September 6, 2011
Tipping is Not A City in China
An old saying waitresses once used was "tipping is not a city in China." We used this phrase when pondering why people didn't always understand the importance of tipping. Here in Arizona, servers earn between $4 and $5 per hour. Some states require servers be paid a higher wage, but for the most part people who serve you food and drinks rely on tips to pay their mortgage, car payment and water bill.
A friend of mine who is a server says making a living relying on people's decision whether or not to give us a tip makes us insecure, too needy, wanting too much to be liked. I do see how the amount of tips we receive might start to represent our self worth. It's true a twenty percent tip tells me I was appreciated while getting "stiffed", no tip at all, does the opposite. My server friend says when she gets a bad tip she takes it personally and feels ashamed. Not me. I think some people are just cheap and don't get, or even care maybe, how servers depend on tips to pay their bills. I try hard not to take it personal though it does sting especially when I count my money at the end of the night. (Servers ALWAYS count their money at the end of the night). The other day I was eating at Applebees. I usually don't eat there, but I had a $15 gift card. I can never turn down a free meal as my tight jeans can attest. Anyway, do you know they have an all you can eat soup and salad for $6.99 at lunch? Not at bad deal.
Anyway, sitting in the booth behind me was a man and two women. We had the same server, a pleasant and efficient young woman. At the end of the meal the man said "I'll put down the tip. She wasn't that horrible of a waitress. They don't make shit anyway." Sigh. It's no wonder people don't make serving in a restaurant a career. That and eventually you get too old to smile and carry a heavy tray at the same time.