Binks Is Here

Commentary on the World

Just a Rant on Tipping... Feel Free to Skip This One...

Man, I hardly ever go to bars anymore…

Here in Ontario, the minimum wage for servers is just a hair below minimum wage. I’m a university student and had a full time job two summers ago that paid me $8.00 an hour. Servers at that time were making about $7.00 an hour. At the end of the day, even with 10% tips, any server in the city was doing much better then I was, and I’d like to think that I worked just as hard as they did (I have yet to meet a male server in my tourist town of 30,000 people - believe me, I tried for the server job).

As for bars… I’m supposed to tip because the bartender popped the cap on my beer, and poured it into a glass? 15%? 25%? Adjusting with the price of the drink itself? The complexity? The average tip given by other patrons? The advice you find on the internet? (Which is normally written by servers themselves, trying to convince the world that 20%+ is the new “standard” and that 15% is limited to cases in which you have absolutely horrible service)

Tipping a buck on a $3.50 shot, when the bartender took 30 seconds to make it, is madness! Pull that out to an hourly amount for a halway decent bartender, in a reasonably busy bar, even counting a few hours for setup and cleanup, and you’re probably looking at an average of $20 an hour in tips, on top of their normal wage.

I feel like I’ve got to go to every bar with a pocket full of quarters and a calculator so I can figure this out! I’m a decent customer; I try my hardest to be polite, not make things any harder on these people. I’m not the one throwing up all over the washroom - but I’m sure all that doesn’t “pay the bills”, so being a decent human being isn’t enough…

I don’t mind sitting at a table, running up a tab, and paying for it, but this tipping per transaction business makes me crazy. Inevitably, depending upon the night, I either end up paying something like 35%, or I just say “screw it” and tip nothing - not because I don’t want to, but because the whole thing stresses me out to no end.

I mean, some places even have bathroom attendents in the washrooms. A few times I’ve tipped, and then I realized that I had just paid someone to make me feel alkward. They didn’t help me out at all; I’m more then capable of getting my own soap, thanks, and having someone standing in a washroom for hours on end creeps me out. So, they are actually having a negitive impact on how much I’m enjoying myself - and yet there still seems an expectation for tipping them.

What about tip jars popping up at every bloody place where food or drink is given to you? Coffee shops and even some fast food joints are setting up jars labelled with “TIPS”. I went to pick up a pizza at Pizza Nova, and the debit machine prompted me to select a tip amount (Campus Pizza does the same thing)

Ugh. It’s hardly even worth going out any more; with all this stress over tipping, etc. I’m at the point where I figure I’ll stick to bottled beer, try and stay with the same bartender, and just hand him $5 at the end of the night. But even THAT won’t serve me well, because in a reasonably busy bar, they’ll just ignore you for an hour, until everyone else is gone, if they think you aren’t tipping.

All for a job that’s paying just about minimum wage - almost exactly what every kid at Zellers, every guy at McDonalds, and probably about the same as what a factory employee working for a temp agency is making (that was my OTHER job that summer…). They’re not making a bad wage! Servers are making a standard, normal wage for individuals in the low-end service industry, and probably only a wee bit less then non-union unskilled labour.

The person my age who has the most money? She’s a waitress.

I work at a college campus bar, and we see a lot of bad tippers. Although its not always the case, some do tip good, the majority of college kids (even parents too) are lousy tippers. In this case % doesn’t always justify a good tip. When I work I work very hard to make sure all my customers are satisfied, and a lot of times I get stiffed (or something like a quarter on a $4.75 drink), and its really annoying. Remember I’m making $2.13 an hour and I depend on tips to make a living.

Just keep this in mind when you go to a bar; $1 or $1 and the change per drink is a good guide for tipping, if you buy a few drinks at a time give a couple bucks and the change and i guarantee that your server will take care of you all night, and if you really want to ensure good service tip really well (30-40%) on the first round and tip good on the future rounds (sometimes this will be to your benefit because most bars have money set aside to give free drinks to good customers). If you buy a round of shots, try to tip 15-20%, 15% for good service 20% for excellent service, and even if the service is bad 10% is still a reasonable amount to tip. Remember you want to have fun at the bars, so treat the servers and bartenders good so they have fun too.

Actual quote from a purported bartender. A buck a drink?? How many drinks do you make in an hour? Crazy! The kid at Harveys spends more time with my food then a bartender takes to make almost every drink.

Besides, I’ve worked an awful lot of not-fun jobs. It’s great if you can have fun at work - if you can make that happen, all the power to you, but I don’t think that that sort of thing should be expected.

It’s not in this comment, but in a lot of comments when it comes to tipping at bars, someone gets around to mentioning how, if you tip well, you’ll get a “heavy pour” or a comped drink. A “heavy pour” is of questionable legality - there are set requirements relating to the maximum amount of alcohol that may be present in a drink. As for a free drink, that breaks laws relating to the minimum legal price of a drink. Besides, at that point I must wonder what the bartender is getting paid for - giving more booze to a good tipper sounds an awful lot like stealing from your employer. Do I, as a customer, want to be a part of that?

I especially hate the, “if you don’t tip, don’t expect good service” - That makes me want to tip less. If you lack the integrety to do the job you are paid to do, to the best of your ability, why should you be rewarded? You should be punished.