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Waiter wants a bigger tip?

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Is it ever ok for a server to ask for a larger tip? I was at a restaurant the other night (pretty nice restaurant if that matters) and my friend miscalculated and only left 10% tip. The server came back with the receipts asking us to make sure it was correct. Although we all felt bad for the miscalculation, we were all taken aback and felt it was a bit rude. What do you guys think?

  1. Absolutely unproffesional. The server should be given a week off to think about it.

    1. That is correct. He didn't ask for a bigger tip, but gave you an opportunity to correct the mistake or let him know if there was something about the food or service that was not correct.

      It is never okay for a server to ask for a bigger tip. IMO he went about it correctly, you have to realize it's his job and your tip is a reflection on his service. He can get dinged for it, esp if they pool tips. Thats not too good esp if it was a mistake on your part not his!

      1. your description of the events is not in agreement with your question.
        the server asked you to make sure the bill was correct.
        he did not ask for a larger tip.

        especially, in this case, if it were me, in a situation in which presumably i had received good service, i'd be grateful to be given an opportunity to rectify any errors that i made.

        imho, in this case all the errors were made on your side, not the server's.

        16 Replies
        1. re: westsidegal

          Agree with westsidegal...

          1. re: J.L.

            I agree. This was on the correct side of the professional-unprofessional border or DMZ.

            1. re: Karl S

              Agreed.

              To the OP: your math was miscalculated. What is wrong with him asking about that? What would you have done had you been in his shoes? He did not ask for a larger tip, but rather discreetly pointed out that you miscalculated. Kudos to him.

          2. re: westsidegal

            He asked that question because he thought the tip was too low. He asked that in a round about way, but the intent was clear. As another poster said, the way to approach it was for the manager to ask if there's anything wrong with the service.

            1. re: PeterL

              The math was wrong - what's the harm in asking the guest to check it? Personally, I think if someone gets huffy over something as harmless as that then they have larger issues. To get a manager involved is overkill, IMHO.

              1. re: lynnlato

                I guess I don't see how you concluded that the MATH was wrong? A tip was left that amounted to 10% of the bill. The OP doesn't say the tip was higher but the person signing added it up wrong when totaling.

                This is a delicate situation and I would agree that the better way to handle it would have been for a manager to ask if something was lacking in your experience. With the server asking it does seem quite obvious they're disappointed in with the tip. With a manager asking it comes across as more of a 'what can we learn from this' question. Having said that, I'm not so sure there would be a whole lot of managers who would do that for a server under those circumstances. A 10% is not NO TIP, and there's a definite risk of offending the guest. Probably best left as is.

                1. re: Midlife

                  Doesn't "adding the tip up wrong" amount to a miscalculation?

                  1. re: lynnlato

                    I suppose 'yes' if you figure the person meant to multiply by a different % and wound up with 10, or that they couldn't multiply correctly. It still seems like a huge overstepping by the server to ask a guest to re-check their 'calculation'.

                    I don't think I'm disagreeing with monku when I said "there's a definite risk of offending the guest. Probably best left as is." I understand both sides of this but have to come down on the side where the guest is not questioned. Certainly not by the server. I guess I'm overruled by experience on whether or not it's the place of management. In re-thinking, I don't see how a manager could find a really acceptable way to ask the question anyway.

                    1. re: Midlife

                      Its undoubtedly a touchy issue. Personally, I would never ask a guest about a tip. However, if it were the case of a miscalculation, I feel like that's different.

                      I would most definitely say something if I thought someone accidentally tipped me too much also. I know many a server who have added gratuity to a bill and then failed to adequately point it out to the guest in hopes of them leaving an additional gratuity. That, in my opinion, is stealing.

                      1. re: lynnlato

                        From what I've read here I don't think I have any way of knowing if a 10% tip was a miscalculation or not. And I don't think anyone other than the person who left it would either. Hence............... best left alone by restaurant staff.

                        There' still a part of me that feels both the server and management would be interestedin knowing the reasons if it were an intended 10% for poor food or service, but I still see no way to approach it without risk.

                        1. re: Midlife

                          So when the OP says "...and my friend miscalculated and only left 10% tip." you don't find enough evidence to make the determination of whether or not this was a mistake in math?

                          1. re: Servorg

                            You're right. It must be one of those days.

                            1. re: Midlife

                              I'm just glad I am not alone in (at times) overlooking the obvious, which I do on a regular basis here...

                              1. re: Servorg

                                It happens to me regularly. I can't tell you how many times I've commented on a thread only to realize its 4 yrs old. :-)

                  2. re: Midlife

                    As a former general manager for 7 years at a moderately priced restaurant, no server ever asked me to intervene and question a customer leaving no tip or a poor tip. They knew it wasn't our company policy to question a customer's tip. Every table was always visited by a manager of the floor during the meal and asked if everything was ok, if it wasn't it was taken care of. I'd say most servers who worked for us did a great job. There were a few who'd do stupid things like chasing after a customer and throwing the change they left as a tip at them...yes they were let go immediately.

                    Unfortunately a lot of people don't understand the tipping process and that includes server's. Someone's always going to be offended, but it shouldn't be the customer.

              2. re: westsidegal

                I agree but would the serve return to the table with the same question if they left a 30% tip?

              3. Twenty-five years ago we had a great meal and wonderful service at Lutèce in New York. At the end I was distracted by something as I calculated the tip and left much less than what I intended. When we left 10-15 minutes later, the waiter said nothing and showed nothing in his demeanor as he wished us a good-night at the door. Halfway to our hotel the mistake finally popped into my wine-addled brain, and I ordered the cab back to the restaurant, where I rushed in after they had already closed, apologized, and added a generous amount to my tip. The "I knew this kid wasn't trying to stiff me" look on the waiter's face made me feel very good.

                I would have felt lousy if he had questioned my original tip -- no matter how politely -- in front of my wife at the end of what was obviously a very special meal for us.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Harry Nile

                  My thoughts, exactly. You've stated it well.
                  I have had similar things happen in my lifetime regarding tips, too much money returned to me on a purchase, etc.
                  I have always gone out of my way and done the right thing to rectify the situation and make sure the appropriate money was given in the end.
                  Your server was professional and gracious and you, very kindly and graciously, did the right thing.

                2. he was asking if the tip amount was correct -- and thus implying the tip amount was *not* correct. obviously, would he want any "correction" to go *down*? no, of course not.

                  he was indeed asking for a bigger tip, but in a roundabout way.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: alkapal

                    Agree. I think the best way the restaurant could have handled this was to have the manager ask if there was anything wrong with the service.

                    1. re: Miss Needle

                      Yes, but does the server want to put himself "on report" that way? If he goes to the manager, the manager may not bother to ask the customer, he may just think the worst re: that particular server.

                      1. re: yayadave

                        To me, that is a restaurant where service isn't a huge priority. I believe a good restaurant should work as a team. A good manager should realize that there are always going to be cheapskates customers and isn't necessarily reflective of the server's abilities (unless the server consistently earns lower percentage tips than the others).

                      2. re: Miss Needle

                        Of course, that might not have registered on the part of the patron as much as directly being asked to check the bill would have. It very well could have been:

                        "Was there anything wrong with the service?"
                        "No, everything was great"

                        and then nothing gets resolved.

                        1. re: jgg13

                          On the couple of occasions where I made a mistake and low-balled the server, that's exactly what they would ask. And in those cases it was resolved as I knew exactly what they were referencing.

                          1. re: Panini Guy

                            Right, but my point was that not everyone would get what they meant.

                      3. re: alkapal

                        Years ago we went with a group of friends to one of our local places. We had a new waitress who was awful....sarcastic, rude, made a number of mistakes, etc. It was one of the very rare times we tipped less than average. Our group tipped 10%. She stopped one of our friends on the way out and said we had under tipped (her words) and the manager overheard the conversation and approached and my friend explained exactly why we tipped 10% and the waitress stormed off and the manager apologized profusely.

                      4. Thanks everyone for the feedback. After hearing everyone's thoughts i agree that it wasn't rude and i understand.
                        Although, if i were a server, i don't think that is something i would ever do. I would assume it was a mistake and let it go. I commend the waiter and the service that harry nile referenced.

                        14 Replies
                        1. re: buttaflyy8

                          And if you tipped too much, would he have brought it to your attention?

                          I think it is horribly rude and unprofessional.

                          Though I'm a generous tipper, there are times I have made a mistake and undertipped. If I'm a regular at a place, I'll mention it the next time and tip extra. Sometimes, especially when the service is above and beyond, I'll go back. Occasionnally I just feel bad about it.

                          If a waiter had ever done this to me, I would have said "Thank you, you are correct. I did make a mistake". Then I would have completely removed the tip leaving him nothing.

                          1. re: rworange

                            I hope I never have to be your server.

                            1. re: bbqdawg

                              You would if you acted in a professional manner. As I said, I tip big. An early boyfriend was a waiter and after listening to all his stories, I do my best to tip well and try to make the dining and professional experience on both sides.

                              1. re: rworange

                                My experience is that people who brag about being big tippers are almost always not.

                                1. re: bbqdawg

                                  Yep. Could be. I might never tip at all. Doesn't make what the waiter did right. If you think about it, that might even make me more sensative to the issue.

                              2. re: bbqdawg

                                Well, would you have said something if she way overtipped? I'd guess not. It's happened to me, and the waiter never said a thing. I felt like an idiot when I realized the mistake I'd made. But, I didn't go back and tell the waiter I've overtipped and would like to change it.

                                Just my take.
                                CocoDan

                                1. re: CocoDan

                                  I have experienced that at good restaurants waiter will make you aware if you accidentally overtip. I once didn't realized at my first time at Spago in LA that there was an automatic 20% service charge for their tasting menu and added an additonal 20-25%. The waiter came back and pointed it out and saved us ~$70-80

                                  1. re: honkman

                                    Very good. I've had the opposite experience. Didn't notice a service charge had already been added and tipped 20% on top of it. Only as I was nearly walking out and looked at my bill did I see the service charge. I had to hunt down the server and get an adjustment.

                                2. re: bbqdawg

                                  RW that is the harshest thing I've ever seen you post!

                                3. re: rworange

                                  How would you react if the manager had asked if you were satisfied with the service?

                                  1. re: Karl S

                                    Depends. There are so many variables, good service, bad service. The bottom line is that it would never trigger anything that would make me think of the tip. So the server is screwed. anyway.

                                    However, the question is more for the restaurant if they truly care that something went wrong rather than 'gently' reminding me I'm a cheapskate.

                                    Either they learn something went wrong and correct it. Or they learn nothing was a problem and there is some other mysterious reason the server was undertipped.

                                  2. re: rworange

                                    I have, on several occasions, been asked if I was sure that the tip was correct – because it seemed too generous (usually in whole-in-the-wall ethnic places or dive bars with really cheap alcohol).

                                    I am not a particularly generous tipper, but some ethnic restaurants clearly never get 15% (let alone 20%). Plus, sometimes with a group of friends at bar for the whole evening, someone (who has already left for night) has left too much and an very generous tip results (because no one likes to not pay their share).

                                    I'd say that in the past 2 years, I have had 4-6 occasions where a server has double checked that really wanted to leave as large a tip as we did.

                                    Toronto, ON, Canada

                                    1. re: rworange

                                      I have had waitstaff ask if the tip was correct when I was especially generous. Either way it was a polite way of confirming that no mistake was made. You might do the same if you were over charged.

                                      The waiter was a pro, he looked out for himself as well as his customer. A mistake was made, he caught it and handled it. There were no complaints about the service.

                                      Spite in the face of ones own mistake? I was taught to own my mistakes and make good on them. I will remember to admonish my parents for instilling such values in me. The next time I make a mistake I will jab anyone foolish enough to call me one it in the eye! They will then be required to foot my next bar bill!

                                    2. re: buttaflyy8

                                      Your original post told us that "we were all taken aback and felt it was a bit rude." If a server leaves a group of people "taken aback" and the consensus of the group is that the server was "a bit rude," I think that is, in part, the responsibility of the server. Most of us are fairly conscientious good tippers, I hope, but if my group is leaving the restaurant with crummy feelings about how the server closed the deal, then the dining experience suffered, and the tip should reflect it. I may be in the minority, but I do think it was rude. The transparent "Is that correct" kind of coy ploy is further embarrassment in a bad situation. Stand your ground here, buttaflyy8!

                                    3. I don't think it was necessarily rude, but I wouldn't have done it when I was serving. There are too many people, at least where I live, who fully intend to leave a 10% tip and think it's perfectly adequate for me to ever question it.

                                      Now, if they had left like a 2% tip, or no tip at all, I probably would have asked if everything was ok with the service. I would not have asked if the bill was correct, but I would have asked if everything was ok with the service they received and if they said yes, so be it. There are a lot of people who don't "believe" in tipping and you can't make them tip (or tip adequately) if they don't want to.

                                      13 Replies
                                      1. re: rockandroller1

                                        But if it was clearly a case of a math error, you wouldn't address it as a server? As a former server myself I would never question someone if they gave me a 10% tip, but if it was a case of miscalculation I would certainly point it out to the guest. Just as I would if the miscalculation worked in my favor. I wouldn't want less or more of a tip than what the guest thought was adequate. It's only proper.

                                        1. re: lynnlato

                                          But how is the server to know it is a math error or miscalculation unless he asks?

                                          1. re: lisavf

                                            That's my point.

                                            1. re: lynnlato

                                              Exactly..

                                            2. re: lisavf

                                              In today's age of POS machines in many restaurants, the likely hood of a miscalculation on a check is remote.
                                              Goes back to what I keep saying, customer's make mistakes and so do server's.

                                              1. re: lisavf

                                                I can think of a clear case of miscalculation. The check is $100, the tip is written as $20 and the total they signed off on is $110. That would be a clear case of miscalculation.

                                                Recently I was a guest of a South American couple, who tipped $12 on a $150 bill. As I returned from the ladies room, our server asked if there was anything wrong and showed me what the bill and the tip. I gave her a $20, but I did not say anything to my hosts because they were business clients of my friend. If it had just been friends, I would have educated them, but because of the business relationship, I let it go. The next day at lunch, I glanced at the bill and then gave extra to our waiter on my way out. I did not even tell my friend.

                                                1. re: Val55

                                                  I was attending a workshop/conference for a few days in Vegas about a year ago and my coworker invited a very friendly, jovial British fellow to have dinner with us (since we're from Phoenix and both have been to Vegas several times and he had never been). We ate at Mon Ami Gabi - normally quite out of my price range, but with a per diem I could not refuse - and received separate checks. After signing his credit card slip, he left his check holder laying open on the table right next to where my plate had been. I noticed he left barely a 10% tip and hoped my 25% tip made up a little bit for it, even though my meal was less expensive (no alcohol on my check). I have a difficult time believing someone who seemed well traveled (has relatives who live in the US), flew business class, held a high paying position, and was quite well educated did not know about tipping customs in the US. The waitress didn't say a word, but I felt a bit embarrassed.

                                                  1. re: Jen76

                                                    Same thing happened to me when my extremely well traveled wealthy English brother in- law treated us to dinner at a well known NYC steakhouse. He made it a point to say he was leaving the tip in cash - and proceeded to whip out a $10 bill.
                                                    Yikes!!
                                                    Luckily he went to the restroom and we had time to discuss this and give the waiter a tip on the side!

                                                    Actually Jen - this sounds like the same guy! lol!

                                                  2. re: Val55

                                                    I feel a bit bad saying this but I actually question the judgement of a server who approaches a guest and not the hosts (the relationship indicated by who paid) about satisfaction. And while she was perfectly in the right to ask if everything was ok, I think showing the bill and tip (to a guest) was a bit out there.

                                                    And yes, the server should have had some sense of who paid, and thus who was acting as host.

                                                    1. re: Lizard

                                                      I agree. I know if I'm the guest, I will never peer over at the host's bill to examine how much s/he is tipping. The servers don't necessarily know whether it's a friendly or business relationship, and I don't think that people in the business relationship can really approach a host about tipping properly.

                                                2. re: lynnlato

                                                  There's a difference between a "miscalculation," where what they wrote as a tip does not add up to what they totaled, and something that on first glance appears to be a lower than average tip. On a true "miscalculation," of course I would bring it up, if they erred, I want to know what they really meant. I would NEVER point out a lower than average tip, even if it was NO tip. Tip is optional, and questioning it because it "seems low" is just not correct behavior IMO. They could just be cheapskates. They could be in a rotten mood and even though my service was good, they didn't like it. Maybe they are elderly and on a fixed income and left all they felt they could afford. Maybe they are teenagers and have no clue (or even if they do) and left next to nothing. It's not my job to go around suggesting to people that they didn't leave me enough tip, it's my job to serve people food, regardless of what they tip or don't tip. I would never have done it. Never. it's not "clearly a math error" when someone leaves you 10%.

                                                  1. re: rockandroller1

                                                    I agree with you. I interpreted what the OP said to mean that the math was miscalculated or totaled wrong.

                                                    1. re: rockandroller1

                                                      Agreed.

                                                3. Major Kudos to the waiter..
                                                  'we were all taken aback and felt it was a bit rude'...you basically stiffed him..
                                                  I don't think what the waiter did was rude at all..
                                                  Why didn't someone step in and give an extra 10%?
                                                  To me, you all were the rude ones for not bringing it to the attention of the cheap friend..there was no miscalculation on your friends part...he/she deliberately gave 10%..imho

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Beach Chick

                                                    No it was a miscalculation and no one rechecked our friend's math since she usually tips 20%. It was a mistake, it wasn't deliberate, we apologized and told her it was our mistake. We gave her the 20% tip.

                                                  2. Of course the waiter wants a bigger tip...that's not rude in an of itself...

                                                    In this situation, the waiter could have (a) not said anything, accepted the low tip, but not gotten any feedback as to the basis for the low tip, (b) informed the mgr who could then have approached your party and inquired as to whether the service was sub-par (but the waiter would have had to bring the possible issue to his/her boss's attention without knowing what your party would have told the mgr or even if the mgr would follow up), or (c) inquire about the service/tip him/herself. This waiter took the direct approach, but did it in as polite a way possible - he didn't demand to know why his tip was so low, he asked your party to confirm that it was correct. My guess is that if you had confirmed the 10% was correct, the next question would have been whether the service was lacking. Or perhaps the waiter would have then informed the mgr who could have followed up (it's easier to honestly voice complaints to a third party rather than the offending party, sometimes and the mgr would have the power to try to make things right).

                                                    From your posts it sounds like your party might have split into multiple checks, or at least had multiple people kicking in on the bill - much more likely for the waiter to get inadvertantly shorted in those situations, so perhaps this waiter has a habit of trying to confirm the total with a party like this if the tip doesn't look right.

                                                    80 Replies
                                                    1. re: akq

                                                      Um, no.

                                                      The waiter should have returned the receipt with a smile and if he wanted feedback, say something along the lines "I hope the service was satisfactory" ... something along those lines but better said.

                                                      It is one table. Do not try to squeeze every dime out of every diner. This wasn't someone who gave a damn about service. He wanted his money since he zoned in on asking if the math was correct.

                                                      It is every bit as greedy and rude as when you pay cash and the waiter asks "Do you want change?"

                                                      NOT a question that should EVER be asked. Return the change and make sure there are enough small bills so the diner isn't held hostage by leaving big bills. Money authomatically comes off the tip when anyone asks this.

                                                      While people should not feel uncomfortable about confronting money issues, the point is some diners are intimidated by these types of questions.

                                                      1. re: rworange

                                                        It's a good thing that the majority of us in salaried positions or earning hourly wages do not have to have our pay reduced for every little miscalculation or error in judgment we make. And it's a shame that servers are held to standards and so immediately punished for 'sins' that all of us make at one point or another in our jobs.

                                                        1. re: Cachetes

                                                          Let me ask this again, would you say something if someone lavishly over-tipped?

                                                          Also, this is a pretty uncommon and if everyone is returning 10 % there's something wrong.

                                                          The only sin here was the waiter calling attention to the undertipping.

                                                          1. re: rworange

                                                            Yes, that was the "sin" I was referring to, which by my quotation marks I indicate I don't think is a sin worth such punishment.

                                                            I just think those of us who are fortunate enough to not have every word we utter on the job be punished with a cut in pay should remember that many others are in much more vulnerable positions. With that in mind, if a waiter was generally competent and good natured, there is no way I'd let one little comment change that opinion.

                                                            1. re: rworange

                                                              I'm not sure how often a waiter would point out a mistaken overtip, but this did actually happen to me once. I had several brand new ten dollar bills that were kind of stuck together. I got take out at one of my favorite restaurants and intendedt to leave a 10 dollar tip, which was a little bit more than 20%. I didn't realize i had actually given the waitress two 10 dollar bills that were stuck together. I was literally in my car outside when i saw the waitress run outside to ask me if i realized that i left a 20 dollar tip. I really appreciated her honesty, and told her i didn't realize they were stuck together, but to go ahead and keep the 20. So i guess there are some out there who would question a larger than expected tip.

                                                              1. re: rworange

                                                                "Let me ask this again, would you say something if someone lavishly over-tipped?" Good waiter will point out if you overtip.

                                                                1. re: rworange

                                                                  Umm, yes, I have returned tips to people that have lavishly overtipped. Although there are those that are clearly doing that on purpose, just as there are those who are clearly 10% tippers. The real question is why the op was not happy about being questioned in a professional manner, they could have said everything was fine and gone on their way. The waiter brought to their attention that they had made a mistake. He didn't tell them he deserved more, and he may have said nothing more if they had said all was fine. I don't understand your (rw) assumption of "greed", people are working for money aren't they? They want to pay their bills, and live their lives just as you do. I'm sure the difference between 10 and 20 percent is not going to make them rich, but it will make them feel better about the work they do. Sorry for the rant.. just the old .02 cents.

                                                                  1. re: Missmoo

                                                                    Right or wrong, the way the system is currently in the US is that a tip is a gratuity. The definition of gratuity in Webster
                                                                    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictio...

                                                                    "something given voluntarily or beyond obligation usually for some service; especially : tip"

                                                                    I guess I don't understand why it is not deemed rude to have say, though in a round about way "Did you mean to give me so little money?" What is professional about that?

                                                                    There are people I would hire (and have) that have absolutely no qualification for the job. I hire them because they do whatever it is they do well and take pride in their job. I hired a janitor once to be an entry-level computer programer because while doing his job as a janitor, he displayed all the characteristics that would make him great at any job. And he was. He now is an IT manager.

                                                                    To me the job of a server is to make the overall experience for the customer pleasant. He put his own needs above the customers and made them feel uncomfortable. He implied they were cheapskates. I'd never hire this guy.

                                                                    No matter what your job you never say to your boss "you need to pay me more because I have to pay my bills and it will make me feel swell about myself" In this case the customer is the boss.

                                                                    When you want a higher salary you say what you do well and say how you can contribute to the company's bottom line. The correct question, if any was "I hope you were happy with the service".

                                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                                      He didn't imply they were cheap, he rightly implied that they were bad at math at that moment.

                                                                      I would much rather have someone think I was bad at math than cheap with tipping.

                                                                      1. re: Coconuts

                                                                        Come on. Many people on this thread got what he was asking. The OP got it and was taken aback

                                                                        1. re: rworange

                                                                          And not everyone thought it was unprofessional. In fact, not even tipping and form sticklers (I would include myself in that category) necessarily would agree. I think it's an area where reasonable people can come to different reasonable conclusions. For servers, there is no risk-free zone, so they are free to make reasonable decisions and live with the consequences thereof.

                                                                          1. re: Karl S

                                                                            So, being evasive made him professional?

                                                                            What if he said what he meant "Pardon me. You only tipped me 10%, did you make a mistake?"

                                                                            Lipstick on a pig as far as I'm concerned.

                                                                            The OP got that immediatly, no matter now 'nicely' he phrased it.

                                                                            To me, a business is never about the CEO or owner. It is about the clerks, sales reps,servers, etc who face the customer. They represent the business in the way we all identify with.

                                                                            So the decisions they make are not their own. The consequences of their actions impact the business.

                                                                            I'd leave that place, never return and tell my friends not to return there. If it was a busines dinner, I'd be sure to warn others in the company about it. If I was so inclined, I might post about it on Yelp or Chowhound.

                                                                            Given a high tab of say $200 with a 20% tip equal to $40. How good a business decision would it be for the server to ask for $20 more given the risk of potentinally losing so much more future business.

                                                                            And from a strictly server-oriented view ... less busines = less tips.

                                                                            Even better ... what if he said "Your bill is $200 you made a mistake and you only gave me $20 for service. You owe me $20 more"

                                                                            Because that is exactly what he said to the customers no matter how nicely he put it. That is acceptable?

                                                                            1. re: rworange

                                                                              I don't think that's a correct interpretation and as I stated previously it comes across as harsh rw. It's interesting to me that you say it's being evasive when I think it's being straightforward in a professional manner. Even you would agree that 10% usually indicates something wrong with the service and for arguments sake let's assume (since the op did say they intended to tip 20%) that the waiter had had a good time with the table and could tell they enjoyed themselves and therefore wanted to find out if something had gone wrong or (horrors!) could tell they had made a math mistake. You sound like the people who get bent out of shape by the tip being added to large parties ("I always tip 20% but not now that they've insulted me") Way too much assumption on your part in my opinion. But I will add that it's usually pretty clear when 10% was intended and only when you have a certain rapport with a table is this advisable, most of the time, it's best to let it go, however, I would not fault a server who behaved professionally in their approach for doing this.

                                                                              1. re: Missmoo

                                                                                I probably did some editing since you read that reply Go back and read it again.

                                                                                I'm not assuming a thing. This is how this question would strike me.

                                                                                I think automatic gratuity being added to large parties is a good thing. My only nit with it is that it is usually less than what I tip which sends me into a tizzy.

                                                                                If the expectations are such that customers must leave a certain percentage, then I would extend that not only to large parties but to everyone. It would do away with all this game playing.

                                                                                Some restaurants now print checks with suggested, estimated tips. Maybe that's the way to go. There would be no questions about 'errors'.

                                                                              2. re: rworange

                                                                                Like it or not, we live in a society where tipping 15-20% is part of dining out. It's a social contract, if you will. I don't believe that tipping is really anything extra anymore. I waited tables in fine dining for ten years. I was never once stiffed, and can count on one hand the amount of times I received less than a 15% tip (usually from very old people). Tipping 15-20% is the norm.

                                                                                If the server felt he had given good service, and was not compensated the norm, I believe he had every right to inquire about it. Most times things like that are just math errors.

                                                                                You said yourself that a business is all about the clerks/servers. Don't they deserve to be compensated fairly? If your boss decided to take 10% off your paycheck for no reason, you wouldn't ask about it? I find that hard to believe.

                                                                                1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                  My salary is negotiated before I start workng. If tipping is considerd compulsary, then automatically add it to the tab. Otherwise as Webster says, it is a gift and not an obligation.

                                                                                  1. re: rworange

                                                                                    Here's where we have our fundemental difference.

                                                                                    I believe a waiter's "salary is negotiated" to be 15-20% "before he starts working". In my mind it is mandatory, as long as the service has been acceptable. You believe that you're being generous and giving him a gift.

                                                                                    We will never agree.

                                                                                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                      Totally agree. A customer who accepts table or bar service in an establishment is entering into an implied contract. You know that the service they're providing you is not a gift and neither is the compensation you provide.

                                                                                      1. re: BrianRIngram

                                                                                        "A customer who accepts table or bar service in an establishment is entering into an implied contract"

                                                                                        Technically, they are not, simply because if they fail to tip they are not held civilly liable for breach of contract. Tipping is not required by law - although it'd be nice if it were.

                                                                                        1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                          >>> Tipping is not required by law - although it'd be nice if it were.

                                                                                          No. It would be nice if the wait staff received a living salary for their labor and that cost was included in the price of the food.

                                                                                          It seems restaurant people want to eat their cake and have it too.

                                                                                          Servers don't reallly want to give up tipping for a fixed salary due to the possibility of earning more through tips.

                                                                                          Restaurants doen't want to increase their menu prices to cover reasonable salaries.

                                                                                          In this thread many service people seem to deem it a god-given right to not only receive a tip, but receive a specific tip .... whether or not good and gracious service is given.

                                                                                          How about this law ... tipping NOT allowed.I'll sign a petition to prohibit servers from accepting tips. Think how stress-free all our lives would be ... what you see on the menu is what you pay.

                                                                                          No more worries on either side.

                                                                                          That leaves this up to the restaurant to control their staff like any other business. Bad server = fired. Good server = good salary and bonuses.

                                                                                          Ok, all you people with so many nasty comments about customers who don't tip because of bad service. I'd really be interested in hearing your thoughts on this. I bet there will be the weeping an gnashing of teeth about how unfair this is to the restaurant and servers.

                                                                                          Why?

                                                                                          Oh ... servers wouldn't make as much dough. Restaurants can't afford to raise prices ... boo hoo hoo.

                                                                                          And ... as a server you want to be recognized for special effort

                                                                                          Um ... that's exactly why you jumped on people who refused to pay for bad service.

                                                                                          In that case, this whole discussion is moot. You can't have it both ways. Anyone who wants special compensation for excellence, has no right to complain if it is withheld due to poor performance.

                                                                                          Law to require tipping indeed. Let's have a law to stop tipping.

                                                                                          1. re: rworange

                                                                                            The other side of the coin is that patrons run the gamut, from the strange to the unhinged to the terminally angry to the eternally dissatisfied to the impossible to please to the egomaniacs to the just generally pissed off how their day has gone. And servers who put their livelihoods in the hands of that freak brigade on a daily/nightly basis deserve some slack for being a little bit put off by the expectations they read on sites like Chowhound or Yelp, where they are regularly damned if they do and damned if they don't.

                                                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                                                              Very few of us are in jobs where we don't have to deal with the gamut of personalities. We all have our freak shows to deal with. I'd say a bus driver has to put up with more than a server with a bigger responsibility. A bad server is just an unpleasant meal. A bad bus driver can cost you your life.

                                                                                              What if we had to tip everone ... sales clerks, repair people, etc, etc.

                                                                                              Many, like you, seem to think people are anti-tipping or stiffing waiters.

                                                                                              No. The issue was whether or not a server can ask for more if they feel they were undertipped.

                                                                                              Yes. They can.

                                                                                              Some people think that is fine and an equal number of people consider it rude and makes them feel uncomfortable.

                                                                                              I'm in that latter category with some people ready to disparge me as an immoral person for feeling uncomfortable to the point it would make me angry enough to with hold a tip. No one in this thread, no matter what they call me is going to change that feeling.

                                                                                              Howeve a statement like wishing tipping was a legal obligation ... well

                                                                                              In that case, let's stop the nonsense. There would be no tipping issue if there was no tipping and servers were paid wages like the majority of us.

                                                                                              That would also free up a lot of space leaving the 'not about food' board almost empty except for issues like children in restaurants.

                                                                                              1. re: rworange

                                                                                                The examples you give of a bus driver (or that generally anyone who works has to put up with the not too tightly wrapped) having to contend with a wide swath of the general public is a fact. But that bus drivers salary is not determined by those same characters. If it were I bet we would have a LOT MORE pissed off bus drivers who were given every excuse in the book for why their salary was being dinged.

                                                                                                We have the system we have. Which is tipping. If we want to go out to dinner then we have a social contract that calls for tipping your waiter/waitress. Going out to dinner is a choice, not a requirement. If we want to go out to dinner then we had better be prepared to tip.

                                                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                  We just have different views on this and people on whatever side of the issue, all these discussions, won't change minds.

                                                                                                  As long as it is brought back to a social contract that is fine. When it started getting elevated to a legal obligation, that is way too much.

                                                                                                  As with all contracts, even social, there are two parties involved. Both sides have an obligation.

                                                                                                  For me that obligation is based on paying for service to have an enjoyable dinner. When a server makes me feel uncomfortable, they are not fulfilling their oblication and , that contract is null and void.

                                                                                                  A server expects to be compensated for a good job ... not just showing up. If a serer doesn't complain about being tipped too much, they should not complain about being tipped what is in their estimation too little.

                                                                                                  I forgot I wasn't going to read this thread anymore. The consequences of old threads being revived.

                                                                                                  1. re: rworange

                                                                                                    Just remember, there are two sides to every story. Ours, and the truth. So when we have someones compensation in our hands we need to try and err on the side of compassion - if it suits.

                                                                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                      Agreed. There is no right or wrong answer to many questions posed here regarding service. The information given is skewed to the benefit of the poster. I no longer wait tables but did for many years and can appreciate the efforts of waitstaff in dealing directly with the increasingly more-demanding dining public.

                                                                                                      These days I'm a restaurant patron, not a staffer, and I enjoy good service just a little bit more so than your average Joe/Jane Q Public.

                                                                                                      To rworange: Didn't mean to push anyone's buttons... I enjoy your posts and hope that you didn't take me literally (although it appears as though you may have - sorry).

                                                                                                      1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                        lynnlato ... I forgot I had sad all I wanted to say in this thread and forgot to ignore it.

                                                                                                        I wish this was one of those threads the mods would close as everyone has said everything and it gets repetative. Then the dumb topic wouldn't resurface every so often with people weighing in on what already has been covered.

                                                                                                        I guess what bothers me most about this is people taking an isolated and rare occurance and projecting other things on it. What ticked me off more was the plea for compassion.

                                                                                                        As a good tipper in general I've tipped well despite conditions not warrenting it. If the kitchen is to blame, I don't take it out on my server. I don'
                                                                                                        t use it for minor perceived slights. Soeone who is obviously new and training still gets their tip.

                                                                                                        In my entire life ... let's say many decades ... I can count on one hand the number of times I haven't tipped or left under a 15% tip. If this isolated incident happened to me ... well, I gave all the reasons why I would take back what little tip I left.

                                                                                                        On the other hand, if I accidently walked out without paying, I would expect to be stopped and in that case I would appoligie profusely and leave a huge tip. Some restaurants expect servers to pay for meals that people skip out on .... purposely or not ... and that is a real ding to a server. It is taking away money from someone not merely failing to increase their coffers by a few bucks.

                                                                                                        I'm just saying this post is about a specific liited rare scenario. Expanding it to more than it is seems silly to me. Stuff happens.

                                                                                                      2. re: Servorg

                                                                                                        As should the server err on the side of compassion.

                                                                                                        How many threads are there about servers avoiding tables with teachers who aren't big tippers. Is there compassion for somoene from a country that doesn't have the same tipping standards. Why doesn't that server give the customer the benefit of the doubt that the person had their own personal reason for leaving something not in their estimate to be adequate.

                                                                                                        The real work world is that all employers have compensation in their hands. If you don't do your job there is little compassion for whatever the reason is.

                                                                                                        There's little compassion for the worker who has elderly parents to take care of in addition to holding down that job. If they don't do that job they are fired.

                                                                                                        I sat in a meeting with a HR person telling us that they expected birth to be a outpatient proceedure. The woman drops by the hospital when ready, drops the baby and goes home immediately.

                                                                                                        You do your job whatever that is. If you don't you don't get compensated. At least servers get immediate feedback. Most of us wait a year to see if our services are compensated with a raise and for the most part if you corner the boss about wanting more, you better damn well have a good reason for asking for more not just because you expected more.

                                                                                                        I'm just saying.

                                                                                                        That there is so much discussion and strong feelings about this just doesn't register with me.

                                                                                                        The customer made a mistake. If you are a good server this isn't happening to you often. Let it go.

                                                                                                        If lots of customers are undercompensating you, you probably need to evalute what you are doing wrong.

                                                                                                        At an average dinner of say $50, why risk embarrasing someone over at most $10.

                                                                                                        1. re: rworange

                                                                                                          Way back when I waited tables at one of the premier establishments in the world, dinner tabs were more like $500-$5k a table..
                                                                                                          I was dealing with some of the richest people in the world and some are notorious at being very cheap..
                                                                                                          If it was only risking $10 every now and then per table...then that's way different then 20% of a $5k tab.
                                                                                                          Usually with the Celebrities, Heads of State and other Uber-Rich there was rarely a problem but you still had to take a hit for the occasional cheap ass and with 8% deducted from your declared tips that you didn't receive it, is a major hit.

                                                                                                          1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                            Once again. Let's address the OP. I doubt we were talking megabucks.

                                                                                                            If we are going to use your example, I am guessing the managment would have frowned if you cornered someone like Donald Trump or Oprah and told them they didn't give you enough.

                                                                                                            So if you are a regular smuck who undertips for whatever reason, does that mean automatically we shouldn't give that person the same courtesy as the uber rich?

                                                                                                            To use your own words soeone who undertips is a 'cheap ass'. When you confront someone for undertipping, though those are not the words used that is the message you conveyed ... you cheap ass. you didn't give me enough.

                                                                                                            What is ok about that?

                                                                                                            Being generous that 5k bill cost you $100 in taxes for the privileged of serving them. A 500 bill would be a $10 tax hit if totally stiffed. Don't forget the tax tab is 8% of the projected tip.

                                                                                                            Also, I'm guessing like most places that tips aren't yours and yours alone. You pool it with everyone so overall the effect is diluted by lots of people sharing that hit ... and you are all reaping the rewards of the people tipping above and beyond,.

                                                                                                            And even then, as you said, it was an occasional thing.

                                                                                                            We can come up with all sorts of scenarious. It is not something that happens frequently and, as I said, if you are getting stiffed often it might just be you.

                                                                                                            1. re: rworange

                                                                                                              I've worked at lots of highend places. Not one of them pooled tips. It's not very common.

                                                                                                              1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                TY... :-)

                                                                                                2. re: Servorg

                                                                                                  So well put. Now I can go to bed happy.

                                                                                    2. re: rworange

                                                                                      That's a fairly narrow definition that a tip is beyond the social contract that one in America enters into while dining. The idea that one will ONLY tip if they are so inclined is against the basic framework of the cost of going to a restaurant. If you do not want to tip then ask for take-out (let's not get into the whole tipping on take out please).

                                                                                      The other point af scorched earth theory is also something taht jfood has a hard time with. They did not kill your baby, slice open your face with a razor, they asked politely if there was a mistake on the bill. Running to a website and trashing a place, telling everyone not to go to a place because the customer violated a social contract is just wrong in jfood's opinion. Once again, you do not want to fulfill the social contract of eating in a restaurant, stay home.

                                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                                        I have no problem with the game playing that is tipping. I just don't wnat my server confronting me if it is deemed not enough ... no matter how 'professionaly' it is put.

                                                                                        1. re: rworange

                                                                                          If people are unwilling to adequately participate in the social contract of dining and tipping, then it is they who have created the first inappropriate action.

                                                                                          1. re: BrianRIngram

                                                                                            I agree with jfood, be kind and generous with your servers and you will receive good service. If you don't get good service, it is their problem, you have done the roght thing.

                                                                                            1. re: powillie

                                                                                              This has gotten away from the OP. It is not an argument about tipping or not tipping. There is no dispute about that.

                                                                                              However, if someone like the OP made a mistake, for some of us it is considered rude and unprofessional on the part of the server to take the customer to task about it.

                                                                                              Keep in mind this is the rare exception and not the norm.

                                                                                              1. re: powillie

                                                                                                Thanks Powillie. Jfood enjoys the discussions here and the side bars, he just cannot understand why some are so self centered and holier than thou that if they make a mistake, being asked in a polite manner if everything was OK is rude or confrontational. Oh yeah leaving a 5% tip and sneaking out with packing tape on your lips is mature. Yeah right.

                                                                                                Jfood thinks that some diners are just so involved with themsleves, feel they have absolutely nothing to learn, cannot fathom that anything they do or say could be anything than 100% perfect and cannot stand moving from the double yellow line of life. Asking if everything was OK is so far removed from confrontational or rude. It is firmly within the social contract of dining. People who will leave a 5% tip and then stick their heads in the sand and not mention anything are just cowards. The servers are human and deserve to know why their "pay" has just been reduced by 75% from the norm, heck jfood would like an explanation if he were on the receiving side.

                                                                                                Other than that jfood hopes that this happens infrequently, but if it does, let's be mature in our reactions versus acting like a 7-year old and taking our football home.

                                                                                            2. re: jfood

                                                                                              Servers are in a funny (strange) position. They are actually (if you look at it from the way in which they earn their living) working for each dining party as a consultant (much more so than they are working for the restaurant who pays them only a small fraction of their wage). So, in a way, the waiter in the OP's example was doing what salaried people do on a regular basis - they were asking their employer for a "raise" as it were.

                                                                                              And, as you say, tips are not "discretionary" when dining out in any real sense of the word (at leasts if you exist as a fully functioning, moral member of our society in America, they aren't).

                                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                No. It is not the same as being a consultant.

                                                                                                No one is saying that peole don't implicitly understand the tipping game.

                                                                                                The issue is a server confronting the customer about it.

                                                                                                I agree it is a strange position to be in. Dining is not a business agreement in any conventional sense. Dining is a social function mainly. It is something we enter into for personal pleasure.

                                                                                                If I have to start negotiating salary with my server during a meal, I might as well just eat in the office. I expect dining to take me away from business usually.

                                                                                                The really ... really ... grand point is that these types of situations are out of the norm. If a customer or two out of hundreds makes a mistake ... let it be.

                                                                                                My boyfriend remained a life time waiter. He works in a prestigious restaurant on the East Coast. His minimum wage with tips is 60k or more a year. He doesn't sweat the small stuff that occasionally happens.

                                                                                                My mom (long ago) pretty consistantly made $40 dollars a week with tips many, many years ago. That occasional penny tip didn't change that. She actually thought it was hilarious when that happened ... so much so that her restaurant nickname was Penny.

                                                                                                And so things have so changed that a customer is not considered a moral member of society should they choose to tip less than the expected and thinks the dining table is not the board room. Sheesh.

                                                                                                1. re: rworange

                                                                                                  "If I have to start negotiating salary with my server during a meal, I might as well just eat in the office. I expect dining to take me away from business usually."

                                                                                                  But in a very real way you are deciding (and it may be a very significant total of that day's pay) a part of your server's salary. Really, one should stay out of the restaurant if they aren't going honor their part of the understood, accepted service contract between diner and wait person who is working for them that night.

                                                                                                  "The really ... really ... grand point is that these types of situations are out of the norm. If a customer or two out of hundreds makes a mistake ... let it be."

                                                                                                  I have the feeling that anyone of us who works for a salary would be very unlikely to "let it be" if our boss "makes a mistake" even if it's only one or two times. YMMV

                                                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                    Well, having mentioned two close encounters of the server kind I know that it is not a significant part of any servers salary ... ten years of sitting at the kitchen table counting tips with my mom and over 30 years knowing my friend.

                                                                                                    I also like the waitstaff and many become my freinds ... in which case I stop reporting on Chowhound about that restaurant ... just ot be clear about that. They all make good salaries. I've never known one to have their rent in jeopardy because one customer stiffed them. The folks I know would not dream of bringing this issue up to a customer.

                                                                                                    A salaried person has a formal contract with a business. They are guaranteed a salary. A server has no such guarantees regarding tips. It is a different relationship.

                                                                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                                                                      Anecdotal stories aside, I approach the act of dining out as an employer / employee relationship in many ways. I try to be a good employer, and I trust that my server will try to be a good employee. I'll be clear in my requests and try to handle our interactions with good humor and patience, knowing that the server is not in control of the production staff in the back room.

                                                                                                      Just like any employee, they can mess up now and then. But I'm not going to dock their pay for each small infraction if I'm satisfied in the main with their performance. If something goes wrong did they try to make it right to the best of their ability?

                                                                                                      And, at the end of the evening, I'll make sure that my employee is compensated for their hard work. If I make a mistake on their "paycheck" I hope that they will bring that to my attention so that I can make it right. What goes round definitely comes round said the Buddha...

                                                                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                        Well, we are in no disagreement except the part about wanting a server to bring to my attention that they didn't find their gratuity acceptable. There's no issue of karma there.

                                                                                                        I have no power to fire a bad server. If despite my best efforts they don't deliver ... and it has nothing to do with the back room ... my only way to deal with them is to reduce or eliminate what I tip. When did that stop being the agreement with the waitstaff?

                                                                                                        I'm morally oblicated to pay someone who not only botched the job badly but may verbally call me to task about that?

                                                                                                        And from a few posts here, including my own, some people do make an effort to make good if they made a mistake ... without being strong-armed by the staff.

                                                                                                    2. re: Servorg

                                                                                                      as the rest of my comments on this thread went the way of the dodo, i'm going to try and stay out of most of it..... but a comment on the agreement between non-servers and their bosses...yes, most would not "let it be" if the boss paid us less than agreed, however at least in my job my salary doesn't fluctuate based on my production levels or whether I happen to do a particularly fantastic job that day, and the client goes away extra happy. No bonus for me, overtime excluded.

                                                                                                      i'm not saying servers don't deserve great tips, i'm just saying that the comparison to salaried positions really doesn't fit here.

                                                                                                      1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                        I'm not disagreeing. It's not a one for one by any means. But there are similar elements. Most salaried people tend to get a year end bonus. Or they expect, and get a raise at year end or on their hire date. Severs get almost immediate payment, and they get to find out how they were rated time after time after time by each party they "work" for - all night long. But we diners do decide on their pay rate in a very real sense. It's true, each of us is only one smaller part of the whole, but I'm certain that we can also influence directly how a server feels at the end of the night. If watching how my wife feels if she gets one nasty customer in her store, versus all the nice ones that proceeded that one "bad apple" is any measure it's the ones who treat you badly (financially and/or psychologically) who you remember (and who affect your mood).

                                                                                                  2. re: Servorg

                                                                                                    Very well put.

                                                                                                2. re: rworange

                                                                                                  If I were your friend, and you told your reaction to this to me, it would not make me not go to that place. It would give me more information about you, however.

                                                                                                  1. re: rworange

                                                                                                    What I find interesting is the OP came to see things differently after reading these posts.

                                                                                                    "Thanks everyone for the feedback. After hearing everyone's thoughts i agree that it wasn't rude and i understand.
                                                                                                    Although, if i were a server, i don't think that is something i would ever do. I would assume it was a mistake and let it go. I commend the waiter and the service that harry nile referenced."

                                                                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                                                                      As long as you're OK and won't question it if your cocktail and your entree are unexpectedly smaller than usual but you're still charged full price. Sorry but EVERY relationship in life is a two way street even if you're paying for something. I'm sure you'd question it also if your paycheck was oddly less than it should be. Don't forget servers rarely get to keep the entire tip. It has to be split with bartenders, bus people, food runners and such.

                                                                                                3. re: Coconuts

                                                                                                  Exactly!

                                                                                          2. re: Cachetes

                                                                                            yes but salaried people also work lots of hours that "dont count"

                                                                                            1. re: LaLa

                                                                                              And servers work numerous hours with few or no customers. Be kind and generous and you will receive good service.

                                                                                              1. re: LaLa

                                                                                                Salaried workers know how much they're going to receive for a week's worth of work, server's don't.

                                                                                            2. re: rworange

                                                                                              Hmm. I don't know how you can be so sure about all this. I am willing to give the waiter the benefit of the doubt.

                                                                                              Interesting that you say that the waiter should make a statement if he wants feedback, rather than actually asking a question. If the party did mean to leave only a 10% tip because of some problem with service but had not bothered to bring the problem to the waiter or mgr's attention, I don't think they'd be very likely to pipe up if the waiter just states "I hope service was satisfactory."

                                                                                              1. re: rworange

                                                                                                My SO worked a holiday at a nicer place in town. He had an 8 top for almost the whole night, they sat for 2 hours on the last bottle of wine. Only table for the whole night (many other servers did a couple of turns). They left $2 and the several hundred dollar bill with no complaint to the manager or reason to be dissatisfied. What is the right response here?

                                                                                                1. re: corneygirl

                                                                                                  Bring back the change.

                                                                                                  1. re: corneygirl

                                                                                                    That's why most restaurants have a mandatory 18% tip for groups of 6 or more.

                                                                                                    You know, it is really odd. But thinking back on when my mom was a waitress which was quite a while ago, it was usually those large groups that stiffed the servers.I know the wait staff always dreaded those large groups. Way back then, the concept of a mandatory tip would not have been somethng a restaurant could do.

                                                                                                    I wonder why that is with big groups.

                                                                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                                                                      I find it happens in large groups as well. Like you, I am not sure why.

                                                                                                      Friends and family who have worked as servers hate to see large groups, especially of women, elderly or teachers.

                                                                                                      1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                        My experience is that when in a group where everyone puts in money toward the tab, some people's math skills are lacking. They have an amount in their mind, but forget that they ordered the second beer or shared an app. They remember that their main was $11.50, so they throw in $12-13 and think that covers it. Lots of people forget about tax and tip as well as half their own order. If no one will fess up to not paying their share and no one wants to throw in extra to cover the tip for all the underpayers, the server gets stiffed.

                                                                                                        1. re: akq

                                                                                                          My favorite is when everyone claims that they put in "a bunch extra", yet you're not only short on the tip but short on the *bill*.

                                                                                                      2. re: rworange

                                                                                                        I think if a single person is paying, it all depends on the habits or views of that individual. But, from experience, if the group is splitting the bill, there are always one, or two, or three people who underpay. Then, it is up to others to compensate, but that depends on other people being vigilant about it (keeping an eye on the final amount collected).
                                                                                                        I remember that in college, we would often go out as a group, and there was one woman who ALWAYS underpaid,and my friend Missy and I (the two poorest of the group!) would throw in a few extra bucks each to compensate.

                                                                                                        And for Janet: just a question, how would servers know whether their customers were teachers?

                                                                                                        1. re: Cachetes

                                                                                                          "...how would servers know whether their customers were teachers?"

                                                                                                          It's pretty easy. They usually order one glass of wine, split an entree and leave a meager tip. :)

                                                                                                          Oh yeah, they talk about school stuff.

                                                                                                          1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                            See! We do need to be paying our teachers more! Though I'm not certain that would save them from the holiday outfits that Janet mentions...

                                                                                                          2. re: Cachetes

                                                                                                            Often they are recognized as teachers from a particular school and/or restaurant staff has had one of more of them as teachers at some point.

                                                                                                            Or it's the last day of school. Or they are wearing holiday outfits <g>.

                                                                                                            1. re: Cachetes

                                                                                                              "...how would servers know whether their customers were teachers?"

                                                                                                              Oh, we know. And Janet is right - they are not a highly desired table. Water and salads. It's not nice, but its the way it is.

                                                                                                              To invinotheresverde: And sometimes the reservation is made in the name of their school. :-)

                                                                                                            2. re: rworange

                                                                                                              Earlier you stated "Right or wrong, the way the system is currently in the US is that a tip is a gratuity. The definition of gratuity in Webster
                                                                                                              http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictio...

                                                                                                              "something given voluntarily or beyond obligation usually for some service; especially : tip"

                                                                                                              Now how does one rationalize a "mandatory tip"?

                                                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                The wording should be changed in that case. I think it is wrong that menus state a 'gratuity' of xxx will be added for parties of xx or more.

                                                                                                                Say what it is ... a 'service charge' of xxx will be added for parties of xx or more.

                                                                                                                Until we stop calling it a tip, until Webster changes the definition, no tip is required.

                                                                                                                Maybe this isn't true of anyone else in the world, but when I tip it is an acknowledgement of the service I have been given. For me really lousy service means 15% ... sometimes, though rarely 10% ... and on occasion nothing. On those few nothing occasions it means I will never return to the restaurant.

                                                                                                                Standard service is 20% and exemplary is whatever. The rules are thrown out at inexpensive eats places. People deserve more than $2 on a $10 tab.

                                                                                                                When my mom was a waitress, displeasure with service was shown with a one cent tip. The customer didn't want to leave any doubt that the tip was 'forgotten'.

                                                                                                                Harsh, huh? Life's harsh.

                                                                                                                And the servers in my mom's day rolled with it. They didn't torture the customer about WHY oh WHY did you leave me a penny. Few people left a penny. Some people are grouches. Leave them be.

                                                                                                                My mom didn't think her customers owed her anything. If she did a good job, she usually got good tips. Maybe society has changed. Sorry, I haven't. If someone demands money of me that I am not obligated to pay, I'm going to talk about it.

                                                                                                                1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                  But the point is, that the op intended to leave more. I could see your point of view if it were otherwise, if the service had been bad or if the server was demanding about it. But the server sensed that they had made a mistake and was correct! That's why what you are saying is not making sense to me because of that fact. Plenty of servers roll with it when people leave 10% it's when you sense that's not what the patron wanted to leave that a person might say something. There's just something twisted in your logic for me.

                                                                                                                  1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                    "The wording should be changed in that case. I think it is wrong that menus state a 'gratuity' of xxx will be added for parties of xx or more." and

                                                                                                                    "Until we stop calling it a tip, until Webster changes the definition, no tip is required. "

                                                                                                                    Now who is putting lipstick on that poor pig and getting caught up in semantics. Hiding behind the definition from a 19th century scholar is a poor excuse for bad behavior.

                                                                                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                      no, no tip is required, however without a tip your servers are earning less than minimum wage. agree or disagree, that is the simple fact of the matter. one may or may not care - but that's a different issue

                                                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                                                        >>> without a tip your servers are earning less than minimum wage

                                                                                                                        Sorry, I'm not going allow myself to feel bad or be painted as an uncaring person for the simple fact that I don't think it is part of a servers job description to hound a customer about a tip.

                                                                                                                        If conventions have changed let me know.

                                                                                                                        Servers: bad service = low or no tip.

                                                                                                                        One of my definitions of bad service is for a server coming back to me and asking for more. At that point, if I haven't told them already about what went wrong, they will hear loud and clear.

                                                                                                                        Catch 22 for me. If I did make a mistake and someone calls me on it, that throws them in the bad server category.

                                                                                                                        On those rare occasions I've made a mistake ... by undertipping ... I've made good if that was possible. And ... how about this for a concept ... for the times I've overtipped ... I've never asked for the money back.

                                                                                                                        For all the karma talk ... give it a real chance.

                                                                                                                        Seriously, when did we become so ... I don't even have a word for it ... that we automatically think it is ok for people to be rude to us and then blame the person who is abused. In fact, we don't even recognize it as agressively rude.

                                                                                                                        1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                          In this post and the one above you talk about a server who botched the job and is rude, the op specifically said they were happy with the service therefore I must assume you are referring to a personal situation. In the situation that the op has posted about it was at most an infraction not "rude" as the op said the server asked to make sure the amount was correct. The thing is rw we often in social situations use "polite language" when we really think something else. I still don't see why this upsets you. I also think that knowing people (even your mom) who have waited tables doesn't mean you know what it's like when you are doing the job. It's possible your friends don't tell you about the times they may have said something.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Missmoo

                                                                                                                            Indeed.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Missmoo

                                                                                                                              No. I think the situtation with the OP was rude no matter how happy they said the rest of the service was. The OP says they were taken aback by this behavior.

                                                                                                                              What really upsets me about this was the initial posts where the OP poster gets told his/her feelings were invalid. This is professional behavior on behalf of the server .

                                                                                                                              I just emailed one friend and was told if their boss ever heard them do this to a customer they would be severly warned and dismissed if it occurred again.

                                                                                                                              So there are some restaurants who do recognize how inapproriate the server's action was. I'm not alone here. I have a few more emails out there to servers I know but ... well, it is dinner time and they are on the way to work.

                                                                                                                              If I hear anything different from them I'll post back. However, I needed my own reality check from good servers.

                                                                                                                              What has happened to our society when something like this not only is approved, but people virtually pat that server on the back and say 'good job'; do whatever needs to be done so that not one penny slips through your fingers.

                                                                                                                              I guess the places I frequent, the servers I know and like, think it is part of the job to make my dining experience as pleasant as possible. I'm happy to compensate them for that.

                                                                                                                          2. re: thew

                                                                                                                            Whether waitstaff earns less than minimum wage without a tip does depend on which state or locality you're in. In some places, servers have a legal base wage below the standard minimum, in others they must be paid minimum wage before tips.

                                                                                                                        2. re: jfood

                                                                                                                          You're right, the wording should be changed. Start thinking of it as a commission or service charge. But sorry, it should be viewed as mandatory. Someone who works for commission like a realtor or car salesperson gets their % regardless of your mood or whim. Like it or not, in the U.S. customers must pay the server's salary. Where I work , the tip is the only money that I receive. My "paycheck" for the $3/hr I get always goes to taxes - even the tax I HAVE to pay on sales from tables who don't tip. Or on the money I lose because the owner takes a % away from tips on credit cards to recover processing fees. As others have said there's lots of downtime for all kinds of reasons like bad weather when servers may have to be on the floor all night and only make $20.

                                                                                                                  2. re: akq

                                                                                                                    "(b) informed the mgr who could then have approached your party and inquired as to whether the service was sub-par (but the waiter would have had to bring the possible issue to his/her boss's attention without knowing what your party would have told the mgr or even if the mgr would follow up"

                                                                                                                    A good server has no issues telling their manager about such an issue. What do they have to be afraid of/hide? If they believe they did their best, and the customer says otherwise, that is a necessary learning opportunity.

                                                                                                                    "This waiter took the direct approach, but did it in as polite a way possible"

                                                                                                                    Soooo, he did something rude in the politest way possible? greaaaaaaat.(sarcasm intended)

                                                                                                                    The waiter was rude. In that situation you suck it up and accept the tip. Lets all remember what we are talking about......money that is ABOVE AND BEYOND WHAT THE BILL IS! just like you have to take into account the cheap asses in this world(and incidentally I have never heard a Waiter complain about all the over tippers out there!?), you have to give allowance for honest mistakes. That means refraining from publicly embarrassing the people that you depend on for your livelihood.

                                                                                                                    1. re: nkeane

                                                                                                                      Being direct is not necessarily the same thing as being rude...

                                                                                                                      I don't think the waiter publicly embarassed anyone. He didn't say anything about the size of the tip, nor did he accuse the party of anything. OP says he simply brought the receipt slips back and asked the party to check whether they were correct. The party could easily say yes it is correct or no it is not correct. No problem. If the party had said the receipt was correct, the waiter could have just left it, could have asked about the service or (better) gone to the mgr and the mgr could follow up. In fact, the receipt total was NOT correct and OP's party corrected it. No problem.

                                                                                                                      I think it's entirely possible that a diner might feel more embarassed if the mgr (the "authority") came to the table to ask about the tip. I think having the mgr deal with it would be totally acceptable, but I don't see the problem with what the waiter did since he had not yet established whether there was an actual problem yet...

                                                                                                                  3. It's interesting reading the variety of responses.I'm in the waiter handled this well camp.
                                                                                                                    They didn't confront you on the tip and as a customer if I made a mistake calculating the tip I would appreciate the opportunity to rectify it.If I had intended to tip 10% I would have just responded that everything was correct and that would have been the end of it.Why be embarrassed if you feel the tip you left was adequate?To get a manager involved seems like overkill and much more embarrassing to the customer. The server handled it on their own as they should have.Your party made an error that directly impacts your server's livelihood.I would think your response would have been that you were glad to have the chance to amend the tip rather than being offended by the waiter's actions.

                                                                                                                    1. The waiter's approach to the problem was correct.

                                                                                                                      At our restaurant, we direct waitstaff to let a manager interact with customers when small/no gratuities are left. A little more than half the time, the customer's made an honest mistake and is glad it's brought to his/her attention. The rest of the time, the customer's intent was to leave a poor/no gratuity. There're a portion of those who intend to tip poorly who'd respond the way some of the posters here have -- that *any* inquiry about gratuity is inappropriate and should result in *no* gratuity. That's just awful, in my book. Just another excuse for being, for lack of a better term, cheap.

                                                                                                                      To those who don't believe the server should've asked: Have you ever asked, let's say, a cashier, to check the change you've been given because they've made a mistake? It's money. To simply dismiss paying *money* to your server as a "mistake" -- it's more than a mistake. It's cheating them out of a (modest) living wage.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: shaogo

                                                                                                                        Wow. Please tell me your restaurant name so I can avoid it. I'm sure you wouldn't want me there anyway.

                                                                                                                        No. It is NOT the same as getting incorrect change. This was not a mistake on the part of the server. It was a mistake on part of the customer. And given all the warm fuzzies on this thread, the customer in the OP was taken aback.

                                                                                                                        Again, if you are concerned when a small gratuity is left, at most, even at management level ask if the service was ok.

                                                                                                                        And to those who purposely leave a small tip to indicate poor service ... jeezz

                                                                                                                        Do you even think about the customer's perspective?

                                                                                                                        Here you've had a lousy meal for whatever reason and for most leaving no or a small tip in itself is distressful. Now you have to confront a manager hounding you about it and have to voice your displeasure in no uncertain terms. immediately

                                                                                                                        Please. Leave that decision to the customer. If things are that bad, IMO, if the customer wants to speak to the manager then and there, that is their decision. If it is easier to follow up later with a letter or phone call about problems, that should be their decision.

                                                                                                                        And if it is your intent that the waiter get a certain percentage ... always ... just put a note at the bottom of the menu saying xx gratuity is automatically added.

                                                                                                                      2. If the OP felt it was rude it was rude, no excuses for defending the waiter.
                                                                                                                        I was in restaurant management and told servers never confront or question a customer about a tip. They know it's a numbers game and it all averages out in the end...good tips and bad tips and mistakes are a fact of life too. Can't tell you how many servers we fired over stupid tip confrontations no matter how innocent or rude. If the customer feels it was rude, it was rude. Sh_t happens.

                                                                                                                        1. Where I work, if the customer has left a low tip and paid with cash, the server simply bring back the change, with the bills fanned out and the bill obviously displayed. This usually results in a recalculation.

                                                                                                                          If they pay with credit card, there's nothing much one can do, although I've heard of restaurants asking patrons to initial tips lower than 10% on the credit card slip- to sign off the service wasn't bad.

                                                                                                                          1. I'm not on the restaurant scene as much as I was when I was single. But ever since I witnessed for the first time the chicken entree over $25 at a restaurant me thinks that the restaurant owners at some of these places at least can afford to pay the waitstaff a salary. Why should we have to tip on top of $10 glasses of wine and entrees in the mid - high $20s? A 15-20% tax (which is what it amounts to) on top is a disgrace. And then the waitstaff wants to give the customer attitude over a tip when it should be directed at his/her boss for not paying you a salary but allowing the public to subsidize you. I still tip 20% btw.

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                              They charge $25 for that chicken and $10 for that glass of wine otherwise they wouldn't make a net profit of 10%.
                                                                                                                              There are several fixed and variable expenses in running a restaurant and it's all about the margins which are either going make you or break you. If you didn't tip it isn't a matter of a 15%-20% added on, it probably wouldn't cover what they would have to pay the service staff. You aren't only "paying" the server when you give a tip, but it's shared with some of the other staff when they "tip out"....tipping the bus staff, bartender, maitre d' etc... who are mostly minimum wage also.

                                                                                                                            2. Just out of curiosity, how close are this servers actions to the server who says "Do you need change?" as he walks away with the check and money?

                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                                please , lets not start that thread again. they ask to save steps, not to steal money. 99.9% of the time they ask they have not looked at the money, and do not know if they would get a good or a crap tip with the money in hand.

                                                                                                                                1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                  Wow...my head is spinning. I've dealt with this from many angles. When I was a server I would not have dreamed of questioning a low tip though I pointed out over-tips many times (an extra twenty on a small check for instance). Even with the occasional bad tip my AVERAGE was always good. Pointing out an over-tip has no down side. It reflected my integrity. Pointing out a poor tip has many possible negative outcomes that are just as likely as an increased tip. I don't think that risk vs possible reward is justified. A tip IS optional and an occasional mistake is part of the price we pay for making a living this way. And when you make a living this way for 20 or 30 years (as I did) you aren't in it for the low pay. That being said, I have on occasion (as a manager) approached a customer very discretely about a stiff or exceptionally bad tip, and only in rare circumstances. They are almost receptive to my concern about the quality of the service. Since I don't have a vested financial interest in the outcome it doesn't appear to be only about the money. And almost every time there is an issue of oversight or forgetfulness, like engaging in converstion at their table while signing (or not) their credit slip or paying cash. But no matter how politely it's done, a server should never question a tip. You can'r ask with a straight face how the service was since you were the one providing it!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: soxlover

                                                                                                                                    Thank you.
                                                                                                                                    You are a credit to the profession and make it honorable.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: monku

                                                                                                                                      Thank you to monku for your kind words.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: soxlover

                                                                                                                                      Sorry, I left out the word "always" between almost and receptive. Hope the meaning came through anyway. Wow, I shouldn't type that early in the morning! I see now where I spelled "can't" with an r. Makes me sound like Scotty from Star Trek, lol.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: soxlover

                                                                                                                                        Jfood agrees with your statement that the server should never question the tip, that is the responsibility of the MOD.

                                                                                                                                  2. Is anyone else here reminded of the Soprano's episode where a waiter complains about being stiffed, and meets a decidedly unpleasant end?

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: mellycooks

                                                                                                                                      What does that tell you?
                                                                                                                                      The waiter shouldn't have complained about being stiffed, it's a numbers game.

                                                                                                                                    2. WHAT IF....the OP's friend and party were dissatisfied with the service and meant to leave a 10% tip. I don't think they'd feel any less taken aback and would definitely find it rude that the server came back to make sure the receipts were correct. Then would it be OK for the server to come back and question the receipts?

                                                                                                                                      This post brings back memories of servers I've worked with who more often than not have delusions of grandeur and don't think they can ever make a mistake or deserve anything less than a 15% tip. Fact is sometimes no matter how good a server may think their service to a customer has been, there are sometimes slip ups in service and sometimes they might do something they don't realize that rubs the customer the wrong way.

                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: monku

                                                                                                                                        " there are sometimes slip ups in service and sometimes they might do something they don't realize that rubs the customer the wrong way" Grr.... like the time I approached a deuce and said "are you Gentlemen ready to order?" It being Berkeley, after I realized that they were "womyn", I said "let me get your waiter for you" and then pleaded with a co-worker to take over the table for me. She did (thank you Chris!!) and all was swell from that point on. foot in mouth disease.... adam

                                                                                                                                        1. re: adamshoe

                                                                                                                                          Ouch! Ha! Nice move though in handing the table over to a co-worker. Talk about a win-win! Brilliant!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: adamshoe

                                                                                                                                            Thanks! This thread needed a laugh

                                                                                                                                        2. waiters are, well, waiters. sometimes they get over-tipped, sometime under-tipped. that's really not the point. diners will tip the waiter what they tip. a waiter's caviling with a diner's tip decision is something that management has to deal with. immediately.

                                                                                                                                          high taxes sometime contribute to over-tipping. a smart waiter gets it and moves on.

                                                                                                                                          1. When a patron is inibriated, and leaves a wacky large tip in error, does the same waiter come back and ask if the calculations are correct? Never in my years on the planet.

                                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: DallasDude

                                                                                                                                              If you're inebriated, chances are your "wacky large tip" may be warranted, but if you had read through the previous posts, you'll have noticed that several people have mentioned the server asking if they were sure or something similar for an exceptionally generous tip. I have had this experience as well, not just cause I was like totally wasted, dude.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: DallasDude

                                                                                                                                                And according to rw you should not return the tip because we should never question what the client leaves!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Missmoo

                                                                                                                                                  and if you do ask, you forfit the tip, and deserve to be kicked out of the restaurant

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Missmoo

                                                                                                                                                    HA!
                                                                                                                                                    Excellent point Missmoo!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Missmoo

                                                                                                                                                      OK, I'm finally leaving the house and this thread after being cooped up with the flu for the last eight days. I won't be following along with this anymore as everything to be said has been. It just gets repetative. Talk among yourselves.

                                                                                                                                                      I had one final thought.

                                                                                                                                                      Everyone knows what the OP was thinking. It was indeed a mistake in calculations. And this whole thread is pretty much focused on the customer. .

                                                                                                                                                      We don't really know the server's motivation for asking the question.

                                                                                                                                                      Did she look at that tip and think "Oops, I'll bet they calculated this wrong and will feel bad later when they realize their mistake. How can I nicely bring it to their attention?"

                                                                                                                                                      Or did she think "Those cheap bastards. I'm not letting anyone get away with this. I'm going to confront them about this in a nice passive/aggressive way. At best, I'll get the money I deserve. At worst they'll know not to be so cheap again?"

                                                                                                                                                      If it is the latter, does it make it any better than the server who chases after a patron and throws the tip at them in rage.

                                                                                                                                                      We don't know.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                                                        Who cares what they thought? The point is were they polite in their approach? And I will say no more ;)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Missmoo

                                                                                                                                                          My thought is - so what if the waiter thought "those cheap bastards - etc etc."

                                                                                                                                                          I know if I gave great service to a table all night, and all seemed to go well, and then I got a poor tip - I would certainly think that!!
                                                                                                                                                          Who wouldn't??

                                                                                                                                                          As long as the server did not SAY that to them, then I think he handled the situtation correctly.

                                                                                                                                                  2. sometimes with the tipping & service threads it seems like some of us are living in feudal societies and others are not. how *dare* the server speak to me, check in with me, bring or remove items from the table, tell me to have a nice day, etc.

                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                      Well stated.....
                                                                                                                                                      Some go dining looking for such feudal encounters
                                                                                                                                                      I feel exactly the same way.....
                                                                                                                                                      I feel it so bad I gravitate towards buffets and take outs where you don't feel indebted to the waiter (though I do tip) and he isn't your rent-a-slave for an hour or so. I am uncomfortable having people wait on me and my dining companion(s)

                                                                                                                                                      I notice more and more places where you order at the counter, pay at the counter, get your hot food at the counter and sit at a table with no wait service.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                        Well put.I was thinking the same thing as I went back to this thread over the last few days.
                                                                                                                                                        While the people working at a restaurant or bar are providing a service for their customers I don't view it as a superior/subordinate relationship.For me bartenders,waitstaff,etc are collaborators in what I hope will be a fun,tasty,satisfying time out on the town.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: TooLooseLaTrek

                                                                                                                                                          A combination of a good sales person, consultant and facilitator - with a dash of performance artist, wry comedian & therapist thrown into the mix...usually makes for an excellent evening out (as long as the food measures up - and sometimes even if it doesn't).

                                                                                                                                                      2. I think the waiter handled it well. It happened to me once. A few of us split a very large bill for a big group and goofed up on the tip. The waiter simply asked if it was correct. We were mortified and rectified the situation.

                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rednyellow

                                                                                                                                                          Big groups are infamous for stiffing waiters unintentionally on purpose. I'm sure you guys made his night.

                                                                                                                                                        2. Times is tuff all over
                                                                                                                                                          Don't be offended unless this is what you are looking for

                                                                                                                                                          If I was in your shoes I would have paid more with no complaint and no feeling of being "offended". What does more mean? Enough to take it up to 15% or more

                                                                                                                                                          1. I had something similar happen with a hair stylist I like and trust. She does a great job. Last time I paid with a credit card and asked her to add fifteen dollars for her tip. (I usually pay the tip in cash as I know it is more considerate but this time leaving a charge tip was a lot more convenient for me. She let out a loud hissing sound as if she was in pain, and I realized I must have not left enough tip. I quickly said "on second thought make it twenty dollars" in a cheerful voice. She said that it was probably better if I filled in the tip amount, which I did, for twenty dollars. Another hair stylist was standing near by, and I felt vibes that things had been smoothed over and ruffled feathers had been soothed. But I have never gone back, the whole thing was awkward. Nor have I been to someone else. Now I just get my friend to help me with my hair. It doesn't look as good but my conclusion was that I really probably can't afford to get my hair done professionally. People may make a mistake (I made two, one by not handing her cash and two by not leaving enough tip) and it is possible to correct them and get the right amount for a tip. But it might not do much for repeat business.

                                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                                                                                              if your reasons are economic then by all means do not go back. But if it because you care what these people think of you then you are giving them way more power than they deserve.

                                                                                                                                                              that said, not voicing the tip amount aloud might be a good policy, in general

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                                                                                                Did you have some new procedure done that made the amount you owed one you hadn't every paid before? I only ask because, since you ordinarily left a cash tip you obviously knew how much you left her - so the same amount would get added to your cc would it not? Or did you now surmise you had always been "under tipping" her even when it had been given to her in cash? I guess I'm a little confused?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                                                                                                  You can afford to get your hair done professionally, what you can't afford is to have it done by anyone who'd audibly wince over a tip. I've had haircuts and spa treatments in many places, and have never witnessed anything like that.

                                                                                                                                                                  I'm with servorg, i'm a little confused. Presumably nothing wrong all along, but because this time she made the *ouch* sounds (bad behaviour), you increased the tip ? Equally confused on how you think this is your fault or that you are unworthy of a hair cut. It's not like you left her a quarter on the counter. And she lost a regular customer over it.

                                                                                                                                                                  re: Thew's "more power than they deserve"...I agree, however you've probably never had your crowning glory in the hands of someone who could inflict all sorts of nastiness on it. lol.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                                    sadly my crowning glory, once thick and halfway down my back, is now mostly memory

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                                                                                                    I was thinking that too thew. Next time cash all the way for me or at least not saying the amount out loud. I'm learning. Thanks for all the responses. As to why I caved and left more, it is because of nomad's reason. I wanted to be able to go back without any resentment. But I thought it over and decided to heck with it! I do think Dave, that she was more assertive because her colleague was right there.

                                                                                                                                                                  3. At a casual lunch spot in New York recently, I was somewhat taken aback when I received the bill. Not only was it stamped (in red) with "service not included. Normal gratuity 18-20%", there was also a patronising hand-written note included with the same information, and a picture of a man wearing a bow-tie (presumably a reference to the fact that we are English). I thought this was rude in the extreme, and was sorely tempted to reduce the tip to 15% as a result (I didn't - even though the service was actually pretty mediocre).

                                                                                                                                                                    BTW, this was the only place that this happened in the whole of a nearly three-week trip.

                                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                      "and a picture of a man wearing a bow-tie (presumably a reference to the fact that we are English)"

                                                                                                                                                                      I think a bowler hat might have been a better symbol... ;-D> Don't let them guilt you into tipping more if the service definitely doesn't measure up.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                        FWIW The additional handwritten note may have been because a lot of people from other countries just don't tip because it is not done "at home" and your server may have gotten burned a few times. The bow tie was probably meant to portray the server.

                                                                                                                                                                        Tipping issues always get the longest, most heated threads.

                                                                                                                                                                        Hope you enjoyed your visit.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                                                                          I would have thought the stamp on the bill would have been enough. And as I said, noone else thought it necessary, in the dozens of other restaurants we visited.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                            Agree with everything you said. Sometimes when you travel in furrin lands, you fall among thieves. He may just have been a snit.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                          The handwritten note was uncalled for and the attempt to lessen the "kicking youin the shins" with the cartoon was childish.

                                                                                                                                                                          Turn the check over and write..."I can read the big red stamp" and place a :-(( face next to it. Hand him the tip and tell him there was no need for the added verbiage.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                            Or perhaps, "Rudeness IS included, apparently! Too bad for your tip!" and leave them next to nothing.

                                                                                                                                                                        3. You sure your friend "miscalculated"? You are sure he just isn't cheap?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. True Story:
                                                                                                                                                                            I was at a fairly nice restaurant a year or so ago. We had perhaps one too many drinks, left, went home, and later that night I was thinking about the meal and realized that I had left 12% instead of 20% as a tip. Sure enough, checking my receipt, this was the case.

                                                                                                                                                                            The next day as soon as the restaurant opened, I raced over to remedy the situation with an envelope of cash for the specific waiter. I remembered his name and it was also written on my receipt. He was actually there and 1) remembered me 2) remembered being short-tipped 3) was very grateful.

                                                                                                                                                                            There are better ways to handle this than having a waiter rudely and unrofessionally get in a patron's face asking in a round about way if they meant to leave a higher tip.

                                                                                                                                                                            I guarantee if the waiter in my case had done what the waiter in the OP's case did, I probably would have said "No, this is what I meant to leave" and reduced the tip to 5%.

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: taos

                                                                                                                                                                              "Getting in" someone's face is different from asking a question.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Another True Story:
                                                                                                                                                                              Many years ago we were going to a fairly nice Boston restaurant to celebrate a friend's birthday...just his wife and about 20 of his closest friends. The reservation was made about a month in advance. We all arrived prior to the requested time, and were invited to have a drink in the lounge. We were seated almost 45 minutes late on the 2nd floor dining area. Was the late seating due to another party lingering? No, they just hadn't gotten around to setting up the table until we inquired about when we would be seated. (We wanted to make sure everyone had arrived.)

                                                                                                                                                                              From the beginning the service was sub-par. No, "Would you care for another drink?" (Several in the party did.) When the entrees were delivered most were delivered to the wrong party. (Not even the usual "Who gets the...") No, "Is everything o.k? (In several cases it wasn't and the server had to be flagged down.) We weren't offered refills on our beverages, or offered dessert or coffee. If it weren't for the company it would have been an unsatisfactory evening.

                                                                                                                                                                              As prearranged, I put the entire bill on my credit card and everyone gave me their share in cash. I left the tip (about 10%) on the table. As the party broke up, my friend and I were the last to leave the room. As we were getting ready to leave, the waiter comes running up and says, "What was wrong with the service? There is no tip on the check." I replied the service wasn't that great but the tip is on the table. "Oh, I'm sorry, sir."

                                                                                                                                                                              We went down stairs and continued to linger and chat as the women folk went to the Ladies. The waiter comes down the stairs and loudly asks, "Why did you leave no tip?' "It's on the table." "No it's not! I looked and there is no tip on the table!" Of course everyone in the reasonably full lounge area is looking at us.

                                                                                                                                                                              I stalked up the stairs, closely followed by the waiter and my friend. I went to the table, picked up the tip, put it in my pocket, and said in a calm voice, "Now there is no tip! I also want to speak to the manager." "Oh please, sir. I am very sorry." "Get me the manager or I will cause a scene." My friend piped in, "And he will, too."

                                                                                                                                                                              The manager was summoned, and the whole evening's story related from the late seating, to the poor service, to the waiter's behavior. The manager, surprisingly, made excuses for all of the short comings, and did not apologize for any of it.

                                                                                                                                                                              Needless to say, we never went back there.

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                                                                                "Needless to say, we never went back there".

                                                                                                                                                                                Awesome all the way around !!

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Let's face it - none of of us were there so we can't say whether or not the waiter was being rude or the diners were being too sensitive. The tone of voice the waiter used, the body language of everyone etc. can all make a difference to the exchange. Consider two hypothetical examples below:

                                                                                                                                                                                Example 1: Waiter walks back with receipts, gives a friendly smile and asks in a nice, friendly voice "Just confirming everything is correct with the receipts, sir?"

                                                                                                                                                                                Example 2: Waiter stalks back with receipts, glares and abruptly says: "Just confirming everything is correct with the receipts, sir?" as he positions his pointed finger on the tip line of the receipt.

                                                                                                                                                                                It just goes to show how even with the same words being spoken, you can have two completely different conversations or confrontations if you will. OP - any chance you captured the event on your cellphone camera so we can better judge? j/k! ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. Hi folks,

                                                                                                                                                                                  We've gone ahead and locked this thread, as all that can be said has pretty much been said, and things are getting heated.