Forced Gratuity

It’s no secret that I’m not a big fan of giant corporations who cheat their customers, I’m looking at you every-oil-conglomerate-in-existence, and I clearly have some deep-rooted issues with the way things work in this country.

You know something I really hate?  Standard gratuities at restaurants.  If I bring a group of 5 or more people into your restaurant, you should thank me for bringing you business.  You pay a marketing firm to try to get that kind of result, why do you charge me extra?

And worse yet, I know the answer: Because the ungrateful pricks who eat there won’t tip!

I tip unusually well, especially for good service.  If you’re a waiter/waitress I usually have and you’re usually really good and today was pretty bad, I assess the situation:

-She was pretty busy.

-She seems flustered.

-She’s wearing two different shoes.

Okay, so she’s having really bad day today, it’s really busy, and the manager is glaring needles through her; this is not her usual self.  She gets 20%.

If I have you as a server regularly and you’re usually pretty good, but today was bad and I look around to see this:

-I’m the only person here.

-You spent the entire hour I was here in the corner giggling over your phone.

-You’re still wearing two different shoes.

You’re just a bitch today (and probalby drunk or high), and I’m going to remember this the next time you’re up to par…you get 10% today and 15% the next time (maximum), if your service was up to snuff.

Now if you’re not my regular server and you do a really good job, expect 20%.  If it’s busy and you still do a good job…first of all I’m going to try to get you next time I’m there, and second of all…25%.

If you’re my regular server and you’re always good, and today is no different…don’t be surprised by 30%, or more sometimes.

I work hard for my money and if you want it, you better at least work for it.  You, as a waiter/waitress, have a pretty shitty job and deal with pretty people and you’re highly underpaid; I know that.  But I expect a certain level of service for my money.

If I’m having a bad day and somebody breaks into a car and I come across the scene and say, “Fuck it, I’m having a bad day…I don’t care,” and just walk away from it without gathering evidence and filing a report…I get fired.  If you have a bad day, that doesn’t mean I should get bad service.

That being said…you also have a pretty shitty job, as I said, and everyone has bad days.  There are days I let people go on minor violations because I’m having a bad day and don’t want to file the paperwork involved in chastising them.  I’m certainly not going to get any commendations that day.  And if you wait on me like that, you’re not getting much of a tip, either.

Also I have a credit card that gives reward points…since I’ve gotten it, I’ve upped my tipping by 5% on average.  Why?  Because I get rewards points for the tip, too.  And if you leave your tip on a credit card, you should know this: That tip gets taxed in their check and they don’t get it until payday.

Tips shouldn’t be taxed and most aren’t thanks to being in cash.  So since I don’t like tips being taxed, I throw a little extra in to pay their taxes.  Generous, right?

Wait a minute…I don’t like paying my own taxes, but I pay other peoples?  Hrmph, I’m a little goofy at times, I admit it.

But that being said, I’m almost always the biggest tipper at the table.  If I come in with five or more people, we’re usually splitting the bill and even if we don’t, the place is still making more money than if we had gone somewhere else.

I have a buddy who hardly ever tips, and when he does tip he bases the size of the tip on what the girl looks like.  That’s right, if you’re a waiter you don’t have any chance of getting tipped.

There’s a guy my fiancé works with who will round things up to the nearest dollar…it doesn’t matter what it is.  If it’s a bill for $14.98, he leaves $15.  That’s a two cent tip…even though we were in the restaurant for four hours and he had ten cups of coffee.

I always try to pay instead of my fiancé, because she has a tendency to try to do 50% and 75% tips to make up for the others.  I don’t make Mitt Romney money, so I can’t afford a $20 tip on a $25 meal, generally.  As kind as she is, I try to reign her in on it.

But anyway, these two assholes are why gratuities are put onto checks.  That was the point I was trying to make.

Here’s my problem with forced gratuities…it screws my server over.  You know that that 15% or 17% charge doesn’t all go to the server, the busser, and the cook.  You know that the company skims from it like any other service charge, then gives what little they leave behind in the workers’ checks so they get taxed on it.

But, out of spite…I don’t tip when there’s a forced gratuity on my bill.  That was your tip.  It sucks, I know, but if you want tipped…find a way to keep the gratuity off my bill; because I’m not double-tipping.

Or if you’re smart you’ll have the check to my fiancé, because she’ll give you her whole wallet the generous bitch.

You gave her the check while I was in the restroom, didn’t you?

How to fix the problem…

The problem isn’t even with the restaurants, and certainly not the fault of the workers.  It’s the legality.  You see wait staff don’t have to be paid minimum wage, because they can be tipped.  Theoretically, the tips are supposed to equal minimum wage on top of their actual wage.

This is stupid.

Get rid of the law allowing wait staff to be paid less than minimum wage.  Then if a place retains the gratuities…don’t eat there.  Eventually they’ll drop the gratuity rule to bring customers back.

One of two things will happen:

1. Wait staff will be paid more, they’ll be happier and more willing to take shit from you without rubbing your pancakes in their ass crack can before bringing them out to you.  Or…

2. The shitty restaurants who charge gratuities will go out of business and new ones who don’t will rise from the ashes.

If McDonalds pays minimum wage, why shouldn’t Eat’n’Park, Denny’s, IHOP, Kings, and the lot?

~RCS

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Audrey Shaffer
    May 09, 2012 @ 18:47:05

    For the record (because I’m an accountant and I have the overwhelming need to correct people), waitstaff DO pay taxes on their tips, cash or credit card. The payroll person adds the tips in on their paycheck to calculate the taxes.

    And when they get the tips depends on the resturant. Some pay out the credit card tips at the end of the shift. I’m sure there are some that make them wait for their paycheck, but the ones I’ve worked with pay out when they clock out.

    Reply

    • Dickjutsu
      May 10, 2012 @ 02:24:02

      Apparently the workers you’ve done payroll for are unusually honest. Most waitstaff I know only let a portion of their cash tips be counted for payroll, so they don’t have to pay taxes on them.
      And like I said…they shouldn’t have to pay taxes on tips. It’s stupid. Bad enough you’re only getting paid $2.13 an hour when minimum wage is $7.25, but they’re going to take 10% from you, too?
      And we say pimps are bad! At least a pimp will only slap their worker around if they hold back some of the cash; the IRS will send a sherrif to shoot you in your own home if you don’t pay your taxes.
      It’s even worse than the Youth Wage bullshit the Department of Labor allows.
      ~RCS

      Reply

  2. theyarntotell
    May 18, 2012 @ 15:18:47

    I completely agree with this. Forced gratuity is bullshit. Maybe my service was crap & I don’t even want to pay THAT – so why should I have to? A tip shouldn’t be expected, it should be optional for the customer to give & worked hard for by the server. But I also agree that it all comes down to the outrageously low wages servers are paid since tips are expected to make up for it. When minimum wage is $8 an hour, no one should be making $4 an hour with the HOPES of making up that extra money. I know some people are just cheap & it’s especially unfair that these servers are underpaid – but if I don’t want to pay a tip, I shouldn’t have to. End of story.

    Reply

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