Yo, Dude: Where’s the Tip?

Call me naive. Call me optimistic. Call me dumb. But a couple of weeks ago, I would have thought that every adult in the country knew that waitstaff need to be tipped. Ah, live and learn.

There’s a gaggle of people from the building who meet for a local restaurant’s weekly special. Sometimes a friend of one of the ‘regulars’ tags along.

With a drink or a side, the special is a $6.50 tab per person. So one week, one of the ‘guests’ said ‘Here’s my six dollars: does that cover it?’

Now, I’m happy to throw in a few bucks to cover someone else when they don’t have the cash — but I’d already been told that this particular ‘guest’ is a professional [editors note: we’ll use the word ‘professional’ rather than the more precise position name in order to keep you guessing about this guest’s identity] who could easily make 10x my yearly salary.

So I blurted out ‘But what about the tip?’

Now I can hardly believe that any of my readers do not tip. Or do not know that the waitstaff minimum wage in New York is $4.65 an hour. Of course, it is true that if a tipped employee has a slow day and their hourly wage is less than the federal minimum wage of $7.25, the employer must make up the difference.

But do we really want those who serve us to hustle their butts off for us only to make minimum wage? Not I, and I don’t want to be associated with a table of eaters that does. Gladly I report that my tablemates felt the same way and ponied up enough to leave at least a  20% tip. For crying out loud, you get the point: this lady makes $4.65 an hour!

C’mon, folks. Educate your friends and family: tip your wait person! This is 2010.


One more thing: a trusty reader sent the following link from the New York Times: Finding Profits From Investing in Workers. From what I’ve observed here at the Worker’s Center, many disputes and misunderstandings between employer and employee could have been avoided by respect and communication. I’ll tell employers that, too, if they ever ask…

Anyway, back to the article. It describes a six year, international study that discovered companies benefit from respect and communication. Here’s the first paragraph: Giving pay incentives to low-level workers and investing in their health and well-being can increase companies’ productivity and profits. Moreover, listening to the suggestions of low-level workers can go far to save companies money.

Read the article: there are some very compelling examples of real-life companies who have flourished by nurturing all its workers.