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Tip me or die of thirst: An open post to the U.S. Press

June 17, 2009

First off, let me say this is NOT a statement about any particular person who has ever stepped in my bar and given me the chance to serve them.

Second, let me say this is NOT a statement about anyone who has ever given me a tip.

Third let me say this is NOT a rant about how some people are better tippers than others.

Lastly, this is not meant as a rant to any patron of any bar anywhere.

This IS, however, a statement solely directed to those media moguls, talk show hosts, and other highly influential public personalities who, since the economic downturn, have made comments alluding to it being acceptable to tipping service staff 10% instead of the customary 15-20% as a means of saving money.

This is false, incorrect, and unacceptable.

Let me repeat that this is not a statement to the public, but to those who have used their popularity and media influence to make such an outrageous claim.

15-20% is STILL customary.  This has not changed.  Please do not listen to the media on this!

So, why listen to me?  Because I am one of those many people in the world who rely on tips as a primary source of income so I believe that makes me an expert in this matter.

I have trained and consulted for many years.  One of the points I always stress to those in the hospitality business is not to look at individual tips.  I go so far as to say not to look at a single night, but see the big picture of weekly and monthly.  Everyone has a bad night, as much as everyone has a great night.  They ALWAYS balance each other.

However, it is irresponsible of the media to make a claim that it is alright for the public to cut a waiter’s income by one third to one half just so a customer can save a couple bucks. 

There are other ways, ways of honesty and integrity, to save money.  Most restaurants I know have already decreased prices, or offer a PrI Fixe option for a very reasonable price.  This alone has affected tip income of most servers, however most I know are understanding of this and all its implications.  However I know not one single bartender or server who is sympathetic to an inferior tip without direct cause (such as bad service).

So to the media and all those who have created these falsifications: It is tight for us all, but please do not add insult to injury.

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