In California, I knew a few people in the service industry who made good money. California is a state where you can make the standard minimum wage, and tips are just the icing on the cake.
Good servers can make an average of $20+ an hour in California.
In states like Idaho, however, tipped professions make a 'special' minimum wage: $3.35 an hour.
In other words, they rely on their tips to get to minimum wage, whereas the dude at McDonald's can be a complete douche balloon and still make his $7.25.
So why are people so stingy with tips, especially when you get above-and-beyond service???
I do ride-alongs with vendor reps, bosses, and other VIPs on a regular basis. This last week I had two scenarios involving bad tips by the same person, and it pissed me off:
- Jackson Hole, WY. We go to a nice steakhouse to celebrate a great day. The place is having 2-for-1 entrees, so we eat like kings. Filet Mignon for me, Braised Elk for him. The subtotal came to over $70, but because of the special the actual total was just above $40. He left a $4.83 tip to round the bill up to $45... I felt bad because the waitress was fantastic. Extra bread, drink refills on a regular basis, top-notch service. I slipped in an extra $5 and a note: "Sorry my boss is a bad tipper..."
Even with my $5, the tip was only about 12% of the subtotal. It was a $70 meal and deserved to be tipped accordingly... I felt bad, but that was all the cash I had to give.
- Boise, ID. We go to a gourmet pizza joint and again, top-notch service. She upgrades our pizza for no extra charge. Boss talks about a cola-white-wine drink he used to have in Germany, so the intrigued waitress brings us all a sample of it to try. For free. $21 tab, $2 tip. He even told her it was fantastic service, and still shafted her.
TIPS = To Insure Prompt Service.
Good service should be rewarded, and bad service should be called-out. However, a 5% tip on good service throws off that way of thinking, making people think a lousy tip is an 'asshole customer' 100% of the time.
If I get bad service (like I did at The Celt) I tip low. If I get so-so service I tip so-so. But if the person truly takes care of me and makes the dining experience a good one, I reward them for a job well done. $5 tip on a $12 tab, for example.
Especially in Idaho, where they're already $4/hr lower than the 'minimum' wage. They need these tips to survive, and if they're hustling accordingly, I can't not recognize that.
I do, however, think the lower minimum is unfair. A Rooty Tootie Fresh n Fruity costs the same if you're in a California IHOP vs an Idaho IHOP, but the waitstaff is making MUCH MUCH less in the tater state... That's not cool, but the restaurant industry doesn't care.
Do you tip well? Do you 'not believe' in tipping like Mr. Pink?
What do you think about the 'lower-than-minimum' minimum wage laws like in Idaho?
Do you work for tips and have a fun story to share? Please leave a comment below, and feel free to share this post with others. Maybe, with luck, we can educate a person or two...