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.
Agree with all of that; but they start to expect those dozens of $20 tips every time you visit!
So have I. A lot of people don't tip at those places, either because they don't think of it or they don't have the money, and I always feel this is my tiny charitable contribution for the day.
The thing that gets me about the "I never tip just on principle" folks is that half the time, they're talking about the grand sum of $2 or $3, based even on the most generous percentage of the meal they ate.
So long as they keep earning it I’m OK with that.
I never saw enough ministers to draw a conclusion! Teenagers don’t tip, I’ve heard, but these were high-end restaurants, so we rarely if ever had unaccompanied teenagers either.
I really don't understand why I get so annoyed by waitpersons recently asking me "how's your food tasting?"
Of course, you could say that it gives the appearance of stifling ahead of time any comment of bad service, missing items, and so forth; but that's not really the reason it bugs me. My annoyance is just mysterious.
Hi rwfromkansas. My name is fanfan. Nice to meet you.
I tip wait staff, the hotel room cleaner, the cab driver, the hairdresser, the shuttle-bus driver, etc.
How to get on a restaurants hit list
Think no ones noticed you routinely send back the wine? Or that you filched the pepper grinder? Think again.
>>And what reason would a restaurant have for banning a black man from their premises?<<
What if the OP was black?
You make some interesting points. I confess that I recently started going to a place in Renton called The Terrible Beauty that I love. I’ve even gotten to know the owners quite well. I actually like tipping there. It is one of the very few times I do it willingly.
Anytime you have someone wait on you, they deserve to receive a tip.
thanks... i will keep that in mind and let you know!
“Where’s the logical line between tipping and bribing?”
You grease the palm to get service. A tip is for good service rendered.
Looks like the response proved the dime was the correct course of action. The ensuing cat fight was an added bonus. ;)
Unreported tip income is not in the billions. Most states and the feds have laws that force reporting through the 8% of sales rule or reporting all charged tips (collected on credit cards by the business).
Also, the standard today is to put all charged tips on a payroll check instead of paying them out of the register in cash at the end of a shift like small businesses still do. One way it was sold to wait staff for not getting cash daily was that with a paycheck they were paying into Social Security and Medicare. If they never reported their cash tips they wouldn’t have this in their old age.
Hmmmmmmm, maybe that’s better than not getting income tax on them!
Actually that's not where I'm coming from at all. Here are my beliefs:
1. The wait staff are a restaurant's face to the customer, and the public's perception of the restaurant will be based on their interface with those employees
2. Someone who habitually does not tip is going to PO the wait staff. You and I can believe it's voluntary or mandatory to tip, but the bottom line is a waiter will be upset if a patron never leaves a tip
3. It's in the best interest of the owner to keep his wait staff happy, loyal and engaged
4. He advanced that goal by throwing out this patron
5. He will be rewarded for this action with far more revenue than he lost
If the service isn’t good enough to tip, it isn’t good enough to return. Kudos to the owner.
So go hang out at Starbucks, there’s all kinds of unemployed deadbeats that hang out there. In inclement weather, they pretty much live there. You’ll fit right in.
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