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Feb 11, 2013 02:00 PM

Are "shared" tips Communism in action?


I have a favorite greasy spoon I frequent for breakfasts or burger plates probably 60 or so times a year. The wait service is brusque, curt, most of the time off-putting. These ladies know me as a regular. But the service I get is indifferent--always.

My bill for a meal is usually $7/8. I tip $2.00 Obviously more than 20%.

So after years of this treatment, the lightbulb went off! I finally noticed that the table busser takes all tips and drop them in a bucket under the counter at the front of the restaurant. Ah, these servers split all the tips left during their shift.

So I think: my 22% tip means nothing more to any of the servers than a 10% tip left by someone else. It's all homogenized at the end of shift, so there is no reason for the servers to provide pleasant service to me, specifically.

Your observations?

    1. Well....on the for pleasant service, since a good tip for one is a good tip for all, why not be uniformly of good cheer?

      3 Replies
      1. re: pinehurst

        Honestly, I don't know how to answer you, pine.

        I eat at this place because I think it makes the the best breakfast at the nicest price anywhere I dine. And the flaptop grilled burgers are artery-clogging good. I'd like some small acknowlegement that I'm a regular, and that I appreciate the service these ladies provide me by tipping well. That doesn't happen!

        1. re: RedTop

          It's been my observation that in any business attitude tends to start with management and flow downhill. You seem to be taking personally a group 'tude that isn't about you. If the waitstaff in general is sour, it probably isn't that they're all just unhappy with life, but they may be unhappy with the particular restaurant where they're employed, and that may or may not have anything to do with the distribution of tips, or the courtesy of their customers. I've worked with a lot of people who did restaurant service at one time or another and they each had a lot of tales to tell about the behind-the-scenes problems they endured. Maybe at this particular restaurant the overall environment makes for an unhappy "family" of employees, and so a dysfunctional relationship with customers.

          And, according to Jan and Michael Stern, of "Roadfood" writings, some restaurants actually seem to pride themselves on the grumpiness of the waitstaff and how fast they churn customers through. Go figger, but enjoy the roadfood.

          1. re: afridgetoofar

            I've noticed that one particular grocery store I go to has friendly employees who always smile and say hello, whether it's the guy in produce, the guy in dairy, or the checkout lady (I'm a "regular") and other stores have grumpy employees. I've also noticed that these same folks have been at this store for a *long* time. I've always figured that the "good" grocery store must have management that makes the employees relatively happy to show up every day. Obviously no tipping or not tipping to blame here.

      2. Tip "pooling" as the industry term goes is hardly unique to this establishment but rather widely practiced.

        There are a few things in play here, obviously tipping is supposed to be based on the merit of the service received not on what is desired. So if the service remains sub par your tipping shouldn't remain generous or excessive. (Even if we are talking fractions of a dollar)

        The concept of pooling is generally based upon everyone working together towards a common goal, in this case excellent service. If your not receiving that than perhaps a comment to a manager is in order in addition to a reduction of your tip amount.

        1. Oh, please. Your title is way over the top.

          1. after you reduce your tip percentage, please let us know if you perceive any difference in the quality of service you receive.
            this could be an interesting experiment.