Tonight, my wife and I ate at a trendy upscale restaurant. This was the kind of place where the waiters wear uniforms, and most of them are men. It was a dining experience. The service was impeccable.
What I thought about was the clear expectations in regard to tipping. A gratuity of 18-20 percent is expected. The quality of the food, drink and ambiance make it mandatory. I understand that.
What I don’t fully get is the so-called “lesser” dining experience. It’s what we call “eating.” While we have waiters and waitresses who work just as hard as those at upscale restaurants, we low ball them. When I eat lunch with some of my coworkers, we’ll eat at restaurants where the total cost is less than $10. My coworkers will leave horrendous tips, like a dollar. These folks work all day long, frequently at family-owned restaurants and bars.
I always thought the level of service should determine the tip. If you get high level service, tip accordingly.
I also wanted to know about tipping in hotels. Until last year, I didn’t know you tipped hotel staff for keeping your room livable. How do you make that judgement? Your room should be kept in good shape because you are paying good money to rent a room. For instance, when I was staying in Northern Virginia back in June, the room rate was $211 a night! I need to leave a tip to show my appreciation? It should be perfect. They should pay their staff accordingly.
Then I stayed in another hotel. I left tips of about $5 a day for the person working my room. She left me a little note, thanking me and telling me she was a college student. I didn’t know what to make of that, but I left her a note of my own. I told her about when I was in the military, I worked part time jobs to build something for myself, and I understood what she was doing. I told her I appreciated her hard work and to never stop working towards her dreams.
I’ve always thought the service industry was an indication of where we are as a nation. The independent streak of service industry workers–people who work hard to build something for themselves, can’t be underestimated. A lot of people would rather collect social benefits than to do many of the thankless tasks in the service industry. It was heartening to see people still grinding away, trying to accomplish their life goals through hard work, instead of sponging off others.