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September 20, 2013 8:06 PM   Subscribe


 
How do we know that they didn't eat $3000 worth of flapjacks first?
posted by ColdChef at 8:12 PM on September 20, 2013 [14 favorites]


Dance, monkey, dance!
posted by threeants at 8:26 PM on September 20, 2013 [31 favorites]


Perhaps a little more sustainable...the eight dollar tip.
posted by telstar at 8:27 PM on September 20, 2013 [11 favorites]


These people are tipping servers $200 so they can flaunt their conspicuous benevolence on YouTube.
When I was a boy scout we were told to do a good turn every day without being found out.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:32 PM on September 20, 2013 [55 favorites]


^ Why all the hate? >:|
posted by slater at 8:35 PM on September 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't hate them. I think they have ulterior motives is all. I'm an extremely generous tipper, but I don't wave it around.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:36 PM on September 20, 2013 [10 favorites]


It's great they tipped their server well, but filming it as a stunt to get views for their youtube channel feels icky and self-promoting. Maybe I'm just biased because their video from last week really bothered me. It was called "Sweeping Girls Off Their Feet" and it was them running up behind girls they didn't know and picking them up. So creepy and invasive, and it just had this entitled white, college "bro" air about it, like "UH, why wouldn't girls we don't know want to be picked up by such hunky bros as us!?" I was amazed the reaction in thread I was in was more "awwww!" instead of revulsion.
posted by bluecore at 8:37 PM on September 20, 2013 [54 favorites]


Perhaps a little more sustainable...the eight dollar tip.

If a delivery person brings a meal, such as a pizza, directly to your house, across some distance and/or through heavy traffic, then he or she should get the full Eight Dollar Tip.

If you think I'm going to tip a delivery person as much as an attentive waiter working my table over the course of a 1 hour meal including multiple drinks and maybe dessert and coffee you are out of your eight dollar mind.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:39 PM on September 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


Good idea: Tipping beyond all expectation.
Bad idea: Filming it.
posted by carsonb at 8:40 PM on September 20, 2013 [28 favorites]


Worst idea: inspirational slow piano soundtrack.
posted by carsonb at 8:41 PM on September 20, 2013 [9 favorites]


Good idea: Tipping beyond all expectation.
Bad idea: Filming it.
posted by carsonb


Exactly.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:41 PM on September 20, 2013


Dance, monkey, dance!

To be fair, though, we are all commodities to the people who own YouTube, when we click through.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:44 PM on September 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I once got a three hundred dollar tip from a corporate party that only spent 120 dollars (all non-drinkers and food covered in the cost of the event). It was a Christmas party, and I would imagine that there was a budget and the boss decided to make my night. It really did make my night; it was four days before Christmas and it meant my kids had nice presents under the tree that year. I have never forgotten how much that gesture changed our holiday, but there was no public reaction to film. I had picked up the billfold and left it unexamined with the rest of my billfolds until the customers had left. To me, the service contract has a strange etiquette attached to it whereby acknowledging any tip, good or bad, is just bad form. I'm very old-school that way, I guess.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 8:55 PM on September 20, 2013 [34 favorites]


I can't decide who bums me out worse: bros, or the knee-jerk haters of bros.

Why can't these just be clueless guys awkwardly trying to do a good thing? It isn't like they're plugged into bro-central, nefariously carrying out some four-dimensional plot to co-opt your sympathy, overwhelm your skepticism, and corrupt your otherwise perfectly egalitarian paradise. They're as ham-fisted as the rest of us. We hate on them because their privilege is a little more obvious than ours and they wear it a bit more flashily than we do. Do you really think most people making $2.13 an hour are interested in the fine granularity of these guys' intent? Or the integrity of their ethical performance?

Seriously. If you're hating on these guys, it's because you see more of yourself in them than you'd like to admit.
posted by R. Schlock at 8:59 PM on September 20, 2013 [10 favorites]


Do you really think most people making $2.13 an hour are interested in the fine granularity of these guys' intent? Or the integrity of their performance?

Speaking as someone who worked for that $2.13 an hour base wage for a cumulative twelve years: yes, and yes.
posted by Miko at 9:01 PM on September 20, 2013 [21 favorites]


How about we pay servers a living wage and get rid of this tipping bullshit?
posted by monospace at 9:01 PM on September 20, 2013 [31 favorites]


Poor people should not be used for entertainment purposes.

Tipping well is a good thing. Doing it to entertain people is weak sauce.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:03 PM on September 20, 2013 [25 favorites]


"Sweeping Girls Off Their Feet"

What the everliving fuck. I only made it like 23 seconds into that movie before getting such violent skeeze-shudders that I had to close the tab.
posted by threeants at 9:03 PM on September 20, 2013 [32 favorites]


I would be in favor of a living flat wage for restaurant work.

One of the worst things about the tipping system is that many people use it in a manipulative way. This video is a great example - this isn't about the people earning the tip. It uses them. If course it's not too hard to accept that fact and take the money and make use of it all the way to the bank (and I did in some sort-of similar, non-filmed versions of this), but this is just a slight magnification of a very recognizable type of interaction from male diners who use money to gain social power.

I'm not objecting to tipping well or occasionally leaving the big bonus tip. This is not that, and should not be confused with that. This is a subset of tipping behavior which is manipulative.

I only made it like 23 seconds into that movie before getting such violent skeeze-shudders that I had to close the tab.

Yeah. Dear God. That is just beyond the pale.
posted by Miko at 9:06 PM on September 20, 2013 [6 favorites]


"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full."
posted by modernserf at 9:08 PM on September 20, 2013 [14 favorites]


That's nice of them and all, but the filming bit is kind of gross. When I worked service industry I made a point of trying not to see what customers tip until the end of the night (when it's [hopefully] en masse, and less individualized). Sure, you notice a big tip all the same, but the common case (depressing small tips) get blenderized into just a stream of slips. It helps you not start to hate individual customers or groups. If these guys had taped me back then, there wouldn't have been anything much to show for it.

You can do away with the tipping custom (see e.g. some event bars, say at a wedding) and I'm going to tip anyway. Most ex-service industry people I know are the same way, and they tend to be the type who tip 25-30% as a matter of routine.
posted by axiom at 9:09 PM on September 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Someone left me a Jefferson in the tip jar yesterday, one of my first customers. I excitedly pointed it out to my partner and then immediately went cynical, figuring there was a few possibilities: 1. The customer was a regular and usually paid by credit or on their loyalty card and were making up for their usual cashlessness. 2. Pre-coffee condition strikes hard. (It was 5:15am.) or 3. Someone was feeling generous. They were out the door before I even noticed, so I couldn't ask why. I don't think they had a camera so I couldn't find out why on YouTube after the fact. I decided to not care why, and felt like I was walking on clouds for the rest of my shift.

(Oh and right at the end of my day I spotted a ten spot at the top of the jar. I think being in a really good mood paid off in the end. )

But I think that 'why' question is getting at why people are reacting poorly to this video. It's right there on the face of it why these people are leaving $200 tips: they want to film the reaction of the person receiving it. Sure they're capturing some joy and surprise on film, but they're also highlighting just how low food service life can be.

I wish the filmmakers the greatest success in their endeavors, but only so they can afford to tip $200 every time they go out to eat.
posted by carsonb at 9:18 PM on September 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


What the everliving fuck. I only made it like 23 seconds into that movie before getting such violent skeeze-shudders that I had to close the tab.

Yeah, try actually living in the Utah Valley college town where that was shot for a few years and where college kids do that kind of crap all. the. time. and then see how long it takes the violent skeeze-shudders to subside. Sometimes I still get them, just out of nowhere - and it's been a long time.
posted by The World Famous at 9:21 PM on September 20, 2013


Jackson is on the $20, not Jefferson. I knew that looked wrong. But two dollar bill tips are fun too.
posted by carsonb at 9:31 PM on September 20, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm an extremely generous tipper, but I don't wave it around.

you just did, though

you did the thing
posted by elizardbits at 9:42 PM on September 20, 2013 [38 favorites]


If you think I'm going to tip a delivery person as much as an attentive waiter working my table over the course of a 1 hour meal including multiple drinks and maybe dessert and coffee you are out of your eight dollar mind.

On the other hand, how many tables at a time do servers work? I've only every done it in tiny places and topped out at three or four, probably, but I'd imagine that someone working in a busy [generic chain restaurant of choice] could easily double that. I live about five minutes from the closest pizza joint, and about nine minutes from the one that we prefer to order from, and I'd imagine that most people live in a similar five-to-ten minute radius. But even so, we're talking about three to six trips an hour as a best-case scenario. I don't for a minute think that delivering pizzas is as difficult as being a server, but if you see tips as a way of generating a living wage as opposed to ensuring good service, an eight-dollar tip for the delivery person isn't actually that farfetched.

I have mixed feelings about the video itself. On one hand, there's literally no point in my life when I wouldn't have wept with joy if someone had handed me an extra $200, and there have been a few times when an unexpected bonus did, in fact, reduce me to tears in front of a client/customer/boss. On the other hand, the working poor are an unbelievably exploited class anyhow, and I know that if someone gave me extra money for the primary purpose of putting it on their youtube channel, I would be pretty pissed off--what you need after a day of being nice to assholes isn't the horribly contradictory position of feeling grateful for being exploited further, you know? Like, on one hand, you really are so fucking grateful for that extra cash. On the other hand, you're reminded once again that much of your life is about serving those who are more well-off than you, and that to those people you're effectively a means to an end. Which, tbh, is a feeling I could do without.
posted by MeghanC at 9:46 PM on September 20, 2013 [8 favorites]


I don't for a minute think that delivering pizzas is as difficult as being a server

I don't either, but it's important to remember that pizza delivery drivers are almost always using their own personal vehicles and putting a fuck of a lot of stop-and-go miles on them. The company probably pays a per-delivery fee - it was a buck a trip when I did it, but gas has gone up since then - but that barely covered gas. It didn't touch wear-and-tear.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:51 PM on September 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


The tin was a lie; this link did not make me feel good.
posted by kickback at 9:54 PM on September 20, 2013 [10 favorites]


Good grief. What a couple of self-centered, egotistical fuck-wads. Take your Internet-pandering, uninvited physical-assaults and charity-boasting self-promotion, and jam it right up your asses, you obnoxious fucking pricks. After watching those two videos, I feel dirty merely having an internet connection. This is possibly the absolute worst of the web, and is a damn good argument for banning all cameras and social media forever.

It scares the crap of me that anyone would buy this complete horseshit, and label it as Your feel good link of the day.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:02 PM on September 20, 2013 [17 favorites]


Copycats. They learned it watching Oprah. She was always giving away stuff to the needy, while filming it. Everyone hates Oprah, right?
posted by Goofyy at 10:10 PM on September 20, 2013


I think that the best of cases is one where you tip well in general and sometimes you tip extraordinarily and you do so not because you want fame or you want the server to fall on their knees in front of you or anything like that, but because you believe in doing right by people that do right by you, or maybe because you believe in giving more than you take, or possibly because you believe in utilitarian happiness and someone else can put the money to better use than yours.

But I think that even in this case, clearly not the-best-of-cases, three servers walked away with more money than they thought they were going to earn, and were very happy for it, and that's worth something. Yes, it's splashed across the internet, yes, these people are apparently not amazing, but the fact that they are not saints doesn't mean that the act, overall, wasn't good?

I wouldn't terribly mind if more people gave more money to servers at the end of the day, whether they filmed it or not.
posted by Han Tzu at 10:31 PM on September 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Whenever I tip, I protip. ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:32 PM on September 20, 2013 [6 favorites]


I don't for a minute think that delivering pizzas is as difficult as being a server

I don't either, but I also don't know anyone who's been shot waiting tables, so pizza dude gets a nice tip too.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:39 PM on September 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


(that's the gender-neutral usage of "dude," by the way)
posted by louche mustachio at 10:39 PM on September 20, 2013


Gotta agree with all the hate here.

This isn't the "feel good video" of the day, it's the "feel the difference" video of the day.

If some celebrity makes a waiter's month by dropping a kilobuck tip on a $40 check, I'd much rather hear the story from the server's point of view, rather than a couple of smug (and I assume) rich dudes.
posted by ShutterBun at 10:41 PM on September 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


I dunno. I often leave $5 or $6 dollars on a single meal Waffle House check, for myself. But I always do it in George Washingtons. Only George Washingtons. Well, he's my favorite American, of course.

And also, I want the plausible deniability that maybe, just maybe, I'm too dumb to count right. Because in the greater cosmic karma, that just barely counter-balances all those scumbags and broke bottom folk that just walk out on $2 coffee and toast checks, with heads held high, like ...

Oh, hell.

George Washington is my favorite American.
posted by paulsc at 11:17 PM on September 20, 2013


Of all the places on the web this has been showing up, the blue was the absolute last place I expected someone to be....somehow proud of these self-congratulatory douches. Come on, even reddit called this for what it is.

How is filming this (and even going back to the servers) any different than the white knights who rob women (or any other "other" group) of their agency by presuming/demonstrating that they need to be "saved" by those with the privilege/money/etc?
posted by trackofalljades at 11:19 PM on September 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I haven't even become comfortable with the internet making us all products.....Do people like this really have to rush to the next step of making us all gimmicks as well?
posted by sendai sleep master at 11:25 PM on September 20, 2013


How do we know that they didn't eat $3000 worth of flapjacks first?

Oh, ColdChef, you would know. You would know.
posted by dhartung at 11:30 PM on September 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


>If a delivery person brings a meal, such as a pizza, directly to your house, across some distance and/or through heavy traffic, then he or she should get the full Eight Dollar Tip.

If you think I'm going to tip a delivery person as much as an attentive waiter working my table over the course of a 1 hour meal including multiple drinks and maybe dessert and coffee you are out of your eight dollar mind.


Hello. I currently work as a delivery person. It is true, we don't take your orders (unless we're manning the phones, which is often) or bring you refills. But we are driving and putting wear on our own vehicles, and every time you pull out of the parking lot you risk an accident. At our store we get $1.25 per trip (the store charges $2.25 for delivery and pockets the remainder), which barely covers gas but doesn't cover maintainence at all, and while on the road we make less than minimum wage. So, go to hell.

(My average tip is around $3. Frequently I make more than that, but also frequently I get stiffed outright -- and by THE most frequent customers, without a complaint, just because they can. We have come to loathe delivering to certain specific addresses.)

I HATE tipping culture altogether, I think it's corrupt, and in a real sense the money you hand the employee exists to enable the business to pay even less of a living wage, but circumstances are that I am forced to participate in it to make ends meet. So hey, how about not being a jerk.
posted by JHarris at 12:13 AM on September 21, 2013 [28 favorites]


Of all the places on the web this has been showing up, the blue was the absolute last place I expected someone to be....somehow proud of these self-congratulatory douches.

Metafilter is not a monoculture. A lot of the early comments in a thread are just who happen to be online when it goes up. And they have been called out a bit for it here.
posted by JHarris at 12:18 AM on September 21, 2013


Maybe the US can catch up to the rest of the civilized world and have the employer PROPERLY pay their employees, so they can act as professionals and not have to sing and dance for their wages.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:36 AM on September 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


How would they have felt if the server gave them $200? Excited? Or insulted?

This is simply charity, with the all the "othering" that goes along with it. Why should these poor servers' livelihoods be at the whim and pleasure of these douchebags?
posted by dave99 at 12:53 AM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you think I'm going to tip a delivery person as much as an attentive waiter working my table over the course of a 1 hour meal including multiple drinks and maybe dessert and coffee you are out of your eight dollar mind.

Well, pizza (and food) delivery has been referred to as one of the most dangerous occupations in the US. One that puts people at higher risk of armed robbery, kidnapping, sexual assault, and being used as the rare human time bomb.

I'm not saying to always tip $8, but sometimes it's good to keep in mind the risks they take.
posted by FJT at 1:02 AM on September 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


I guess I can see how some of you might infer a cynical motive on the part of the Tippers in this video.
However, there are lots of stunts they could have pulled in order to generate attention for their channel that might have been mean-spirited, or violent, or that would not have directly benefited anyone- and there are plenty of examples of this on these here wondrous internets.
I think that in the balance of things, the actions of these guys skews towards "Laudable".
It may just be a gauche attempt at garnering Likes/Subs/Views- regardless, it is nice to know that a few servers will have an easier time paying rent this month.
Its also nice that this video has generated some thought and discussion about the troubling nature of tipping culture.
As someone who worked for many years in the service industry as a server and delivery driver, among other roles, I am all for implementing a system that does not involve kissing the ass of entitled, gluttonous fuckwits for hours on end in the hope that they will leave you enough money to continue eating and sleeping under shelter. And all in the interest of your employer, who does not have to pay you more than $2.13 (!!!) an hour regardless of how miserly your customers are feeling on any given night, and can make you stay 2 hours after your shift to clean floors and fold napkins and scrub toilets because, hey, waiters are a whole lot cheaper to use as all-purpose labor than someone who gets paid an hourly minimum wage.

So, anyways, why don't we ease up on these guys a little. Maybe you've unfairly ascribed selfish motives to a couple of bros who just wanted to capture a few fleeting moments of joy on the faces of the downtrodden food-ferries who are so frequently taken for granted.
posted by Alonzo T. Calm at 1:20 AM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think the guys who did this really think they are doing a good thing. But it's just gross to stick around and film the reactions and then to let the servers know they filmed the reaction so they can get more reaction.

What if the server just pocketed the money and moved along like it was a tip they get all the time? I bet the bros would be pissed about that.
posted by dawkins_7 at 1:33 AM on September 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


One of the worst things about the tipping system is that many people use it in a manipulative way.

I'd love to see someone take this concept to the meta level. Do a bunch of feed the homeless guy / super big tip / give the chemo kid his dream day / etc. type videos, and then do one that shows clips of each one, with cash register sounds and an on-screen breakdown of how much was spent vs. how much each one made in Youtube affiliate fees.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:35 AM on September 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Alonzo, that's the thing. Filming them and talking to them after puts them in a position to play a role where they have to thank the nice bros for their tips. It's manipulative and kinda sleezy.
posted by dawkins_7 at 1:36 AM on September 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


They're shitheads, sorry.
posted by empath at 1:36 AM on September 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, it was kind of uncomfortable to watch them just sitting there in the parking lot focusing the camera on their...subjects. Judging from some of their other videos, too, these guys seem pretty clueless and rather intent on getting known.

Even so, I just think its weird how much rage and vitriol leaks out here on metafilter for things like this video, which just aren't all that spectacularly offensive.
I understand that indignation can be as snug and comforting as a warm blanket, but some people need to learn how to apportion it more appropriately.
posted by Alonzo T. Calm at 1:47 AM on September 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


They're shitheads, sorry.
posted by empath


Yeah, why bother giving someone the benefit of the doubt or attempting to understand another persons situation, feelings, or motives when you can make flip remarks about how their heads are filled with excrement?
posted by Alonzo T. Calm at 1:59 AM on September 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: I understand that indignation can be as snug and comforting as a warm blanket, but some people need to learn how to apportion it more appropriately.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:02 AM on September 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, why bother giving someone the benefit of the doubt or attempting to understand another persons situation,

I've been trying to figure this out for the last twenty minutes, and all I know is LAHWF is "Losing all hope was freedom", which seems to be what he picked up from watching a bunch of movies from the late 90s (Fight Club, American Beauty, and Office Space). According to him it "seems to be a state of mind", where he tries to "stop caring what other people are thinking" about him. His Youtube channel seems to just consist of clips where he and his friends pull pranks and stunts and film how strangers react to it.

I'm trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, but the nature of these stunts reminds me a little of that guy trying to go through 100 days of rejection therapy and getting a Krispy Kreme worker to make an Olympic donut (previously). As for why he 's doing this (beyond just getting hits), it's hard to determine, since there isn't an obvious statement of purpose or "about" on any of his social media pages.
posted by FJT at 2:44 AM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


As for why he 's doing this (beyond just getting hits), it's hard to determine, since there isn't an obvious statement of purpose or "about" on any of his social media pages.

When you have all your shit properly set up and configured, hits=$$$. What more explanation could there possibly be?
posted by Meatbomb at 2:54 AM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I couldn't even watch to the end, it seriously made me cringe that badly.

Seriously. If you're hating on these guys, it's because you see more of yourself in them than you'd like to admit.

Nope, sorry.
posted by Salamander at 3:33 AM on September 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


you know, i think in the long run, they'd do these servers a lot more good if they donated that 200 bucks to candidates who stand for a living wage

of course, one would never get a video out of that
posted by pyramid termite at 3:39 AM on September 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I spent a while reviewing these guys other videos, with each one it got harder and harder to figure out why they should be defended for this prank and the way they orchestrated it. A significant percentage of the videos they do are focused on making people uncomfortable and then recording the response for the lols.

I guess I look at it like this. Someone tips big, the server is thrilled, and someone with no connection to either of them happens to record it..... THAT is a "feel good link".

Someone tips big, records it themselves, splashes it all over youtube... THAT is self promotion..

And, I wasn't impressed when Oprah did it either... That "give a car to everyone" stunt was hatched by her marketing people after they crunched the numbers as to the potential resulting ratings increases and ad revenue projections......
posted by HuronBob at 3:54 AM on September 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


I was all *clueless pretty benign kids* and then it turns out they are the creators of that pretty much assault video. If you define assault as unwanted touching, they be doin' it. And because it's kissing, you can add a sexual to the assault. They may think they got around it by all, *oh European* but it's a cloak to go up and kiss women and film the women looking extremely uncomfortable.

So I think that they have some nice vibes bouncing around their clueless bro heads, but they have clueless bro heads, so fie upon them.
posted by angrycat at 4:17 AM on September 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


I once received a $100 tip from a middle aged couple, on a very small bill. I found it in the billfold long after they'd left the restaurant. At the time I was scrimping for school, barely making ends meet. My family couldn't help out. What a windfall that $100 was.

I received that tip over 20 years ago and I've never forgotten the generosity of that couple. Hate on these guys and the tipping system all you want, I've got no problem with that. But if you have $100 (or $200) to spare there are worse thing you could do than pass it on to a server.
posted by Cuke at 4:21 AM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


But if you have $100 (or $200) to spare there are worse thing you could do than pass it on to a server.

I agree...and, I don't think anyone here is implying that random acts of kindness (in this case, a generous tip) is a bad thing or that it shouldn't happen.
posted by HuronBob at 4:54 AM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Does your employer have the expectation of allowing yourself to be filmed every time you are compensated for you work and have the video distributed via internet in order for strangers to be entertained?

There's no difference between this and the use of rewards in lab rats upon completion of a random, arbitrary task. These clowns are having a laugh at the expense of others who find themselves in a captive position. It's on par with Kathy Lee Gifford handing out benjamins at a sweatshop.

Outside of a tipped employee setting, these two panderers would have been told where to take their schtick and how fast to get there.
posted by jsavimbi at 4:57 AM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


$200 tips for all underpaid service workers! Do it for the thrill of making someone else happy though, because filming it all for pageclicks and giving yourself high fives just makes you look like a WANKER.
posted by h00py at 5:04 AM on September 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I could only watch about 25 seconds of that before I had to close it.

I mean, that's great and all, but I don't know how you film it like that and expect it to come off as anything but kind of creepy and self-laudatory in a way that makes me uncomfortable.

I think they're missing the point.
posted by kbanas at 5:47 AM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


ian svenonius is PISSED
posted by rap and country at 6:43 AM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


If these guys are giving less-than-minimum-wage-earning wait staff a two hundred buck tip, they can film it and put it on the internet all they want. Doing a good thing and getting no recognition for it might have worked back in the 19th century, which is apparently where a lot of people in here got their information on how to get by in the world, but now you need to spread that shit around to remind people that: a) it still happens, and b) you're an asshole for not doing good things more often. These guys are douchebags, sure, but those people still got a pile of money they wouldn't have got otherwise, on the Good Vs. Evil scale I'm afraid this is tipped towards the side of Good.

Doesn't the US government want to start taxing tips, or tax them more or at a more annoying point or something?
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:51 AM on September 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


At high school, the top floor of one of the buildings was reserved for final year students only. The corridor in that building had windows overlooking the central courtyard.

It was tremendous fun to gaze from our exclusive perch upon the plebeian rabble playing squareball in the courtyard below, then interrupt their game by rapping on the window with a one cent coin. A sea of faces would turn up expectantly, then the coin would go out the window and there would be a wonderful surging undignified scrabble until one of the tiny horde emerged with raw purchasing power triumphantly clutched in its little upraised fist.

The day I tossed out a twenty cent piece, one little chap stomped on another's reaching arm hard enough to break his wrist. Had YouTube been a thing in 1979, I'd have been able to share the magic of that moment with all of you.
posted by flabdablet at 6:57 AM on September 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Just another example of the pig power structure throwing worthless trinkets to the proletariat!!
posted by markkraft at 6:57 AM on September 21, 2013


If a YouTube video generates a million visitors, a user with Youtube Ad Sharing makes about $2,500.

This video has gotten 5,748,424 hits so far... which amounts to about $14,375 in revenue.

Throwing worthless trinkets, indeed!
posted by markkraft at 7:11 AM on September 21, 2013 [25 favorites]


Oh, this weird world where seemingly broken minds parse any criticism of whatever they support as rage, hate, and... vitriol! Look up victims of vitriol attacks, it's mostly used to disfigure women deemed to lack virtue. Seriously, that's what you're evoking when you make that reference. Are people in this conversation really going that far, are people heaping permanently scarring shame on these guys? The answer is no, and the comparison is stupid. Stop trying to end discourse that you find disagreeable with such hyperbolic idiocy. It's just not civil.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 7:29 AM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you think I'm going to tip a delivery person as much as an attentive waiter working my table over the course of a 1 hour meal including multiple drinks and maybe dessert and coffee you are out of your eight dollar mind.

My brother was a pizza delivery guy in high school/early college/something like that. He got into several genuinely scary situations. I suddenly became very angsty that he was going to get mugged, shot, stabbed, beaten, left in a ditch somewhere, etc. That's a risk that the typical waiter or waitress doesn't have to deal with. That's not even taking into account the beating his car took, and the useless compensation that Pizza Hut provided for that.

Anyway, I don't order pizza delivery. But if I did, the delivery person would get a good tip. "Thanks for conceivably risking your life to bring me hot food I don't even need, buddy."
posted by Coatlicue at 7:33 AM on September 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


Vitriol! Still give, sillies.
posted by h00py at 7:39 AM on September 21, 2013


Doesn't the US government want to start taxing tips

I take it you're unfamiliar with the US tax code as it pertains to tipped employees. People who work for tips are taxed based on their sales, regardless of whether they get stiffed on every check or some dunce drops $200 on a $40 check. That $2.50/hr they get all goes towards their taxes. More often than not, their weekly paystub costs more to print and evelope than the value of the check enclosed. Union workers at hotels, airports, etc. will receive higher pay but also have to claim their sales for taxes.

Your barista, hairdresser, pizza deliverer or taxi driver does not.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:47 AM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's a risk that the typical waiter or waitress doesn't have to deal with.

You've never had to work in some of the places that I've had to. That being said I don't envy delivery people. Food, flowers or mail. They're on someone else's turf and most likely all alone.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:51 AM on September 21, 2013


Oh my god. What an enormous quantity of whining going on here. "But they filmed it!" "But they're not spending their money on my ideas to change the structures of capitalism to make tipping unnecessary!" "But they're demonstrating their power!"

Ugh.

How about we stop demanding that every kind gesture adhere to our personal ideological straitjackets and look at the reactions of the people who received the money. Do they feel demeaned, or thrilled to pieces?
posted by shivohum at 8:00 AM on September 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, if it were me I'd feel thrilled to pieces and then demeaned.
posted by h00py at 8:12 AM on September 21, 2013 [16 favorites]


Life is more than one thing, you see.
posted by h00py at 8:16 AM on September 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


Thank you, shivohum. You said it better than I was able to.

Oh, this weird world where seemingly broken minds parse any criticism of whatever they support as rage, hate, and... vitriol!

First of all, I don't support them, I just don't feel particularly outraged about acts of generosity, however ostentatious or self-serving. I don't know these guys, and wouldn't presume that I understand their motivations perfectly, but the end result is that a few service industry people had a better night than they would have otherwise, and nobody was hurt or demeaned (as far as I can tell).
In the balance of Good and Bad on display in the video, the Good (happy servers getting more money in one swoop than they might make in a week) seems to outweigh the Bad (self-aggrandizing, calculated, showy displays of largesse). So that's a win.

And yes, I'm familiar with what vitriol literally means, thanks, Mr. Ice Cream- perhaps you should do some looking up of your own? Try "figurative use of words".

Also:

What a couple of self-centered, egotistical fuck-wads. Take your Internet-pandering, uninvited physical-assaults and charity-boasting self-promotion, and jam it right up your asses, you obnoxious fucking pricks. After watching those two videos, I feel dirty merely having an internet connection. This is possibly the absolute worst of the web, and is a damn good argument for banning all cameras and social media forever.

If you don't think the above comment qualifies as metaphorical "vitriol", then I don't think you have a very good grasp on the nuances of the English language. Its great that you are setting the world to rights about attacks made with actual vitriol, but that isn't really relevant in this discussion. In any case, thank you for replying in such a civil fashion to correct the failings of my "broken mind". You're a real gent, if a tad confused.
posted by Alonzo T. Calm at 8:41 AM on September 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Let's assault women then patronize the poors! We're kind, brah.
posted by Brocktoon at 8:44 AM on September 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


First of all, I don't support them, I just don't feel particularly outraged about acts of generosity, however ostentatious or self-serving.

Investing $600 in the hope of creating a viral video doesn't seem to me like an act of generosity at all -- more a cold, calculated investment aimed at delivering a much greater return.

I wouldn't have bothered commenting were it not for your continuous insistance that people were over-reacting here, but count me among all those others who feel that there really does seem something quite sleazy about people who are pretending to engage in acts of generosity, when they're actually reducing poor people to involuntary charity recipients in their little social media enterprise.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:57 AM on September 21, 2013 [7 favorites]


Oh my god. What an enormous quantity of whining going on here.

maybe if you gave us an enormous quantity of money we'd change our narritive
posted by pyramid termite at 9:02 AM on September 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


You're a real gent, if a tad confused.

You're certainly right. I didn't make the case very well by calling you an idiot. This is a derail caused entirely by my exasperation with a hyperbolic, black-and-white worldview that I can't seem to shake myself.

I'm sorry for insulting you, and I'm sorry for my hypocrisy. The comment you quote is pretty wild, so I see your point. I still think the tendency to describe comments as hate and vitriol is damaging to discourse, but in this case I was the one overreacting. I apologize for my rash and unreasonable words. I don't think you deserved them.

By the way, if you insist on the honorific, I prefer Mr. Socialist, if you please.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 9:16 AM on September 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


I guess I can see how some of you might infer a cynical motive on the part of the Tippers in this video.
However, there are lots of stunts they could have pulled in order to generate attention for their channel that might have been mean-spirited, or violent, or that would not have directly benefited anyone- and there are plenty of examples of this on these here wondrous internets.
For example, approaching random women from behind, picking them up, and telling them you're going to take them home. Or approaching random strangers and offering them hard drugs, video camera in not-quite-hidden view. Or approaching random strangers as if you intend to box them. All of which these guys have done in other videos.

Some cruel part of me really, really would like to see how these guys would fare if they tried to pull their antics in, say, Philly, the Bronx, or generally speaking some city other than Candyland.
posted by Flunkie at 9:22 AM on September 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Please bro guys, do come to W Philly w your projects. I'll even film you getting beat down.
posted by angrycat at 9:54 AM on September 21, 2013


Mr. I.C. Socialist, I share your distaste for simplistic, dichotomous worldviews. And I am likewise exasperated by careless hyperbole. Sorry if I came across that way; it wasn't my intention. Occasionally I have trouble communicating textually, as seems to be the case in this thread.

Flunkie: Yeah, the other videos are undoubtedly "icky" and "beyond the pale" and everything else people said earlier, but I was referring specifically to the video linked above in the post. I hadn't watched the other videos at the time I initially started in on this thread. They do seem to lend more context to the actions of the Tipperbros in the original video, and the guys don't exactly come across as beneficent humanitarians based on the other videos on their channel.
posted by Alonzo T. Calm at 10:04 AM on September 21, 2013


PeterMcDermott, I think you aren't reading what I wrote closely enough. You certainly aren't comprehending what I was trying to get across.
Like, when you said:
Investing $600 in the hope of creating a viral video doesn't seem to me like an act of generosity at all -- more a cold, calculated investment aimed at delivering a much greater return.
So, in other words: Their "generosity" seems ostentatious and self-serving?
Right, well...that is exactly what I said:
I just don't feel particularly outraged about acts of generosity, however ostentatious or self-serving.
Of course, we may be wrong about their motivations, but many people here seem to believe themselves to be unerring judges of character (and yes, their other videos are pretty damning in this respect).
I'll restate my point once again: The bad things about the video and the guys don't outweigh the good. People who have jobs that typically don't pay well and aren't highly regarded were given a token of appreciation that probably made their shifts more tolerable and put a smile on their faces, briefly.
posted by Alonzo T. Calm at 10:37 AM on September 21, 2013


> I'll restate my point once again: The bad things about the video and the guys don't outweigh the good.

From my point of view the only good here is coincidental. In each of the bros' videos, they're fucking with other people in an entitled, shitty way and doing so publically. That the fuckery in this video ended with an extra $200 for someone socially beneath them (at least in the waiter/diner context) is lucky for that person, but that's it. The fuckery itself isn't really of a different quality from the rest.

That said, even without the context of the other videos this would still squick me out - I honestly didn't even make it to the first reveal in the vid. I don't care if the person being fucked with is compensated in the end, they still didn't volunteer to have someone more socially advantaged play with them for public amusement. The bros volunteered them.
posted by postcommunism at 11:04 AM on September 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


> People who have jobs that typically don't pay well and aren't highly regarded were given a token of appreciation that probably made their shifts more tolerable and put a smile on their faces, briefly.

Okay, I made it through this time and one thing that really strikes me is the mismatch in tone and consequence: two young guys watching through a window and giggling in anticipation vs. their middle-aged waiter who, they are told after the fact, really needed the extra $200 because she got hit by a car a few week prior.

And I still can't help but feel that the "token of appreciation" is more a token of "dance monkey dance" as per the second comment in the thread, friendly music aside.
posted by postcommunism at 11:24 AM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I once got reverse-tipped. As in, the bartender tipped ME.

Take that internet
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:27 AM on September 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


You've never had to work in some of the places that I've had to.

I've never worked in any restaurant, just menial grocery store food service.

But if I'm going to compare the scary stories of my friends and family who were waiters/waitresses, to the stories of my friends and family who delivered pizza... I'm going to come out with far more scary stories from the pizza guys. My brother has served in our most recent unending series of wars, but I wasn't much less afraid for his life when he was delivering pizza to the most sketchy, stabby, shooty, drug-dealy parts of crappy old Fayetteville NC.

It's anecdotal, but that's how it's come out in the wash among people I have known. I'd be a bad waitress, but I wouldn't take a job delivering pizza. I don't eat our or order anything if I can't pay a good tip, and pizza guys/ladies would get as much tip from me as a waiter or waitress would have.
posted by Coatlicue at 11:37 AM on September 21, 2013


pretending to engage in acts of generosity, when they're actually reducing poor people to involuntary charity recipients in their little social media enterprise.

Peter, I am not sure why you and some others insist on speaking for these poor people and maintaining that they ought to feel undignified for accepting a tip (not a handout, not charity- tips are what servers live on and are given as a reward for the work they perform, whereas charity implies they were merely panhandling on the curbside) which might help them make the car payment this month, or have a nice dinner out, or buy their kid some new shoes.

Maybe some of you live with enough job security and material affluence that you can afford to sit in your ivory tower and idly speculate about the ethics or philosophical implications of accepting overlarge tips. That's nice for you. But speaking as a real, live "poor person", I cannot wrap my head around how you could be presumptuous enough to tell me that I am being "demeaned" or "exploited" when someone offers me a generous wad of cash for waiting on their table and consenting to appear in their YouTube video.
Did you take note of the reactions of the servers when they discovered the big wad of money?
Did you take note of the fact that the videobros asked permission to film the servers, and subsequently asked permission to use the video of these interactions on their YouTube channel?
Involuntary charity recipients is what you referred to these people as. Judging from what I saw, they participated in this whole thing voluntarily. And they seemed grateful and happy about it. And you sit there and demean them by claiming that they are no better than some hapless panhandler that got lucky. That is pretty insulting.

Ok, let's just accept the fact that the videomakers are clueless, tasteless dickbirds, and yet the deed they performed had a positive effect. Deed and doers are different. Why is that so hard to get across?

God, I really need a hug.
posted by Alonzo T. Calm at 11:40 AM on September 21, 2013


Maybe the US can catch up to the rest of the civilized world and have the employer PROPERLY pay their employees, so they can act as professionals and not have to sing and dance for their wages.

LOL. As soon as the government is put out of business, you'll probably see businesses start charging employees for the courtesy of giving them jobs.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:41 AM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Did you take note of the fact that the videobros asked permission to film the servers, and subsequently asked permission to use the video of these interactions on their YouTube channel?

Oh, I get it... I guess I missed the part where they signed the contract for an appropriate share of the revenue earned by the video once it was posted.

I cannot wrap my head around how you could be presumptuous enough to tell me that I am being "demeaned" or "exploited" when someone offers me a generous wad of cash

I'll bet dollars to donuts that a significant percentage of the population of "those that are exploited" (past and present) consider themselves downright lucky that someone from on high threw them a crust of their bread.....

$200 out of earnings of $14,375, as noted above, eh? ... I hope those lucky people enjoy their 1% of the profits. Wait.... those percentages, 1% / 99%... those numbers have been used recently to make some kind of point, haven't they?

In closing, as for the video dudes.... Bless their hearts...
posted by HuronBob at 1:07 PM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I take it you're unfamiliar with the US tax code as it pertains to tipped employees. People who work for tips are taxed based on their sales, regardless of whether they get stiffed on every check or some dunce drops $200 on a $40 check. That $2.50/hr they get all goes towards their taxes. More often than not, their weekly paystub costs more to print and evelope than the value of the check enclosed.

What? Really? Do you mean that the amount that's withheld for taxes is based on their sales, rather than what they are actually taxed? Or that they can only claim a certain range of income based on the % of their sales without getting audited? Because those are the only two ways I can see this making sense. Then again I am neither a tax accountant nor am I American.
posted by ODiV at 2:23 PM on September 21, 2013


Peter, I am not sure why you and some others insist on speaking for these poor people...

Can't speak for Peter but I've been poor, grew up in a poor neighborhood, and keep up with my raft of poor relations. I've got real poor cred. Yay me.

I don't remember who said it but they said it well: "The difference between the city and the country is that in the country it is possible to be poor with dignity."

And what it comes down to is dignity. Getting a bonus for doing your job well is a fine thing. Being manipulated for someone else's entertainment is not.

If you personally feel that it is dignified to be manipulated for other people's entertainment then by all means I recommend you track down these people and look innocent near them. They will undoubtedly dignify you shortly. But I will cheerfully assure you that most people do not feel that way.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:41 PM on September 21, 2013 [8 favorites]


actions that are designed to evoke anything along the lines of pity are just shit.
Would I, as a twenty something server, be excited by the tip? Yeah because I was like at the poverty level and probably would have not assumed that this are the same guys that got a laff out of their unwanted touching of women. At that age, I also had little self confidence and probably would have been flattered by gaining the attention of such glorious dudebros

Forty three year old cynical me wishes that one of the servers had made the dudebros as being awful and hey I'll just settle for a great shaming, blows need not be thrown
posted by angrycat at 3:00 PM on September 21, 2013


Oh my god. What an enormous quantity of whining going on here. "But they filmed it!" "But they're not spending their money on my ideas to change the structures of capitalism to make tipping unnecessary!" "But they're demonstrating their power!"

Publicizing your own generosity is, and always has been, unseemly.
posted by JHarris at 3:05 PM on September 21, 2013


I've got this great idea, put a young woman in a glass cage full of one dollar bills being propelled by a fan and see how many dollars she can stuff down her shirt in one minute.

Pageviews aplenty. Ooops, it already exists.
posted by benzenedream at 3:09 PM on September 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I like to wash my server's feet after a meal. It shows humility. Of course, so as not to flaunt my humility, I ask them to accompany me to the lavatory to do this.

I am not currently welcome in most of the restaurants in town, which surprises me, tbh.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 3:10 PM on September 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


99 comments? Well then, I feel so unoriginal! I have nothing to add except that I am not surprised at all to find out who is promoting this video. I remember seeing another video a couple of months ago along the same lines. It felt creepy, and the waitress' reaction was mostly "meh, cool I guess, thanks" (take that, bros!) while most of the online reaction around me was painfully positive (what amazing human beings these philanthropists are!!!), so I felt weird and cynical and mean to even think that these people were possibly wrong to film the reactions of the server.

Thank you to MeFi for being a voice of sanity, as you people often are.
posted by quiet earth at 4:11 PM on September 21, 2013


businesses start charging employees for the courtesy of giving them jobs

Or wage labour, as it's also known.
posted by titus-g at 4:25 PM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


But speaking as a real, live "poor person", I cannot wrap my head around how you could be presumptuous enough to tell me that I am being "demeaned" or "exploited"

Mine was one of the early comments saying that this felt demeaning and exploitative, and I can assure you that I'm also a real live poor person who's worked multiple jobs in food service--a small restaurant where I was a server, a diner where I was a cook and a server, McDonald's, Wendy's... I'm definitely not sitting in an ivory tower and gazing idly at my bellybutton. I am, right now, writing this comment while I take a break from staring at my checking account and wondering how I'm going to pay the electric bill and make it to the end of the month on the $23 that's currently available in there.

And I'm also saying that as grateful as I would be if someone handed me $200 in a stunt like this, I've also done enough shit in which I was nothing more than a means to an end for someone that I know that I'd be hugely relieved to have the money, and then I'd go home and cry myself to sleep because afterwards, you feel dirty and used, but also slightly more able to do things like feed your child and pay the gas.

It's possible to benefit from your own exploitation. It's entirely possible to willingly participate in your own exploitation, and feel shitty about it, but also to be relieved that you're doing it, because without that, you'd be eating ramen for the next three weeks. There are whole industries built on it.
posted by MeghanC at 4:48 PM on September 21, 2013 [10 favorites]


Maybe some of you live with enough job security and material affluence that you can afford to sit in your ivory tower and idly speculate about the ethics or philosophical implications of accepting overlarge tips. That's nice for you. But speaking as a real, live "poor person", I cannot wrap my head around how you could be presumptuous enough to tell me that I am being "demeaned" or "exploited" when someone offers me a generous wad of cash for waiting on their table and consenting to appear in their YouTube video.

Speaking as a real, live "poor person," I cannot wrap my head around how you could be presumptuous enough to tell me that I'm not being "demeaned" or "exploited" when someone with a condescending attitude offers me a generous wad of cash for appearing as a poor person in their YouTube video, which they're going to make a lot more than $200 for producing.
posted by JHarris at 5:12 PM on September 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


When you have all your shit properly set up and configured, hits=$$$. What more explanation could there possibly be?

Yeah, I guess I just figured something a little more interesting, but I guess you're right. It seems his videos and writing are trying to make him out as some kind of mysterious, whimsical, and thought-provoking artist. But if you start looking a little closer, it's more calculated, artificial, and pretentious.

Oh yes, and if it matters, I'm a real life rich person, and I don't like their videos either.
posted by FJT at 6:19 PM on September 21, 2013


Maybe you've unfairly ascribed selfish motives to a couple of bros who just wanted to capture a few fleeting moments of joy on the faces of the downtrodden food-ferries who are so frequently taken for granted.

Their desire to do that is a selfish motive.

That $2.50/hr they get all goes towards their taxes

Clarification, it also goes toward SSI, unemployment, and other payroll deductions.

probably made their shifts more tolerable and put a smile on their faces, briefly.

Unless we hear from the servers themselves, there is no way we can know this. Believe me; by definition, servers are people who make money making their customers feel good. They know how to make customers feel good. They know how to be very subservient, voluble, friendly, caring, attentive, reserved, or whatever they think their customers need then and there. You save your personal reactions and conversation for back of house moments. Were they probably happy to go home having had a good night? Sure, money's money. Is it quite possible that they also called those guys pretentious fuckwads and mocked them behind the kitchen door? It is quite possible. Most of us who have been servers have had to put up with awkward, painful, boundary-crossing, tedious, intrusive diner interactions that are probably worse than this, and if they went well, we'd go home with a good night in our pockets, too. They didn't need these guys to do a special project to make money.

And it's not like this is a kind of tip that would never ever ever happen in a server's real life. It's actually not that uncommon to get tipped out of proportion, though the 500% is unusual. Normally one has to do a little more work for a $200 tip, but they do come your way. My highest single tip ever was $280; my highest tipped night ever was $318. Sometimes you get more return on less work, and sometimes you bust ass all night and don't even make your average, because everyone leaves you something skimpy. Servers' incomes are quite variable in this way - this was a nice night and certainly they're doing it for the cash, but I'd wager, not some kind of lifechanging bonus for people doing this work. There are quite likely many other nights they'd average a "bonus" like that (bachelor party, sports event, festival, after a wedding, Christmas), without the added requirement to dance on camera for the Man.

I am not sure why you and some others insist on speaking for these poor people

Oh dear God. I am speaking as one of "these poor people" - not for them.

Oddly, I can't seem to appreciate your condescension for my income choices any more than I can that of the young lads in question. I can only be glad that you, who seem to find this kind of work so horrifyingly degrading, have never suffered so that you had to do it.

charity implies they were merely panhandling on the curbside

Where do you get your ideas about charity?
posted by Miko at 9:22 PM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


You're working poor and you don't feel exploited? Do you also vote against your own interest?
posted by Brocktoon at 9:24 PM on September 21, 2013


It's entirely possible to willingly participate in your own exploitation

Yes! That in fact is the bedrock upon which free market ideology is built.
posted by Miko at 9:28 PM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do you mean that the amount that's withheld for taxes is based on their sales, rather than what they are actually taxed? Or that they can only claim a certain range of income based on the % of their sales without getting audited?

At least when I was last a server, 9 years ago, the way it worked is that, like all workers, you are charged tax based on your annual income. As a server, you don't get a payroll stub showing the complete total of income you made and listing the deductions from that. Since the restuarant actually doesn't know your complete take (because it's in aggregated tips), you had to declare the amount you made and were taking home each night, and that declaration was reported to the tax agency by the restaurant and showed up on your W-2 report at the end of the year. That's how the state and federal government know what level to tax you at when the time to file at the end of the year comes.

Because there is no other way to track the income, servers declare each night what percentage of sales they took in as tips. The tax agency makes the assumption, as a baseline, that you've earned at least a certain percentagel (which was 8% for me at the time). If in theory you did not report anything, you'd be liable to be taxed on an income representing 8% of your total sales that year.

So each night, we had to "declare earnings," which meant that we filled out paperwork logging how much we earned in tips. If you declared that your tip income was below 8% of your total sales, yes, you would risk audit. So no one declared below that baseline; as you can tell, in a country where the lowest expected tip is 15%, usually servers earned more than 8% of total sales. But philosophies varied on exactly how much to declare and be taxed on. And you are supposed to keep copies of your nightly declaration paperwork to be able to substantiate your total sales (incidentally...this is why cash is king).

As far as witholdings, someone above noticed that all witholdings come out of the base hourly wage, which is far below the minimum wage. That hourly wage basically just exists to give restaurant managers control over a stream of funds they can draw withholdings from (meaning that servers never see those wages; you get a paystub showing your deductions/witholdings, and if there is anything left over, it's something like $6.19 or $3.47 - peanuts). But some servers can end up owing a tax payment because they just don't get paid enough for witholdings to cover their actual tax burden. I did my best to just break even every year - no refund, but no tax bill either.
posted by Miko at 9:43 PM on September 21, 2013


Yeah, thanks Miko. jsavimbi seemed to be saying that the "US tax code" based your tax owing on a % of sales rather than what you actually made, which sounded a little strange to me. But then again, I'm sure a lot of tax rules would sound strange to me, so that's probably not a good test.
posted by ODiV at 10:32 PM on September 21, 2013


It is based on a percent of sales for the minimum tax - that is the base presumption. In other words, even if you only declared 6%, you are going to be taxed as if you made 8%, at a minimum.

But if you make more (that you declare), you will be taxed more, if that additional amount is enough to raise you to the next bracket.
posted by Miko at 10:34 PM on September 21, 2013


Okay, now I'm confused again. What would be the benefit of declaring below 8% of sales in tips when you'd be taxed as if you'd made 8% anyway if "you would risk audit"? Just to lower the withholding for that particular cheque?
posted by ODiV at 10:42 PM on September 21, 2013


The benefit of declaring less than you actually make is that, by lying to the IRS about your income, you might get away with evading taxes. The risk is that you might be audited and not get away with it.
posted by The World Famous at 10:46 PM on September 21, 2013


I didn't mean declaring less than you actually make. I meant declaring (honestly) that you only made 6% of your sales in tips. And Miko said that if you declare at 6% they tax you as if you earned 8%. (In other words, even if you only declared 6%, you are going to be taxed as if you made 8%, at a minimum. ) Unless I've misunderstood completely which seems likely because paying taxes on money you didn't make seems insane to me.
posted by ODiV at 10:50 PM on September 21, 2013


Ah. You'd declare more than you made because you don't want to be audited. Because being audited sucks and because you might have made a mistake in some other reporting.
posted by The World Famous at 11:01 PM on September 21, 2013


But... but I wasn't asking that? It could be it's just late and I need to go to sleep.

So as an example, let's say you make $5k in wages for the year and sell $500k worth of food/drinks. You receive $30k in tips that year which is 6% of your sales. You are then taxed on $45k, a full $10k more than you actually made?
posted by ODiV at 11:12 PM on September 21, 2013


Peter, I am not sure why you and some others insist on speaking for these poor people

I'll avoid getting into the whole poverty dicksizing contest but did you really not get that I was talking about the reasons why I and others are responding to the video as we did, and were not seeking to speak for the recipients?

You even don't have to be poor to be happy to have some stranger slip you an unexpected $200 but I suspect that had they tried pulling this stunt with people who aren't poor, they wouldn't have received the right measure of heart-warming gratitude, nor would they have found people quite so happy to sign away the right to exploit this video.

As a thought experiment, try transposing this video to a high end restaurant where the wait staff regularly receive tips in the $200 range. Now do you *really* believe that the people who work there would be quite so grateful, or quite so quick to give permission for their image to be exploited in this way?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:34 PM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


lighten up metafilter!!!
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 1:38 AM on September 22, 2013


I feel the same way about this as a lot of y'all: this is creepy and kinda exploitative.

Then again , I felt the same way about the video of the guy filming himself handing out Abercrombie & Fitch clothes to homeless people, but no one agreed with me there.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 5:50 AM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


you just did, though
you did the thing
posted by elizardbits


Except that I mentioned pseudonymously that I'm a good tipper in a thread whose subject is tipping. These guys go into a restaurant, film themselves constantly so you know who they are, film the servers' reactions, then post the film to YouTube. Can you see any difference, elizardbits?

But I'll mail you a tin star for being an honorary member of the nitpicking morality squad, elizardbits.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:02 AM on September 22, 2013


. What would be the benefit of declaring below 8% of sales in tips when you'd be taxed as if you'd made 8% anyway if "you would risk audit"?

There is no benefit to that. People don't usually do it. They often declare 8% as their personal default, since declaring any less gets you in trouble. (If you could declare less without getting in trouble, people certainly would.) Declaring more decreases the likelihood that you'll be audited, and is also the more law-abiding thing to do.

I'll mail you a tin star for being an honorary member of the nitpicking morality squad, elizardbits.

I think she was fair to call this out. It is somewhat hypocritical others for bragging about their tipping if you are doing the same. I'm not sure format matters.
posted by Miko at 8:51 AM on September 22, 2013


The video grossed me out, and even more so given the blatant assault of the "sweeping" video. Also? That sweeping stunt is dangerous. What if she resists and you both fall over? What if she resists and you drop her? I don't give a shit about your precious face if she resists and she bloodies your nose, but I'm pissed that you've placed her at risk for blood borne diseases.

Stunts like this also help further a line of thinking that goes like this, "we don't need a minimum wage because kind people/charity will fill in the gaps!" And I say further because that line of thinking is not new. Terrible tippers get to feel less shitty, saying things like "I'm quietly advocating for eradicating the tipping system," and ALSO saying, "other tippers are picking up the slack."

For this reason (and many others) I have been saying for years that America should get rid of the notion of selective service (because really, is America going to stand for another draft anyway?) and replace it with a mandatory two years of food service. The real kind of mandatory.

Here's how it works. I don't care if you're heating up hotdogs at the county fair, a jalapeno jelly maker selling at a farmer's market, a bar back, a waiter, a hostess, a dishwasher, a delivery guy, a line cook, a pizza maker, whatever, except maybe you can't get away with being the guy who stops in every Tuesday to make the deposits. That's not really food service, that's accounting. Maybe people in accounting school should have to do the dishwashing and the line cooking.

You do that for two years, to be completed before you turn 24. If you like it, good for you, keep doing it. If you can't get any other work, hey, you have a job.

Whatever the experience, all kinds of things will get sorted fairly quickly. Issues of accessibility - what a guy in a wheelchair can't do dishes with the set up you've got? Issues of ridiculous hours - close at 3am and be back by 11am? Issues of wage theft - huh, the time clock always chops 1/2 hour off every shift? More issues of wage theft - employers claiming you made MORE in tips than you did to avoid paying you minimum wage? Issues of cleanliness - if you're outta here in 2 months because your two years are almost up, maybe you'll notify someone that the walk in cooler is....quite warm.

I think our country would look very different if the experiences of poor people were actually experienced by policy makers on a real and lasting basis.

No more of this "I lived on food stamps for two weeks and it was hard" rhetoric. I want more people to know the grinding exhaustion of 6 days of doubles with a single on days 7 through 10 that are conveniently scheduled to keep you out of overtime and also to keep you from getting a second job. Even if the wealthy can insulate themselves from this happening to them/their kids, they'll see it happening to other living breathing humans. A few weeks or months may be enough to maintain a dehumanization...but two years? I think people might make friends with poor people in the process.
posted by bilabial at 9:47 AM on September 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


But I'll mail you a tin star for being an honorary member of the nitpicking morality squad

Members of the nitpicking morality squad don't need no stinking badges. We take heed that we do not parade our moral nitpicking before men, to be seen of them.

Ack! I just did the thing.

Please mail me a badge. Thanks.
posted by The World Famous at 10:11 AM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


*spits on badge, shines it up on vest*
posted by Miko at 10:37 AM on September 22, 2013


Correct me if I'm wrong but wouldn't they have made more than $15,000 from youtube advertising from 6 million+ views?

Hardly makes the $600 they laid out seem generous.
posted by smithsmith at 3:50 PM on September 22, 2013


Did it ever occur to the people complaining that your anguished response is because of your own insecurity at being left out? You can't imagine being the guy sweeping women off their feet, or being a woman that would happen to. The only way the big tip is negative is if you think poverty is embarrassing, which is childish. When everyone in a situation is smiling and you, the viewer, are the only malcontent, you have to ask yourself: is the log in my own eye? (Or the modern version of that question: is the stick up my own ass?) I think you'll find that it is.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 1:03 PM on September 23, 2013


Did it ever occur to the people complaining that your anguished response is because of your own insecurity at being left out?

I can't even imagine feeling that way. I'm not even sure how you came up with that - do you want this to happen to you? Could you say more about that?

The only way the big tip is negative is if you think poverty is embarrassing

Well, that's a naive assumption and an unsupported assertion - as if there are no other valid reasons to see it as negative. There are. But why do you even argue that that judgment relates to poverty? First of all, it's not a given that "working as a server" = "poor. " That shows a lack of awareness or the service industry, and also an assumption in the absence of evidence.

Second, remember that we're not talking about a "big tip" being negative - I have gotten many big tips and found them an overall positive - but about what price was extracted for being offered the big tip. It's not about the tip. It's about using the tip as a manipulative device for the personal gain of someone other than the server, who is there to do their job. As I've said, I've been in the position of "damn, I just got a big tip" many times. Thank God I never had to go on video demonstrating my reaction to it for the entertainment of others. So no, I don't feel left out.

everyone in a situation is smiling and you, the viewer, are the only malcontent

This thread, and also the YouTube, make it abundantly clear that not "everyone" is smiling and no one is the "only malcontent." Any so-called malcontents here are in pretty good company - the company of people who actually know what this work is like and object to being made a sideshow. So I'm afraid I find your attempt to cast the objectors as needy and jealous psychological cases unconvincing.
posted by Miko at 1:48 PM on September 23, 2013


I don't think poverty is embarrassing. But I do think people who appear in youtube videos that earn tens of thousands of dollars in ad revenue should be paid either a fairly-negotiated rate or a substantial percentage of the revenue, rather than a flat rate not agreed to that was misrepresented as a gratuity for separate services. But then, I'm a dreamer, so . . .
posted by The World Famous at 2:15 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


(And, to dilute my point somewhat, I don't really think that should apply to people who appear only incidentially in videos - just to the people like these servers who are the focus of the video and the reason for its success and revenue generation.)
posted by The World Famous at 2:16 PM on September 23, 2013


The "everyone" that matters is the people in the situation. "This thread" and the "people of youtube" (who overwhelmingly thumbed-up the video) don't count. Everyone that matters is smiling. It's such a sad, unfortunate reaction to take someone who is happy in a situation or relationship and to suggest that "you should actually be sad about this, you're being exploited…" And it's doubly sad to think that a group that does it is any better. I think that you will find that this kind of thinking makes you unhappy in life.

And really, no one "had to go on video" — it's not like they were being mind-controlled into accepting the situation. And having skimmed this thread, it seemed that people were suggesting this is "exploiting the poor", which seems to imply that poverty is embarrassing to them.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 2:18 PM on September 23, 2013


How do you know the waitstaff who made $200 from starring in a video that earned tens of thousands of dollars are smiling? All you know is that they were smiling before they realized they got paid pennies on the dollar for their work.
posted by The World Famous at 2:25 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Everyone that matters is smiling

Well, I matter.

We also haven't seen any videos in which the waitstaff just took their check book and walked away to open it up in back, or took the check book, opened it, and didn't react in a cute or sufficiently exuberant manner. There might be 10 of those videos to every one of these; we don't know.

It's such a sad, unfortunate reaction to take someone who is happy in a situation or relationship and to suggest that "you should actually be sad about this, you're being exploited…"

Aaaaand I'm not seeing anyone in this thread say that. If someone said that those people should actually be sad that they got $200, then perhaps you can pull out and quote that person, rather than tarring us all with one general brush.

Now, I do see the male waiter in the middle segment say to the filmmaker "you need to let everyone know we only get paid $2.13 an hour." Sounds like he thinks that might be exploitive, or why would anyone care to know? Why mention it, if it's a living wage and it's totally fine?

"exploiting the poor", which seems to imply that poverty is embarrassing to them.

Those are two different things and one doesn't imply the other at all. You seem to projecting a bit with this idea of poverty being embarrassing. Exploitation is merely the use of some person or resource for someone else's profit. There is a connotation of unfairness in that, as well. But there's no sense in which "embarrassment" is necessarily connected to exploitation - that's all you, friend.
posted by Miko at 2:32 PM on September 23, 2013


How do you know the waitstaff who made $200 from starring in a video that earned tens of thousands of dollars are smiling? All you know is that they were smiling before they realized they got paid pennies on the dollar for their work.

Does a news station pay people it interviews at all? If they wanted to negotiate more money, I'm sure they could have tried. It seems ridiculous since he can just repeat the gag on someone else who will be happy to take $200.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 2:32 PM on September 23, 2013


Does a news station pay people it interviews at all?

Yep, sometimes they do. Even though legally, especially if the interview occurs in a public place like a street, that is a different situation and different rights apply - you normally don't have rights to control the use of your image if taken in public. A restaurant, though, is not a public location. It's a private location and courts consider that you have a legal expectation of privacy there.

If they wanted to negotiate more money, I'm sure they could have tried.

Really? You are sure they could have tried? What makes you sure? Can you show the evidence? Do we know how many tried and how many failed? Or how many negotiated, and found the filmmakers just walked away and filmed somebody else? Or can we show that the servers knew they have a legal right to negotiate the use of their image? Have you seen their contracts? Can we show that they don't still have a right to sue for the use of their image, or that an association or corporate entity (such as the owners of these restaurants) could not sue as well? What about the other people in the video who were not the subject - the diners, the other staff? Can you show that they signed off, as well?

It seems ridiculous since he can just repeat the gag on someone else who will be happy to take $200.

"Gag?"
posted by Miko at 2:36 PM on September 23, 2013


If they wanted to negotiate more money, I'm sure they could have tried.

He did not pay them $200 to be in the video. He paid them $200 in exchange for their work as a server. He paid them nothing in exchange for their video performance, and did not inform them that the video would be revenue-generating. Free market negotiation only works where there is perfect information, no transaction costs, and no externalities. Market inefficiency works in exactly these situations, where one market participant is unaware of the true facts of the transaction and the other exploits that lack of transparency to his enormous advantage.

It seems ridiculous since he can just repeat the gag on someone else who will be happy to take $200.

Again, the $200 was what the producers paid them for waiting on their table, not payment offered in exchange for being in a revenue-generating video. They were paid nothing for their appearance in the video.
posted by The World Famous at 2:42 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Seriously, the whole point of Chicago-school free market economic theory is that rational market participants with perfect information will never agree to a transaction that leaves the person on the other side of the transaction better off than they are. Doesn't anybody read Coase anymore??
posted by The World Famous at 2:44 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


so what?
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 2:45 PM on September 23, 2013


Wow, that took a fast slide to the level of playground retort! Chuckle.
posted by Miko at 2:47 PM on September 23, 2013


Did you guys like the "just for laughs" gags?
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 2:48 PM on September 23, 2013


esprit de l'escalier will think of a stronger rejoinder later, on the way home.
posted by The World Famous at 2:48 PM on September 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


I saw what you did there.
posted by Miko at 2:49 PM on September 23, 2013


I must admit that I would love to see one of these that plays out like this:
Stereotypical Provo Girl: $200!!! Ohmyheeeeccckk!! Thank you soo muuuchh!!!

UVU Idiot: You're welcome!! Will you give us permission to show this on our YouTube channel?

Stereotypical Provo Girl: If you give me a 70% cut of all revenue derived from the video, sure!
But then people would be saying Stereotypical Provo Girl is a jerk and that it's not heartwarming at all - including the people who now argue that she could have negotiated for a cut of the revenue.
posted by The World Famous at 2:55 PM on September 23, 2013


Why should she get 70%? There's an unlimited supply of servers who would even pay $100 to be tipped $200 and be in a video, and practically no supply of people having the subscribing audience/recording equipment/etc. to set it up. Zero seems about right.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 3:00 PM on September 23, 2013


I have to get back to what I was doing. Life can be really fun when people do whatever they want and have a decent instinct about how normal people are going to react. I'm sure you realise that you're part of a tiny minority of hyper-analytical people who found negativity where no one else did. I think it makes life tiring. It also prevents people from taking the chances of doing something fun and new because of the million to one chance that someone will find it "problematic".

None of these people were paid either, and I think these videos are hilarious.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 3:05 PM on September 23, 2013


She's negotiating. Why shouldn't she start with an opening bid of 70%? As for your claim that there's practically no supply of people having the recording equipment, are you unaware of the invention called a smartphone? I have a 1080p video camera and production studio in my pocket right now, and nearly everyone who eats at that restaurant does, too.

I'd estimate the supply of people willing to be paid $100 to be in a video that generates $20,000 in ad revenue with zero production cost to be approximately nobody - assuming they have full knowledge of that fact at the time of negotiation.

Do you know what would be heartwarming? If these guys came out with a new video where they go back to the restaurants and give the servers a fair share of the ad revenue.

Life can be really fun when people do whatever they want and have a decent instinct about how normal people are going to react.

Yes, particularly when you can find a way to make gobs of money off of them.

I'm sure you realise that you're part of a tiny minority of hyper-analytical people who found negativity where no one else did.

I realize I'm part of a tiny minority of people who realize the guys who made the video are making tens of thousands of dollars from it. I think you're part of a tiny minority of people who not only knows that fact, but still finds it heartwarming that the guys paying tuition from the servers' work are not only sharing what they make with the stars of their video, but are pretending to be generous while they're at it.
posted by The World Famous at 3:15 PM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


None of these people were paid either, and I think these videos are hilarious.

Why do you keep linking to that or talking about it? Is there a connection to what we're discussing all, or is this your project?

Can you prove that none of those appearing on the show were paid? I tried to, and I can't find any such proof. That's what we're supposed to assume, I realize, but I don't see any reason to believe it.

I have never heard of this show, but it looks like a warmed-over version of Candid Camera, which I got a lifetime's worth of fill of watching on Sunday nights with my grandma in the 70s. I have no knowledge of what Canadian law applies, but in the US at least the ones filmed in public would be vulnerable to a lawsuit for damages or portion of proceeds. At the very least, those who appear on the show very likely sign a waiver to allow the use of their image, and if past industry experience with similar shows is any guide, many people don't sign the waiver. I also see some commentary suggesting that at least some of the 'marks' in these videos are actors. The owner looks like, perhaps, a sleaze.
posted by Miko at 8:11 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd estimate the supply of people willing to be paid $100 to be in a video that generates $20,000 in ad revenue with zero production cost to be approximately nobody - assuming they have full knowledge of that fact at the time of negotiation.

You're much more optimistic than I am. I bet you could find people who would be willing to pay $100 to be in a video that's popular enough to earn $20,000. Sigh.
posted by ODiV at 8:26 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


See, I would agree for videos much more popular than that. When it's big pop star making a video and giving the "chance" to be in it, sure, people will do it for free - probably not one person who's going to be the star of the video, but people, yeah. They show up for music video shoots, after all.

But for this, where it's just a couple of random guys and the mark really doesn't get that these guys are going to make $20 grand on the thing? Maybe in Provo or Orem or wherever they are, there are people nice enough to do it for free even if they understood they were being taken advantage of. But to be a genuine gesture of kindness and generosity, these guys would need to share the proceeds with the servers, who are almost certainly trying to scrape by and pay the tuition at UVU or BYU, which a fourth of a $20,000 ad revenue check could almost cover for a year.
posted by The World Famous at 8:36 PM on September 23, 2013


Can you prove that none of those appearing on the show were paid? I tried to, and I can't find any such proof. That's what we're supposed to assume, I realize, but I don't see any reason to believe it.

Lol, I know people who were on the show. They didn't enter into a contract negotiation. They just laughed, signed the waiver, and now our common friends sometimes see them on bad inflight shows.

The OP's video is also a candid camera show with a waiver — only some of the metafilter audience thinks itself uniquely poised to decipher the complex ramifications of such "social experiments" (as the creator calls them). I guess we disagree, but I think that indignation is overblown, misplaced, and perhaps caused by deep-seated social insecurity.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 10:42 PM on September 23, 2013


Indignation? Nah. Just annoyance that it's posing as a heartwarming and generous act.
posted by The World Famous at 12:01 AM on September 24, 2013


Lol, I know people who were on the show. They didn't enter into a contract negotiation. They just laughed, signed the waiver, and now our common friends sometimes see them on bad inflight shows.

What did the waiver say? Why do you think they needed to use a waiver? Why were they so eager not to share in the profits of a show that is being licensed internationally, on TV, on airlines? I can't see any reason for thinking that's a smart idea other than vanity.

perhaps caused by deep-seated social insecurity

Please can you stop with the logical fallacy bullshit? I know you've probably found this to be a great tactic in other, perhaps stupider, forums, but your attempt to make MeFites feel insecure by calling them insecure is transparent. If anything, it's you who seems to have a pathological need - to put down others in order to feel superior.
posted by Miko at 6:25 AM on September 24, 2013


...which, as I reflect on it, tends to result from, you know, "deep seated social insecurity." That cozy, warm blanket of feeling as though you're part of the "majority" of "normal" people.
posted by Miko at 6:53 AM on September 24, 2013


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