Thursday, March 19, 2009

Now Tip, Baby Tip.

My dad recently turned me onto the website, to use when Adam and I are booking our New England Brewery Weekend trips. It's a good site to check out hotel reviews before you book in an unfamiliar city and restaurant reviews to get an idea of where you might like to carb up after sampling beer for an hour or two.

Often times when checking out restaurant reviews, the bad ones are usually accompanied by someone stating that the service was SO bad that they could not leave a tip. This is a point of contention among people I know. I think half of the people think that absolutely, a tip is to be earned and shoddy service is to be reflected in withholding the tip. And then the other half just always tip no matter what like it's built into the bill.

I fall into the second category. I have had some bad service in my life, but never SO BAD that I feel like I can't leave a tip. I have found that mentioning during a meal that service is lacking usually gets you a reasonable explanation or maybe a free drink at least so there isn't a need for me to voice my dissatisfaction by holding onto that 15-20%.

But then again some of the horror stories I have read on TripAdvisor have me second guessing. Like the person whose bad experience was capped off when she asked her server if he could recommend the clam chowder and he said "You're a grown up, make your own decision". Jeez luiz!

So what do you think? Have you ever not tipped and if so why.


Melissa said...

I ALWAYS leave a tip, and I tend to go more towards the 20% end. If the service is bad, I will leave a smaller percentage, but I've never left nothing, I'd feel too bad doing that!

Dan said...

If you haven't already I highly recommend purchasing The Good Beer Guide to New England by Andy Crouch. My wife and I have used it to plan delicious beer stops on our to-ing and fro-ing about New England.

When you get up to Burlington I highly recommend the Magic Hat brewery. Two words: unlimited samples.

Sarah said...

Dan that's a fantastic reccomendation! Thanks!!

And for sure: Burlington/Magic Hat is on our list. We're planning a Western MA Brewery trip for later this spring as well.

San said...

I don't think I've ever NOT tipped at all, but I have undertipped a couple of times...

Last time was last weekend in a street café in San Francisco.
We ordered coffee.
We didn't get sugar and cream and wasn't asked if we needed any.

Then we ordered breakfast.
We didn't get ketchup, tabasco and such and weren't asked if we needed any.
I also didn't get the toast that was supposed to come with my omlette.

I had to call for the waiter TWICE to ask for some extra hot milk for my latte! (because it was SUPERSTRONG!)

I finally got up, went inside and complained, but our waiter didn't even apologize when he finally brought the toast and the milk.

We left $2 on the table (for a $30 bill).
Sorry, but that was just lame.

Anonymous said...

I'm a positive reinforcer--I always tip, I just tip bigger if the service is REALLY good. I've never not left a tip, and I have had some pretty rotten restaurant experiences (including the time a few years back that a waiter broke a wine bottle right next to our table and I actually had glass shards on my napkin...which I only discovered after cutting my finger...nice).

Kelsey said...

I've not left a tip one single time. I had to ask 3 times for a diet coke even though the rest of the table had gotten their drinks. Then, when the meals came out, I didn't get food either. When I inquired about it, she told me she didn't know where it was and walked away.

My food came out 25 minutes later after everyone had eaten and I asked to speak to a manager. ...and ran out of drink and never got a refill. When I asked if it could just be boxed, she stormed off and came back and tossed the box at me.

It was at this time that my friend noticed half the paper from a sugar packet mixed in amongst his ice! THEY DIDN'T EVEN WASH THE GLASS FROM THE PREVIOUS USE! She told us it wasn't her problem and didn't bring him another one or get the manager when he asked.

It wasn't even like they were busy, there were only 5 other tables with people the whole time we were there and there were 2 other servers! Despite how awful it was, I actually felt bad not leaving a top but could not justify rewarding her for completely sucking at life. Haha

Anonymous said...

Not a comment on tipping. I work at TripAdvisor (I think we're down the street from where you work). Glad you like us. You can add the Local Picks app to your Facebook and post reviews of your favorite restaurants.

ryssee said...

I think leaving a tiny tip gets the message across better than no tip at all (then they think you're English, LOL)!
It's very rare that it ever happens, but when it does, I'll just leave a few bucks on a big bill.
PS I love TripAdvisor. I use it for advice for every trip I take.

lisagh said...

I could never not leave a tip. Oftentimes it's not the server's fault that things aren't going well.

eileen said...

I have never not tipped. I did my time as a server back during the college days and tend to be a generous tipper. The last time I got lousy service (the waitress was openly rude, complete with eyerolling, telling us "i'm really busy so you need to tell me what you want right now", etc.), I left exactly 15% and a note to say that sorry that she was having a bad day but she was serving a table of six former servers and would have gotten a big fat tip from us if she had at least pretended to be somewhat polite. So, a tip, plus a bitchy note. Yay me.

kat said...

I don't think I've ever not left a tip. but I have left a very small tip before. Then again, I've also received some small tips when I was a waitress back in GA.

NJDecorator said...

I always tip and if my tip is smaller than usual the server will know why.

Mandy said...

Y'all are a lot nicer than I am. I don't remember ever not leaving a tip, but if I had experienced some of these horror stories there's no way I would have left a dime.

Jenn said...

I have only not left a tip once and it was after experiencing the glorious service at the 99 in Charlestown.

First and foremost after delivering our food our server LITERALLY never came back. No drink refills, no checking on how the food was, nothing. She was still there because I saw her at other tables. WTF? We were not rude or anything that would have scared her off. (BTW if we were, still no excuse for not doing your job.)

We had to ask some other random server for our check which we eventually got STILL NOT FROM OUR WAITRESS but from someone else. Yeah, we were actually considering just dining and dashing paying nothing at all, but were a little afraid since we lived in Charlestown at the time and feared townie retribution of some kind.

We left exact change for the meal only and hightailed it out of there.

Jewels said...

I used to work in the service industry, therefore you would think I'd be an avid tipper. But I'm not. If the service is lacking I'm not bold enough to say anything during the evening, however, I'm bold enough not to tip. Usually the situation that requires me not to tip is when the server is snarky OR they are all standing around chatting to each other and can't even see the fact that you want their service.

I can't wait to read the adventures of wine and beer from your neck of the woods and travels. I do intend to visit the East Coast one of these days.

TheatreChick73 said...

A group of my friends were out to dinner and the male server was not too happy to be "stuck" with our table. But when the hostess sat a table of young co-eds behind us, his mood improved. For that table. He subsequently forgot our table even existed. We practically had to trip him to ask where our food was. He actually had the audacity to SIT with the coeds behind us. Ahem, aren't you working?

We complained to the hostess, who nodded and said she felt our pain. When we got our check we debated for quite some time on how best to get our message across. We left a penny tip. It hurt us to do it but we knew he would know why.

And boy did he! He chased us out of the restaurant and called us bitches in the parking lot. Screamed at us that he worked really hard and there was no reason to do that. Well, we went back in, asked for the manager and explained the situation. Apparently he was the problem child of the staff. He was fired a few days later.

Donna said...

In a restaurant that has waitstaff but when you are only ging there to get a take out order, do you tip the person who helps you?

Sarah said...

No I usually don't. If I go to like a sub shop or something I will put a $1 in the tip jar but when I'm just running in and out having called ahead I don't. I think having to watch someone actually make my meal guilts me into tipping.