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.
Tough $h!+ if the government wants a bite.
“My point was not that the government needs more taxes. Until we have the majority of Americans paying into the system, the increasing numbers of the ones who dont will continue to screw those of us who do.”
OK, I’ll buy that. But I still tip, and like the way it makes the waiter dependent, directly, on my good will.
Legally, it isn’t a gift though. It is compensation. It is, in essence, commission that you control the rate of. No different than the commission you pay when you buy a car except that you control the rate.
>>There is no reason to tip.<<
As a repeat customer, it’s to keep your food and drinks bodily fluid free.
Because 75% of their job is dealing with people like you?
Well, yeah...but you also are upside down and can't spell. :)
This is pretty hard to argue with:
Tipping is a holdover from the way restaurants used to run in the late 19th and into the 20th Century. They way it used to work was that the waiter was an independent contractor, and when you ordered your food, it was actually the waiter who was buying it from the restaurant operator, paying for it up front at the exact same cost printed on the menu. Tips were the entire way they made money. Slowly, the practice was introduced of making waiters an actual employee of the restaurant and, later, of giving them a small token wage. I can still remember in the early 80s, the waiters at the Berghoff, in Chicago, lining up at a cash register to pay for the food before bringing it to your table.
Sucky thing about that is I have to be careful, I have four kids and there has been more then one occasion that I have had a gratuity automatically added to my bill, then left a tip on top of that. Usually it has been for crappy service, when the server feared getting a lousy tip. I will tip better for good service then bad, but I will still tip for bad service, it will however noticeably not be as generous.
I had a server confront me one day about a less then generous tip, I told if she had done a better job she would have received a better tip. My next trip there I had outstanding service from the same girl, I more then made up for the previous visit.
You pay many different types of businesses commission for the service they provide- car salesmen, real estate agents, electronics salesmen. They all earn commission for servicing you by helping you find the product you want. The only difference is that you are in control of the rate of commission instead of letting someone else tell you the commission rate built into the price.
If you pay cash, there’s no way to make errors, or changes, to credit card receipts and these ‘misunderstandings’ would never have happened.
Food for thought.
>>Because 75% of their job is dealing with people like you? <<
Where I live we do not have to pay for parking (nor look for our vehicle once we are ready to leave). We also pick carefully the time of day we go to a restaurant to avoid having to wait for long periods (or make reservations). Most places we go to the service is generally very good (though at one of our favorite places the service and food has greatly diminished - we haven’t been there for a long time as a result). Most of the time our wait person has been prompt with the bill, though occasionlly they are slower than I would like (but, my wife takes longer to finish her meal than I do, so I have to wait around longer than I’d like anyway).
The best food I’ve eaten, by and large, is made at home (with the exception of the two times we went to Ruth Crist - wow, the food and service there is just outstanding). We don’t eat out often either. It’s way cheaper to make good food at home, and then I don’t have to drive to and from.
I think here it’s b/c tipping is considered free market earnings—you work hard, you get paid more. Esp when I was growing up, 30+ years ago. The guys, and some girls, worked tobacco or fished/clammed to make money, b/c it’s a fact none of our parents had any to give us. Waitressing and schoolteaching were one of the few ways a female could get out of some of the more backbreaking stuff. Not that waitressing isn’t hard work—it’s just easier than hauling nets or oystering or farming.
The only “classes” here are “locals” and “tourists” LOL
Even so, I object to the concept of tipping for such service. I find the tradition morally repugnant and insulting. It is burdensome to me and patronizing to the server. Just raise the prices of the food by 20%, pay your staff adequately and leave me out of your company's personnel issues. I am there to eat food, not to assess & reward your employees' performance. If I wanted to do that, I'd apply for a managerial position instead of showing up as a customer.
It’s not pretty!
That said, one of the poster’s problems is that he doesn’t realize that this is going to affect his entire group.
I probably overtip massively (unless I have gotten bad service, in which case I don’t tip but let management know or leave a note) to make up for all the other women who are crummy tippers. Like it or not, you’re regarded as part of the group you are with or identified with.
The ones that work REALLY hard, can multi-task, are friendly, have a good memory, treat the cooks and other employees with respect, and present an attractive appearance can make out like bandits.
Not everyone can or is willing to be a good waiter/waitress.
What leads the "few" who "do" to drop spare change in the jar? And what constitutes "change"? Does NZ have 1 and 2 dollar coins like Canada?