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.
Mr. Pinks arguments were spot on. They are pretty difficult to argue against.
Unless one DOES tip at McDonalds, of course.
Look at it a different way, it is like working on commission, but the rate of commission you are paid is based on the market and your own work more than just some suit deciding his profit margin.
Or as we tell our customers who complain about the price of seeds/fertilizer/plants going up— “We can go up, or we can go out.”
And most of them never realize that if they ordered the same seeds from some catalogs, they’d be paying 3 or 4 times what they pay us, minimum. And yes, we have the best vegatable/herb/flower plants—homegrown, I might add—in our county and prob several of the surrounding counties. Not to mention the most pleasant and knowledgable staff! :)
This guy is a cheapskate. We have also asked a few of our more obnoxious customers NOT to come back. Something that happens VERY infrequently.
>>but if you’re not going to take care of my wait staff, I don’t want you in my restaurant.
Good for Keith.<<
Interesting. Who’s responsibility is it to take care of the wait staff?
Why is the wait staff in Alaska Airlines Boardrooms not allowed to accept tips? Who “takes care of” them?
I tip my 15 percent, but I have to say, why are so many of you attacking this guy?
Isn’t the idea that the customer pays the salary of the worker a little absurd?
That should be the job of the employer like any other field.
When you go to Wal-Mart, you don’t hand the cashier a little extra?
The whole system is stupid.
If a waiter has a couple customers an hour, they are making well over $10 an hour after tips. Sounds pretty good to me.
The minimum we tip is 10%. The better the service the more the tip, though we max out at 20% (except for breakfast because the bill is usually quite small compared to dinner -then we tip more than 20%).
>>Wait staff get paid a token salary, and are expected to work harder in order to make more money.<<
Perhaps this is the core problem.
My point was not that the government needs more taxes. Until we have the majority of Americans paying into the system, the increasing numbers of the ones who don’t will continue to screw those of us who do.
Every wait staff person I ever knew was a registered Democrat. They pay minimal to no taxes so they haven’t any skin in the game and are not affected by electing tax raising Democrats.
Most restaurant owners I know also scam on their income taxes. If they had to pay the full cost of their employees that other small businesses have to, they would also be more prone to elect officials who would change the current situation. Just look at all the liberal Hollywood types who go into the restaurant business. They know the scam.
Try looking at the bigger picture. We need to get more of the people who are in the boat, rowing. Once the majority are rowing it will be easier to throw the ballast overboard.
I'm old enough to remember when 10% was the standard tip. I've had a lot of people tell me that it has gone up to 15 - 20% because the cost of living has gone up. I'm not a math major, but if the cost of what I'm buying goes up - the cost of my 10% tip also goes up. That equates to a built-in cost of living increase.
I was also taught that TIPS meant "To Insure Proper Service". If I don't get good service (with a good attitude) I don't tip.
Find me one waiter that makes 2.13 an hour.
Most are raking it in good.
Reminded me of having lunch with a guy I know recently. He's notoriously cheap. I said I'd get the meal and he could get the tip. The meal was around $25 for the two of us, and he looked in his billfold, pulled out two ones, then grudgingly pulled out a third. I still thought this was cheap, but I usually tip 20%. On our way out of the restaurant, there was a big bowl of peppermints. He looked at them, then scooped a huge handful up and put them in his coat pocket. He grinned at me and said, "Think that was $3 worth of mints?"
Wait, your not supposed to use someone’s “beliefs” against them /sarc
Good! The cheap bastard.
“The owner could do this... The owner could do that...” Well he didn’t you cheap bastard. He through your sorry @ss out!!!! Haahaaaaa
Paultard indeed! I bet you nailed it.
As opposed to ‘sane’ or ‘conservative’ or ‘not America hater’.
DH—One of the few times I’ve disagreed with your opinion, but I guess all cultures are different. Here on the coast of NC, waitressing, esp if you are polite, efficient, friendly, and quick, has gotten many a young girl or guy spending money or money for college. In a terminally depressed area—our main sources of income are tourism and commercial fishing—you simply can’t make any money at a convenience store or clerking at a grocery store.
I don’t ever mind tipping well for good service, and I’ll leave a little something even if the service was lousy. But I see your point as well. I just don’t agree with it. :)
Most Restaurants only pay their wait staff $2.13 to start. It's completely normal and expected that the bulk of their wages come from tips. It makes them highly motivated. Suggesting that this guy is underpaying his staff suggests you are unaware of how the service industry works in the US.
McDonald’s does not have waitstaff. They make minimum wage or more. A good waitress/waiter can make a living wage on tips. A bad one goes broke. It is free enterprize.
I take care of an elderly gentleman whose greatest joy is going to Bob Evans. He is dying from pancreatic cancer. His wife is dead. He has no children. He LOVES the waitresses at BE. I don’t know if they return that love, but they sure act like it. He is a big tipper, but he became one after they treated him so well, not before.
When I go to Walmart (or any other retail/department store) I don’t have an employee of the store waiting on me, bringing me items from around the store so I can see if I want to purchase that/those items while I sit comfortably at a table. I travel around the store, finding the items I want, and then go to the checkout (sometimes the automated ones) to make my purchase. The cashier isn’t providing me with direct service. I find this to be a bad example.