Posts Tagged ‘GRATUITY’

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Let Me Give You A Tip

April 22, 2008

Here in Las Vegas, we have more food and beverage workers than probably any other place in the world.  Add to that bell persons, maître d’s, cabdrivers, and of course any specialty name brand chains such as Pizza Hut, Red Robin, Samurai Sam’s, and of course Starbucks, where I suppose if you don’t tip, they will make your double latte taste terrible the next time you order one.  Then there are the mom and pop pizza and sandwich stores that prominently display a tip jar apparently so that when they hand you your food over the counter they won’t drop it on the floor.

One of the main reasons that I surmise for this proliferation of what one could perceive as begging for a gratuity, is that we’ve long allowed the federal government to maintain lower than average wages for people who truly do a customers a service by hauling drinks and food and doting over patrons to ensure they enjoy best possible experience.  Having owned a restaurant myself, I can tell you that it would indeed be much more expensive in labor costs if the waiters and waitresses were paid much more of a regular wage.   If salaries were raised and then the tips eliminated hundreds of thousands of restaurants would go out of business, and for the remaining the cost of the meal would keep most at home.  In times of rising commodities prices now is not a good time to implement any changes, however here in Las Vegas, because most people are employed “in the business” people tend to take care of their own. 

I think it is unconscionable to walk out of a restaurant and stiff the waitress unless the service is absolutely abominable and I have seen many customers do just that.  The reliance upon customary tipping has gotten so entrenched in our society that the IRS requires reporting overall gratuities and assesses those gratuities if they are not reported.  I have personally experienced that as well, having been audited five times merely because my ex-wife was a cocktail waitress.  The average American doesn’t understand that these culinary workers are required to pay tax on a tip regardless of whether they actually received a tip.  My advice to those that go to a full-service restaurant is- if you can’t afford to leave a tip then you shouldn’t be there.  Go to a fast food chain where tipping is not required but don’t sit there and act holier than thou because you are just waiting for the waitress to not bring your water in less than 10 seconds -so you have an excuse to stiff her. If you’re in a casino and receive a complimentary drink throw them a few dollars, for Pete sake!  I think there are more people looking for ways to hold on to their money and purposely take it out on all the lowest paid people on the planet.  I see no easy way to fix the situation other than making people aware of their bad habits. 

And then there is the casino comp meal, where the customer pays absolutely nothing and leaves little for the server when in fact you should give them at least 20 to 25% of what the actual price was, being that you didn’t pay for anything.  To use an old cliché, “make sure you take care of your bartender and waitresses” a phrase uttered by every musician that has played in a lounge or restaurant.  We just need to remember to take care of people who take care of us

We haven’t even begun to talk about the everyday services that people do and expect tips such as hairdressers, manicurists, maids, skycaps, masseuses, limo drivers, and just about anybody else that performs a personal service (no I’m not going to go there!) but at least they earn a decent wage without tips.

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