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Man Arrested for Leaving Small Tip


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oh, another thing I do is pay attention to my bill and look for extras. Maybe I got an extra side of bacon that wasn't charged. Perhaps refills aren't free but I got them anyways. Stuff like that. When servers do little things like that, I like to tip them more. Technically, the money should have been spent anyways.

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There was a time not too long ago when I was in a very large group, and everyone had separate checks. We typically have meetings in this one restraunt, so I was going to be there for a few hours. It took an hour to get my order to me (apparently the cooks lost the order), so the manager didn't charge me for my dinner. However, the server had to deal with 30 people in my group (we were in a private room), and it was a really hectic evening for her. So I didn't have to pay for my food, but I left the server what it would have cost me for my dinner plus the tip she would have received anyway, so effectively I left an $18 tip on a meal that cost $0 (but would have cost about $14).

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Charges Dropped Against Bad Tipper


1 hour, 6 minutes ago



LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. - Charges have been dropped against a man arrested in a restaurant for not leaving a big enough tip.




After researching the case against Humberto Taveras, authorities said Monday that he cannot be forced to pay a gratuity.



Taveras, 41, was charged Sept. 5 with misdemeanor theft of services after he and fellow diners argued with managers at Soprano's Italian and American Grill over a required 18 percent tip for large parties.



Taveras had said he was not completely satisfied with the restaurant's food and left a tip of less than 10 percent.



"I'm glad someone came to their senses up there," said Taveras, who faced up to a year in jail. "Now I can tell my kids, 'Daddy's not a crook.'"



Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan said if the 18 percent gratuity had been called a surcharge or service charge, Taveras would have been legally obligated to pay it.



Restaurant owner Joe Soprano said he did not pursue charges because of the money but because Taveras' group was obnoxious. "We did what we thought was right," he said.

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Besides, IIRC at least some servers are paid below minimum wage because of the expectation of gratuities -- sort of like a commission for good service. By refusing to pay the gratuity you might be making a statement about the idea of a "gratuity as a bribe," but ultimately the only person you're actually hurting is the server, who will now earn less than another person for an equivalent level of work.



See this is where you're slightly off... by Federal law... even if the hourly wage of a server is less than the minimum wage at the end of the night your tips are tallied and you *MUST* make or exceed the minimum wage requirements. If you do not the restaurant is *required* to make sure you do. That's why it's a minimum wage. Not tipping is not a crime and does not take away from the federally mandated minimum wage. Tips are just that, tips. Do a good job, get a bonus (tip).


My background in regards to the subject: I waited tables for 6 years. 3 of which were at a 5 star restaurant.


*edit* PS: If you do not tally your tips at the end of the night you're breaking Federal law which requires you to report them as part of your income statement. :devil:

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Well, okay, technically you are. But bad service is bad service. I never tip $0.00. I *always* leave something. How else can the server be sure you didn't just forget? The guys in the article left 10%. If service was poor (even if they were loud and obnoxious) that's a lot better than $0.00. Waiting Tables is a job of averages. I used to *hate* serving college students because they never had any money (relatively speaking) and so never tipped very well. Conversely, I *never* charged large parties a mandatory tip. Why? Because I *always* got more money when they calculated it than when I did it, "by the book."


Of course, I was a good waiter, if I do say so myself. I think I had the tip records to prove it too... As a "for instance": Making an hourly wage of $1.03 per hour paid by the restaurant, I would typically make, across a 6 hour shift, upwards of $50 per hour by the end of the night on a weekend night with tips at the 5-star I spoke of earlier. I would work 3 nights a week. Thursday, Friday, & Saturday. That salary was enough to put me through college with no student loans. We had 8 table sections.


If *everyone* had "stiffed me on the tip" I would surely have been hurting because I was making well over minimum wage, but again, this was not exactly a pizza house. Just like somedays you only got 2-tops and others you got a good mix and still others 4 and 5 tops. The average menu item price was upwards of $15 and this would've been ~1990 if that puts it in perspective.

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Well heres one from the other side: I AM A WAITER.


heres some education: the word tips is actually an acronym (t.i.p.s.)-it stands for TO INSURE PROMPT SERVICE.


as several wise folk have stated, it is to insure that the service does indeed go above and beyond the call of a flat salary.


more education-law requires that you report all your tips. the standard minimun that most restaurants require you to claim is 8-10% of your total sales, if we claim below that we are written up.


heres some math: in california, the standard at almost any restaurant is to tip out your bussers, and your bartenders; that is to give them an portion of your tips for services rendered (clearing your table and making your bar drinks).

standard tip out is 2% to bussers, and 1% to the bar, although ive seen some places where it is 1.5% to bussers and 1.5% to bar-either way thats 3% of my sales im losing in tips. so if some lowlife cheapskate leaves me a 10% tip, i just made 7%. remember what i said the irs demands we claim? 8-10%.

whoops. oh well, no skin off said lowlife's nose, just money out of my pocket.

further, there are often otherpeople to "tip out"-some restaurants have tipped hosts, and at mine in particular, on weekends we have a food expediter/runner who sends our food out, and we give them about 2%, which means if im tipped 10%, i walk with 5% (tip out: 2% bussers + 1% bar + 2% expo/runner= 5% that goes bye-bye as soon as i get it)



luckily in california we dont have that awful "serving wage", which is the official term for the practice of paying less than minimum wage and assuming tips will cover the rest. however, when you look at the cost of living out here in southern california (im about 1 hour away from LA), you realize the 6.75 an hour i'm paid in wages wont rent me space to put my cardboard box in the cardboard jungle near Hollywood and Vine in LA., let alone a decent place to live for myself, my fiancee, her two kids and our son.


heres a little for Frank the dm and the rest who are against automatic gratuity (hereafter known as "autograt")

it pays my friggin bills. it ensures that cheapass lowlife peices of $#*t dont take up all my tables, stay forever (when did any of you ever stay less than say 2 hours at a restaurant when there were 8 or more of you, or at least 1 1/2 hours-most big parties stay for about 2 hours) and then try to leave 8$ on a 150 dollar check, or 15 on 200.

it happens alot. autograt makes up for the bad (5-10%) tips we get as part of our daily bread and butter. you dont want to know how often ill get a credit card slip back from someone who had autograt on their check, and find that they have scratched out the autograt and written in their own tip (of course LESS than the 17% autograt that is automatically tacked onto parties of 8 or more, because if they were going to tip MORE, they would have left the autograt and included it in the space for "additional tip").

we just laugh at them, as we collect our autograt, because it was already deducted from their credit card, and cannot be taken off unless they have a manager take it off. thats what ghetto trash gets for not only being cheap, but sneaky about it too.


in case you have no clue (crypdyke and a few others here thankfully seem to have a clue): large parties take up a disproportionately large amount of my time and effort to keep happy and "well served" and i deserved to be compensated for it. they also take up my tables for a large amunt of time in which i am not getting any new tables, or making any more money.


what some of you have said is true, there are servers who dont like to go above and beyond the minimum service, but i know that many feel this wayfrom disgruntlement at getting little in tips regardless of the service. heres what i have learned in my area: tip rarely reflects quality of service

ive had bad days where nothing would go right and i gave crappy service and made 15-20% all day, and ive had days where my service was perfect, i told good jokes, anticipated every need, got one tables kids to stop crying (my restaurant is kinda scary) and even made a stripper feel like a person after a dehumanizing conversation with her mother, and got 5-10%on every table (except the stripper-she dropped me 25$ and asked me to go to a movie with her. but i am engaged. D'oh!)


most either tip decent, or cheap, and nothing i or any other server can do will change what we are going to get from them. but there is one thing i can do-i can educate you, who share my beloved hobbies and interests to make sure we are not another of those groups that do no know how to tip. if you choose to remain in the "bad tipping" group i will still educate you. the servers will remember you if you frequent the establishment, they will say things about you and your wife, children and mothers behind your back you'd rather not hear-in fact we say such things about any bad tippers, not just repeat offenders, and they will wish things upon you such as a large car accident (involving you) on the way home. im not joking. your bad tips adversely affect our lives, many servers would like to return the favor-i knew one who practiced wicca and druidic magic -suffice to say he lit a few candles and such when he went home after getting a bad tip...also if you ever forgot something at a table where you left a bad tip, such as a purse, shopping bag, pair of glasses, cell phone, or small child or pet, dont even bother going back for it. its long gone and probably in little pieces in the trash. (except for the pet which now has a new home or the child which is on its way to be sold to Turkish slavers)


Tip is 15%-plain and simple-it should never go below this unless A.the server has major attitude, B. stares at your wifes tits (and if you just kicked out three grand to have them enlarged, this does not apply-at least you know you got your $'s worth -call me a pig if you will, but remember how near hollywood i am), or displays gross negligence and/or incompetence. also remember that you dont know what is happenning behind the scenes. if the food took 1/2 an hour, and then someone else brings it to your table, know that maybe the kitchen screwed up, and your server was fighting to get your food out to you, and also that in most restaurants (okay, okay, not dennys) servers, runners, and expeditors run each others food out all day long. ive told my table i'd go see where their food is, then stood in shouting matches with the kitchen for five minutes to get it out to them (in spanish no less), fixed the stuff the kitchen screwed up (in california most cooks speak little english, let alone read it) only to have them leave a crappy tip because it took 22 minutes for 15 minute entrees and i didnt give them their fourth cherry coke as soon as the third was empty (thats when said shouting match was occurring).

we're human too. i have a great attitude at work-i like dealing with people all day-i try to read my customers-ill engage in conversation if they seen receptive to it, or try to be as minimal a presence as i can while serving them if they seem like that is what they want (ie business lunchers). ill even joke and tease if they are of good humor and seem receptive. but at the end of the day, i dont want your arguments how you think autograt is wrong, or you dont believe in tipping. all i want is my frigging money so i can go pay my bills and feed my kids and buy more reaper minis-thats why i work for you and i expect to be paid for it.


i wish there were boxes you could check where you indicate how much you tip, like "do you want the 5%[] 10%[] 15%[] or 20%[] service." and then that amount was put on the check and made legally part of the bill. boy youd see some service then (unless you are one who doesnt tip well, in which case youd be lucky to see a server at all)


bottom line is, if you cant afford the 15%tip (or just dont want to pay it)


dont buy the food!


ps thank you cade, adam tls, lars porsenna, crypdyke, and others who display understanding and benevolence to those of unfortunate to be stuck in the service industry (i've had my BA for three years, but im still working my college job)


and your right bachelor, and ill be the one in front of the revolutionary firing squad with the biggest gun, and non tippers will be FIRST shot. (after 10 hours torture)

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Yes, Tommy, if a waitperson does not make minimum wage with their tips + hourly wage the employer must make up the difference. At least that is the law, wheather or not it happens may vary. My husband worked for years in the restaurant business, as a waiter, bartender, manager, and frequently any mix of those. There was one place where he worked as a waiter/ service manager where the lunch shift frequently did not make minimum wage and the restaurant had to make up the difference.


What Morningcloud said is 100% true. The only thing I can add, and this is agreed upon by several people I know both current and former resturant peope:


1) if you have a problem with the food- let you waiter know. They can usually get it fixed for you with very little trouble. I know this is true, I will happily send food back if it was not prepared the way I wanted it or if there is somthing else wrong. Always be polite about it in almost all circumstances, your waiter wants you to be happy, and it is not the waiter's fault the kitchen messed up. This situation should not affect the tip you were going to leave, unless it is handled poorly by the waiter.


2) if you have a problem with the waiter, ask to see a manager. Tell the manager what the problem was. The manager is in the best position to fix any problem you may have. The restaurant will be happy to know they have a rude, incompetent, etc waiter rather than have a customer stiff the waiter, leave unhappy and tell all their friends not to go to that restaurant. As always, be polite. The manager wants you to be happy and come back to the restaurant with all your friends. That is how they make their money. Any place you encounter a different attitude won't be in business long anyway. How much this situation affects the tip is not agreed upon by my friends, but at lest 10% is not in dispute. Basically don't stiff the waiter, but do talk to the manager.


The restaurant business is high stress and has a high turnover, burnout, and heart attack rate. I am glad that everyone in my family has moved on to lower stress jobs.

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I tip 15-20%, per *accepted* guidelines....and this can be skewed dramatically for better/worse service. I've left tips as small as a penny...and as large as $200.


All I ever ask is that I have something to drink in my glass. If you do more than this, it's a bigger tip. If you do less, it's a smaller tip. However, incompetence gets no tip. And I don't care whose fault it is or what system they are a *victim* of.

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Yes, MourningCloud I know what you mean. At the 5-star spoken of previously, I had 2 serving assistants and the entire kitchen crew to split my tips with. 15% is the minimum I tip on average service. Poor service gets less + a visit with the manager. Great service has no limit.


For instant, on 8/31 of this year my friends and I had a birthday party at a local hotspot. On a Friday night. Service was spectactular. Total tab was $200. Waitress, because we were there for 2.5 hours earned $150 in tip. She nearly cried she was so surprised (a bunch of guys on motorcycles does not necessarily look like a good tipping group :lol: ). But then again, as you implied, if you've DONE the job, you're much more likely to give good tips for large parties / long stays because you know that the key for tips is turnover. Good service helps, great service more so, but still turnover is what guarantees income.


For what it is worth, if you have problems getting to 15% on your tips at the restaurant you're currently at, perhaps it's time to find a different one to work at. Tips at my first waiting job (chinese, non-buffet) were no where near enough to live on even working 5 days a week. I needed that experience though to be able to move to a better restaurant. I went to said 5-star, did 6 months as an SA (Serving Assistant / glorified bus-boy) then moved to waiter, then 6 months later head waiter. :)

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Yeah I'm about to piss off some waiters here...


Here we go.


I use 15% as tipping for average service.


Now if I see my waiter only four times, that's once to take my drink order, once to take my order, once to refill my ice tea and once for the check...that's not average service, that's sub-par and will only get about 10%, unfortunatly that's the service I get about 40% of the time. I can't count the number of times I've had to get my own ice tea refill because I waited 10 minutes or more and saw not hide nor hair of my wait staff. And of course, wait staff from other tables weren't coming over, cause it wasn't their table...great support there I tell you...


I never dock a waiter for bad food, but he does loose points if the food is cold, or if the plate is hot and any garnish is wilted (aka obviosly spent alot of time under the heat lamp), however if a waiter is in the weeds, some consideration is given.


What do I consider average service you may ask...well here we go, I expect a smile, I expect refill's of my ice tea when it's low or out, however i don't want my wait staff hovering over my table. That's it...that's all it takes to make me happy. Ice Tea, and a smile...if the food's bad I'll take it up with the manager.


As a person who did some waiter work in college, I understand, but I'm sorry if my tipping policies upset you, or other people's tipping upsets you...but that's the way this world works. I'm not a sheep, and I'm sorry they've decided to push you around and treat you unfairly in the world of food service...but that's the way it works.

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Actually, "TIPS" being a acronym is a urban legend. Snopes.com has info on this.


I agree in some ways that the 'service' wage is a cop out. As pointed out, it'd be great if you ALWAYS got the 15% tip. But that doesn't happen.


My wife, when she worked as a waitress, got screwed on the whole minimum wage - tips thing.

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(my restaurant is kinda scary)

OK, I have to know, where do you work?


I actually hate eating out, mostly because of the wait-staff. There are plenty of people who would get no tip at all if it wasn't expected (and I'm not talking about things that aren't their fault). Sadly, finding a decent waiter/waitress is impressive, finding a great one is amazing.


It's even worse now that there are books for them to "improve their tips", the last thing I want is the waiter to sit down with us when I'm out with friends, especially when they are invisible when I really want something (oddly, while I wouldn't mind a waitress doing this, that rarely happens).


FWIW, I've been a bartender. Loved it (except making mixed drinks), it was easy and it paid well (yes, in tips). I would still do it if I could get in at a decent (respectable, non-dangerous) bar. Of course, now it's been a few years so I don't have enough "experience". It amazes me when I DJ and hear the bartenders complain about their tips at the end of the night (OK, annoys me too, since people can request music all night and not think to slip the DJ even a buck or two - and I've actually lost DJ jobs for playing requests)...

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well, this time around the steam wasn't rolling outta my ears. sorry if my last post seemed heavy handed, but is there any other way to slap sense into people? (you should have read the stuff i self-edited) :poke:


Rodnic, Rowdymon, Dexter, Crusoe- you guys are welcome in my restaurant any time.


Rowdymon-no pissing off-those guidelines are fair and what you demand should be expected of any decent server (i consider myself a decent server-i know many who can serve circles around me, but i do my best to take care of my tables). i make sure my table sees me at least six times-taking drink order, food order, asking how food is, refilling drinks, 2/3 way through meal check back &dessert offer, and check. and that doesnt include apetizer or dessert service, or subsequent drink refills.


i work at the rainforest cafe in ontario mills-ontario, california. theres one in vegas, and one in mall of america and gurney mills (for you midwesterners)

therea animatronic gorillas, elephants, a jaguar, an orangutan, and several thousand gallon salt water fish tanks. its dark, loud (especially when theres a thunderstorm-lightining strobes, thunder, and all the animals come to life at once-anyone remember the enchanted tiki room at disneyland/world? its like serving in the middle of that....), and did i mention loud? kids between about 2 and 4 often get scared as hell. my 2 1/2 year old can no longer go inside-he starts shaking when we turn the corner in the mall and he can see the restaurant, and buries his head in his mothers shoulder.


the reality is people have a set amount they tip, whether that is 15%, 10%, 5%, or 2 dollars, and there is little you can do to increase that (although bad service will often decrease the amount they choose to give you)

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