Do you tip on the tax? [Restaurants]

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities

Do you tip on the tax?

Poll ended at Mon Aug 25, 2014 7:11 am

Yes, I tip on the total bill including the tax
97
47%
No, I tip on the food cost alone
98
47%
No, I do not tip at all
6
3%
My tip has no bearing on the cost
6
3%
 
Total votes: 207

island
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Re: Do you tip on the tax?

Post by island » Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:49 pm

oncorhynchus wrote:Frankly, the whole "tipping culture" thing has turned me off to eating out altogether; I just want to eat a meal without being unwittingly dragged into a byzantine fiscal and social justice issue. Until this whole sordid mess goes away, I will refrain from eating out, and neither the wait staff, the kitchen staff, nor the management will get anything from me.
Hardcore.
So do you not tip hairstylists/barbers, valets, hotel housekeeping, the pizza delivery dude, etc?

dgdevil
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Re: Do you tip on the tax?

Post by dgdevil » Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:56 pm

island wrote:
oncorhynchus wrote:Frankly, the whole "tipping culture" thing has turned me off to eating out altogether; I just want to eat a meal without being unwittingly dragged into a byzantine fiscal and social justice issue. Until this whole sordid mess goes away, I will refrain from eating out, and neither the wait staff, the kitchen staff, nor the management will get anything from me.
Hardcore.
So do you not tip hairstylists/barbers, valets, hotel housekeeping, the pizza delivery dude, etc?
Speaking for me:

Hairstylists/barbers: No, shaved my head;
Valets: No, park on the street;
Hotel housekeeping: I have never done this, but I go the extra mile cleaning the room;
The pizza delivery dude: No, I go to the store to get it.

I don't tip my doctor or lawyer or flight attendant or McDonald's crew member either.

And thanks to Uber, I don't have to tip my taxi driver. This tipping custom bugged me the most.

pulcinella
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Re: Do you tip on the tax?

Post by pulcinella » Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:02 pm

coalcracker wrote:Is it really worth worrying about the several dollars difference? That is what it comes down to, unless we are talking a meal at the French Laundry.

I do the "double the bill, move the decimal one to the left" technique to get my ~20% tip.

I do the double decimal thing too. But not at the french laundry - gratuity is included in the prix fixe :wink:

In Europe it's a totally different ball game because servers are paid living wages. I rarely ever tip and if I do it's a couple of euros max on any bill. Many European restaurants prey on Americans and their tipping customs.

RobInCT
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Re: Do you tip on the tax? [Restaurants]

Post by RobInCT » Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:16 pm

20% on the total including tax, round up to next dollar. No, it doesn't take more time to refill your wine glass than to refill your Coke, but more expensive restaurants typically have fewer waiters assigned to each table than would your local diner. A waiter at an upscale establishment may only serve half the number of people in a night compared to a waiter at the Olive Garden down the street even if the two restaurants are both equally "busy." The upscale waiter makes up for it because the food at the upscale restaurant is twice as expensive.

This is why tipping a flat amount per head doesn't work.

I'm amazed that people who tip less than 15% (assuming nothing went drastically wrong with the service) can find anyone willing to eat with them in public. My dearly beloved Depression-era grandmother always insisted on buying us lunch and always tipped 10%, but fortunately she also walked slowly, so there was always plenty of time to dart back to the table and put extra cash down before we all made it to the door. If I went out to dinner with a friend and he stiffed the server, I'd have to find other venues in which to hang out with him.
In Europe it's a totally different ball game because servers are paid living wages. I rarely ever tip and if I do it's a couple of euros max on any bill. Many European restaurants prey on Americans and their tipping customs.
In foreign countries I always ask a local what tourists are expected to do. In a lot of poorer countries, locals don't normally tip but tourists would still be expected to (as would wealthy local residents).

dgdevil
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Re: Do you tip on the tax? [Restaurants]

Post by dgdevil » Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:29 pm

RobInCT wrote: In a lot of poorer countries, locals don't normally tip but tourists would still be expected to (as would wealthy local residents).
Not true. Follow the local custom. If that means leaving just a few coins on the table, so be it.

RobInCT
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Re: Do you tip on the tax? [Restaurants]

Post by RobInCT » Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:32 pm

What's not true? It's not true that in some countries, different things are expected of different groups of people? With respect, unless you've visited every country in the world and conducted a thorough exploration of their social customs, you cannot possible know this to be "not true."

dgdevil
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Re: Do you tip on the tax? [Restaurants]

Post by dgdevil » Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:48 pm

So I infer that you've been to every poor country based on the Commandment you just gave us. I've been to SOME poor countries - incl. Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Egypt - and followed local custom. If you start applying U.S. tipping customs, throwing around money like a Yankee imperialist Richie Rich, you upend a whole lot of social conventions and create inflationary pressures. You're probably paying "premium" tourist prices anyway, so don't feel bad.

RobInCT
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Re: Do you tip on the tax? [Restaurants]

Post by RobInCT » Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:02 pm

No, I didn't say that the custom was true in every poor country. I would have no way of knowing that, as I've never been to every poor country. However, you did imply that it was never true, which you can't know either.

I don't personally feel it's my job when traveling abroad to decide that I know what's best for the locals, nor do I think giving a server $0.50-$1.00 on a $5.00 meal runs the risk of "upending social conventions" and "creating inflationary pressures." Some places have different prices, rules, and customs for foreigners than for locals. If that offends me, I don't go to those places. I don't go and then patronizingly decide I know what's best for the people who live there and will therefore apply my own rules regardless of local practice.

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William Million
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Re: Do you tip on the tax? [Restaurants]

Post by William Million » Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:44 pm

15 for so-so service, 20 for good service, pre-tax but rounded up.

toto238
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Re: Do you tip on the tax? [Restaurants]

Post by toto238 » Sat Aug 23, 2014 1:43 am

I sometimes think of a simple rule of thumb.

If I was that waiter, making his wages ($2.13 an hour in the US), living his life, instead of my own, what would someone have to pay me to provide the level of service that he did? Would I do that job for free myself? Surely not. In fact I have a pretty high opinion of myself and wouldn't want to do the manual labor involved in waiting tables for a pittance. It would have to be good money. Remember half the work the waiter does you don't see. Wrapping silverware, cleaning tables, refilling the ketchup bottles, refilling the sugar caddy that people keep stealing the "sweet n lo" from, wrapping more utensils, cleaning the counters, refilling the coffee machine, going into the basement to grab a new 100-pound box of bottled waters because apparently management makes a huge margin on these things, rolling more silverware, mopping, sweeping, etc. it never ends. And they don't get tipped for any of that.

So if it was your job, and your life, what would someone have to pay you to do it? Every day. For years. What would you want?

And if you want to pay them less then that, ask yourself why you're "better" than them.

denovo
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Re: Do you tip on the tax?

Post by denovo » Sat Aug 23, 2014 2:09 am

toto238 wrote:I worked as a waiter for a number of years. In the US, you get paid $2.13 per hour plus tips.

Depends on the state. Fed min. wage for wait staff is $2.13, but in other states it is higher.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tipped_wag ... ted_States

Nice chart. In CA, OR, AND WA, the min wage for all employees is the same, tipped or not.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

denovo
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Re: Do you tip on the tax?

Post by denovo » Sat Aug 23, 2014 2:10 am

Gropes & Ray wrote:
cheese_breath wrote:
TheRightKost87 wrote:Why do some pay with credit cards, but tip cash?
Because they're concerned management might not give the entire tip to the waitstaff if it's on the credit card.
It's illegal in my state, and probably all states, for management to take the tip. I think the max management can withhold is the transaction fee applicable to the tip. I always figured people tip cash so that the waitress can cheat on her taxes.
There's a big difference between what people actually do and what the law is. Most wait staff aren't law students or empowered members of society.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

denovo
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Re: Do you tip on the tax?

Post by denovo » Sat Aug 23, 2014 2:11 am

Mike Scott wrote:I object to the traditional "tipping" system / labor scam / extortion and do not usually leave any tip. If my wife is with me, she leaves whatever she pleases as a tip and she is generally a pretty soft touch.
Mike Scott wrote:Social conformity rides again!
Do you guys understand the concept of freedom of choice and thought or is this just internet indignation and posturing?
Your freedom of choice would be more respectable if you disclose it to the host and waiter in advance.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

denovo
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Re: Do you tip on the tax?

Post by denovo » Sat Aug 23, 2014 2:12 am

cheese_breath wrote: But this assumes I was provided with good service. I did tip $0.01 one time for rotten service. After delivering the food to the table the waitress stood at the other side of the restaurant chatting with the other waiters and didn’t come near my table again until she brought the bill.
I wonder if this is a personal thing, but I don't really like for the waitstaff to come to the table for no reason. If the drinks are not empty and we're still eating , no need to come by.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

lhl12
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Re: Do you tip on the tax?

Post by lhl12 » Sat Aug 23, 2014 3:25 am

denovo wrote:
toto238 wrote:I worked as a waiter for a number of years. In the US, you get paid $2.13 per hour plus tips.

Depends on the state. Fed min. wage for wait staff is $2.13, but in other states it is higher.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tipped_wag ... ted_States

Nice chart. In CA, OR, AND WA, the min wage for all employees is the same, tipped or not.
This is interesting. I had not realized that there were differences of such significance by state, or that in some states (CA, OR, and WA) the tipped and non-tipped minimum wage was the same. I had thought the $2.13 minimum applied equally everywhere.

Before knowing this, I was horrified by the idea that someone would leave no tip for a server making $2.13/hour. I get that you might object to the whole system, but no one can live on $2.13/hour, and it's not fair to penalize them individually just because you don't like the system. They have no ability to change the system and are just trying to make a living and feed their families. Not tipping them feels like stealing from them to me.

On the other hand, I am now annoyed by the idea that whenever I have been in CA, my tips have caused waitstaff to be paid meaningfully more than what I thought I was paying them. My initial reaction is that I should vary my tipping percentage by state to produce the same post-tip income to the server. However this seems theoretically correct but crazy in practice. I would be curious to know the tipping theories of those bogleheads who live in CA/OR/WA and who understood this differential already.

Nukeboilermaker
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Re: Do you tip on the tax? [Restaurants]

Post by Nukeboilermaker » Sat Aug 23, 2014 3:34 am

I keep it simple, I tip $2 for every $10 on my total bill, if the service was subpar I may deviate slightly lower, if the service was good I will round up on top of that. If excellent I usually tip 25 to 30% for top notch food and service. But 80% of the time it's $2/every $10 rounded up to a whole dollar.

My parents live in a high tax state (CA), so growing up my mom just doubled the tax of the bill and rounded up (so she excluded the tax)

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cheese_breath
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Re: Do you tip on the tax?

Post by cheese_breath » Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:55 am

denovo wrote:
cheese_breath wrote: But this assumes I was provided with good service. I did tip $0.01 one time for rotten service. After delivering the food to the table the waitress stood at the other side of the restaurant chatting with the other waiters and didn’t come near my table again until she brought the bill.
I wonder if this is a personal thing, but I don't really like for the waitstaff to come to the table for no reason. If the drinks are not empty and we're still eating , no need to come by.
How do they know the drinks aren't empty unless they occasionally come by the table? Also, if I want them for something else I might be willing to wait a little while for them to come by, but I don't want to have to leave my table to track them down.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

atwood
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Re: Do you tip on the tax? [Restaurants]

Post by atwood » Sat Aug 23, 2014 8:16 am

I tip pre-tax, usually, at least on this trip to the U.S., close to 20% because I feel I've gotten good service at all the restaurants I've eaten in. But I live in South Korea, where there is generally no tipping and the service is normally nonexistent, so I'm probably not that good a judge of good service. Unless eating at a very expensive hotel restaurant in SK, you have to yell at a waiter even just to order.

I do not tip when I pick up take-out or at self-service style restaurants. I do appreciate that a couple of the breakfast places I ate at, although relatively expensive, were self-service and so I didn't have to tip, making the meal price more reasonable.

Another observation about service in the U.S., maybe I've just lived overseas too long, but employees overall just seem darned pleased that I'm even in the store. Being greeted in a polite and friendly manner by a part-time grocery employee stocking shelves as I pass by with my cart makes shopping for groceries fairly delightful.

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Rob5TCP
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Re: Do you tip on the tax? [Restaurants]

Post by Rob5TCP » Sat Aug 23, 2014 8:46 am

I handle the payroll software for a few restaurants in NY; our law is tips plus the state minimum wage must equal the federal minimum wage. The disparity in wages between the "low
end" restaurant and a high end steak house is enormous. Both more than meet the minimum wage requirement. The lower end one, the key waiters/waitress staff probably average $15-$20+ per hour (depending on how fast, how lucky, etc). For the steak house it's more than double that.

That is one reason, I tip highly (percentage wise at a cheaper establishment 25+ all the way up to 50% at a cheap bagel place I frequent). The high end restaurants I will give 18% tops. Since I can not tell the difference, I will never order a $100+ bottle of wine, the $30 bottle does just fine.

Yes, you get more service at the high end restaurant. But (s)he is not doing 5 or 10 times the work (but the meals can be 5 or 10 times as expensive).

With regard to the first questions - I do not tip on the tax (on high end restaurants at least).

mptness
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Re: Do you tip on the tax? [Restaurants]

Post by mptness » Sat Aug 23, 2014 11:34 am

I figure out my tip based on the total bill. In my state that results in a tip that is about 1% higher than if I used the pretax total. Simply rounding off to the nearest dollar could change my tip by that much in some cases, so no big deal IMO how I do the math. What is important to me is that I leave the appropriate amount for the service I received.

As others have mentioned, like it or not, tipping is part of the way your servers earn their living. I think I am a good tipper (around 20%). Are you a good tipper or a bad tipper? Which would you rather be? I guess that would be a different poll.

placeholder
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Re: Do you tip on the tax?

Post by placeholder » Sat Aug 23, 2014 1:11 pm

Mike Scott wrote:Social conformity rides again!
Do you guys understand the concept of freedom of choice and thought or is this just internet indignation and posturing?
And it's our choice to call you a scammer.

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Re: Do you tip on the tax?

Post by KyleAAA » Sat Aug 23, 2014 2:51 pm

Mike Scott wrote:Social conformity rides again!
Do you guys understand the concept of freedom of choice and thought or is this just internet indignation and posturing?
In my view, you are engaged in a scam. The server has a reasonable expectation that you will tip. The server's livelihood depends on you tipping. You KNOW the server has a reasonable expectation that you will tip and you KNOW their livelihood depends on it. Not disclosing that you don't tip in advance is inarguably a scam. Has nothing to do with freedom of thought, choice, or anything else. Freedom of thought means you are free to disagree with tipping. Freedom of choice means you are free not to tip PROVIDED you inform the server in advance. By not informing them in advance, you are intentionally and knowingly misleading somebody into providing a service to you that you have no intention of paying for. Not cool.

And no, tipping is certainly not optional. The fact that you won't get thrown in jail for not tipping doesn't make it optional. It's mandatory.

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Re: Do you tip on the tax? [Restaurants]

Post by linenfort » Sat Aug 23, 2014 3:22 pm

Very interesting buffet of replies here. I think about tipping a lot but more about whether to tip at places like deli counters with a prominent tip jar.

At restaurants that take credit cards, I have been known to calculate exactly 20% with an ipod or calculator. I have just learned that I've been engaging in churlish behavior, but the reasoning behind it is that I don't want to undertip and I am not good at calculating quickly without a machine. (Luckily, you don't have to be quick with math to be a good boglehead). That's 20% on the total bill, food + drinks + tax + liquor tax.

At cash only places I round up a bit.

There are all kinds of rationalizations to not tip or to tip less, but I always think about that conversation featured in Reservoir Dogs, pointing out that these waitresses are trying to make it to college. The numbers may be absurd, but I feel even better about tipping generously than I do about giving to charity.

If the service is bad I go down to 18% or 15%. It's got to be abysmal for me to go lower.

If I know the waitstaff well, I tend to give a little exra.
bogleheads, don't knock state lotteries. They helped defund the mafia.

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HomerJ
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Re: Do you tip on the tax? [Restaurants]

Post by HomerJ » Sun Aug 24, 2014 12:34 am

Trader Joe wrote:Absolutely not. We do not tip at all. Under any circumstances.

Tip = $0.00
Ever watched the tipping scene in Reservoir Dogs?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4sbYy0WdGQ

Excellent scene watching a bunch of contract killers argue about the morality of not tipping... :)

Full of strong rated R language, so if that offends anyone don't watch.

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Re: Do you tip on the tax? [Restaurants]

Post by Alex Frakt » Sun Aug 24, 2014 12:53 am

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