“Hello, I’m Shawn, and I’ll be your waiter tonight” (wink, wink).

March 28, 2009

waiter2One of the current brouhahas in San Francisco has to do with the annoying custom – or business practice – known as tipping. The city wants the restaurants in town to either provide health-care coverage for their employees or pay a fee to the city so that the employees can be covered by the universal health-care program. The restaurant owners are suing the city over that issue, but they have a counter proposal: A “tip credit” that would reduce the minumum wage paid to wait staff by the amount they earn in tips. Don’t you love it? The minumum wage in San Francisco is $9.79 an hour, by the way – a far cry from the federal requirement, but hardly the stuff of which fortunes are made. 

tipping Tipping is one of my pet peeves. One of the reasons I like visiting Iceland is that tipping isn’t practiced there. Restaurants charge what they need to in order to pay the staff a living wage and still make a profit, and customers don’t follow up a meal by analyzing the quality of the service and the personality and repartee of the server.  Civilized people, those Icelanders – although, there is the whole whaling thing.


”Whaddya think? Fifteen percent? Well, he did bring more coffee. OK, what? Eighteen? Twenty?” Just the thing to encourage digestion.


One Response to ““Hello, I’m Shawn, and I’ll be your waiter tonight” (wink, wink).”

  1. bart Says:

    Isn’t the entire country of Iceland suddenly bankrupt?

    Do they even have a currency to tip with anymore?

    Personally, I like the system in France where you don’t have to tip but can if you want to. In other words the staff do make a living wage, but you can tip for good service.

    That means that at my local bar where the guys are great and take care of me, I always leave a large tip at the end of the night, because they earn it.

    But, when I’m at a cafe or another bar and the service is not that great I either leave a small amount or nothing at all. That said, if the service is nice, I’ll generally tip much more than most people. For example at a cafe if you get a coffee and an orange juice, the average person here would leave 50 cents as a “very good tip” but if the service is good I have no problem leaving three euros because I appreciate it when people make the effort.

    That said, I’m the same way with my company. When I higher freelancers if they do a really good job, I’ll often given them 25 to 50 percent more than agreed on at the end, to both thank them and make sure they’ll be happy to work for me again in the future. On the other hand, if they just get the job done, I only pay them the contracted amount.

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