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.
If they made out like bandits, everyone would be a waiter/waitress.
I don't care how much they make - they earn it by having to deal with the majority of society who are idiots & obnoxious.
Nothing will make you want to disassociate yourself from the human race faster than being a server or working retail.
Well, the way I look at it, tips are reserved for people who provide an additional service at a service location. For instance, the restaurant makes the food, but the additional service of getting it for you deserves the tip. Same with pizza deliveries.
Also, Im not sure how to categorize it, but I always tip my barber. It seems to be the accepted practice.
Hoosier makes an excellent point.
What is so special about waiters or waitresses that it is okay to pay them a pittance an hour (but then really pay them a lot more after tips than even bare minimum wage jobs).
I don’t see why the cashier at McDonald’s making $7 an hour doesn’t deserve as much as that waiter at Applebees probably bringing in $15 an hour after tips.
It’s MORALLY WRONG to give the waiter more via tips.
Tipping sets different standards for different jobs that are equally as difficult and low-paying.
I tip in restaurants, but this is my feeling about it.
Now, when it comes to valet parking (hardly ever done it though) or coffee shop-type situations with tip jars....never will I ever tip them. That’s just idiotic.
He wants all the benefits of going out and visiting with his friends but none of the incidental costs.
Stay home and get your own food/drink you toolbox. I bet the people he was visiting with thought he was a loser as well and are glad to be rid of him at this event.
I can't stand people who need to be on a separate check when they are out with a group. Stay home!
In all businesses the customer pays the salary of the employees- the money just doesn't spring out of no where. As I stated to another poster, waiting is like working on commission, except, instead of the commission being decided by some manager figuring out his profit margin, you as a consumer can determine the value and compensate accordingly.
If you go and buy a $50k car, you are paying the sales person probably around $5k in commission whether he treats you well or poorly. Tipping allows you to set the rate of what you think the value of service is.
After thinking about this a bit, I do thing there is a group of workers in society who should be paid $3.00 an hour and rely on tips to make living wage... ALL GOVERNMENT WORKERS.
I guess I have to chime in here. I am an excellent cook, and do not go out to eat for the food. I go out for the service and convienience of not having to clean up. I find that most of the time:
1) My water, coffe, coke, tea, etc. gets empty and remains that way
2) My food is usually delivered either slightly warm or cool. This is not the kitchens fault.
3) I will not see my waitperson more than 4 times during my entire meal 1, take order..2, deliver drinks..3, deliver food..4, deliver bill
this type of service deserves nothing from me for service. This is what they get paid wages for. If you want a tip from me, deliver me service. Clear my table when I am done eating, keep my cup or glass full, ask me if everything is ok, and above all, deliver my food while it is still hot..This will net you a 15 or 20% tip...in other words, they have to give a damn, or I sure won’t..
I’ve never heard of cooks getting part of the pooled tips.. That’s a new one to me!
Probably because you've never done either job. I have. Servers work harder & have more difficult jobs than counter people.
Apples and Oranges. The discussion on tip practices at restaurants was settle years ago. In the USA we tip. In Europe they do not.
Those are the rules established, polite people live by them. Those who choose not to deserve to be excluded from a restaurant at the owner's choosing.
>>With all of the problems that we face it seems really odd for him to choose tipping servers as a line in the sand.<<
As an oldster myself, I understand his position. I continue to re-evaluate my paradigms on a daily basis. One of them is tipping. When I say Reservoir Dogs, I admitted that Mr. Pink was precisely right. But like so many things like this, even when you win, you lose.
I tip, when necessary, but my solution to this whole thing is to just not find myself in a position where it is even an option.
I suspect the author, like me, has, over the years, drawn MANY lines in the sand. This is just one. Did you know that as people get older, they also tend to reduce their circle of friends? They become more “discriminating”.
(Grin!) Fair enough too. Cultures are different — here a tip is considered an insult by many.
It was explained to me this way, when I emigrated 15 years ago: New Zealand was settled originally by people leaving England from the servant class to make a better life for themselves, with nobody as their “master”. This is probably why New Zealand has an egalitarian feel to it, with a really blurry line between our classes.
Tipping reinforces the servant/master relationship, in many ways. It’s one thing to pay a fair price for something, and quite another to pay for servitude — which is something that our settlers left back in England.
We still get excellent service, but that’s because it is an expectation of the job rather than something driven by the tip. Waiters (in fact everyone in NZ) receive a minimum wage, which is currently sitting at $12.50 before tax per hour. That’s not a huge wage, but one can live on it by being careful.
Putting aside my personal feelings on tipping, I will state the following, please.
1. That man is perfectly within his rights to not tip. He is paying for what he is getting and anything above that is optional.
2. Most ppl would stop eating out if the prices were reflective of owners paying top wages to their staff.
3. Altering a credit card slip is considered fraud. Federal offense.
i would not want to be married to this guy... ewww...
Sonic Drive Ins.
While we are all debating the topic of tipping, let me ask this:
Do you tip the carhop at Sonic?
Why or Why not?
Do you tip at other fast food places? What about if you use the drive through window at Sonic?
I’ve had people tell me it’s rude not to tip the girl who brings me a Sonic Burger, onions rings and a Route 44 diet lime-aid. (Yumm!)
>>It is a shame that servers have been reduced to working for $2-something per hour on their paychecks, and I don’t like the system at all.
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.<<
And what I have done - “almost” never. And even then, it tends to be take-out. I NEVER tip for take-out.