Thursday, August 23, 2012

tipping - a follow-up

Last week I talked about a strange experience at a restaurant in Burlington, Vermont where we were warned (via note on the menu) to tip better. Just a few days later, an article about Quebecers and tipping circulated on all the online news sources: Quebecers considered bad tippers in Vermont. While I don't agree with what some of the servers are doing by adding tips onto bills (unless the menu specifically says that it will be added for large parties), apparently servers in Vermont are paid just over $4 an hour. That is not a good wage and Burlington is not a cheap city to live in. So I guess I understand their sentiment.*
do they expect 20% on coffee?
I don't really want to get into the whole tipping culture debate...I'm really not sure what I think of it and how much more I'd be willing to pay for food or for a service so that places could afford to pay their employees enough so that they don't need to rely on tips. Also- I feel awkward in situations where I don't know what the tipping etiquette is.

While it seems that the article has made some people quite angry (perhaps the 5% tippers?), I think it may have made me likely to tip more the next time I'm in Burlington.

*In a humiliating experience, when I was the hostess at a hotel restaurant, one of the things the servers and I had to do was room service. One person would be the main room service person for the evening, but in general, if things got busy in the dining room, I would end up having to do the deliveries.

One week, there was a family from Australia who was staying in the hotel and they ordered room service a few times. One particular server was always delivering to them and was really upset that they hadn't been tipping - so when she printed out their bill for one dinner, she added "15%" on the tip line. I didn't know this...until it got too busy for her to deliver the meals and I had to go up, deliver the meals, and get them to sign the cheques. They gave me this look like "who do you think you are?!" and I was too shocked to say anything other than "have a nice evening."


Amber said...

When I served, about 4 years ago now, people tended to tip 10-15%. I now always tip 20% unless the service wasn't up to par for some reason. I do know that the hourly wages are LOW in the States so that may have been why they have that on the menu. I never made less than $8 an hour when I was serving and like I said that was 4-5 years ago!

Nicole @ Haute Runner said...

I served all through university so I understand how important tipping is but I also think that it needs to be earned!

It annoys me when I am on vacation and a bell boy offers to help me with my luggage. I appreciate the gesture but I am generally capable of handling my own luggage so I'd rather not pay someone to do something that I can do myself. With a baby now that might be a different story... I might need 3 bell boys!!