Tipping

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Niko
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Re: Tipping

Post by Niko » Sat Aug 03, 2013 1:38 pm

climber2020 wrote:Taking out your frustration with the system by shafting the lowest man/woman on the totem pole is not only ignorant and uncivilized; it will accomplish nothing other than making life even more difficult for the server.
This is why, when I chose to eat out, I continue to tip 15%. I do not ever *not* tip. Is 15% too low? Who knows. At one time is was considered extravagant and unnecessarily high. Let me ask you this -- if the restaurant publishes a line in their menu that says "suggested gratuity 50%" and a patron choses to leave only 40%, would they be ignorant, uncivilized, and shafting the server? Who sets the standard for determining a fair tip? Who draws the arbitrary line between shafting the server and paying them a fair wage? Where, precisely, is that line? Where will it be 10 years from now? And why on earth are we not railing against the restaurant industry for failing to pay its workers even a minimum wage, tacitly expecting its customers to cover the gap?

Sorry. Time for me to go for a run.
Last edited by Niko on Sat Aug 03, 2013 1:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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TJAJ9
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Re: Tipping

Post by TJAJ9 » Sat Aug 03, 2013 1:43 pm

I tip an average of 20% at restaurants. If the service isn't very good, I'll give 15% at times. If the service is great, I'll tip more. I've given someone a 100% tip before.

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Abe
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Re: Tipping

Post by Abe » Sat Aug 03, 2013 1:50 pm

Niko wrote:
climber2020 wrote:Taking out your frustration with the system by shafting the lowest man/woman on the totem pole is not only ignorant and uncivilized; it will accomplish nothing other than making life even more difficult for the server.
This is why, when I chose to eat out, I continue to tip 15%. I do not ever *not* tip. Is 15% too low? Who knows. At one time is was considered extravagant and unnecessarily high. Let me ask you this -- if the restaurant published a line in their menu that says "suggested gratuity 50%" and a patron chose to leave only 40%, would they be ignorant, uncivilized, and shafting the server? Who sets the standard for determining a fair tip? Who draws the arbitrary line between shafting the server and paying them a fair wage? Where, precisely, is that line? Where will it be 10 years from now? And why on earth are we not railing against the restaurant industry for failing to pay its workers even a minimum wage, tacitly expecting its customers to cover the gap?

Sorry. Time for me to go for run.
Niko: Sorry for misquoting you earlier. I think I got it fixed.

Climber: No one is taking out their frustration on servers. I posted earlier that I tip around 15%. This may be considered too low by some but it's better than zero. But this is the whole point I'm trying to make. Why should I, the customer, have to worry about how much to tip? If no one complains, nothing changes. This is what restaurant owners want.
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Mudpuppy
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Re: Tipping

Post by Mudpuppy » Sat Aug 03, 2013 2:37 pm

Tipping constantly perplexes me, particularly when there's no clear consensus on who should be tipped. I tip at restaurants and for taxi drivers, but it would never cross my mind to tip the dealership's courtesy shuttle driver or the home inspector. Nor do I tip the mail delivery person, tree service employees, or hotel maids (most of the time I don't even need maid service as I can make my own bed and hang up my own towels for a couple of days).

And I always wonder if one is supposed to tip the baggage holding personnel at a hotel when one stores one's luggage there between arrival/check-in and check-out/departure. I shy away from any sort of bell hops to avoid having to play the tipping game there as well (plus I always travel with just one rolling bag and a laptop case, so I can handle that easily enough on my own).

MrMiyagi
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Re: Tipping

Post by MrMiyagi » Sat Aug 03, 2013 2:38 pm

Rob5TCP wrote:About 8 of my clients are restaurants (all but one moderately priced) and I see what the minimum wages for wait staff is (about $5 per hour). Tips comprise anywhere from 75% to 90+% (in the higher priced restaurant).

I always tip unless the service is terrible. For high end I will tip 15-18% on food and somewhat less for drinks. For some of the lower end greasy spoons, I will tip 30%+. One place I go had breakfast, until a recent rent increase for $3.99 (without breakfast meat). That includes coffee, eggs, bagel, and OJ. I will usually leave $5 even though it is ordered from the counter then brought to my table.
Um isn't that a 0.65 tip after sales tax? I don't know, I always leave 1 dollar minimum no matter how cheap the food is.

Anyway I usually leave:
10% if the waiter was really bad and ignored me - probably 5% of times
15% if the waiter was decent but I still had to keep asking for refills - probably 60% of times
20-30% if the waiter was good and I never really had to ask for refills (aka they did their job) - probably 35% of times

The worst tip I ever left was 1 penny because the waitress was openly racist, got my order wrong 3x and most likely spit in my food. Looking back I should have complained to the manager since she was openly making racist comments.

In general though, the tipping % has gotten really high for some reason. 10-20 years ago we used to be happy to get 15% and expected 10%. And people generally worked harder....

Now I see my waitress oh I mean server, standing around chit chatting or texting quite a bit. However My standards for what decent service is defined as has had to fall, otherwise I'd be leaving 10% a lot. Used to be that waiters came and filled your drinks without asking. Now I'm content if they come within 5 minutes after you asking for a refill.

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frugaltype
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Re: Tipping

Post by frugaltype » Sat Aug 03, 2013 3:35 pm

climber2020 wrote: Most servers in the US get paid less than $2.50 an hour. They are dependent on tips for income, which I think many foreigners and old people who leave nickles and quarters on a bill of $50 are either unaware of or are too cheap to pay.
As an old person who does tip a reasonable amount, I think part of what you're seeing is we remember when a quarter was real money, and not everyone has grasped that it isn't any more.

FedGuy
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Re: Tipping

Post by FedGuy » Sat Aug 03, 2013 7:51 pm

Mudpuppy wrote:And I always wonder if one is supposed to tip the baggage holding personnel at a hotel when one stores one's luggage there between arrival/check-in and check-out/departure. I shy away from any sort of bell hops to avoid having to play the tipping game there as well (plus I always travel with just one rolling bag and a laptop case, so I can handle that easily enough on my own).
I often end up doing the thing where I check out in the morning but have to store a bag or two so I can go about my day before coming back to the hotel to pick up my stuff for an evening train or flight. I think the "standard" is that you tip $1 for each bag you store (when you pick up the bag, not when you leave it), though I've heard some people suggest it should be $2 per bag, so your mileage may vary.

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Rob5TCP
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Re: Tipping

Post by Rob5TCP » Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:09 pm

I think this all started with a Huffington Post article. While there has been some creep in tipping (I used to give 15%, now closer to 20% - but that is over 20 years I have been living in the city).
This poll shows that 88% give 20% or less (with 20% the most popular). More people didn't tip than gave 30% and only 3% tipped 30% of more.
Restaurants have always paid notoriously poorly relying on tips to keep the waitstaff happy. If they cut out tipping, they would just raise their prices to account for this (and probably way more than
15%).

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/2 ... 00559.html

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bUU
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Re: Tipping

Post by bUU » Sun Aug 04, 2013 4:21 am

Niko wrote:The difference is that I, as the patron, am not ... responsible for the salary and wages of the employee.
A comment that flies in the face of today's actual reality. Tipping restaurant servers in the United States is expected and discretionary. You are responsible for making a fair and just assessment, in the full light of what is reasonable and customary. Don't confuse responsibility for what you can be punished for not doing. Not every responsibility is enforced by law.

It is okay to not like how things are. It isn't okay to be irresponsible in protest of it.

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Rob5TCP
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Re: Tipping

Post by Rob5TCP » Sun Aug 04, 2013 6:04 am

MrMiyagi wrote:
Rob5TCP wrote:About 8 of my clients are restaurants (all but one moderately priced) and I see what the minimum wages for wait staff is (about $5 per hour). Tips comprise anywhere from 75% to 90+% (in the higher priced restaurant).

I always tip unless the service is terrible. For high end I will tip 15-18% on food and somewhat less for drinks. For some of the lower end greasy spoons, I will tip 30%+. One place I go had breakfast, until a recent rent increase for $3.99 (without breakfast meat). That includes coffee, eggs, bagel, and OJ. I will usually leave $5 even though it is ordered from the counter then brought to my table.
Um isn't that a 0.65 tip after sales tax? I don't know, I always leave 1 dollar minimum no matter how cheap the food is.
The restaurant is self service- you order they bring to the table and you bus your own tray. Yes, if I were at full service, I would tip at least a dollar (and usually more). At buffets, I do not tip 20%+ either. Usually 10% is adequate at a buffet (since you do your own serving).

Niko
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Re: Tipping

Post by Niko » Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:33 am

bUU wrote:
Niko wrote:The difference is that I, as the patron, am not ... responsible for the salary and wages of the employee.
A comment that flies in the face of today's actual reality. Tipping restaurant servers in the United States is expected and discretionary. You are responsible for making a fair and just assessment, in the full light of what is reasonable and customary. Don't confuse responsibility for what you can be punished for not doing. Not every responsibility is enforced by law.

It is okay to not like how things are. It isn't okay to be irresponsible in protest of it.

I feel like this is becoming a dead horse . . . but in what way am I being irresponsible about it? I always tip. I don't like it, and I think it's a sleazy way for restaurant's to shift their labor costs to the consumer, but I do it.

For average service, what is a "fair and just assessment"? 15%? 20% 30%? Who sets that standard, and who decides when it goes up? If the average tip continues to go up -- say to 40 or 50% -- at what point do we say enough is enough?

As long as restaurant servers continue earn $3/hr I will continue tipping them. But I will also continue pointing out how inefficient and unjust the system is.

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Re: Tipping

Post by SPG8 » Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:38 am

bUU wrote:It is okay to not like how things are. It isn't okay to be irresponsible in protest of it.
This is probably the bottom line (far afield of the OP, but where all the tipping threads ultimately end up). Staying with restaurants for the sake of simplicity...if you object, don't go. Can't go and stiff the staff in protest, that's showing poor quality.

Since this topic is all over the place...

I am amused by the discretionary element. If you could objectively define acceptable performance by staff, I'd be very interested to see what percentage of docked tips can actually be justified by substandard service.

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burgrat
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Re: Tipping

Post by burgrat » Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:41 am

I try to tip well if service is good. Usually about 20% at a restaurant when appropriate. As someone that had several jobs "on the way up" in which much of my income came from tips, I understand what it's like for service workers. I have tried not to forget that and I reward good service whenever I can.

DouglasDoug
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Re: Tipping

Post by DouglasDoug » Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:56 am

Good question. For I am always resentful that I must give it up unless the service is impeccable. Where I live one tips for everything and as a consequence it is often undeserved and a gesture of no meaning other than a pay off to prevent confrontation. Other societies are somewhat mystified by this American habit.

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Re: Tipping

Post by Default User BR » Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:27 am

mur44 wrote:We are replacing our Central Air Conditioning system
next week. The team will be 5 to 6 skilled technicians.
All the work to be completed in one day or so.

Do we need to tip? If yes, how much?
(Total cost of replacement is $8,600)
I have not and would not tip in that situation. Generally when I've had that sort of work done there's very little opportunity to even do it. When they get done most of the workers pack up stuff and get going to the next job. A supervisor will go over the final paperwork and payment.

I go under the assumption that people in these jobs are paid an appropriate amount for their work, and that is reflected in the final bill. I don't go around looking for opportunities to tip more people.


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tim1999
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Re: Tipping

Post by tim1999 » Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:49 am

Van-Guard23 wrote:I am not the biggest tipper but not the chintziest either...although earlier this week, I didn't give a tip to the BMW dealership shuttle driver who shuttled my wife and I back to the house after dropping off our car at the dealership for service. I asked my wife (before we got off the shuttle) if I should tip and she didn't tip the last time she took the shuttle, so I didn't either.

What is the protocol for this? Should I have given a tip? If so, how much? We live about 25 miles away from the dealership.
I use my dealer's shuttle service, and have never tipped, nor have I seen anyone else do so.

I don't see what the driver could do that would make them especially deserving of a tip. Not get you killed? That's part of the job description, I imagine? :P These drivers are usually required to follow all posted speed limits and follow all traffic laws, so it's not like you'd be in a situation where they got you to an important appointment on time because they drove 90mph on the interstate, zipping in and out of traffic.

In my area, most dealer shuttle drivers are retirees doing it part time for something to pass the time and make some extra spending money, not people trying to feed their 5 starving kids and avoid living on the street, so you can't even look at it from a "charity" angle.

On the other hand, I will tip an airport parking shuttle driver a buck or two if they help me with my luggage. I usually pack "heavy" with several bags, sporting equipment, etc. If I don't want help/don't want to tip, I just act real anxious to get off the bus when it stops and they seem to get the picture.

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jeffyscott
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Re: Tipping

Post by jeffyscott » Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:57 am

Abe wrote:I would rather pay a higher price and let the owners pay their employees a decent wage. Restaurant owners are shifting the burden of paying their help on to their customers. The customer has to worry about how much to tip, how to calculate the tip, if they will look cheap, etc. When I go out to eat, I don't want to have to worry about all this. This should be the owners responsibility. Most other businesses pay their employees at least minimum wage.
I also would rather not have to worry about how much the employees of the business should be paid. However, I don't think they are shifting the burden, the customer is always the one paying the wages in the end. But they are allowed to pretend that a $13 dinner after tax and tip is $9.99 and advertise that price.

This system is too ingrained in the US to ever change though. Some states, mostly on the west coast, have done away with the lower minimum wage for tipped employees: http://www.dol.gov/whd/state/tipped.htm
I assume this has had little effect on tipping expectations? I visited the state of Washington last year, I certainly didn't know the servers were getting over $9 per hour before tips and I tipped the same as I would have at home.

I tip employees who are subject to substandard minimum wage, where I live, AFAIK, that group consists of restaurant servers and pizza deliverers.
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bUU
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Re: Tipping

Post by bUU » Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:11 am

Niko wrote:
bUU wrote:It isn't okay to be irresponsible in protest of it.
in what way am I being irresponsible about it? I always tip.
Then the comment doesn't pertain to you. Not everything written in response to a message you post is directed at you personally. As a matter of fact, I make it a rule to make general comments, never personal comments, except when referring to specific investment decisions given specific input data.
Niko wrote:For average service, what is a "fair and just assessment"? 15%? 20% 30%? Who sets that standard, and who decides when it goes up?
The same kind of questions can be asked about the adoption of the title Ms., the use a car horns while driving, and the deference people show to elders. It's a reflection of society's mores, which gets into questions about how society's social structure and cultural values are established and change over time.
Niko wrote:If the average tip continues to go up -- say to 40 or 50% -- at what point do we say enough is enough?
Who's "we"? Since we are establishing the mores with our collective behaviors, your question is a bit pedantic.
Niko wrote:As long as restaurant servers continue earn $3/hr I will continue tipping them. But I will also continue pointing out how inefficient and unjust the system is.
I agree the system is unjust, but could you explain what you mean, to ensure the injustice we both see is indeed the same?

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Abe
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Re: Tipping

Post by Abe » Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:01 pm

jeffyscott wrote:
Abe wrote:I would rather pay a higher price and let the owners pay their employees a decent wage. Restaurant owners are shifting the burden of paying their help on to their customers. The customer has to worry about how much to tip, how to calculate the tip, if they will look cheap, etc. When I go out to eat, I don't want to have to worry about all this. This should be the owners responsibility. Most other businesses pay their employees at least minimum wage.
I also would rather not have to worry about how much the employees of the business should be paid. However, I don't think they are shifting the burden, the customer is always the one paying the wages in the end. But they are allowed to pretend that a $13 dinner after tax and tip is $9.99 and advertise that price.
When I say shift the burden, I'm talking about "the customer having to worry about how much to tip, how to calculate the tip, if they will look cheap, etc." I know that ultimately the customer will pay and I don't have any problem with that. What if Walmart paid their employees $3.00 an hour and the customers were expected to pay a tip to make up the difference? I would not like that, and I don't think anyone else would either, but this is exactly what the restaurant industry is doing. So, I'll say it again, I don't have any problem with employees getting paid a decent wage; it's the system that's flawed.
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mickeyd
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Re: Tipping

Post by mickeyd » Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:22 pm

Several years ago DW and I took an Alaska vacation. The first half was on a tour bus and part two was aboard a cruise ship. All very nice.

The tour bus booklet that we received indicated that most of their customers believe in tipping the driver $10/day to show appreciation for the efforts to make the trip as enjoyable as possible. It was a very enjoyable and quite informative tour of interior Alaska. We gladly tipped the driver at the end of the week $20 for each day that she drove us all over the state and delivered a narration that was fact-filled and entertaining. Knowing that a tip is appreciated (expected), and how much, was a comfortable way for the tour operator to look after their employee/driver.
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FedGuy
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Re: Tipping

Post by FedGuy » Sun Aug 04, 2013 1:50 pm

mickeyd wrote:The tour bus booklet that we received indicated that most of their customers believe in tipping the driver $10/day to show appreciation for the efforts to make the trip as enjoyable as possible.
It's nice that you tipped and I'm glad the expectation was communicated, but I would have been really annoyed to find out that I was expected to fork over an additional $140. If that expectation was made known prior to my booking the trip, that's fine, but to have that dropped in my lap later on as an expected additional charge would have been upsetting to me.

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mickeyd
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Re: Tipping

Post by mickeyd » Sun Aug 04, 2013 2:10 pm

FedGuy wrote:
mickeyd wrote:The tour bus booklet that we received indicated that most of their customers believe in tipping the driver $10/day to show appreciation for the efforts to make the trip as enjoyable as possible.
If that expectation was made known prior to my booking the trip, that's fine, but to have that dropped in my lap later on as an expected additional charge would have been upsetting to me.
That's a good point. I don't recall when we received the brochure from the tour company that mentioned the gratuity expectation. It could have been after we signed up for the tour and they were presenting us with housekeeping tips. There were about 30 other folks on the tour so the driver probably did OK if you do the math.

As a contrast, we visited the King Ranch (in Texas) a while ago and signed up for a tour ($20?) of the place. While the driver of the bus/van was very informative and had much information that he shared, somewhere along the way me mentioned that the "driver would appreciate a gratuity if you find this informative tour interesting." We did not take advantage of the opportunity.
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Robert The Bruce
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Re: Tipping

Post by Robert The Bruce » Sun Aug 04, 2013 2:35 pm

I know I am late to the show, but there was a Freakonomics podcast on tipping recently: http://www.freakonomics.com/2013/06/03/ ... o-podcast/

The 2 things I took from it were: More job category workers in the US (31) expect to get tipped than any other country. In some countries, nobody gets tipped. Also, in reference to the comment about unfairness, studies show that the amount you leave for a tip can be very dependent on your very first impression of the server and not necessarily on the service. Which is to say - from the podcast - that pretty, blonde women in their mid-30s get the best tips.

I am sure wait-staff are not getting rich on tips these days but it would be interesting to see what 20% brings in compared to the 10% norm when I was a waiter.
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oxothuk
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Re: Tipping

Post by oxothuk » Sun Aug 04, 2013 3:09 pm

jeffyscott wrote:This system is too ingrained in the US to ever change though.
If the expectation of tips can change in one direction (increase), why is it impossible to change in the other direction?

Basing the obligation on what restaurants pay their workers is a circular argument. Total compensation for restaurant workers is driven by supply and demand for those workers vs. other industries. As long as we continue to tip predictably, restaurant employers will reduce direct compensation by the same amount.

Niko
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Re: Tipping

Post by Niko » Sun Aug 04, 2013 3:41 pm

bUU wrote:
Niko wrote:As long as restaurant servers continue earn $3/hr I will continue tipping them. But I will also continue pointing out how inefficient and unjust the system is.
I agree the system is unjust, but could you explain what you mean, to ensure the injustice we both see is indeed the same?
It is inefficient because the patron is almost never in a proper position to set compensation for the server. A more efficient system would have the company set compensation based on supply, demand, and performance. Like most other industries.

It is unjust for a couple of reasons -- first the servers earn a base salary that is far, far below minimum wage. And even further below a livable wage. Sure, they might make that up in tips. But all they are guaranteed is $2.50/hr (or some other pithy amount). A 15-year at McDonald's earns a much higher guaranteed wage than the waiter at Applebees. In addition it leaves the customers in the position of guessing how much money they should leave on the table. The customer doesn't know whether their waiter has earned only $3 in tips that night or $300. Why should the customer be the one to determine whether the employees are receiving a fair wage for their work? Either they undertip and the employees are shafted, or they overtip and the customers are shafted. And as a later poster pointed out, customers are notoriously terrible about leaving a tip that is truly reflective of employee performance.

Like most every other private sector employee in the U.S. it's far more equitable and efficient for the company to set compensation based on observed performance together with market forces of supply and demand. And if a customer decides to leave an optional, unexpected, and unneeded tip, that is fine (and consistent with what a tip historically represented). But it's never required to form part of the server's compensation. Or at least that's how it should be.

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Tipping

Post by Epsilon Delta » Sun Aug 04, 2013 6:35 pm

oxothuk wrote:
jeffyscott wrote:This system is too ingrained in the US to ever change though.
If the expectation of tips can change in one direction (increase), why is it impossible to change in the other direction?
There is a long term trend of things (e.g. food) getting cheaper while labor gets more expensive. This is mostly a result of increased automation (hence productivity) in manufacturing and agriculture. There have been far fewer fewer improvements in the productivity of service workers. Thus overtime the share of the cost of a restaurant meal going to the staff will have increased. Thus the increase in tipping levels over time.

This same trend also results in super sized meals. Once the cost of service dominates, the cost does not depend much on the amount of food served. Larger servings keep some customers happy at low cost to the restaurant.

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steadyeddy
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Re: Tipping

Post by steadyeddy » Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:37 pm

frugaltype wrote:
climber2020 wrote: Most servers in the US get paid less than $2.50 an hour. They are dependent on tips for income, which I think many foreigners and old people who leave nickles and quarters on a bill of $50 are either unaware of or are too cheap to pay.
As an old person who does tip a reasonable amount, I think part of what you're seeing is we remember when a quarter was real money, and not everyone has grasped that it isn't any more.
I was a server in the evenings during grad school. An elderly couple came in one night and we hit it off. At the end of the night they gave me heartfelt thanks and pushed a fifty-cent piece into my palm with a wink and a big smile. Their intentions were so good I couldn't feel anything but thankful (and amused).

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pennstater2005
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Re: Tipping

Post by pennstater2005 » Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:55 pm

I generally don't tip for much other than when I eat out. And as long as the service is good I'll tip at least 25% if not more. I can't stand all the tip jars everywhere I look now. They're everywhere……Starbucks and Dairy Queen that I've seen recently. If I'm tipping anybody it'll be my orthopedic surgeon…."Thanks for doing the correct shoulder" :D
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johnkidding
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Re: Tipping

Post by johnkidding » Sun Aug 04, 2013 8:12 pm

Can we please stop saying that these workers are paid $2.50 an hour?
"If an employee's tips combined with the employer's direct wages of at least $2.13 an hour do not equal the federal minimum hourly wage, the employer must make up the difference." --http://www.dol.gov/elaws/faq/esa/flsa/002.htm
I agree it is a circular argument. I'm also in the camp where I would prefer employees to be compensated primarily by their employers...

LOL I was thinking about this thread today as my checkout clerk at the grocery store was quick and friendly...

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Re: Tipping

Post by Mudpuppy » Sun Aug 04, 2013 9:08 pm

pennstater2005 wrote:I generally don't tip for much other than when I eat out. And as long as the service is good I'll tip at least 25% if not more. I can't stand all the tip jars everywhere I look now. They're everywhere……Starbucks and Dairy Queen that I've seen recently. If I'm tipping anybody it'll be my orthopedic surgeon…."Thanks for doing the correct shoulder" :D
Yeah, the slow creep of tip jars into places of business that have not been traditionally tip-oriented is a bit annoying. I ignore tip jars for the most part. It's not like the tip actually goes to the person who served you.

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Re: Tipping

Post by Luke Duke » Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:29 am

cheesepep wrote:I tip between 0-12%, never more in restaurants.
I'm guessing that you don't get invited out much.
cheesepep wrote:Tipping someone more money to carry your $50 steak at Ruth Chris takes the same amount of effort as a $7 stack of pancakes at IHOP. And yes, I've worked in the food service industry before.
I find this statement hard to believe. What did you do in the food service industry? Waiters tip-out the bartender, hostess and bus boy a percentage of their sales, not a percentage of their tips. So if you stiff a waiter, he actually looses money waiting on you. The waiter at Ruth's Chris is probably better waiter than the waiter at IHOP. They also should have extensive knowledge of the menu and be able to make wine recommendations for each entree. You'd be surprised how competitive it is to get a waitstaff job at a high-end restaurant.

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deanbrew
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Re: Tipping

Post by deanbrew » Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:56 am

Niko wrote: "Except their salary doesn't cover it, right? At 15% in a nice restaurant, the other customers are definitely picking up the slack."


Correct, but where do we draw the line? At one point in our country's history, tipping was not customary. Then it was customary -- at 10% -- but certainly not required. Then it was required. Then 15%. now it's 15-25%. I read an article the other day talking about how many restaurants in East Coast cities are publishing "suggested gratuities" of 30%. Some day we will see suggested tipping of 40-50%. If some day the tipping custom is 40%, then the customer who gives only 30% will be frowned upon. It's not like the price of the food is getting cheaper over time -- it, too, is rising with inflation. This practice of historical tip creep is frustrating to say the least. Where do we draw the line?
Exactly right. I guess it's a fuddy-duddy statement, but when did 18% or 20% become "standard", and who decided that? And why is the tip a percentage of the total, anyway? As others point out, it's basically the same work taking my order, bringing me my meal and refilling my drink, whether that meal costs me $6, $15 or $30. I consider the bill amount, but pay a significantly higher percentage tip for a low-cost meal than a high-cost one.

Tip for carry-out? You've got to be kidding.
"The course of history shows that as the government grows, liberty decreases." Thomas Jefferson

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Abe
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Re: Tipping

Post by Abe » Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:24 am

Luke Duke wrote: I find this statement hard to believe. What did you do in the food service industry? Waiters tip-out the bartender, hostess and bus boy a percentage of their sales, not a percentage of their tips. So if you stiff a waiter, he actually looses money waiting on you. The waiter at Ruth's Chris is probably better waiter than the waiter at IHOP. They also should have extensive knowledge of the menu and be able to make wine recommendations for each entree. You'd be surprised how competitive it is to get a waitstaff job at a high-end restaurant.
The one and only time I ever went to Ruth's Chris the waiter was a snob, so I wouldn't say Ruth's Chris waiters are any better than waiters anywhere else. But, all of the above is a good reason why it would be better if the owners paid their employees a decent wage.
Slow and steady wins the race.

tweeter
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Re: Tipping

Post by tweeter » Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:30 am

I paid my way through college with tips by being a server. I paid my rent with my tips. My paychecks at minimum wage were pocket change to me. I tip minimum 20% when I go out to eat. If service is bad I may tip 10-15% but sometimes I will still tip 20%. I worked long enough in the business to detect whether a server is just slammed or otherwise hindered by circumstances out of their control. They still get 20% at that point, as long as they are making their best effort.

Folks who have never worked in the service industry cannot understand the importance of tips nor can they understand how difficult waiting tables/dealing with the public is. It is like having children. You will not get it unless you actually do it. You hear statements like “they just bring me my food” etc. Work one day waiting tables and then come back and make that statement.
If you feel the person serving you provided you great service then tip 20%. And then feel good knowing that you are helping this person pay their rent.

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deanbrew
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Re: Tipping

Post by deanbrew » Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:42 am

tweeter wrote:I tip minimum 20% when I go out to eat. If service is bad I may tip 10-15% but sometimes I will still tip 20%. I worked long enough in the business to detect whether a server is just slammed or otherwise hindered by circumstances out of their control. They still get 20% at that point, as long as they are making their best effort.
You want to reward a server with a 20% tip, even though you received bad service, because you perceive that they were waiting on too many tables (slammed) to provide proper service to you? Talk about sending the wrong message and rewarding bad service. If a waiter doesn't refill my drink or bring me new drinks, or bring napkins or condiments, I'm supposed to overlook that because he/she is too busy waiting on other people? Forget that. If my server doesn't provide good service, I start deducting from the tip - whether that's due to laziness, incompetence or being spread too thin. I don't really care if she is busy waiting on other tables - that's between her and management.

If service is truly bad, I have no problem with going under 10%. It doesn't happen often, but it has happened.
"The course of history shows that as the government grows, liberty decreases." Thomas Jefferson

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bUU
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Re: Tipping

Post by bUU » Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:15 pm

tweeter wrote:Folks who have never worked in the service industry cannot understand the importance of tips nor can they understand how difficult waiting tables/dealing with the public is. It is like having children. You will not get it unless you actually do it. You hear statements like “they just bring me my food” etc. Work one day waiting tables and then come back and make that statement.
I think it has gotten a lot worse as callous disregard for others that is gaining traction as a respectable perspective. The more people who think about these things strictly from the standpoint of the impact of their decisions on themselves, and only themselves, the worse it will get.

tweeter
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Re: Tipping

Post by tweeter » Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:25 pm

deanbrew wrote:
You want to reward a server with a 20% tip, even though you received bad service, because you perceive that they were waiting on too many tables (slammed) to provide proper service to you? Talk about sending the wrong message and rewarding bad service.
I can definitely understand where you are coming from here. However, I worked with very few servers who intentionally gave bad service to anyone. I can remember begging chefs for food when I know a table has been waiting a long time, apologizing profusely to tables for not giving them the level of service that I wanted because I was simply to slammed, etc. Management does not care. And that is where you lose sight of this. When you take a tip away from someone who is giving their best effort, you are not teaching them a "lesson" nor sending a message to management. You are simply penalizing them for circumstances beyond their control.

As I said, a certain level of empathy and understanding develops from having worked in the business. Have I been waited on by rude and lazy people? Yes. They get 10%. The key is first understanding that most servers want to give you the level of service you expect. Then rewarding those who do or attempt to but are hindered by circumstances beyond their control. The business has a way of filtering out servers who are simply rude or incompetent all the time.

Flashes1
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Re: Tipping

Post by Flashes1 » Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:42 pm

Tipping well makes me feel good. It's my way of helping out people less fortunate than me, and are working to make my experience better.

leo383
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Re: Tipping

Post by leo383 » Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:44 pm

At least 20%. Usually quite a bit more.

I will tip less if I am sure that the lousy service was 100% the fault of the server, which is rarely.

I worked as a waiter on and off for several years in college. Gave me a real appreciation of what is a high stress/low reward job.

Aside: I worked at a restaurant where the waiters pooled their tips at the end of every night and everyone left with the same amount. Bad waiters were rewarded, good waiters were punished. I learned some econ/behavioral econ that summer.

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deanbrew
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Re: Tipping

Post by deanbrew » Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:47 pm

tweeter wrote:
I can definitely understand where you are coming from here. However, I worked with very few servers who intentionally gave bad service to anyone. I can remember begging chefs for food when I know a table has been waiting a long time, apologizing profusely to tables for not giving them the level of service that I wanted because I was simply to slammed, etc. Management does not care. And that is where you lose sight of this. When you take a tip away from someone who is giving their best effort, you are not teaching them a "lesson" nor sending a message to management. You are simply penalizing them for circumstances beyond their control.

As I said, a certain level of empathy and understanding develops from having worked in the business. Have I been waited on by rude and lazy people? Yes. They get 10%. The key is first understanding that most servers want to give you the level of service you expect. Then rewarding those who do or attempt to but are hindered by circumstances beyond their control. The business has a way of filtering out servers who are simply rude or incompetent all the time.
I understand what you are saying, and I certainly realize that it isn't always the server's fault when it takes a long time to get food, or it shows up cold, or is simply not very good. There are bartenders, cooks, managers and others involved. Sometimes, speaking to a manager is warranted, pointing out shortcomings in the food or service. But, often the "offense" doesn't rise to that level. If I have to wait on drinks, or have to ask three times for another napkin, or wait 10 minutes after I'm done for the bill (or my change), then that's going to impact the tip. I have empathy for servers, and realize they have a tough job and have to deal with lousy customers.

As an evolution of this topic, I HATE when automatic and/or pre-printed gratuities are included on a bill. I particularly dislike the policy of an automatic 18% tip for a table of 6 (or whatever number) or more. That pretty much guarantees lousy service by one over-worked server, in my experience. How often do people cross out the 18% and write in a lesser amount? How is that usually handled by the restaurant and/or credit card company, from people's experience?
"The course of history shows that as the government grows, liberty decreases." Thomas Jefferson

tweeter
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Re: Tipping

Post by tweeter » Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:33 pm

deanbrew wrote:
But, often the "offense" doesn't rise to that level. If I have to wait on drinks, or have to ask three times for another napkin, or wait 10 minutes after I'm done for the bill (or my change), then that's going to impact the tip. I have empathy for servers, and realize they have a tough job and have to deal with lousy customers.
Dean, I think you make a good point. Especially, if you have to ask the server for something 3 times and they do not give you a legitimate apology or simply ignore you.
deanbrew wrote: As an evolution of this topic, I HATE when automatic and/or pre-printed gratuities are included on a bill. I particularly dislike the policy of an automatic 18% tip for a table of 6 (or whatever number) or more. That pretty much guarantees lousy service by one over-worked server, in my experience. How often do people cross out the 18% and write in a lesser amount? How is that usually handled by the restaurant and/or credit card company, from people's experience?
Usually, the 18% for parties over 6 is meant to protect the server from getting a bad tip on a large bill. There is an increased workload involved in serving large parties. Often servers may have a large party exclusively for a good chunk of their shift. This guarantees that they are tipped fairly. Many well meaning individuals responsible for paying the bill either think 10% is a good tip or sometimes forget to fill it out all together. Now the server has lost a significant source of tips that night because they are not waiting on that many other tables. As usual, if the party thinks the service was bad they can talk to a manager and get the amount reduced accordingly.

At the end of the night tips are added in as adjustments to your main food bill when the server runs the credit card report. If someone comes by the next day and says the service sucked and they want their tip back, the card is simply debited for that amount. Or if they paid cash it can be returned to them by the restaurant.

ThatGuy
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Re: Tipping

Post by ThatGuy » Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:39 pm

I've scared more than a few servers by asking to speak to management, only to tell management that the service was outstanding. When my little brother was itty bitty he had a thing for dirt machines, and included Dump Trucks in that. The local garbage men were always great about smiling and waving to him, and even let him sit in the cab when they were ahead of schedule once. The 'rents made a call to the municipality to specifically let management know about these workers.

The next week, the garbage men came down the driveway and knocked on the door to thank us. Apparently that was their third atta boy in however long, and there was a policy that they automatically get a raise when this happens. This, obviously, has stuck with me.

I hate tipping for all the economic shifting arguments above. But I value empathy and goodwill towards other humans far more than to penalize those without better current options.
Work is the curse of the drinking class - Oscar Wilde

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Re: Tipping

Post by TCP » Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:56 pm

I always thought/heard that tips stood for "To insure proper service" and thus a tip was usually given ahead of time. It makes more sense this way in that if you tip, and most people don't, you would gain an advantage, especially at places where you are a repeat customer. A quick google search did not back this up and wikipedia says "tip" is a slang word of unknown origins. I tip 20% at restaurants and will go higher or lower but the service has to be really good or really bad. Whenever there is a jar for tips I usually put at least a dollar in as most of the people who are the beneficiaries of these tips are young hourly employees and life has been good to me. It never would have crossed my mind to tip a home inspector, although I happily slide my cable installer 50$. I do not tip 20% on takeout orders, I do a few bucks. If I were Drew Brees I would also have tipped at least a 20, probably more with what he makes. Look at all the good publicity Bubba Watson got from buying 60 people Chipotle for 500$ and then tipping 100$ on top of that. 600$ to him is nothing, lots of good publicity from that story all over cnn.com is great. If you don't like tipping don't, just don't go to the same restaurant a lot and expect to get good service.

Munchkin Man
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Re: Tipping

Post by Munchkin Man » Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:18 pm

Greetings To All:

The Munchkin Man likes to tip generously whenever the Munchkin Man can afford to do so.

The Munchkin Man usually tips the Munchkin Man's personal hair stylist $7 for a $28 haircut.

The Munchkin Man usually tips a waiter or waitress at a restaurant an amount ranging from 20% to 25% if the service is decent.

The Munchkin Man always rounds up to the nearst dollar when leaving these tips.

The Munchkin Man never leaves coins for tip money.

The Munchkin Man usually tips a bartender an amount ranging from 25% to 30%.

The Munchkin Man has learned that tipping your bartenders well can reap its rewards.

Last week the Munchkin Man's favorite bartender bought the Munchkin Man a free dessert an an after-dinner drink to go with it.

Best Wishes,

Munchkin Man

Munchkin Man
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Re: Tipping

Post by Munchkin Man » Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:17 pm

Greetings To All:

The following occurred one night several years ago.

The Munchkin Man was eating at the Munchkin Man's favorite restaurant and bar.

The Munchkin Man ate dinner at the bar and enjoyed a couple of martinis as well.

The Munchkin Man overheard a conversation behind the bar that informed the Munchkin Man that today was the bartender's birthday.

The Munchkin Man asked the bartender how old the bartender became that day.

The bartender told the Munchkin Man the bartender's new age.

The Munchkin Man remembered it.

The Munchkin Man paid for the check by credit card.

In the space for the tip on the "merchant's copy" of credit card receipt, the Munchkin Man wrote in a dollar amount which was exactly equivalent to the bartender's new age.

This was approximately 70% of the Munchkin Man's total tab.

The Munchkin Man then wrote "Happy Birthday" and drew a :happy face on the receipt.

The Munchkin Man then quickly left before the bartender had time to notice it.

Doing this made the Munchkin Man feel good.

This bartender was always nice to the Munchkin Man.

He always treated the Munchkin Man well.

It made the bartender feel good too.

The Munchkin Man went back to see him a week later.

He was very happy to see the Munchkin Man.

He showered the Munchkin Man with thanks and told the Munchkin Man how he showed that receipt to all the other staff members who worked at that restaurant.

He told the Munchkin Man that it was the nicest birthday present that any of his other customers had given him that night.

This made the Munchkin Man feel good all over again.

Tipping generously when it is well deserved makes the Munchkin Man feel good.

Good luck to all.

Best Wishes,

Munchkin Man

scrabbler1
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Re: Tipping

Post by scrabbler1 » Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:10 am

Unlike 15 or 20 years ago, with the internet it is quite easy to provide feedback to a business's main office if your service was unusually bad or good. I take advantage of this free feature whether I leave a good tip (25%), a slightly bad tip (15%), or an average tip (20%). Almost always I get a call back from the store's manager the next day so we can discuss anything unusual worth discussing. I feel it is important to let management know about good and bad experiences (and sometimes I have one or more of each in a visit, especially a restaurant) because I want good actions by a server to be passed along to other servers for my future visits. Similarly, I want unwelcome actions to be known so they will not be repeated in future visits.

littlebird
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Re: Tipping

Post by littlebird » Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:05 am

Van-Guard23 wrote:I am not the biggest tipper but not the chintziest either...although earlier this week, I didn't give a tip to the BMW dealership shuttle driver who shuttled my wife and I back to the house after dropping off our car at the dealership for service. I asked my wife (before we got off the shuttle) if I should tip and she didn't tip the last time she took the shuttle, so I didn't either.

What is the protocol for this? Should I have given a tip? If so, how much? We live about 25 miles away from the dealership.
I tip the dealership shuttle driver, but I note that most people where I live do not. I also note that I get super courtesy and consideration on the second leg of the shuttle service, which enhances my day considerably.

jollystomper
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Re: Tipping

Post by jollystomper » Wed Aug 07, 2013 6:28 am

This is an area I choose to look at as "small stuff" and don't sweat it. I tend to tip 20%. With my income it is no big deal leaving that size tip.

Sometimes I like to use tipping as "act of random kindness", and leave an "outrageous" tip if I discern it might brighten someone's day. The reactions I have gotten are priceless and are memories I treasure. :happy

glock19
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Re: Tipping

Post by glock19 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:41 am

bUU wrote:
tweeter wrote:Folks who have never worked in the service industry cannot understand the importance of tips nor can they understand how difficult waiting tables/dealing with the public is. It is like having children. You will not get it unless you actually do it. You hear statements like “they just bring me my food” etc. Work one day waiting tables and then come back and make that statement.
I think it has gotten a lot worse as callous disregard for others that is gaining traction as a respectable perspective. The more people who think about these things strictly from the standpoint of the impact of their decisions on themselves, and only themselves, the worse it will get.
But the impact of the decision to tip (or how much to tip) is in itself is an "impact of their decisions on themselves". The tipper is paying or rewarding for services performed to "themselves". If you take that out of the equation then the tip is nothing more than a gift, or an action to make the giver just feel better about life.

And as far as "callous disregard for others" I am amazed at the previous posts where obligatory tips are given to those who are rude or provide poor service. Again, is this being done just so we can feel good about "ourselves" regardless of the attitude of the server. I'm not suggesting that kindness should not be used. It always should be used regardless of the attitude of others. But it's totally different when you reward for poor performance.

And I do very much agree that callous disregard for others is gaining traction in our society!!

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bUU
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Re: Tipping

Post by bUU » Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:42 am

glock19 wrote:But the impact of the decision to tip (or how much to tip) is in itself is an "impact of their decisions on themselves".
The point was that thinking of the decision only with regard to the impact of the decision on themselves is self-centered and disreputable for that reason. I'm sorry that wasn't clear.

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