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Letters: Leaving a tip

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  • Smart Cookie Kissimmee, FL
    Sept. 13, 2013 2:26 a.m.

    @ Ranch

    I don't know when you were in the business, however the current law requires the company to make up the difference. This is part of the Fair Labor Standards Act which is enforced through the Department of Labor. I am sorry you didn't understand your rights as an employee. I don't know how long ago you worked or what the timeline is for making a complaint with the Department of Labor but if you truly were underpaid you may want to seek redress.

    @Airnaut and The Real Maverick

    Of course it is illegal not to report all of your tips to the IRS, but it does happen. According to a subcommittee hearing from congress back in 2004 the IRS estimated that 9 Billion dollars in tips went unreported. Another estimate from the IRS is that on average Waiters and waitresses under report their tips by 84 percent. Is underreporting your tips illegal YES of course it is and you will be fined and possibly jailed for not reporting all your tips, does not reporting all of one's tips happen of course.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    Sept. 12, 2013 7:55 p.m.

    Adressing those who think tips are a non-taxable cash earnings --

    IRS form 1040, 1040A, and W-2

    Box 1--
    (Wages, tips, other compensation) ...

    But go ahead, keep worshiping the multi-millionaires,
    and sticking it to those making $2.10 an hour + tips, if any.

  • Missourian Fulton, MO
    Sept. 12, 2013 4:57 p.m.

    Okay let's see. The average waiter has six tables at a time, the average bill is $60.00 making the 10% tip (to insure promptness) six dollars. Averaging $36.00 dollars per hour. If they do this for say an eight hour shift five days a week and fifty two weeks a year then the taxable income would be just under 75K per year in tips alone.
    I have had great service at many restaurants and when I don't feel like tipping then I go to a restaurant that it is not expected. There are many in society that do not earn enough for what they do but are happy doing it. Money isn't the point!

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Sept. 12, 2013 12:55 p.m.

    @Mike Richards
    South Jordan, Utah

    Bashing CEOs is just a form of coveting.

    =========

    Perhaps a "form",

    But face it,
    wanting, wishing, dreaming that YOU had that kind of wealth IS the very definition of covet.

    Most of us Bleeding heart Liberals don't want to be filthy rich,
    especially at the expense of others.
    We just a better level-loading or slice of the pie that produced that wealth -- because WE make for the wealthy.

    Conservatives seem to worship wealth, and WallStreet, even though many are the blood sucking 47%...and want the "freedom" to be "just like them!" no matter who's expense. i.e., covet.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 12, 2013 11:46 a.m.

    MisterJ,
    why do you even care what the rich make if it's not coveting? the logic is very clear.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 12, 2013 9:52 a.m.

    Seems like a weird system to me (make the meal seem inexpensive but expect you to pay 15-20% more than the price on the menu). Like when Reams used to brag about having the lowest prices (to which they add 8% at checkout)... What's up with that??

    Reams eventually did away with their artificial prices... maybe someday restaurants will too.

    McDonalds workers make more than $2.00/hour. Why would a McDonalds worker make more per hour than a worker at a super fancy restaurant? They have to do dishes at McDonalds too (not the dishes you eat off, but the dishes and utensils they use to prepare your meals).

  • SG in SLC Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 12, 2013 8:33 a.m.

    I agree with what others here have said -- it is unconscionable that restaurant owners can pass the buck (pun intended) on compensating their employees directly to their customers.

    I'm surprised, though, that nobody has mentioned the fact that the tips don't just directly go to the wait staff. Tips get split with the bussers and the kitchen staff, which contributes to the reality of tipping being less favorable than Lightbearer's scenario (though, to be fair, Lightbearer admitted to not knowing the details of restaurant staff compensation). This also means that when you get poor service from a waiter/waitress and you dock their tip (or don't tip them at all), not only are you punishing the waiter/waitress, but you are also docking the pay of the busser and the kitchen staff.

    It's a horrible system, but I don't know how to change it, short of government intervention, and that is anathema to the right-wingers, particularly the laissez faire capitalists who believe that "the market" is ALWAYS right.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Sept. 12, 2013 6:40 a.m.

    @Smart Cookie;

    Having worked in the restaurant business when I was young, I can assure you that the restaurant DID NOT make up the difference. Where did you get that idea?

    For the first time ever, I agree with Mike Richards (miracles do happen).

    Personally, I would prefer that servers made a decent wage and that tips were optional. I feel OBLIGATED to tip, even when the service is less than satisfactory simply because I am aware of the wage the server is making. I despise feeling obligated to tip.

  • UT Brit London, England
    Sept. 12, 2013 4:54 a.m.

    @Daniel Leifker

    I have never understood why Americans put up with the tipping system there. In the UK, you tip if you get good service, you dont tip if you get bad service. When I lived in the States I got poor service on the odd occasion and the people with me said, "we will only leave a 15% tip". Pay the servers minimum wage, I always laugh when people complain that a pay rise to the staff will just make the food more expensive. You are paying 20% extra at the end anyway.
    Oh and another thing, I cannot stand over friendly service staff who pretend to be your best friend to get a decent tip. Bring the food, check everything is okay every now and then but I dont want to listen to your life story or a poor attempt at a stand up routine.

  • Sal Provo, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 10:47 p.m.

    They even want tips on take out! And I have to do the dishes!!

  • Daniel Leifker San Francisco, CA
    Sept. 11, 2013 8:38 p.m.

    In the United States, you can often leave a small tip and then sneak out of the restaurant before your server notices it. (I have done this only once in my life when the service was almost criminally negligent.) A friend of mine from overseas claims that in some other countries it's good etiquette to tell your server (to his or her face!) what the tip is so the server can calculate the total bill with the tip included. I wonder whether tips in the U.S. would get a lot bigger if we followed this practice. But it always annoys me when restaurants add an automatic 18% tip for parties of six or more, and they calculate on the total after sales taxes. I was always taught that tips are calculated on the pre-tax total.

  • Eyes_Wide_Open OREM, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 6:21 p.m.

    Merriam Webster Dictionary definition of gratuity: something given voluntarily or beyond obligation usually for some service;

    Just sayin...

  • Curmedgeon Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 5:58 p.m.

    The part that frustrates me is that is seems the % of the tip keeps going up. I remember when 10% was the expected percentage. Then it went to 12-15%. Then 15-18% Now people say 18-20%. Why does it keep going up? Don't say inflation because inflation occurs in the price of the meal. What was a $10 meal is now $20 (100% inflation) and what was a 1$ tip, is now a 4$ (400% inflation).

    If a server doesn't like the money, then do something else. Its their choice.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 4:40 p.m.

    Tipping is unfair, has nothing to do with value, and is cheating society by putting false value on attitude, attractiveness and your own feelings at the time.

    If a person wishes to work for low wages, that’s their own choice. They should not expect me to make up for their lack of power to demand better wages.

  • Lightbearer Brigham City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 4:18 p.m.

    Re: "You've obviously never worked in a restaurant."

    That's why I said "suppose" - a hypothetical case for lack of better information. I tried to make my estimate low, because I assumed - though apparently I was mistaken - that a server would average more than four tables an hour over the course of a shift, unless the shift was completely dead.

    If waiters and waitresses spend a lot of their time not serving customers, and if they have to be present whether there are customers or not, that's all the more reason they should be paid a decent wage to start with and not have to depend on tips. They are selling their employer their time, something of which we all have only a limited quantity, and that time has value whether customers happen to be present or not.

    And whether a person is a waiter or waitress in a restaurant or a worker at a fast-food joint, both should be paid decent wages.

    Re: "Believe what you want from AM radio ..."

    I don't know where this remark came from. Is tipping a hot topic on AM radio?

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 4:06 p.m.

    to Mike Richards

    "Bashing CEOs is just a form of coveting."

    Thats quite a leap in logic. Please enlighten??

    "Those who want to tell us what a person should be paid have no respect for the free market system"

    You mean like choosing (as EVERYTHING in life is about agency) to be a waiter knowing "market forces" are stscked against you like a game of 3 card monte.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Sept. 11, 2013 3:52 p.m.

    Bashing CEOs is just a form of coveting. Those who want to tell us what a person should be paid have no respect for the free market system. They want to dictate to others what "others" are worth. That is none of their business. If they don't like the salary that a CEO is paid, they have the option to NOT buy anything from that business; otherwise, part of the product or service that they buy pays that CEO's wages.

    A restaurant owner knows the law. He knows what he must pay and he knows what those workers expect to earn in tips. I don't agree that any person should rely on tips, but I do believe that leaving a tip shows apprciation for the service. I tip my barber. I tip the waiter.

    I would prefer that everyone be paid at least the minimum wage and that tips be paid for service above that which was expected.

    What I pay in tips reflects on what I feel about others. If I can't tip a waiter, I go to a fast-food restaurant.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 3:34 p.m.

    @ Lightbearer

    "Suppose a waitress serves four tables an hour, that every table has a $20 bill, and that she receives a 10% ($2) tip from each. Added to her wages, that would make $10.13 an hour, almost $3 more than the minimum wage."

    You've obviously never worked in a restaurant. So allow me to shed some light on this topic.

    A waitress doesn't begin her shift when those 4 tables arrive. Nor does it end when they leave. Servers arrive HOURS before any guest enters the restaurant. They leave hours after the last guest has left. In one of the most famous restaurants in Provo, many of our servers arrive 9-10am and leave well after midnight. The restaurant opens at 11 and closes at 10.

    Servers arrive early to prepare food and ready the restaurant. Servers stay late to prepare food and clean the restaurant. For a few hours a server may earn more than min wage. But when you factor in the hours they work without tips, it amounts to min wage.

    Believe what you want from AM radio or listen to someone who knows that they're talking about from years of working in the trenches.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 3:32 p.m.

    @ Smart Cookie

    "I always pay the tip by credit card. If you pay tips with cash, odds are the amount tipped will go underreported for tax purposes."

    Swing and a miss.

    I've worked in restaurants for over 8 years. You are wrong. ALL tips are recorded for tax purposes. If the IRS finds a restaurant or person evading taxes, game over.

    All tips are reported. It doesn't matter whether it's cash or card.

  • Rusty Nail Sandy, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 2:30 p.m.

    "I have seldom left more than a 10% tip ... Restaurants should not hide the cost of meals through 'expected' behavior."

    - Then the server is paying for you to eat there. Is the system set up right? Not at all. But until that day comes it is set up right, don't take your anger out on the server because the tipping system is set up wrong.

    "Suppose a waitress serves four tables an hour, that every table has a $20 bill, and that she receives a 10% ($2) tip from each. Added to her wages, that would make $10.13 an hour, almost $3 more than the minimum wage."

    - Not that simple. They have to tip out other people; more confusing than you think.

    "when my daughters were in college and working as servers, the IRS taxed them for 15% of the total of the sales tickets with their server number on them. Thus, servers were being taxed for 15% whether or not their customers left a tip."

    - From my understanding that is correct.

    Basically, by tipping 18% servers earn their "wages". Anything more is a "tip". Sucks, but that is the system.

    How do we change it?

  • GK Willington Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 1:21 p.m.

    to 2 bits 11:16 a.m. Sept. 11

    "How did the topic swing to CEO bashing and Free Market bashing? Must EVERY topic come back to this?"

    You forgot Option 3... Mendenhall or Whittingham (depending on allegiance) is the devil incarnate.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 12:00 p.m.

    I can't remember the last time I got a tip just for doing my job. But then my employer pays me what my job is worth (to him).

    Why don't restaurant owners just pay their people what he thinks their work is worth (to him)? I mean without THEM... he doesn't make very much money.

    Seems like he should factor their wages into the price of the food and just pay his employees.

    To me it makes no sense for the employer to expect his customers to pay his employees salary.

    The only angle I can find where it makes sense is IF the restaurant owner sees the waitresses as freelancers working for the the customer (and not for him). Then it would make sense for the customer to determine what the waitress gets paid, because they work for him (not the restaurant). But that's kind of a stretch.

    IMO they should include the full wage into the price of the meal and pay the waitress from proceeds.

    Note:
    Some waitresses prefer tips instead of salary because they can earn more IF they serve a lot of tables and work hard.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 11:43 a.m.

    If I remember correctly, when my daughters were in college and working as servers, the IRS taxed them for 15% of the total of the sales tickets with their server number on them. Thus, servers were being taxed for 15% whether or not their customers left a tip.

    Is that still the case?

  • Lightbearer Brigham City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 11:19 a.m.

    From the letter: "Waiters and waitresses cannot make a living off 10 percent tips."

    People can't make a living off the minimum wage, either, and yet critics of a raise maintain that the minimum wage is already high enough, or that there shouldn't be a minimum wage at all, but that an employer should be allowed to pay as little as he thinks the job is worth - and if you want higher pay, find another job.

    Suppose a waitress serves four tables an hour, that every table has a $20 bill, and that she receives a 10% ($2) tip from each. Added to her wages, that would make $10.13 an hour, almost $3 more than the minimum wage.

    If, according to the critics, the present minimum wage is high enough for workers at a fast-food restaurant, jobs requiring no special skill, why isn't $10 or $12 dollars an hour adequate pay for waitresses, another job requiring no special skill?

    And if people agree that $10 an hour is too little for a waitress, why do those same people think that $7.25 an hour is enough, or more than enough, for a fast-food worker?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 11:16 a.m.

    How did the topic swing to CEO bashing and Free Market bashing? Must EVERY topic come back to this?

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 11:11 a.m.

    I sympathize with the writer, Compassion is all they want Show it with some gratuity.

  • Lowonoil Clearfield, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 10:54 a.m.

    Should we feel as good about providing tax funded social services for underpaid Wal-Mart workers as we feel about tipping underpaid restaurant employees?
    Seems like the CEO's do pretty well for themselves in both of these situations at our expense. That, lost in DC, is why it's relevant.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 10:45 a.m.

    "Tipping is a scam devised by restaurateurs and the like as a means of getting out of having to pay their own people a fair wage."

    You're correct.

    So are you now suggesting that the free market doesn't necessarily resolve to make things better for the worker? That *gasp* government intervention might be needed to make up for the shortcomings and injustices of the free market?

    Wow! What a crazy day! The free market folks today are agreeing that the free market has failed in the restaurant agency and that government intervention is necessary! It's probably because they've actually had children work in this sector!

    Now if only we could have a few of these folks denied health insurance because of pre-existing conditions and they'd suddenly become huge supporters of Obamacare!

  • Smart Cookie Kissimmee, FL
    Sept. 11, 2013 10:43 a.m.

    Let us get the tipped; employees don’t make minimum wage fallacy out of the way. All tipped position make at least minimum wage. They make 2.13 per hour plus tips. If the amount they make in tips + their hourly wage of 2.13 per hour does not add up to the federal minimum wage the restaurant is required to make up the difference. If the restaurant is not making up the difference the wait staff should contact the appropriate governmental regulatory agency, or an employment lawyer. I normally tip 20% or more however if I get awful service I will make that less. I know the wait staff will at least get minimum wage.

    I always pay the tip by credit card. If you pay tips with cash, odds are the amount tipped will go underreported for tax purposes. Which means even the wait staff makes the same as someone else who doesn’t get tips, the take home pay could be much higher.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 10:40 a.m.

    "I have seldom left more than a 10% tip. I'm going with "Thinkin\' Man" on this one. Restaurants should not hide the cost of meals through "expected" behavior."

    You're not hurting the restaurant here. By going out to eat, paying for your meal, and then stiffing your server you are ONLY hurting the server. The restaurant got your money, and that's all they care about. You're not forcing any changes to our tipping system. All you're doing is being a cheapskate and hurting some college student.

    I have some advice: What would you do if this server was your child?

    "Should we leave a tip for the cashier in the grocery store?"

    Servers don't do more than a Reams cashier? Are Reams cashiers paid $2.13 per hr?

    "Imagine if a restaurant said "we add only 18% to these prices". They would be run out of town."

    I have worked at several busy restaurants that added an 18 percent gratuity to tables of 6+. I never had a problem with people refusing to pay this or not coming back. I guess only selfish people would see an 18 percent auto-gratuity as some sort of "injustice" or "gouging."

  • Opinionated Sandy, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 10:15 a.m.

    I have seldom left more than a 10% tip. I'm going with "Thinkin\' Man" on this one. Restaurants should not hide the cost of meals through "expected" behavior. Should we leave a tip for the cashier in the grocery store? Reams used to say "we add only 10% to these prices" but people started seeing through the ramifications of "only 10%". Imagine if a restaurant said "we add only 18% to these prices". They would be run out of town.

  • Pendergast Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 9:07 a.m.

    re: Mike Richards

    Complaining about the Free Market? Interesting. Surely, your progeny knew what they were getting into. Something similar to Caveat Emptor applies.

    That said, I divide the total bill by 6 (approx 16%) & work my way up.

    re: LDS Liberal

    I read a story recently where 40% of CEO'sS were awful in terms of performance, etc... Any wagers on most of these being the too big to fails/Wall St?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 8:54 a.m.

    What happened to minimum wage?

    What respectable employer would pay a valued employee $2.00/hour in this day and age? Or expect their customers to pay their employees for them?

    I agree that tips should be a way for customers to show their appreciation for exemplary service... not an expectation regardless of service.

    I follow the tipping rules, but IMO America should be more like Europe on pay (living wage) and tipping (not expected).

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 8:36 a.m.

    Record this moment.
    I completely agree with Mike Richards.

  • Thinkin\' Man Rexburg, ID
    Sept. 11, 2013 8:07 a.m.

    Let's make tipping completely optional for exceptional service, and change laws in favor of fair wages. Tipping should NOT be routine or expected, it should ONLY be for service above and beyond.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 7:55 a.m.

    How about we "tip" CEOs for good serve and stiff them for bad?

    I get upset when a CEO runs a company into the ground,
    yet STILL gets a $50 million golden parachute for ruining the company.

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 7:16 a.m.

    @Anti-Liar,
    That may be the case, but yet those folks still earn $2/hour. If you don't want to pay a tip, don't eat at places that have servers, eat somewhere you server yourself, its that simple.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Sept. 11, 2013 7:09 a.m.

    If a person works for a restaurant, he should be paid a fair wage for his/her services. If the customer thinks that extra effort has been given, then that customer should leave a tip.

    The minimum wage law should apply to everyone. Of course paying minimum wage to all workers would make it cost more to go to a restaurant. The prices would have to rise to pay the wages, but tips would be optional, so prices could rise by 15% to 20% without changing the actual cost of the meal.

    Until that changes, we will leave a generous tip for good service because we know that the entire staff depends on those tips. We've had several children who worked in restaurants who told us how discouraging it is to work eight hours and get only $10 in tips for those ten hours.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 6:24 a.m.

    If you can't afford the 15% to 20% tip, you shouldn't be eating out. The people who constantly complain about poor service should also taking a long, truthful review of what they do that attracts the disappointing service.

  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 1:39 a.m.

    Tipping is a scam devised by restaurateurs and the like as a means of getting out of having to pay their own people a fair wage.