Well, it’s news to me. Glad I know. Yes, this is for real. You just can’t make this stuff up folks.
Gratuities confuse people. Somewhat predictably, the young seem to be plagued with the most widespread ignorance on tipping. Perhaps it’s just a lack of education. While just about every parent, or whatever, feels obligated to drop knowledge on topics like the birds and the bees and the importance of earning a few bucks delivering pizza, few parents deem it important to educate their offspring on social etiquette like tipping. As a result, young’ns learn this shit the hard way – that is: by being repeatedly embarrassed by colleagues or even by waiters and bartenders until they eventually grow the fuck up. They can be perplexed by sub-stellar service or why they’re ignored for long periods of time. They can even be cut off by bartenders and waiters. It’s a vicious cycle. Those folks sometimes feel antagonized and as a result – you guessed it – don’t tip well or don’t tip at all.
I live and work in New York City – the epicenter of uber-Liberal extremism as well as what’s likely the biggest melange of races and ethnicities the world has ever seen. I reckon it’s the first place a vast majority of Bible-Belt Southerners envision if asked about those damned Yankees trying to impose their will. I absolutely loathe extremists of any kind. The Westboro Baptist Church, N.A.M.B.L.A., the N.R.A., The Brady Center, various white supremacist organizations, their corresponding violent and separatist black power organizations, militant Islamic Jihadists all come to mind first. I preach and practice M.Y.O.B. and “live and let live,” so long as you don’t infringe on my rights.
This is Kyle Smith. Within New York City’s server circles (which is practically everywhere), he’s now privileged to have become Enemy #1 – the dude you never want to see as you roll up to your table or bar. This clown has single-handedly managed to elevate himself into the posterchild victim of all kinds of classic restaurant shenanigans from hawking some loogie action in his French Onion Soup, to “marinating” his T-Bone in murky floor water (not that I’ve ever partaken in, nor advocating any of that, mind you).
Yes, this is the “Enjoy my 11% tip” dude; the one who Rupert Murdoch’s [not] all-too-bright editors saw fit to allow all kinds of unnecessary writing latitude. He had the wherewithal to venture slightly outside of his Film Critic comfort zone into the dining/tipping zone. A couple of weeks ago, he penned what is likely the most idiotic article on serving/tipping ever written in the history of the InterToobs. It’s ever so lovingly followed up with an blurb about how France, and it’s restaurant/serving setup, is far superior to the bullshit he has to “endure” here in The New World.
Here’s a handy chart detailing how bartenders handle [tap] water-only bar requests based on the establishment type. As I’ve previously mentioned, fighting your way through the crowd, rolling up to a busy bar, and demanding water “with lemon and a straw,” has got be one of the easiest ways to piss of bartender. There are several issues at play as probably 1/2 of folks who start off their bar conversation with water requests: (1) won’t spend another dime – no revenue for the bar (2) they won’t tip at all (3) they’ll occupy precious bar real estate and stools, further robbing you of potential income.
Tip Talk. Many, many non-industry folks are severely misguided in their assumption that bartenders/waiters earn a decent salary. That notion is flatly false. Unlike many of our European counterparts, gratuities (a.k.a,tips) are what we depend on to earn a living here. The whole reason the system is set up as it is (here in the U.S.) is to allow a certain degree of “compensation flexibility” for service. As we’ve all experienced, that service can run the gammut from abysmal to extraordinary. The ensuing “tip” should be reflective of that service level. As a result, gratuity-dependent servers are highly encouraged to always put on their game face, lest they shoot themselves in the proverbial foot.
Net net? Give shitty service – make shitty money. Give stupendous service – make stupendous money. Well, at least it should work that way in theory. In reality, it actually does work that way most of the time. However, like inexplicable streaks at an Atlantic City craps table, there are going to be times in your bartending career where numerous, unpredictable forces of nature conspire to fuck with your income. A string of douchebags will occupy your bar for seemingly endless hours, either refusing to tip at all, insulting you with coins, or repeatedly committing an appalling financial offense like dropping two dollars on a round of 4 Mojitos and 2 Old Fashions.
I’ve written many instances of War and Peace about topic previously. However, the objective of my rants clearly has still not sunk into the craniums of the masses of bar and restaurant goers. For the hard of hearing and the educationally disadvantaged, in other words – all of you cheap asses – here it is again from another mouth-piece:
From the Amber Road Cafe in Canton, MA
Do you see what that is? It’s a credit card receipt. I took a picture of it just a few days ago at a small restaurant (way outside Boston), that I take everyone to, called the Amber Road Cafe. Anyway, I took a picture of it because I wanted you to see what I wrote for a tip: $5.00. No, it’s not a lot of money. No, I’m not bragging about leaving a $5.00 tip on a $14.00 meal. So why post it? Because you’re an adult now and you need to learn how to tip.