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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Monday, May 20

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d. / January 7, 2008 12:28 AM

Waitstaff: Usually around 20%. I don't go out to eat often where I have to tip, which is once every two weeks or so, so I try to tip well.

Bartenders: 1 or 2 bucks per drink depending on how well the pour is or if I'm hoping for better service later on during the night.

Cab Drivers: One to three dollars depending on how far. Usually don't get in a cab.

R / January 7, 2008 12:49 AM

Waitstaff gets around 20%, even if the service wasn't great. Bartenders usually get $1 per drink (I order soda pop at bars bc I don't drink alcohol), and cabbies get $1-2.

I'm actually kind of stumped as to what a cab driver SHOULD get, and whether it should be more than a server. Are they on the same gratuity level? A cab gets you home safely, shouldn't that tip more than the person who brings you your salad?

Ed / January 7, 2008 1:32 AM

waitstaff: 20%, or $5 if the bill is

bartenders: $1-2, but i don't drink

cabbies: $3-10 depending on distance and neighborhood and such.

maardvark / January 7, 2008 4:45 AM

My default tip is about 17% (I divide by six and round up). If service is noticeably above the minimum base standard, I give from 20 up to 25% (and I'm easy to please here--just being non-surly gets you an extra buck or two). If service clearly stank, and it was clearly the waitstaff's fault (these conditions have been both met only twice in my life), then $1 and a nasty note.

Bartenders: dollar a drink, roughly. I tip comps as if I'd paid for the drink, and also a little extra besides. (Moral of the story, bartenders of the city: comp me more often!)

Cabs: the loose change, plus roughly $1 for every $5-7 on the meter (this is more of a "feel" thing than a hard-and-fast rule). Plus another $2-5 in the event they go above and beyond the call of duty. No tip at all if they drive badly, take eccentric routes, or are unconscionably rude.

JasonB / January 7, 2008 6:31 AM

Typically 25%

Sometimes a tad more for waiters/waitresses, if the restaurant was really busy.

JD / January 7, 2008 7:30 AM

20% across the board.
But in sliding 5% increments for good/bad service.
I tip fast delivery guys and heavy pouring/comping bartenders the best.

Patrick / January 7, 2008 8:40 AM

Waitstaff: 20 percent.

Bartenders: $1 per trip to the bar. I know how much they pull in each night.

Cabbies: $2 per ride unless its a 30-block haul.

Mikey / January 7, 2008 9:09 AM

Waitstaff - roughly 20%, sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more

Bartenders - $1 a drink

Cabbies - usually $1 and the change (my fare rarely exceeds 7-15 dollars; if a longer trip, I would tip another dollar or two, and on really short trips, just the change)

Food delivery - between $2 and $3

Cat / January 7, 2008 9:20 AM

I'm on board with everyone else -- usually 20% across the board, and a buck or two per drink at a bar.

What about tipping your paper guy and hairdresser at the holidays? Some people seem to go way above and beyond (with the holiday tipping). Necessary? Expected?

Hal / January 7, 2008 9:39 AM

Restaurants - 17-20%, more the cheaper the dinner. Can get up to 25% if the place is super cheap like Joy's on Broadway. Buffets - 10%.

Delivery - 10-15%, though up to 30% if the weather is shitty.

Cabs - ~10-15%, then rounding up to the next dollar. I think this usually brings it to 20% when all is done. But for a particuarly shitty cabbie (ignoring explicit directions, really truly rude, etc), they'll just get the change from the nearest whole dollar .

Hal / January 7, 2008 9:41 AM

Oh, yeah, and $1 per drink/beer at a bar.

Cheryl / January 7, 2008 9:51 AM

I once tipped a cab driver 100 percent, but he got me home during a storm in which he had to pay attention to the trees blowing across Lake Shore Drive, and near the end of the ride, he had to drive on the sidewalk to avoid the flooding under the L tracks on Irving Park. It was worth it.

SR / January 7, 2008 10:06 AM

Restaurants: 20% unless service is horrible.

Bars: Don't drink... but will put down an extra $1 on the first Coke.

Cabs: Usually whatever gets me to an even $20 or $25, unless it's a horrible ride.

Delivery: Always a few dollars. I only get delivery when the weather is terrible or when I'm sick.

porgy / January 7, 2008 10:17 AM

I usually tip 20% for waitstaff, try to tip barstaff a dollar a drink (until I start getting a little brainfog )
Cabdrivers it all depends on the driver...usually 20%...very least would be 15% but I've had drivers go above and beyond and tipped 30-50%.
Get stumped when servers give you a free drink..thats why I tip them by drink and not by bill total.

amyc / January 7, 2008 10:17 AM

Usually 20% for waitstaff, cabbies, haircuts, etc.

I tend not to leave tips in tip jars, unless I actually have my meal or beverage in the establishment and use a table. If I'm just getting a cup of tea to go, no tip.

milena / January 7, 2008 10:28 AM

waitstaff - always 20% unless service sucks--then no tip at all (only had to do this twice in my life)

bartenders - a buck per drink or every other drink

cab drivers - depends on the total and distance and weather- i try hard to factor all those in and i guess im a sucker for remembering that gas is so expensive (i have a car, but take cta to work) so i tend to always tip an extra buck for gas.

food delivery - usually around 3 to 5 bucks since i have already been charged a delivery fee

jen / January 7, 2008 10:45 AM

restaurants = ~20%, unless the staff is particularly snooty or just doesn't care, then ~15%.

bar = $1/drink, generally. more at my local bar when i get food, too.

cabs = ~$2 (rides are $7-15 total)

hairstylist = 20%

food delivery = only $2-3, especially because there is already a delivery charge factored in. when did everyone start charging $2-3 for delivery? and does that money go to the drivers? if not, why is there a delivery fee?

p / January 7, 2008 11:06 AM

restaurants= 20%. a little more for breakfast. sometimes more if service and recommendations ruled.

bars= whatever silver is there plus 1 or 2 bucks depending on how many drinks were ordered. 20-30% if on a tab or had a waitress.

baristas- if they're friendly they get the silver. sometimes a dollar.

Stephen / January 7, 2008 11:47 AM

Restaurants: I round my bill up to the next highest $5 and tip 20% on that. Minimum $2 tip.

Bar: $1/drink.

Cab: 20%.

Former Buffet Server / January 7, 2008 1:08 PM

To Hal - You should tip your server at a buffet the same you would tip any server. I used to work in a restaurant with a Sunday buffet. For a typical dinner service, you take the plate of food out and remove it when it is empty. At the buffet, the server is often times removing 3 or 4 plates per person from your table. Also - who, exactly do you think is restocking the food on the buffet?

flange / January 7, 2008 1:18 PM

i start at 15% and round up, generally to the nearest dollar, but add another dollar if there was a reason to.

i can't imagine tipping 20%, except at my favorite diner, where i regularly leave two bucks on what's typically a five-buck check. but one guy does the cooking and serving there.

i look forward to the inevitable flame about what a cheapskate i am.

bars, usually a buck a drink. cabbies, again 10-15%, adding a little extra if there's good reason (rain, i'm lugging my cat to the vet, etc.)

Spook / January 7, 2008 1:57 PM

Even if the service is bad I leave 20 percent and if I like the service or server 25 to 30 percent. I’m not generous, its just I’m blessed ( knock on wood) that I never had to work in the service industry
Cabs, as I always ask a driver where he is from This always leads to anti American conversations which I'm more than happy to engage in, so I tip at least four bucks.

Drinks, I tip a buck but as I’m a weekend drunk, it adds up. For comp drinks I tip the price of the drink.

Spook / January 7, 2008 2:02 PM


Former Buffet Server

sorry dude or dudette,

I've been jipping buffet servers for years, I feel bad! but thanks for the 411 on that. Next buffet, I'm on it

Chef / January 7, 2008 2:27 PM

Waitstaff : 20%

Bartender: $5 tip for the first drink (get the bartenders attention so he pours stiff ones the rest of the night) $1 - $2 per drink thereafter.

Cab drivers…I don’t cab often, so when I do I tip them $20. The look on their face when I give it to them is awesome. Sorry if this comes off as a “let’s make myself feel better” ploy, but it is cool to see the reaction of the cabbie.

This goes along with the buffet issue…and the real reason I posted was to ask:

Do barista’s (at Starbucks, for instance) depend on their tips?

Do people who work at buffets get paid a wage where we should tip?

I think tipping has more to do with the hourly wage of the position rather than the actual position itself.

I have worked at a bar (back in the day when you can smoke, no less…ahh, the good ole’days)…and when you work at a bar everyone makes like $2 - $3/hour…so really we all depended on the tips.

Are coffee barista people in the same boat?
Are buffet people in the same boat?

Or do those people make a higher wage and are less dependent of the tips?

Anyone help me out with this?

jennifer / January 7, 2008 2:53 PM

to those people who don't tip 20% for good service (and granted, there is some bad service out there, so this note isn't meant to cover that topic)...

servers are often paid below the minimum hourly wage and, therefore, depend on the tips that you tack onto your bill. while using the monetary value of what you ordered as a guideline for determining the tip, consider actual parts of the service as well. did your server properly communicate modifications that you requested to the bartender or chef? was your water glass or coffee cup refilled when needed? were your requests fulfilled (for extra sauce, a new fork) in a timely fashion? these are some elements of providing good service. paying a bit of attention to these goes to show just how hard some people in the service industry work to make your dinner out enjoyable.

additionally, most servers share a portion of their tips to the bartenders, food runners, and bussers. you are not just tipping one are tipping the entire team. so yes, that extra dollar or two that you withhold might just matter.

sorry to be a bit preachy. the server in me *who is lucky to have the opportunity to go back to grad school* is screaming out her two bits.

Amanda / January 7, 2008 3:06 PM

If I'm comped a drink, which I am at my favorite watering hole, I tip twice what I normally would. Cabbies, about 15-20%
Good point about the buffet table, Former Buffet Table Worker: will start tipping more.
Wait Staff: solid 20% unless the server was rude or nonattentive, then 15%. Servers who are inattentive or rude clearly don't need the money as much.

Tobermory / January 7, 2008 3:06 PM

Waitstaff - 20% on the entire bill

Delivery - 20%

Bartenders - $1-2 per drink

Cabbies: $5-10 - closer to $10 if it's late and I ask them to wait until I get my door open.

Paper Delivery Guy: $25 at Christmas along with a note that I appreciate that the paper is ALWAYS on the front stoop

Garbagemen: $60/truck which evens out to $20/guy (my husband does woodworking and leaves some larger garbage)

Hair people: 20%

Jill / January 7, 2008 3:24 PM

Food: If it's at a place where I'm a regular or want to establish regular status, or the service was awesome, it's usually over 20%. Otherwise it's around 15%.

Bartender: Mostly depends on what I'm drinking. $1 if you're opening a beer bottle, $2 or so if you're mixing a cocktail.

Cab: Change plus $1-2, depending on distance. I usually give 20% on rides from the airport.

Dutch101 / January 7, 2008 3:31 PM

I usually tip about 18-20% on food. Though if I get noticeably bad service, I'll leave far less (I'm really pretty easy to please, so I can think of perhaps one time in the past several years where I have dipped below 15%).

Bartenders, I will usually tip a buck a drink. More if it is a really expensive and or cool drink and comes in say a volcano with fruit wedges or some similar thing.

Cabbies, I usually just round it up to the nearest multiple of $5, or try to stick to about 15% or so.

Tonic / January 7, 2008 4:24 PM

Do I tip people who haven't really done shit? Like the Starbucks folks in the morning rush downtown who just hand you a cup and you get your own coffee?

Or the bathroom attendant if I use paper towels instead of his vast array of cloth towels, colognes, pomades, etc.?

Mikey / January 7, 2008 5:08 PM

I kind of resent feeling like I should tip a bathroom attendant simply for sticking a paper towel in my face or squeezing liquid soap on my hands. Of course, if I take a mint, cigarette, spritz of cologne, etc., then by all means I leave a buck or two...

And then there's that guy who works the bathroom at Waterhouse--he rocks it! Always has a sunny disposition, and offers to "clean up" the back of your neck with a straight edge razor and cream (and does a good job too). If you're really drunk, he'll even try to talk you into letting him give you a mohawk...

Andrew / January 7, 2008 5:10 PM

Restaurants: I almost always pay with a credit card, and I double the tax and round the total up to the next whole dollar amount. Usually ends up being around 20%. Only exception is at a diner or other cheap place, when leaving $1/person would be more. Couldn't remember when I last ordered delivery.

Bars: Usually $1/drink, unless I'm drinking specials or cheap drinks that are $2 or less, then I order two at a time and leave $1 for both. Eg, at the Hideout I'll get two cans of PBR ($2/ea) and leave $5.

Cabs: I took a taxi on NYE for the first time in forever. The bill was ~$8, and I left him $12. Figured it was a holiday.

Paper delivery: I have no face-to-face relationship whatsoever with the paper delivery person, so I can't see why I'd be expected to tip whoever it is.

Haircuts: I hate paying the exorbitant prices for haircuts in the first place, so when I do get one (maybe 4x/yr) I'll leave $2. I got a free sample haircut a few weeks ago and left $5.

My girlfriend worked as a barista at Argo Tea for a while. She made regular (ie not server) minimum wage, so she didn't depend on the tips, but tipping out an extra $5 after each shift sure made her day. I say leave the change if you can afford it.

Staci / January 7, 2008 5:30 PM

Restaurants - I usually leave at least 20 percent. Sometimes a dollar or two more if it's a place I go to a lot. I give my change plus a quarter or two to baristas.

Bars - I don't drink, but I tip a dollar on my cokes, waters and plain tonics. Bartenders are REALLY nice and attentive to you if you tip on water.

Cabs - Usually about $5 because I know how expensive gas is. Much less if the ride is somehow unpleasant.

Haircuts - The girl who does my hair is awesome and only charges $20 for a cut, so I usually give her about 50%. She always does a good job and I've been going to her for years, so I am happy to give her a big tip. I tip her more around her birthday and Christmas.

C-Note / January 7, 2008 7:04 PM

What I want to know is how the vast majority of you arrived at this arbitrary 20% figure for waitstaff. THAT'S interesting. I have some ideas about it - herd mentality, purchasing social approval, etc. - but I'd like to hear it from the horse's mouth, so to speak. Takers?

vanessa / January 7, 2008 7:17 PM

Waitstaff: 20-25%. If they aren't very good, 15-18%. (They also make about $3.20/hr and I always take that into consideration.

Bartenders: $2 per drink or 20% off the round. If I have a tab, 20-30% off the bill.

Cabbies: I also don't know what you should tip the cabbies, so I usually do 20% off the meter. Or if it's not much, at least $2.

**I'm a bartender and I figure if I tip well, it will eventually come back to me. And you know what? It usually does!

Miss Manners / January 7, 2008 8:05 PM

What I want to know is how the vast majority of you arrived at this arbitrary 20% figure for waitstaff. THAT'S interesting. I have some ideas about it - herd mentality, purchasing social approval, etc. - but I'd like to hear it from the horse's mouth, so to speak. Takers?

Shocking. A smugly condescending comment from C-Note. Nonetheless, I'll take your bait. Umm...common knowledge? 14-20% is what the general rules of good etiquette dictate for fair to exemplary service (i.e. 'herd mentality'). So what do you do, pull a number out of your ass?

Mr. Pink / January 7, 2008 8:24 PM

I'm very sorry the government taxes their tips, that's fucked up. That ain't my fault. It would seem to me that waitresses are one of the many groups the government fucks in the ass on a regular basis. Look, if you ask me to sign something that says the government shouldn't do that, I'll sign it, put it to a vote, I'll vote for it, but what I won't do is play ball. And as for this non-college bullshit I got two words for that: learn to fuckin' type, 'cause if you're expecting me to help out with the rent you're in for a big fuckin' surprise.

flange / January 7, 2008 8:50 PM

yes, jennifer, all that is understood. as i say, i kick in an extra buck when it's deserved.

it seems to me that by and large -- people in this thread who routinely tip 20% do not distinguish between good service and lesser service. i reward those who make the effort you describe. (and i nod to the few people here who acknowledge that they do take the quality of service into account.)

as for tipping counter staff, i'd no more tip a starbucks cashier than i'd tip the drone who hands me my ticket at a movie theater. there is no difference.

Pennywise / January 7, 2008 9:49 PM

This 20% across the board business is ridiculous. A tip is meant to reward good service, not blindly compensate. If you're tipping 20% every time, where's the incentive to provide good service? Should a waiter who doesn't give a shit be given the same as the waitress who goes all out?

Also, I too would like to know when and how we moved from 15% to 20%. Why? Because the cost of living has increased? It's a percentage people - the cost of eating out has gone out and the tips have gone up proportionately.

Me: 15% for standard service. 20-25 for great service. Nothing for poor service.

$1-2 per drink .

Cabbies get 10-20% too.

Colin / January 7, 2008 9:51 PM

I tip exorbitantly, regardless of the circumstance. I tip no less than 30% on any bill, whether it's $5 or $500... oftentimes, more. I once tipped a bartender $100 on 1 drink, and it was totally worth it. If not anything, it makes for a great story.

Ramsin / January 8, 2008 8:53 AM

Waitstaff gets 20% unless you ordered alcohol, and then they get 25%; bartenders get $1 per drink per round (if you got 4 drinks in a round, you tip $4). Cab drivers, my general rule is 10%.

flange / January 8, 2008 9:09 AM

hm. pennywise mentions something with an interesting corollary from the other side.

as we all know, because of the high prices of transportation and feed (corn in particular), menu prices have been going up substantially. (as have food prices at retail outlets.)

this means that as a result of the increased costs faced by farmers and truckers, waitstaff has gotten a raise.

are they stepping up to the plate with better service?

Hal / January 8, 2008 10:18 AM

My range on tipping definitely depends on quality of service as well. It can go down to 5-10% if it's particularly shitty. If it's below 15%, I'll leave a short note as to why, so it can't be read as me stiffing. Service that bad happens very, very rarely, though.

"Former Buffet Server" - sorry, I don't buy it. Perhaps I haven't been to higher quality buffets like you've worked at, but basically, what I've experienced is table-bussing (4 plates? Good god, that's a lot of eating) and a somewhat reduced server duty (water & drinks).

In my calculus, I'm reducing the role of waitstaff to virtually nil, but leaving what the bus and serving staff should have gotten.

Spook / January 8, 2008 10:26 AM

Screw that ya cheap A$S bastards, I tip waitstaff at least 20 percent, because
people like you( Lincoln Park types) are cheap!

Yea I've seen you! Hats on backwards( or sleeping with the hats on backwards types) tipping a quarter on your budlite beer as if it were a solid gold ducket.

When I get bad service I always assume it was because some yuppie ate or drank before me. Then you got people bringing their brats into resturants. They should have to tip 65%!

With than being said, please don't lie about how much you tip to boost your fragil ego, least Sir. Colin will make fun of you and I will Laugh because that sh*t was too funny, son!

p.s I don't tip the news paper delivery guy, why should I?

Jill / January 8, 2008 10:47 AM

What bugs me is that standard etiquette puts 20% at the upper end of tip range, but then I'll go out with someone who works in the service industry and always tips at least 25% because "they know what it's like."

If you do that, don't waitstaff get used to the more extravagant tips and then start to sneer when they get a 20% tip? And if the service is bad, do you still give the 25%, allowing waitstaff to think that subpar service is acceptable?

If that's the case, then it does mess up the rest of us who tip based on service levels.

Dutch101 / January 8, 2008 10:58 AM

Spook, you spelled ducat wrong.
And I don't quite think that you should rail so heartily against the Lincoln Park types. I think they are generally tools too (not because of their tipping) but to blame them for under tipping is a little disingenuous. All my waitstaff pals have stories of crummy tipping, and almost none of their respective scapegoat classes/types/what have you are completely different.

Also, I too was wondering, ala pennywise, when it moved from 15% to 20%. I understand how waitstaff gets screwed by nutty labor laws and pay rates, but that's not a new story, so why the sudden 5% bump?

Dutch101 / January 8, 2008 11:07 AM

Oh, I was also going to mention that I DO believe that tipping should have some relationship with quality of service. I eat out in part to be catered to a bit, and if that part is missing, then I don't really think that i should arbitrarily give someone 20%. I do feel bad for the busboy or the barkeep who might (though who knows) have had nothing to do with the wait persons incompetence, but someone who is scooping up a 5, 8 or 10% tip ought to do the math and figure out if they could up their game. If I were to tip that little, though, I would likely mention the crappy service to the manager too, though.

ebow / January 8, 2008 11:39 AM

I was recently having this philosophical debate over the holidays and am glad GB brings up the question of tipping. My question is for which services do you tip and which don't you tip? I know the question is slightly off topic, but still interesting.

For instance, it's a given that waiters, cabbies and bartenders get tips (unless they do something completely crappy or have zero respect for you). Additionally, the general population expects hairdressers, bellhops, pizza delivery guys/gals and curbside check-in attendants to be given tips.

Now the gray-areas. Housekeeping? Do the people who clean your hotel room daily receive a tip when you check-out? This was a more common practice in the past, but I now know few people who do leave something for these hard working folks.

Baristas? Do people who's job it is to make your $3 coffee deserve a little something extra?

Italian ice scoopers? Being one myself I say "hell yeah", but then does the guy at Quiznos get tipped too? Why not also McDonald's employees?

Where do we draw the distinction?

A rule of thumb I've heard is that any professional in the service industry where tip is an expected part of their income? This came about because many professions were allowed to be paid below minimum wage, but it was expected that they would receive additional income through tips. However, I doubt the waiters at Charlie Trotters though are getting below minimum wage.

The yearly tip for a continual service, say for the Holidays is another topic all together, like the newspaper delivery, the postman or the doorman in your building.

Mr. Pink / January 8, 2008 12:09 PM

Nice Guy Eddie: C'mon, throw in a buck!
Mr. Pink: Uh-uh, I don't tip.
Nice Guy Eddie: You don't tip?
Mr. Pink: Nah, I don't believe in it.
Nice Guy Eddie: You don't believe in tipping?
Mr. Blue: You know what these chicks make? They make shit.
Mr. Pink: Don't give me that. She don't make enough money that she can quit.
Nice Guy Eddie: I don't even know a fucking Jew who'd have the balls to say that. Let me get this straight: you don't ever tip?
Mr. Pink: I don't tip because society says I have to. All right, if someone deserves a tip, if they really put forth an effort, I'll give them something a little something extra. But this tipping automatically, it's for the birds. As far as I'm concerned, they're just doing their job.
Mr. Blue: Hey, our girl was nice.
Mr. Pink: She was okay. She wasn't anything special.
Mr. Blue: What's special? Take you in the back and suck your dick?
Nice Guy Eddie: I'd go over twelve percent for that.

Carlotta / January 8, 2008 12:55 PM

Waitstaff: Unless the service was found wanting it's a minimum of 15%, but more often it's in the 20% range.

Bartenders: Usually something like $1 a drink. If it's a favorite bartender whom I've known for some time it's a really generous amount -- hard to put in percentages.

Cabdrivers: It's rare that I take a cab, but I'd tip in the 15% range.

Barristas: If it's a place I frequent like Intelligentsia I'll drop a dollar in every so often, especially if I have a big order. Around holidays I'll throw in $5. Otherwise, I rarely throw in even loose change.

p / January 8, 2008 1:21 PM

i'll tip anyone who finds my coat $300.00.

It's big and black, made by patagonia and it was last seen last night in the Uptown neighborhood. It should smell like good sex and fresh baked brownies. Inside the pocket are some keys on a "Why can't i be rich instead of so damn good looking" keychain. If it isn't returned soon i'm going to send the dude from no country for old men after it. While i'm at it- i want my DePaul starter jacket back somebody stole a few years ago too. I'll tip $25.00 for that. If you personally have my coat i won't ask any questions- i'll just tip you well and you can feel better about yourself and perhaps roast in hell less.

plogan / January 8, 2008 1:21 PM

You gotta tip cabbies 20% minimum, It's a terribly dangerous and thankless job. The girl from Olive Garden isn't putting her life on the line to get you your breadsticks. Just something to consider . . .

d / January 8, 2008 1:47 PM

Restaurant: 15-25% depending on service. At least $2 per person at cheap places.

Pizza delivery dudes usually get 25% since I tend to only order when it's cold and shitty outside.

Cabbies get 15% if all was well.

Overall I dislike tipping. I prefer the no-tipping ways of the old country.

Matt / January 8, 2008 2:09 PM

A lot. Enough, anyway, to compensate for people like my mother-in-law. She is Mr. Pink.

Patrick / January 8, 2008 4:17 PM

This 20% across the board business is ridiculous. A tip is meant to reward good service, not blindly compensate. If you're tipping 20% every time, where's the incentive to provide good service? Should a waiter who doesn't give a shit be given the same as the waitress who goes all out?

A bad waiter doesn't get a low tip; a bad waiter gets ... fired.

If that happens more than a couple times, a bad waiter either rethinks his/her career options or becomes a good waiter overnight.

taj / January 8, 2008 5:27 PM

20%- servers and cabbies..unless service is absolutely horrible

$1 for drinks- rarely drink alcohol

identity crisis / January 8, 2008 5:50 PM

whew. thanks spook for reminding me who i am- a lincoln park type that drinks bud lite. i probably read the redline paper too! i thought i was having an identity crisis, but i thank spook for reminding me who i am.
ugh. bite me.

Spook / January 9, 2008 9:47 AM

Identity crisis,
actually said comment was
meant to mock you, but your very welcome, I can see from "bite me" you now remember who you are.




ducat, it is.

I guess my comments are more about recognizing that waiting on folks is difficult and often personally demeaning, which is why I think we should tip generously
and publicly mock those who do not

Bored with Spook... / January 9, 2008 10:26 AM

Amazing how somebody who harbors so much hatred and resentment persistently tries to position himself as a champion of the common man. All style and no substance. What a fucking loser you are.

graumach / January 9, 2008 10:29 AM

Having waited more than myshare of tables years back, I tend to be generous -- but (judging from the above) still seem to be part of the herd.

Starting at 20-25% in restuarant. The service has got to really suck before I go down to 15%. A buck plus per in bars, depending on the drink, the service, the pricing, and other factors.

About 20% on haircuts. But seeing how I have yet to find anyone who can give me a decent haircut twice in a row, seldomly not more.

Cabbies I'm quite generous with, sometimes ridficulously so. Unless they do something like ignore my advice on routes, get lost after not taking my advice, or makes unsolicted/presumptive racist comments about my neighborhood of choice. (And I had all three happen in a single ride, recently.) In other words, if the cabbie's a real jerk, I start docking dillies off the tip.

lolo / January 9, 2008 10:39 AM

Lolo gets own food, makes own drinks, cuts own hair, and drives own cab.

Lolo is totally self-sufficient. Lolo only tips when he's paying for papusa.

C-Note / January 9, 2008 1:06 PM

Re: "Shocking. A smugly condescending comment from C-Note. Nonetheless, I'll take your bait. Umm...common knowledge? 14-20% is what the general rules of good etiquette dictate for fair to exemplary service (i.e. 'herd mentality'). So what do you do, pull a number out of your ass?"

General rules of good etiquette? Who wrote the rules? Servers? I'm not that old, but I remember when it was 12%. Now it's 20%? I doubt that's because diners decided they ought to tip more, or needed a rounder number. I tip as much or as little as I feel like doing - the percentages are arbitrary and not particularly useful to me, since I have acquired the ability to think in the abstract.

I would also like to point out that, while servers are generally paid below minimum wage, the employer has to make up the difference if the tips don't. So it's not as if the server will make $3.25/hr if you don't tip them. They'll make minimum wage, as they ought to.

graumach / January 9, 2008 3:01 PM

Three words:
Cost of living.

Three more:
Adjused for inflation.

And another three:
Living wage now.

graumach / January 9, 2008 3:01 PM

Three words:
Cost of living.

Three more:
Adjusted for inflation.

And another three:
Living wage now.

lemon / January 9, 2008 3:59 PM

I was a delivery driver for awhile, and we definitely did NOT get the delivery charge. We made a flat $20/night (five hour shift), and the rest of your income was tips. It was so discouraging to realize that many people believed the ($3.50) delivery charge went to us, and so they didn't need to tip, or would only tip a dollar or two on a $50 order!

Also, my husband has been a waiter at many different restaurants over the years, and he says C-note is full of it -- while it may be that employers are "supposed to" make up for bad tip nights to make sure servers end up having made minimum wage, he's never heard of anyone actually doing that.

No Tippin' Pippen / January 9, 2008 4:56 PM

I think we can all infer from C-Note's posts that he hardly lives up to his moniker and is in fact a cheapskate. Servers beware.

Calliope / January 9, 2008 6:51 PM

If you don't agree with the system of tipping in America, then fine. I happen to agree with it. I think that servers should get paid a living wage and tipping should be a "bonus" for good service. However. You are a total idiot if you think that restaurant prices will stay the same if restaurant managers have to pay all their servers, bartenders, and bussers minimum wage. Your chicken pot pie will go from $8 to $18.

Moral of the story - be careful what you wish for. Oh, and stop being a douchebag about tipping. Just because you're pissed at the system, doesn't mean you should take it out on your server. Hey, wanna know a better way to make your point known? Don't go to restaurants if you don't want to tip. Stay at home, nitwit.

C-Note / January 9, 2008 8:34 PM

You see, this is the danger of anonymous posting. Nobody really knows anyone, so we feel free to imagine each other's behavior, whether or not our imagination correlates to reality. I'm probably more generous than most of you, and certainly have had at least as many tipping jobs.

At the same time, I reject arbitrary percentages for reasons I don't have time to explain. I also strenuously question this "living wage" idea. I challenge anyone to point to where I said I don't tip. Truthfully, I just got home from a bar, where I tipped 50% on my $24 tab. That's for you, Pippen, Calliope, nitwits both. And I didn't do it just to exceed your little contribution.

I'm having a hard time figuring out how to say this, so here's my best: don't let society tell you what the fuck to do. Yesterday they said 12%; today it's 20%; tomorrow it's whatever. If you have a brain, use it. Do what you think is right, without reference to some arbitrary b.s. like this shit.

But definitely (as Pippen says) beware: if I think your service sucks, and is unjustified under the circumstances, you will not see my money. And not only that, but I feel like your compensation is the responsibility of the management, not mine.

This bourgeois b.s. must stop. Eating in restaurants is not a right, but a privilege afforded to those who can afford it. If the pot pie goes up to $18, so be it. Christ - some of you dumbasses would pay the $18, and despite the fact that the servers are already compensated, you'd still tip because you're conditioned to do it. In that case, you really don't need a cerebrum - all you need is a nervous system - somebody else can tell you what to do. Good luck.

long time server / January 10, 2008 12:00 AM

These discussions make everyone mad. Why keep having them? If you are a good tipper you will continue to be, if you are a poor tipper you won't get better.

Tipped employees are at the mercy of their clients good will to pay for food, rent, insurance, etc.

Their salary is reduced because they are tired, sick, or just plain having a bad day. Is yours?

It is a hard job and if you have never done it you should.

Tipping is a reality of our society. If you do not agree with it then do not participate in it. There are a wealth of dining, drinking and transportation options from which to choose where tipping is not expected.

Personally, I remember less what was in the tip amount and more of how I was treated by a table. The better the table the better the service. If you are getting consistently poor service, maybe you should look inward for the cause.
Poor service is often the price paid by poor patrons. (I can see you coming, long before you leave the 15% tip).

Spook / January 10, 2008 9:35 AM

C Note, two things. Are you saying that
"identity crisis" and "Bored with Spook..." are "anonymous posting"?

Now back to you,ya cheap bastard " Whatever. Just throw in your dollar, and let's move. See what I'm dealing with here. Infants. I'm f*ckin dealin with infants!"

ya / January 10, 2008 9:56 AM

I wish we lived in a culture where the tip was "built in" to services, so we weren't sitting there having to judge the worker on some arbitrary scale (12% vs. 15% vs. 20%) when the check came, when the cab stopped or when we saw our new haircut in the mirror. I think it makes for a tense experience.

I remember reading a long time ago that waitstaff at Charlie Trotter's didn't accept tips. Is that true?

Mikey / January 10, 2008 10:11 AM

This brings up some other interesting points...

It's not uncommon for restaurants to automatically add an 18% gratuity for parties of 8 (or sometimes even 6) or more people, so whether you get great or lousy service, you're still locked in. Just something to think about...

And I don't know whether the waitstaff at Charlie Trotter's cannot accept tips or not, but I do recall an article from Chicago magazine several years back about Gibson's. At that time, the top waiters there were pulling in about $70K a year. $70K!! So glad I blew tens of thousands on college for a liberal arts degree when years later, I'm still not making that much...

Tonic / January 10, 2008 12:11 PM

If the pot pie goes up to $18, so be it. Christ - some of you dumbasses would pay the $18,

I think Starbucks based it's whole business model on this fact.

Spook / January 10, 2008 12:16 PM

Allan, where the F*ck are Ya!

Another Former Buffet Server / January 10, 2008 1:42 PM

I spent a short time in college (about 5 years ago) working at a l0w-end buffet restaurant (a national chain). I was paid the same below-minimum-wage hourly rate that I'd earned at other, traditional restaurants. So yes, these people rely on tips too.

It's reduced service, but servers cover more tables and customers are no less demanding. It wasn't unusual to have customers order me to fetch things from the buffet for them - say, if they'd forgotten the sour cream for their baked potato. Of course, it was the same customers who would leave $1 tip for a table of 6.

Very rarely did I get close to 15 percent.

spence / January 10, 2008 2:02 PM


I'm assuming that you're saying that the % you tip should go up as inflation goes up. If that's the case, I'm afraid that's wrong. The tip is already adjusted for inflation if you tip based on a % of what you spent. Unless the food industry has a secret weapon to combat inflation. I'm with C-Note on this, it use to be that 15% was a good tip, now all the sudden you're a cheapskate if you leave less than 20%? WTF?

John Hanson / April 7, 2008 8:22 PM

I am a private practice attorney who provides exemplary service to his clients. Should I get a tip? Is the answer dependent on my income? If so, let's start having service personnel provide financial statements along with the bill. I know waiters/waitresses/bartenders who both take home more income and have more assets than I do. And frequently, they cheat on their income taxes as well. Are we really all discussing stereotypes and class warfare, and not tips? I tip generously for good service--less for average or poor service.

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