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 owned a hotel with bars and restaurants and I'd ban you from my place.
Go buy a six pack and drink at home.
>>Do you tip the hardware guy, the grocery store clerk or anyone else who gives good service? No? The reason for that is you know they get paid by their employer so you pay the bill and don’t tip.<<
I have been to Lowes and the help I have gotten has flabbergasted me sometimes. A guy will be busy setting up a display or something and I will ask where an obscure item is. Sometimes he/she will not just tell me where it is. They will walk me to the section and bring me right to the spot, even helping me with what size or quality I might want to consider. No, I don’t slip ‘em a fiver.
Meanwhile, if a waiter or waitress would do just what they are REQUIRED to do - no more and no less - I would be happy.
The real difference is that with the car salesmen, real estate agents, and electronics salesmen there is a solid paper trail with those people and their employer paying into the system the rest of us are forced to pay into. Restaurants and their employees are another story entirely.
That’s a good point....that this really is a service and a way of judging that. I certainly thought of it that way, but understand more now about the rationale for tipping and why it is different from the cashier etc.
The cashier doesn’t serve me, just check me out etc.
Thus, they aren’t quite comparable.
But, it still bothers me we are elevating one group of people over another.
Doesn’t mean I won’t tip though. I always do unless it is just flat terrible service (unfortunately happens more often that it used to since I moved to Texas where everybody leaves to go into the oil field).
Id ban you also.
As the owner in the story noted, tipping is customary.
It's also voluntary.
Owners have the right to run their businesses any way they wish. If a restaurant owner requires every customer to tip, they should post signs saying so..."We will add a 15% gratuity onto bills." Then guests can decide for themselves whether they wish to participate by eating there.
This particular owner has an unseemly sense of entitlement. Thay does not speak well for his establishment or his service.
I tip, and tip well. Nearly always over 20 percent.
That said, it does seem unethical to pay wait staff a mere $3 per hour, and expect customers to make up the difference. Restaurant owners are the jerks, here, not the customers. Tipping should be optional, not required.
I tip. But it would be wonderful if I didn’t have to. If restauranteurs paid their wait staff a fair wage.
>>guy’s obviously never seen “waiting”<<
That movie promised more than it delivered. It made the point though. ;)
Problem is, that stuff can happen whether you tip or not.
There is only one restaurant around here that uses carhops. The girls deliver your food on roller skates, and everybody tips. If you don’t want to tip, you go inside and order at the counter and take it to the table (and there are only 4 indoor tables) yourself. The jobs on rollerskates are prime jobs for high school and college girls. They make good money.
I like your style!
I tip everybody. I even tip the drivers of the Goodwill truck when they come to pick up my donations.
I carry a roll of fives around just to tip with. I give a $5 tip on a $10 haircut.
I’m surprised to learn on this thread that so many FReepers are cheap bastards.
The difference is that you have a much more personal relationship with the server than you have, say, with the clerk at the local supermarket or drugstore.
Having worked in a restaurant, I can tell you that it’s not easy to get the food out hot and on time, and it’s very easy to fudge a customer’s order. There’s a lot of pressure and sometimes you have to beg the chef to get your order out promptly. Depends on where you work.
If you get good service, tip well (because tips are shared and everybody, not only the server, benefits). If you don’t, don’t tip but make it clear why you didn’t. This may not be the fault of the server, but letting management know about this will also put pressure on the other people in the chain (ranging from the chef to the busboy).
My first "real" job after my parents sold our restaurant (where I preped, cooked, washed dishes, bussed, and waited from age 12-16) was at Sonic. Most folks gave me the change rounded up to the next dollar.
That was in 1978 though...
Fair point. They aren’t really equivalent positons. Still, they work very hard for little pay.
Lew Rockwell, libertarians and even anarchists know a cheapskate when they see one.
“Of course if we crank their wages up then they lose a reason for good service.”
it’s up to the owner to fire them for non performance!
It’s like when I was hiring help and needed 3 men I would hire 5 and fire 3 at the end of the day and hire 3 and fire 2 at the end of the next day, the ones remaining got the message to produce or look for another job!
I don’t owe anyone a job, my only reason for being in business is profit and the workers are no more than production and a pay check at the end of the week.
LOL! Me too. A personal service should be rewarded. People can make or break your day by something like being surly about picking up your Goodwill stuff. If they're good, thank them!
In an unrelated matter, Here's a link to a story about an employer - Robert Kahre - who designed a novel way of paying his employees so as to help them keep from filing a return.
Same problem here in West Texas....oil country. Waiters are constantly leaving to go into the oil fields and service is terrible.
But, I normally tip a little unless it is just bad.
That said, the other day I had the best waitress ever. She refilled my drinks to the point that it came before I even had to ask her, she constantly checked on my wife and I, the food was hot and she even asked how it tasted before leaving etc...just great.
She got a good 30 percent tip, very very high for us....
If I was in a job that made enough to do so, I would have given her even more.
I'm surprised he has any friends...
Here's an idea. Why don't we throw out our Charlie Foxtrot of a tax code, and come up with something that doesn't require people to jump through hoops, spend lots of time and money just to comply, and gets everyone, including those in the underground economy that NEVER PAY ANY TAXES!
ewwww is right! Tightwad in the extreme. Didn’t even eat and leave, but stayed for FOUR hours. Four hours of taking up a table and keeping the waitress from getting tips from other people.
Although, I’d get po’d too if someone altered my cc slip. Have to agree with him on that.
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