Keep those calls and letters coming, people, because they make for great blog fodder. Here's one on one of my favorite topics, tipping:
Bet you saw the article on tipping in TNT Business, March 6. According to the first paragraph, I can't even shave a tip for writing down the wrong order. The second paragraph informs me that tipping is mandatory even with poor service. I was shocked - me who leaves 20% routinely - me who looks for any reason to not shave a tip - slow service? oh, it looks extra busy today, 20%!
Mandatory? If it's mandatory, shouldn't it just go away and each item price go up by 20%? I thought it was the option of it all that provides the incentive for the server. Most of us wouldn't be too happy at work if our boss (or our clients, customers..) got to evaluate each days' productivity and enthusiasm and pay accordingly, but we've lived with this quirk in the service industry for a long time. If it's now
mandatory, maybe it's time to go. If there is no incentive in the tip, no element of reward, then let the restaurant manager keep a closer eye on the wait staff and counsel and fire as needed based on a living wage, with raises given for good performance.
And $2.95 is plenty for a latte that takes 3 minutes to make while I stand on the sidewalk waiting. How do they even think of that as tip worthy service? The article does say I only have to tip a barista for "exceptional" service. How do you even tell the difference between good solid service and exceptional in a 2-3 min coffee making episode? But I'm digressing.
By the way, I've changed my tipping minimum for the basic level of acceptable service (ie, I get what I ordered, when it should arrive, no questions asked and no attitude given): 15 percent, up from 10. Call it a cost of eating adjustment. Twenty percent is not unusual, but I have a problem going higher than that without something phenomenal happening.