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.
No, I do not. In both cases I am a customer who simply wants to exchange money for goods and services.
The English don't seem (to me) to like paper at all, although the have it and use it. They seem more comfortable with a stack of pound or two-pound coins than the equivalent in notes ... if the amount is too much for that, they seem to me to prefer a credit card.
South Korea seemed very American in this sense ... 1000 Won note = 1USDollar note, etc. Except that they didn't seem to like credit cards as much as we do.
Is everyone on FR wealthy or just consumed with an attitude of noblese oblige? I tip because I have to, but it doesn’t mean I approve. Most people work hard in their jobs without tips, and still strive to do their best.
Tipping is out of control. Everyone now has their hand out. Don’t people realize that bartenders make very good money for what is demanded from them? Do they go to college? Did they study and learn the job for years? No, all it takes is effort and a pleasant personality. Consider how much a bartender makes in a night if he gets a dollar for every $3 beer. Not only is that better than 30%, it’s for half-a-minute of work! The result is that by the end of the night he has earned a lot more than many of his customers -tax free.
It used to be that the service industry was for those who lacked opportunities and were uneducated. In this topsy-turvy world of today, 21 year old service people often have more money than white collar workers with years of experience. Oh, and they are usually the first to appear at the emergency room with no insurance. We poor customers not only have to tip generously, but then subsidize their healthcare because THEY are too cheap and irresponsible to care for themselves!
One final rant: even the owners now expect to get in on the gravy. It used to be considered gauche to tip the owner. After all, the owner earns money on every purchase due to the markup.
>>I bet this cheap turd doesn’t even leave a buck on the night table for the hard-working woman who cleans his hotel room each day.<<
Whoah there! I spend a LOT of time in hotel rooms. I have never, EVER tipped. Where did this come from?
What the server did was obviously wrong, and against the law, but customers like this are reviled, and rightfully so.
When I worked in a bar, there was a regular who started coming in and never left a tip. That lasted for about 3 visits before I completely ignored her and refused to serve her. She left, and I kept more of my money because of it.
If I was on the floor working, and I knew the customer had previously stiffed me, or had left $1 on a $50-100 ticket, I would not be breaking my neck to give them outstanding service. I would never be rude, but they weren’t going to receive top notch service.
Regarding new customers, or a customers I did not recognize, they always got top notch service. And those who took care of us always received extras for being great customers. (And no, this was not stealing. We would have the blessing of the GM before anything was given to the customer.)
Then go get take out.
Don't got to a "nice" sit-down restaurant that offers a level of service where the wait staff expects to receive a tip.
It's simply a fact of life, and servers accept employment assuming a good portion of what it takes to feed their families will come from gratuities (and most, I presume, provide good service as part of that assumption).
If a bar/restaurant patron (particularly a regular) doesn't realize and appreciate that, they have no reason to expect decent service, or, in this case, to even be welcomed at the establishment...occupying a chair that might otherwise be inhabited by someone a little more appreciative of the service received and the circumstances under which it is provided.
>>The owners of the restaurant have Property Rights and among those rights is to ban you from their property.<<
Well, it sorta depends on your race. ;)
Why not, if I like their food and/or want to "sit down"?
So that translates to tips paid by credit card being reported, tips paid in cash not. And I don't have a problem with that. One good thing to come out of the infamous "contract with America" is IRS has to prove willful tax evasion, and they don't have enough people to spook on all the restaurant workers.
That said, if they are hogging cash income and pulling in EIC and other redistributive credits then I have a problem (thanks to five Republican Presidents, one Democrat - for allowing the creation and expansion of this communist program).
But at the front end I expect reasonably good service and I know those giving it expect to be tipped in return. It is almost perfectly capitalistic - and why a Free-Stater wouldn't understand that is beyond me.
The homeless, right?
You can get good service or bad service. Which do you want?
>>You get to decide the percent based on the experience, but service is NOT part of the price of a meal at a restaurant.<<
I assume you are joking. I have been in restaurants where I can see my meal sitting under a heat lamp for five minutes or more, waiting for the wait person to bring it to me. I’ve actually considered going up and getting it myself.
I believe it would be frowned upon.
Service IS part of the price of a meal at a restaurant where a waitress takes your order at your table and brings the order there.
You must be thinking of buffets...
I think that is reasonable, although one might decide that a 10% tip is just part of the cost of the meal, with the other 10% being dependent on service.
It helps if you tell them when they first interact that you only tip for good service. And if you do tip well when you get good service, and you frequent the same restaurant (the waitresses talk to each other about good tippers, once they know who they are).
LOL.... I love it!!! I owe you one if you ever hit the ATL!!!
We met friends for dinner last Sunday night at a restaurant that we frequent. The lady half of this duo can really be abusive to wait staff, and she chose to be that night. She accused the waitress of messing up her order. I had heard the order, and the waitress may not have heard the word “broccoli”, but the lady in question made a big deal of it (after she had already eaten her whole plate of pasta except the olives).
Then she confronted the waitress to demand if it had been her mistake, or the cook in the kitchen, who had left the broccoli off and had put too many olives in her sauce. She said all these mean things in the vein of “this is a lesson to you if someone else made the mistake and you’ll get bigger tips in the future”. She carried on and on to this lovely girl until the girl (college student) went back into the kitchen to talk to the manager.
THe waitress came back and “comped” the meals (which had been perfectly fine for the rest of the table) for the entire table. My husband caught the waitress on the side and slipped her a nice tip for our part. The next day he called the male half of the duo and told him how miserable this scene had made us. The man said that he’d already spoken to his wife and that she’d apologized to the waitress.
But, I’ve seen this woman do this before — ream out an employee about some small slight and then approach them with a big grin and tell them to not take it personally. I don’t know what my husband gave her (probably $20), but twice as much would have been too little for what that poor girl went through. I don’t think that we’ll be going out to dinner with them again any time soon, and I’m embarassed to go back to that particular restaurant.
>>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.<<
Great information! Thanks!
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there are waiters, waitresses, bartenders and such out there living in mansions, driving BMWs and taking exotic vacations. I doubt it.
More than likely though, people who don't want to tip are just selfish.
Cash is less common here than it once was: most purchases will be by direct debit or EFTPOS rather than by cash. It’s a convenience thing more that anything else.
Our reason for $2 and $1 coins, and for doing away with anything 5 cents and under, was purely economic.
A $1 coin lasts much longer than a $1 bill, and it costs more than 5 cents to make a 5 cent piece — and much more than 5 cents for a business to handle and account for each 5 cent piece. So it’s pragmatism and economics at work.
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