Monday, March 12, 2018

Care for a Tip?

In America we actually believe that tipping generates better service? No it generates income for largely underpaid servers in a largely service economy.  The same way commission assisted me in raising my wages when I worked retail it enabled me to provide better service as an incentive to sell more.  To sell more I felt I needed to be an exceptional well informed sales person.  My sales reflected that and in my retail gigs I worked part time and yet had sales parallel to those who worked full time and had longer history with the company. Why? Again my knowledge and willingness to impart that and enable the customer to make the best decision.  Funny how that works out.  The customer ultimately makes the final decision but without the service that went beyond they did not get the best merchandise, they just got what the they wanted but is it what they needed?  There is a big difference.

In an interview with a man at a Construction and Design firm in Seattle when I applied for a Project Manager job he asked me about  how my sales background qualified me for said gig.  This was after informing me that sales people are not very good in his experience/exposure and have no idea what they are doing.  I respectfully disagreed and informed him that he had not had an opportunity to meet a good sales person; Sales,  I said, was about learning and in turn teaching.  As I had been a Teacher and a Sales person I integrated the two professions to ensure that my "customers" were receiving the best information possible in order to make decisions that suited their needs. Their wants were basic, be that a watch, a pair of shoes or a credit in an English class and it was my job to ensure they accomplished that want getting by finding out what else they may need in order to fulfill it.  He did not get it and I did not get the job.

Rule one in communication: Speak to your audience and when your audience puts you on the defense to explain a simple rule of sales the audience does not understand selling or the business of sales or they would not denigrate the job while asking you the question.   Rule two: Keep it simple for the stupidly simple.

So we believe that Waiters the front line in the restaurant trade have more control and in turn more responsibility for the overall experience when one elects to eat out.  Uh no.  And the ultimate factor is that we follow a rule that says "double the tax" or add 20% to the bill or some other number times people at the table to some other convoluted formula to devise the right tip to "reward" or "punish" the front man.   To use and example I just had a mani/pedi at the airport and I know that 15% is the common factor and I gave her $13 bucks. Why? It was all I had in cash and I wanted to keep the few other cash dollars for coffee and a newspaper.  I don't charge or put tips on cards  for a reason and that cash I give is then unpaid income she keeps, hence I always tip cash. Had I had more I would have upped it but cash is the rule when it comes to servers in my book.

On this trip, I did not tip at my hotel as I usually do as the place is fairly a dump.. there are no glasses, or cups, just plastic and paper, I did not use the shower but the few towels I used I put in the tub, and I washed down my tables, counters and took garbage to the dumpster myself.  Sorry but this place did not really merit a tip  but even that too is changing and many hotels are asking if one wants daily service in an exchange for a credit.  And we know that in many cases they are not changing linens and as long as I can get a clean washcloth and towel a day I am good.  But normally in posher hotels I do tip 2 bucks a day and I leave it on the pillow.   I have standard rules for tipping including take out.  It makes it easier but we have such bullshit associated with it and some emotional need to validate the fact that we should not be doing it all if we had living wages across the board.  So if I earned 15/hr and my server earned 15 and I was paying 10 bucks for the lunch that ends that.  But they don't and thanks to convoluted wage laws servers are earning far less and putting up with way more bullshit than its worth.  I don't eat out and when I do I sit at the Bar and keep it fairly simple. I  prefer to shop and take it bake to my room as I am more comfortable sitting in my room watching TV than dragging out an evening alone and bored out of my mind.

I have pretty much standardized my tip rules so I avoid math.  One buck for coffee, two if I add a scone or something on a plate.  5 Bucks for any delivery.  10-20 bucks for food, 5 bucks for a bar tab over one drink, 2 if only one.  And always 3-5 bucks on any take out.  Uber and Lyft get one buck unless they actually help me do something and half the time I don't as I find myself giving them directions and spending most of the time supervising/directing the ride.  Sorry, but if I do the work other than drive you are kidding me?  Tipping is very much an American thing and it is utterly idiotic and if we had a decent living wage, single payer health care and affordable housing this issue would be moot. 

 Here is the guidelines on tipping from the Readers Digest:
Tipping 101: Your Guide to Giving the Right Tip Every Time
By Claire Nowak 
Finally, your "who, when, and how much" questions about tipping, answered.

Tipping is arguably the most stressful part of eating out (besides actually choosing a restaurant). There are no set rules to tell you the exact amount you should give your server, so you’re left guessing how to convert service quality into cash. Plus, figuring out tips for other services, like travel or beauty treatments, is just as confusing.

Luckily, we got you covered. We’ve compiled the best tips on tipping from The Emily Post Institute, Thrillist, and MoneyTalksNews. Here’s the low-down on who you should tip and how much.
Dining and take-out:

Wait staff: 15-20 percent for average service; 10 percent for horrible service; 30 percent or more for excellent service (These are the secrets your waiter wishes you knew.)
Bartender: $1 per drink at high volume bars; 15-20 percent at a cocktail bar
Take-out (whoever prepares your to-go order): No tip necessary; if it’s a complicated order, 10 percent  **Again they serve you so just make it a standard amount regardless
Delivery driver: 10-15 percent; 20 percent if the weather is bad; $2-5 for pizza, depending on the size of the order
Barista: $1 per drink; no tip necessary for coffee chain employees (Starbucks baristas don’t appreciate these annoying coffee shop habits.) **wrong but the issues are complex at Starbucks regarding tips and the issue of managers taking a cut

Housekeeper: $2-5 per night in a hotel; leave the note with the cash so the housekeeper knows it’s a tip (Here’s how professional cleaners keep their own homes clean.)
Taxi driver: 15-20 percent; extra $1-2 per bag
Valet parking: $2
Doorman: $1-4 for carrying luggage; $1-2 for hailing a cab
Bellhop: $1-2 per bag; extra $2-3 for room delivery
Coatroom attendant: $1 per coat

Hair stylist/barber: 15-20 percent
Manicurist: 15 percent
Spa services (waxing, massage, etc.): 20 percent

Other tips on tipping:

Before you tip, check if gratuity has already been added to your bill.
Calculate tips based on original prices, even if it’s happy hour or your order has a discount.
If you want to become the beloved regular at your bar, tip bartenders generously (50 percent). For the same title at a coffee joint, put $5 straight into the tip jar. Being friendly and starting conversations will also get you remembered, and getting on the employees’ good side could get you a free drink in the future.
Don’t leave your tip out in the open. Give it to the server directly, put it in the holder the check came in, or use a credit card.
If people can’t or won’t accept tips, still give them a handshake and a sincere “Thank you.”

Now I have joked repeatedly that Waiters are hostages and that enables me to get my needs met.. sadly my Barista's just laugh at that and when I say who is going to help me in the bathroom as it is not FDA compliant, they go they will call 911 if I fall.  I offered today an extra 50 cents if I could poke them with their order flag.  They just said I am not getting any flags. So basically my harassment is apparently one sided and I am on the receiving end of said harassment.  I take the service industry seriously as my Mother was a Sales Person and I have done the job as long as I have a Teacher and I see that gig fairly similar so I simply try to make it equal across the board and have the standard amount to avoid calculations. Here's a tip: a tip is neither a rewards nor a penalty.

That said I have "dated" many a Bartender and Server being a solo diner and I am not sure if they were obligated?  Wow is that a mercy fuck?   If you watch Vanderpump Rules I am beginning to think that the point of Lisa Vanderpump's establishments are to get laid as they seem to do little else but fuck, so harassing the staff may be required.  But when I read this in The New York Times today ask yourself if shoving a dollar down a woman's shirt is truly necessary and what is the real purpose of it? And it is not just the Kitchen staff shoving their shit down people's pants.  What the fuck is really going on men? Are you that horny?  Here's a tip: Shove that up your ass.

The stories of the servers are very much tied to need and in turn how areas of the country view those in the service industry with low wages and no unions for protections, like here in Tennessee.  We are a largely a service based economy here in Nashville and even the Governor said about Amazon that if they did relocate here it would stretch the boundaries of the region.  Here is a tip:  I don't think that is something we need to worry about as they are touring Denver and the DC area with no plans to do so here. The new Mayor I doubt is waiting for their call.

So when you come to visit via a convention or on your own take a look at the servers and the singers that work in the Honky Tonks on Broadway and note the servers make 3 bucks and hour and the singers rely solely on tips.  This is the South and the Prosperity Pulpit advocates working hard to make a living.  Are they working hard enough to satisfy you?  Here's a tip: Yes so here the norm is double what you normally would tip and enable them to get a living wage.

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