HOW MUCH IS HER SERVICE WORTH?
TNT photo by Russ Carmack
Seven states, including Washington, allow waiters and waitresses to keep their tips on top of being paid the state's full minimum wage. A provision in minimum wage legislation moving through Congress could cut tip-earners' wages to $2.13 an hour.
But they'll still have their tips, you know.
"If it wasn't for my tips, I would barely survive," one 30-year-veteran waitress who earns minimum wage ($7.63 an hour), plus tips told The News Tribune.
Restaurant owners back a smaller hourly wage, plus tips. It saves them money in wages. The Washington Restaurant Association said the proposal before Congress would not lower the hourly wage of any tip earner in the state.
Whichever way the outcome tips, I've got a simmering question: Should we reconsider tipping?
Should waiters' and waitresses' (or bartenders' and busboys', for that matter) wages be tied to tips?
Would a European-style system under which servers are paid a decent wage and don't depend on the kindness of customers be better?
Do you tip? How much? Based on what? Good service? Just because?
For the record, except for that time my ex-landlady demanded dessert and I only had 60 bucks in my wallet, resulting in a 7.5 percent tip for one Pacific Grill server, I leave 10 percent tip minimum. It goes up from there, depending on service. Non-tipping exceptions are for take-out (I'm already being charged for the containers and none has to come by and refill my water) and when owners sling their own hash.