Friday, November 03, 2006

Sci-Fi Tipping

I read a book one time that illustrated just how complex the math gets when figuring out a split dinner bill. In this book, calculating each person’s portions of a dinner bill was used as the drive for an interstellar space craft. Apparently, the math is so complicated that simply trying to figure it out is all it takes to move a ship thru space at ludicrous speeds. I forget which book exactly, but it is one of them in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series.

I’m going into this because I got an email originally written by a former waitress that mentioned how to tip. Of course, being by a former waitress, it was complete nonsense. I replied with more correct rules for tipping. When I proofread my reply, it was so complex that it reminded me of that scene from Hitchhiker book. It goes something like this:

Statement: “4. For the love of GOD, leave a freakin’ decent tip. Look at your bill. The total bill including tax. Move the decimal point one place to the left and double that. There's your tip. Servers work very hard and get paid very little. Plus a lot of the cooler places pool tips which means what you leave goes in a big bucket and is divided between servers, bartenders, bussers, etc. You need to make up for the jerk wad who left $6 on his $50 bill.”

My reply: “Nope. This list must’ve been written by a waiter. Tip varies from place to place. $6 is a lot for a $50 bill in some areas (that’s well over 10%, which is common for many areas). In Silicon Valley, great or impressive service is 20%, and does NOT include the tax portion of the bill. Not-so-good to normal service is 15% of the dinner bill. Bad service is 5 to 10%, depending on just how bad. Service that is extensively rude or outright insulting is 0 to 5%, even if the meal is comp’d by the manager. However, the tip is based on service, not the food itself. Don’t punish the wait staff for the cook’s mistakes. Also, 15% of the wait staff’s tips often go to the bussers and greeters. Some people get lazy and multiply the sales tax by two to make that the tip, and this is fine too, but it depends on the area. The base CA rate is 6%, which means in some areas, doubling the tax is 12%. If the tip rate is 10% in that area, it’s fine, but if it’s 15%, that’s a bogus tip. Additionally, if the meal is comp’d or discounted, you tip based on what the full price would’ve been.”

Just as a side note, here was another person’s response: “Yes I remember working in the business and you get compensated for what you do. If you are stupid/forgetful/drunk (as most of us were in college) you get a crappy tip. Stop complaining and give good service, its your job. Oh yeah and when I was a cook, these bastards [on the wait staff] rarely split a sufficient amount of the tip. I just made the food right? It was they who carried it to a table 15 feet.”


Sufficiently confusing?

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