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Incredibly detailed pizza delivery etiquette instructions.
August 3, 2001 8:33 PM   Subscribe

Incredibly detailed pizza delivery etiquette instructions. Did you know that you are supposed to tip the driver? If you didn't, would you know how to use a web browser?
posted by machaus (64 comments total)

 
Found this while searching for a 802.11 driver hack for my iPaq. I *heart* the internet.
posted by machaus at 8:35 PM on August 3, 2001


"Flirting with the driver: This is a waste of time. The driver laughs at you."
posted by whatnotever at 8:56 PM on August 3, 2001


it's funny. in hong kong, i always tip the driver.

i don't know what this says about the general tipping habits of people here, but the driver is almost always surprised.

i also tip my grocery delivery guy. it's just the courteous thing to do.
posted by bwg at 9:23 PM on August 3, 2001


Gee, forgive me for pointing out that if you don't know to tip the pizza delivery guy they you are not apt to find tipthepizzaguy.com! And for that matter what rock would you have to be living under?
posted by ilsa at 9:39 PM on August 3, 2001


Drivers use their own car, not a company car.

Well, not all pizza drivers use their own cars. I know my local Round Table Pizza owns a fleet of pickup trucks for delivery purposes.
posted by youhas at 10:06 PM on August 3, 2001


Virtually all the reasons for tips on tipthepizzaguy.com are lame and self-centered. The pizza's late? Still gotta tip me. It's not my fault. You're poor? So am I, cough it up.

The more I read from tipthepizzaguy.com, the more offended I got. No tip? Expect slow delivery or worse next time. The threats are childish, unprofessional and undermine any claim that the author deserves a tip.

The bottom line is, no one is entitled to tips. They are customary, but they are optional. Give me one price for my food and the service. It's much better than dealing with whiners like this who expect a 10% premium for poor service.
posted by neuroshred at 11:01 PM on August 3, 2001


*sigh* I had a post here, it got lost (see pictionary thread).

I always use "change plus a dollar", maybe 50 cents more for big orders. This is around 15% on a typical $10 pizza order. (We used to just use "keep the change" when I was a kid, but those were $4 pizzas ...) A flat $2 minimum seems a teensy tad steep, even considering inflation. At least they did acknowledge here that a 15% tip is standard ... in a tipping article in last year's Chicago Trib, waiters were quoted saying "20% tip is now considered standard". My ass it is. That 15% tip rises with inflation, too, buddy.

True story: 2am, low-rent Dennys with some college friends. $40 bill. They leave no tip. I scramble to throw in $2 for my (generous) share so the waitress will have something, and chastise one pal. He insists that a tip is an unfair "waitress tax" and he doesn't have to pay it ("they get paid already"). I noted that a tip was a reward for good service ... and he replied that they never got good service at this place anyway ...

Gee. I wonder why.

As for expenses: my brother has done pizza delivery on the side, and those expenses are ostensibly tax deductible (Unreimbursed Employee Business Expenses), but with a 2% floor -- i.e. they must exceed 2% of your AGI to count at all, and only the excess is deductible, and then only if you have any other Schedule A deductions anyway. He and I spent an afternoon trying to figure out his actual expenses on the car, and determined it was only 27% business use, so those expenses were pro-rated accordingly. In the end, I reduced his tax bill by $12.
posted by dhartung at 11:08 PM on August 3, 2001


I ordered a pizza this evening that showed up at my apartment an hour and a half later than I was told it would. I was damn hungry by that point, but I still gave the delivery guy a $2 tip.
posted by mrbula at 11:31 PM on August 3, 2001


"lame and self-centered. The pizza's late? Still gotta tip me. It's not my fault."

What's your issue with this one? If it's late and cold, then yeah, no tip, 'cause he's obviously been driving around with it. (I know there are exceptions...I've worked at a pizza place. I wasn't a delivery boy, but I worked in the same space as them.) Chances are, though, it's late because they screwed up at the restaurant. Your delivery person still (probably) got it there as fast as they could.

"No tip? Expect slow delivery or worse next time. The threats are childish [blah blah]..."

It's not a threat; it's what happens. If you order a lot, the delivery people remember you. If you never tip, they remember that, too, and they tell each other. It's not some delivery person conspiracy; it's human nature. Idle talk, gossip. "Another delivery to 124 Elm? Man, that old b**ch never gives a tip!" You earn a reputation. (Okay, so I'm exaggerating a little to make a point, but still.) Besides, as the site says, if you can afford to have a pizza delivered, you can afford a tip. If you don't want to tip someone, go to the store and get a $5 frozen pizza, it costs about 1/3 as much (maybe up to 1/2, counting gas) and nobody will think you're a prick.

I mostly agree with the page about amounts to tip, though I think $1 more for over three miles is a bit much. But then, where I live, three miles only takes a couple minutes. For things like rain and snow, though...if you're having pizza delivered because you don't want to brave the weather yourself, then I hope you'd give a little extra to the guy who has to do it for you.

"It's much better than dealing with whiners like this who expect a 10% premium for poor service."

10% or less, it says. The way I read that was, "for poor service, 10% is probably the most you should give."

The pizza delivery guy is kinda like a waiter with wheels. And yeah, I realize some people never tip their waiter either. If those people ever had to wait tables, I bet they'd leave a tip every time.

I've made a funny obeservation, by the way. People with less money are more likely to leave a larger tip. I don't have a lot of money, but I always leave a generous tip. Go figure.
posted by CrayDrygu at 1:59 AM on August 4, 2001


(Posting this seperately because it's a different topic, and it's more likely to get noticed this way...)

Slightly OT but even more important...if you learn nothing else from this page, read, understand, and follow the guidlines in the house numbers section. Not only for the pizza guys -- if you ever need an ambulance sent to your house, you do not want them to have to search for it. As the son of an EMT, I know very well how a clearly visible house number could be the difference between life and death.
posted by CrayDrygu at 2:00 AM on August 4, 2001


Tipping for anything boggles me. Here's hoping it never catches on in Australia.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:00 AM on August 4, 2001


it's funny. in hong kong, i always tip the driver....the driver is almost always surprised.

people don't tip in hong kong unless they tell you you have to tip, like before you go into a restaurant you see a sign in front of it that says you have to tip. don't look now, you might get him/her into trouble for giving them tips.

where else in the world do you have to tip? i know you don't in asia. enlighten me.
posted by elle at 4:08 AM on August 4, 2001


Tipping, or not tipping, one pizza driver or table waiter is not the way to give focused, effective feedback to a restaurant owner, manager, and staff.

Tipping is also a dishonest business practice. Restaurants underpay their employees, and they are then able to advertise artificially lower prices even though they know decent folk will add 15 percent or so to the bill.

An honest, intelligent restaurant owner would increase all prices by 15 percent, put all of the extra money into the tipped staff's wages, and advertise on the menu exactly what they did and why. "Our staff do not expect or need to be tipped. Here's why..."

For people who demand a way to give feedback on service, the restaurant could print a short feedback questionnaire on the back of every bill, so the manager would be able to ask whether the customer was satisfied with a few important things (staff courtesy, food freshness, restaurant cleanliness, etc.) and determine (from information printed on the bill) what the customer bought, who served, who cooked, who cleaned, who was in charge, etc. Check off your answers on the back of the bill, throw it in a locked feedback box, and leave.

For delivery services (or an alternative to paper in a box), you could call an automatic system from home, punch in your order number (read it from the bill), and punch in your degree of satisfaction with staff courtesy, food freshness, etc. This sort of system could be centralized to serve more than one restaurant or restaurant chain, and to apply to other sorts of businesses.

Your opinion in the manager's ear, not adding or subtracting a few pennies when it's time to pay, will make a difference. Focused feedback means bad employees get better or get out, good employees are rewarded, and good ways of doing business spread.

[Of course, some drivers and waiters would be upset to discover they could no longer hide part of their income from the government.]
posted by pracowity at 4:45 AM on August 4, 2001


"The bottom line is, no one is entitled to tips"
heres a tip for you. get a web site and quit begging for a job and showing pictures of a bathroom on your blog, that is fuckin offensive.( pracowity: i like you but damn, everything a conspiracy with you, even in the funny) Ive done cabbie, wrecker driver and pizza driver, give them a tip if they serve you correctly( a good pizza driver can make 500$ a week, taxfree for 25 hours of work(shit, driving really) a tip should come if product is on time and food is in reasonable shape and driver is friendly."I've made a funny observation, by the way. People with less money are more likely to leave a larger tip. I don't have a lot of money, but I always leave a generous tip." so true, so true. some people i delivered too payed in pennies. it would be easy for me to judge, but i figure they have more important worries then paying some guy a tip who gets 4$ for the 2 minute trip anyway.
posted by clavdivs at 7:41 AM on August 4, 2001


"It's not a threat; it's what happens. If you order a lot, the delivery people remember you. If you never tip, they remember that, too, and they tell each other. It's not some delivery person conspiracy; it's human nature. Idle talk, gossip. "Another delivery to 124 Elm? Man, that old b**ch never gives a tip!" You earn a reputation. (Okay, so I'm exaggerating a little to make a point, but still.) Besides, as the site says, if you can afford to have a pizza delivered, you can afford a tip. If you don't want to tip someone, go to the store and get a $5 frozen pizza, it costs about 1/3 as much (maybe up to 1/2, counting gas) and nobody will think you're a prick."

i am having this etched in stone. man that is dead on....you could be the patron saint of drivers. (really, im gonna print this up and give to pizza bob(a friend)
posted by clavdivs at 7:44 AM on August 4, 2001


dhart for president.
posted by clavdivs at 7:46 AM on August 4, 2001


I del'd for about five years and we know who tips and doesn't tip. One place the drivers had a system worked out with the address database, a + next to good tippers addy's, a - next to cheap bastards.

I also tended to get higher tips if we were running late and I had a frazzled yet apologetic look about me.
posted by Mick at 7:57 AM on August 4, 2001


heres a tip for you. get a web site and quit begging for a job and showing pictures of a bathroom on your blog, that is fuckin offensive.

Here's a tip for you Clavdivs: Stop posting personal attacks while you hide behind an anonymous account.
posted by rcade at 8:07 AM on August 4, 2001


The reason for tipping is that here in the US waitresses or waiters get paid less than half of minimum wage. Oh yes-they get taxed on estimated tips too. Having worked as a waitress and around waitresses at one time, I can tell you the reason anybody gets half decent service to begin with is that most of us are working for that tip.

Oh-we had pizza last night. We tipped 2 bucks.
We always get fantastic service.
posted by bunnyfire at 8:59 AM on August 4, 2001


Pracowity's list of vile words makes me feel like a bad person.
posted by gleemax at 9:17 AM on August 4, 2001


people don't tip in hong kong unless they tell you you have to tip, like before you go into a restaurant you see a sign in front of it that says you have to tip.

not exactly. most larger restaurants automatically add 10% to the bill. leaving a little bit extra (not necessarily an additional 5%, but small change) is considered appropriate for good service. it's just a different system over here.

the smaller restaurants add nothing, and do not expect a tip at all. however, it has been my experience that tipping in such places, especially when they get to know who you are, ends in extra friendly and special service that no one else seems to get.

funny how that works.

about the pizzaguy site: i don't really care what he says in there. that's not really the issue. the matter at hand is about tipping.

i received an email about my earlier post. the mail said:
If you tip a pizza driver it just shows you're a moron who has way too much money and way too little life.

Tipping is not done outside US.

Why? Why should one?

If I buy a pizza I buy a pizza, I expect that it arrives as advertised. Why on earth should I give a "tip" to the driver for doing what he should do, namely his job??

It just shows the egocentric nature of americans, thinking about their Great Self Me and how it should be all the time be "rewarded" somehow. A bit like a dog in training.


i'm a moron because i give a few bucks to a driver who often is harried, perspiring (it's damn hot here in the summer), or soaked because it's raining heavily?? the drivers here ride on scooters, not in cars. that only adds to the danger of their work.

and i'm not american. i'm canadian. i'm not tipping because i'm feeling magnanimous toward "some peon who could only get a job delivering pizza".

i tip because my sister used to be in the service industry, and she told me enough horror stories about arrogant, pointy-headed cretins (my words, not hers) that would come in by the table-full, make her run her ass off to make their dining experience a happy one, and then leave nothing or next to nothing (less than 5%) extra for her effort and great attitude.

and she did have a great attitude - she was one of the best servers i've ever seen and a damned hard worker. i'd say most of the servers i've tipped have worked hard to look after me. i don't know about the system in the united states, but in canada, restaurants pay their servers a pretty crappy wage.

if i get incredible service, when clearly i can see that my server is working hard, then in my mind a tip is due. same goes for the pizza delivery person. they earned it, and it's a simple acknowledgment of my respect for them as a person.
posted by bwg at 9:38 AM on August 4, 2001


ok but i get back for all those who never get tip and should have. i will not advocate nor cheer. this thin vale could be poped like a balloon SO what. the point and addition to this thread at this junture is CAPITALISM. you pay what you get for in a highly unregulated feild. (anon?-my dad used to stop in dominos-ypsi before they went big.)((a side issue, i thought of is: perhaps existing members use an account like a second "character"? yes? well even clav would not stoop so low, this i will prove if you push and cruel rules man, its on my bookmark and i think it serves an example why the internet is great)){no sarcasm}
posted by clavdivs at 9:45 AM on August 4, 2001


A thread this long about tipping the pizza guy? Wow.

Anyway, I didn't know there were people who didn't tip the pizza guy, and I certainly didn't think there were people (in the U.S.) who didn't think they should tip the driver.

I always tip the driver, and I tip well at restaurants, and I'm poor. If I don't have enough money to tip, I don't go out.

Besides, I think it's in my own best interest to tip those handling my food.
posted by justgary at 9:45 AM on August 4, 2001


sorry neuroshred, that was crass, and bad. (neuroshred?)ILOVESHAME:)
posted by clavdivs at 9:49 AM on August 4, 2001


Tipping is also a dishonest business practice. Restaurants underpay their employees, and they are then able to advertise artificially lower prices even though they know decent folk will add 15 percent or so to the bill.

Huh? What commune do you live on? Here's a TIP. Food service workers don't take the jobs because of the WAGES. They take the jobs cause of the TIPS.

Secondly, this fictious restauranteur would be out of business in short order. Folks in North America expect to be able to control the amount of the tip according to service received.

Third. Don't want to tip the driver, pick it up your cheap sorry assed self. Don't want to tip the waitress/er. Stay home, cook it your cheap sorry assed self.

I always tip the driver. They remember.
posted by daddyray at 11:14 AM on August 4, 2001


I don't know how relevant this is, but I used to be a busboy back in high school. I got my minimum wage, yet even I was tipped. The waiters and waitresses that I worked with were generous to give me one or two dollars out of their tips. Mind you, it only added up to about ten extra dollars, but it was well appreciated. There were only three busboys at that time, so I had to work an awful lot (I eventually left because it was hurting my marks). One of the guys I worked with was okay, but the other was a complete moron, so I had to do most of his tables as well as my own.

Point of story? When people show they work hard to give their customers an enjoyable experience, a tip goes a long way to show appreciation, making it worthwhile to go on. Heck, I didn't make nowhere near the amount of money the people waiting did, but that little amount made me want to bust my hump. That is, until I noticed my schoolwork slipping ...
posted by marq at 1:03 PM on August 4, 2001


Tipping is a custom, not a right. It's a silly, outdated custom, too. People defend it because the people who receive tips depend on them - but that doesn't mean tipping makes sense, it means they aren't being paid enough for their work. So raise the bloody salaries already - why should I have to fill in where the restaurant's HR department leaves off?

Bah. Tipping is stupid. I leave tips, because otherwise the waitstaff have a hard time paying their bills. But I resent being forced into this position in the first place - it's not exactly optional if it makes you look like a jerk not to do it. It feels like blackmail, like organized, legitimized panhandling. It's stupid to have to buy your server's attention. It's the restaurant's responsibility to find people who will do a good job and pay them for their services, and if they don't, I can just not eat there.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:06 PM on August 4, 2001


I was in a cafe in Portland. A thuggy couple walks in, sits down. Waitress goes over to table tells them to get the hell out of the restaurant. "Patrons" ask why. She says, "You come in here every week take up my tables and never tip. You aren't welcome here. Get the fuck out!"

That's the way it should be. And that's the way it is in many urban, privately owned establishments. Even if you somehow fit the bill of someone who doesn't tip well. You even look or act like it, don't expect to be served well or at all. Don't expect your drinks to be stiff or your food to be hot. In places that are always busy or are frequented by friendly regulars, your business isn't appreciated. Go ahead and complain, 'cause especially if you're drinking alcohol you can be thrown out no questions asked. And that, I say, is awesome! In this country you tip.

Which is one of the things that gets me about foreign tourists. I, as an American, when I travel always read up on traditions and customs. Don't Europeans or Asians or Australians or anybody for that matter read their Lonely Planets before they travel?
posted by crasspastor at 1:35 PM on August 4, 2001


As a waiter for Red Lobster in college, I made $2.13 and hour - that is not enough to put up with 80% of the patrons. I don't know how many times I have heard people say, "I think everyone should have to be a waiter for at least a year, that will teach them how to act in public, and how to treat people." Amen.

Think 15% tip. If the service sucks, then subtract from that. If the service is great, add to it.

I got a pizza that took an hour and a half this week, it was luke warm and had sweated the bottom of the box so much it was soft... this was not because the kitchen was slow. I let the driver keep the change, I felt generous.
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 3:07 PM on August 4, 2001


So raise the bloody salaries already

Tipping is the most direct and effective way to ensure that the wait staff does their job in the most customer-pleasing way possible. The customer is the best judge of whether he is satisfied or not. Raise the wait staff's salaries uniformly and that information is completely lost. Raise it according to the management's perception of each server's merit and the information is distorted by management's feelings, which are irrelevant -- a server's job is not to satisfy management, but to satisfy patrons. What we need in this world is more, not fewer, spontaneously-negotiated mini-contracts like this between the customer and the person who serves them, in all lines of business. How silly is it that we give our money not to the person who actually does the work for us, but to their employer, who then lets it "trickle down" back to them. A rather indirect way to pay someone, don't you think?
posted by kindall at 3:11 PM on August 4, 2001


Besides, I think it's in my own best interest to tip those handling my food.

No kidding. I live in a relatively small town. I tip well because I live in fear of angering any person who has unsupervised access to food I'm about to eat.

Besides, food delivery people are robbed, stabbed, and killed with alarming frequency in the U.S. If someone's willing to risk his life for your dining convenience, he deserves a couple of bucks.
posted by rcade at 3:39 PM on August 4, 2001


Tipping is the most direct and effective way to ensure that the wait staff does their job in the most customer-pleasing way possible.

And paying the mob is an effective way to ensure that your shop isn't burnt down. Restaurants and food delivery may be different from bars, but having worked in a British pub for four years, I'm frankly astonished that bar staff in the US expect to be tipped 25-30% for opening a bottle of beer. Cocktails, fine; large rounds, sure. A dollar to serve as a human bottle-opener, and perhaps notice me ten minutes quicker next time, though probably not as I don't have a pair of breasts? Fuck that for a lark. I don't go back to those bars. There's a difference between baksheesh and extortion.

kindall: you're comparing apples and oranges. Take your car to a mechanic, he fixes it, you pay him. Go to a lawyer, she bills you, you pay her. Professional services are highly individuated, which isn't the case in food service unless you're a fan of that restaurant on the Castro where the proprietor cooks and serves to all of his customers. (Furthemore, you don't usually tip a mechanic or a lawyer -- or, alas, a freelance writer -- which just shows that "tip culture" is based upon embarrassing both patron and employee in a highly public environment.)

So your notion of a person-to-person contract is wide of the mark, unless you take the bill at a restaurant and say, "well, you deserve 20%, the chef can have a bit less because the steak was overcooked, and here's a dollar for your boss because I like the decor of the place." Itemised down to parts and labour, yes?

(And before you ask: £4.20/hr. Minimum wage, more or less. And that employers can pay the equivalent of £1.50/hr "because the tips make up for it" is a bloody scandal.)
posted by holgate at 6:06 PM on August 4, 2001


And I do tip well in restaurants, mainly because it's closer to "have one for yourself" at last orders: a recognition of what's been done, rather than an up-front bribe. Especially in the US, where the relative cheapness of eating out always smacks of penny-pinching from the staff.
posted by holgate at 6:15 PM on August 4, 2001


it's my bet that those who rail against tipping in restaurants and tipping delivery people also don't give anything to bellboys or chambermaids in hotels, because they're just doing their job.

you try handling heavy luggage or cleaning up after other people, and see if you don't appreciate a little recognition for your effort.
posted by bwg at 9:03 PM on August 4, 2001


I've always wondered about the mentality of people who don't tip...it seems all the things I said under my breath when walking back to the car were right on the mark.
posted by Mick at 10:20 PM on August 4, 2001


If restaurants paid their tipped employees a salary, the steak you had for $15 just jumped to $22. Count on it.

And yes, if servers weren't tipped you can guarantee the service you recieve would be piss poor. Servers only put up with the asinine amount of bullshit customers dish out because *they* are paying their rent. Waiting tables is a pride swallowing occupation--but that has nothing at all to do with tipping.
posted by brittney at 11:15 PM on August 4, 2001


> you try handling heavy luggage or cleaning up after
> other people, and see if you don't appreciate a little
> recognition for your effort.

I know many people who work very hard -- construction workers, teachers, nurses, store clerks, etc.

Do you tip them? Every time you go to the grocery, do you leave 15 percent extra for the cashier? Do you calculate your kid's portion of your teacher's annual salary, then send the teacher 15 percent of that as a Christmas bonus? How much do you tip the gas station attendant, the police officer, the ambulance attendant, the florist, the McDonald's cashier and burger-flipper and fries-shaker and shake-flinger and sloor-sweeper? How much are you slipping the nurses, receptionists, and cleaners when you go for medical treatment? Aren't you more worried about the nurse fucking with your medicine than the cook spitting in your soup?

Tipping is a tradition. A bad tradition. A traditional excuse to underpay workers and pass the guilt on to the customer.

As people have mentioned more than once in this thread, it is perpetuated by customers being afraid their food will be spat on in the kitchen by some vile, misguided waiter. What a lovely tradition.

Owners should pay people proper wages, seek feedback a more sensible way, fire bad employees, and reward good employees. Underpaid restaurant staff should be angry at their bastard employers.

> If restaurants paid their tipped employees a salary,
> the steak you had for $15 just jumped to $22.

Because the full cost of service would be advertised instead of hidden until tipping time. The final cost remains the same.
posted by pracowity at 3:15 AM on August 5, 2001


somewhere along the way, at one point, one person decided to reward another for some extra effort with a little extra money. nothing motivates people as the thought that they might be able to earn more money.

and don't give me that bullshit that the restaurant should pay it. they don't make money on the food, they make it on the drinks and the alcohol. the margins in restaurants are notoriously thin, that's why table turn is so critical. if they compensated employees and said "no tips required" you'd see a greater increase than just 15% in the price of the food. and guess what? the more expensive the food, the less likely people are to buy drinks.

so they lower the food prices, which gets more customers, and the servers do their best (most times) to ensure you are having a good time. why? so the restaurant will earn a return customer, stay in business, and then everyone makes more money.

i think what some people are really upset about is that tips are expected, that the choice to give or not to give is gone.

in that sense, yes, i don't like it either, especially when an upscale restaurant automatically adds 15% to my bill, removing from me the power to choose the amount of the gratuity i feel was earned.

however, when service is provided by a cheerful, sincerely friendly person who works hard to make sure everything is cool, (especially when the kitchen screws up the order) that person is deserving of a bonus.
posted by bwg at 3:39 AM on August 5, 2001


"I know many people who work very hard -- construction workers, teachers, nurses, store clerks, etc.

Do you tip them? " yes, at times. it is called a bonus.(except teacher:(
posted by clavdivs at 8:59 AM on August 5, 2001


what bwg said
posted by clavdivs at 9:01 AM on August 5, 2001


This issue was easily resolved in Reservoir Dogs. So to all you Mr. Pinks out there: "Throw down a buck, you cheap bastard."
posted by brittney at 10:11 AM on August 5, 2001


If restaurants paid their tipped employees a salary, the steak you had for $15 just jumped to $22. Count on it.

I'd prefer that. It'd be honest.

Tipping is the most direct and effective way to ensure that the wait staff does their job in the most customer-pleasing way possible.

Um, no - hiring competent wait staff and firing those who can't do the job is the most direct and effective way to ensure that. This has to happen anyway - if the wait staff suck, the restaurant looks bad, and nobody goes there. So it is already the responsibility of restaurant management to determine who is doing their job well and "reward" them with continued employment.

If they were paid a fair wage for their work, the system would continue to work rather well.

The customer is the best judge of whether he is satisfied or not. Raise the wait staff's salaries uniformly and that information is completely lost.

The information is lost anyway. If I leave a small tip, that says "I'm a cheap, tight-fisted bastard!" much louder than it says "This waitperson sucks". I mean, honestly - if you go out for a meal, the service is bad, and you leave zero tip - when you leav, is the waitperson going to think "Wow, I must have done a bad job, better try harder next time!" or "Fucking bastards! Can't they see we are swamped?".

The true judge of my satisfaction is whether I come back or not. The true impact of my satisfaction already hits the restaurant's bottom line.

however, when service is provided by a cheerful, sincerely friendly person who works hard to make sure everything is cool, (especially when the kitchen screws up the order) that person is deserving of a bonus.

I agree completely - but that bonus should be provided by the restaurant. The restaurant benefits from their extra-good service, because I am more likely to recommend the place or to come back, so if the restaurant wants to encourage that kind of behaviour the restaurant should reward it. I don't need to pay extra for *actually receiving* what I already paid for when buying my meal.

if they compensated employees and said "no tips required" you'd see a greater increase than just 15% in the price of the food. and guess what? the more expensive the food, the less likely people are to buy drinks.

What, so I'm supposed to be propping up a failed business model by supplementing their employee's income? That's crap. Should I drive out to Amazon every time I order a book and tip the (hard-working, I'm sure) employees who packed my order an extra few bucks, so that Amazon can cut down their salaries and thereby make a profit?

It doesn't matter whether the 15% comes before they print the prices on the menu or after they print the total on the receipt, it's the same damn 15% - but if they ask for it up front, they spare me the humiliating little ritual in which I have to feign a sort of superior benevolence by rewarding adequate performance. I don't like being given the responsibility of ensuring that the waitstaff can afford lunch tomorrow.

it's my bet that those who rail against tipping in restaurants and tipping delivery people also don't give anything to bellboys or chambermaids in hotels, because they're just doing their job.

Oh, I do alright, but I hate that custom just as strongly. They ARE just doing their job. If they are not adequately compensated, that's the hotel's fault, not mine. If the only way to get good service from a bellhop is to pay them extra, then the hotel is not compensating them for their services, and that's not fair.

you try handling heavy luggage or cleaning up after other people, and see if you don't appreciate a little recognition for your effort.

But that's silly - everyone appreciates recognition for their effort. I'd love it if users who found my software particularly useful sent me extra money at Christmas, or something, but *that's* never going to happen, and there's no good reason it should.

Should I tip the mail carrier, because they have to lug heavy packages around? Should I tip the bookstore clerk, because they told me where to find the book I wanted? Should I add an extra 15% to my rent check every month, noting that it should be paid to the construction workers who built the building I live in? I'm sure that was much harder work than lugging a suitcase around, but they don't get a tip for it.

What we need in this world is more, not fewer, spontaneously-negotiated mini-contracts like this between the customer and the person who serves them, in all lines of business.

I would accept that if it were consistent and if it were what is actually going on. If, perhaps, you could walk in to the restaurant, look at the row of smiling servers, pick one, negotiate a desired quality of service and an appropriate rate, then pay them accordingly when said service is delivered, that might work. But that's not what happens. You walk in, restaurant picks a random server, you sit down, you order food, etc. You pick the restaurant, not the server, and it is the restaurant who ultimately suffers if you don't like what you get.

----------------

What this all boils down to is this: tipping puts restaurant staff (and taxi drivers, bellhops, hair stylists, etc) at the mercy of my sympathy. This is a humiliating situation for all concerned, and I resent that the industries involved place me in it by underpaying their employees. I would rather they increased the salaries and charged me the cost up front, because then it would at least be honest.

I understand the argument that tipping leads to better service. I think it's bunk, frankly. I also think it's not an adequate justification for the unfairness of the whole practice.

OK, I'm done ranting now. Maybe I should have drunk my coffee before hitting Metafilter.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:57 AM on August 5, 2001


wow!

who would have thought there would be so much passion involved in this thread?

to be fair, i understand and even to a point empathise with those who feel tipping is a bad system.

but let me ask this: does anyone here have a better idea that could be implemented in the service industries that would replace tipping?

if so, i'm all ears.
posted by bwg at 12:14 PM on August 5, 2001


Something that just occured to me about the social dynamics of tipping (thanks to matteo, for his email on the topic): it's invariably in situations where there's an implicit element of class politics. You tip the waiter, the barman, the bellboy; not the lawyer, the doctor, the plumber. And that's because those kinds of service jobs are essentially acting out a kind of Victorian class system, harking back to the days of personal servants. Tipping is culturally construed, whether you like it or not, as the upper-classes bestowing graces upon the lower-classes. Contracts between people considered your equals or betters are never ones that carry the question of a tip: instead, good service is rewarded by bonuses, or future contracts.


And in the modern age, this vestige of upstairs-downstairs frankly stinks.
posted by holgate at 12:32 PM on August 5, 2001


Mars sort of beat me to it on that one, I see: but consider which services you tip, and you'll more than likely see a job that, a century ago, was done among the upper-classes by an indentured servant: the cook, the maid, the coachman, the footman. (Among the lower classes, of course, it was usually done within the family and community.) And in that respect, tipping is a historical relic of "grace and favour": the right for the staff to finish off the madeira after dinner.
posted by holgate at 12:38 PM on August 5, 2001


Another yarn, if perhaps to put holgate's and Mars's positions into the perspective of one who works for tips (both interesting angles I'd never thought of before):

However. . .

A friend of mine's brother lived and worked in Vegas for years (Sometimes illicitly. Though, in Vegas what does that really mean?; ) ) eventually securing a coveted valet job at the Mirage. There was not ever a shift he made *less* than $300, though more often than not, "much" more. He swears to god on that. To get a job of this "caliber" one must place themselves on waitlists upwards of a year or more and then, only then, can you usually take the job if you pay the outgoing valet a "fee". All extortion like and shit.
posted by crasspastor at 1:02 PM on August 5, 2001


The information is lost anyway. If I leave a small tip, that says "I'm a cheap, tight-fisted bastard!" much louder than it says "This waitperson sucks" ... if you go out for a meal, the service is bad, and you leave zero tip ... is the waitperson going to think "Wow, I must have done a bad job, better try harder next time!" or "Fucking bastards! Can't they see we are swamped?"

If it happens regularly, the waitperson says, "Shit, I'd better get a different job, I can't make enough at this." Which has the same effect.
posted by kindall at 1:53 PM on August 5, 2001


Oh... and who's naturally going to get more money if tipping is eliminated: the waitperson who's blowing the boss, or the one who refuses? I don't see how that improves service to patrons.
posted by kindall at 1:56 PM on August 5, 2001


"equals or betters are never ones that carry the question of a tip: instead, good service is rewarded by bonuses, or future contracts." like John brown? A fat texan(ugly american) throws money at people that have a respectful position, that is bad taste and bad image. to throw money to get your service FASTER is arrogant. if one tips and adds"thanks son(where can a feller get a tug and a tub round here)((why SoHo sir)) that is ugly and demeaning to those who have a traditional roll. I Like watching Japanese at tourist traps, calculating the tip, so as not to offend the server with what could be an exorbitant tip. but not wanting to appear cheap. (quite respectful if you think of it)
posted by clavdivs at 1:58 PM on August 5, 2001


Tips are a form of profit-sharing and were motivational for me when waitressing.
I hear what you're saying re: social politics, and believe me, there were nights I felt completely degraded. I'm not sure if anyone who's been in sales, service, marketing or worked for a Jackass hasn't felt that at times, though. The good thing about working mainly for tips was feeling more control over my work. In my experience, the managers/bosses also kept pretty much out of our business. If I told someone who was treating me like shite to fack off, then that was my decision and my consequences.

Interesting... small sample, but in Canada I made more (tips included) than twice as much as cocktail waitresses do here in Oxford (no tips), and yet here drinks are almost twice as expensive. I'd like to look at some club/restaurant income statements in tipping vs non-tipping countries.
posted by spandex at 2:09 PM on August 5, 2001


Mars:

The restaurant already has an incentive to hire courteous, responsible wait staff, for the reasons you outlined (repeat business, word of mouth, etc.). Getting rid of the tipping system would neither increase nor decrease that incentive. However, it would decrease the flexibility of the overall incentive system. A waiter who works without tips, for example, is motivated to do well enough to avoid being fired, but no more. That's where his incentive stops. Tipping, on the other hand, allows the outstanding waiters to be compensated for outstanding service; conversely, poor waiters don't get much compensation at all. Simultaneously, the incentive to avoid being fired remains. Overall, by allowing a range of incentives, tipping provides a better distribution of compensation and thus, a greater incentive.

You might argue (in fact, you did) that the restaurant should be responsible for this variance. You could try to come up with a scheme in which the restaurant rewards the better waiters for being better waiters, and vice-versa. But who is the best judge of service? The person closest to it, of course. And that's the customer, not the restaurant. Also, tipping avoids some of the politics that would invariably follow from your suggestion.

Sure, some people are just cheap, and as a result some waiters just blow off poor tips without changing their behavior. But the waiters who are consistently good will get consistently better tips. It's not perfect, but it gets the job done.

Holgate: You (and Mars) raise an interesting point about the class distinction. But the very fact that you (and I) had to stop and think about it for a while before we realized the class implications shows that the distinction is no longer relevant to modern society. If people have forgotten about this legacy of the class society, I would say that it has lost it's power.

And, besides, since when did plumbers become a part of the aristocracy alongside lawyers and doctors?
posted by gd779 at 2:19 PM on August 5, 2001


Jesus - some of you people make it sound as though the whole service industry depends on tips, and that without tips, civilisation would collapse.

There is no culture for tipping - for anything - in Australia. The service is just fine, thanks very much.

I think tipping is the reason the US has such lousy service. It makes a genuine greeting, smiling, hot food, cold drinks and prompt service optional extras, privileges to be withdrawn at a whim. Try that shit on here, mate, and your arse is grass.

We don't give lower tips. We complain to the manager, or worse - we complain to everybody and his dog except the manager. Give us shit service, and we'll ensure you and your employer go down.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:24 PM on August 5, 2001


"industry depends on tips, and that without tips, civilisation would collapse."

(extract) France: 1789. Pan shot, slow track, fish eye-slow, and action.... 4 small urchins, three carts and two fellas with a sickle and an attitude...it is just the way we do things here. (i towed an aussie just arrived from airport. thought he was gonna have a ka-nip. we got him a fosters(some smoke) and got his rented piece of shit Corsica towed in (20 minutes from his call). He was happy and at ease(for the situation) drove him to the holiday Inn and delivered his car the next day. tried to give us 50$. we smiled and said no. once. he understood. so i guess it depends. for pizza, the person will remember you FIRST over the smuck who NEVER tips(if you dont have it, give praise or a good word to the manger. ){you misspelled civilization:)
posted by clavdivs at 6:50 PM on August 5, 2001


tried to give us 50$. we smiled and said no. once. he understood.

Nothing to understand - that's just the ritual. You offer (thanks mate, let me give you something for that), they refuse (nah, don't worry about it, mate), you insist (nah, come on, I'll only blow it down the TAB anyway), they look embarrassed, you buy them a pint next time you run into them down the local, and when they need help, you drop everything to be there for them.

It's nothing at all like tipping - it's reserved for situations where you get somebody/somebody gets you 'out of the shit'. Remembering who ordered steak and who ordered chicken doesn't count.

And no - YOU misspelled 'civilisation'. Just like you all mispell colour, plough and tyre. And what the hell is a 'ka-nip'? :)
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:55 PM on August 5, 2001


Here's an idea.

Without tipping, they would get paid more, and they wouldn't expect money from you. Assuming we could abolish tipping completely, you would get more or less the same service as everyone else. Unless you're mean or ugly or smell bad.

With tipping, there's greater variability in service. The same person won't do the same job all the time (even more so than usual), because
1. they think you're a bad tipper,
2. they know you're a bad tipper,
3. they think you're a good tipper,
4. they know you're a good tipper.

I don't like tipping, personally. Besides a lot of other, stupid reasons, it complicates the process. Can you argue that?
posted by gleemax at 9:21 PM on August 5, 2001


Remembering who ordered steak and who ordered chicken doesn't count.

Remembering who or ordered the chicken and who ordered the steak is mind-numbingly simple.

Add that to the seperating of 17 meals because your other table forgot to mention they were too dim to do simple math at the start of their meal, and the baked potato that you *said* should come with sour cream but you've decided would look "prettier" with salsa (True story. Really.). Couple that with trying to tame the children you let loose thanks to what you consider a free hour of babysitting and the job becomes something you have nightmares about (Ask any waiter you know about server nightmares--i.e. waiting on 25 tables with no shoes on).

Don't trivialize my work, please.
posted by brittney at 9:39 PM on August 5, 2001


And, besides, since when did plumbers become a part of the aristocracy alongside lawyers and doctors?


Approximately half a second after you notice the inch of water on your kitchen floor. Aristocracy? More like royalty.

(My point? It's the character of the relationship.)
posted by holgate at 9:39 PM on August 5, 2001


Holgate beat me to the snarky answer -- And, besides, since when did plumbers become a part of the aristocracy alongside lawyers and doctors?

When they started charging more for an hour of their services than lawyers and doctors? I'd have to bill out two hours to cover one hour of plumbing work. That's pretty sick.
posted by Dreama at 9:58 PM on August 5, 2001


Dayum, someone get Brittney's tables some shoes!
posted by kindall at 10:22 PM on August 5, 2001


Don't trivialize my work, please.

Here Here Britt!

Tonight, running my ass off, sweating like the out of shape smoker that I am, the epiphany happened.

There's nothing fun or intellectually invigorating about waiting tables (or in my case tonight, bartending). Every waiter in the world, er, excuse me, the States, doesn't want to do this for too much longer. We always say it amongst ourselves--"I hate it", "I'm tired of this bullshit", "I really need to get something else" etc. We understand that our "profession" is quite looked down upon. But looked down upon by whom? The people who've never had to do it to make ends meet, to get themselves through school, after full day of their "day jobs" to get their kids school clothes. To you I say, good for you, you've made it this far in your life without having to fill and serve a twelve top's waters, take the order from the getting antsy two top, pour three beers, two glasses of wine, answer the phone and run a credit card in the span of say (if you want to make money--if you want to keep the customers happy) three minutes. Tonight, just that happened to me. With teaspoons of sweat at a time dribbling off my nose, literally sprinting and dodging, I didn't miss out on anything less than a 20% tip. The customer pays me (somewhat under the table) to perform. And to perform well deserves an exchange of what I've done for them with what they can do for me. They could have gone to QFC and fixed it up themselves. But they didn't. When you go out to eat or order pizza in or have your presents wrapped at the mall by the handicapped you tip them. You pay them for the convenience. From my limited travels abroad, I've found that service in America is much better because of this.

Furthermore, about those who've never had to endure the service industry (at least in the USA) for livelihood. If you've ever had a table full of pudgy guys all with that ghostly Redmond pallor (bless the Indians), all clad in Microsoft this Microsoft that garb, you'll know how very true this is:

With tipping, there's greater variability in service. The same person won't do the same job all the time (even more so than usual), because
1. they think you're a bad tipper,
2. they know you're a bad tipper,
3. they think you're a good tipper,
4. they know you're a good tipper.

posted by crasspastor at 11:31 PM on August 5, 2001


> does anyone here have a better idea that could be
> implemented in the service industries that would
> replace tipping?

I think mine (see earlier post) would be much better because it would account for time of day, amount spent, who was running the kitchen that night, who cooked, etc.

But adopt my system or not, the current system should go (for reasons I and others have already stated).
posted by pracowity at 11:47 PM on August 5, 2001


I once had it all planned out


This is from an old website idea I had a long time ago. www.stiffocide.com baby! Fergitted all about it.

sorry about the image. not sure whether there's a convention against them or not. i'd imagine so. and i'll never do it again
posted by crasspastor at 11:53 PM on August 5, 2001


Whoops. I'm in trouble. If you want to see the "journal cover" click here. Other than that, I've made a heel of myself.
posted by crasspastor at 12:01 AM on August 6, 2001


I guess Matt's on vacation actually. See ya'll in two weeks! Jesus should I leave this window open? ;-)

Have fun Matt!
posted by crasspastor at 12:06 AM on August 6, 2001


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