Monday, November 3, 2008


"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

Well, I had a dilemna last week...

Here is the situation. Please tell me what you would have done!

I went out to lunch with 4 of my very NICE co workers.

We laughed! We had fun! We ate good food.

We ate at Houlihan's. It is a nice place.

Our group came person by person. So you know what that means for the wait staff, right? He had to come to our table over and over again until the whole party finally arrived. He brought us drinks person by person. (I used to be a waitress and I KNOW that is annoying!)

We placed our order. He was great. Our drinks were always refilled, and our food was brought out quickly. There wasn't one complaint about this guy! Really great waiter!

Finally it is time to go... Everyone puts in their money. And guess what? Our bill was $72.00 and the tip was $3.00. Seriously. And sadly, that $3.00 was from me. My meal was $7.50 and normally I am a GREAT tipper, but I only had a small amount of cash on me, and I thought, surely everyone else would be tipping.

They weren't.

I asked to put it on my credit card so I could leave a bigger tip and one of my NICE co workers said, "Don't be ridiculous Rebeckah, it's only lunch. $3 is a fine tip." When I protested, she got angry. I am not big on confrontation. I also have TONS of stress at work right now and I didn't want to add more stress to the work situation so I just left.

I did go back today when I was in the city and try to leave the right tip ($15) but our waiter wasn't working. Don't worry I will keep going back again and again until I find him. I feel SO bad for him.

So what would you have done? How do you feel about tipping? Have you ever had to confront someone about their shoddy tip leaving? I need tipping advice!

We all missed Quince very much. He would have made our fun time even funner : ) AND, I know he is a good tipper! I just love good tippers!

My friend Cortney is having a GREAT giveaway today. Go check it out. She is making a difference in the world. I love that! : )


richies said...
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richies said...

I don't really like the system of tipping, but I definitely believe in being generous. The waiter or waitress didn't invent the system. I have noticed that when a group of people go out together, the situation you described is not unusual. I guess that people just think someone else will pick up the slack. I have over tipped when I am out with a group to make up for those who don't tip.

An Arkie's Musings

Ragan said...

I don't like the whole tipping practice in this country either -- do you know that in Japan it is considered rude to leave a tip and waitresses will actually chase you down to give it back to you? We loved going out to eat there. BUT, in your situation I would feel bad for the waiter too. Tim is a really big tipper and it drives him crazy when his parents take us out to dinner because his dad never leaves a big enough tip. So he'll usually try to sneak back to the table before we leave the restaurant and leave a bigger tip too.

I love how conscious you are of everybody! (((HUGS)))

Aileni said...

I'm with richies on this - though as I am not one for dining out these days, the question does not arise. There is a system where my wife worked that customers put spare change or whatever into a basket at the cashout and it was split amongst all the staff at significant times of the year. It worked well.

April said...

I do feel that sometimes, tipping can be very overrated. I think it's something that must be earned, and not just freely given. That being said, I do feel the waiter you had deserved a bigger tip for all he did. I can't believe your coworkers didn't tip him! That just isn't right!

Like you, I think I would feel so bad for the waiter that I'd try to go back to the restaurant and give him a little more money. That's just me, though. Follow your heart, Rebeckah, and you won't go wrong.

Reader Wil said...

In Holland we tip in restaurants, at the hairdresser's and at the pedicure's. But it's sometimes difficult to know how to do that abroad.
Thank you for your lovely comments! I feel honoured. My work is not so important, but the other people are doing a lot of work every day. I hope Quince will get better soon.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Most wait staff earn most of their wages from the tips (sometimes that's all they get, depending on the establishment).

I always tend to overtip, but certainly no matter what, if there was a group and he was good, three dollars is a very sorry tip. Three dollars was not even ten percent of the bill.

If I had been there, I would have put the tip on my credit card or at least told him I was coming back with more cash. I am not sure I would have confronted the others about it, because I tend to be nonconfrontational, but I would never have left without making sure he knew he did a good job and that I was going to rectify the situation.

I was a waitress once, too. Some people just don't believe in tipping, and perhaps they do not understand the wage system for wait staff. It is a very rare place that pays the wait staff a decent hourly wage, and most all of them rely on the tips. Until that system changes, I'll be tipping.

You did the right thing, and I admire you for going back. Great job.

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

I can't believe that...I used to be a server in college and I know how heavily people in that industry rely on the tips. Their minimum wage is so minimum that there is no way anyone would get into that business unless there was more to it than just the $2.10 an hour (at least that's what it was when I was in college for servers). Good for you for taking care of it (or trying to!)

Anonymous said...

It's great to see your a John McCain fan.

Joe Martino said...
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Joe Martino said...

WOW, let's do it bulleted style:

1. Your coworkers were rude and you did the right thing. I served through college and again when I worked at a church that didn't pay me enough. yes, there are bad servers but the fact of the matter is that most people who get a salary or an hourly wage have bad days, and they still get paid. $3 on a 72 check is ridiculous and sad. Especially with the extra stress of having to wait for your entire party to show up.
Becky, you did good. I would say your co-workers anger shows that she knew she was wrong (anger in these types of situations is almost always a result of something else like guilt or shame).

2. As for the comments here. I don't know everyone's world view but I can say without a doubt that Christians are the one's who in every restaurant I have ever worked in that ran me the most, and consistently tipped the worst. Like I said in #1 everybody has bad days where they don't bring their "A game" to work, heck many people don't even bring their "B game" some days and their boss doesn't take money out of their pay check because they had a bad day but this is the very thing I hear people advocating for servers. "It has to be earned" what does that mean?

3. In closing let me say, I think everyone should have to work as a server for 2 years. Everyone would become a better tipper.

I hope I didn't offend anyone but this topic inflames me because I don't most people understand how hard serving is. Most people think it would be easy and it simply isn't.

The system is set up for them to be paid from tips. As many others have said, 2.10 just doesn't go that far.
Grace and Peace

Grandma J said...

Oh boy, is that about the most outrageous act of ignorance on your co-workers part.

First, the IRS taxes servers on their hourly rate PLUS 15% of their sales tickets. So that server was taxed on a tip of $10.80.

If you can't afford a tip, don't go out, or go to a drive-thru.
BTW, I feel the same way about paying babysitters, if you can't afford one, don't go out.

Rebeckah, you have a good heart and soul. I'm also a Christian, and I don't see the correlation between tipping or not tipping. I can say that some people tithe, and somehow maybe think that covers the tip for the gal at the Waffle House. Except the waitress isn't a charity case.

I went to IHOP with one of my neighbors last week. While we were eating, I asked the waitress if they had boysenberry preserves, she said no (no one in Texas has it!) but she said they had boysenberry syrup. My neighbor had never tasted it, and the waitress came back with a container for her to take home and try it. Our bill was $22, we left her $4 each....$8 total. Yes it was a bit over the norm, but she was great, and we figured we probably made up for some cheap creep who stiffed her.

Hold your head high, Rebeckah, you were right!

Now I have to do a movie review before going to bed. :))

Baby Favorite said...

I'm sorry someone left you rude comments. People can be so hateful.

I also don't think it makes a difference if you're a Christian or atheist or a democrat or republican whether or not you tip. Good grief, people--stop with the hate and stereotyping already!

That being said, I'd probably go back with a bigger tip, too. NOT that it's your fault--you did your part!--but I would feel terrible for the server.

Love ya!

Tricia said...

You did the right thing. I would have gone back, too. Once, we didn't tip the bellhop at a hotel. I felt horrible until we were able to find him two days later and give him his tip.

People in most service industries don't get paid enough. If they do a good job, they deserve a decent tip.

Jules from "The Roost" said...

Girl I LOVE your heart and I am with you. If they have ever done that work it is hard. Breakfast, lunch, dinner whatever..... Tip 20%!!!! People are cheap in all the wrong places.

Cortney said...

WOW! You don't not tip just because it's lunch. You ALWAYS tip. I even tip at the drive thru sandwich place. That's very great of you to keep going back to tip the guy. That will seriously make his day.

Thanks for linking to my contest. I'm excited about it!

AND....I LOVE Houlihans! We had one in Austin but out of no where it closed and disappear. I went downtown for dinner one night just because it's so great and it was GONE. I miss the tiny desserts and tiny martinis!

Audra Krell said...

I love Houlihans too and it disappeared here in AZ. I agree, people shouldn't go out to eat if they can't afford to leave a tip, it's all part of the package. Same with valeting a car, etc. etc. I would totally go back too if I were you.
As far as the Shack, it's a must read! I'll be interested to hear your thoughts!

Anonymous said...

Beck, You were right and your co-workers were wrong. I understand not wanting the drama with that woman. Good for you for making an effort for your server. I tip 20% at minimum-even for not so great service. Common decency demands it!

Daphine said...

You were totally right! WOW!

I used to be a carhop at Sonic many years ago. Although carhopping is nothing like a real server, it's still hard work. I was shocked to read that your coworkers felt this way. What a real shame. Normally if we have a server that is really good, we'll leave a really big tip because the server made our eating out experience that much better. If the server was not that good at all, we'll still leave a tip, but only the minimum.

I commend you for taking the time to even go back to the restaurant and trying to make it right with the server.

As for not wanting to start any issues with your coworker, you probably did the right thing and not pushing too far. Women tend to trip on the silliest things and it would have not been worth it. Especially since the majority...meaning all of them thought it was perfectly okay in not tipping. You sure didn't need the entire group against you. Know what I mean?

I do think that you will bless the server by going back and though you're not looking for it...God will bless you back!

stargurrl13 said...

The only time I've ever had a job waiting tables was as a second job, so it was never my primary source of income.....and for that I'm very thankful!

Having experienced the world from the waitstaff's point of view, my thoughts on tipping will never be the same again.

I think most people who have never waited tables are unaware that wiatstaff minimum wage is only $3.35 per hour. The idea is they will make up the difference with the tips left for them.

My rule is to ALWAYS leave 15% percent.....even if I feel I've gotten shoddy service. If the service is good, my tip just goes up from there.

My dad comes from the old school of thought and believes that the amount you leave is based on the quality of service only.......I've finally convinced him that he can NEVER leave less than 10% of his total bill and that stiffing someone their tip because the service was inadequate is NEVER appropriate.

Anyway.....that's how I handle the tipping issue. I'm so glad you're going back to give him more. You'll be rewarded for that somehow, I'm sure!

I hope things are good there! I'm ready to vote bright and early in the morning!

Caroline said...

Leaving $3 for a tip on a $72 meals is not acceptable (especially when you had great service). Good for you for stepping up! I am all about the karma...

Julie said...

Your co workers were RUDE. You were right and I applaud you for tipping.... it is a CUSTOM to do it in America... and other parts of the world too, in Hungary here you tip. And when this happens to me, I just put in the extra and know that I will have to do that if i go out with those friends again... so sorry you had to go through that. It is annoying!

BusyBeeSuz said...

Good service should be tipped. really and anyone that does not tip has not had to give service before.
keep going back and tip the guy. You will feel better about it.
Next time, perhaps you should say something ahead of time to all the coworkers that if the service is good, everyone should tip accordingly.

Katie said...

I don't know what the negative comments were. There is no coralation between christian and non christian tippers. I'm a christian and I have tipped 5x our meal price when I felt lead to. There have been some awesome servers in the past that you can tell care about their job and you know they could use the surprise. Especially a pregnant waitress come on.. Who in their right mind would want to do that job pregnant. I think you have a very sweet sincere heart. Many people in this world only seem to care about themselves. I have never been with people that don't tip so I don't know what I would have done. I probably would have said lets all leave $2.50-3.00. Going out to eat is a treat and you have to pay for it. I would not leave a tip if my service was horrible though. I have had a waiter bring my kids hot sauce with their nuggets and role his eyes when I needed another drink? So in those cases?? Also maybe you should call and let his boss know what a great job he did!!

Brandi said...

I would have handled it this way... If I would have had the cash in my purse I would have taken one look at the tip - reached in and dropped the money right on top of the $3.00. I have done this before and it really makes people feel bad - you wouldn't believe how fast they all start pulling out their purses. However, if I didn't have the extra cash I would have said, "I'll be there in a minute, I need to take care of something." Of course, they are women and women tend to wait on each other. So, I would nonchalantly put it on my credit card - and again, I think I would have made a point without being confrontational. That's just how I think I would have handled it.
You do have a great heart and kudos to you for going back to try and make it right!
I worked as a waitress in college - so I too understand what a stressful job it is! I also know how bad you feel when you go up to a table and see a small tip - it really hurts your feelings to be quite honest - even though you try not to take it that way.

Live.Love.Eat said...

Yikes. That is a sticky situation. $3 is definitely not ok, regardless of what time of day or meal it was. I would have said something to everyone, nicely. Guys, we really should be leaving x amount, can we each put in a little bit more?

Detroit said...

Since tipping is a part of our culture and there is an expectation there, it is absolutely necessary to leave a tip. Tipping is all part of the process and formality of going out.

Believe me, I have a hard time some times if the service was horrible but as a Christian I also have a testimony to uphold and so I always leave a tip, and 10% is the old rate; it is 15-20%. I would have been furious with that group let alone extremely embarrassed.

I admire you for your urgency in trying to reach out to that waiter to give him the proper tip; no doubt that will be a tremendous testimony. I hope you find him because no doubt he will remember that group for sure!

stephanie garcia said...

Anyone who finds the tipping practices in the States annoying should try living in Chile! :) Here it is cultural to tip for everything from having your groceries bagged to having someone help you out of your parking space even when you don't need help. The percentage here is lower, but the basic premise is still the same: tipping is a common courtesy owed to those who serve us in certain contexts.

Personally I believe that if I as a Christian treat my wait staff badly or leave a poor tip, I am embarrassing my Savior. (The worst of all in my opinion is when a believer leaves a tract with a terrible tip - who is going to want to read it after they've been gypped?) I have been in situations like yours where I've had to throw in extra money, or come back with a better tip later.

I've never been a waiter, but in college I worked as a grocery store cashier. I agree with Joe that working in a service capacity with customers who weren't always the most patient or kindest is a great learning tool!

((Hugs)) Becky ... you're the best. :)