UnderCover Waitress: Don't Forget to Bribe the Waitress

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Don't Forget to Bribe the Waitress

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This goes in annals of the great tip debate: should waiters and waitresses work for tips, or should they be paid like any other worker?

We all know that a tip is a bribe. And if I know you are a bad tipper, I will give you less service than the good tippers. Not so much that you'll complain because I don't want to lose my job. I'm subtle.

For example, Sandals and Botox are a regular couple in the summertime. I think they flee our winter up here in the north. He always wears sandals and she can't make facial expressions. They tip ten percent.

Botox knows that we graciously accept special requests. She likes a certain salad dressing that is not on the regular menu, and she likes it on a certain specialty salad. No problem, so far. But remember, they tip ten percent. I make her ask for it. Every time. She tries to smile but can't as she explains to me what she would like for her appetizer. She must feel sorry for me, I am so stupid I can't remember what she ordered just last week. If they tipped twenty percent, I would have the kitchen making that special salad while Sandals and Botox were being seated.

So this article written by a resident of Iceland was interesting. In Iceland, customers do not tip waitresses. Everything is included in the bill; the price you see is the price you pay. Very different from the American experience; diners must calculate two different tax rates plus tip if they want to know what they are paying ahead of time.

Unfortunately, in Iceland the service is horrendous. And there is not much the hapless diner can do about it, because the waitress gets the same amount of pay whether she remembers you asked for extra cheese or not. There is no bribe being dangled in front of the wait staff's nose encouraging good service.

This is one of the arguments for keeping the system of tipping in restaurants in America.

What if workers in every job stopped caring about the quality of their work based upon whether or not they expected to receive a big enough bribe? I know I'm no angel, which is why I enjoy giving Sandals and Botox a hard time without their even knowing it. But the vision of what life would be like if everything required a bribe does give me pause.

Don't tip in Iceland

1 comment :

  1. In the UK we are somewhere in the middle. We get paid government-mandated minimum wage, just like any other basic job. So if I have a night without tips, then no big deal. But most people do tip (avg 5-10%) so it's like a little bonus! I always try and give the best service I can. Although crazy children, rude old people and just generally idots probably make me crack a little! Its cool when you get a tip but the amount of times I've had a great time with a table and they've left me NOTHING... if I had a pound for every time that happened I wouldn't need to work!

    IMHO... Working for tips just gives employers an excuse to pay their employers like shit and puts the onus on the customers who are made to feel guilty cos they know their server works for tip.

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