After a day like today, I'm pretty sure I would write alternative definitions for Riboflavin if it would pay me. Call me a sell out, but anything, and I do mean ANYTHING is better than today. Let's talk about the social construction that is tipping. Actually, lets not talk about it, just read this (comments, particularly). Now, I know people out there are feeling all recessed, but may I just interject by saying that there are many no-tip-required establishments out there, available on virtually every street corner for your recession friendly needs. Also, when you order a bottle of wine, pricey entrees and a double cappucino post dessert, you've lost your right to play the recession card. Now before I carry on whining, let me be very clear about something;
I know when I deserve a bad tip.
I know when the service is slow, when I make a mistake, when I accidentally say something stupid... (One of my worst involves this greeting: "Hi there, my name is Rachel, can I get you off?" *Panic stricken stop, dodge glare from scary girlfriend* "Ummm....started off, STARTED off with something?" *Run, Run, RUN!*) When I make these mistakes, I fully expect a bad tip. When I mess up your order, I have the Terminator-esque computer vision that tells me at what rate my tip is decreasing, and that's OK. Even when its not my fault, when the kitchen runs long, or the hostess doesn't give you the giant booth you want, I'm not surprised that my tip is affected. But do me this one courtesy, please general public I beg you; DON'T tell me everything was wonderful, that the service was lovely, ask me to get involved in your conversation/photo experience/personal life, or hit on me, and then make me pay to serve your table. You don't stop on the street for a dime anymore - so if you're thinking 2% is enough to pay my rent, you'd be wrong.
I have to give a percentage of my loot to the kitchen and the bar regardless of whether you're clutching the purse strings or not. I am attempting to make a living based on a teetering piece of social construction, and that is my choice. But you choose not to live in England where they don't tip, and that is your choice. I know you wish the restaurant would pay me a wage that would cancel the need to tip, but I also know you wouldn't appreciate the dramatic increase in your food costs. If you dine out in North America, it is safe to assume that your server makes minimum wage, even less in some regions. We've built a tradition of tipping. I can't force you to buy into that. If you want to walk out paying the price of your bill and not a penny more, I really have no leg to stand on, and I can tell you I've never questioned a customer regarding a tip. I can, however, remind you that there is more behind the smile that I am working hard to maintain then a lack of dental benefits.
Ok, angry rant has gone on long enough. I also feel the urge to qualify every time I freak out. I am lucky to work at a place that values their employees, providing excellent training. I am not required to dress like I'm working the street corner. I have a management team that supports their staff and helps to manage complaints in a great way. The above is not in any way a reflection on my employers, it is simply a product of several bad days, and the lack of power to educate the offenders in the moment.
That being said, bring on the selling out! I'll write it with a dog, I'll write it with a cockroach for all I care, just show me the MONEY!