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 always tip. But I have sometimes wondered if this makes sense when I am in a smaller ethnic restaurant where the waitperson is obviously the owner or a member of the owner’s family.
Because they don't normally tip.
If they’re a member of the owners family definitely tip, most folks that have relatives working for them do so because relatives are cheap so they’re probably making less than a normal employee would. If it’s the owner then it’s all about how much you liked the overall experience, you can chose not to tip an owner because the pain sucks, it’s all their fault.
I’m not joking. In your case, you ask the waitress why you had to stare at your meal for five minutes and then tip accordingly.
You’ve got choices, and so does the restaurant. Waitresses SHOULD be waiting on their best tippers. That’s where their and their owner’s best interests lie.
If that’s your first meal at that restaurant, then you likely won’t return. If you’ve been dining there for sometime and you haven’t been tipping, then little wonder why your meal was a breeding ground for flies for five minutes.
As an owner, I service all clients, but not all clients are equal.
Why would I expect my waitress to give the same level of service to some service thief when I have other clients tipping up to 30%?
If my waitress has to explain the economics of that situation to me in order to back her play, then I don’t deserve to be in business.
This owner handled it completely wrong. I would have invited the idiot back. I would have waved a friendly hello to him as he came in. I would have then told my waitstaff, including the bar, to forget he existed. Fill the salt and pepper first, clean the menus, then take a break - if he’s STILL there, then bring him water and ask him what he wants to drink.
The man’s getting exactly the service he’s willing to pay for.
What a cheap bastard! He should just stay home and eat freezer-burned pot pies and drink out-of-date Milwaukee’s Bests. Then he can wh*ck off over a twenty-year-old Playboy.
Anyone altering a credit card receipt should be terminated by the owner. However, the owner was right in asking him not to come back. Tipping ain't goin' away and this guy is an idiot to think it's going to change.
Did I touch a nerve, or are you always rude?
FYI, I performed my job well and was tipped generously for it. Nevertheless, I’m willing to recognize that it didn’t require much learning or intelligence.
“You might not be aware — but there’s lots of types of bars between fine restaurants & college bars.”
Notwithstanding your condescending remark, who’s talking about college bars? I’ve been to bars ranging from utter dives on up to the Plaza Hotel. I contend that except for high-end restauants and bars (where they earn their money), the bartenders in your typical neighborhood establishment know all they need to know after a week on the job.
I totally disagree. It sounds like the owner respects his waitstaff, and I would expect that they will return the favor through increased loyatly / work ethic. He stood up for his employees; good for him.
Actually, it is the point ... you’ve been complaining that some service workers are being treated “unfairly”, because they don’t get tips.
It’s a baseline. If you want to tip more go ahead. There’s a short order place I used to frequent that was insanely cheap like the place you discuss, I usually gave them $20 even though it was nearly impossible for the meal to cost more than $10. But it was $20 worth of food as far as I was concerned so what the heck.
At those really inexpensive breakfast/lunch joints, I’ve several times left a 100% tip.
Here’s what I’ve heard:
General rule: Breakfast*: 10%. Lunch: 15% Dinner: 20%
*”I’m going to work” breakfast. Not “I’m finishing a pub crawl” breakfast.
Why: Breakfast sees a lot of turnover in guests during the period. Lunch less so. Dinner least.
I'm not the one maligning bartenders as people with easy jobs & limited intelligence. Anyone who routinely deals with drunks & the public in general deserves all they can get.
FYI, I performed my job well
Make up your mind. Did you perform your job well or did you get drunk & carouse with your customers, as you said before?
I am from the northeast and that is fairly common here...perhaps our difference on this issue relates to the culture of where we're from.
But the way I figure, when I travel for business, I am staying in a room that can be anywhere from 125 to 300/night and a minimum wage woman who works hard (likely helping support a family) deserves a few bucks. I will, at times, go down to the desk and change a 5 or 10 so I can leave a few singles, come back to the room and then go back down and check out.
I guess it was my mistake to think this was a universal thing...
...And as others have said, the general rule is the baseline for tippong. Get a great breakfast cheap? Leave more! Lousy service? Leave 5% or 10%. My own rule is, regardless of where you go for what meal or what you end up getting, be prepared to leave a 20% gratuity to your own bill.
You’re putting words in my mouth. I never said tending bar was a path to riches.
I simply was attempting to illustrate that it took me several years out in the business world before I was able to earn what I did as a young, inexperienced, and non-degreed bartender.
Sounds like a great night for a college guy...
You are free to do so, of course. It comes down to whether one views a tip as voluntary or mandatory. If we don't agree on the basic premise, there's no point in discussing it.
The owner is free, of course, to follow any policy he pleases. In this case, I think posting the policy would be appropriate.
If he doesn't want to, then I would question his motive...and his honesty. He obviously does not view it as voluntary.
I call it a sense of entitlement. What would you call it, when wait staff adds their own tip onto the ticket...twice?
I think there's no other word for it...and an inappropriate sense of entitlement is a flag flown by losers and looters. It's poison to individuals and to societies.
I understand the guy goes there to visit friends. It seems to me that tipping may be the price of admission. If he chooses not to, it's a simple decision; it's not proof of moral decay or defect. I am amazed at the name calling and invective aimed at him.
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