tipsy once again

Coming to you today from the Lehigh Valley International airport.

In all the hubbub over the last couple of weeks, I'd forgotten about my post on tipping, in which I asked...

what is your standard tipping practice when you dine out? I want the whole deal. If you tip at all, whether or not you give a percent of the bill and what percentage scheme you use. Do you do the old school "tax times two" method? Inquiring minds want to know.
Some comments, if you really want to know who wrote these you can go to the original post, I'm not giving names here.
I am a tax times two-er.I often go as high as 20% if the server goes out of the way to help and be pleasant. Our server wages here in OK are still typically around $3 an hour with the expectation of tips. It's insane.
I usually tip 15%-20% depending on the service. Sometimes I'll stoop down to 10% if the service was crappy.
I usually tip 15%, 20% if the service and the attitude is good. I don't, however, base it on the food quality. Quite unfair.
I've gotten more generous with my tips as I've gotten older, and especially after I became a freelancer myself. First, I leave a minimum of $3, regardless of the size of the check (assuming we eat a meal, of course). I figure that even if my wife and I split an entreƩ, the waiter still has to go to the same amount of trouble to serve us. So, that $3 may be 30-40% of the check, depending on where we eat. If the $3 minimum doesn't apply, I leave about 18-20%. Poor service still gets 15%; everybody can have a bad day.
We generally tip 20% unless the service is poor. Even if it's acceptable, we tip 20. You never know what the circumstances are that service was less than stellar: server too busy, oversat his section, slow kitchen, boyfriend dumped her, girlfriend slept with his brother, church sucks...never know.
20%. It's easier to figure out than 15%.

Now, the most interesting thing about each of those comments may be the way they reflect the (blogging) personality of the commentator, but that's another post.

The reason I asked about tips is, a while back there was a little blip in the popular culture (I was going to provide a link to the NYTimes aritcle that caused the ruckus, but they want $3.95 for it. Idiots.) about why tipping should go bye-bye. The waiter ranted about it. So I asked a couple of waiters (and a waitress) what they thought about a standard wage and no tips. I also asked for comments here on tipping practice.

The conclusions I draw from the response from servers (unanimously, vitriolically opposed to taking away the practice of tipping) and those who commented here are as follows:

1. Getting rid of tipping as a standard would create the perception that servers are netting less than with tips, at least in the places I tend to frequent, which are not usually high end places.

2. People who read this blog are decent tippers.

3. I need to rethink the way I tip, which if you recall, was to default to 20%. I still do that, but if I have coffee only, I notice that the server does a ton of work back and forth back and forth with that stupid coffee pot. They work almost as hard then as they do if I order a meal. So, say coffee is $1. What? Do I leave 20 cents? Well, that's what I did until I read your comments. Now I leave $1. It's worth it.

A question raised in my mind based on the comments: Some mentioned "bad" or "good" service, or mentioned "attitude" of the server. I wonder, what constitutes bad service? What's good service?

My conclusion: Wait staff in high end restaurants might do okay with a standard wage and no tips. Indeed, some of the tonier places on the east and west coasts have already moved to such a system. I don't think the rest of us patronize places that would benefit from getting rid of tips, however. I'm with the waiter at Waiter Rant.

Tipping is valuable practice, probably more valuable in relational than monetary terms. I'll explain why later, but if you want to comment on the nature of good or bad service in the meantime, feel free.

I have to run now to meet my arriving party...

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