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A new wrinkle in discussion about tipping

LOCKED DISCUSSION

http://dcist.com/2013/03/aipac_bad_ti...

While trying to avoid any political issues (either expressed in the article or other views) - what do you think about stiffing someone part of a tip for a political message or viewpoint expressed as an article of clothing? Based on what we know of the story, nothing the server said directly to the customers resulted in her docked tip - just the message on her t-shirt.

If you saw a server wearing a shirt with a view that was contrary to yours - would you do the same? Would you leave? Would you suck it up as an "experience" but avoid the place in future if you got a strong vibe that it was a place that encouraged those "contrary" views?

  1. "Busboys and Poets is open about its progressive leanings, and does not prevent its employees from expressing their political beliefs. "We actually encourage it," another restaurant employee says."

    That really sums it up. If you enter an establishment that encourages its employees and customers to express their political beliefs (check out the website) then you can hardly be shocked by an opinion that's not aligned with yours. This is a silly controversy.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ferret

      Best answer.

      It's up to the diner to perform a little due diligence!

      If you don't agree with the "politics" or the attire or whatever of a business, Do Not Attend.

      e.g.: I hate armpits+food. Just icks me out. I don't go to "Hooters"* or other bare-armpit-server-friendly establishments.(*The food, is, of course, another topic, ahem).

      Attending, dining, ~then~ stiffing the waitstaff?...never appropriate in my world.

      1. re: ferret

        These customers were not locals. They were here for a conference. They wouldn't have known that.

        When I was at U of MD, I used to buy lunch at the food coop in the Stamp Student Union. I just wanted a sandwich but I had to deal with an avalanche of political opinions - on t-shirts, the walls, etc. It wasn't necessarily that I disagreed, but I hate have other people's opinions, attitudes, religion - shoved in my face. Even when I agree with them. I just want a sandwich.

        1. re: Just Visiting

          It's a good thing you weren't wearing a pro-Israel t-shirt when you were there:

          http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...

          1. re: Just Visiting

            The fact that the establishment allowed the shirt to be worn should have been an indicator to the customer, tourist or not. If you see a shirt like that and object then the best answer is to walk out before you order. It's a private enterprise and they have a right to espouse their philosophy just as much as you have a right to walk out. But if you stay, leave a tip.

        2. No, its absolutely not appropriate to leave a dimished tip because the server holds a different political (or social) view from yours. One tips for the service, not the servers political views or personal beliefs.

          45 Replies
          1. re: carolinadawg

            People boycott businesses because of the owners political beliefs. Why not boycott tipping a server for theirs?

            1. re: kengk

              Is it really necessary to explain that boycotting a restaurant and stiffing a server on a tip are 2 completely different things? A better analogy with stiffing a server on a tip would be leaving a restaurant without paying, after eating. Are you suggesting that would be ok?

              1. re: carolinadawg

                But the tip is optional, not legally required to pay it are you?

                Piss me off, you don't get a tip.

                1. re: kengk

                  No, the tip ISN'T optional. As I stated below, while there may not be a legal requirement to tip, there is an implied social contract (in the USA), one that we all know well.

                  There is no connection between "pissing you off" (which could mean anything) and the tip. The servers obligation is to provide the diner with a service. The diners obligation is to tip appropriately, based on the level of service provided. The diner doesn't get to lower the tip based on arbritrary, non-service issues that may "piss you off".

                    1. re: kengk

                      ??? You do what and guarantee what?

                      1. re: carolinadawg

                        "The diner doesn't get to lower the tip based on arbritrary, non-service issues that may "piss you off"."

                          1. re: kengk

                            Optional is dependent on service, not arbitrary conditions. If you are going to make up extra rules you should let your server know before you order. Then the server can make an informed decision as to whether or not they will serve you at all.

                            1. re: ennuisans

                              optional is dependent on...nothing. that's.why.it's.optional.

                              1. re: linus

                                Tipping.in.the.usa.isnt.optional.

                                1. re: carolinadawg

                                  Sure it is. If the service is bad, don't tip. Service doesn't seem to have been an issue in this particular case, but tipping is certainly optional.

                                  1. re: Hobbert

                                    Obviously, the amount of the tip is appropriate to the level of service. I've said as much already. That's not the issue.

                                    1. re: carolinadawg

                                      And sometimes that amount is zero. My point is that you're being rather free with your use of the word "required".

                                      1. re: Hobbert

                                        Others are being rather free with the use of the word "optional", as in, even if the service is good, no need to tip. And I've never had service that sunk to the level of a zero tip. That would have to be a situation so egregious that I can hardly even imagine it.

                                        1. re: carolinadawg

                                          I wasn't referring to others, but, yes, tipping is technically optional. It may not feel so to you and may violate your idea of a social contract and that's ok. It's your choice. We'll agree to disagree.

                                          1. re: Hobbert

                                            It's not "my idea" of a social contract. I didn't invent the system. It's something that actually exists.

                                            1. re: carolinadawg

                                              if its not your idea, and its something that actually exists, could you provide some documentation by a recognized authority, please?

                                              1. re: carolinadawg

                                                Sigh. But it doesn't actually exist. I clearly didn't sign up for the same social contract you did. And, frankly, the very existence of the thread and CH goes to show we're all not aware of and/or adhering to the same social contract.

                                                1. re: Hobbert

                                                  Do you ever tip in a full service restaurant?

                                                  1. re: carolinadawg

                                                    Lol. Of course. And you're certainly aware that its nearly impossible to answer "no" to your question. I've no doubt that this answer will somehow convince you that you're right, but we disagree. That's all there is to it.

                                                        1. re: Hobbert

                                                          LOL. I'll answer for you. You leave a tip because there is an implied social contract to do so, despite your insistence in an earlier thread that no such contract exists.

                                                          1. re: carolinadawg

                                                            Sorry, you don't get to answer for me. We don't agree and I doubt we will. That's ok.

                                                            1. re: Hobbert

                                                              Its not a matter of agreeing. Its a matter of ackowledging reality.

                                                    1. re: carolinadawg

                                                      I will answer the question for myself. I'm 52 years old, in my entire life I only remember leaving less than the "socially acceptable" tip one time and it was because of horrible service.

                                                      I will also say that I am very easy going and don't blink at stuff that seems to get the average CHer's underwear bunched. "It took ten minutes to get my crumpet, should I stiff the waiter, call the owner or write a letter to the NY Times"?

                                                      All that said, I still reserve the right to stiff a waiter if they piss me off. Because.............tipping is optional.

                                                      1. re: kengk

                                                        So by your own admission you recognize that there is an implied social contract to tip for acceptable or better service. Where you go off the rail is when you think its ok not to tip for some arbritary reason that has nothing to do with the quality of the service.

                                                        1. re: carolinadawg

                                                          My social contract requires waiters to not make me angry.

                                                          IMO, quality of service has very little to do with the amount of the tip for most people.

                                                          1. re: kengk

                                                            Then "most people" are wrong.

                    2. re: kengk

                      But boycotting a business does not mean going to it and then only paying 75% of the price for the goods you want to purchase because you don't agree.

                      The table knew the server's views when they sat down. They knew the management's views in that they were happy to have the server wear the shirt. To boycott would have meant to go elsewhere. Not to stay, order, and then tip less.

                      1. re: kengk

                        If you allow the server to serve you, you are morally obligated to tip them based on the quality of their service, not their views. When one boycott's a business, one avoids their services entirely. Get the difference?

                        1. re: Heatherb

                          you are not morally obligated to tip anyone.ever.

                          1. re: linus

                            Sorry - I should have corrected that to read "by the moral standards of people who aren't sociopaths." If someone does me a service in an at least adequate manner and I know that the bulk of their pay comes from what they make from their customers in tips, then by my moral code I am morally obligated to tip them.

                            1. re: Heatherb

                              So, you have a nice meal and good service. The waiter brings your check and starts dropping the N bomb or talking about how much they hate Jews or their opinion that women should obey their husbands no matter what; you are going to give them a nice 20-25% tip?

                              1. re: kengk

                                There was a fishmonger at the Giant in Rockville (of all places - a very big Jewish population in that area and the Giant was founded by and at that time, still owned by Jews). More than once he made anti-Semitic remarks and I finally reported it.

                                No, you should not give those people tips. And you should report them.

                                1. re: Heatherb

                                  @kengk, Just Visiting and carolinadawg, if you do not like the server's views as expressed on their t-shirt enough that it will affect your tip right out of the gate, you leave before placing your order. If someone is deliberately rude or confrontational or behaves in an unseemly manner while serving you, then yes, that would affect the tip. There was nothing wrong with this woman's conduct however - the customer just didn't like her t-shirt. Rather than engaging in a debate or confronting her (as was likely the purpose of the coffee shop), they just passive-aggressively docked her tip. I don't think that's good conduct from the customer.

                                  1. re: Heatherb

                                    I'm not sure why you included me with those 2...I'm in complete agreement with you. My "+1" was directed at your comment above.

                                    1. re: Heatherb

                                      And I agree with you. I've agreed with this premise - just leave - several times. But you seem to be refusing to recognize the possibility that this was not the waitress who took their order. It could very well have been the runner. Meaning that they may have ordered and received their food before the situation occurred. Now what? Pay for food you won't be eating, and leave and hope you can grab a bite elsewhere in time to return to the conference?

                                      And do you really want to be confronting people - waiters, other customers - in restaurants or other public places? Or be around when other people are doing it?

                                      1. re: Just Visiting

                                        So what if it was a different waitress? Then it's worse - they're docking an entire team for the t-shirt ONE of them was wearing.

                                        As for "confronting" someone - it doesn't have to be an angry discussion. And it would seem that the cafe where this all went down would be specifically promoting that.

                                        1. re: Heatherb

                                          Heather B - I am not understanding why you are not understanding why it matters if it was a different waiter.

                                          Say the person who took their order was not the one wearing the shirt. So they ordered the food not knowing that there was going to be an issue. Now another person arrives with the food. They have to pay for it and further they need to get back to their meeting and may not have time to go elsewhere for lunch.

                                          So you are saying that at that point, they "allowed" this person to serve them and thus should have given a tip OR - as you put it - avoided their service entirely. Meaning, get up, pay for the meal you don't eat, and leave.

                                          Seriously? You think that's the customer's obligation here?

                                          And n.b. - if they do that, the waiter still doesn't get a tip.

                                          This is why it matters if it was a different waiter.

                                          And sorry but when you confront someone, you have no way of knowing if it will turn loud, angry, or even violent. In this day and age, usually it will.

                            2. re: carolinadawg

                              <One tips for the service>

                              Exactly. It's important for people to keep this in mind, what a tip was designed for, when dining out. It's about the *service* given, nothing else.

                            3. It's the servers right to wear what (s)he wants, and the customers right to tip or not...

                              I don't agree with NOT tipping, but there is no law that says if or how much of a tip is required. Tipping is the "right thing to do," but when you are in the hospitality business, not offending your customer is pretty darned important, too.

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: ChefJune

                                There may not be a law, but its much more than the right thing to do. Its an implied social contract. A tip in exchange for service. Providing that service has no connection with political or social beliefs, and neither does the tipping. Would it be ok to not leave a tip because you think your server is gay and you think homosexuality is wrong, for example?

                                1. re: carolinadawg

                                  The more I think about this, the more this just confirms my distaste for the practice of tipping as it is in the US. Because if the take home message is that wearing a shirt to work that is approved by management can acceptably result in less pay - then this to me is no different than deciding to tip someone less because you don't like their haircut.

                                  1. re: carolinadawg

                                    it is o.k. to not leave a tip for any reason you want. it may not be nice, but it's o.k., and there's a VAST difference between the two.

                                    1. re: linus

                                      No, it really isn't ok, at least not in the USA. Servers are paid less than minimum wage, with the expectation that tips will make up the difference. Its an implied social contract. Restaurant prices reflect that system. If tipping was purely optional, restaurant prices would be higher, and servers would be paid a full wage.

                                      1. re: carolinadawg

                                        if tipping wasn't purely optional, there would be legal recourse to pursue if you didn't do it.

                                        the cashier at the grocery did an excellent job checking my groceries and telling me how much everything was. i didn't tip her. am i immoral?

                                        it is not my responsibility or moral imperative to pay servers. they don't work for me. i tip because i choose to do so.

                                        implied social contracts are not legally or morally binding. one could make an argument they don't exist.

                                        is there a social contract organization i could consult on this matter?

                                        1. re: linus

                                          There is a pretty large area between legally required and purely optional, no? And cashiers are different from servers...cashiers make a full wage. Servers base wage is very low, with the expectation that tips make up the difference. And actually, because of the way he system is structured, servers essentially do work for you, like it or not.

                                          Surely you know all this?

                                          1. re: carolinadawg

                                            they dont work for me. if they did, i could fire them and hire them and pay their witholding etc..

                                            it doesnt matter who makes what wage. no one is required to tip.

                                            surely you know the meaning of require, right? you and i tip because we want to, not because we HAVE to. thats just a fact.

                                          2. re: linus

                                            So here's an experiment; go to the same full service place where servers are paid less than minimum wage to account for tips. Go two or three times in quicke succession and don't tip.

                                            See what happens and report your findings back here.

                                            1. re: mcf

                                              what does this have to do with the current discussion? we're talking about obligations, not quality of service.
                                              do you get better service if you tip? sometimes.
                                              do you get worse service if you tip? sometimes.
                                              are you REQUIRED to tip? of course not.

                                  2. Ridiculous and poor behavior on the part of the customer. They could have engaged in a debate with the server. Instead they chose to accept her services and then dock her based on her views, not the quality of the service she provided. Ick.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Heatherb

                                      Right. That's exactly what I want to do when I go out for a meal - argue with the waitstaff.

                                      Hey everyone! Free floor show over at Table 17!

                                      Personally, I would have walked out. However, it is entirely possible that they had already ordered. In many restaurants, different waiters serve a given table. One person takes the order, another (a runner) brings it to the table. Perhaps she was the runner. In which case, they'd not only have to pay for food they wouldn't be eating, but would then have to find another quick lunch so they could get back to their conference on time.

                                    2. People wear provocative clothing to provoke a reaction. It might not always be the reaction one intended, as here.

                                      29 Replies
                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                        Out of curiosity, then you think that this situation is different from the recent case of the woman who said "I only give God 10%, why should I give you 18%"?

                                        1. re: cresyd

                                          Wasn't that weird? Yes, I think the situations are quite different. In the "God case," IIRC, the server did nothing to provoke such a response (other than not being God, I suppose).

                                          FFIW, If I were very deeply offended by something printed on a server's clothing, I would leave at the outset.

                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                            Where I think the situations are similar is that the server is essentially taking the abuse for the decisions of management.

                                            In the 10% situation, the policy of the 18% tip for parties of 6 or more was set by the management. In this situation, the political/discussion oriented vibe of Busboys and Poets is set by management. In both cases servers show up to work thinking that it they perform good service under guidelines set by management they will be compensated (by tips) "fairly".

                                            In both cases, the diners rewarded the management by paying their bill in full. But then stiffed the person not making those decisions.

                                            1. re: cresyd

                                              I don't know anything about this restaurant. Is it really their business model to require servers to wear clothing with offensive (to some) slogans? If so, very strange.

                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                From the article:

                                                "Busboys and Poets is open about its progressive leanings, and does not prevent its employees from expressing their political beliefs. "We actually encourage it," another restaurant employee says."

                                                1. re: carolinadawg

                                                  Don't you think that there is a difference between requiring something and not preventing something? One is a condition of employment (management decision), the other is optional (server's decision).

                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                    If you read the "about' Busboys and Poets (http://www.busboysandpoets.com/about/) it's definitely not the same as a store just not caring what servers wear.

                                                    Now you could say that the server could have chosen to work to a more corporate place. But she works in an environment that really goes out of its way to say "this is our ethos, our values, and our ethics".

                                                    Now I don't think that the attendees went there because they knew the place - but just because it was close to their conference/hotel. Nevertheless, the idea that essentially how someone looks is enough to dock their pay is odious.

                                                2. re: pikawicca

                                                  I don't think they REQUIRE it, but from their website:

                                                  Busboys and Poets is a community where racial and cultural connections are consciously uplifted...a place to take a deliberate pause and feed your mind, body and soul...a space for art, culture and politics to intentionally collide...we believe that by creating such a space we can inspire social change and begin to transform our community and the world.

                                                  Many issues are complex and not really suitable for t-shirt politics. I myself am no fan of occupation but I also understand the constant fear that Israelis live with every time they get on a bus, go out for pizza, go into a store. And no - pulling out of the occupied territories will not fix that. So occupation is not pretty, but neither is terrorism. When the waitress wears a shirt that says that, she'll get a tip from me.

                                                  I seriously doubt that this waitress actually knows anything about this complex situation and I find it doubly offensive that people pick sides without any real knowledge. It is just in the "correct column" on the liberal/conservative menu.

                                                  1. re: Just Visiting

                                                    While you are entirely entitled to your opinions. As well as the members of AIPAC, Busboys and Poets, and the server - I really rather this discusssion not go into the validity of her opinions but rather just the act of tipping or not.

                                                    1. re: cresyd

                                                      As they say, never talk politics or religion in polite company. The waitress chose to do so. People here chose to discuss what she did, and what the customer did in response. I agree that the specific issue and her specific views are not the issue.

                                                      So let me generalize this at the risk of repeating myself: I go out for a meal, spending MY MONEY, to enjoy myself. Not to have someone shove their opinions - on any topic, on any side of the issue - in my face. Whatever their issue, whatever their views, it will distract from the enjoyment of my meal.

                                                      I once went to a Cuban restaurant in Rockville. We walked in and it was immediately and abundantly clear that we were going to be served a healthy heaping of politics with our meal. We are no fans of Castro and repression, but we still didn't want to have these political views shouted at us (from the photos, articles, and slogans on the walls). We left.

                                                      1. re: Just Visiting

                                                        And leaving prior to ordering is fine. But ordering, eating your food, and then leaving a lousy tip just because you feel offended, when the service was fine, is not ok.

                                                        1. re: carolinadawg

                                                          I think that's really the point. Convention dictates tipping as a requirement, if not a legal one, and we all know that without it servers earn less than the minimum wage. Food prices we are charged are based upon the expectation that we will also be compensating the server.

                                                          Restaurants certainly require it, just try to go back somewhere you are known to have not tipped.

                                                          It's wrong to accept the service without complaint, then not keep up one's end of this convention, same as it's wrong to clean your plate and then say your meal was unsatisfactory and you'd like to swap or be comped.

                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                            restaurants do not require it. if they did, they would call the cops if you didn't tip. they would make you tip before they gave you any food.
                                                            restaurants like it if you tip. restaurants may or may not treat you better if you tip. i have never been in a restaurant where i was asked to tip.
                                                            if you go in again after not tipping, they have a right not to serve you.
                                                            but if they serve you food, you do not have to tip them. it's a fact. "require" doesn't enter into it.

                                                            1. re: linus

                                                              "i have never been in a restaurant where i was asked to tip."

                                                              You've never seen something like "A gratuity of 18% will be added to all checks for parties of 6 or more" on a restaurant menu? (and I'm exluding McDonalds and In 'n Out in this example)

                                                              1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                that's on the bill, and noted, in my experience, before i order. they may call it a "gratuity," but that's a misnomer and it's a service charge.
                                                                i'm not a lawyer (can one chime in here?), but a restaurant bill is a contract of sorts. an actual, physical contract that is signed.

                                                                when i am billed for something i am informed about beforehand, it is a requirement. like where it says, "cobb salad...$10.95"
                                                                that's absolutely true. i am required to shell out the money if i order the salad.

                                                                a tip is different, however. there is no menu i have seen that says, "you must tip."

                                                              2. re: linus

                                                                Restaurants not only post mandatory tips on menus, they often will not serve you on return visits. It's about keeping their employees.

                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                  while i have seen signs in restaurants that read, "we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone" i've never actually been refused service for anything other than things like, 'we're closing' 'we're full'.
                                                                  i do know someone that was thrown out of a restaurant before even sitting down, but that had nothing to do with tipping and more to do with an idiosyncratic owner.
                                                                  i have never experienced nor know anyone else who has been refused service because they didn't tip.
                                                                  i don't believe restaurants are required to serve anyone (though i'm happy to be corrected here), any more than i'm required to tip when they do.

                                                                  1. re: linus

                                                                    Are you saying you've made repeated trips and been welcomed specifically in places where you didn't tip on previous trips?

                                                                    That's the only relevent point, and you haven't addressed it.

                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                      actually, i don't think the point is relevant at all to the topic, but never mind that.
                                                                      to quote me:
                                                                      "i have never experienced nor know anyone else who has been refused service because they didn't tip."

                                                                      to quote you:
                                                                      "Restaurants...often will not serve you on return visits."
                                                                      have you experienced or know anyone that has experienced this? enough times to qualify as "often."

                                                                      the moderators have made it clear this thread is about how wearing controversial t shirts affects tipping behaviour, btw.

                                                                      1. re: linus

                                                                        You didn't answer the question.

                                                            2. re: carolinadawg

                                                              What if this was not the waitress who took their orders, but the runner who showed up with their food?

                                                              Record, broken.

                                                              1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                I don't understand your point, sorry. My point is that regardless of who's wearing a shirt, the tip should be based on the quality of the service, not the political views expressed on the shirt.

                                                                1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                  OK, let me break it down for you.

                                                                  You said they should leave prior to ordering. I agree. That's what I would have done.

                                                                  But you and others seem unwilling to even consider the possibility that the person with the t-shirt was the runner who delivered the food.

                                                                  Leaving prior to ordering is now no longer an option, is it? Now your choice is to leave without having had lunch, having to pay for a meal you won't be eating.

                                                                  And I refuse to believe that you wouldn't be affected - to some extent - if you were in the same situation, and leave a smaller tip than you otherwise would have.

                                                                  1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                    Believe it or not, but its so, at least for me. Again, I don't care who's wearing the shirt. Docking the tip because the shirt upsets you is not acceptable. Period.

                                                                    And if you read the article, its clear that the shirt was worn by the waitress who served them.

                                                                    1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                      By your logic, if the music were too loud, or you don't like the art on the walls, the server gets stiffed.

                                                                  2. re: Just Visiting

                                                                    I honestly think it's no different. At the time of seeing the shirt and being offended - had they already ordered in my opinion the party had two options. #1 Suck it up. #2 Ask to speak to the manager. Say that the shirt worn by the server deeply offended them and then ask for their inital server or another server. If it was the server who specifically offended them (and not the rest of the cafe) - then ask for another server and be free of the offensive message.

                                                                    1. re: cresyd

                                                                      Another group did speak to the manager:

                                                                      "But the party that left the note along with the substandard tip was not the first group dining at Busboys and Poets yesterday to take offense to Kalifa's attire. A group dining at an adjacent table approached the manager to say her shirt's messaging was offensive, but they were rebuffed when the manager said that it was in line with the beliefs of Busboys and Poets owner Andy Shallal. Kalifa says she has not suffered any fallout from the incident; after all, Busboys and Poets is a restaurant that dishes out left-wing politics along with its coffees and sandwiches. "We're a restaurant with a specific political point of view," Pamela Pinnock, the restaurant's marketing director, says."

                                                                      Then post a sign on the window saying "Customers should be warned that we encourage our staff to shove their personal views in your faces. If this bothers you please take your business elsewhere."

                                                                      1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                        Here I agree with the management. Their position is well publicized, and there is no need to post anything in the window. It is their business, and they

                                                                        Is there anyone here who has not been in a situation not to their liking? You either get out of the situation, chalk it up to experience, or gov with flow.

                                                                        It is their business, and they are allowed to run it to their liking. They seem willing to accept the advantages and consequences of their position.

                                                                        As for the original question, whether or not tipping or lack thereof is acceptable in this situation, it is a personal choice. I probably would tip. And not go back.

                                                3. Absolutely no excuse for reducing the tip.

                                                  None.

                                                  1. Jeez, if you go to a place that prides itself on inviting debate on politcal views then you really shouldn't complain about opinions you disagree with. The customer is an idiot.

                                                    It's like going to a steakhouse and then stiffing the waitress because you're a vegetarian and disagree with their menu choices.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: ferret

                                                      READ the article. They were in town for a conference. Do you really think they knew that this particular restaurant didn't mind (and actually encouraged) its staff to express personal political and religious views? Or that this particular restaurant tends to employ people of a particular political persuasion?

                                                      1. re: Just Visiting

                                                        Doesn't matter. Tipping has nothing to do with servers political views.

                                                    2. Service is about the food delivery, concern for the customer, and making certain the customer has a good experience. Wearing controversial messages on clothing may ruin the customer experience. Servers need to be aware of this.

                                                      And tipping is dependent on the customer and what they felt was their experience.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: YHC

                                                        Tipping on ones "feelings" will quickly lead down a slippery slope. What if your male server exhibits some stereotypically effiminine characteristics and, because homosexuality bothers you, your meal is ruined. Ok to tip less, even though every other aspect of the service was flawless?

                                                      2. If it was your server and not one passing by I'd say you could tell him/her that the message offends you and you would like if different server or you could leave before you order. In my humble opinion if you stay and don't speak up first and then don't tip based on service you are being passive/aggressive and not full-on adult. If it is a server passing by your options, again in my opinion, are leaving or accepting your environment. I don't feel life is a game to be played deceptively. And, you can disagree with my opinion. I am not attempting to change anyone's mind I am simply stating my position and supporting anyone who feels the same way.

                                                        1. Here's a question for Busboys and Poets and those of you who have criticized the patrons for not leaving a tip:

                                                          Do they also encourage patrons to express their points of view? So can I walk in there wearing a t-shirt that expresses a point of view that their servers and/or management find abhorrent? Will they serve me?

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: Just Visiting

                                                            If the answer was yes - would that change your opinion about tipping or not?

                                                            1. re: cresyd

                                                              I think that actions (words and deeds) have consequences. Each of us must recognize that and accept the consequences of our actions. I am not ducking your question - I will answer it but it has to be hypothetical. Because I prefer to avoid debate and/or conflict in situations where it really doesn't matter (the war in the Middle East won't be resolved because people wear t-shirts in restaurants), my action would be to refrain from wearing political t-shirts in these settings. If this issue were important to me and I really wanted to make a difference, I'd join Andy Shallal's groups.

                                                              Now to answer your question - I would have to assume that the server would be as polite and friendly to me as she would be to any other patron, that my service was a good as it would be for any other patron. That even though I was served, the server didn't make known his/her displeasure at doing so.

                                                              OK, with those assumptions - it would probably not change my views. Reason - the restaurant is a business. They have a motivation to serve me that is basically the reason they exist. So they would look the other way as a matter of necessity. My being there is not a matter of necessity. As I said before, I would have left long before it got to that point, assuming that this was the server who first greeted me and gave me the menu.

                                                              But in the harder case - that we'd already ordered and then this was the runner who brought the food and I didn't have enough time to go elsewhere and didn't want to pay for food I wouldn't eat - I think I wouldn't tip because I really do believe that actions have consequences. The waitress did what she wanted to do, the customer has the right to express his point of view, too.

                                                              Huh. Now that I think of it - that really is the bottom line for me. All you supporting the waitress's right to express her opinion as she sees fit - why isn't it equally OK for the customer to express his opinion as he sees fit? Or must he run out, buy a t-shirt with the opposite opinion, and return to the table?

                                                              1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                I think the problem with expressing their views via tipping is that there really is a social contract in the US that servers are not paid a living wage. I wonder how long any patron could frequent a restaurant, never tip, and still be allowed in. "Doesn't believe in tipping" is not a protected class.

                                                                There are many other ways to express differing views. They could have informed everyone else at the conference that Busboys and Poets supports views contrary to theirs and to find other places to spend their money. They could have come to numerous websites/blogs/chat forums to describe their insult. They could have asked management for a new server. They could have pulled a runner, not paid the entire bill, and just left their reading materials. There are lots of ways to express their views. Some not legal - but the point is that there are lots of ways to say "you have offended me and I'm going to voice that opinion". I disagree with the chosen method.

                                                          2. The irony: Shallal has founded or co-founded several peace movement organizations and holds leadership positions in numerous others. Among them are ... The Peace Cafe, which seeks to promote Arab-Jewish dialogue. At 800 members it is the largest such group in the Washington, DC area. Shallal is ... is chair of the board of trustees for Abraham's Vision, an organization bringing together Arab and Jewish students.

                                                            So he supports the right of his staff to wear t-shirts expressing their personal views, even if those t-shirts are contrary to his own efforts to bring about peace and understanding. Go ahead, promote divisiveness in my place of business.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: Just Visiting

                                                              Again, this is not the appropriate forum for discussing that issue. But rather whether or not not tipping in such a situation is appropriate. And if it's something you would ever do.

                                                              1. re: cresyd

                                                                The original article talked about Busboys and Poet's philosophy and practices, and other commenters here have talked about the obligation of the patrons - local or not - to know about this particular and unusual aspect of the "ambiance" at this restaurant before they chose to take and seat and order a meal.

                                                                If the situation were reversed - and this woman was a customer and the waiter took offense at her t-shirt politics - could the waiter engage her in a "debate" (read "argument") with Mr. Shallal's blessing?

                                                                As an aside, I would NOT want to be in the restaurant when that occurred. I do not want to have to watch people arguing. And the waiter really doesn't have time to argue with people if he/she had other tables waiting for service.

                                                                1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                  I am not from DC, and therefore do not know specifically how Busboys and Poets specifically creates an environment of debate and discussion. I would guess that conversations that trend into arguments (obviously a subjective term) are probably discouraged as arguments imply an element of hostility or agression. And thus contrary to "open discussion and debate".

                                                                  The specific shirt being worn by the server in this case was sold by Global Exchange which is housed in two of Busboys and Poets locations. So whether that very specific message is championed by management, I do think it's safe to say that such a cafe is a more proactive in supporting messages as opposed to just running a business.

                                                                  I do believe that some of the onus is on the patron. If you happen to be very against homosexuality and wander into a Hamburger Mary's just because it's close to your conference, just because you're not familiar with the chain is no excuse. Not tipping your server because of their dress/vibe/mannerisms being overtly against your values is not acceptable to me. In both the Busboys and Poets case, and my hypothetical Hamburger Mary's case - the patrons, once they "figure things out" really are responsible to either leave/settle the part of the bill they can't cancel or just suck it up as an experience/mistake.

                                                            2. It is sad to think that some people are so intolerant of others who are different from themselves that just a t shirt expressing a political belief different from their own would spoil their experience of going out to eat. In elections, usually each candidate gets lots of votes and supporters. The world is full of people who differ from us. Accept it and move on. If the server wears something that expresses their opinion and you are offended, are you going to be offended next if you see them wearing a religious symbol of a religion different from yours? What if they have different color skin than you do? Tip on the basis of service as you always do and lighten up about the servers beliefs. If you have so much time to stare at the server and worry about them, maybe you need to go out to eat with more interesting companions.

                                                              1. After reading the entire thread it occurred to me that tipping is both about service and disservice. I have been swayed by the posts here, and my own beliefs that tipping is optional based on service. Those establishments which proclaim their acceptance and encouragement for all to express their opinions proactively in the context of their job in the restaurant should be avoided by the potential customer who may be offended. However I do consider it a disservice to be imposed upon to consider these statements/actions in a non political environment. For this poster much of my reaction would depend upon the specific issue being thrust before me and the method in which it was thrust. Too many times have I, and I am sure many others, tipped a server based on social conventions rather than docking them for poor service. Here in I again swear before all that is Chowhound that I will never do that again. In the interest of promoting better levels of service.

                                                                Just one question please. Why can restaurants in other "civilized" countries employee service personnel of good quality, in many cases for years, in a no tip scenario but here in our fair land they have convinced us that it is not possible?

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: Bacchus101

                                                                  Ultimately, cases like this make me very pro no-need-to-tip. The management of this establishment has decided on a certain dress code/ambiance that makes them happy. The server fit within that code of managmenet - however due to a set of customers displeasure with something set my management their voice of protest was to dock the server part of her salary. Not to take the position up with management.

                                                                  If however, the server was paid a "fair" wage and tips were there just to commend excellent service - then ok, the service wasn't excellent. But you're not denying the server part of a wage which they heavily rely on.

                                                                  1. re: Bacchus101

                                                                    They charge enough to pay their staff a living wage. That isn't the labor practice in the U.S.

                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                      Thanks, yes that is actually the point of the question. I have not been able to notice a relative greater price/charge in similar restaurants abroad than here. Perhaps the service personal here accept lower wages and are willing to "go for" the potential tip uplift and/or the owners have found a good way to increase profits by paying low wages. A good business man does account for wages in their business plan and here we accepted that in a restaurant it can not be done???

                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                        Really it comes down to this as far as I'm concerned. While we may arguably have a right to stiff servers on tips arbitrarily, we have a responsibility not to do so, not just for the workers but for our own self interest. If denying a tip for petty reasons like a server's shirt becomes unshamable, it will become commonplace and the system will break down.

                                                                        Restaurants will either lose too many workers to stay afloat, or will have to scrap the tipping system and increase their wages at least 4x to make up the difference, and guarantee hours even during slow times. Meal prices go up, worker wages will be capped, and no one is happy except those owners who are relieved to have gotten through the change without bankruptcy.

                                                                        Personally I'd be fine with servers earning a decent guaranteed wage, even if the tipping system in general benefits customers as much or more than workers. And if we insist on dropping the "enlightened" part of "enlightened self-interest" that's just what will happen.

                                                                    2. Pretty dumb; part of going to a restaurant is the psychology of the experience. If a server wants big tips, the server should make the customer have a good time, and being provocative is going to foster polarization, not comfort. There is a time and place for politics, and the dinner table isn't one of them. Self righteous people forget that.

                                                                      There is also no obligation to tip at all, and a person who is afraid to comment on poor service by reducing a tip is probably just insecure and afraid of his own hostile impulses.

                                                                      Here is a great clip that demonstrates the role of ambiance on the dining experience:

                                                                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9J1b3...

                                                                      Ambiance is very important.

                                                                      1. Folks, like most tipping discussions, this one is getting repetitive and a bit nasty. The "tipping is basically mandatory" vs "tipping is always optional" argument is one that's been done to death on this and many other threads.

                                                                        A discussion of whether wearing a political t-shirt fits into your schema of reasons to reduce or eliminate a tip is interesting, but we'd ask that people try to avoid reducing this to the very basic, polarized debate on tipping as a whole, because that's ground that's been well-covered and never goes well.

                                                                        We're trying to avoid locking the thread, but we'd ask that everyone focus their attention on the specific issue and keep things friendly. If you find yourself taking shots at another user or debating situations that aren't related to political messages on t-shirts, it's probably time to let those sub-threads go and refocus on the situation at hand.

                                                                        1. I'd say that a server who introduces her politics into her work environment should not be surprised when customers react by reducing the tip. If the message makes their dining experience less pleasant, they have some basis for reducing the tip, but they don't need any basis at all.

                                                                          It can't be a very classy joint that lets servers wear such clothing, anyway.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: GH1618

                                                                            I live in the area where these restaurants are located and I've been to 2 of the 4 - one of them for the first time just last week. I actually like it a lot - food is pretty good especially if you are looking for something that doesn't have animal protein. I mean, nothing to rave about, but always a good solid meal. And I really like the environment, including the book/fair trade stores.

                                                                            I guess I'm lucky that I haven't had a server who chose to shove their personal opinions in my face. That would be a turn off to me, no matter what those opinions are.

                                                                          2. Virtually every decent restaurant I have ever been in had very strict dress codes & equally strict rules on topics of discussion with patrons.

                                                                            I would have to conclude allowing such extreme political views to be openly displayed in his establishment was a business decision based on demographics. Such a decision would most certainly take into account the fact that some non local patrons who were not aware of the restaurants policy would be greatly offended by the open display of such extreme political views.

                                                                            If I was unaware of the establishments policy, and finally got seated after the customary wait and then repeatedly saw a political messages that deeply offended me & degraded my dining experience the % tip would also be degraded downward from the customary 20%.

                                                                            26 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Tom34

                                                                              If the staff wore shirts that carried political messages you agreed with and that made you happy and therefore increased the quality of your dining experience, would you increase your tip above 20%?

                                                                              1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                It would not make a difference to me. I go to restaurants to enjoy myself. Not to attend political rallies, although I sometimes enjoy them.

                                                                                1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                  There is no guarantee that finding one extreme political view offensive would automatically guarantee finding the opposite extreme view pleasurable. IMHO, in most locations, most patrons, including myself, would prefer politics in any form not be injected into the dining experience....PERIOD!!!!

                                                                                  To do so is sure to offend. Knowing that, if you choose to do it anyway you have nobody to blame but yourself if an offended person leaves you a reduced tip or no tip at all. Management 101: Take responsibility for your actions & ownership of the consequences that occur as a result of your actions.

                                                                                  1. re: Tom34

                                                                                    I'd be much more offended by the lack of meat.

                                                                                    In both cases, it's up to me to know what I'm walking into before I waste my money or my digestion on it. ;-)

                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                      Lack of meat is always a problem :-) I would not "knowingly" eat at such a place and who could reasonably anticipate such an extreme bizarre departure from industry wide professional standards. Bottom line, server did it & the server owns anything that comes of it including a reduced tip.

                                                                                      1. re: Tom34

                                                                                        If folks are vegan, how would you *not* expect them to be separate from conventional expectations?

                                                                                        My POV on your other assertion is that when you accept goods and services, you pay the rate. There are all sorts of things we can be offended by or choose to ignore as irrelevent to our enjoyment of a meal, from tacky art on the walls to bad music or screaming kids. Those don't come off the tip.

                                                                                        IMO.

                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                          The lack of meat was a private joke between 2 meat lovers. and was a side bar. I repeat the same questions which have been deleted 2 times:

                                                                                          #1: Out of the hundreds or even thousands of hospitality textbooks in circulation, somebody please identify one and read a quote from it declaring that it is considered professional behavior for a server to wear a shirt that depicts any political message let alone a controversial one .

                                                                                          #2 Out of the hundreds or even thousands of hospitality instructors that teach at hospitality / culinary arts schools, please identify one that would consider it professional behavior for a server to wear a shirt that depicts any political message let alone a controversial one.

                                                                                          1. re: Tom34

                                                                                            I think your premise is wrong; that's not the behavior the proprietor is going for. Clearly, he's chosen to make statement, a visual one that does not prevent the server from behaving professionally towards you.

                                                                                            I just think you're arguing as if the conventional standard applies here. I don't think the boss cares if folks who take offense come back. And I'm guessing the staff is used to some bad reactions, too.

                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                              It is the decision of the patron whether to leave a tip and how much. PERIOD! I don't care what the owners and or the servers motivation was. Its unprofessional and if the political message that was depicted deeply upset the patron and the patron decided not to leave a professional tip then IMHO thats the patrons right. If this offends the server then the server needs to find a different employer. TAKE OWNERSHIP FOR YOUR ACTIONS, MGMT 101

                                                                                              1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                I'm going to step away now... I think about all that can be said has been, and that the emotions may be running a teeny, tiny tad bit too high.

                                                                                                1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                  Ridiculous. If you stay for the meal and the service is satisfactory, you don't respond to a political message by stiffing the waitress because that particular message offended you.

                                                                                                  1. re: ferret

                                                                                                    A political statement that is acceptable to one person may not be acceptable to another. For this and other reasons, Its contrary to every rule in the hospitality industry to introduce politics in any way shape of form to a customer. As I posted before, find me a hospitality text book or school instructor that endorses doing so.

                                                                                                    To expect professional compensation while violating the most fundamental rules of professional server conduct is not only hypocritical but very naive given the diversity of our population.

                                                                                                  2. re: Tom34

                                                                                                    You're trying to justify discrimination. Tip is for service, not whether the service provider hews to your belief system.

                                                                                                    1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                      Hardly. I am pointing out that most professions have fundamental rules which exist for a reason and there is usually a price to pay for violating them.

                                                                                                      1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                        There are plenty of examples of restaurants that carry themes that likely offend some segment of the population. Hooters and its counterparts are an obvious one. We have Ed Debevics in Chicago that prided itself on 50's-styled servers that attacked you with insults and one-liners. These are not to everyone's liking but appeal to many. The "fundamental rules" you suggest exist are not absolute. Restaurants are private businesses that do not need to cater to all temperaments. It's not a violation of any "rule" to have a left-leaning establishment, there are many, many people who would find this place appealing. And, obviously, many more who would find it objectionable. The appropriate way to object is with your feet -- stay away. If you enter and order, then stiffing the server becomes the offensive act.

                                                                                                        Would you feel the same if someone came to Hooters, ordered, ate their meal and then left no tip because they felt the servers were wearing revealing outfits?

                                                                                                        1. re: ferret

                                                                                                          I understand the theme concept. I was at a Dick's in Boston where the servers were extremely rude and everyone knew the chains theme and it was well posted. Again, the theme of a Hooters is well known and quite clear immediately upon walking in the front door.

                                                                                                          My problem with this case is it is not a theme. It is a blatant political statement involving a subject matter that is extremely controversial, emotionally charged and heartbreaking for many people. To keep this comment from being deleted I will leave it up to you to research why it brings such sorrow to many people.

                                                                                                          1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                            I'm Jewish and I don't feel sorrow over it because I don't view it as anti semitism. It's about politics, not religion.

                                                                                                            I do, however, view it as discrimination, same as not tipping for political differences.

                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                              I don't think its antisemitism either. I think its a prolonged political battle with "terrible" suffering on both sides and in a country as diverse as the US there is a very good likelihood a patron could have lost family to the conflict.

                                                                                                            2. re: Tom34

                                                                                                              I get the message on the shirt and why it would be upsetting to some (I have lots of family in Israel and they have conflicting views on the issue among themselves), what you don't get is that it's not about the message, it's about the willingness of the patron to enter the restaurant, accept service, eat the food and only THEN react when the bill arrives. If you don't want to mix politics with your tuna melt, that's understandable. Go to Panera. But once you walk in, sit down and eat, then don't take it out on the waitress. That's just stupid behavior.

                                                                                                              1. re: ferret

                                                                                                                "Thats just stupid behavior" .........So is wearing a shirt with such a message.

                                                                                                                1. re: ferret

                                                                                                                  "STUPID" - Your in a profession where a large percentage of you income is derived from a tip/gratuity from a patron who has NO legal obligation to leave a tip. You work you tail off providing the best possible service to make the patron's experience as pleasurable as possible but you wear a shirt depicting an explicit political message which you KNOW full well some patrons will find personally offensive.

                                                                                                                  You really can't make this %*@^ up. You really can't!

                                                                                                                  1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                    Do you really not get it? She didn't change t-shirts midway through the meal. The STUPID customers decided to stay and eat despite finding the message offensive. What transpired in the half hour or so they were there?

                                                                                                                    "did you see her t-shirt?"

                                                                                                                    "mm, good tuna melt"

                                                                                                                    "i'm so offended"

                                                                                                                    "have some more fries"

                                                                                                                    "time to go"

                                                                                                                    "make sure you send a message with a small tip."

                                                                                                                    1. re: ferret

                                                                                                                      Not every offense by waitstaff requires that you immediately get up and leave. That would be STUPID.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Soul Vole

                                                                                                                        Especially if you waited any length of time to be seated.

                                                                                                                      2. re: ferret

                                                                                                                        No I really don't get it. A server breaks industry wide standard rules by prominently displaying a political message that she knows some patrons will likely find deeply offensive and then complains when an offended patron leaves her less than a 15% tip when there is no law requiring leaving any tip.

                                                                                                                        I don't know the demographics or the restaurant owner but my guess would be that more often than not the message on that shirt pleased patrons, helped make them repeat customers & improved tips. That's all well and good but the other side of the coin is not? Yeah, I get it.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                          The patron is free to leave no tip. I'm just saying he's a d-bag.

                                                                                        2. Let me begin by saying that when I do eat out, I eat out to dine...not to get an art/politics/cultural/religious fix. If I want that, I'll go to the concert/lecture/exhibit/sermon afterwards or beforehand.

                                                                                          My tipping is based on the quality of the service. That's all.

                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                            As it should. Thanks for being a voice of reason.

                                                                                            1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                              It's the coffee talking. I'm usually a wingnut. :-)

                                                                                            2. re: pinehurst

                                                                                              Funny, so far everyone is going out to eat to enjoy themselves. I guess no one here ever goes out to lunch to promote business or business relationships. I have often gone to a restaurant I don't particularly enjoy and wouldn't have chosen for myself just to be with the company of others at a conference or workshop. If I made a fuss about a server's shirt, I suspect my business relationships would suffer. In joining a large group for lunch, often the service suffers. I still tip my share or more. Funny, I think looking like a rude and thoughtless person isn't good for my image -- not to mention I've got better things to do than sweat the small stuff or save pennies by judging harshly those around me.

                                                                                              1. re: susanl143

                                                                                                If you were going out on a business lunch or dinner, you'd do well to avoid places like this unless you happen to know the political views of your dining companions. Because what if they find it offensive? How is that going to help you develop or keep a solid relationship with them?

                                                                                                The last thing you want to do with business colleagues is discuss religion or politics or any other potentially sensitive or personal topic, so avoiding a place like this - regardless of which side they are on - is well-advised.

                                                                                                1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                                                  I'd agree about avoiding such a place in a business group but rarely am I the one choosing the restaurant for the group.

                                                                                            3. I'd take the view that it's generally not good for business when companies and the employees declare political stances.

                                                                                              For example, I would be very likely to boycott a business which declared themselves in favour of a political stance which I opposed. It is no different from the fact that, throughout my adult life, I have boycotted products from one country, never knowingly buying them. I think I would be likely to take exception to a member of staff expounding views which I was opposed to and that may, indeed, be reflected in a tip. I have never actually experienced such a thing in a restaurant context so have to be honest and say that, whilst I'd hope I would reflect it in a reduced tip, I dont know that I actually would.

                                                                                              1. In my business we have a policy, no religion or politics at work. It's a good policy and especially good when dealing with the public.

                                                                                                14 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: MOREKASHA

                                                                                                  Your policy sounds "Professional" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                  1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                    But by a very conventional standard that this employer eschews. Your beef should be with the employer, not the low paid server meeting the employer's terms, as I see it.

                                                                                                    Oops, I said beef. I meant tempeh.

                                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                                      If you work for a thief and you commit theft you are a thief too.

                                                                                                      If you work for a restaurant where the owner promotes unprofessional behavior on the part of employees and you engage in that behavior you too are unprofessional and do not deserve to be compensated at a professional level.

                                                                                                      1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                        You're free not to patronize someone but to pay someone less because of your political belief is ridiculous.

                                                                                                        1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                          Keep making excuses for the blatantly unprofessional behavior of the server and keep blaming the patron who was clearly offended by the unprofessional behavior and responded with an unprofessional tip.

                                                                                                          1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                            I don't think the word "professional" has any meaning in this context. At least not any more.

                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                              Your probably right at this point. How about we substitute "common sense" . My only misgiving is that some people really are C/S deficient which could be used as an excuse to cast further blame on the patron for not being sensitive to the server's C/S deficiency.

                                                                                                              1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                Oh, common sense is an oxymoron, if you ask me! ;-)

                                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                  "Common Sense is an Oxymoron" ..... Yeah, and every day there appears to be more support for your view :)

                                                                                                            2. re: Tom34

                                                                                                              The patron can be offended by the message, but any semi-intelligent human would be able to put aside bias and tip based on the service received. This isn't much different than an a$$hole leaving a message and a lousy tip because the server was too fat for the patron's liking. Suck it up and leave the proper tip and then don't go if the business doesn't mesh with your worldview.

                                                                                                              1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                "This isn't much different than an a$$hole leaving a message and a lousy tip because the server was too fat for the patron's liking."

                                                                                                                Actually, it's totally different.

                                                                                                                1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                  It's so different you can't explain how? It's one person having an adverse reaction to his server for hs personal reason in both cases.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                    You can't see that, in the case of the shirt, it was a conscious decision on the part of the server?

                                                                                                          2. re: Tom34

                                                                                                            Different restaurants have different dress codes. It's unprofessional for a lawyer to sport piercings and tattoos. Are you going to stiff a server because he/she has a piercing or a tattoo just because you don't like piercing or tattoos?

                                                                                                    2. I suppose the flip side of this question is would the diners have left a larger tip if the shirt had a slogan which they agreed with?

                                                                                                      (NB: that's a rhetorical question)

                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                                                                        Another question: Is that (tipping more for something with which you agree) any different from tipping a server more because they are attractive?

                                                                                                          1. re: kengk

                                                                                                            Interesting article.

                                                                                                            As a European, I'm always fascinated by the tipping threads on Chowhound. It's like a window opening onto a strange foreign culture - you simply do not see regular tipping threads on European based discussion boards.

                                                                                                            I find them interesting and, often , very amusing. And what's of interest is that, when you read the threads here, most folk are following the pattern as in the article - with the vast majority of American posters having their norm as to what they tip and very rarely straying from it, or only straying very slightly, in cases of particularly bad service. I have often, genuinely, been amazed at posters who have suffered the most appalling service still saying they left 15%.

                                                                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                                                                              Restaurant employees in the US are generally paid a substandard wage and expected to earn their living in tips. In my experience eating in Europe, the wages are more liveable and the tip is a real gratuity rather than a substitute for the employer paying a real wage.

                                                                                                              1. re: ferret

                                                                                                                Yes, I'm aware that "minimum wage" doesnt mean "minimum wage" when it comes to American restaurant workers. As I said, very different culture - it's the sort of difference that makes America seem much more "foreign" when I visit than other European countries, even though the language is the same.

                                                                                                            2. re: kengk

                                                                                                              There is a fallacious argument in the article:

                                                                                                              "You can give people amazing service and they’ll stiff you. You can give them horrible service, and they can give you a great tip."

                                                                                                              The person quoted is almost certainly comparing two different diners, not the same diner on different occasions. Some people are poor tippers and look for excuses to reduce the tip; others are generous tippers and overlook service problems.

                                                                                                        1. I totally respect the right of anyone to make a "statement" by wearing their heart on their sleeve or, in this case, shirt. However, a Red Sox fan that strolls the streets of The Bronx while wearing a Red Sox shirt can't rule out the possibility that an uncomfortable situation might arise. To a lesser degree, the same can be said for the server in the story. It may not be "fair", but the rule of unintended consequences does't take fairness into consideration.

                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: grampart

                                                                                                            I think it would be more accurate to describe the patrons as clueless Red Sox fans wandering into the Bronx (the restaurant).

                                                                                                            1. re: grampart

                                                                                                              The subject matter that was depicted in this case is so emotionally charged and controversial that negative consequences were a practical certainty.

                                                                                                            2. I find it really curious that this far down in the thread, only a few people have seriously considered the concept that someone who picks a fight bears a certain amount of responsibility if they sometimes get punched in the nose.

                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: acgold7

                                                                                                                Flawed analogy. This isn't about 2 people walking down the street and getting in a fight. It's about 2 willing participants in a commercial transaction, 1 of whom (the server) who apparently fulfilled his contract by providing adequate service, and the other (customer) who arbitrarily decided not to fulfill his.

                                                                                                                  1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                                    It's not a flawed analogy at all. The entire purpose of the message is to stir up a reaction. You have to expect both positive and negative ones. You can't say the message is a significant factor only if you agree with it but it's invisible and not relevant if you don't. The Supreme Court has long ago recognized the concept of "Fighting Words."

                                                                                                                    Just because you don't agree with the conclusion doesn't mean the analogy is flawed.

                                                                                                                    1. re: acgold7

                                                                                                                      How can you presume to know the wearers intent? Expressing an opinion isn't the same as seeking to "stir up a reaction".

                                                                                                                      Plus, the reaction in this case isn't appropriate. One can't justify sitting through the entire greeting, ordering and eating process that constitutes dining out, and then leave a small tip, when the quality of the service was fine. The tip is based on the quality of service, nothing else. And if the customer was offended by the shirt, they had ample opportunity to leave prior to ordering food.

                                                                                                                      1. re: acgold7

                                                                                                                        Now you're a constitutional as scholar? Give me a break, don't bring up something that you know nothing about. Expressing your political opinion are not fighting words.

                                                                                                                    2. re: acgold7

                                                                                                                      You will notice that a significant number of discussants appear to thrive on gratuitous pugnaciousness, so, what can we surmise?

                                                                                                                    3. This reminds me of the businessmen who threaten to lay off workers if Obama wins re-election, especially those who voted for Obama. I find it sad that people are so intolerant of opposing views that they must discriminate against those with opposing views.

                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                        i find it ironic some people are crying out how intolerant the world is whilst criticizing and belittling the people who have opposing views on this subject.

                                                                                                                        1. re: linus

                                                                                                                          " I have seen great intolerance shown in the defense of tolerance".
                                                                                                                          Samuel Taylor Coleridge

                                                                                                                          1. re: linus

                                                                                                                            There's a difference between intolerance and pointing out inappropriate behaviour. Not the same thing.

                                                                                                                            1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                                              I'm confused, but which party is guilty of the inappropriate behavior?

                                                                                                                              1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                Those who base the amount of the tip on non-service related factors, i.e., the political opinion of the server.

                                                                                                                              2. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                                                not when you name call and belittle. and, if you take the example above, do you think the businessman who threaten to lay off the obama voters objected to obama because he thought obama was appropriate?

                                                                                                                                1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                  Name calling may be insulting and inappropriate, but its not intolerance.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                                                    it's clear your definitions of words like "intolerance" "tipping" "appropriate" "requirement" and "service" are different than mine.

                                                                                                                          2. Folks, this thread has pretty much devolved into the same few people making the same points over and over again, and it isn't getting any friendlier, so we're going to lock it now.