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Author Topic: Two Phrases that Destroyed American Culture
Dog Friendly
Carol of the Bills


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I'm often perplexed at the lack of logic shown by so many abusive customers. You're trying to get someone to do you a favor. You want the clerk to bend a rule, or stretch a policy, or whatever -- why in the world does this mean it's a good idea to abuse and berate them?

I get better results by being calm and polite, even cultivating a friendly relationship with people in stores I expect to patronize regularly, for exactly that reason. I've been allowed to come inside before a place opened, to get out of the rain and sit, warm and dry, until the (coffee and) staff is ready for me.

I sometimes have occasion to share this little gem with young friends who have recently begun dating: In evaluating the person you're on a date with, pay close attention to the way he or she treats people who have to be nice to you. This is your date's "default setting", and it offers a sure-fire guide to the way your date is likely to treat you, once the newness of your relationship starts wearing off.

The most evil boss I ever endured (for ten years!) taught me this: Respect is automatic, disrespect must be earned.

Dog (What would Lassie do?) Friendly

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"Nobody ever got stoned and beat up his old lady" -- Spence, snapdragonfly's friend

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Max_Renn
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by TurquoiseGirl:
(snip)

So my challenge to you is this: are the really crappy customers disproportionately Middle Eastern or Eastern European? Or do you just automatically add that as another "data point" when they are?

A fair point, and one which I wish I could honestly answer. I haven't worked at that store, or even really been a till jockey at all, in four and a half years. In my post I mentioned the 80% ratio, I could add that the other 20% more than compensated in terms of intensity of their rudeness or irritatingly oblivious habits, at least that's how I remember it. Most of the examples I listed, in fact, were neither Eastern European nor Middle Eastern customers. Working that counter for two years, though, I did spot certain trends, upon which I commented in my post. And needless to say there were always plenty of notable exceptions to any generalization that I or my co-workers made.

Max "probably not helping my case much" Renn

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Sister Ann: DRIVE! DRIVE
Crow T. Robot: Look, I'm already driving, there's no inherent quantity of driving that I can increase! If you want me to go faster, you should say so.

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Rhiandmoi
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by One-Horse Open Jay Temple:
A woman can get by wearing only dresses or skirts. A man, unless he's really into his Scottish heritage, HAS to be able to operate a zipper.

Well unless he just wears stretchy pants.

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I think that hyperbole is the single greatest factor contributing to the decline of society. - My friend Pat.

What is .02 worth?

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Amigone201
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Rhiandmoi:
quote:
Originally posted by One-Horse Open Jay Temple:
A woman can get by wearing only dresses or skirts. A man, unless he's really into his Scottish heritage, HAS to be able to operate a zipper.

Well unless he just wears stretchy pants.
If this were the case, he'd be lucky to impregnate anybody.

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Check out my blog! http://fundiewatch.blogspot.com

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Esprise Me
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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I agree with TGirl's point about self-perpetuating stereotypes. Incidentally, I don't feel that women are bad tippers; my experience is more that it is harder for me, as a woman, to charm my way into a better-than-average tip with women customers, for obvious reasons. At my first job, I worked with a server named Raul. This guy could put on a matador's costume and within fifteen mintues be sitting calmly, shooting the breeze with a now-complacent bull. It didn't hurt that he was cute as hell, and his magic worked especially well on women. When I started as a host/cashier, part of my job was to enter all the servers' credit card tips into the computer. Most servers there made about 15%, some made less, but he routinely made 25-50%. When I started serving, I could usually get 15% out of my women customers, but I could often get 20-25% out of my male customers if I flirted a bit. I think if I were the same person in a hot guy's body, I would get the same results with the genders switched.

The most common stereotypes among my co-workers are about the poor tipping habits of blacks, Asians, Europeans, teenagers, and old people. What's interesting is that, at least in the case of blacks and Europeans, I never seem to get an average (15-20%) tip; it's either grossly substandard, or overly generous. I could count on one hand the number of overly generous tips I've gotten from either group in the past five years, but they do happen. Anyway, I can't say I've noticed a racial or age-related pattern to abuse by customers. One of the most frustrating things about these bad tips, in fact, is that you often know that it wasn't your service that made them leave you two bucks on a fifty-dollar tab, because they acted very happy and complimentary toward you the whole meal, and thanked you profusely at the end. I don't expect a good tip for bad service--I actually feel terribly guilty if I know I neglected a table or lost my temper with them, and they still leave 20%--but when I get a tip so low it actually costs me money to have waited on them, and I know I couldn't have done anything better--that's when I want to throw up my hands and scream.

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"If God wrote it, the grammar must be infallible. Perhaps it is we who are mistaken." -MapleLeaf

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Archie2K
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Part of the reason for that might be that tipping in Europe isn't so common. 10% service charge is often added on. People generally leave a small amount in a tip. When in the US we went to a restaurant, got a $140 bill, immediately tipped $25 and then threw some spare change in for good too. Must've come to over 20% in the end, for excellent service I must say.

Then you get those who know that tips are more generous in the US than Europe, and as such over-compensate.

The utter stinginess of my teenage friends used to sicken me. Those who would added up the cost of their share of the meal to the penny and chip in exactly that, leaving someone else to over pay to provide a decent tip.

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Vox populi vox canem

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UrbanReindeer
Deck the Malls


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Tgirl it had never occurred to me that women in general are considered poor tippers. I generally tip 20% unless the service was poor.

And, of course, when the service is poor, I'm left wodnering if it was because the server thought I looked too young to leave a decent tip. I never considered it was my gender. I'd always thought it was my youngish physical appearance.

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"He feeds the sparrows of the field, but He doesn't sit there and cram worms into their mouths." -- Mouse

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Santa Mari-a
Happy Holly Days


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I thought the "women are bad tippers" stereotype came from the fact that, on average, women don't eat as much in restaurants, the servers recognize the fact, give them poorer service, causing the women to tip less...and so the vicious circle continues. Put a tableful of women who order salads and maybe a glass of white wine each and a shared dessert (if they're feeling wild) next to a tableful of men who order full-course dinners with cocktails and wine and after-dinner drinks, and who do you think is going to get fussed over?

I realize this is a really over-simplified picture, but a friend suggested it to my mom when she pointed out that she always tips better than my dad.

The "old folks tip badly" idea may be because the people are tipping as they did fifty years ago. And teenagers may just not have that much cash to spare.

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Si hoc comprehendere potes, gratias age magistro Latinae.

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christmas tree kitapper
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by Joe Bentley:
[QUOTE]
But yelling, screaming and insulting? That's unreasonable. No human interaction is that uneven. For cripe's sake Drill Sergeants aren't allowed to talk to their recruits like I've seen people yell as some poor 16 year old barista who dared give them a low fat soy latte with whipped cream when they clearly asked for a low fat soy latte with whipped cream and cinnamon.


And what's even more unreasonable? Some companies think the poor employee is supposed to meekly take the abuse without a word.

When I first started working for AOL I asked in training what the procedure for abusive callers was. The reply I got? "You just need to take the call; they're paying your salary." (I should have given up AOL then and there.) Uh, I don't get paid enough to get called nasty things from the get go. Thankfully they later relaxed this, or at least some of the on-floor supervisors did, and their attitude was 'you do not make enough to put up with getting verbally abused.'

Don't even get me started on rude people I dealt with when I worked for Taco Bell.

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"I have never in my life been more disappointed by a politician I voted for than I have been with George Bush. He is a total liberal."- overheard by me on the shuttle to the U of A game on Nov. 11th.

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Elkhound
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by Santa Mari-a:
The "old folks tip badly" idea may be because the people are tipping as they did fifty years ago. And teenagers may just not have that much cash to spare.

Old folks may not have the cash to spare either. If one is living on social security and a pension, one hasn't much disposable income; just eating out may be a splurge, much less a tip.

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"The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."--Iris Murdoch

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Rhiandmoi:
quote:
Originally posted by One-Horse Open Jay Temple:
A woman can get by wearing only dresses or skirts. A man, unless he's really into his Scottish heritage, HAS to be able to operate a zipper.

Well unless he just wears stretchy pants.
From the way this discussion is going I guess we can say that the button fly is officially dead?
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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Esprise Me:
What's interesting is that, at least in the case of blacks and Europeans, I never seem to get an average (15-20%) tip; it's either grossly substandard, or overly generous.

I've done both and I agree with Archie's assessment as to why.

Anecdote 1: I was skiing in Canada with a large-ish group of friends and a waitress actually came back to our table to tell us we hadn't tipped enough. Last time I mentioned this, Jenn was outraged about how rude she'd been - and we thought it was a bit rude at the time - but I've since rethought somewhat. It was partly a "stupid Brits" thing and partly a "stupid Canadians" thing.

The "stupid Brits" part was that we'd been treating the place as if it was a pub. It was an informal bar / restaurant that would have been a pub if it was in the UK. This meant that our group had ordered a mixture of drinks and food over the course of the evening, people had arrived and left at different times so there was a large and changing group, we'd paid for some things but not others and so on. In the UK this would work because you pay for everything as you order it at the bar, and all the bar staff have to do is bring the food to your table when it's ready; there are no bills to keep track of. In Canada it wasn't working quite so well, so we were probably nightmare customers for this woman, even though we were all being friendly and polite and having a good time.

By the time we came to pay, there were only two of us left (it was taking a while to get the bill too, not surprisingly) Everybody else had drifted off earlier, leaving the money they owed on the table. The silly thing is that we all also knew we needed to tip more than in the UK, so people had accounted for that in the money they left. Trouble is, we didn't know (and this is the "stupid Canadians" part) that as well as not including service, the menu prices also left off something like 20% sales tax... so the money we'd been left only just covered the bill and the two of us who were left had to put in all of our own cash for the tip. I was cleaned out in the first place, but I think the guy I was with found some extra when she came back.

But the culture clash made everybody seem rude to each other, all round.

This is far too long already but the second anecdote involves me probably overtipping in bars in Hawaii, because once I'd found out that you were meant to tip the bartender $1 simply for getting a can out of the fridge and handing it to you, I overcompensated.

I hate the system of tipping in bars. (And US-style tipping in general, but bars are worse.) It turns everything into a mindgame. For every "good tipping ensures good service" it means there's a "tipping less than the people next to you means bad service". In Hawaii people told me it was best to leave all your change on the bar in front of you, so that the staff couldn't tell how much you were going to tip until you came to leave, when you picked up half the pile of bills as appropriate. There's just no need for that when you're trying to have a quiet drink.

[continued hijack] When I was little - presumably when I first started to wear jeans - I thought that the main reason for zip flies on boys' jeans was so that you could get your willy out and go to the loo without taking your trousers off. I then discovered that girls' jeans also had zip flies. Since girls didn't have willies, I thought for a bit and concluded that, if boys' flies were to let penises out, then girls' flies must be to let penises in, so that women could have sex without taking their jeans off... I remember being a bit scandalized by the idea. (I'm not sure how old I was, but my parents gave me a book explaining the facts of life when I was about 6, I think, so it must have been around then.)

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Baikal
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Elkhound:
quote:
Originally posted by Santa Mari-a:
The "old folks tip badly" idea may be because the people are tipping as they did fifty years ago. And teenagers may just not have that much cash to spare.

Old folks may not have the cash to spare either. If one is living on social security and a pension, one hasn't much disposable income; just eating out may be a splurge, much less a tip.
I'm of two minds on this (both you and Mari). Firstly, I can't imagine there are that many situations where you have to eat out. It's been said before here, and I largely agree, that if you don't have the money to come up with an extra 25% (I mean seriously, folks, that's like two bucks if you're eating at Denny's and all of like ten or fifteen at a decent place), you don't have the money to be eating out, either.

The tip scales. If you're eating at a cheap hole in the wall where you're putting down four bucks for an entree, tipping reasonably brings it to five. If you can afford to eat at some billion-star French restaurant where they charge you a sawbuck just to look at the wine menu, yeah, the tip is going to be higher, but you're making the choice to consume within that class. Unless there's a compelling reason why someone is being forced to consume food at a restaurant, I don't buy the "have money for meal, don't have money for tip" line of reasoning, especially here in the US, where I'd imagine nobody seriously believes that the tip is added into the cost of the meal when you order.

Realistically, you need to add the cost of the tip into the cost of the meal when you're deciding to go out to eat. Not doing so borders on the inexcusable, like buying a car and then realising you're going to have to put gas in it, too.

Secondly, thinking about tipping in general. I was eating with a friend of mine a few months ago, who's both older and significantly wealthier. We had pretty good service, and I'm pretty sure she tipped like 12% or something. I wound up covering enough to make a decent tip. On the one hand, it's kind of irritating. Anyone who can afford a stable of cars can afford to give a decent server ten bucks. On the other hand, rich people don't get rich by giving their money away, and maybe that motivates it. I once tipped ten bucks on a two dollar coffee order (I was there for a couple of hours, and the waitress kept me in coffee very, very well when I was studying), but then a look at my finances will show that, though generous, I will also never be wealthy.

I don't know, though. None of my friends have ever tried to use the "I can't afford to tip" excuse. They're just penny-pinchers. Maybe I'll work for 'em someday.

-Baikal

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I'm just a typical American boy from a typical American town.

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birdman
We Three Blings


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I know when I was a teenager, I didn't fully understand the tipping process. I had seen my parents do it all my life, but I guess I didn't pay enough attention to percentages, because I wasn't aware that 10% was an insufficient amount until I was in college. I even had a few people tell me 15% wasn't enough, and made jokes about coming to my place of employment and stealing inventory because "obviously you get paid too much" (because I thought 15% was enough?).

Now, I generally do 20% for acceptable/good service, more for excellent service at places I know I'll come back to. I love getting the royal treatment upon returning. [Smile]

-birdman


ETA: I've been reading the Violent Acres blog for about a month now, and I have to say that the entry linked to in the OP did surprise me for someone with her personality. Based on other posts to her blog, I would fully expect her to be the self-righteous indignant customer demanding the extra dallop of whipped cream on her espresso, and saying that if the barrrristas don't like it, they should just find a new line of work (or live entirely off of wise investment decisions, as Ms. Acres claims to).

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Hero_Mike
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:
Trouble is, we didn't know (and this is the "stupid Canadians" part) that as well as not including service, the menu prices also left off something like 20% sales tax... so the money we'd been left only just covered the bill and the two of us who were left had to put in all of our own cash for the tip.

Welcome to Canada!

Sales tax is never, ever, ever included on any listed price in Canada. Sales tax varies by province and item. In Ontario, it's 7% on restaurant meals over $4, and 10% on alcohol served in restaurants. In Alberta, there is no sales tax. Other provinces have various other rules. Everywhere you go, there is 6% GST (goods and services tax), which used to be 7% before this year.

Some restaurants which cater primarily to tourists in "tourist" areas (i.e. Niagara Falls), may have a more detailed note about sales taxes, but usually the note will just say "Prices do not include applicable sales taxes."

To the best of my knowledge, there is no law which requires a more detailed and thorough explanation of sales taxes to be explained by a retailer. That said, the highest taxes you'll see are in PEI - 10% provincial plus the GST - no more than 17%. Which is certainly less than 20%.

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"The fate of *billions* depends on you! Hahahahaha....sorry." Lord Raiden - Mortal Kombat

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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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This was in BC (Whistler, to be exact). I might have been exaggerating with 20%, but it was enough to throw off everybody's calculations. If it's a sales tax of 7% or so, plus a GST of another 7% - this was several years ago - then that adds to 14%, which is still quite a lot if you're not expecting it. It doesn't make any difference to you as a customer that it's made up of more than one tax...
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Joe Bentley
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Dog Friendly:
I'm often perplexed at the lack of logic shown by so many abusive customers. You're trying to get someone to do you a favor...

Dog Friendly even though I know from the rest of your post this isn't what you meant, I'm going to use your quote as an example of the mentality that the service side of the customer/service dynamic uses that drives me crazy... the idea that a person in a service industry providing you with a service is somehow "doing you a favor."

A waitress bring me food or a barber cutting my hair is not "doing me a favor" they are doing their job.

Not here in this topic but other places and here in other topics I've heard that rhetoric creep into the discussion a couple of times.

A person asking a service person to provide them with a service is not being unreasonable.

I think we'll all been in situations where a service person acts is if your bothering them to dare ask the to... oh I don't know... provide you with the service you're paying for!

It's the "always" part of "The customer is always right" that's the problem.

"The customer is usually right" Better.

"We as a service industry should default to the customer being right until the situation shows otherwise" Closer.

You get the idea.

The service side of the service industry is not without their annoying "rules" either.

The most common version of this is the service industry's version of the Nuremberg Defense... "I'm only doing my job." Well sorry bub but if "your job" involves calling me during dinner to sell me a home mortgage, spraying me with cologne as I walk through the mall like I'm a rioting prisoner that needs to be Maced, or some other form of harassment, then all bets are off.

"I'm only doing my job" does not guarantee you a morally blank slate when "your job" involves you harassing people.

"The customer is always right" is a stupid idea, but when you force someone into the "customer" role I think they are right more often then not. I think the customer is always right when their only request is "Leave me the f*ck alone."

Now one thing I want to nip in the bud before it even comes out is the "But what if that's the only job they can get?" argument.

Bullspit. There is not one person on this planet who is capable of only doing one specific job in one specific industry. And if by some chance you have found yourself in some amazing scenario where the only job on this planet you can possibly do involves knocking on my door in the middle of me trying to sleep between two 15 hour night shifts so you can try to sell me Amway... then you made some kind of horrible vocational f*ck up at some juncture, but that's your problem, not mine.

There is one thing I will say to people in the service industry. If you don't want to do your job... then don't flippin' do it! Don't take your dissatisfaction with your career choice out on me.

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"Existence has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long." - Rorschach, The Watchmen

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SiKboy
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Joe Bentley:
And if by some chance you have found yourself in some amazing scenario where the only job on this planet you can possibly do involves knocking on my door in the middle of me trying to sleep between two 15 hour night shifts so you can try to sell me Amway... then you made some kind of horrible vocational f*ck up at some juncture, but that's your problem, not mine.

Surely the converse of that also applies: If the best paying job someone could get, or the job they enjoy or whatever is amway salesperson, the fact that the only job you can get involves you pulling 15 hour night shifts is your problem, not theirs?

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This Space For Rent.

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Soft Hyphen
I Saw Three Shipments


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quote:
Originally posted by Esprise Me:
but when I get a tip so low it actually costs me money to have waited on them,

How can it cost you money?


I hate the idea of tipping. I do it, but I absolutely loathe it. Who came up with this ridiculous idea anyway? If the price on the menu is $10, I should pay $10, end of story. (Taxes are another story.)

I mean if I don't pay a tip to the grocery clerk for scanning and bagging my groceries, why should I pay to the server who takes my order and brings my food? Don't these people have a salary? And if their salary is too low, why should I subsidize it?

Every time I eat out I feel bad because I'm being forced to pay for something that should be included in the base price. But I know I'd feel worse if I didn't. I avoid it for this very reason.

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Joe Bentley
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by SiKboy:
quote:
Originally posted by Joe Bentley:
And if by some chance you have found yourself in some amazing scenario where the only job on this planet you can possibly do involves knocking on my door in the middle of me trying to sleep between two 15 hour night shifts so you can try to sell me Amway... then you made some kind of horrible vocational f*ck up at some juncture, but that's your problem, not mine.

Surely the converse of that also applies: If the best paying job someone could get, or the job they enjoy or whatever is amway salesperson, the fact that the only job you can get involves you pulling 15 hour night shifts is your problem, not theirs?
Perhaps. Given the nature of my particular job I'd argue the reason I'm in my job is everyone's problem, not just mine.

But that's really beside the point. Regardless I'd argue that the right of a person to not be harassed in the sense we're talking here is the right of everyone, regardless of their job.

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"Existence has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long." - Rorschach, The Watchmen

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Canuckistan
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:
This was in BC (Whistler, to be exact). I might have been exaggerating with 20%, but it was enough to throw off everybody's calculations. If it's a sales tax of 7% or so, plus a GST of another 7% - this was several years ago - then that adds to 14%, which is still quite a lot if you're not expecting it.

I'm not clear exactly what the rules are, but you can get the GST back upon leaving the country in most cases, provided some basic requirements are met.

And, Richard, you'll be happy to hear that the GST is now only 6%.

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People need to stop appropriating Jesus as their reason for behaving badly. It's so irritating. (Avril)

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birdman
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Joe Bentley:
The most common version of this is the service industry's version of the Nuremberg Defense... "I'm only doing my job." Well sorry bub but if "your job" involves calling me during dinner to sell me a home mortgage, spraying me with cologne as I walk through the mall like I'm a rioting prisoner that needs to be Maced, or some other form of harassment, then all bets are off.

Agreed, and I played the same tiny violin for the telemarketers who lost their jobs when the Do Not Call list went into effect. Not that I wanted the callers to be out of work, but at least it forced them to seek new, hopefully less intrusive and deceitful, employment. People say "but they're just doing their jobs" and "but that's the only job she could get" as if telemarketing must inherently exist as a God-given industry, rather than blaming the telemarketing companies for unrealistic sales goals and long hours imposed on their low-paid employees. Keep in mind these are the people who prey on college students to sign them up for credit cards they know won't be paid off on time. Sure, the student bears responsibility for his or her finances, but I have little sympathy for someone whose "job" is to exploit that weakness.

-birdman

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chillas
Coventry Mall Carol


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quote:
Originally posted by SiKboy:
quote:
Originally posted by Joe Bentley:
And if by some chance you have found yourself in some amazing scenario where the only job on this planet you can possibly do involves knocking on my door in the middle of me trying to sleep between two 15 hour night shifts so you can try to sell me Amway... then you made some kind of horrible vocational f*ck up at some juncture, but that's your problem, not mine.

Surely the converse of that also applies: If the best paying job someone could get, or the job they enjoy or whatever is amway salesperson, the fact that the only job you can get involves you pulling 15 hour night shifts is your problem, not theirs?
No, the converse does not apply. Only one of those job involves intruding on someone else's time.

--------------------
Come on, come on - spin a little tighter
Come on, come on - and the world's a little brighter


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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by chillas:
quote:
Originally posted by SiKboy:
quote:
Originally posted by Joe Bentley:
And if by some chance you have found yourself in some amazing scenario where the only job on this planet you can possibly do involves knocking on my door in the middle of me trying to sleep between two 15 hour night shifts so you can try to sell me Amway... then you made some kind of horrible vocational f*ck up at some juncture, but that's your problem, not mine.

Surely the converse of that also applies: If the best paying job someone could get, or the job they enjoy or whatever is amway salesperson, the fact that the only job you can get involves you pulling 15 hour night shifts is your problem, not theirs?
No, the converse does not apply. Only one of those job involves intruding on someone else's time.
The other one involves extrapolating something that doesn't happen, selling Amway door-to-door. The business is not setup to be sold that way.

--------------------
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Jack Dragon, On Being a Dragon
Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
Diary of my Heart Surgery

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Archie2K
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Soft Hyphen:
Don't these people have a salary? And if their salary is too low, why should I subsidize it?

I've been told that in the US (or some states, I believe this was VA) that jobs where tips are expected such as waiting tables can pay under the minimum wage knowing that the waiters will make the money up on tips. It definitely doesn't seem right, but the converse could also apply. In the UK waiting tables still nets minimum wage (£5.05 last time I checked, it might be 5.35 now) but that can be doubled in an evening on tips. The cost of minimum wage rises is leading to heavy inflation in the service sector which is only being negated by deflation of goods from China. The answer is of course clear: Do away with a pointless, anachronistic and ultimately confusing policy such as tipping and pay service employees a living wage.

--------------------
Vox populi vox canem

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birdman
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Archie2K:
I've been told that in the US (or some states, I believe this was VA) that jobs where tips are expected such as waiting tables can pay under the minimum wage knowing that the waiters will make the money up on tips.

That's the gist of it. In some states, if the tips don't average out to at least minimum wage, the restaurant has to make up the rest. Personally I'd rather we do away with the tipping custom unless we're going to do that for all service-driven industries. Pay the wait staff minimum wage, and if they do a poor job on a regular basis, they can be fired, just like one would be at any other job.

Some restaurant owners make the argument, "Then what am I supposed to do with my waitresses when there aren't any customers? Pay them to do nothing?" Gee I don't know, advertise more? What do you do with a retail worker when there aren't any customers in the store, or any more shelves to be tidied up? What do you do with a call center worker when the phones aren't ringing? What do you do with a secretary when there aren't any more letters to type? etc. etc. etc... IMHO.

[/hijack] [Smile]

-birdman

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Archie2K
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Train them to multitask so they can, I dunno, clean a floor, wash tables, reorganise the stockroom. There's a thousand jobs that need doing in a restaurant. Any boss who says that is clearly bad a people management.

In another thread it has been pointed out the unfairness of tips anyway. The girl working the till gets paid minimum wage no matter how good they do the job, yet the boy who bags the stuff or takes it out to the car can often get a small tip on top of their minimum wage. Even more unfair because the gender roles generally conform to this too.

--------------------
Vox populi vox canem

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Esprise Me
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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quote:
Originally posted by Soft Hyphen:
quote:
Originally posted by Esprise Me:
but when I get a tip so low it actually costs me money to have waited on them,

How can it cost you money?

Here's how: at the end of each shift, servers give a portion of their tips to other restaurant employees, usually bussers, hosts, bartenders, dishwashers, etc. In some places, this policy is relaxed and informal; at my first job, servers were expected to give ten percent of their tips to each busser (there were usually two or three working any given shift,) but of course no one except the individual server knew how much he or she had made, so there was no way to enforce that figure. Still, everyone made $6.75 or more per hour base pay, so it wasn't a big deal. At my current job, however, the process is very structured. At the end of a shift, each server prints out a sheet of paper from the computer that tells how much we sold, and gives a breakdown of what we owe each person based on our sales. The total tipout comes to about five percent of our sales. This means that if we average 20% on our tips, we walk with 15%, and if any particular table tips us less than five percent, it costs us money to have waited on them.
quote:
Don't these people have a salary? And if their salary is too low, why should I subsidize it?

Yes, "we people" have a wage of $2.63 per hour, compared to the federal minimum wage of $5.15 per hour and the Massachusetts state minimum wage for non-tipped positions of $6.75 per hour. Why should you subsidize the difference? Because you'd be paying it anyway if everyone were paid a living wage. Instead of ordering a $10 entree and having to add $.50 for tax and $1.50 to $2 for tip, you'd be getting the exact same entree for $12 or $13, and you'd have less recourse if the service sucked.

--------------------
"If God wrote it, the grammar must be infallible. Perhaps it is we who are mistaken." -MapleLeaf

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by Esprise Me:
quote:
Originally posted by Soft Hyphen:
quote:
Originally posted by Esprise Me:
but when I get a tip so low it actually costs me money to have waited on them,

How can it cost you money?

Here's how: at the end of each shift, servers give a portion of their tips to other restaurant employees, usually bussers, hosts, bartenders, dishwashers, etc. In some places, this policy is relaxed and informal; at my first job, servers were expected to give ten percent of their tips to each busser (there were usually two or three working any given shift,) but of course no one except the individual server knew how much he or she had made, so there was no way to enforce that figure. Still, everyone made $6.75 or more per hour base pay, so it wasn't a big deal. At my current job, however, the process is very structured. At the end of a shift, each server prints out a sheet of paper from the computer that tells how much we sold, and gives a breakdown of what we owe each person based on our sales. The total tipout comes to about five percent of our sales. This means that if we average 20% on our tips, we walk with 15%, and if any particular table tips us less than five percent, it costs us money to have waited on them...
But, you're looking at just the single tipper. If on one shift everyone tips 15%, you make 10% which if probably what you should 'expect'. But if anyone tips more than 15% you're making off better on the deal as you don't have to pay any of the 'surplus' to the other staff. There's not much to complain about unless you regularly receive less than an average of 15%. If that were the case maybe you should speak to management about it.

Beach...from my side of the table, I've never tipped less than 15% unless it was well 'earned'...Life!

--------------------
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Jack Dragon, On Being a Dragon
Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
Diary of my Heart Surgery

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Esprise Me
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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BeachLife, we've split hairs on the subject before, so I'll just point out that nowhere did I write anything that could be remotely construed as saying an entire shift was costing me money. From the post that started it all:
quote:
I don't expect a good tip for bad service--I actually feel terribly guilty if I know I neglected a table or lost my temper with them, and they still leave 20%--but when I get a tip so low it actually costs me money to have waited on them, and I know I couldn't have done anything better--that's when I want to throw up my hands and scream.
To simplify: sometimes I make money on a table, sometimes I break even, and sometimes I actually lose money. When I know I did a great job but still lose money on that table, I am very frustrated. Wouldn't you be?

--------------------
"If God wrote it, the grammar must be infallible. Perhaps it is we who are mistaken." -MapleLeaf

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by Esprise Me:
BeachLife, we've split hairs on the subject before, so I'll just point out that nowhere did I write anything that could be remotely construed as saying an entire shift was costing me money. From the post that started it all:
quote:
I don't expect a good tip for bad service--I actually feel terribly guilty if I know I neglected a table or lost my temper with them, and they still leave 20%--but when I get a tip so low it actually costs me money to have waited on them, and I know I couldn't have done anything better--that's when I want to throw up my hands and scream.
To simplify: sometimes I make money on a table, sometimes I break even, and sometimes I actually lose money. When I know I did a great job but still lose money on that table, I am very frustrated. Wouldn't you be?
But, you don't pay based on each table, you pay based on the assumed average tips for the day. This average includes both 'high' and 'low' tips. If nobody ever paid under 15%, the assumed average would just be higher and you would probably be expected to pay out a higher amount.

--------------------
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Jack Dragon, On Being a Dragon
Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
Diary of my Heart Surgery

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GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


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quote:
Originally posted by BeachLife:
But, you don't pay based on each table, you pay based on the assumed average tips for the day. This average includes both 'high' and 'low' tips. If nobody ever paid under 15%, the assumed average would just be higher and you would probably be expected to pay out a higher amount.

But waiting on that one table in particular did cost her money. Which was what she had originally said.

Example 1: She waits on 10 tables, each with $50 tabs (total sales $500). Each table tips 10% so she makes $50 in tips. 5% of the $500 or $25 goes to the others, so she cleared $25 in tips.

Example 2: She waits on 11 tables, each with $50 tabs (total sales $550). 10 of the tables tips 10% and 1 table tips 2% so she makes $51 in tips. 5% of the $550 or $27.50 goes to the others, so she cleared $23.50 in tips.

So by waiting on that extra table that tipped below 5%, she actually gets less money than if she hadn't waited on that table. So it cost her $1.50 to wait in that table.

--------------------
IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by GenYus:
quote:
Originally posted by BeachLife:
But, you don't pay based on each table, you pay based on the assumed average tips for the day. This average includes both 'high' and 'low' tips. If nobody ever paid under 15%, the assumed average would just be higher and you would probably be expected to pay out a higher amount.

But waiting on that one table in particular did cost her money. Which was what she had originally said.

Example 1: She waits on 10 tables, each with $50 tabs (total sales $500). Each table tips 10% so she makes $50 in tips. 5% of the $500 or $25 goes to the others, so she cleared $25 in tips.

Example 2: She waits on 11 tables, each with $50 tabs (total sales $550). 10 of the tables tips 10% and 1 table tips 2% so she makes $51 in tips. 5% of the $550 or $27.50 goes to the others, so she cleared $23.50 in tips.

So by waiting on that extra table that tipped below 5%, she actually gets less money than if she hadn't waited on that table. So it cost her $1.50 to wait in that table.

She is paid based on an average which assumes that there will be highs and lows. If you want to say all the lows don't count, her payout would be based on a higher average and her net would be the same.

Taking a different perspective; as a bus boy, I'm getting paid 1% of take from the server with the assumption that she is making 15% average. I'm being paid because my service makes a difference in the tip as well, so I get part of the 'take'. If the server makes 20% on a given table, am I being screwed by the server for that table?

Getting into it a bit deeper, Assume we have exact four tables in a given day:

$100 bill, 15% tip of 15$.
$100 bill, 5% tip of 5$.
$100 bill, 20% tip of 20$.
$100 bill, 20% tip of 20$.

$400 total for the day, tips averaged 15% for $60. Server pays out 5% on total bill and keeps $40.

Now then, let's pay out on a bill by bill basis. Instead of paying 5% on total, we'll payout 1/3 of the tips per bill:

$100 bill, 15% tip of 15$, paying $5.00.
$100 bill, 5% tip of 5$, paying $1.67.
$100 bill, 20% tip of 20$, paying $6.67.
$100 bill, 20% tip of 20$ paying $6.67.

That pays out exactly one penny more due to a rounding error. So if tips remain 15%, the server isn't 'losing' anything even on an 'under-tipping' table so long as the shift average remains at 15% or higher.

On the other hand, if total average tips exceed 15%, the server is making more money than they would if they paid out on a table per table basis.

The point is that the system is slanted in the server's favor when it is on an assumed average basis (assuming shifts average 15% or more). Complaining about individual tables costing anyone money is crap. If you switch over and make the payouts on a actual tip by tip basis the the server would make less money rather than more.

--------------------
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Jack Dragon, On Being a Dragon
Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
Diary of my Heart Surgery

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GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


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Beachlife, you are comparing how Esprise Me would keep her tips under one system vs how she would keep her tips under a different system. The problem is, that is not what she was talking about. What she is talking about is that, under the system that is in place, waiting on a table that tips less than 5% means she makes less money than if she had not waited on that table at all.

quote:
Complaining about individual tables costing anyone money is crap. If you switch over and make the payouts on a actual tip by tip basis the the server would make less money rather than more.


The complaint is not about what Esprise Me makes overall or which system is better. The complaint is that one specific table actually reduced the amount of tip money she made. While the paying tips to the others based on a percentage of tips actually received might be better, that is not the system that Esprise Me works under. So there is no point to discussing a system that she can't use. You might as well point out how well she would do under a system where the tipping customer individually tips the bartender, bussers, and cooks.

Also, your numbers are incorrect. Note that she said that any table that any table that tips less than 5% costs her money.

$100 bill, 15% tip of 15$.
$100 bill, 4% tip of 4$.
$100 bill, 20% tip of 20$.
$100 bill, 20% tip of 20$.

5% of $400 = $20. Tips of $59 - $20 = $39
Total tips that Esprise Me keeps: $39.

If she hadn't waited on the 5% table, then her tips would have been based on the three other tables:

$100 bill, 15% tip of 15$.
$100 bill, 20% tip of 20$.
$100 bill, 20% tip of 20$.

5% of $300 is $15. Tips of $55 - $15 is $40
Total tips that Esprise Me keeps: $40

This is what she is talking about. Using the system that she is required to use, waiting on a table that tips less than 5% actually costs her money. IOW, more work = less money.

Using a percentage of her actual tips works out like this:

$100 bill, 15% tip of 15$.
$100 bill, 4% tip of 4$.
$100 bill, 20% tip of 20$.
$100 bill, 20% tip of 20$.

Tips of $59 - 1/3 = $59 - $19.67 = $39.33
Total tips that Esprise Me keeps: $39.33.

$100 bill, 15% tip of 15$.
$100 bill, 20% tip of 20$.
$100 bill, 20% tip of 20$.

Tips of $55 - 1/3 = $55 - $18.33 = $36.67
Total tips that Esprise Me keeps: $36.67.

The advantage to this system is the fact that the low tipping table did not cost her money. She worked more tables and she made more money. In the other example, she worked more tables and made less money.

Finally, the system that is currently in place is only advantageous to Esprise Me if the average tip is 15% or more. If the average tip is 15% or less, then the current system she is under is disadvantegous to her.

--------------------
IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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Let me simplify my point. The system she is using works to her advantage by taking into account both high and low tipping tables and compensating above her actual average. She complaining about something that is all ready over-compensated for in her compensation.

I get paid a salary regardless of how many hours I work, which is calculated on a 40 hour week. Last week I managed to put in about 16 hours of work, I got paid for 40. Now when I work 42 hours should I be crying about how I'm losing money?

I would be interested to see how the system should be re-worked to be more fair to her though.

--------------------
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Jack Dragon, On Being a Dragon
Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
Diary of my Heart Surgery

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