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"I give God 10%; Why do you get 18%"
January 31, 2013 11:52 AM   Subscribe

Waitress whose co-worker scanned uncharitable receipt from Applebee's customer is fired after story goes viral.

And of course, the pastor is very sorry for her behavior.
posted by Kitteh (355 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
How embarrassing. Now everyone will know she eats at Applebees.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 11:55 AM on January 31, 2013 [49 favorites]


“My heart is really broken,” said the 37-year-old Bell. “I’ve brought embarrassment to my church and ministry.” Says the person who demanded the waitress she undertipped be fired.
posted by troika at 11:56 AM on January 31, 2013 [160 favorites]


For all the shit that can be posted on Reddit, there is one rule that is upheld: thou shalt not dox, meaning to post private information about other Reddit users.

But for regular people, post away! lolololol

I hate that place.
posted by sixohsix at 11:56 AM on January 31, 2013 [26 favorites]


In a TSG interview, Alois Bell said that the online firestorm created by the receipt has left her stunned. “My heart is really broken,” said the 37-year-old Bell. “I’ve brought embarrassment to my church and ministry.”

The Christian thing to do.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:57 AM on January 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


Some time on Wednesday, Chelsea says the customer who had left the receipt contacted her Applebee’s location, demanding that everyone be fired, from the servers involved to the managers
Ahh, christian charity.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:57 AM on January 31, 2013 [76 favorites]


Why do waitresses get 18%? So their employers can pay them less, and in some cases even take a portion of those tips as extra profit. It was eye-opening when I heard that tipping culture is a lot stronger in the US than other countries.
posted by JHarris at 11:57 AM on January 31, 2013 [28 favorites]


She now works at a shelter, declawing cats.
posted by fleacircus at 11:57 AM on January 31, 2013 [8 favorites]


Who hires pastors? Maybe enough complaints could make the joblessness mutual. The complete lack of compassion exhibited here means she's not qualified to be one anyway.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:58 AM on January 31, 2013 [8 favorites]


God never asks me if everything is ok and he always makes me ask to have my water glass filled. I never tip him more than 10%.
posted by bondcliff at 11:58 AM on January 31, 2013 [24 favorites]


I don't see any winners in this story.
posted by Curious Artificer at 11:58 AM on January 31, 2013 [7 favorites]


Ah yes, treating people shabbily with religion as your excuse! The American Way!
posted by elizardbits at 11:59 AM on January 31, 2013 [59 favorites]


I think the bit that angers me most about this story is how the pastor feels ashamed but not so much that she didn't call and demand everyone be fired for her shitty behavior.
posted by Kitteh at 11:59 AM on January 31, 2013 [28 favorites]


Yeah, I totally just came here to post that.

Anyway, complete crap that this woman got fired. She did NOT post private information about the pastor; it was other reddit users that went digging.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:59 AM on January 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


God could not be reached for comment.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:59 AM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


The part I like best is that the menu required an 18% tip for tables of 8 or more, so the table of 20 split up the check hoping to get around that requirement. They were shocked to see their cunning plan didn't work. Small minded, petty and stupid.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:00 PM on January 31, 2013 [98 favorites]


She now works at a shelter, declawing cats.

She also sidelines as a mohel.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:00 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


This really rustles my jimmies.
posted by hellojed at 12:01 PM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


Like most people, she's ashamed she got caught, not ashamed she left no tip and asked for people to get fired.
posted by jeather at 12:01 PM on January 31, 2013 [98 favorites]


I don't see any winners in this story.

The waitress no longer has to work at Applebees, so that's a plus!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:01 PM on January 31, 2013 [7 favorites]


God never asks me if everything is ok and he always makes me ask to have my water glass filled. I never tip him more than 10%.

God fills your water glass without asking. It's called rain.
posted by madcaptenor at 12:01 PM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]



Why do waitresses get 18%? So their employers can pay them less, and in some cases even take a portion of those tips as extra profit. It was eye-opening when I heard that tipping culture is a lot stronger in the US than other countries.
posted by JHarris at 11:57 AM on January 31 [+] [!]


I absolutely agree, but until that system is remedied there's no excuse not to tip. If wait staff ever have the opportunity to organize, they can demand that management incorporate tips into the pricing and payscale and refuse to accept them from there. But until then... we get to pay up.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:01 PM on January 31, 2013 [10 favorites]


Waitress whose co-worker scanned uncharitable receipt from Applebee's customer is fired after story goes viral.

This is a little off. I think it was the co-worker who scanned the receipt—not the original recipient—who got fired.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:02 PM on January 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure why God only gets 10%. Does he get paid a living wage? Is he European? Doesn't seem fair.
posted by phunniemee at 12:02 PM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


Mixing tipping AND religion? Do they give out awards for inadvertent internet forum trolling?
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:03 PM on January 31, 2013 [10 favorites]


This story makes me mad, not only because of this "pastor"s behavior, but what can I do about it? It's not like I can NOT eat at Applebees even harder
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:03 PM on January 31, 2013 [125 favorites]


God fills your water glass without asking. It's called rain.

Unless you live in Arizona.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:04 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


C'mon people, if you're not going to tip, you pay by cash so they don't know your name! This is easy stuff
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:04 PM on January 31, 2013 [12 favorites]


“All throughout the comment thread on the Reddit post, I withheld any identifying information,” Chelsea explains . . . Some time on Wednesday, Chelsea says the customer who had left the receipt contacted her Applebee’s location, demanding that everyone be fired, from the servers involved to the managers.

Is the identifying information for the customer "an evil miser who has come to life from a Dickens novel"? That is the kind of vibe I'm getting, tell me if I'm close. Or, maybe "cartoon Dracula". That sounds right too.
posted by Tiresias at 12:04 PM on January 31, 2013 [8 favorites]


In a TSG interview, Alois Bell said that the online firestorm created by the receipt has left her stunned. “My heart is really broken,” said the 37-year-old Bell. “I’ve brought embarrassment to my church and ministry.”

Some time on Wednesday, Chelsea says the customer who had left the receipt contacted her Applebee’s location, demanding that everyone be fired, from the servers involved to the managers


o_0

One of these things is not like the others. She was so contrite that she... demanded the entire staff be sacked? Praise Jesus.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:06 PM on January 31, 2013 [9 favorites]


Says the person who demanded the waitress she undertipped be fired.

Who's a minister whose church - like all churches - doesn't even have to pay taxes, unlike poor people - like this waitress - who make half minimum wage.

[Sorry, but reading this was a "religious" person reminded me of that other beef I have.]
posted by NorthernLite at 12:06 PM on January 31, 2013 [10 favorites]


Alois Bell's page on the Black preaching Network The comments left by visitors on this page are, uh... not going well for her of late.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:07 PM on January 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm not sure why God only gets 10%. Does he get paid a living wage? Is he European? Doesn't seem fair.

For a fictional entity, He's doing all right for Himself.
posted by zjacreman at 12:08 PM on January 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


The waitress no longer has to work at Applebees, so that's a plus!

She was working at Applebees, however crappy that might be, because it beats the alternative: having no income.
posted by JHarris at 12:09 PM on January 31, 2013 [51 favorites]


To say nothing of the stereotype that "black people don't tip."
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:09 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't understand how she posted something on Reddit and her employer found out it was her. Did she have her real name on her account or something? Why would you do that?
posted by bleep at 12:10 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm going to start writing that on my tax returns.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:10 PM on January 31, 2013 [20 favorites]


I'm not sure that I can feel overly sorry about a waitress who thinks that it's a good idea to post a customer's signature on the Internet getting fired.

This could have been innocent lulz at the expense of a low-tipper (which I understand is cathartic for the server/ex-server class). Posting the signature line was poor judgment, and if I was her manager, I wouldn't want someone with judgment that poor working for me.

I am in no way defending how the pastor acted (either WRT to the tip, or the demand that everyone be fired -- though I can that I would be pretty pissed at the employees who embarrassed me on the internet, if that ever came to pass).
posted by sparklemotion at 12:11 PM on January 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm not sure why God only gets 10%.

If He wanted more money, He should work somewhere He can get paid more. Why is it her responsibility to make up for God's shitty job?
posted by griphus at 12:11 PM on January 31, 2013 [19 favorites]


God fills your water glass without asking. It's called rain.

I don't think I'd tip 18% if my waitress kept throwing pitchers of water at me.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:11 PM on January 31, 2013 [11 favorites]


God may get only 10 percent, but he can always take home the leftovers and multiply them.
posted by Longtime Listener at 12:12 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


10% of income > 18% of lunch bill

Just sayin'.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:12 PM on January 31, 2013 [18 favorites]


Maybe enough complaints could make the joblessness mutual.

Well. from the Smoking Gun: "Bell heads a 15-member church that rents a storefront space". It's not like she is at a megachurch. She isn't getting fired for bad press. The story also says she has a separate full-time job, but does not indicate what that is.

It was a super-shitty thing to do, and super-shitty things done by people who in the same breath are claiming to be acting according to some sort of religious precept are extremely gratifying to take down but seriously: this lady, the pastor, doesn't deserve this. Shitty obnoxious move, but truly it is best forgotten.
posted by dirtdirt at 12:12 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure that I can feel overly sorry about a waitress who thinks that it's a good idea to post a customer's signature on the Internet getting fired.

She didn't. The only legible part of the signature was "pastor".
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:12 PM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


I don't think I'd tip 18% if my waitress kept throwing pitchers of water at me.

What if she conjured up a hurricane with her eldritch powers, though?
posted by elizardbits at 12:13 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


To say nothing of the stereotype that "black people don't tip."

And the stereotype that the after-church crowd are the worst tippers is any different?
posted by Talez at 12:13 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure why God only gets 10%...
For a fictional entity, He's doing all right for Himself...


TIPS = To Insure Personal Salvation
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:14 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


The story also says she has a separate full-time job, but does not indicate what that is.

Well, the internet will figure it out pretty quick, for good or ill.
posted by griphus at 12:14 PM on January 31, 2013


The asshole pastor isn't sorry she did this, she is sorry she got caught and embarrassed. That's not being sorry.

Bell didn't just fail to leave a tip, she crossed out and declined to leave the mandatory tip based on having a party of 20.
posted by Justinian at 12:14 PM on January 31, 2013 [39 favorites]


The original Reddit r/atheism thread has some good comments at the top:

"Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me."
"He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God."
posted by MegoSteve at 12:15 PM on January 31, 2013 [21 favorites]


I used to wait tables while I was in college in Memphis. There was an annual "Holy Convocation" for one particular denomination that used to convene there that was such a nightmare, I knew waiters who would give their two weeks' notice two weeks before it came to town, take a few weeks to hide, then apply for a new job after they were gone.

I guess what I'm saying is... yeah... church people. (Shudders.)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:15 PM on January 31, 2013 [7 favorites]



Why do waitresses get 18%? So their employers can pay them less, and in some cases even take a portion of those tips as extra profit. It was eye-opening when I heard that tipping culture is a lot stronger in the US than other countries.
posted by JHarris at 11:57 AM on January 31 [+] [!]


It's probably also worth mentioning that during the Spanish Revolution the workers chose to outlaw the practice of tipping, and dropped it along with other acts and terms they felt were beneath their dignity. Orwell famously references it in Homage to Catalonia.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:15 PM on January 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


A long time ago, when I was still a Christian, and still prayed before my meals (even in restaurants) I somehow came to realize that it's so easy to spout off a quick prayer by habit, but that if I really meant what I said when I thanked God for this meal, or asked the Lord to "bless the hands that have prepared this food" then I should be grateful and generous to the server and staff in return.

"Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." -Matthew 25:40 (NIV)
posted by sambosambo at 12:15 PM on January 31, 2013 [36 favorites]


Well, it looks like she wasn't ...

[puts on sunglasses]

saved by the Bell.

YEAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

See, because she lost her job and the Pastor's last name is Bell
posted by zippy at 12:16 PM on January 31, 2013 [21 favorites]


Why do waitresses get 18%? So their employers can pay them less, and in some cases even take a portion of those tips as extra profit. It was eye-opening when I heard that tipping culture is a lot stronger in the US than other countries.

Party of 6 or more and the computer adds it automatically
posted by Dr. Twist at 12:16 PM on January 31, 2013


My parents quit the Catholic church because tipping was so mandatory that they sent an extremely aggressive priest around to harass my parents after they tithed less than the 'suggested amount' because they had their third child on the way and thought a two bedroom house might be too small. The priest harangued my parents until my they were forced to ask him to leave our house. So two lifelong Catholics never went back to god's house and I count my nonspiritual blessings every day.

Something about religion makes some people think they have the righteous of way and can send everyone else to meet the maker they just spent a group session imagining.

Good people don't need excuses for good behaviour.
posted by srboisvert at 12:16 PM on January 31, 2013 [16 favorites]


OK non-RTFA people: the server herself did not get fired, her co-worker who photographed and posted the receipt on Reddit was fired; Bell was not identified on Reddit, she called Applebee's (after some friends recognized her signature and told her she'd 'gone viral') and self-identified and demanded that everyone involved be fired.

Also, wow, Bell is definitely getting hammered on her page over on the Black Preaching Network, as mentioned a few comments ago. Looks like "the internet" has shown up to register its displeasure. I doubt this is over for her...here's one of the more polite comments:
It's unfortunate that Chelsea Welch will not be able to pay her rent or food bills because a supposed minister of God chose to call and have her fired for wounding the minister's pride. A simple apology does not pay her rent or feed her. How nice to have a job as a minister, where there is no fear of getting fired if you wound someone's pride. "Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed." 1 Samuel 2:3

posted by LooseFilter at 12:16 PM on January 31, 2013 [15 favorites]


The world is fucked. The a non-malcontent waitress got fired on grounds of privacy, but we still allow big corporations and governments into our daily lives on a regular basis without flinching.

Seems contradictory until one realizes what is truly happening is a devaluation of humanity across the board.
posted by thetoken at 12:17 PM on January 31, 2013 [19 favorites]


The story also says she has a separate full-time job, but does not indicate what that is.

Presumably so that company doesn't get thousands of phone calls asking that she be fired. Which would be a sort of poetic justice, though I also think it would be wrong.
posted by jeather at 12:17 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


God fills your water glass without asking. It's called rain.

But the Applebees waitress knows to stop before flooding the entire world
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:17 PM on January 31, 2013 [16 favorites]


God doesn't pay taxes, so a pre-tax lunch tithe of 18% is about the same as a 10% lunch tithe after taxes.
posted by zippy at 12:18 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


To say nothing of the stereotype that "black people don't tip."

To be fair, white people spent a long time not tipping black people
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:18 PM on January 31, 2013 [46 favorites]


Here in the U.S., if you go out to a restaurant to sit down and eat and someone brings your food to you. You tip. It's part of the bill, if you don't understand that, then you have no business eating out. Stay home. No one wants to talk to you anyway and your oversalted system doesn't need any more sodium.
posted by IvoShandor at 12:18 PM on January 31, 2013 [7 favorites]


Also: quit pretending you don't know about tipping, European tourists. You know and we know you know and you know we know you know.
posted by griphus at 12:20 PM on January 31, 2013 [88 favorites]


The only legible part of the signature was "pastor".

From the Consumerist article "Chelsea says she didn’t think to edit [the signature] out because she had assumed the name was illegible." (emphasis mine)

She assumed wrong. Even if the the name was mostly illegible on its own, it wouldn't be to hard to start making educated guesses if you found a list of pastors in the area and could start matching letter shapes.

The waitress who actually waited on the pastor (probably) deserved a decent tip. This waitress deserved to be fired.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:20 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't think I'd tip 18% if my waitress kept throwing pitchers of water at me.

What if she conjured up a hurricane with her eldritch powers, though?

I'd order another round.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 12:21 PM on January 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


sparklemotion, when I saw the receipt on reddit, it was blacked out. I don't know if there was an earlier version.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:23 PM on January 31, 2013


Something about religion makes some people think they have the righteous of way and can send everyone else to meet the maker they just spent a group session imagining.


I'm so going to start using the phrase "to have the righteous of way" from now on.
posted by LN at 12:25 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen: also from the consumerist article...

"She eventually replaced the image with a version that did not contain the signature, but by that point, people were posting their guesses as to the customer’s identity."

So yes, there was an earlier version.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:26 PM on January 31, 2013


Wait. When people tithe, doesn't it mean they're giving 10% to the church? So, in effect, isn't the pastor using that 10% to pay herself?
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:26 PM on January 31, 2013 [40 favorites]


Thanks, sparklemotion. Yeah, that's murkier, and violates reddit TOS.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:27 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


The pastor called it a "lapse in my character and judgment" that "has been blown out of proportion." Somewhat an ironic statement coming from someone who ordered Applebee's to fire everyone who came into contact with the receipt.*
posted by ericb at 12:27 PM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


To say nothing of the stereotype that "black people don't tip."

I saw the original story on Reddit and the idea that the non-tipper was black never even entered my head. Anyone who has ever worked in chain restaurant-- or knows some who has-- is well aware of the crappy tips given by the religious crowd. They even come prepared with those fake million dollar bills to hand out as "tip" that have scripture on the back.

I'm not sure why and how certain churches (non-denominational protestant) became intertwined with lousy tipping but this is an actual thing and it stinks. It makes the receiver feel cheated and makes the giver look bad. I can only guess that the diners think being frugal is being moral and feel like stiffing the waitress is part of that lifestyle.

About Chelsea getting fired, I can only shake my head. Thanks for the lulz, doll, I hope you get a (better) job soon. If you have to be a waitress, cocktail waitressing in a non-chain bar is the way to go. It is a raw deal that we are all still learning what is acceptable/not acceptable on the internet. Now you know that posting someone's signature is not acceptable.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:28 PM on January 31, 2013 [10 favorites]


Our franchisee has apologized to the Guest and has taken disciplinary action with the Team Member

Ugh, I hate that corporatese "team member". To me it's a red flag word, indicating a company that treats their employees poorly and tries to paper it over with fancy titles. Capitalizing it just adds insult to injury.

"In the meantime, hopefully I can find a job ... where people are willing to tip well."

Good luck with that.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:28 PM on January 31, 2013 [8 favorites]


To be fair, white people spent a long time not tipping black people

What's that old saying about two wrongs...?
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:29 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


We would like to announce that, for His role in this debacle, God has also been fired.

-Management
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:29 PM on January 31, 2013 [37 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen, I remember seeing the full name being clearly visible when this was first posted. I thought it said Pastor Wes Bell, and someone posted a profile of a white guy named pastor Wes Bell. The OP then mentioned that the pastor was a black woman, so I don't know why she said she gave misleading information. Though she might have changed some things afterwards when I stopped reading the thread. So even though it was shitty of the pastor to stiff the waitress, the person who posted this clearly doesn't understand shit about personal privacy and in my opinion, deserves to be fired.
posted by Qberting at 12:30 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


The crappiest species of bad tipper in my experience is the one that picks fights with other people about the fact that they're tipping too much, and to a T those people all couch their objection in language that would be better suited for comforting someone in a bad relationship, as though every service worker is a con artist in disguise and by choosing to leave that person a few bucks more you are letting them run roughshod all over you. Invariably these people are dramatically more well-off than any of the servers waiting on them are likely to be, too.
posted by invitapriore at 12:31 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


"I give God 10%; Why do you get 18%"

The laborer is worthy of his hire.

Matthew 25:40 may also be relevant here, and possibly a number of New Testament passages about attachment to money.

Not to mention the waitress didn't ask for 18% of anybody's income.

“I’ve brought embarrassment to my church and ministry.”

No worries, happens every day to Christianity. Still, ministers and laity alike may want to follow this pro tip: if you're about to justify mean or mean-ish behavior based on an appeal to your own religious observance or snap application of part o the canon, don't.
posted by weston at 12:31 PM on January 31, 2013 [13 favorites]


Anyway, complete crap that this woman got fired. She did NOT post private information about the pastor; it was other reddit users that went digging.

Exactly.
For her part, Welch did what she could to avoid having Bell's identity exposed, asking Reddit to stop posting the personal information of potential culprits.

In fact, Bell still isn't sure what exactly she did wrong.

"I didn't break any specific guidelines in the company handbook - I checked," said Welch, who had no complaints about her service prior to this week. "Because this person got embarrassed that their selfishness was made public, Applebee's has made it clear that they would rather lose a dedicated employee than lose an angry customer. That's a policy I can't understand."

Neither will Reddit, which is no longer being kept at bay by Welch, and has already put out a call to "grab them pitchforks." *
posted by ericb at 12:31 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


We would like to announce that, for His role in this debacle, God has also been fired.

-Management


"God is dead." - Nietzsche

"Dude I'm not dead. I got fired from Applebees because of some stupid bullshit, and I totally left my iPhone there and Rob won't let me go in the back and get it because he is dickweed and even though Trish totally said I could pick it up so now I have to wait for them to mail it to me." - God
posted by griphus at 12:34 PM on January 31, 2013 [33 favorites]


The asshole pastor isn't sorry she did this, she is sorry she got caught and embarrassed. That's not being sorry.


It's also called "Armstronging".
posted by modernnomad at 12:36 PM on January 31, 2013 [15 favorites]


I believe that every working person should be paid a living wage, but until I'm President of the Universe that ain't gonna happen, so I tip service people. I enjoy dining out, especially the "don't have to prepare everything and then clean up afterward part", so I don't mind tipping those people who do it for me. They've got bills to pay just like I do, but unfortunately their boss isn't as benevolent as mine. Folks who refuse to tip on principle somehow don't realize that penalizing the messenger isn't going to change corporate policy. I know I sure couldn't work on my feet eight hours a day, hauling heavy trays, or drive in sub-freezing temperatures to deliver a pizza, so I'm happy to pay the people who are willing to do so. (By the same token I wouldn't have the stomach to snake out a toilet, but union plumbers make a heck of a lot more than food service workers.)

Interestingly enough, when I was growing my Dad was firmly in the "tipping is blackmail" camp and resented having to pay more than the menu price for his food. Flash forward to when Dad is in his 70s and he and Mom are living on a pension and suddenly home cooking just isn't as tasty anymore, and why should Mom have to go through all that trouble....he preferred to eat at the local diner for five or six of his weekly meals. And he was leaving $3 and $4 tips on a $9 tab. Mom finally twigged on to his change of attitude....young attractive women addressed him by name when they arrived, they knew Dad's favorites from the menu, they'd slip an arm around his shoulder while pouring his coffee.... Quite a change from home where Mom told him he was lucky she didn't put ground glass in his salad whenever he complained about the food.
posted by Oriole Adams at 12:36 PM on January 31, 2013 [18 favorites]


until I'm President of the Universe

I hear that job recently opened up.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:37 PM on January 31, 2013 [7 favorites]


“lapse in my character"

Try "revealed my true character" instead.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 12:38 PM on January 31, 2013 [24 favorites]


The waitress who actually waited on the pastor (probably) deserved a decent tip. This waitress deserved to be fired.

I disagree with this very strongly. I don't think Chelsea should have been fired because Pastor Bell was identified. Pastor Bell should have been identified. Look, you can't treat people like shit in private and then get mad because your behavior gets exposed. Chelsea did not post a phone number, an address, a social security number or a credit card number. She posted a nasty little note with a signature. Why should the customer get to assume that something she did in public is to be kept hidden?

What if it was a different work environment? What if instead of a note explaining her non-tip in a supercilious manner, it was a snotty little note she handed to a....shop girl? Could the shop girl post that on the internet or is that somehow a private transaction?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:38 PM on January 31, 2013 [67 favorites]


Secret Life of Gravy, mostly agreed, but posting private information about anyone is against reddit TOS. She should have been kicked off reddit, but not fired.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:41 PM on January 31, 2013


Between this and yesterday's Revenue Canada incident, it has become clear that for employers, public or private, customers are allowed to be as assholish as they wish but Customer Service employees will be expected to suck it up, and NEVER GO PUBLIC. That way, the Internet can believe that The Customer Is Always Right (and should not pay extra for service workers to have health insurance).
posted by evilmidnightbomberwhatbombsatmidnight at 12:42 PM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


"“We make $3.50 an hour. Most of my paychecks are less than pocket change because I have to pay taxes on the tips I make,” she explains. “After sharing my tips with hosts, bussers, and bartenders, I make less than $9/hr on average, before taxes."

$3.50 an hour?? And people still think it's okay to stiff the servers their tip?? Honestly, how anyone can be expected to live on that is beyond me.
posted by Jilder at 12:42 PM on January 31, 2013 [10 favorites]


but posting private information about anyone

So a signature is "private information"?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:43 PM on January 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


Well, let's put it this way. Pastor Alois Bell is going to either change her name or be forever branded as a selfish idiot by any search for her name. I'm even sympathetic about that. Not very though, and if she was smart she'd attempt to arrange some kind of job offer for the sacked woman.

She won't, however. From beginning to end Bell has commented in ways that make it clear it's All About Alois Bell.
posted by jaduncan at 12:44 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


The waitress who actually waited on the pastor (probably) deserved a decent tip. This waitress deserved to be fired.

Or, you know, warned and disciplined, if we treated people like human beings.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:44 PM on January 31, 2013 [46 favorites]


$3.50 an hour??

That's only guaranteed in the big chains/franchises that are forced to comply with the law just because of their size. Many small, privately-owned restaurants don't pay the servers/bussers/bar staff a wage at all.
posted by griphus at 12:44 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of the religion I was raised in. Members were known for coming into an area for a convention and leaving tracts as tips (for restaurant and hotel staff). Maybe now that they are told to bring their own food and not leave the convention site, people who actually appreciate the work of others will be able to get a table at a decent restaurant in those areas during the summer.
posted by Wyeldfire at 12:45 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


What's that old saying about two wrongs...?

"A wrong in the hand is worth two in the bush."
posted by steambadger at 12:45 PM on January 31, 2013 [7 favorites]


$3.50 an hour?? And people still think it's okay to stiff the servers their tip?? Honestly, how anyone can be expected to live on that is beyond me.

The fucking worst are the people who object to tipping "in principle," as though being cheap is the spark for widespread social change.
posted by elizardbits at 12:45 PM on January 31, 2013 [28 favorites]


This reminds me of the religion I was raised in. Members were known for coming into an area for a convention and leaving tracts as tips (for restaurant and hotel staff).

If they came back I'd serve them an ingredients list.
posted by jaduncan at 12:47 PM on January 31, 2013 [15 favorites]


God could not be reached for comment.

God's in the weeds.
posted by ColdChef at 12:48 PM on January 31, 2013 [13 favorites]


The fucking worst are the people who object to tipping "in principle," as though being cheap is the spark for widespread social change.

Well, no. If you object to tipping on principle and live by those principles so you -- for instance -- never go to anywhere that tipping is part of the wage, then that's a perfectly reasonable stance that I have never, ever heard anyone actually live by.
posted by jeather at 12:48 PM on January 31, 2013 [15 favorites]


I will say this in favor of church people. When I was a paper boy, I used to love to sell the Sunday paper outside the Presbyterian church. They gave incredible tips.
I kept that post until another paperboy beat me up and took it from me.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:48 PM on January 31, 2013


elizardbits: The fucking worst are the people who object to tipping "in principle," as though being cheap is the spark for widespread social change.

It's entirely possible to object to tipping on principle (it is super awkward and dehumanizes servers) while understanding that you still have to do it until they are paid a living wage.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:49 PM on January 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


$3.50 an hour?? And people still think it's okay to stiff the servers their tip?? Honestly, how anyone can be expected to live on that is beyond me.

Well they can't, that's the point. You get to keep (some) of your tips as part of your wage although it varies from place to place about how much you have to share with the other waiters and bus boys and chefs. Some places even make you pool your tips with all the waitrons. And the management gets around the whole minimum wage thing by factoring meals and tips into your wage.

I was waitressing when they first changed the law about taxing tips. Up until then you were supposed to declare your tips as taxable income but the government did not assume the amount. Then they changed the law and now the IRS assumes you will make a certain percentage of tips and you are taxed on that but I haven't been a waitress in over 20 years so I have no clue as to how much that percentage is.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:49 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you can't afford to leave a decent tip, then you can't afford to eat out.

If the service was really not very good, by all means leave a reduced tip. But not leaving any tip at all is just flaunting your needless assholery.
posted by raztaj at 12:50 PM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yes, to clarify, I mean people who refuse to tip and use that as their excuse, and expect to be revered as though they are Gandhi on a hunger strike for human rights.
posted by elizardbits at 12:50 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


hmmm...this guy and these guys and this guy(autoplay sound is annoying) and this guy get a pass (i.e. NOT sacked) for mishandling privacy data, then I think our lowly server ought to get a pass. Y'all suggesting otherwise are just wrong-headed.
posted by j_curiouser at 12:50 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Large parties are a pain in the ass.

Jesus!

posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:51 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


you can't treat people like shit in private and then get mad because your behavior gets exposed

You might have missed the comment above where I said that I in no way am defending the pastor for her actions.

That being said, it was in no way Chelsea Welsh's place to post that note, with identifying information attached. First off, it wasn't even Ms. Welsh who got no-tipped. Secondly, even Ms. Welsh claims to have understood that it was wrong to post identifying information about a customer (hence why she tried to throw the Reddithorde off the scent).

Finally, do you really think that invoking the wrath of Reddit is really a proportional response to seeing a co-worker lose $7?
posted by sparklemotion at 12:51 PM on January 31, 2013


Tips can be used to allow employers to pay less than the federal minimum wage. Can we all agree this is pure fucking evil? There shouldn't be a situation where a customer's tip goes straight into the establishment owner's pocket.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:52 PM on January 31, 2013 [10 favorites]


From the TSG article:

A mother of three, Bell heads a 15-member church that rents a storefront space. Bell said she has a separate full-time job--which she declined to describe--and tithes 10 percent of her earnings to the church.

Sounds to me like it is her own church, as in "the church she created and runs", not "the church she attends and supports". So that 10% she "gives to God" goes into whose pocket (tax-free) exactly?
posted by JJtheJetPlane at 12:52 PM on January 31, 2013 [14 favorites]


Finally, do you really think that invoking the wrath of Reddit is really a proportional response to seeing a co-worker lose $7?

It was the 18% on a 20-top, not $7, no?
posted by elizardbits at 12:53 PM on January 31, 2013


It was the 18% on a 20-top, not $7, no?

Well, apparently the 20 of them, or however many it was, split the check. We don't know if anyone in the party tipped.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:53 PM on January 31, 2013


Bell, seen above, said her notation on the receipt was a “lapse in judgment that has been blown out of proportion.

For the record, this is the definition of a non-apology apology. The TSG word does not contain the word sorry, contains no statement of apology at all from Bell to the sacked woman, and the only use of 'apologized' is when Applebees apologised to Bell.

If someone acted like that here on the blue people would call them on it hard and/or pile on them on MeTa.
posted by jaduncan at 12:55 PM on January 31, 2013 [11 favorites]


Jilder: "$3.50 an hour?? And people still think it's okay to stiff the servers their tip?? Honestly, how anyone can be expected to live on that is beyond me."

Actually, $3.50 is pretty high - the minimum is still $2.13/hour, i.e. half of minimum wage...in 1991. A lot of people don't know this, somehow.
posted by notsnot at 12:55 PM on January 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't think anyone should have been fired. If the pastor is okay with being nasty, then she should be okay with people knowing that she is nasty. This isn't private information - it isn't like the waitress posted her credit card information. The pastor was acting in a public restaurant when she did this and she had no problem putting her name on it. The waitress had every right to tell other people about it.
posted by cyml at 12:56 PM on January 31, 2013 [24 favorites]


Finally, do you really think that invoking the wrath of Reddit is really a proportional response to seeing a co-worker lose $7?

The irony is, the tip had automatically been added to the check becuase it was a party larger than 10.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:57 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Finally, do you really think that invoking the wrath of Reddit is really a proportional response to seeing a co-worker lose $7?

Maybe not, but I also don't think that being a contrite asshole to someone just trying to do their job is proportional to "losing" $7 to pay the tip you should.

No one really did the right thing here, but some people did less of a right thing than others. Pastor Bell, I'm lookin' at you.
posted by phunniemee at 12:57 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


it was in no way Chelsea Welsh's place to post that note, with identifying information attached. First off, it wasn't even Ms. Welsh who got no-tipped. Secondly, even Ms. Welsh claims to have understood that it was wrong to post identifying information about a customer (hence why she tried to throw the Reddithorde off the scent).

Finally, do you really think that invoking the wrath of Reddit is really a proportional response to seeing a co-worker lose $7?


First of all welcome to the internet. See something funny? Take a picture and it goes live. That is the state of things and instagram has made that even easier. These days you have to expect everything you do in public-- pee your pants, slip a nip, vomit on your brother, etc-- has the possibility of being posted.

As to the identifying information about the customer, it was a signature, a scrawled signature. I couldn't read it. Chelsea claims she couldn't read it. In hind sight, yeah, it would have been better to block out the signature, but like I said we are all still getting used to how powerful the internet is.

As to whether the wrath of Reddit is a proportional response to seeing a co-worker lose $7.00, you are really naive if you think this is the first time that Bell has stiffed a waitron. And hiding behind her religion as a reason for being cheap makes it all the more worse.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:59 PM on January 31, 2013 [9 favorites]


After reading the range of comments, one thing struck me about the irreversible 18% tip for parties over a certain size. So, if you serve a group of less than X Applebees is fine with you stiffing the waitstaff but you can't stiff them if your party is larger?
posted by Michael_H at 12:59 PM on January 31, 2013


The irony is, the tip had automatically been added to the check becuase it was a party larger than 10.

IDk, it's possible that as suggested above that they deliberately split the check to avoid the automatic tip add-on.
posted by elizardbits at 1:00 PM on January 31, 2013


After reading the range of comments, one thing struck me about the irreversible 18% tip for parties over a certain size. So, if you serve a group of less than X Applebees is fine with you stiffing the waitstaff but you can't stiff them if your party is larger?

If there's lots of small tables and one stiffs you it sucks but the averages are not so bad.

If the big party you spent all night on does you might not be able to buy gas to drive home.
posted by jaduncan at 1:01 PM on January 31, 2013 [36 favorites]


Finally, do you really think that invoking the wrath of Reddit is really a proportional response to seeing a co-worker lose $7?

One good way to not get called out as a cheap assed shitheel is to not act like one on something you signed your name to.

So, yeah, I feel OK about the Pastor getting the wrath of god the internet called down upon her.

I'd like to think that might be a real, "come to Jesus" moment for her, but knowing people as I do, I'm not that optimistic.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:02 PM on January 31, 2013 [8 favorites]


One good way to not get called out as a cheap assed shitheel is to not act like one on something you signed your name to.

That’s the thing, right? This woman went out of her way to even add the word Pastor in front of her legal signature.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:03 PM on January 31, 2013 [13 favorites]


So, if you serve a group of less than X Applebees is fine with you stiffing the waitstaff but you can't stiff them if your party is larger?

Exactly. It's assumed that Most (But Not All) People Will Tip, so the occasional asshole is figured into everyone's math. On the other hand, if there's a big table (who usually require a lot of babysitting and will tend to be there longer and so on) and they don't tip, the serving staff is really screwed because they probably spent as much time on those 20 people as they could've on 10 individual tables. And if a restaurant doesn't enforce a minimum tip for that situation, then who the hell is going to work at that restaurant?
posted by griphus at 1:03 PM on January 31, 2013


Finally, do you really think that invoking the wrath of Reddit is really a proportional response to seeing a co-worker lose $7?

It isn't the $7. It's the rank hypocrisy, disregard and entitlement.
posted by jaduncan at 1:04 PM on January 31, 2013 [10 favorites]


These days you have to expect everything you do in public-- pee your pants, slip a nip, vomit on your brother, etc-- has the possibility of being posted.

No offense, Secret Life of Gravy, but I'm not going to sit in the seat next to you at the movies anymore, okay?
posted by xingcat at 1:05 PM on January 31, 2013 [11 favorites]


And if a restaurant doesn't enforce a minimum tip for that situation, then who the hell is going to work at that restaurant?

Are you actually legally obliged to pay the minimum tip they add on to those bills? If I try to stiff the server by not tipping, will the restaurant do anything? What if the server was really bad/rude and you want to tip less than 18%? This is an honest question: I have no idea what the answer is.
posted by jeather at 1:08 PM on January 31, 2013


it's possible that as suggested above that they deliberately split the check to avoid the automatic tip add-on.

According to the report I read about this yesterday on Consumerist, the tip had automatically been added to the bill at the time it was presented to the table, but was listed separately. The receipt had a charge of 34.93, and listed an automatic gratuity of $6.29 and had a line for an additional tip if the customer chose. The customer crossed out the automatic gratuity, wrote "0" in the space for the additional gratuity, and wrote a comment about tithing before writing "34.93" in the grand total space.

So the automated tip had been added on to the receipt they were presented with.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:09 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


The mandatory percentage added in is a (fairly) recent thing and 18% is about the highest I've seen. But Applebees serves drinks, and a large crowd of drunks may very well walk off without leaving a tip. Plus when the bill gets really high (as it would with 20 people) your tip often goes down proportionally.

I used to have a crowd of regulars who would come in a couple of nights a week and drink Chivas Regal, which in 1981 was going for $2.50 a drink. There would be 8 or 10 regulars drinking 2 or 3 (or more) drinks each so their tab often ran to $600 dollars. After sitting around for 2 or 3 hours one of the regulars would pay the tab and not once did I ever get 10% of the tab. I would get $10.00 or so, which they felt was being generous.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:09 PM on January 31, 2013


Maybe not, but I also don't think that being a contrite asshole to someone just trying to do their job is proportional to "losing" $7 to pay the tip you should.

lol, contrite is obviously the opposite of the word I meant. Let's just pretend I said sanctimonious or somesuch. Carry on.

posted by phunniemee at 1:09 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


These days you have to expect everything you do in public-- pee your pants, slip a nip, vomit on your brother, etc-- has the possibility of being posted.

No offense, Secret Life of Gravy, but I'm not going to sit in the seat next to you at the movies anymore, okay?


Heeeee. I don't even have a cellphone with a camera, so you are completely safe with me. But you should worry about everyone else. I know I do.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:12 PM on January 31, 2013


Are you actually legally obliged to pay the minimum tip they add on to those bills? If I try to stiff the server by not tipping, will the restaurant do anything? What if the server was really bad/rude and you want to tip less than 18%? This is an honest question: I have no idea what the answer is.

Ish. It would be a matter of a civil dispute; presumably your argument would be that you were entitled to expect something better in service in just the same way as you would be entitled not to pay full price if the steak was inedible. Would they go to small claims for $7? No, and the court probably would just tell them it's de minimis if they tried.

Absent some reasonable argument for low quality service, they'd probably just ban you.
posted by jaduncan at 1:12 PM on January 31, 2013


"A wrong in the hand is worth two in the bush."
You can fit two hands in there??

And yeah, I'm gonna say that tithing 10% of your wages to the storefront ministry where you stand in front of 15 people and tell them how to live their lives isn't the most selfless thing in the world. It sounds pretty conceited to refer to that money as going "to god," when it's going to your personal project. It's not unlike donating 10% of your wages to your own Kickstarter.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 1:12 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is why I only vomit on my brother behind closed doors.
posted by phunniemee at 1:13 PM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


it was a signature, a scrawled signature. I couldn't read it

The smoking gun article has an unredacted picture of the receipt. The last name "Bell" was practically in block letters.

The pastor did a very bad no good thing. Maybe Ms. Welsh is more karmically right for bring to light the fact that Alois Bell is a bad person and should feel bad. But if what Ms. Welsh did was so right, she should have no problem facing the consequences of that action (being fired for violating a customer's privacy).

How happy would you guys be if a local restaurant advertised the fact that you were a customer there? Do you think that because you're normally good tippers you "have nothing to hide"?
posted by sparklemotion at 1:14 PM on January 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


Are you actually legally obliged to pay the minimum tip they add on to those bills? If I try to stiff the server by not tipping, will the restaurant do anything? What if the server was really bad/rude and you want to tip less than 18%? This is an honest question: I have no idea what the answer is.

Yes.

There are two reasons mainly for this extra fee. One is that large groups are an unusually large time sink for the staff and the kitchen.

The other is that many times, large groups are there as a business function/meeting and lots of times the meal will be authorized, but gratuity is not. So the server gets stiffed, unless the restaurant makes it mandatory.

They aren't that recent - we had a similar fee at most, it not all, the restaurants I worked at 15-20 years ago.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:15 PM on January 31, 2013


I'm slipping a nip right now!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:15 PM on January 31, 2013


How happy would you guys be if a local restaurant advertised the fact that you were a customer there?

I would be perfectly fine with any restaurant I eat at letting anyone they want know that I eat there.

But then again, I don't eat at Applebees.
posted by phunniemee at 1:16 PM on January 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


Secret Life of Gravy, just thinking about that is making me vomit on my brother right now.
posted by math at 1:17 PM on January 31, 2013


sparklemotion, the good tipper/bad tipper thing is irrelevant, to me. It's that she invoked the whole tithe nonsense, and then went out of her way to point out that she is a pastor.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:18 PM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


The other is that many times, large groups are there as a business function/meeting and lots of times the meal will be authorized, but gratuity is not. So the server gets stiffed, unless the restaurant makes it mandatory.

So what does the restaurant do if the group crosses out the gratuity part/leaves exact change of just the bill?

I don't stiff servers! I don't even go out in large groups anyhow. But I am really curious about this now, despite the fact that it sounds like I'm trying to figure out exactly how I can stiff a server.
posted by jeather at 1:19 PM on January 31, 2013


Are you actually legally obliged to pay the minimum tip they add on to those bills?

It always says it right on the menu - parties of X or more have Y% automatically added as gratuity. Contract offered. People order stuff, contract accepted. (IANAL, but it seems pretty common-sense to me...)
posted by dragstroke at 1:19 PM on January 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


Are you actually legally obliged to pay the minimum tip they add on to those bills?

When I was a waitress, whatever the customer entered in on the total line was what they got charged. This bit me in the ass after a distracted customer made an adding mistake on a check and didn't notice that their post-tip total was lower than the pre-tip one. So if a customer doesn't want to pay the 18% gratuity, all they have to do is ignore it. At least in DC.
posted by troika at 1:19 PM on January 31, 2013


How happy would you guys be if a local restaurant advertised the fact that you were a customer there? Do you think that because you're normally good tippers you "have nothing to hide"?


How are they advertising the fact? A big ole billboard with me stuffing a slice of cheesecake down my gullet? A picture of my signature? An hour long infomercial with my sparkling wit and generous cleavage on display?

As long as they aren't using me in an actual ad, I'm cool with people knowing I eat in a certain establishment. Is that supposed to be secret?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:20 PM on January 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


Is it just my availability bias that makes me think MetaFilter is much more likely to forget about the availability bias when talking about religion? In addition to the plain old availability bias:

1. Servers are probably not as good as they think they are at guessing someone's religion.

2. If religious people are believed to be bad tippers, might servers not give worse service to people they think are religious, making them more likely to leave a bad tip and perpetuate the stereotype?
posted by straight at 1:22 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is that supposed to be secret?

Only if you're eating gravy, apparently.
posted by phunniemee at 1:22 PM on January 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm slipping a nip right now!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:15 PM on January 31

Secret Life of Gravy, just thinking about that is making me vomit on my brother right now.
posted by math at 4:17 PM on January 31


I really hope that was just a case of bad timing otherwise my nips are going to get their feelings hurt.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:23 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I give God 10%; Why do you get 18%"

Um...That 10% ain't going to to anyone named God. It's going to your own church. Some of it right back into your own pocket. Goddamnit, I hate people...
posted by Thorzdad at 1:24 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


1. Servers are probably not as good as they think they are at guessing someone's religion.

it is probably not unreasonable to assume that a large client rush on Sundays might possibly be an after-church crowd in many regions of the US.
posted by elizardbits at 1:24 PM on January 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


As long as they aren't using me in an actual ad, I'm cool with people knowing I eat in a certain establishment. Is that supposed to be secret?

So, if all the websites and stores that you shopped at this week published your name on Reddit, you'd be ok with that?

Of course, we're just talking about one establishment here, but I think it's reasonable for customer privacy to be a goal of organizations (especially when there's no reason to violate it). If the manager (or the actual waitress) wanted to go through the proper channels to address a possible breach of contract thing here with the mandatory gratuity, I wouldn't have a problem with that.
posted by sparklemotion at 1:24 PM on January 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


So what does the restaurant do if the group crosses out the gratuity part/leaves exact change of just the bill?

It depends. If you've got the CC, then you just charge them what was supposed to be charged. I've corrected tip addition mistakes without trouble many times, for example.

They could dispute it, then. And then the restaurant probably ends up eating some or part of the bill, since it's a pain to fight anything with the CC company. Ultimately, it could end up in small claims - but really, I imagine any business would eat the whole bill before it got that far.

What this pastor did is bizarre. And weird.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:27 PM on January 31, 2013


If you can't afford to leave a decent tip, then you can't afford to eat out.

I favorited this so hard I dented my phone.
posted by winna at 1:27 PM on January 31, 2013 [8 favorites]


straight: "Is it just my availability bias that makes me think MetaFilter is much more likely to forget about the availability bias when talking about religion? In addition to the plain old availability bias:

1. Servers are probably not as good as they think they are at guessing someone's religion.

2. If religious people are believed to be bad tippers, might servers not give worse service to people they think are religious, making them more likely to leave a bad tip and perpetuate the stereotype?
"

The server I know who complains about this sort of thing puts it as "the post-church crowd" rather than "members of X religion". It's probably easy to spot a group that has come in after a service, and to tell which service they've just come in from.
posted by Karmakaze at 1:28 PM on January 31, 2013


i think you picked the right username
posted by j_curiouser at 1:29 PM on January 31, 2013


She's giving 18% of her yearly salary as a tip? Yeah, that's overtipping. But maybe she's only giving 10% of her lunch bill as a tithe.
posted by malocchio at 1:29 PM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


So, if all the websites and stores that you shopped at this week published your name on Reddit, you'd be ok with that?

The thing with this is that websites have TOS and everything you see on the payment page when you check out on a website is PRIVACY this and SECURE that. There's an expectation of privacy because it says so right there.

There's no such sign in Applebees. There's no such rider in the employee handbook. OK, perhaps there's an expectation, but it doesn't say anywhere that there should be.

Reprimandable offense? Sure, perhaps. Fireable offense? No.
posted by phunniemee at 1:29 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've commented about my experience waiting tables before, from Applebee's to Ruby Tuesdays to startup resteraunts owned by 3 dudes with a dream, to near-white tablecloth quality fare in Yellowstone National Park and wanted to drop in with a few thoughts, these are by no means canonical to the waiting tables gig nor am I presenting them as such.

First off, regarding the whole "tipping is abusive" thing. That was never my experience. That's not to say that it isn't for a whole lot, possibly even the majority, of servers. But it was better money than back of house prep staff/dishwashers/hosts. It was better money than all but the best paid cooks/chefs. All too often it was potentially better money than the managers, doubly so if you divide pay+tips by hours worked and compare that to what the managers are getting paid and the hours they're working. I say again, for some waitstaff I'm sure this isn't the case but it is worth saying that the problem isn't going to be solved by waving around some magical "let's remove tipping from the equation when it comes to eating out equation" wand.

Waiters often pass on portions of the tips they make to hosts, bussers, and/or cooks. At least the smart ones do, it helps ensure that people like you and will help you out in a moment of need, thus ensuring more tips and more tip sharing with others. Some places even go so far as to require you to split tips with certain other employees like hosts or server assistants.

I guess I'm just cynical enough to see it going down the tubes when tipping is removed from the equation. Owners/corporations simply aren't going to do the right thing and start paying a living wage. They're not for the back of house staff, this will just give them the power to put up a sign saying "Please, no need to tip, we pay our servers accordingly" *cough cough minimum wage*.

Also, it sounds like this lady (the customer) and her friends tried the all too common tactic of avoidiance regarding certain party sizes being charged a gratuity automatically. I don't like this practice but I wanted to interject that it's almost always open to the server who is waiting on them to charge that 'automatic' percentage onto the bill or not. Usually the reasoning of my peers and I fell into the following Flow-chart pattern, or roughly so:

0) Have you treated them well and given them a good experience? GOTO 1. If not, skip the auto-gratuity because you haven't earned it and they can/should protest to have it removed under those grounds. Please note these are the only grounds by which a good manager can remove the auto-gratuity from the check.
1) Do they appear to be nice happy, nice, and seemingly decent enough people? GOTO 2. If not, consider hitting them with the auto-grat.
2) Do they appear to be from a country that is familiar with the tipping etiquite of the US? GOTO 3. If not auto-grat or you may just get a tip of a dollar or two on that several hundred dollar tab because they thought it was the right way to tip a great server. It happens.
3) Have you given them an exemplary experience and/or have they treated you like a master of your craft? If so, strongly consider letting them tip without applying the auto-grat because you may well get more than you would have otherwise. Imagine getting a 50% tip or even a 30% tip because you rocked their world and they were awesome people. I'd always err on this side of things. If not, auto-grat and cue curtain.

So, after that lengthy, and hopefully somewhat lucid, explanation of my thought process, it seems to me that the waitress in question may have went through a similar routine. Maybe not, some autograt EVERYTIME they have the chance. I see this as a under-performing strategy as it is prone to provide subpar results and it's kinda rude when applied as such, I think of it as a safety net instead of a punishment device I guess.

As to where the waitress in question (not the Reddit poster it seems) may have exited my routine above, I leave that as an exercise for the reader.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:30 PM on January 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


"I give God 10%; Why do you get 18%"
Um...That 10% ain't going to to anyone named God. It's going to your own church. Some of it right back into your own pocket. Goddamnit, I hate people...


That statement is such an abdication of logic on so many levels that it's really best just not to think about it lest it blow a fuse in your brain somewhere.
posted by invitapriore at 1:30 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Are you actually legally obliged to pay the minimum tip they add on to those bills? If I try to stiff the server by not tipping, will the restaurant do anything? What if the server was really bad/rude and you want to tip less than 18%? This is an honest question: I have no idea what the answer is.

If you are in a large party that has received bad service and because of that you do not want to pay the auto-grat, you should ask to see the manager immediately and tell him or her what the problem was. It's the manager's job to make things right in this situation.
posted by vibrotronica at 1:37 PM on January 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


Quoting myself to add in something:

I guess I'm just cynical enough to see it going down the tubes when tipping is removed from the equation. Owners/corporations simply aren't going to do the right thing and start paying a living wage. They're not for the back of house staff, this will just give them the power to put up a sign saying "Please, no need to tip, we pay our servers accordingly" *cough cough minimum wage*.

Consider that they're not even paying their managers or general managers a decent wage most of the time when you get right down to it. The service industry is just setup that way I suppose. Thin margins, high turnover, finiky customer base, I don't know... I think the owners/operators are of the mindset to get what money they can out of the situation and by keeping that tip money out of their coffers it's that much better for the remainder of the staff as a whole, not to mention that bad staff will, nay should in my opinion, get crappy tips and lead to worse business for the owner anyway.

So it's really not an easy nut to crack and in every place I worked (like I said from chain shops to nicer places to startups) each and every server would either wait tables or quit simply because the other jobs were worse and had crappier pay than what they were doing.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:38 PM on January 31, 2013


Is there a White House petition to abolish this practice of allowing restaurants to pay their servers less than minimum wage? Can we start one?
posted by agregoli at 1:41 PM on January 31, 2013 [20 favorites]


What if the server was really bad/rude and you want to tip less than 18%? This is an honest question: I have no idea what the answer is

Some people disagree with me, but as an insider I know if I did a bona fide bad job I don't deserve a tip. The answer to your question is to involve a manager and explain your plight to them, a good one will sort things out to your satisfaction while addressing the problem, if any*, with the server. A bad manager is going to neither make you or the server happy, so it's a wash in that case (and honestly a good server working for a bad manager knows it and should be job hunting anyway, ditto for a good customer who meets a bad manager I suppose).

*Things like this aren't always the server's fault, if that's the case the manager has means to make sure the server doesn't lose out all that much. Then again, in most cases a good server would have already let the manager know if they were in trouble or if a large party was in dire need of some things fixed.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:41 PM on January 31, 2013


Our franchisee has apologized to the Guest and has taken disciplinary action with the Team Member

Huh, I just started reading Paranoia XP, and this sounds a little too close to something a good servant of The Computer would say.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:43 PM on January 31, 2013 [8 favorites]


On the tip vs no tip argument: I tip when there's a customer specific service being provided. Serving food to a table fits, making a weird drink that's more than just coffee fits, and things like making a subway sub or slicing pizzas doesn't count.

So I get a little pissy when I notice a trend in the 'fair' city of Vancouver to put tip requests on card readers instead of fixed wage increases for the employees in the sandwich, pizza, and bland coffee making houses. They could use the extra money the tip provides. But it keeps the employer from raising wages, lets them keep costs artificially and superficially low, and generally rustles the jimmies of every customer who can put two and two together and not get Company Mandated Thought Result.
posted by Slackermagee at 1:44 PM on January 31, 2013


Our franchisee has apologized to the Guest and has taken disciplinary action with the Team Member

Ugh, I hate that corporatese "team member".

Likewise, "Guest". If I'm a guest, why are you asking me for money?
posted by steambadger at 1:52 PM on January 31, 2013 [19 favorites]


This reminds me of a story. Many years ago, when I worked in Mexico, I brought a cross-cultural tour group to a restaurant in Ensenada. There were about 15 high school students from a boarding school in Northern California in the group. We were a large enough group to necessitate sitting at two tables. I'd like to believe that the students acted so poorly that evening because they were immature rather than believing that their behavior reflected their upbringing. However, the students attempted to leave a 3 dollar tip on a 100 dollar tab. As we saw this happening, our blood started boiling. The wait staff got a 100 dollar tip on their tab that night. The shocked indignation on behalf of the students' faces as we had them double their bill in burned in my memory.

/please tip your server!
posted by zerobyproxy at 1:54 PM on January 31, 2013 [9 favorites]


Slackermagee: So I get a little pissy when I notice a trend in the 'fair' city of Vancouver to put tip requests on card readers instead of fixed wage increases for the employees in the sandwich, pizza, and bland coffee making houses

This really bothers me, too. If I know I need to tip at a certain place, I roll that into the costs of items when deciding to go there or not. If I know I don't, I don't. If it's deliberately made ambiguous, I tend to just avoid the place entirely - if I tip I feel like a sucker, and if I don't I feel like a jerk. It's a no-win situation either way.
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:54 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Why does this have to be complicated?

Pastor Alois Bell is a cheap, petty, self-important douchenozzle. Period. A waitress who has probably been stiffed dozens of times in equally douchenozzley ways thought that, for once, they should show the world what it looks like when a cheap, petty, self-important douchenozzle stiffs a waitress.

For this, she lost her job.

If you want to get all hung up on privacy concerns, you've got some seriously misplaced priorities.

Whatever inconvenience Pastor Alois Bell is going through, I seriously doubt it is as bad as the misery and anxiety the waitress will have to endure, especially if she didn't have her rent and bill money together beforehand. I'm glad Pastor Alois Bell is catching hell from the Internet. The more wrath, the better.

Trust me, I know from wrath.
posted by KHAAAN! at 1:55 PM on January 31, 2013 [57 favorites]


Is it just my availability bias that makes me think MetaFilter is much more likely to forget about the availability bias when talking about religion? In addition to the plain old availability bias:

1. Servers are probably not as good as they think they are at guessing someone's religion.

2. If religious people are believed to be bad tippers, might servers not give worse service to people they think are religious, making them more likely to leave a bad tip and perpetuate the stereotype?


1. I would never assume someone is religious unless they go out of their way to tell me so. As in: holding hands and praying out loud in the restaurant, eating with a copy of the Bible next to their plate, telling me that "Jesus loves you!" while leaving me a dollar tip on their $35.00 bill.

2. A good waitron never assumes what the tip will be-- why would you take that gamble? Sometimes old people are lavish tippers and well-dressed men on dates are crap tippers-- you just never know. However, if the same group comes in week after week and leaves you nothing or a pamphlet while praising the lord, then you can assume that they will be lousy tippers in the future and you can put their table last in your priorities.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:56 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Trust me, I know from wrath.
posted by KHAAAN!


Epony Epony!!!
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:56 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Back when I was a waitress, I remember one old couple that used to come in and tip me with a religious pamphlet. Nothing makes you say "fuck God" like being tipped a religious pamphlet. I think preacher lady is going about her ministry the wrong way.
posted by Kokopuff at 1:57 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


So, if all the websites and stores that you shopped at this week published your name on Reddit, you'd be ok with that?

That depends-

The Great American Dildo Emporium? Sure.

Applebee's? Aw, hell no.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:58 PM on January 31, 2013 [16 favorites]


We don't exchange money for goods and services in a similar fashion to how we do it in a restaurant in any other situation where we are exchanging money for goods and services. You don't walk into a K-Mart and walk out with that roll of duct tape and say, hey, I'll pay you for it after I've taped up that hole in my dashboard. In restaurants, you walk in, you benefit from the goods and services they offer, and then you pay. It's like you get a little bit of credit for an hour just for showing up.

This arrangement is simply understood. You don't have to be told the rules every time you walk into a restaurant. There is an implicit social arrangement for how one pays for one's food and service in such an establishment, and these processes are not so much taught as they are genetically engrained. Food service is more than just a financial transaction. It is a social more.

An integral part of this deeply engrained cultural way is the tipping. Bad tippers have a bad rep, and with good reason. Comics legendarily remind their patrons about the right thing to do. There is the fairy tale of the $1000 tip. We take tipping seriously because we know it is right to compensate our society's most rank-and-file workers for work that we know is hard and crappy.

Therefore, this story, this action by this "pastor," invokes a visceral reaction. It is, I think, topped with the whipped cream and cherry that this was a person of the cloth and that she bizarrely invoked her own deity for justification. But holy crap, man. Tip your wait-persons.
posted by NedKoppel at 1:58 PM on January 31, 2013 [9 favorites]


Nothing makes you say "fuck God" like being tipped a religious pamphlet.

I don't know, when we got them we did get to enjoy mocking them, the pamphlet's tone and contents, and the God in question for the rest of the shift.

That said I'd rather have their money.... but any port in a storm I guess.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:58 PM on January 31, 2013


RolandOfEld: not when they sat in your section, and sat there for HOURS.
posted by Kokopuff at 2:01 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Couldn't a restaurant then impose a 'service fee' onto every bill to make sure people 'tip'? If tips are expected by everyone to form the backbone of a server's earnings, shouldn't tips then be mandatory (from a restaurant's point of view)? Why is something that's based on how capricious a particular customer is supposed to be part of your wages?

(genuine question - it sounds kind of weird to me, this idea that part of your earnings is up-in-the-air and not coming from your actual employer, I guess?)

On preview: We take tipping seriously because we know it is right to compensate our society's most rank-and-file workers for work that we know is hard and crappy.

But why not pay them what they deserve in the first place? *headscratch*
posted by zennish at 2:03 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


You don't tip the guys at McDonald's, do you?
posted by bukvich at 2:04 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I will be tipping the guy/girl at McDonald's for making my Thin Mint shake (half chocolate/half Shamrock) later on today.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:06 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


any restaurant that offers that girl a job right now could get themselves a whole bunch of free advertising.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:10 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mandatory Gratuity.

Sounds like one of George Carlin's favorite oxymorons, right?
posted by fairmettle at 2:11 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I will be tipping the guy/girl at McDonald's for making my Thin Mint shake (half chocolate/half Shamrock) later on today.

At a lot of places like that, employees are strictly forbidden from accepting tips and can be fired if they do. (And don't they only do Shamrock on St Patrick's day?)
posted by Sys Rq at 2:13 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Apparently the Shamrock Shakes arrived in NYC today, according to my Facebook and Twitter feeds.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:15 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, if all the websites and stores that you shopped at this week published your name on Reddit, you'd be ok with that?

That depends-

The Great American Dildo Emporium? Sure.


Honestly, I'd be embarrassed if someone found out I shopped there; for a place that calls itself "great," its selection of dildos is middling at best. I much prefer Dildo Jackson's (formerly Dildo Jackson and Sons), off I-93, just near Tewksbury.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:16 PM on January 31, 2013 [21 favorites]


...and I was kidding about tipping at McDonald's. I just put my change into the Ronald McDonald house box on the rare occasions that I go there.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:16 PM on January 31, 2013


Huh, I had been wondering about the pastor. I had been imagining a crotchety old guy, color me surprised.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:19 PM on January 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


The reason we tip servers has to do with the history of restaurants and waiters.

Before restaurants, the people serving you at an inn or tavern would either be the owner, or a servant of the owner (who would likely be paid with board, and possibly clothing or occasional pocket-money).

With the emergence of restaurants proper in Europe (the first 'restaurants' were establishments in early-19th century Paris that mostly served healthy soups), the idea of a there being someone with a specific job to bring food from the kitchen to the table emerged. Originally, these were people who were given the privilege of doing this by restaurant owners, and were only paid whatever customers wished to give them above the cost of the meal. In some cases they would have to tip the owners back for being allowed to work there. In others, they would buy food directly from the owners, and then keep the difference from the bill presented to the customers. In most cases, the arrangement encouraged displays of abject servility on the part of waiters, in order to earn any money at all.

Several revolutions and other episodes of social upheaval later, we arrive at the situation currently found in many European countries, where wait staff are paid a living wage, and tipping is entirely optional (or an actual city in China). As mentioned earlier in the thread, when Barcelona was collectivized during the civil war, it was exactly the earlier arrangement, and its humiliating aspects, that were rejected by workers. Orwell later expresses his disappointment to see starched aprons and servile bowing and clasping of hands returning to restaurants with the disbanding of the militias.

Of course, these social and economic relationships have not changed quite so quickly in North America.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:21 PM on January 31, 2013 [9 favorites]


Couldn't a restaurant then impose a 'service fee' onto every bill to make sure people 'tip'? If tips are expected by everyone to form the backbone of a server's earnings, shouldn't tips then be mandatory (from a restaurant's point of view)? Why is something that's based on how capricious a particular customer is supposed to be part of your wages?

The incentives on the part of the restaurant are pretty clear: they reap the psychological benefits of the lower prices that they can print on the menu, they get to minimize the expense of employee wages in their budget, and making the server rely on tips incentivizes better customer service. I'm actually not willing to concede the truth of that last statement without some solid empirical evidence, but even if it's true I don't think it justifies the indignities of the restaurant model as implemented in the US.
posted by invitapriore at 2:21 PM on January 31, 2013


I much prefer Dildo Jackson's (formerly Dildo Jackson and Sons), off I-93, just near Tewksbury.

Yes! Thank you! The less money going to Big Dildo, the better.
posted by griphus at 2:24 PM on January 31, 2013 [12 favorites]


I'm not going to pass judgment on the waitress (Team Member) getting fired until I know how much personal flair she wore on her vest.
posted by perhapses at 2:27 PM on January 31, 2013 [7 favorites]


I will be tipping the guy/girl at McDonald's for making my Thin Mint shake (half chocolate/half Shamrock) later on today.

I'm pretty sure this whole event happened so that I could read this comment and try this myself. Sorry Pastor Bell, but the Lord works in mysterious ways.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:29 PM on January 31, 2013 [15 favorites]


We take tipping seriously because we know it is right to compensate our society's most rank-and-file workers for work that we know is hard and crappy.

If only you felt it was so right that you'd do it automatically, with what in other 'hard and crappy' industries is called 'a wage'.
posted by jacalata at 2:34 PM on January 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


Dildo Jackson's? No thank you.

I don't need attitude from some bearded hipster because I decide to go with a silicone butt plug instead of the artisanal blown glass one.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:38 PM on January 31, 2013 [9 favorites]


KHAAAN!: I'd mostly agree with what you're saying. Except for this:

If you want to get all hung up on privacy concerns, you've got some seriously misplaced priorities.

The problem I have is Some people were justifying her behavior as if she didn't do anything wrong herself.


I don't think she deserves to be fired from a moral standpoint, but from a business perspective, all she did was make Applebee's look even shittier. I would at the very least, severely reprimand her for her unprofessional behavior.

Also, I think you underestimate how shitty people from the internet can be.
posted by Qberting at 2:38 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Who's a minister whose church - like all churches - doesn't even have to pay taxes,

The pastor herself, however, does.
posted by BWA at 2:38 PM on January 31, 2013


I just got word from her boss about that 10% tithe.
Mat 23: 23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

You can't make this kind of thing up.
posted by ersatz at 2:38 PM on January 31, 2013 [36 favorites]


Oh wait: I thought you said she was acting like a douchnozzle too. Because I think do think it's kinda a douche thing to post publicly identifying information about someone. I don't have a problem with her bitching about a shitty customer, but she shouldn't have left something that can link back to herself.
posted by Qberting at 2:42 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


all she did was make Applebee's look even shittier

Applebee's would not have come off looking shitty if they had not fired her. That is what really propelled the story into big news. I took a glance at the Reddit post when it was originally posted on R/atheists and did not even notice what restaurant it was; I just laughed and moved on.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:50 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


I just got word from her boss about that 10% tithe.....You can't make this kind of thing up.

Reminds me that once upon a time, my brother and I planned to make a fortune (or at least a gay brothers from a Christian family point) selling What Would Jesus Do? bracelets that said "WWJD? - NT" on one side, and to answer the question, "Not That" on the other.

That particular fad may have faded but certain ideas never go out of style.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:53 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


http://www.metafilter.com/124460/I-give-God-10-Why-do-you-get-18#4804202

It looks like you're right. I must have gotten the firing articles mixed up with the original post. At least she was smart enough to cover her own tracks, if not the customer's.
posted by Qberting at 3:04 PM on January 31, 2013


Now I am curious about these people who leave religious tracts in restaurants and no tips. I have never heard of this. Are there a few of these odd ducks out there? Millions of them? I am skeptical that this is more than a fringe phenomenon. It really hits the WTF mark for me.
posted by bukvich at 3:06 PM on January 31, 2013


Pastor Joelle weighs in: When you put on the collar, you kind of let go of your right to privacy.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:10 PM on January 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


Million Dollar Tracts

Customer review: This tract is super easy to hand out! Everyone takes it with gratitude and they even talk about who they will show it to :) Great for shy people just starting out sharing their faith ~ wonderful to hand out with tips and give to cashiers..I'm thinking of putting them in my Christmas cards this year also!

posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:19 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Mat 23: 23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

You can't make this kind of thing up.


Yeah. You can, actually. That's where the entire book comes from, actually: somebody just made it all up.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:19 PM on January 31, 2013 [13 favorites]


Now I am curious about these people who leave religious tracts in restaurants and no tips.

I can't speak for food service people, but having worked in a retail bookstore, it was a pretty regular occurrence to find Jack Chick tracts scattered all about the store and stuck inside random books at the end of the day. Obviously that rates lower on the obnoxiousness scale than stiffing your waitstaff. (Though both pale in comparison to the guy who used to sneak into the kids section and hide porn photos in the picture books. Who knows? Maybe he and the Chick tract litterer were the same dude.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:19 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


It gets worse. This diner didn't tip because Obama, and printed out pretty little cards explaining so.
posted by Jimbob at 3:21 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am skeptical that this is more than a fringe phenomenon

well, you can buy a variety of pre-printed tracts, so it's a big enough deal to help support the bible stores. living south of the sweet tea line, most (if not all) of the waiters i know have gotten a tract instead of a tip.
posted by nadawi at 3:25 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Are we really going to talk tracts without talking about Chick Publications? I probably got a dozen of these when I waited tables.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:27 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jimbob, even worse than that - this asshole put an obamacare surcharge on bills for the purpose of getting people to stiff the waitstaff.
posted by nadawi at 3:27 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


nadawi: Jimbob, even worse than that - this asshole put an obamacare surcharge on bills for the purpose of getting people to stiff the waitstaff.

Oh, man. If I ever saw something like that on a bill, it would be the absolute very last time I ever went there. I'd probably do everything I could to nuke it on every review site I know about, too.
posted by Mitrovarr at 3:31 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


this asshole put an obamacare surcharge on bills for the purpose of getting people to stiff the waitstaff.

He wanted to do that, but he never got started, since Denny's CEO personally called him and told him to knock it off.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:33 PM on January 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


Wow, so apparently having Obama in office again is just giving franchisees and CEOs license to be dicks.
posted by Kitteh at 3:38 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm more pro-capitalist than your average loud mouth Mefite, but even I think they've been giving CEOs license-to-dick long before Obama. They just are being LOUDER about exercising their dickishness and feel comfortable doing so.

Why is left as an exercise for the reader.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:43 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fair play! I dunno, is being more vocal about being a dick their way of saying, "Yeah! I'm gonna show you! The people will back me up about your Obamacare! Right, everybody? ....hello?"
posted by Kitteh at 3:49 PM on January 31, 2013


I suspect the reason God only needs 10% is because he can make food and rent just by saying "let there be dinner and a roof over my head".
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:57 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


We take tipping seriously because we know it is right to compensate our society's most rank-and-file workers for work that we know is hard and crappy.

If only you felt it was so right that you'd do it automatically, with what in other 'hard and crappy' industries is called 'a wage'.


The last time I checked, I was not a restaurant owner. Were I, you can bet your pre-supposing ass that I would pay the best wages in town.
posted by NedKoppel at 4:06 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just out of curiosity, how many of these I-don't-tip-on-principle assholes actually let their server know that before the service is rendered?

- Hi, I'll be your server today
- Hi, I won't be tipping you no matter what you do

I'm betting roughly, oooh, 0% of them, give or take.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:12 PM on January 31, 2013 [18 favorites]


I don't think she deserves to be fired from a moral standpoint, but from a business perspective, all she did was make Applebee's look even shittier. I would at the very least, severely reprimand her for her unprofessional behavior.

How did she make Applebee's look bad? It's not like they invited Pastor Bell to come act horribly in their restaurant. They only look bad now because instead of standing by their employee, they fired her.

I understand that businesses have to make money but the pastor was being a rude, nasty and hypocritical customer. She didn't tip, which sucks, but worse, she felt obligated to leave a mean note to someone that probably didn't deserve it. I would agree that it is unprofessional to post a receipt online, but this isn't just a receipt. It's a message.
posted by cyml at 4:16 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


What do you bet we find out in due time that this "pastor" has made the same 10%/18% notation on other receipts.
posted by notreally at 4:16 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


This sort of douchebag makes me so mad I can't even compose a coherent post.

fuck.
posted by freakazoid at 4:18 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


As to those asking if the fake money tract tip is an actual thing, let me assure you that it is. During my stint as a waiter, I was given the tract tip on several occasions. Once it happen when I was working at a bar on Beale Street. Once it happened at...

wait for it...

Applebee's.
posted by vibrotronica at 4:37 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Daily Dot has a bit of a breakdown of what happened on twitter in regards to this.

I have a relative who waits at an Applebees. It's a sucky place to work. He gets stiffed on tips all the time. Business keeps dropping off, and they keep cutting hours. The corporate chain made it plain they were reducing hours to avoid Obamacare, which is absolutely crap.

As I understand it, waitpeople pay 10% on the value of the tabs automatically. That means tipping has to be above that to break even, and above that even for minimum wage. The restaurant takes quite a bit of that to tip the host and bartender, regardless of whether anyone ordered drinks or not.
posted by annsunny at 4:43 PM on January 31, 2013


I understand that businesses have to make money but the pastor was being a rude, nasty and hypocritical customer. She didn't tip, which sucks, but worse, she felt obligated to leave a mean note to someone that probably didn't deserve it. I would agree that it is unprofessional to post a receipt online, but this isn't just a receipt. It's a message.

Cyml, Not only is it unprofessional to post the receipt online, but she posted the customer's name for everyone to see. If she were complaining about the customer in her workplace and mentioned her real name, that would obviously be unacceptable. Why is it any more acceptable for her to do it online? Why would any business support their waitress publicly shaming a (albeit shitty) customer for not tipping?
posted by Qberting at 4:51 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just saw an article elsewhere on how Equifax has been caught selling the personal data of millions of people. And, there have been stories in the past about big telecoms giving millions of records of personal data to the government. Have any of these big corporations been punished? Have they been given the corporate equivalent of a pink slip?Ever? Or how about a humiliating write-up, on permanent file somewhere, to hang over their heads at the slightest mis-step they might make in the future? You know, a severe disciplinary reprimand.

By every account I've read, the waitress tried to follow the rules of her employment when she posted the receipt. It only revealed a name, and if you saw the picture, Pastor Alois Bell appears to be taking penmanship lessons from our new Treasury secretary. The waitress wasn't trying to dox the Pastor. But, she still got fired.

Like I said, misplaced priorities.
posted by KHAAAN! at 4:52 PM on January 31, 2013 [22 favorites]


As I understand it, waitpeople pay 10% on the value of the tabs automatically. That means tipping has to be above that to break even, and above that even for minimum wage. The restaurant takes quite a bit of that to tip the host and bartender, regardless of whether anyone ordered drinks or not.

Consider my mind blown. In a civilized country this shouldn't even be legal, let alone ordinary, unremarked-on practice. None of it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:56 PM on January 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


It really should be illegal. I always tip generously after finding this out, though I think the laws should be changed so that waitpeople should get at least standard minimum wage. Grr
posted by annsunny at 5:01 PM on January 31, 2013


Ever notice how the definition of 'professional' behavior always boils down to 'keep your mouth shut'?
posted by KHAAAN! at 5:07 PM on January 31, 2013 [20 favorites]


This is just me bikeshedding. That thing about Equifax and the telecoms is happening on a much larger scale and I don't know enough about the specifics to say anything other than "that's fucked up. These companies are corrupt as shit." After all, they hire tens, hundreds, or thouands of people to obscure their schemes and to find legal loopholes for their bullshit. However, the specifics of this case and its issues are simple enough that anyone reading it can comment on individual responsibilities. Also, why would the telecoms ever get in trouble for cooperating with the government?

Also also: by the waitress' account, she tried to follow the rules of her employment. By Applebee's account, she breached personal privacy rules.

Finally: while you could say I have misplaced priorities, if you make that argument, you can also make the same point about everyone shitting on the pastor who stiffed the waitress. Why bother complaining about someone who didn't tip a waitress when you have stories about banks repossessing homes that they don't even have ownership over? Why not outrage over the systematic robbery of homeowners instead of a cheap customer?
posted by Qberting at 5:10 PM on January 31, 2013


I'd be curious where the good Pastor and her flock ends up for lunch after services this Sunday.
posted by librarianamy at 5:10 PM on January 31, 2013


Call me naive but I never really understood what servers were dealing with. I've just done some searching and found this Guide to Ethical Eating. Looks like Miko posted it a year or two ago as well. I'm printing out two copies, one for the collection of menus we keep in the house and one to leave in the glove compartment for when we go somewhere on an impulse.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:13 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


(Looks like they have an iPhone app as well, which sounds rather more convenient.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:14 PM on January 31, 2013


I'd be curious where the good Pastor and her flock ends up for lunch after services this Sunday.

Hopefully they are smart enough to avoid anywhere the food isn't constantly in view for a few weeks.
posted by jaduncan at 5:16 PM on January 31, 2013


I'm not sure why God only gets 10%.

Oh, I'll tell you why God only gets 10%. First, he screws up our order: I was supposed to have the Zesty Roma Chicken & Shrimp, and Charlene had the Chicken Fiesta Salad. Then that idiot spilled my iced tea, and took forever to bring the check.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 5:19 PM on January 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


did you know that back in the old days, when the israelites were instructed to tithe, they weren't just paying for the temple or the priests, but for their government and courts, too? - so the whole concept's been taken out of context

and i sure hope to god they don't try to put it back into context, either
posted by pyramid termite at 5:20 PM on January 31, 2013


Eater.com has a receiptrocity tag if you enjoy crazy receipts.
posted by vespabelle at 5:20 PM on January 31, 2013


"“We make $3.50 an hour. Most of my paychecks are less than pocket change because I have to pay taxes on the tips I make,” she explains. “After sharing my tips with hosts, bussers, and bartenders, I make less than $9/hr on average, before taxes."

$3.50 an hour?? And people still think it's okay to stiff the servers their tip?? Honestly, how anyone can be expected to live on that is beyond me.


Oh wait, there's more. Yes, servers must share part of their tips with the support staff (busser(s), bartender(s), etc). That's fine. But at both restaurants where I worked, we were required to share 3% of our total sales, regardless of how much we'd earned in tips that night. I think the rationale was that the support staff shouldn't have to suffer for our poor performance if we'd earned less than 15% that night or something. (Because to the management, earning less than 15% is always the result of poor performance. There can be no other explanation.)

So if you're a server and a table orders $100 of food, that's another $3 you have to give to the busboys (etc) at the end of the night, even if that table doesn't leave a tip. In other words, when a table stiffs you, you are essentially PAYING for the privilege of waiting on them.
posted by granted at 5:24 PM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


here's her storefront church

looks to me like this used to be a restaurant of some kind
posted by pyramid termite at 5:24 PM on January 31, 2013


Oh, I'll tell you why God only gets 10%. First, he screws up our order: I was supposed to have the Zesty Roma Chicken & Shrimp, and Charlene had the Chicken Fiesta Salad. Then that idiot spilled my iced tea, and took forever to bring the check.

You, too? I ordered Bruschetta with Anchovies and a glass of water. He brought me wine and 5000 orders of the Bruschetta with Anchovies.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:35 PM on January 31, 2013 [14 favorites]


You know, I still feel bad that in high school while driving through a neighboring state at night with a girl, I forgot* to tip at a restaurant we stopped at, and didn't realize it until we were already six miles down the road with no exits for many, many miles. And that happened over twenty years ago. At least now I get to feel good about how bad I still feel about it. Or something.

*because I was distracted by said girl, because I was a teenager, so all she had to do to distract me was breathe
posted by davejay at 5:39 PM on January 31, 2013


He brought me wine and 5000 orders of the Bruschetta with Anchovies.

You think that's bad? I'd drunk all the water before he changed it for someone and pulled a DUI on the way home.
posted by jaduncan at 5:41 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


It looks like the Pastor's page has been taken down from the black preachers network.
posted by annsunny at 5:45 PM on January 31, 2013


Million Dollar Tracts

Customer review: This tract is super easy to hand out! Everyone takes it with gratitude and they even talk about who they will show it to :) Great for shy people just starting out sharing their faith ~ wonderful to hand out with tips and give to cashiers..I'm thinking of putting them in my Christmas cards this year also!


"Hand out with tips", my ass. I spent ten years serving, and I LOATHED the church crowd. I didn't just get the Sunday peeps, I got the middle of the week "Shareathon" and "Ladies Club" and church council meeting fuckwits, and They. Never. Tipped. They would make a big deal of praying over their cheeseburgers, run my ass ragged, and everything was "God bless you" and "Have a blessed day!", and then they'd leave me a fucking tract. I promise, I did NOT receive these with gratitude.

I nearly got fired after one tract too many. Party of 15, "Shareathon" night (one of the neighborhood's evangelical bible study things), the tab was nearly $200, and we didn't have a mandatory gratuity policy for large parties. They left me half a dozen tracts, several of them made to look like money. And I had had enough. I picked up the tracts, chased them out into the parking lot, and handed them back. "Here. You need these, obviously, for your recycling drive. You clearly need the money more than I do." I got some shocked looks and muttering about my "reward in Heaven", to which I responded "So, how long do you think my landlord will wait for my reward in Heaven to pay out before he evicts me? You think maybe I can get an advance on that so I can buy food and diapers and pay the rent?" They stomped right back in and cried to my boss, who flatly stared at them and asked if there was anything wrong with their service. Oh, no, the service was terrific! But she was just so disrespectful in the parking lot! Boss told 'em to bounce, so they called the corporate office the next day to cry about it, and I ended up in a meeting with my boss' boss. She wanted my boss to fire me, but my boss went to bat for me and I kept my job by the skin of my teeth.

In spite of the tract-o-philes, I kind of miss that job. My Saturday night drag queens were the best customers ever, they were kind and generous and I miss them a lot. Them and the old fella who used to drink tea, eat toast, read potboilers, and leave me $2 Monday through Friday, and the paperback mystery he had been reading on Saturday. I still have all those books, too.
posted by MissySedai at 6:13 PM on January 31, 2013 [70 favorites]


Tips can be used to allow employers to pay less than the federal minimum wage. Can we all agree this is pure fucking evil? There shouldn't be a situation where a customer's tip goes straight into the establishment owner's pocket.

Can we all stop tossing this shit around? In most states - and definitely in Missouri, where this took place - you can't use tips to get around the minimum wage. Missouri requires that tipped employees get half of federal minimum wage, base, and if that plus tips is less than the minimum wage for a given week, the employer has to cough up extra to make the difference.
posted by kafziel at 6:13 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is just me bikeshedding. That thing about Equifax and the telecoms is happening on a much larger scale and I don't know enough about the specifics to say anything other than "that's fucked up. These companies are corrupt as shit." After all, they hire tens, hundreds, or thouands of people to obscure their schemes and to find legal loopholes for their bullshit. However, the specifics of this case and its issues are simple enough that anyone reading it can comment on individual responsibilities.

I agree.

Why would the telecoms ever get in trouble for cooperating with the government?

Well, they wouldn't get in trouble with the government, but I think their customers might be a little peeved.



Also also: by the waitress' account, she tried to follow the rules of her employment. By Applebee's account, she breached personal privacy rules.

Generally speaking, I trust the word of an individual speaking for themselves. When it comes to spokespersons for a corporate entity, let's just say my trust is less forthcoming.

Finally: while you could say I have misplaced priorities, if you make that argument, you can also make the same point about everyone shitting on the pastor who stiffed the waitress. Why bother complaining about someone who didn't tip a waitress when you have stories about banks repossessing homes that they don't even have ownership over? Why not outrage over the systematic robbery of homeowners instead of a cheap customer?

Well, I see your point, but I think there's plenty of outspoken outrage over what you speak of.

I've worked service jobs of one sort or another my whole life. I've witnessed or been the direct recipient of the kind of arrogant, condescending treatment the Pastor demonstrated, not to mention all the petty, dehumanizing and logic-free dictates from management. I am only all too aware of the powerlessness of this kind of job, and the Jurassic-Park-sized heaps of shit you have to put up with, just to keep said job. I'm biased.

I just know the Pastor did a shitty thing, and aside from nasty comments on the internet, will not be punished in any meaningful way. A waitress, who I think did nothing wrong, got fired for making public the shitty thing the Pastor did. That is just flat-out unfair, to me. If you think I'm wrong, well, we have a fundamental difference in our points of view.
posted by KHAAAN! at 6:23 PM on January 31, 2013 [14 favorites]


the employer has to cough up extra to make the difference.

In theory, but if this happens more than about... once (if you're lucky), you're sent down the road.

So technically, yeah, that rule exists. Good luck enforcing it though.
posted by CrystalDave at 6:26 PM on January 31, 2013 [7 favorites]


Poor Pastor Bell. Pastor Bell is only trying to be a religious shyster. I am certain that she scored points with those at her table. I know that no one else has ever pulled bullshit in front of loyal admirers at a restaurant.
Not many women make it into the clergy. Every church is a storefront. I give this gal props and would love to hear her next sermon. I hope this is just a bump in the road for Pastor Bell, and her somewhat apparent charisma turns into doing good, like at least tipping better. Hopefully, we can all learn.

I would also like to be her next waiter. I would pay my own tip. Oops, is this supposed to be in small font? And, rehire the employee. Oh no, smaller font?
posted by breadbox at 6:52 PM on January 31, 2013


Guess we can add this to the list of reasons you ought to pay people a living wage when they work for you. $3.50 an hour is just revolting.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 7:00 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


kafziel: Can we all stop tossing this shit around? In most states - and definitely in Missouri, where this took place - you can't use tips to get around the minimum wage. Missouri requires that tipped employees get half of federal minimum wage, base, and if that plus tips is less than the minimum wage for a given week, the employer has to cough up extra to make the difference.

Think about it. That means, up to a point, your tip means the employer directly pays the employee less.

If you stiff someone making $3.50 that hour for a tip, the business pays the employee more to make up for it to minimum wage. If you tip the difference instead, then the employee gets the same amount of money but the business doesn't have to pay. You're effectively handing that money to the business.

Tipping culture sucks.
posted by JHarris at 7:10 PM on January 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


Tipping culture sucks.

What can you do about it though? My wife remarked how expensive restaurant prices are in Melbourne. I countered that once you include tax and tip you don't really save all that much. And that the staff are paid a livable wage of $15/hour.

I always feel guilty about leaving a shitty server with like a 13% tip because I know how brutal their cost of living really is here in South Bay. I usually try to round up to the nearest dollar of 20% if the service is great. Especially the pizza guys paying $4/gal to make the 6 mile round trip from their store to my place.
posted by Talez at 7:21 PM on January 31, 2013


So, if all the websites and stores that you shopped at this week published your name on Reddit, you'd be ok with that?

If it was published for literally no reason, I probably would. But if my name is published for some reason, then it most likely means I either did something incredibly awesome or incredibly shitty. The way I avoid this possibility is by making an effort to not do super shitty things. Especially if my life's work is (in theory) predicated on generally not being shitty.

And while we're on the subject can I just address the idea of tipping based on "good service"? Like all the people who always say they tip really well unless they get bad service? I'm trying to imagine bad service. Like the only service that would be bad enough to not warrant a tip (to me) would be the server taking your order and then deliberately staying away from your table and refusing to deliver your food (i.e. literally not doing their job). Or shouting "YOU AND YOUR FAMILY ARE UGLY AND YOU SMELL AND WATCH, I AM GOING TO SPIT IN YOUR FOOD". Or something like that.

Because the reasons that people give for thinking something is "bad" service varies wildly. From "looked at me funny" or "didn't entertain me" or "brought me a diet coke instead of regular" or things that range from stupid to subjective to weird. I don't actually remember every hearing a real reason from anyone that warranted (in my mind) stiffing a tip.The server either made an honest mistake or is having a bad day and wasn't at their best. These things happen to me on a weekly basis at my job but as a salaried employee I've never been financially penalized for it. Why it's okay to do it to service people is beyond me. If a server is actually acting maliciously, that might warrant it, but what would really be more appropriate in a case like that is what you would do with any non-tipped employee and talk to management.

But, we have a shitty system whereby tipped employees are often exempt from minimum wage. So their livelihood is based on the whims of random people. If we were to abolish this system, do you know what would happen? Restaurant prices would go up and we would all have to pay extra anyway. But somehow our society somehow thinks it's better that we make it a choice. And because there are a lot of people out there who are kind of nasty people, like this lady, we have a million examples of them thinking up justification for being cheap and using the "optional" principle of it to really affect people in real ways that hurt their livelihood.

It isn't optional. A person who is doing honest work should make a living wage, I think most people would agree with this. So we either make up the difference in the crappy hourly wage with our tip or we take away tipping, whereupon restaurant prices will go up to pay for living wages for employees. So I wish we could stop treating this as a "choice" based on something as subjective as "service" and just give people a fucking decent tip.
posted by young sister beacon at 7:24 PM on January 31, 2013 [7 favorites]


What can you do about it? This:

1. Know how bad it is. That is the first step to anything.
2. Say how bad it is. Get the idea out there, get people talking about it, get people realizing it. Get them saying it too.
3. Once people know how bad it is, it will start to make sense to some places to proudly say "We will pay our employees a living wage, so don't tip them. Our prices are a little higher to make up for it, but since you don't have to tip, you save money, you don't have to worry about figuring up 15%, and our workers get a consistent income they can rely upon. Everyone wins."
posted by JHarris at 7:26 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


So what is the accepted rate for tips in the US, Europe and Australia these days? Living here in Asia, I'm used to getting a 10% "service charge" automatically tacked on to my bills; I generally make sure I hit that if the final bill doesn't mention that.
posted by the cydonian at 7:28 PM on January 31, 2013


So what is the accepted rate for tips in the US, Europe and Australia these days?

US it's 15-20%. Australia it's 0%.
posted by Talez at 7:32 PM on January 31, 2013


It may also be worth pointing out that in California at least the minimum wage is $8/hr and no distinction is made between tipped and non-tipped employees. So the servers will be making about $5-6/hr more than their tipped counterparts in other states too.
posted by Talez at 7:36 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think God's going to want more than 10% from this lady.
posted by aryma at 7:41 PM on January 31, 2013


the waitress tried to follow the rules of her employment when she posted the receipt.

I'm pretty sure that nothing in her employee manual permitted her to photograph credit-card slips and/or publish them on the Internet.

Forget about these actors for a minute. Yes, Chelsea seems like a good person and she's easy to sympathize with, while Pastor Bell...is not. But set that aside. Consider the stripped-down hypothetical. You (anybody) go to a restaurant and later discover the restaurant has photographed your credit-card receipt and posted it, along with your signature, on the Internet. Are you displeased? Of course.

Applebee's has to terminate an employee who is photographing credit-card slips, and/or publishing slips online. I haven't seen an Applebee's employee manual, but I'd be more interested in seeing their Visa or MasterCard merchant agreement. Either way, I really question the business acumen of anybody who's surprised that snapping photos of customers' credit slips with your iPhone will get you immediately fired. Of course it will.

I wish Chelsea the best, and I think it's too bad some people in this thread have taken a condescending tone toward working at Applebee's. From my reading it sounds like Chelsea enjoyed working there. That's really cool. I hope somebody from Applebee's corporate will reach out to Chelsea directly to explain their position and apologize, and I hope they offer to help her find another job. But they didn't do the wrong thing by firing her.
posted by cribcage at 7:44 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


To say nothing of the stereotype that "black people don't tip."

And the stereotype that the after-church crowd are the worst tippers is any different?


So when I waited tables in a small town in the South, "the after-church crowd" WAS "black people." I mean, kinda literally (I'd estimate 70% or so), but that's not the point. The point was that when my fellow servers at Texas Steakhouse and Town 'N Country Diner and the flea market grill complained about what terrible tippers "the after-church crowd" were, it was well understood that they most certainly weren't talking about the white Methodists.
posted by rhiannonstone at 7:45 PM on January 31, 2013


Someone pointed out that "god" doesn't actually get 10% of her salary she gets 10% from her congregation.
For all the shit that can be posted on Reddit, there is one rule that is upheld: thou shalt not dox, meaning to post private information about other Reddit users.

But for regular people, post away! lolololol

I hate that place.
That rule applies to anyone's personal information, user or not. It's not always fully enforced, I guess, but it seems like the identifying information was dug up on other sites.
I don't understand how she posted something on Reddit and her employer found out it was her. Did she have her real name on her account or something? Why would you do that?
I'm guessing there are only a few people who would have had access to the recipt and it might have been obvious who it was, and they might have admitted it when asked. Also, it's likely the poster didn't expect it to go super-viral. Tons of stuff gets posted to reddit that only gets a couple upvotes then goes away. She probably just thought she was dishing to some friends on the internet, without knowing how popular it would become.
I disagree with this very strongly. I don't think Chelsea should have been fired because Pastor Bell was identified. Pastor Bell should have been identified. Look, you can't treat people like shit in private and then get mad because your behavior gets exposed.
Yeah. Bell chose to write the note. She documented her own assholishness. She can't complain that documentation which she produced was made public. It's not surprising that the waitress was fired, but that's not the same thing as deserving it.

That said, I find the whole "how dare people not tip!!!!" thing a bit ridiculous. Yes, servers do rely on tips for their income, but some percentage of customers is not going to tip, and that needs to be factored in. If you serve 100 customers a month, and 10 don't tip, make 10% less then you otherwise would. Regardless of how much complain tipping is not in fact part of the bill. Paying it is a choice people get to make. That doesn't mean they shouldn't be shamed for it, but don't act like it's some kind of crime.

And as far as the owners of the restaurants are concerned they certainly don't want people not going to those restaurants if they're not going to tip / can't afford too.
It isn't optional. A person who is doing honest work should make a living wage, I think most people would agree with this.
Yeah, but like I said. You might feel that it's not optional, but clearly it is. And obviously restaurant owners, who actually pay the rent on the building want you to come even if you're not going to tip. It's a crap system, but is the system.
That being said, it was in no way Chelsea Welsh's place to post that note, with identifying information attached. First off, it wasn't even Ms. Welsh who got no-tipped. Secondly, even Ms. Welsh claims to have understood that it was wrong to post identifying information about a customer
Why would you expect that notes you write to other people should be considered private information? Posting her personal information is against reddit's rules, but that doesn't mean it's "wrong" in general.
How happy would you guys be if a local restaurant advertised the fact that you were a customer there? Do you think that because you're normally good tippers you "have nothing to hide"?
Sure, I probably wouldn't go to a restaurant that published how much I tipped, but as I am no the owner of said Applebee's, why should I have a problem with it? "Costing your employer money" is a reason to get fired, but that doesn't make it "Wrong" in some universal sense.
I'm pretty sure that nothing in her employee manual permitted her to photograph credit-card slips and/or publish them on the Internet.
I think it's pretty unlikely they specifically banned it either. Again, it's not surprising they fired her, but "costing the company money" isn't the same thing as "morally wrong". If you cost a company a ton of money or get them bad press, you'll probably get fired whether or not you broke any specific rule.
posted by delmoi at 8:01 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


That said, if I owned a restaurant in the area I'd hire her. Probably get a ton of free publicity.
posted by delmoi at 8:09 PM on January 31, 2013


The first job I ever had outside of being a paperboy was in 1982. I was a child, 14, and made $3.45 an hour. It was at Burger King. An adult making a nickel more than that 30 years later is absurd and obscene.
posted by dobbs at 8:55 PM on January 31, 2013 [8 favorites]


Think about it. That means, up to a point, your tip means the employer directly pays the employee less.

If you stiff someone making $3.50 that hour for a tip, the business pays the employee more to make up for it to minimum wage. If you tip the difference instead, then the employee gets the same amount of money but the business doesn't have to pay. You're effectively handing that money to the business.

Tipping culture sucks.


Tipping culture indeed sucks. It's miserably fucked up and there doesn't seem to be a good way out. But in this situation, you're not being denied minimum wage because of poor tippers.

What can you do about it? This:

1. Know how bad it is. That is the first step to anything.
2. Say how bad it is. Get the idea out there, get people talking about it, get people realizing it. Get them saying it too.
3. Once people know how bad it is, it will start to make sense to some places to proudly say "We will pay our employees a living wage, so don't tip them. Our prices are a little higher to make up for it, but since you don't have to tip, you save money, you don't have to worry about figuring up 15%, and our workers get a consistent income they can rely upon. Everyone wins."


I suggested #3 to a friend of mine, a while back, who has worked in restaurants - usually as wait staff - for a good 12 years now. His reaction was that he, and other wait staff, would never want such a thing. They like tips.
posted by kafziel at 9:13 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Regardless of how much complain tipping is not in fact part of the bill. Paying it is a choice people get to make. That doesn't mean they shouldn't be shamed for it, but don't act like it's some kind of crime.

it's not a crime, but it is breaking a well-known social rule of dining out in the US. if anything i'd say people pissed off are acting more as if a private citizen got caught saying something bigoted or something else equally not-illegal but still unacceptable.

and there are many in here who've either been waitstaff or at least know the shady little details of why we must tip, so there's that added outrage of understanding the full picture rather than thinking it's merely embarrassing or rude when this happens. in other words, tipping is mandatory if you have a fucking conscience.

at any rate, as others have already noted, in a just society it certainly *would* be a crime, so arguing about legality is a bit hair-splitting. we already know what's right, shame the laws haven't caught up yet.

And obviously restaurant owners, who actually pay the rent on the building want you to come even if you're not going to tip.

this is true, but the best case scenario for owners is one where the customers are awesome which attracts and keeps professional, experienced waitstaff which are easier to manage than shitty waitstaff that bounces around from one restaurant to another.

ALL OF THIS BEING SAID, though i continue to be thoroughly appalled, i know my indignant grar at relatively powerless individuals is a poor substitute for seeing actual criminals facing actual consequences. if i were dictator of the world, i would sentence the pastor to time served, b/c having the entire internet come down on your ass is usually overboard.

nthing big parties can be a logistical nightmare. customers that don't understand automatic gratuity in those circumstances? go fuck yourself. if i give you decent service, split your check twenty fucking ways even though some places won't split your checks at all, TELL you that there is gratuity added so that you don't accidentally double tip me, and you take that opportunity to give me a stinkeye about it b/c you're used to tipping 15% to the penny?

His reaction was that he, and other wait staff, would never want such a thing. They like tips.

he worked in restaurants for 12 years? he was probably a good server and averaged over 15%. a lot harder to do regardless of talent if you work at a denny's or burger joint, and that has a lot to do with the clientele. living wages are good for society. being a talented server is good for that server.
posted by twist my arm at 9:20 PM on January 31, 2013


KHAAAN!: I just know the Pastor did a shitty thing, and aside from nasty comments on the internet, will not be punished in any meaningful way. A waitress, who I think did nothing wrong, got fired for making public the shitty thing the Pastor did. That is just flat-out unfair, to me. If you think I'm wrong, well, we have a fundamental difference in our points of view.

I don't think you're wrong that it's an unfair situation, but I do think the waitress screwed up by posting personal information online. I've done a horrible job explaining myself, but cribcage and delmoi basically summarize my opinion. The only point in where I differ is, even though I don't think it was "morally wrong" of her to post the receipt, I still think it was a dick move on her part to leave identifying information in the picture. HOWEVER, having said that, I find myself agreeing with Delmoi in that she probably didn't expect the whole thing to blow up, and she probably didn't think the consequences through. She probably didn't think it was a big deal until everyone on reddit started digging up the woman's identity.
posted by Qberting at 9:46 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thing about this is that it would probably have been a tempest in a teapot and over in a week or two and most people would have never heard about it or just looked at the image of the image of the receipt and kind of rolled their eyes and moved on.

Instead, Ms. Bell decided to go all wrath of God and demand that Applebees fire everyone, burn the restaurant to the ground and then salt the ashes, and Abblebees, in their wisdom, decided to back her up on the matter and fire the waitress. And it's now viral. Besides it appearing on Reddit and here, it's been on my facebook feed three times, plus all sorts of other bits of social media, but that's nothing. It's now on the Business Insider and the Drudge Report and The Daily Mail and The Consumerist and The Smoking Gun and God only knows where else. And given that a week from now, no one will remember Alois Bell or Chelsea Welsh, but Applebees is going to be remembered as the entity who sided with the self-indulgent customer who decided that she could "alter the terms of service, pray she doesn't alter them further" because Gawd was on her side, over the loyal employee. Not the most adroit PR move ever.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:28 PM on January 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


Holy crap, her page on Black Preacher Network is gone now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:32 PM on January 31, 2013


I used to work in Arkansas. Well, my home office was in St. Louis, but I was down in Arkansas every week for a year. Three days a week, the plant manager would take the "People from Corporate" out to lunch.
One day, he was busy, so the rest of us went. Being low man on the totem pole, the rest of the People from Corporate said I got to pay. I did (reimbursable, of course!) and tipped 20%.
From that day forward, every waitress in the restaurant (we always only went to one restaurant in town) brought me, and only me, the check. The plant manager would ask for the check and they'd give it to me while he watched.
After two weeks of that, he asked one of the waitresses what was going on. I interjected, and explained to the rest of the table about less-than-minimum-wage, and tipping the kitchen staff, etc. and all of them were *amazed*. Our waitress then put it to him in brief: she called him a cheap bastard to his face.

I tipped her 50% that day, just for the look on that cheap bastard's mug.
posted by notsnot at 11:14 PM on January 31, 2013 [13 favorites]


Well, no. If you object to tipping on principle and live by those principles so you -- for instance -- never go to anywhere that tipping is part of the wage, then that's a perfectly reasonable stance that I have never, ever heard anyone actually live by.

Crikey.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:22 PM on January 31, 2013


To say nothing of the stereotype that "black people don't tip."

I've actually waited tables with black waiters and waitress who preferred not to serve black customers because, and I quote, "black people don't tip." I wonder if any actual research has been done on this.

But what the hell do I know. I smell like a dog when I come in out of the rain.
posted by quadog at 11:26 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


The waitress who actually waited on the pastor (probably) deserved a decent tip. This waitress deserved to be fired.

She should in fact count her blessings that criminal charges weren't brought against her. Surely putting personally identifying information online like that is a felony of some sort. Even if not, the pastor could have sued her for massive punitive damages to make an example.
posted by acb at 11:54 PM on January 31, 2013


I just know the Pastor did a shitty thing, and aside from nasty comments on the internet, will not be punished in any meaningful way. A waitress, who I think did nothing wrong, got fired for making public the shitty thing the Pastor did. That is just flat-out unfair, to me. If you think I'm wrong, well, we have a fundamental difference in our points of view.

I'm not so sure about "not punished in any meaningful way". I wish there was more research (or that I knew about the research) but I strongly suspect that Google has a fairly unnerving weight in setting (or at least destroying) the modern person's reputation, especially in those two major domains of life struggle: dating and employment. This very well may be the end of her preaching "career". She has a very tiny church. This is someone who looks like she doesn't have a lot of money, or high prospects. She is probably displaying boorish underclass values (which suck, yes) because she is underclass.

The waitress, on the other hand, just lost a minimum wage job, while her real identity, AFAICT, along with her digital reputation, remains safely intact. I wouldn't be surprised if she was a college girl, and this is just a temporary, meaningless job on her way to middle-class adult life.

I wouldn't be too surprised if the preacher loses her ministry and ends up a waitress, and the fired waitress becomes a teacher or something. I guess that's poetic justice for being catty about unexpected charges on a restaurant bill (not for stiffing a waitress, btw, Outraged Internet. Read more carefully.). But I find it easier to be depressed imagining this as one small example of income immobility in action.

Nothing about this incident makes me happy, but the disproportionate response and life impact of Internet mob shaming (which involves hundreds of thousands of strangers commenting on the exceedingly pedestrian transgressions of non-celebrities) disturbs me most.
posted by dgaicun at 11:59 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


The waitress, on the other hand, just lost a minimum wage job, while her real identity, AFAICT, along with her digital reputation, remains safely intact. I wouldn't be surprised if she was a college girl, and this is just a temporary, meaningless job on her way to middle-class adult life.

However, her full name is out there, in the context of her being a person who is not to be trusted with personal information, and not to be trusted to not turn on her employer in a fit of pique. I imagine it will be very difficult for her to find work above shelf-stacking for the next few years.
posted by acb at 12:29 AM on February 1, 2013


I've actually waited tables with black waiters and waitress who preferred not to serve black customers because, and I quote, "black people don't tip." I wonder if any actual research has been done on this.

It's a bullshit stereotype, based on the worst kind of confirmation bias.
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:57 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's a bullshit stereotype, based on the worst kind of confirmation bias.

Also reality and experience:

Research on race differences in tipping suggests that (a) Blacks leave smaller average restaurant tips than do Whites, (b) Black-White differences in tipping persist after controlling for socio-economic status, (c) Blacks tip less than Whites even when provided comparable levels of service, (d) Blacks tip less than Whites even when the server is black, and (e) Blacks are much less likely than Whites to know that it is customary/expected to tip 15 to 20 percent of the bill size in U.S. restaurants.
posted by dgaicun at 1:24 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


But as long as we're questioning stereotypes:

Are Christian/Religious People Poor Tippers?:
... Christians leave an average tip of 17.3 percent when the service is good and this is well within the 15 to 20 percent restaurant tipping norm, so on average Christians are not bad tippers. Third, if you define poor tippers as those leaving less than a 15 percent tip for good service then only 13 percent of Christians are poor tippers. Granted this percentage is higher than the 7 percent of non-affiliates and 2 percent of Jews that would be classified as poor tippers under the same criteria

... The effects of frequency of worship on tipping were [also] assessed... more religious people (as reflected in worship frequency) are not particularly poor tippers and servers’ perceptions that very religious Christians tip poorly are incorrect.
All this and more from... you got it... Tipping Research.com.
posted by dgaicun at 1:38 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


So, sure, Christians as a whole may not be bad tippers, but people who loudly proclaim themselves Christians? Totally terrible tippers. (I base that on customers in former jobs who insisted on the tax exemption for clergy on restaurant meals, as they were consistently shit tippers. The best were a gay men's running group, for what it's worth.)
posted by klangklangston at 1:45 AM on February 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


Black people are likely to be poor, and poor people are less likely to tip, for understandable reasons. When I get stiffed delivering pizzas (a dire thing for us, because drivers are expected to pay their own gas and car maintenance -- yeah, it's a real sucky job), when black people do it I tend to feel less annoyed because of that.
posted by JHarris at 2:11 AM on February 1, 2013


Black people are likely to be poor, and poor people are less likely to tip, for understandable reasons
"Question 2: Are Black-White Differences in Restaurant Tipping Due to Race Differences in Socio-Economic Status?

The possibility that Black-White differences in tipping are really just disguised socio-economic differences can be tested using the national telephone surveys described under Question 1, because those surveys included information about the respondents’ educations and incomes. This information can be used to assess and remove the effects of education and income before looking at Black-White differences in tipping. When this is done to the national survey data, Black-White differences in stiffing, flat tipping, and tip size persist (Lynn, 2004b; Lynn & Thomas-Haysbert, 2003).

For example, the results of comparing Black-White differences in tipping before and after statistically controlling for education, income, and some other demographic variables in the study by Lynn (2004b) are presented in Table 2. Across all three outcome measures, the results before and after controlling for education and income are virtually the same, with only slight differences caused by loss of those subjects for whom control-variable data were missing. These data suggest that Black-White differences in tipping are largely independent of socio-economic differences between the races."
The paper later suggests that the social expectations of how much to tip differ across communities, as the surveys done on the question of what a normal tip level is vary by community. It recommends 'education' of the customers. The whole paper is interesting, although seems unlikely to be widely cited rate for obvious reasons.

Their answer does however fail to note the possibility of differing levels of exaggeration about income level in either group, and oddly fails to study any other demographics which creeps me out a bit due to the black/white binary split.
posted by jaduncan at 2:44 AM on February 1, 2013


Well my own observations have no statistical rigor, but I have noted that very often, if a black person stiffed me for a tip, frequently he is in a house that isn't well-maintained, or on a poorer street.
posted by JHarris at 3:00 AM on February 1, 2013


(Which of course indicates that I take these as signs of being of low-income. Which might not be the case. But we all find connecting narratives where we seek them.)
posted by JHarris at 3:01 AM on February 1, 2013


It's also a different type of transaction, so I'm not even sure that the paper has so much of a bearing. In general I salute your efforts to consider people though, and much prefer that way of thinking myself.
posted by jaduncan at 3:37 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can all the people who keep going on about how Chelsea can't be trusted with 'personal information', could you please follow the links and actually look at what was posted? The only information you can glean from it is that Pastor Bell paid thirty-four dollars and ninety-three cents, and the signature of the pastor. There is no other information visible. There is no credit card number or any other mention of a form of payment. There is no contact information, other than the name.

How in any reasonable sense is this 'personal information'?
posted by KHAAAN! at 4:37 AM on February 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


The only information you can glean from it is that Pastor Bell paid thirty-four dollars and ninety-three cents, and the signature of the pastor. There is no other information visible. There is no credit card number or any other mention of a form of payment. There is no contact information, other than the name.

How in any reasonable sense is this 'personal information'?


Pastor Bell's signature is, by definition, personal information. About as personal as it gets, in fact.

Perhaps more importantly, her posting the receipt online constitutes (other than a breach of her employment conditions) a breach of trust to her employer, and her employer's clients. Were I involved in hiring, I would be extremely hesitant to hire someone with a record of such actions for any role that could conceivably require discretion or trust. Who knows that some years down the line, she won't have a bad day and, as a result, cause a few hundred thousand dollars in damage and/or trigger a lawsuit from a pissed-off client.
posted by acb at 4:56 AM on February 1, 2013


Since other people are bringing it up, here's a thing I've observed, on the subject of class behavior.

Underclass people that I associate with have no problem discussing how much money they make, how much they spend, what their expenses are, and so forth. They name specific figures and dollar amounts, without a hint of embarrassment.

But, once you get into the income range of the middle class, this turns into a huge taboo. Salary figures and bill amounts suddenly become top secret. If a middle class person names any real actual figures about how much money they or someone else makes in most social situations, it's a scandal.

I think this has something to do with social standing and personal agency. No one wants to reveal how much, or how little, money they make, because income is tied to social status, to the amount of real power you have in life. Revealing that information means it can be used against you, and you could lose big chunks of that power.

Underclass people don't concern themselves with it, because (I believe) they intuitively understand they are in a position with no power at all.

Oh, and one other thing: being an asshole is not a 'boorish underclass value', thank you very much.
posted by KHAAAN! at 5:14 AM on February 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


Meanwhile, back on the subject of 'personal information'...

This isn't about a state secret, or the name of a victim at a rape trial. This is about a receipt for a meal.

Have a sense of proportion, please.
posted by KHAAAN! at 5:39 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Black people are likely to be poor, and poor people are less likely to tip, for understandable reasons

A coworker of mine many years ago used to be a waiter and bartender at some high-end restaurants here in Chicago. Sure it's a data point of just one guy, but he's got some stories about No Tippin' Pippen.
posted by phunniemee at 5:52 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Surely putting personally identifying information online like that is a felony of some sort.

Given that I can punch someone repeatedly with my soft little hand and it's only a misdemeanor, what on earth world make you think that revealing someone's name and where they happened to be at one point in time should be a felony? The phone book and property tax records would be like a crime against humanity! But consider this from the other direction - go look at your Flickr feed (or, heck, look at my Flickr feed, whichever). Surely you have a model release for every visually identifiable person in any of your pictures, right? I certainly don't.

This isn't credit card information or medical records or anything like that, it's someone putting a condescending note or a receipt at a restaurant and then getting all butt hurt because, with the power of the internet, someone on the staff happened to tell 10,000 of their closest friends about it and they found the non-tipper's level of gall to be pretty impressive and so they told 10,000 of their friends. Welcome to the future.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:11 AM on February 1, 2013 [9 favorites]


bukvich:Now I am curious about these people who leave religious tracts in restaurants and no tips. I have never heard of this. Are there a few of these odd ducks out there? Millions of them? I am skeptical that this is more than a fringe phenomenon.

Unfortunately, in the particular denomination I come from, the practice is so common - and HQ has received so many complaints from businesses - that they have to remind their members to tip (and that it's OK to do so) on a regular basis via study materials.
posted by Wyeldfire at 6:53 AM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


The phone book and property tax records would be like a crime against humanity! But consider this from the other direction - go look at your Flickr feed (or, heck, look at my Flickr feed, whichever). Surely you have a model release for every visually identifiable person in any of your pictures, right? I certainly don't.

There is a qualitative difference between a photograph of a street scene and a photograph of a receipt (i.e., a document) with a recognisable signature, not to mention between the intentions inherent in taking a photograph in a public place and those in making public a document.
posted by acb at 6:54 AM on February 1, 2013


The paper later suggests that the social expectations of how much to tip differ across communities, as the surveys done on the question of what a normal tip level is vary by community.

Back when I delivered pizza in college, despite what my coworkers said I didn't find there to be a huge difference in tipping between black and white people; I suspected at the time it was mostly confirmation bias. But I find the suggestion above pretty credible even so - we all fought over the orders from houses we knew had Latino residents, because they were nearly all really good tippers.
posted by solotoro at 6:58 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately, in the particular denomination I come from, the practice is so common - and HQ has received so many complaints from businesses - that they have to remind their members to tip (and that it's OK to do so) on a regular basis via study materials.

I think it's pretty good that the denomination makes it their issue, though, as opposed to just ignoring it and saying it's each congregant's personal choice, etc.
posted by jeather at 7:09 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


What's interesting to me is the more than 20,000 comments on Applebee's FB page, mostly telling them that people will be boycotting Applebee's because of the situation. It'll be interesting to see if this turns into a business problem.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:26 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


The waitress, on the other hand, just lost a minimum wage job, while her real identity, AFAICT, along with her digital reputation, remains safely intact. I wouldn't be surprised if she was a college girl, and this is just a temporary, meaningless job on her way to middle-class adult life.

I wouldn't be too surprised if the preacher loses her ministry and ends up a waitress, and the fired waitress becomes a teacher or something. I guess that's poetic justice for being catty about unexpected charges on a restaurant bill (not for stiffing a waitress, btw, Outraged Internet. Read more carefully.). But I find it easier to be depressed imagining this as one small example of income immobility in action.


That is all conjecture on your part, in fact none of that may be true. People who attend Pastor Bell's church may take her side and talk her up so that her congregation grows. Her current employer may never find out that she is a 9 day wonder, or find out and not care.

Chelsea may have really needed that job and be out of work for some time. If she is a college student she might have to drop out in order to find a different job. She might not be a college student but rather a single mom who needed to work those particular hours because of child care. We just don't know.

I find it bizarre that people are up in arms because Chelsea took a picture of the Pastor's signature and posted it on the internet. TIL that some people think a signature is personal information. As I have stated repeatedly the internet is really in its infancy and all these social/cultural mores have yet to be decided. Regular civilians posting funny stuff to the internet is much less problematic to me then the idea that Goggle can use my search terms.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:59 AM on February 1, 2013 [8 favorites]


How did Applebee's become the definitive symbol for the corporatization of Middle American tastes, anyway?
posted by invitapriore at 8:00 AM on February 1, 2013


T.G.I. Friday's started serving food with jalapenos on it, and they don't play in Peoria.
posted by griphus at 8:01 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Applebees posted a customer's note (with signature) on Facebook.

It's OK when corporate does it.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:09 AM on February 1, 2013 [16 favorites]


Applebees posted a customer's note (with signature) on Facebook.

NO BUTTS WERE HURT BY POSTING THIS PHOTO.
posted by phunniemee at 8:14 AM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


re: black people tipping*, i honestly don't see this as being any different than saying "obviously black people are more likely to be criminals, i mean just LOOK AT THE STATISTICS." bringing it up just seems to be a not-so-sneaky way to stereotype with a fig leaf of anecdata and i find it better to stay away from that, for nothing good ever seems to come of it no matter how tempting or seemingly obvious.

if i may though, anecdotally, of the people who want to discuss tipping stereotypes, white people do seem inordinately interested in black people tipping badly. i remember on at least 2 occasions where a black person left the establishment and a nearby white customer was like OMG DID THEY TIP YOU, I KNOW THEY DON'T TIP WELL like it was a way to... bond with me or something**. and on the 2nd occasion, they had asked about a regular who was black and always tipped around 20% if i recall.

*if we are going to play that game, let's get it right-- the army of alleged bad tippers is supposed to be ALL ethnic people, old people, young people, foreigners, lesbians, people who order just water, and anyone who dresses like they might be poor. in other words, everyone except well-dressed white americans between the ages of 25-55 who order not just water to drink (and didn't just come from church). again, the fact that black people come up the most in these discussion is suspicious.

**i'm not white and that's kinda creepy when people are not aware enough to do a simple calculation in their brains about not bringing up race with a stranger when that stranger is not the same ethnicity as you (or bringing it up at all, ideally). because gee i wonder what you think about my skin color when i walk away.
posted by twist my arm at 8:26 AM on February 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


I guess that's poetic justice for being catty about unexpected charges on a restaurant bill (not for stiffing a waitress, btw, Outraged Internet. Read more carefully.)

amount: $34.93
tip 18%: $6.29, crossed out with special note attached
additional tip: $0

total: $34.93

it was cattiness about unexpected charges (which are printed on the menu) AND stiffing a waitress. so apparently she was so mad about being forced to tip she took away all the tip. the pastor's followup about leaving $6 cash is bullshit. leaving cash tip on a credit card charge is generally something you do when you want to do your server a solid (so they can underreport and pay no taxes on cash tip income), and is not what someone would do if they left a message that said you deserve no tip.
posted by twist my arm at 8:49 AM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


When I go out to eat, I tip. However, I do not think tipping is 100% required, nor will I "automatically" tip no matter what.

I pretty much use this scale:

0% = crappy or downright rude service
2-5% = substandard service
18-20% = average, expected service
25-30% = great service
25-30% + a verbal compliment to the manager or e-mail to corporate = singularly wonderful service.

If the restaurant is very busy, my expectations of "average" service go way down, I fully expect to have to ask to have my drink refilled, know that the food may not be piping hot, and my order might get screwed up, especially if asking for something "special."

I'm not going to punish the server for an overwhelmed kitchen.
posted by Debaser626 at 8:57 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is rude service even that common? I always tip 20% automatically but then I can't say I've ever experienced bad service or a rude waiter, from low-end to high-end places. Even if i did; I wouldn't want my pay docked if I had a bad day, so how can I do that to someone else? It wouldn't seem right.
posted by bleep at 9:03 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is rude service even that common?

I'm with you. I have had maybe five or six occasions in all of my life where I've been in a restaurant and I've genuinely been affected by rude or sloppy behavior. As long as my food arrives in a reasonable amount of time and I can flag down the server if I need something to happen, I'm pretty good. I'm a little baffled by people who act like there's this gigantic wave of waiter rudeness sweeping across the nation.

(I say "the nation" since the US is the exemplar of tipping culture.)
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:19 AM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


I find it bizarre that people are up in arms because Chelsea took a picture of the Pastor's signature and posted it on the internet.

Is that an accurate assessment? First, I'm not sure anybody is expressing glee that Chelsea was fired. Chelsea seems like a good person who comes off well in this story. And second, your description of what she did could apply to a lot of things that aren't what she actually did. For instance, let's say she had photographed Billy Graham's signature from the bottom of a mass-circulation flier, posted it to her Twitter, and then been fired from Chili's. That fits your description, and I doubt anybody would disagree that Chili's was 100 percent wrong. But that isn't what happened.

She photographed a customer's credit slip. She also posted that photograph on the Internet, with identifying information. Can you honestly say you find it "bizarre" that she was fired for either of those things?

True, the employee manual probably does not explicitly forbid photographing and/or publishing customers' credit slips. I'm reminded of that scene in A Few Good Men where Kaffee cross-examines the Marine corporal. "I don't understand. How did you know where the enlisted men's mess hall was if it's not in this book?" Lots of things aren't in the book. If a waitress took my credit slip and walked around the dining room showing it to other customers, I would expect she'd be fired. If a waiter were live-tweeting the names and dollar amounts of all his tables, I would expect he'd be fired. An employee is snapping photos of credit slips with her iPhone? Yup, totally fired. Not bizarre.
posted by cribcage at 9:25 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Holy crap, her page on Black Preacher Network is gone now.

Thanks for the tip.
posted by zippy at 9:25 AM on February 1, 2013


Is rude service even that common?

I think I've experienced truly rude service maybe twice in my life. Once was a server at a BW3 in Chicago who just could not be bothered to pay any attention to us, the only customers in the whole place, because she was too busy flirting with the bartender. And once was here at a place that no longer exists, where our waitress barely gave us the time of day and instead spent all of her time flirting and trying to emphasize her tits at a table of besuited businessmen. (Then she threw a fit when they stiffed her, right where everyone could hear.)

I do commonly encounter ANNOYING service, but that's usually easily fixed by asking for a new server, or informing the hostess at the outset that you don't want to be seated in a particular server's section.
posted by MissySedai at 9:36 AM on February 1, 2013


There was precisely one time I ate at a restaurant when I didn't tip the waitess. I attempted to politely bring the horrid food to her attention -- I recall saying "excuse me, but these biscuits are as hard as a rock," & tapped one lightly on my plate to demonstrate -- they were probably days old -- and she said "They just come out that way," and walked off. I took a couple moments to find something of value in my meal, and concluded that the only bright spot was that none of my dishes had arrived at the table dirty, so I buried 50 cents in the gravy for the dishwasher.

I have held sobbing waitresses in my arms too many times to ever be rude or mean in a restaurant, even when the food is bad, though. It's soul-crushing work that could never really pay enough, most days.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:50 AM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


I absolutely find it bizarre that Chelsea was fired for posting a picture of a piece of paper with no identifying information, other than a name. I also find bizarre some of the hypothetical situations that have been proposed here and elsewhere, as none of them are equivalent to what actually happened.

Chelsea saw a fellow waitress be treated in an offensive and demeaning manner, and she displayed evidence of that offensive act in a public forum. I say again, no information was divulged, except the act itself, and the name of the person who committed the act. Even then, apparently, that was by accident, not by intent.

And Chelsea got fired for it. There is no way that I can see that being fair or just.

In my view, what is right is a hell of a lot more important than what is expected.
posted by KHAAAN! at 10:46 AM on February 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


Since it's late in the tread, I feel I can ramble on about some barely-related shit without fear of causing a total derail. Back in my food-service days I worked various jobs - including waiter, bartender, and back-of-the-house positions - in establishments in Portland, Austin, and Dallas. I witnessed firsthand or at least was in the building when the following celebrities (and minor celebrities) showed themselves to be shitty tippers:

Billy Bob Thornton
Beck Hansen
Brian Williams (he of NBC News fame, before he had the nightly newscast all to himself but after he was already a recognizable face)
Lee Renaldo (he of Sonic Youth fame)
John Travolta
Stephen Malkmus (he of Pavement fame)
Calvin Johnson (he of Beat Happening and K Records fame)
Woody Harrelson (jerk to the hundredth power)
Chuck Norris (To be fair, it was 1995 and I made a crack about his recently-released film 'Top Dog'. Come to think of it, however, I think I remember only making the remark because he was already being a dick. Fuck that guy.)

On the flipside, the following celebrities showed themselves to be more than generous in the tipping department:

Erykah Badu (frequented a vegan place I managed for a spell and was always cool as shit. I've still never heard her music.)
members of REM (I think Stipe actually left the tip, though they were all very nice)
Mike Watt (he of Minutemen fame)
Willem Dafoe
Johnathan Richman (he of Modern Lovers fame)
Sandra Bullock
Sum 41 (two of them, don't remember which ones. Super nice, tipped well, but I remember wishing they'd take the fans that'd followed them in outside)

Please note that I did not wait on the majority of the above, but that I was working when they left/didn't leave their tips. None of these people signed 'pastor' before their names, something that I believe I'm going to start doing since I've been an ordained Universal Light minister for years.
posted by item at 10:58 AM on February 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


Oh yeah, and a long long long time ago, I witnessed Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top leave a $50 tip on a $20 tab. I wasn't working at the place, but damn. He also gave me a piece of gum and called my friend 'pretty', which she undoubtedly was.
posted by item at 11:02 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Chuck Norris (To be fair, it was 1995 and I made a crack about his recently-released film 'Top Dog'. Come to think of it, however, I think I remember only making the remark because he was already being a dick. Fuck that guy.)

Sat next to Chuck Norris and his entourage at a sushi joint a couple of months before they announced the end of Walker, Texas Ranger. They were total dicks to the staff.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:06 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh no! Lee Ranaldo always seemed like the nice one.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 11:11 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Should What Happens at Applebee's Stay at Applebee's?
posted by ericb at 11:16 AM on February 1, 2013


The Applebees Facebook page is amusing.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:22 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Holy cow, is the sort of desperate tone of "No, LOOKIT! We have low-fat menu options! Weekday specials! OH GOD WON'T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF OUR HAPPY HOUR!" evident. Especially since each time they try to post something, someone harasses them.
posted by Kitteh at 11:38 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, virtually every post on their Facebook page has negative comments now. And they've put up some sort of defensive legalese that tells everyone they are wrong.

And man, the pictures of their prefabricated food look unappetizing. I cannot imagine why anyone would buy that dreck.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:56 AM on February 1, 2013


the twitter page is also a little incredible.
posted by nadawi at 12:00 PM on February 1, 2013


I think probably everyone on Applebee's social media team is hiding under their desks crying right now.
posted by phunniemee at 12:05 PM on February 1, 2013 [10 favorites]


And man, the pictures of their prefabricated food look unappetizing. I cannot imagine why anyone would buy that dreck.

I can imagine why people might eat at Applebee's. I have eaten at Applebee's. Imagine a long car ride, everyone is tired and hungry, food options are limited, and then you see a place that isn't McDonalds where you KNOW you can get a burger or some fajitas. It might not be the best burger or fajitas in the world, but it's going to be reasonably priced and your picky son will be ok with it and your 80 year old mom will be ok with it and you and your wife will be ok with it because it's late and you're hungry and you want to eat quickly and that's pretty much what Applebee's is for.

What I can't imagine is why anyone would follow them on Twitter or Facebook.
posted by bondcliff at 12:10 PM on February 1, 2013 [9 favorites]


"I didn't break any specific guidelines in the company handbook - I checked," said Welch, who had no complaints about her service prior to this week.

Applebee's Associate Handbook [Scribd].
posted by ericb at 12:12 PM on February 1, 2013


Let's not forget the beer, bondcliff!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:13 PM on February 1, 2013


It might not be the best burger or fajitas in the world, but it's going to be reasonably priced and your picky son will be ok with it and your 80 year old mom will be ok with it and you and your wife will be ok with it because it's late and you're hungry and you want to eat quickly and that's pretty much what Applebee's is for.

I don't know, maybe it's because I live in a small city with a low cost of living, but Applebee's always seemed unconscionably expensive for what it is.
posted by invitapriore at 12:20 PM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't know, maybe it's because I live in a small city with a low cost of living, but Applebee's always seemed unconscionably expensive for what it is.

I live in a big city, and I think Applebees is unconscionably expensive for what it is.

Of course, I tend to eat at hole in the wall ethnic places with freaking amazing food where two people can get in and out completely sated and happy for under 30 bucks, including a generous tip and exorbitant sales tax, so maybe my perspective is a little skewed, too.
posted by phunniemee at 12:25 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have eaten at Applebee's. Imagine a long car ride, everyone is tired and hungry, food options are limited, and then you see a place that isn't McDonalds...

I have eaten at Applebee's under this same set of expectations and been severely disappointed. It's not even good for what it appears to be good at.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:27 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would tend to agree with the idea that there are few decent "family" restaurants in North America where you can get something good to eat for a reasonably low cost. Instead it's salty, oily, fatty, carby food that is a waste of money.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:17 PM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Tipping culture indeed sucks. It's miserably fucked up and there doesn't seem to be a good way out. But in this situation, you're not being denied minimum wage because of poor tippers.

No. Instead, as I said, some of your tip goes to the business if they pay the employee less than minimum wage. Plus, this assumes the business plays fair concerning tips -- some don't.

I suggested #3 to a friend of mine, a while back, who has worked in restaurants - usually as wait staff - for a good 12 years now. His reaction was that he, and other wait staff, would never want such a thing. They like tips.

The term for this is colonization of the mind. It results from the occaisional high spikes in income that result from very large tippers giving the employee a rush of endorphins, much like low-level scratch ticket wins, when most of the time his tips are small. It also outsize rewards workers who work for places with more expensive food, since 15% of $100 is a lot more than 15% of $20. And I speak as someone currently delivering pizza, who relies on tips to fill his gas tank.

The eventual solution to it is #1 and #2; once people know how rotten tipping culture is at its core, #3 will happen on its own.
posted by JHarris at 1:24 PM on February 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


I would tend to agree with the idea that there are few decent "family" restaurants in North America

You guys need pubs. My British brethren will likely agree that the best place for a quick, family meal is the local pub.
posted by Kerasia at 1:48 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


God fills your water glass without asking. It's called rain.

Fucker keeps missing the glass.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:55 PM on February 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


Chuck Norris

He doesn't tip. He just changes the value of the money you already have. /Bad Chuck Norris joke
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:58 PM on February 1, 2013


The last time I went to Applebee's, I went there because it was the only place within half an hour of my girlfriend's parents in Lansing that was open after 10pm. Because I'm tired and not paying attention to their dumb framing, I look at the portabello burger and don't see any meat and think that it's just one of those marinated ones that are the default option for vegetarians all over. I order it and it comes out, and I grab the waitress and say that I can't eat it — meat. I don't even fight about, like, getting my money back or anything, I just ask if there's anything they've got that doesn't have meat on it.

"Uh, no. We're an American restaurant," the waitress says.

Nothing?

"I know how hard this is, because I was a vegetarian for a semester in college."

Never been back, and fuck Applebee's and their American bullshit.
posted by klangklangston at 2:07 PM on February 1, 2013


You guys need pubs. My British brethren will likely agree that the best place for a quick, family meal is the local pub.

I'm not sure what would work, given the food culture. Of course, I tend to compare everything to Japan, which is foodie heaven, and, on top of that, totally kid friendly (there is absolutely nothing better in life than going to Korean barbeque with family friends, grilling meat, drinking beer, and watching the kids run around the room before being placated by softserve ice cream by the wait staff and prime time television).
posted by KokuRyu at 2:17 PM on February 1, 2013


You guys need pubs. My British brethren will likely agree that the best place for a quick, family meal is the local pub.

There are a few tucked away hither and thither.

There's one up the road a bit from me, run by a lovely old Lutheran couple. Full bar, sports on the TV, and home cooking that will rock your face off. I take my kids up there all the time, and have since they were wee.

I don't think I'll ever forget the time a friend and I had gone to Chicago together, spent the whole 4 hour drive back home talking about food, and got home FAMISHED at 10PM. My husband said "Hey, Brownstone's open!" So off we went, and the specials that night included Dale's maple glazed pork chops. And it happened that Dale was in the house that night, she came over to say Hi, and I thought my friend was going to jump up out of his seat and kiss her. Yep, the food is that good.

Joe and Dale are legendary among the server crowd here, because they pay their servers full minimum wage ($7.85) in addition to tips, and if you make a habit of not tipping the servers, they will cheerfully tell you to never come back.
posted by MissySedai at 2:51 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


My impression is that the US has "pubs" but they're not really places for "meals" or "families".
posted by bleep at 2:59 PM on February 1, 2013


One may say that paying servers below minimum wage, and requiring them to angle for tips to make ends meet, is one of those barbarous quasi-feudal American institutions alien to civilised Europe, but how much do you want to bet that, sooner or later, the Tories will get around to introducing it in Britain, in the guise of “fostering a dynamic enterprise culture” or something. After all, they're Americanising the health care system.
posted by acb at 3:03 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Black people are likely to be poor

Black people are statistically more likely to be poor than other ethnicities, but we're still only talking about 27% of Blacks living in Poverty. So the whole "Black people do things because poor" is somewhat misguided.
posted by billyfleetwood at 5:32 PM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Apparently the tracts-for-tips shit has been going on for some time. Here's Dear Abby, who was not even a cultural radical, giving some such folk politely but firmly what for, back in the first Reagan Administration.

Oh, and on the subject of lousy tippers, I enjoyed this cautionary bit about Richard Marx.

I could, of course, rant and rail against Christianity and organized religion. But they will both still be around when the sun comes up tomorrow...
posted by dr. zoom at 9:38 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I could, of course, rant and rail against Christianity and organized religion. But they will both still be around when the sun comes up tomorrow...

But there are many tomorrows, and history is patient.
posted by JHarris at 9:54 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


True enough in terms of the long run. But, much as I dislike the notion, they were both standing tall when I entered this world, and they will see me out much the same way.
posted by dr. zoom at 10:11 PM on February 1, 2013


Chelsea Welch's side of the story
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:19 AM on February 2, 2013


I think probably everyone on Applebee's social media team is hiding under their desks crying right now.

... wondering how some self-righteous cheapskate stiffing a waitress of seven bucks managed to do untold damage to 'the brand.'
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:45 AM on February 2, 2013


... wondering how some self-righteous cheapskate stiffing a waitress of seven bucks managed to do untold damage to 'the brand.'

The cheapskate did absolutely no damage to Applebee's. They did it to themselves, ever so effectively, and have been doubling down on their actions.
posted by jeather at 9:16 AM on February 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


From roomthreeseventeen's link:

"As this story has gotten popular, I've received inquiries as to where people can send money to support me. As a broke kid trying to get into college, it's certainly appealing, but I'd really rather you make a difference to your next server. I'd rather you keep that money and that generosity for the next time you eat out."

I doubt I would have that much class if I were in her shoes.
posted by straight at 10:44 AM on February 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


"As a broke kid trying to get into college, it's certainly appealing, but I'd really rather you make a difference to your next server. I'd rather you keep that money and that generosity for the next time you eat out."

I'd hire Ms. Welch to be my preacher AND PR department.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:38 PM on February 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


The meltdown of Applebee's PR department in real time on Facebook almost deserves its own post.
posted by absalom at 12:49 PM on February 2, 2013 [14 favorites]


Here's Dear Abby, who was not even a cultural radical, giving some such folk politely but firmly what for, back in the first Reagan Administration.

This letter breaks my heart. And I think it gets at the core of the story of Ms. Bell's behavior that fateful day at Applebees.

The people who wrote the letter lied to themselves that waitstaff were takng lavish vacations with tip money, so it must be extra and not necessary. Were they really that stupid? Probably not, they just let the selfish idea that they needed a vacation more than a waitress did override the basic respect and empathy that one ought to show one's fellow human beings. The religious tracts creating warm fuzzies for all is a nice kooky icing on the cake, but really, it's not the point. It's window dressing on the kindergarten-level maturity of, "I like my money, and if I give you some of my money than there's less of it for me to spend on myself."

I doubt Dear Abby's response with all its facts and figures did anything to convince those folks they were wrong. And as Ms. Welch found out, you can't shame a person into changing that way of thinking. This whole incident (and now the fascinating social media fallout) shows how depressingly large the holes in our social fabric are. Maybe Applebee's should put Brene Brown lectures on loop on its TVs?
posted by lily_bart at 8:23 PM on February 2, 2013


Today I delivered pizzas for Dominos'. I had five runs in two-and-a-half hours. For each run I get $1.25 in mileage credit, intended to pay for gas and auto maintenance. In practice, with fuel prices the way they are, it barely covers gas.

Of those five runs, I got $9-and-change total in tips. One run didn't tip at all. Two more paid the minimum money in bills, leaving as my "tip" the less-than-one-dollar remainder. The $9-and-change in tips I ended up with, figured up hourly, adds together with wages to just about equal minimum wage.

TIPPING CULTURE SUCKS.
posted by JHarris at 9:41 PM on February 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


Holy shit, man. As a former pizza whore, I feel terrible for your abjectly awful customers. Some ten, twelve years ago, when I was delivering, I made about what I make now (though the costs in cars and social life were way higher). I made $8.50 before tips, plus 35¢ a mile, and including tips made around $16.50. Part of that was a mandatory "delivery fee" that got tacked onto everything — a buck or two guaranteed that the driver wouldn't get totally fucked if they could take out a couple of five-pie runs.

Of course, that job also taught me that I'm willing to take a pay cut to not work with people who say things like, "Well, there are white niggers and black niggers…"

I only hope that your cooks have your back and that your manager is willing to keep a list of shitty tippers who get charged a mandatory "delivery fee."
posted by klangklangston at 11:41 PM on February 2, 2013


The cooks and managers are nice, but the owner has a lot of policies in place that hurt us. There is a $1.25 delivery charge per trip, not mile, and store policy is to have people take single-order runs most of the time.

I actually like the owner, he's always been friendly with me, but his business model is hard on us drivers, especially since gas is so expensive right now. I desperately to find work other than this, but it's Brunswick, Georgia. I really need to try my luck somewhere else, but I don't have means to relocate.
posted by JHarris at 1:04 AM on February 3, 2013


If you can't afford to pay a living wage to your staff, you can't afford to run your business.
posted by harriet vane at 1:18 AM on February 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


People that mistreat waitstaff are disgusting. Even if the service is not spectacular, I still feel obligated- especially when I consider my own financial situation versus that of a waiter- to give a reasonable tip in an attempt to make up for the less than minimum wage they earn in the US.
posted by globotomy at 10:58 AM on February 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Opening and running a business is hard. I don't think it should be prerequisite that an aspiring business owner have a background in socioeconomics to be able to analyze what constitutes a "living wage." Fortunately, our government does this calculation for us. It's perfectly reasonable to disagree with that calculation, but maybe not so much to condemn a business for using it.
posted by cribcage at 5:50 AM on February 4, 2013


but it's Brunswick, Georgia

Brunswick, Georgia, for those uninitiated, has a statue of a pot of stew proudly erected in front of the rest area.

This is the best thing about Brunswick, Georgia.
posted by phunniemee at 8:22 AM on February 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


Always tip service workers in the US as well as you can afford. In general, they work as hard as anyone and are paid squat.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:52 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't think it should be prerequisite that an aspiring business owner have a background in socioeconomics to be able to analyze what constitutes a "living wage."

You don't need a degree to figure out how much it costs to live. We all have the same basic expenses: housing, food, utility bills, health care, transportation expenses, and so forth. I would think some basic research, common sense and common decency would be enough...

But, I keep forgetting how the definitions of common sense and decency change, as you move up the income spectrum. Oh well.
posted by KHAAAN! at 4:51 PM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


You don't need a degree to figure out how much it costs to live.

For one thing, many folks who hold degrees nevertheless can't calculate even their own cost of living. This isn't exactly controversial: personal finance is one of the more often-criticized deficiencies in American education. Second, the notion that we all share identical living expenses, even within reasonable geography, is fine for back-of-the-napkin conversations but it's pure theory.

But the larger point is that you're right, and we agree. You don't need a degree to figure out how to pay a living wage, because our government does that calculation for you. It is perfectly reasonable to quarrel with that calculation if you believe it's unfair. Suggestions can be delivered to the Frances Perkins Building, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 20210. I would gently suggest that factual arguments will be more persuasive than one-percenter rhetoric, but hey, it's your letter.
posted by cribcage at 9:20 PM on February 4, 2013


You don't need a degree to figure out how much it costs to live.

The 2012 poverty line for a single person is $11,170 and twice that is where a lot of benefits are cut off. The minimum wage ought to supply an income and benefits that allows a someone to live without government assistance, and so at full-time at least $22,340. The current minimum it is only $14,558 at 2008 hours a year. And food service workers are, for some strange reason, exempted. Raise the minimum wage to at least $11.10 and hour and index it to inflation so we don't have to keep fighting to raise it periodically. And make it apply to everyone with no exceptions.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:03 AM on February 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


The Hulk always gives 110%.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:09 PM on February 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


THE MADDER HULK GET, THE MORE HULK GIVE.
posted by JHarris at 11:54 PM on February 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I suppose this thread has run its course, but just to clarify:

I wasn't engaging in one percenter rhetoric, at least not consciously. You don't have to reach those lofty heights to see real, actual differences in what is considered reasonable or moral. All you need to do is move from being a waitron in a restaurant or a clerk in a store, to, say, a member of management in one of those places. Move to even the lowest rung of management in a restaurant/retail hierarchy, and you will marvel at all the double standards that become visible. This was the change in values I was referring to, and really, it only takes a few more dollars above minimum wage for it to kick in.

Incidentally, I don't have a beef with minimum wage. If I have a beef with anything, it is with small business owners who consider minimum wage to also be the maximum wage they're willing to pay an employee, and who do everything they can to circumvent even this pathetic amount.
posted by KHAAAN! at 12:53 PM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Brunswick, Georgia, for those uninitiated, has a statue of a pot of stew proudly erected in front of the rest area.
This is the best thing about Brunswick, Georgia.


A friend of mine I told about this responds: "I disagree, we have some lovely trailer parks."
posted by JHarris at 9:14 PM on February 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


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