Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Remember when I wrote not long ago about tipping?

Entry on August 18, titled "Let's try this again..." For those inclined you can read it over there, Go down this page and look to the right, in the August Archives titled "Let's try this again...")

Well, this week tipping obviously got under this guys skin but it was handled a little differently:

Charges were dropped yesterday against a Long Island man who was arrested last week for failing to leave a required 18 percent gratuity at Soprano's Italian and American Grill in Lake George, N.Y.

The Warren County district attorney, Kathleen B. Hogan, said that she had determined that the man, Humberto A. Taveras, could not be forced to pay a gratuity.

Ms. Hogan said, "A tip or gratuity is discretionary, and that's what the courts have found."

First, I can understand not leaving a tip for bad service, but for bad food? Uh, I don't think so. That's just wrong, obviously wrong. Stupidly, obviously wrong. The wait person does not cook the food. HELLO!

Okay, next, nine people ate dinner for $77.43?!

And he's surprised the meal wasn't much good....?

As I indicated before, in the my previous tipping rant, tipping doesn't work. I think tipping is a mistake and creates problems. The employer should pay their employees a reasonable wage for doing a difficult job. If they do it well. And if they do it well, they get to keep their job and they should be paid accordingly. Like the rest of us.

If it's not based on the service and it's not based on the food, then what's it based on? The waitress breast size? If it's not a tip and it's mandatory then make it a service charge. There should be a mandatory service charge, or it should be included into the price of the food. It would make people more likely to take their complaints (of anything) to the management instead of taking it out on the wait person's pocket. It would make for easier, more honest, declaration of income for the waiter and restaurant. It would create a different, more normal, relationship between the wait staff and the customer.

The problem with adding a mandatory tip to the bill of larger dining parties is that very often the restaurant does not make it clear to the diners that has been done and the customers end up - in the candlelight and wine fog and involved in conversation - paying the tip twice, not realizing that it has already been added to the bill.

I'm fine with mandatory amounts of tips for larger parties but the establishment should make it perfectly clear before the party starts!!

The fact that the guy was arrested is ridiculous! So, the Prosecutor says:

"A Mandatory Gratuity Is Just a Tip, and Thus Not Mandatory"


Published: September 15, 2004

As it turns out, a tip is just a tip, even if you put "mandatory" in front of it.

PEOPLE!!!! We need a court to figure this out? The guy was ARRESTED and then a COURT of law had to determine the definition of TIP and if not tipping could mean jail time.! Holy Toledo. Of course personally I wouldn't mess around with a restaurant named "Soprano's".


  • But the guy DID say the service was terrible!!!

    And what does it say, if you're forced to pay an 18% tip? That the service CAN be awful and you still must tip? Not me!

    Most places I've been to, go out of their way to take care of you if you've had lousy service (just speak to the manager!).

    My feeling is, pay them up to minimum wage (or more), THEN let us add tips we feel are correct.

    By Blogger Dave, At 6:19 AM  

  • It states in the article above: "Taveras claimed his party didn't see the notice on the menu and was not told about it. He said they weren't satisfied with the food, and intended to leave a 10% tip."

    It says he was not satisfied with the FOOD! He did not complain about the service. But I wholly agree with you Mr. Dave. You if read my previous entry on TIPPING I totally support and agree with you that tipping should be gratuitus based on service not demanded by the restaurant or the wait person.

    By Blogger Terri, At 7:27 AM  

  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but a gratuity is a "gift" and not an "obligation," correct? I'm something of a simple-minded redneck about restaurants and chow-halls, but I generally won't go to a place that requires that you tip your waiter or waitress. I think situations like that tend to create a condition where the wait staff no longer cares about how well the customer is served, since they get tipped regardless of how they may have performed, and I'll be damned if I'll tip a plate-jockey for poor service.

    That said, if I got good service in a restaurant, whether it was my local Denny's or a five-star world-class establishment, I'll tip the waiter or waitress what I think he or she deserves based on his or her performance, and not that of the kitchen staff, over which the wait staff has little or no control.

    As to the bill of seventy-some dollars for nine people, I think it's somewhat elitist to imply that an inexpensive meal is by definition inedible or of poor quality. All over this area, there are any number of restaurants that feed someone quite well for a cheaper fee. But maybe that's just how we do chow in Texas.

    By Blogger Patrick H., At 7:46 AM  

  • I can only suggest Patrick that if you read the earlier post, the one I referenced in the first line of this post, you'd see where I absolutely have the same opinion on tipping. You aren't stating anything I haven't said already, look in the August archives under "Let's try again..." The entire entry, written long before this incident, was written about tipping.

    Next, regardless of the quality of food it's not appropriate to punish the service person. If you carefully read the article and the court transcripts, the guys complaint was not with the wait staff, it was with the quality of food. The wait staff should not be punished. BUT even that said, my point wasn't if he should or shouldn't have point was that it's INSANE that they arrested the guy for not tipping. Did you read the entire post? You seem to be arguing but I didn't say or suggest the man should have tipped. I defend his right NOT TO TIP. For all I care he didn't tip because he just didn't want to. Okay with me. But, if you're going to not tip a wait person, for whatever reason, I'd strongly suggest not eating there again as stiffing someone who is going to bring your food to you the next week or the next or the next, probably is not in my best interest but hey, each his own.

    Finally, while I think you should expect decent food anywhere you eat out, there is a difference in quality of ingredients, training of chef's, etc. in a restaurant that serves food for $8.60 per person (including salad and beverage) and one that serves a similar meal at an upper crust establishment. Expectations should be different. That's all. I don't expect a MacDonalds hamburger to taste like a hamburger from Le'Dome. If I do I'm going to be sadly disappointed. But, I know that. I wouldn't expect that.

    By Blogger Terri, At 12:46 PM  

  • Yeah but a tip is a gift and not an obligation so I.... lol Sorry.... I couldn't resist.

    I understand what you wrote Terri. Cause I followed directions. See you around bella~

    By Blogger Jennefer, At 8:29 PM  

  • I want to go to Le'Dome! Where is it? What is it?

    By Blogger SidDawgone, At 10:54 PM  

  • Oh, Terri dear, I think both your articles have put a curse on the restaurant I am waitressing at. . .the tips have just about dried up the last few weeks! Maybe the customers are trying to step over the line to see if they'll get arrested. . .

    You are probably right, after being an extra on that Jessica Lange/Sam Shepard movie, I probably COULD move to LA and be a professional extra. . .but that would involve moving back to Hell-A, where I grew up. It's not happening this lifetime! I'll stick to big sky Montana and take the extra work as it comes!!! Thanks for commenting on my blog! Love, Em

    By Blogger emily, At 7:48 AM  

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