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.
We weren't above icing down some “USED” beer and letting them have that.
Some scroungers never new the differerence.
We always tip 20% unless the service is really bad. I understand that is part of my bill when I sit down at a table that requires someone to take my order and keep my tea glass full.
Perhaps if he wasn’t such a tightwad, they wouldn’t have thrown him out. Betcha the other Free-staters won’t miss him. No one likes to be embarrassed by a stiff.
Canadians aren't THAT 'thin-skinned' about their tipping habits... :-)
“Wouldn’t it be more fair to just charge the customer another dollar for that steak,another dime for that drink,those fies,etc. and just pay the help ?”
Fair? What’s fair got to do with business? You speak like a child. An extra dollar for a steak, or an extra dime for fries would not cover the salary differential that tips do, and it would make your waiter as highly motivated as the fast-food dude at the drive-through window. Your idea would ruin incentive, decrease the income of waiters, and promote anti-capitalism.
I don’t tip at mcdonalds either. ;)
I did watch Killing Zoe on cable one time. Impressed by it because it was a 180 degree from the screw up bank-rob caper of Reservoir’. But it was a Roger Avary film..
I recognize that it is Keith’s restaurant - his private property - and as such he has the right to choose his customers.
When did he wake up from dream land?
I wonder if this jerk is aware of the civil rights laws.
Yup. And if you don't give at least 8% in tips, the wait staff ends up paying tax on tips they didn't receive.
The guy is just being a super duper cheap dickbag.
Move to Germany if you don't want to pay tips.
People who don’t tip or are stingy tippers bug me. I understand the frustration of his receipt being changed (unless, being with a group an automatic gratuity is added and he didn’t report that). However, his decision not to tip was made before that happened. Don’t go out if you don’t plan or can’t afford to tip, period. You are paying for service as well as food. I’m sure he has a lot of perfectly logical (in his mind) arguments for why he doesn’t tip, but the point of fact, he is cheap.
I try to always tip 30% + to make up for all the cheap bastards like this guy.
I have a personal rule: I don’t go out to eat (at an establishment) unless I’m prepared to tip 20% of my bill for the service.
Sometimes I’ll eat with a group and it never fails that one in a group of four or more will skate on the tipand sometimes the tax if they can get away with it. A few rare birds I’ve seen will even try to slide on the drink. And these are folks that I know can cover it.
It doesn’t surprise me that establishments will put an automatic 15% gratuity on parties of 5 or 6 or more.
Loser, loser, loser. Tipping when earned is a sign of class and a boon to the freemarket system. It encourages good service.
I tip in restaurants etc. unless the service is bad, but I refuse to tip more than $5 under pretty much all situations when out with my wife and especially just myself.
That begins to approach the price of a meal, and under no circumstance will I pay a waiter or waitress the equivalent price of my meal. That’s ridiculous.
I don’t care if the night out was $60. 5 bucks is it.
Why? Considering the waiter had multiple people in an hour, they may make $3 an hour, but with my $5 tip and another couple tips that hour, they frankly make more than a lot of people.
I don’t understand the poor waiter thing because frankly, they make out like bandits and make more per hour than a lot of jobs.
And the service was mediocre at best because the place is always crowded?
Yeah, I am sure the owner is crying in his beer over his “loss”.
The drinks are cheaper because the waitstaff is paid $3 an hour in anticipation that you will make up the difference in tips. This gives the CUSTOMER more power in the relationship by deciding how generous they will tip.
Getting a “free ride” buying cheap(er) drinks, while letting others make up the difference while you NEVER tip... sounds like an attitude smacking of liberalism to me.
I never tip, either. And here in New Zealand tipping is not the normal practise. I like it like that.
I can’t believe how many FReepers are in favor of tipping: it’s ideologically wrong. The restaurant owner is getting a free ride on his business risk by requiring his customers to fairly compensate his staff, giving him no incentive to run a high-quality fiscally-responsible operation.
Never tip anyone, ever. It’s bad form.
And if they “ban” your from their premises for not tipping — better still. They obviously don’t appreciate your custom, and deserve to have their ingratitude rewarded by losing it.
Shed no tears for being “banned” from Murphy’s Taproom. It’s appears to be a fly-by-night operation else they’d pay their staff properly.
>>And you continued to pay by credit card? Pay cash in questionable places.<<
I do not like the whole tipping thing, though I do tip about 20%. I hate the awkwardness when renting limo’s and stuff. DO I tip or not with such services? The answer is “nope”. I don’t tip bus drivers either. I would rather not tip waiters and waitresses if it were possible.
My solution to the whole thing, though, is that I have pretty much stopped going to restaurants and buy all my drinks at bars in cash, by the drink, at the bar. I’ve always hated the whole tipping thing. Confusiion about tipping has caused me to not use services (valet parking, etc.) and go it alone.
Bottom line, I’m 56 and have never accepted the tipping culture.
It seems like the author has an unhealthy obsession.
With all of the problems that we face it seems really odd for him to choose tipping servers as a line in the sand.
I guess its easier for him to drive his stupid “point” home with people he thinks he can bully than it is with those who make the laws that take away our liberty.
But since that's how it is, if you're too cheap to leave them a tip, please stay home. Just choose to never go out.