them to do.
NICE GUY EDDIE
C’mon, throw in a buck.
Uh-uh. I don’t tip.
NICE GUY EDDIE
Whaddaya mean you don’t tip?
I don’t believe in it.
NICE GUY EDDIE
You don’t believe in tipping?
I love this kid, he’s a madman, this guy.
Do you have any idea what these ladies make? They make s***.
Don’t give me that. She don’t make enough money, she can quit.
NICE GUY EDDIE
I don’t even know a Jew who’d have the balls to say that. So let’s get this straight. You never ever tip?
I don’t tip because society says I gotta. I tip when somebody deserves a tip. When somebody really puts forth an effort, they deserve a little something extra. But this tipping automatically, that s***’s for the birds. As far as I’m concerned, they’re just doin their job.
Our girl was nice.
Our girl was okay. She didn’t do anything special.
What’s something special, take ya in the kitchen and s*** your d***?
They all laugh.
NICE GUY EDDIE
I’d go over twelve percent for that.
Look, I ordered coffee. Now we’ve been here a long f***in time, and she’s only filled my cup three
times. When I order coffee, I want it filled six times.
What if she’s too busy?
The words “too busy” shouldn’t be in a waitress’s vocabulary.
NICE GUY EDDIE
Excuse me, Mr. White, but the last thing you need is another cup of coffee.
They all laugh.
These ladies aren’t starvin to death. They make minimum wage. When I worked for minimum wage, I wasn’t lucky enough to have a job that society deemed tipworthy.
NICE GUY EDDIE
Ahh, now we’re getting down to it. It’s not just that he’s a cheap bastard—
—It is that too—
NICE GUY EDDIE
—It is that too. But it’s also he couldn’t get a waiter job. You talk like a pissed off dishwasher: “f*** those c***s and their f***ing tips.”
So you don’t care that they’re counting on your tip to live?
Mr. White rubs two of his fingers together.
Do you know what this is? It’s the world’s smallest violin, playing just for the waitresses.
You don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. These people bust their a**. This is a hard job.
So’s working at McDonald’s, but you don’t feel the need to tip them. They’re servin ya food, you should tip em. But no, society says tip these guys over here, but not those guys over there. That’s
They work harder than the kids at McDonald’s.
Oh yeah, I don’t see them cleaning fryers.
These people are taxed on the tips they make. When you stiff ‘em, you cost them money.
Waitressing is the number one occupation for female non-college graduates in this country. It’s the one jab basically any woman can get, and make a living on. The reason is because of tips.
f*** all that.
They all laugh.
Hey, I’m very sorry that the government taxes their tips. That’s f***ed up. But that ain’t my fault. it would appear that waitresses are just one of the many groups the government f***s in the a** on a regular basis. You show me a paper says the government shouldn’t do that, I’ll sign it. Put it to a vote, I’ll vote for it. But what I won’t do is play ball. And this non- college bulls*** you’re telling me, I got two words for that: “Learn to f***in type.” Cause if you’re expecting me to help out with the rent, you’re in for a big f***in surprise.
He’s convinced me. Give me my dollar back.
> Should I ever visit New Zealand (I understand it’s a beautiful country), I’ll remember that. I wouldn’t want to embarrass myself or offend my waiter/barmaid/whatever.
You really should visit — it is a beautiful country, and reasonably safe by world standards. Most Americans I know who have visited have a really good time and are made most welcome.
One of the sure-fire ways of spotting a tourist is by their tipping: this can lead to crimes of opportunity. Because the locals don’t tip, and tourists tend to not know any better, it sets them apart as an easy target.
So as much as anything else, “no tipping” is a safety thing as well.
All taxes are included in every pricetag, except if it explicitly says “GST Excluded” (in which case add 12.5%). Otherwise, the price you see is the amount you pay out of your wallet.
Some bars will have a jar on them for your spare change: there is never an expectation of you putting money in, but you can if you like. Few do.
Yep, Ive personally known three waitresses that said some people are so abusive that they made them cry.
A waitress friend of mine once asked how often have you cried at work?
Isn't this how EVERY other business in the country works, and yet we somehow all still get by? Listen, if a restaurant owner wants me to do performance evaluations on his wait staff, that's fine, he can hire me as a consultant. I fail to see why I should be expected to do it for free, when I'm presumably there to enjoy myself.
“Tipping sets different standards for different jobs that are equally as difficult and low-paying.”
So you mean that the worker at McD’s, who picks up a burger off a rack, sets it on a tray, and rings you up is equivalent service as a waiter who takes your order, refills your drinks, brings the food to you, and cleans your table?
If you arent going to be tipping, next time you go they’ll know that and probably treat you the same way as the McD’s cashier.
Generally, tips are giving in a continuous service setting as a reward for better service. Valet is a single action. Making a coffee is a single action. Having your brakes fixed is a single action. (Though when they go above and beyond is another thing. Speedy service on a busy day, or if you frequent that business you might tip. or the brake guy also changes your oil and tops off other liquids.)
>>Those are the rules established, polite people live by them. Those who choose not to deserve to be excluded from a restaurant at the owner’s choosing.<<
I do a lot of traveling around the US. The rules are different in different areas. And they are not laws. They are rules. Although I tend to abide by them. If I get lousy service, I will take advice I got from a guy over three decades ago: I tip a dime.
Rules change, btw. That is what those who put tip jars at dry cleaners, Starbucks, et-al are banking on.
I think our economy is changing the tipping rules. In my case, the restaurants have ceased getting my business, for the most part.
They expect to be catered to and have a higher-quality experience than they'll get at McDonald's. Tipping is a carrot that the customer gets to dangle at the server to help ensure this. And it's a self-winnowing activity that helps to weed out atrocious servers who won't last long without good tips to make the job worthwhile to them. Everyone wins, the customers are happy and the owner has lots of repeat business.
I've lost count of the surly fast food cashiers I've dealt with through the years who don't have the skills a good server has. That's why they're called "cashiers" and not "servers." It's an art form for the really good servers and keeps the customers coming back.
Same for a good bartender.
Let me ask you this...
Why should anyone have to bribe a person to do their job correctly?
If other professions decided that this form of extortion would net them higher salaries, would that be alright with you?
After taking off on a flight from New York to Los Angeles, the pilots pass a hat. If the tips are sufficient, they take the plane to L.A., if not, you end up in Cleveland.