Imagine a person who is using an Al-Qaeda flag to mutilate an adorable puppy in front of 15 Kindergarteners while proudly donning a Hitler mustache and singing the words of the Russian national anthem to the tune of that one really sad Sarah McLaughlin song. This guy takes the silver for “Worst Human Being On the Planet,” because while he may be awful, he isn’t the dirtiest of scums inhabiting this beautiful, beautiful earth. Instead, the gold medal is reserved for the trashiest group of jackasses: the people who go out and don’t feel like tipping.
Drawing a line through the “add tip” line is essentially telling your server or bartender that while you loved your night out, you don’t think he or she deserves to be paid for his or her hard work. The problem is, you get to close that checkbook and discreetly leave the restaurant without ever having to confront the actual man or woman who is going to have to struggle that much more to pay rent this month. Would you go to a concert and not expect to buy a ticket that supports the musician’s income? Would you hire a babysitter for the night to entertain your leaky toddler and compensate him or her with a mere smile? No, you would not, so why would you expect free service at a restaurant? A tip is not a courtesy. A tip is not “a little something extra.” A tip is someone’s income. A tip is always necessary.
“But what if I get bad service?”
Unless your server sprinkled boogers on your food, purposefully dropped it on the floor in front of you, and demanded you slurp it up like a starving kid in Africa, you CANNOT leave that restaurant without leaving at least a 12 percent tip. Even that is cutting it close. If you cannot afford to do so, go back to your house and microwave another Lean Cuisine because you cannot afford to go out at all. As a customer who has never worked in a restaurant, you cannot fathom all that goes into making your order timely and perfect that is not in the hands of the server. Sometimes we mess up and give you a Diet Coke when you asked for regular because you mumbled your demand of an order in response to me saying, “Hey, how’s it going tonight?” Sometimes the chef misreads the ticket I entered correctly on the computer, even though I promptly apologize and take it back to the kitchen. Sometimes we’re forced to work a double and we take a moment to grab a drink of water instead of immediately splitting your $900 tab into 35 different checks. Sometimes I have to grab another waiter to give you an in-depth review of the different burgers on our menu because I am a vegetarian. But please, I beg you, stop taking that out on your server’s tip.
For some reason, when the restaurant gods created the industry in our American culture, they decided that servers’ wages would be tip-based and that minimum wage would be $2.13 an hour. No, you did not read that wrong, nation. $2.13 an hour is what the majority of bartenders, waiters, waitresses, bar backs, hostesses, and busboys make for bending over backward to make sure you’re having a spectacular night. On top of that, this sweatshop worthy wage is taxed and hasn’t been updated in more than 20 years. Many are up in arms about the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which would raise minimum wage up to $10.25 an hour with tipped wages being 70 percent, yet they still believe they are justified in skimping out on a tip for their hardworking server. To those people, I say: back the Senate bill or foot your entire restaurant bill. Either way, servers have mouths to feed and rent to pay.
Those who work in the industry did not stay up at night dreaming of the day when they could be yelled at by a privileged tiger mom for bringing out her salad with the dressing on the side instead of “lightly” mixed in. Many work those crazy hours to supplement the poorly paying full-time job they were able to snag after spending tens of thousands of dollars on a necessary education. Many work those long days because it is their sole income since they could not afford said necessary education. If deserving people want to continue to enjoy an awesome meal with awesome service, then every single person needs to start tipping decently. Taking advantage of service industry workers is causing thousands of your favorite bartenders to find other, desperate work. Non-tippers are slowly taking over the world like a plague of Nazis who think free labor is neat. Do. Not. Succumb. To. It. Karma’s a bitch, and I promise your waitress will remember you as “The Guy Who Thinks Inappropriately Complimenting One’s Chest Is A Great Substitute for Tipping.” She’ll be sure to wipe her butt with your napkin in the future.
Bottom line? Stop being selfish and tip 18 percent or GTFO.