Years ago, when I was a waiter in Asheville North Carolina I wished that one day I would have some sort of voice to speak to the people of Asheville, the World, and the public in general about waiters & waitresses.
While working as a server, I developed so much experience, I literally learned so much about life, that I still use it today, and it will no doubt be with me forever. I made my personality stronger and tied up many loose ends that my “public speaking” class in High School simply did not cover. I learned how to be kind, how to be “ripped off”, how to be blessed, how to make mistakes, how to fix problems, how to “love my neighbor”, and how that outside of my control, a stranger can come into my life (my table) for less than an hour and somehow ruin my whole day or evening. I learned how to make friends, how to speak, how to apologize, and how to accept compliments. It was a fine education.
I learned how to interact with just about everybody and anybody, whether good or bad. I have had people who acted socially terrible, but tipped me great for my service. I have also had “the nicest people I ever met in my life” pay their bill and not leave me a dime. I have had “church groups” come in, eat hundreds of dollars of food, and leave me a “gospel tract” telling me that I was “going to hell”; and I kind of wanted to head that way after that, lol. I have had other groups come in, eat away, and pat me on the back on the way out saying “good job buddy”… with nothing but dirty dishes left behind.
People are different. Some know what it is like to make sure their clients have a somewhat perfect experience, and then ending up with nothing to show for it. Today, they counteract their past dissapointments from others by being fair to their waitresses and waiters when they go out to dine. Some do not tip, or correctly tip, because the are simply cheap or cheapskates. Others do not tip their servers simply because “they don’t have to”. Whatever reason you give for not tipping right; I assure you that it is most likely invalid.
No joke… even with some of my close family members and good friends, I have to lag behind to make sure they leave a decent tip; and I have even supplemented where and when needed. Even when someone tells me “I got it”, I say “how do you have it?” to make sure I am not an accomplice in their “savings scheme” at someone else’s expense. Some who know that “I don’t play” when it comes to tipping, actually ask me “how much do I leave?”, and I gladly tell them. I have went back to some restaurants the next day to “right a wrong tip” left, or not left, by a friend.
Not leaving a tip is taking “earned money” away from the circle of life. Some wait staff would somewhat correctly refer to it as “common robbery”. Some customers will even try to make their dining a bad experience so they can feel as if they don’t have to tip… Suckers! I say this today as a customer who eats at many places in Asheville North Carolina and beyond.
As a waiter, I learned how to deal with people that had a rough day; sometimes along with going through a really hard time myself. I learned that some of my tables needed something… maybe a joke or a sort of inspiration, so I always kept them on hand. Sometimes customers just need a person to listen to their problems for a minute without over-judging them. It is funny how you cannot figure out your own “problems” many times, but you come up with good counsel for others, and you get helped by having a “solution mentality”. Some come out to eat for some simple interaction with someone new, and I did my best to make sure I was that “new” positive connection they made. Oh, a few even came to “just eat”. Waiters and waitresses wear, or can wear, so so many hats.
So what is the correct tip you should leave? Some say 18%, 15% or 20%. Here is my tip scale of sorts:
10% for service in general
15% for good service
20% for great service
*More if it is right! Think before you tip!
***5/24/09 – I have left 10% two times in the past year, and it was because of the wrong order and a bad attitude to back it up; and then another time when we got our food and they never came back until they were ready to drop the check off. Other times 20% is my standard. I try to communicate and blend so I make it a good experience for the waitstaff as well. When I go out of my way to have a successful time dining, the responding attitude and service is important to me. We have left as much as a 100% tip on several occasions where the waitstaff teamed up with us and went out of their way to make sure that our dinner party had a really great time. (RE: 100%, These times were also when business was great for us!).***
Note: if you take an hour at a table, drink 20 cups of coffee, and only spend $3 or so… 60 cents (20%) is not acceptable.
Do I tip on the amount before of after tax? I will leave this one up to you. Tipping on tax is not necessary. Some tip on the amount before tax, while others look at the bottom line and just tip on the whole thing. If you cannot take the time to figure out the percentages, simply tell the waitstaff to please add a certain percentage to the bill as “the tip”. “Can you please add ___% tip to my bill” is all you need to say.