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.
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?
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.
> What leads the “few” who “do” to drop spare change in the jar?
Until last year, our coins were HUGE and heavy. Wear holes in your pockets — our fifty cent piece was as big as your silver dollar. I think it probably stemmed from that.
> And what constitutes “change”?
Usually anything 50 cents and under — particularly 10 cent pieces (and 5 cent pieces when we had them — we have long since got rid of one cent and two cent pieces, and recently got rid of five cent pieces. Ten cents is our smallest coin, then twenty, then fifty, then a dollar, then two dollars...)
> Does NZ have 1 and 2 dollar coins like Canada?
Yes, they are made from a brass alloy and are thicker and heavier than our smaller change. We call them “gold coins” and they tend to be treated more like bills than coins, if that makes any sense. People don’t like breaking gold coins into smaller change.
Incidentally,it doesn’t have to be a big tip. When I was working in restaurants, I could recognize people for whom $1.00 was a big tip, and I understood that they were doing what they could.
Generally, people in a bar tip better because a bar is an optional experience and you must have had a moderate surplus of cash to go there. It’s not like eating the $2.99 breakfast at Waffle House on your way to work. But even there, I leave a good tip.
Actually, they don’t deal with people like me because if you count the times I have eaten out in the last ten years on one hand, you would still have fingers left over.
I quit eating out because the food is lousy, the service stinks, and the atmosphere and cleanliness of most restaurants is abysmal at best.
I LOVE cooking and I grow my own food so everything is fresh, healthy, and not sprayed with insectisides. I buy prime meat from a neighbor whose livestock I can pet everyday over the fence. Learn to FEED yourself and you will learn to THINK for yourself.
“What we are up against in this country, in any attempt to invoke private responsibility, is that we have nearly destroyed private life. Our people have given up their independence in return for the cheap seductions and the shoddy merchandise of so-called “affluence.” We have delegated all our vital functions and responsibilities to salesmen and agents and bureaus and experts of all sorts. We cannot FEED or clothe ourselves, or entertain ourselves, or communicate with each other, or be charitable or neighborly or loving, or even respect ourselves, without recourse to a merchant or a corporation or a public-service organization or an agency of the government or a style-setter or an expert. Most of us cannot think of dissenting from the opinions or the actions of one organization without first forming a new organization. Individualism is going around these days in uniform, handing out the party line on individualism. Dissenters want to publish their personal opinions over a thousand signatures.” ~Wendell Berry
That reminds me of something I wonder about...so many on this thread say that tipping insures better service. One poster said the question "had long been settled..." why did I think of Algore?
Anyway...it seems to me the same argument works for third world countries like Mexico...when you bribe someone, don't you get better service?
Where's the logical line between tipping and bribing? It seems to me it's just a matter of degree.
All of them?
That is the standard tipped minimum wage, and it doe snot go up with increases to the minimum wage.
At least it was when I was a waiter a while back at Semolina’s restaurant.
Furthermore, Semolina’s required their wait staff to stay on the clock between 2 and 5 pm, when the restaurant was closed, in order to portion pasta for the dinner crew.
They were paid 2.13 an hour to do this labor while they received not a single tip, because the restaurant was closed.
(GRIN!) Excellent points!
So do I. Don't even want to be asked once. If there's a problem I'll go to the manager and chew his head off. I prefer to order at a counter at a place with a self-serve beverage bar. No use for table service, ever.
Another way around the whole thing is to just go to a buffet.
I agree -- solves numerous problems.
The owners of the restaurant have Property Rights and among those rights is to ban you from their property.
That helps sort of. Waitri are still taxed on a percentage of the gross ticket sales. Back in the day, when they first started doing that, I believe it was 8% (don't know what it is now). Tipping on the credit card means the entire amount is reported as income. And when you tip with cash and it is (or was) 8% of the total bill to be reported as income. If you tip 15~20% then the wait made out okay.
The government assumes that people tip, so for those of you who don't tip, you're costing the waiter money. He's paying taxes on money he didn't receive because you're (not you Mom) too cheap of a bastard to tip.
You just say bingo.
I was a waitress for years and I *love* the tipping system. It rewards those who are good at their job and runs off those who aren’t.
A good waitress in a good location can do really well. But it requires hard work and a LOT of patience. It helps young people learn about pleasing the customer and teaches valuable sales skills which can come in handy down the road. It’s a great way for young people to enter the workforce.
At the very least, it increases one’s appreciation of higher education! lol! (Working with older waitresses taught me what I did NOT want to be doing in 30 years. It got me to buckle down more than anything else back in the day when I was young and stupid.)
Because they are not being paid decently in anticipation that they will be getting tips.
This is idiotic.
In the United States, which is where this restaurant is located, it is an EXPECTATION to tip. It’s part of the BUSINESS MODEL, and in fact, it gives the patron LIBERTY to decide HOW MUCH to pay for the service they receive. It doesn’t, however, give them liberty to STEAL IT, which is what not tipping is. If smaller minds have trouble getting their tiny brains around it, think of it as salary plus commission. Owner pays the salary, and you pay the commission. Not paying the commission is theft.
You get to decide the percent based on the experience, but service is NOT part of the price of a meal at a restaurant.
Were a restaurant owner to pay their wait staff ‘prevailing wages minus the tips’ their labor cost would be double or triple their competitors.
They’d be out of business in weeks, unless they had an unlimited supply of stupid cash set aside to donate to non-tipping idiots that seem to believe they live in Europe.
If you REALLY want to practice ‘liberty’, go set up a Catholic church on a street corner in Yemen. Then you’ll have my respect.
In THIS country, with our customs, calling selfishness ‘liberty’ is just a way to push around restaurant owners that are already getting pushed around by city, county, state, federal, and world government.
Go to Germany, pay triple for breakfast, and don’t tip - guilt free.
Go to Denny’s, pay $2.99 for an unbelievable amount of food, don’t tip, and you’re a thief. That simple.
See, here in this country, tipping IS freedom. You, and you alone, judge whether the service was adequate. If so, cough up. If not, lower the tip. If it was great, then make it 20% or higher.
I hate that "food tmapering" has become an acceptabl and justifiable act.
If I ever had that happen to me, folks would pay a heavy price.
>>my *job* is to bring you a drink, bring your food, bring your check and not screw up. period. like mcdonalds, but i actually carry it out to your table.<<
And to be clear, carrying it out to my table is part of the job as well.
Regarding the extra stuff, I have no problem with getting it myself if someone would tell me where it is. I’ve done it on more than one occasion, even at McCormicks in Seattle and Bellevue.
I look at it this way: I prefer self service gas stations because the service is faster.
It is hard to find a “buffet” type restaurant with good food, but that paradigm is by far my preferred method to eat out. You pay, you get your food, you get your “extra” stuff when you need it, you eat and converse with your friends WITHOUT INTERRUPTIONS, and then you leave. Maybe you pay after you eat.
For me, that is the ultimate restaurant experience. I’ve eaten a lot at Ruth’s Chris, Daniels Broiler, Most of the McCormicks and Scmicks in the Seattle area and a host of other nice places around the country. My favorite place is an Irish pub a few miles west of Parsippany NJ. And I eat at the bar. Good food, good service, and very friendly staff AND customers. And yeah, they get 20%. It still rubs me the wrong way though.
Something else I've wondered...if you get spectacularly bad service (the kind that makes you leave comments on the company web site) should you then be able to deduct from the bill?
> I carry a roll of fives around just to tip with. I give a $5 tip on a $10 haircut.
Why do you feel the need to throw your money around like that?
Have you considered that your actions may be saying something highly uncomplimentary about you? I understand your motiviations (I think) — you are generous to a fault — but some folks would definitely misinterpret your excessive tipping as something else altogether.
Just a thought.
>>...yeah. i make really good on tips.<<
My daughter in law was a waitress in Chicago. She was really good and made really good tips. Are you her, by any chance? ;)
The stuff you listed is all good reason for tipping. For me, I just need the high quality food delivered to me when it is still hot.
And if I order a side of jalapeno’s I expect to get them. I’m batting about 400 on that annoying item.
I've waited tables and tended bar before and I can honestly say that only a few types of people bugged the hell out of me. They were very rude, demanding and very cheap. There was always a discussion with the hostess when those types were put in your section.
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