Money-Saving Ideas That Are, Um, Not Very Good

Blueprint for Financial Prosperity has listed a few of the dumbest “frugal” tips around. We liked (disliked?) these:

  • Buying two-ply toilet paper and pulling the sheets apart – Ignoring the fact that you can just buy single-ply toilet paper, the time it takes and the “risk” involved in using single ply is too high to make this really worth it… right?
  • Tip less than the customary 15% – If you get good service, why punish the server by saving a few dollars and short changing them on their duly earned money? If you want to save this money, don’t go out to eat!

And have to add:

Reusing Tea Bags – It’s a much better (tasting) idea to use a bigger mug than try to re-use a tea bag. Try it.

What are the dumbest money-saving ideas you’ve heard?

Ridiculous Money Saving Ideas [Blueprint for Financial Prosperity]

Comments

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  1. RandomHookup says:

    Reuse condoms. Those things are way overpriced.

  2. aro says:

    tip less than 15%?? as a former server, this really bothers me…I perfer this tip from msn, who argue that 20% is the new 15%

    [articles.moneycentral.msn.com]

  3. Pelagius says:

    Northwest’s “dumpster diving tips” to fired employees.

  4. protest says:

    some people may hate me for this one, but the whole save money by running your washing machine with cold water thing just disgusts me. there are some things that only come completely out in hot water. it’s just not worth saving the $2 per month on my electric bill.

  5. distractbill says:

    Actually, reusing teabags is useless if you drink tea for the caffeine. Studies have shown that nearly all of the caffeine is released from the teabag in the first 15-30 seconds of steeping.

  6. Dr.Ph0bius says:

    @protest:

    I HATE YOU, YOU HOT WATER WASTER!!!

    lol, no… actually, I have to agree. Certain laundry loads merit hot water. To be blunt, sweaty (etc) underclothes need a hot washing. If others want to wash them in cold, thats all well and fine, but I dont get to the laundry often enough, so they may have sat dirty in the bin for a week, and I dont feel right about cold water and soap washing the filth and bacteria away. (yuck)

  7. boandmichele says:

    @protest: we wash some things in just cold water, like lightly worn clothes. its easier on them. but towels and such are washed in hot water.

    um…what are you getting on your clothes that require the use of hot water??? :)

  8. missdona says:

    @protest:

    I do sheets, towels and undergarments in Hot, and everything else in cold.

    The thought of washing those in cold is gross to me.

  9. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Issue top evecutives $100 million in bonuses as the company collapses. Have company leaders cash in $1 billion in stock sales. Despite the company’s weakening financial condition, issue optimistic reports about its future.

    Oh, wait, you mean personal finance, not corporate finance, right?

  10. acambras says:

    @protest:

    Also interesting to note that coin-operated washing machines (laundromats, apt. complexes, etc.) charge the same for a cold-water load as they do for a hot-water load.

  11. Toof_75_75 says:

    @protest:

    I wash cold water only every load purely out of habit and have never had problems…If I save money in the process…awesome!

  12. MameDennis says:

    When I lived in the boonies, I knew a lady who was always very proud of herself for her frugal grocery shopping… she’d brag up a storm about saving 20 cents on butter, but she’d fail realize that driving 30 miles out of her way had cost her far more in gas costs.

  13. The Bigger Unit says:

    Don’t bother with cable TV.

  14. G-Dog says:

    I had an aunt that would fill up her car when she was down by a quarter of a tank. She claimed it saved her money because she spent less per visit. Explaining the flaws in this logic was futile.

    And no, I’m not making this up.

  15. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    My family is the WORST at saving money. It seems like almost everything you shouldn’t do, they do. It drives me nuts as I’m financially tied to them at the moment. I contribute almost all my money to the household, then it is missmanaged, yet my protests to the way things are managed are not acknowledged as I’m the youngest. *sigh*

    Anyway, that is enough of my rant.

    I’d say the advice of my grandfather has saved me lots of money, when I’d see things on sale that I didn’t quite need. “You don’t save money by spending money.”

  16. superlayne says:

    “Buy your video games used.”

    Worst advice ever. Most stores that sell used video games take off 5 dollars and the game disks are shot to hell.

  17. G-Dog says:

    @The Bigger Unit:
    Actually, with Netflix/Blockbuster and the Intertubes, I know married couples that no long have cable. Everything they want is on DVD on a season by season basis. They don’t watch news or talk shows, so there was no reason to keep Comcast Digi.

  18. jamesdenver says:

    @MameDennis:

    On that note driving all over town to track down gas that’s 3 cents cheaper. Hell or even getting gas on the left side of the street (thus necessitating two left hand turns) versus just paying a few cents more to get in and get out quickly.

  19. bohemian says:

    The stupidest one (not on the list) is saving bar soap slivers and putting them all in the mesh bag you get onions in. I get a big pack of bars of soap for $5, the effort plus the gross factor just does not merit the payoff of maybe saving a bar of soap worth for every 20 you use.

    There are bigger money wasters to tackle.

    I want to know what Protest is doing to his clothes too. Cold water for everything except whites, towels and really filthy stuff.

  20. G-Dog says:

    @superlayne:
    I don’t like Gamestop, but they do have a 90 day return policy. I skipped the whole Xbox generation, and now I can get a system and 7-10 games for less than a Wii.

  21. jamesdenver says:

    @G-Dog:

    I’m getting to that point. Every good show is on Netflix a season later. I’ve watched Lost, CSI, the Prisoner, all on DVD from Netflix.

    And when I watch TV I’m annoyed as hell by the IN show advertising (sweepers and promos at the bottom of the screen).

    If you’re not into live sports and can consume your news via internet it’s a perfect reason to ditch vable and just get consume your entertainment via netflix.

  22. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    BTW, I use hot water for everything too. I also wash 99% of my clothes after I wear them once, no matter how long I wore them. Yet at the same time, I always use just slightly less than the bottom line on detergent caps, as I feel that using the reccomended ammount is often too much soap. Plus I use scent free detergent, and scent free fabric softener. I don’t want ANYTHING on my clothes! My girlfriend things I have OCD.
    :-P

  23. The Bigger Unit says:

    @G-Dog: Oh, I was being serious. I do the same thing. I ditched cable over a year ago, and aside from missing the Discovery channel, I couldn’t give a damn. I do have internet, which, thanks to Joost and whatever else substitutes fine.

  24. Black Bellamy says:

    Steal everything.

  25. B says:

    For those of you who wash everything in hot water, how do you keep colors from running?

  26. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Wow. That article lives up to its title. All bad ideas, indeed. As an alternative to dumpster diving, you can always check Craigslist for people giving away old furniture and appliances.


    Another bad money saving idea is “hypermiling”. Hypermilers are people that try to get the best fuel economy from a regular car. Often times, hypermiling involves driving techniques that are dangerous and/or just plain idiotic. Not exactly worth endangering other drivers on the road to save a couple bucks on gas. You can read about it here.

  27. The Bigger Unit says:

    @Black Bellamy: ‘Cause everything’s free in prison?

  28. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    @B: If all your blacks are slightly faded, they will all match, and nobody will be able to tell. >_>

  29. gibsonic says:

    @AlteredBeast:

    your girlfriend is probably right.

    whatever happened to the sniff and search method of clothes evaluation?

    If it looks dirty or smells dirty, it gets washed. if it looks clean (no spots, not dingy, etc.) or smells clean (or at least doesn’t smell dirty) then it gets put back in the drawer or hung up.

    The always-exceptions to this rule are underwear, socks and undershirts.

    I wash via the tags as close as possible. Warm for most everything. cold for delicates or fadables, and hot for sheets, towels, whites, etc.

  30. gibsonic says:

    @B: break their legs.

  31. How about a post on the best way to get fat or ingest mercury?

    Why is this a post…?

  32. no.no.notorious says:

    @AlteredBeast: my grandpa always said “if you’re spending over a buck 98 you’re gettin’ jipped!”

  33. xskeptictankx says:

    @bohemian: Slivers of soap can be tossed in the wash with your linens – some people say that the sensitive formula bar soap is easier on the skin than laundry detergent. BUT the idea of saving up a bunch of scummy old things until you have enough to wash with sounds like bacteria-ville. I’d do the soap in the laundry thing, but only if it were straight out of the shower… not weeks later!

  34. Dacker says:

    I knew a guy who would bring an EMPTY thermos to work. At the end of the day, he’d dump whatever coffee was left in the office pot into the thermos and bring it home to have with breakfast.

    I used to travel a lot for work. I have not bought a bar of soap or bottle of shampoo in over five years, thanks to the hotels!

    I get my floss free from my dentist or from a basket at my kid’s orthodontists office. They are free sample from the manufacturer anyway….

    Use it up,
    Wear it out,
    Make do,
    Or do without!
    (Old WWII saying)

  35. Taking flowers from funeral homes to give to your wife. That guy that did the talk show circuit awhile back to talk about how he survives without a job does this.

  36. xskeptictankx says:

    @B: Toss a handfull of salt in the wash when you get a new pair of jeans or other dye-heavy clothing. It’s supposed to reduce bleeding for whatever reason. I would still expect some bleeding in the first 10 washes or so.

  37. @AngrySicilian: Because it’s FUNNY!

  38. Chicago7 says:

    @protest:

    If you have proper hygiene techniques, those skidmarks don’t happen!!!

    Save on toilet paper – use your hand!

    Hahahahahaha!

  39. Dibbler says:

    I was told by the washing machine salesman and it’s also listed in the manual that hot water isn’t needed anymore. Laundry detergents are advanced enough that they don’t require hot water. All the hot water did was expand the molecules in the water allowing the detergent to dissolve better and therefore work better and detergents are designed to dissolve into the water easier now. The hot water does not get hot enough to kill germs if that’s what you’re thinking since the water only gets to around 110 degrees max. and you’d need it to get to 160 degrees to kill anything.

  40. jrdnjstn78 says:

    I wash everything, except the kids undies, in cold water. I haven’t had any problems with colors bleeding or anything else. Seems like when you put the clothes in the dryer though that they are shrinking, anyone else get that?

    I have a few friends say they fill their gas tanks up when it hits 1/4 tank full and they think they are saving money. I don’t understand how because that means they would have to put gas in their tanks more frequently.

  41. homerjay says:

    “Discarded pizza boxes are an excellent source of cheese”

  42. protest says:

    @bohemian:

    i find it hilarious that people on the internet always seem to assume they are speaking/typing to a man unless the moniker is sexy-gal69 or something. for the record ‘protest’ is a girl, and i guess i should have been more clear: yes i was referring to towels, gardening clothes, workout clothes, basically stuff that gets gross, i wash the delicate stuff in cold.

    an example: i was at a party where they were grilling steak and onions over an indoor grill thingy, and my shirt smelled awful when i got home. i washed it in cold (landlord had disconnected the hot water line) and it still stank, even with good detergent. so i took it to my friends house and washed it in hot, came out smelling clean. i would relate this story to any salesman trying to tell me that hot water doesn’t make a difference.

  43. killavanilla says:

    Who has the time to peel apart 2 play toilet paper!!!!?????!!!??!?!?!??
    And not tipping 15%?
    Try saving money an easier way and just stay home and cook your own food…..
    Ugh – reusing tea bags? Seriously? Box o tea – $2 for 20 tea bags – How much money can you really save on this one?
    Let’s do some math here:
    I’ll even spot the Tea bags at $4 each.
    Cost per bag? 50 cents.
    Meaning that the best you can do here is save $4. And drink crap tea that tastes bland and flavorless. And as others have pointed out, most of the caffeine in Tea is in the cup within a few seconds of brewing.
    Why not just reuse old coffee grounds (yuck)….
    Seriously.
    These are excellent examples of stupidity in motion.
    Here’s a great way to save money – stop eating out if money is tight. You can stretch your dollar by cooking at home.
    Brew your own coffee at home and bring it to work.
    I have a coworker who gets two large coffees from *$’s every day. $2+ each, five days a week.
    Right there, I saved you $20 a week, which incidentally is enough to buy two ply toilet paper, tea, and leaves you some cash left over for a nice tip when you do go out.
    Sheesh….

  44. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Seems like when you put the clothes in the dryer though that they are shrinking, anyone else get that?

    That always happens. A fabric that shrinks will shrink most of the way the first time you wash and dry it in the clothes dryer with heat. The next time you wash and dry it that way, it will shrink some more. The percent shrinkage that you expect from the fabric (4 percent for denim, for example) is just an expected shrinkage the first time you wash it.

  45. SaraAB87 says:

    If you aren’t going to tip, don’t eat out, simple as that. In today’s society with waiters and waitresses being paid so little it is customary to tip, don’t like it, then don’t eat out.

    Splitting the meal is common in restaurants especially ones that serve huge portions, there is an Italian restaurant here that serves mega-huge portions, I mean seriously I do not think the average American could even eat that much in one sitting. Not surprising to me was that most of their clientele could barely fit into the booths and chairs in the restaurant.

    I like the people who drive an extra 30 min to save 10 cents on a pound of butter or 20 cents on another item as was mentioned above. Oh a 10 cent savings… BUT ITS ON SALE… ok so that warrants a 30 min out of the way trip to a grocery store for the 10 cent sale….

    Dumpster diving is just not cool, the warning signs are there for a reason, I can understand picking up something that is on the side of the road, nothing wrong with that.

    Being frugal is good, being just plain CHEAP is not.

  46. rodeobob says:

    Well, the obvious “bad money-saver” goes to the infamous “Entertainment coupon” books produced annually and sold door-to-door. I’ve seen variations on this theme with “coupon packages” at pizzarias and other similar approaches. Here’s a tip: if you have to pay for a coupon, it’s not worth it. The same goes for any kind of “loyalty” program (punch cards, frequent user clubs, etc.)

    Buying in bulk can be a hit-or-miss for money savings, but it’s usually a miss. Buying in bulk requires you to have adequate storage space, and predictable consumption patterns. Plus, not all bulk prices are savings. The per-can price of cat food at Costco is the same as the per-can price at my local grocery store; the only difference is Costco only sells 24-can packages. There are a handful of nonperishables that you can have a 2-year supply on-hand without problems (paper products, mostly) but mostly its a bad choice. Sure, the taragon/cinnamon/sage in the bulk foods is a lot cheaper than the stuff in the bottles, but it’s also exposed to air and is usually very stale. Yes, the 16 oz. bottle of cayane pepper is a better price per ounce than the 4 oz. bottle, but again, it’s a spice that will go stale, so how fast will you use it?

    One terrible tip I heard was that each day, you should empty your pocket change into a “change jar”, and not dip into the jar for a full month, then cash it in at the end of the month. This was supposed to be an example of “good monetary habits”. It’s not; you’re just spending more bills to have more chance at the end of the month. It has zero net effect on your money spending.

    The “unplug your appliances” tip is another dud. Your VCR/DVD/computer/microwave all draw a tiny amount of current even when they’re off, in order to power the internal clock and other minor features. The net savings annually are a few pennies, but the hastle of unplugging, re-plugging, and resetting the clock every time you use an appliance is not worth it.

  47. LibidinousSlut says:

    Cold water wash is better for the environment than a hot water wash.

    And current standards of cleanliness are insane. You should be more concerned about the toxins you’re poisoning your body with when you use standard laundry detergent, then a handful of benign germs you’re leaving behind when you cold water wash.

    A save money and enviro tip: use arm and hammer baking soda (unscented) and vinegar in lieu of fabric softener. All fabric softener is, is a violent acid whose scent is masked by the smell of even more toxic “perfumes”.

    And no, you’re wash won’t smell like vinegar.

  48. balthisar says:

    @Dibbler: It uses the hot water from your hot water tank, which can be considerably hotter than 110 degrees. That’s like a lukewarm shower!

    You bring up a good point, though — it seems like everyone else only recognizes hot and cold. There be a warm setting there, too.

  49. oneswellfoop says:

    The very idea that someone thinks that it is OK to tip less than a “customary” 15% in order to save money angers the living hell out of me. Could you pay your rent and living expenses if you worked what is probably a relatively low income job already, and your company, in the interests of saving money, decided to knock a bit off of your “customary” salary? The article is correct that you shouldn’t go out to eat if you want to save money, but if you do go out, you should go ahead and figure in a 20% tip as part of your cost. That’s right, 20%. In the 90′s 15% was ok, but the new standard is 20%, more if the service is exceptional. There are a lot of people out there working their butts off, and trying to put themselves through college, while making sure that diners and eaters alike(there is a huge difference) enjoy their experience at a particular restaurant. You would be astounded(or maybe not if you’re one of the cheap ones)at the number of people that feel that it’s ok to shaft the server that just gave you a passable or wonderful dining experience in order to save a couple of bucks for themselves. I cannot begin to describe the horrors that should be visited upon the insensitive and ignorant people that feel that this is acceptable behavior.

  50. loreshdw says:

    Ugh. Nasty stinky clothes need hot water every time. Anyone with allergies should use hot water:
    [www.webmd.com]

    Killing Allergens in the Laundry

    In the study, presented at the American Thoracic Society’s 103rd International Conference in San Francisco, researchers compared the effectiveness of washing cotton sheets with regular laundry detergent at various temperatures in removing dust mites, dog dander, and pollen allergens.

    The results showed that washing laundry at hotter temperatures was significantly more effective than warm water at killing dust mites as well as other allergens. For example:

    * Washing laundry in warm, 86- to 104-degree Fahrenheit water killed only about 6% of dust mites.
    * Hot water washing (at 140 degrees Fahrenheit) killed 100% of dust mites.
    * Washing in hot water also removed nearly 90% of dog dander compared with about 60% removed in warm water washing.
    * Hot water washing removed nearly 97% of pollen in the laundry compared with 69% at 86 degrees Fahrenheit and 95% at 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

  51. Alvis says:

    I’m with forgetting with the “standard” 15%. Every time my server comes to my table, to take my order, refill my drink, or carry over my plates (even though that’s more and more a different person from the kitchen staff) I round up the time spent on serving me, and add two minutes to a running total in my head.

    When it’s time to tip, I divide mimimum wage by the number of minutes spent on my party. Simple, and fair to the server.

  52. kimsama says:

    @B:

    For those of you who wash everything in hot water, how do you keep colors from running?

    I just wear clothes sewn from American flags.

  53. welsey says:

    I always use cold water in my laundry so that I can wash all of my clothes together, rather than having to separate out colors. Definitely saves money at the laundromat! Of course it’s really best for your clothes to separate them out and wash at the correct temperature, but using two or three washing machines when I could fit it all into one is just not justifiable when you’re paying for the machines.

    Although reading this I’m wondering if I’m not just gross. I don’t use hot water in any circumstances, unless it’s only whites and I’ve double checked it’s not going to fuck anything up. This doesn’t happen often.

  54. jamesdenver says:

    I agree. 20% is minimum for me. Also remember some of the cheapest meals are the most labor intenstive. During a $3.99 breakfast special you’ll need your service a lot more for coffee and water refills, plus whatever jams or butter you can’t live without.

    I’d go so far as to leave $10 even for a $6 dollar breakfast, which is what 40%? But compared an $18 prime rib or steak and veggies and a couple beers with your meal a cheapo meal is a LOT more work.

  55. markwm says:

    I tip 15% for average service, 20% for exceptional, and sometimes more if the service is just superb. I also, horror of horrors, leave no tip if the service is abysmal. I will not tip below 15%, because, well if they didn’t earn that much of a tip, then they didn’t earn anything. As far as “20 being the new 15″, as the linked article mentioned, it has more to do with people being too lazy to do simple math in their head. I am not changing my tipping habits because of someone else’s laziness. As far as 15% being ok in the ’90′s but not today, meal prices have gone up since the ’90′s, so that 15% today is not the same on a meal as it was then, so 15% is still acceptable, as far as I’m concerned.

  56. killavanilla says:

    @Fatdogsmells:
    wacko alert!
    Yeah, stinky hippie. I’m talkin’ to you!
    Current standards of clean are unrealistic?
    And I’m sure you don’t smell like vinegar. To yourself. But every non-hippie who like clean clothes probably stays far, far away from you.
    Crazy person says what?
    Exactly.
    I’ll keep buying Tide and enjoying the nice, clean smell that comes with regular showers (with soap and shampoo) and clean, clean clothes.
    And I don’t have to wear Patchouli oil to make myself smell good, so I win.
    Blech….

  57. welsey says:

    I usually try to tip around 20%. Whenever I go out to eat though it’s usually with friends and the tip ends up being kind of a mess of whatever change everyone has on them. I don’t think we’ve ever really ripped someone off but I don’t know if the calculations are always completely there… I wouldn’t try to save money by skipping out on tip though, that’s not really fair. It’s something you should take into account when going out to eat!

    Also, I think it works in your benefit to tip delivery drivers well, they seem to remember and you end up getting your next order from there faster.

  58. killavanilla says:

    @Alvis:
    Actually, it is complicated and unfair to your server.
    You don’t give them any credit for doing all the stuff you just don’t see or know about – and there is plenty. If all you think a waiter does is tableside, you are simply ill-informed.
    Here’s an idea – go try being a waiter. It’ll change your view and your life.
    I worked in the industry for 10 years and did every job right up to GM. I never tip less than 15% unless the server is rude or I get treated poorly.
    Good service gets 20%, great service more. Normal, run of the mill service gets 15%.
    But once I go to a place more than a few times, I get awesome service. Waiters remember great tippers. As do bartenders.

  59. allthatsevil says:

    I use Charmin toilet paper, and actually prefer the 1-ply, mainly because it lasts longer. Plus, the 2-ply has a tendancy to crumble when it gets damp. Also, most people don’t realize, if you were to peel apart the 2-ply, what you’re left with would be thinner than the 1-ply anyway. You’d probably end up using twice as much, and thus, defeat the purpose.

  60. Cowboys_fan says:

    Avoid deodarant, shampoo, visine, and chapstick like those hippies. It forces your body to become addicted. Grow dreads, then wash with water. Go get groceries from 3 different stores. It only takes an extra 2 hrs plus gas to save $15. Buy an overpriced electric car, it will save you in gas in the long run.
    @oneswellfoop: %20 is the new standard according to whom, stupid people who can’t multiply?

  61. Alvis says:

    @KILLAVANILLA

    ORLY? Like what? The server brings me things, and takes my order. I can keep track of those pretty easily enough. What are these other secret duties that are being performed away from my table that I should be tipping on?

    And let’s be fair, unless you have a party of half a dozen or more who keep changing their orders, you’d be hard-pressed to get more than a solid half-an-hour of service out of the waitstaff. Yet I see so many people tipping $10 or more for a simple dinner. It’s nothing but waste.

  62. chrispiss says:

    Call comcast/verizon/whoever and tell them you are switching to the other guy because it’s cheaper, they’ll lower your rate.

  63. HungryGrrl says:

    Even at the laundrymat, I rarely do a ‘hot’ wash. (I think the last one I did was to try to revive a dingy canvas tote bag… the last one before that was to kill flea eggs in household linen after we got a new kitten). I grew up in a ‘cold water only’ household (my parents are the cleanest people you’ll ever meet- but they don’t like a big utility bill) and don’t see anything wrong with sheets or clothes washed in ‘warm.’ To make sure my clothes get clean, I simply DON’T OVERLOAD THE WASHER so I knew everything will get fully saturated and well rinsed.

    Washing underwear in hot water is also non-thrifty because it wears out the elastic sooner. My bras go in the ‘warm’ load (with my sheets and towels and light colored cotton things) in a lingerie bag, and then they get air dried. I can get 3 years out of a good quality (like Victoria’s Secret) bra this way. Hot water also fades colors and blacks much faster than cold.

    I guess I might be lucky to not have dust mites or allergies or fleas (anymore), so I can choose to extend the lifespan of my clothing and linens rather than ruin them with hot water.

  64. rodeobob says:

    @Alvis: “What are these other secret duties that are being performed away from my table that I should be tipping on?”

    Well, for a start there’s the condition of the table when you get there. Condiments stocked, silverware ready, that sort of thing.

    There’s also the apparently mystical process by which the waitress knows to bring you a full glass of tea/soda/water when yours is empty. Tell me, do you just count the time she spends at the table? Or does your timer start from when she notices a near-empty glass, asks if you want a refill, goes and gets it, then comes back and drops it off? Do you count the time it takes to get the plates from the kitchen and bring them to you, or do you only start counting from when you can see them coming? (Or do you only count the time spent unloading plates from a tray?) How much time to you allocate to bussing the table? Until all the plates are picked up, or until they’re dropped off to be washed? If the waitstaff has to take two trips, do you count the time between, or only when you can actually see the server?

    If the server asks you how your meal is, do you count those 3 seconds? If the server goes to get a refill for your coffee, but stops to check in with another table, do you ‘stop the clock’ and deduct from their tip for that? Do you have a stopwatch handy when you eat, or do you just “estimate” what you think the time was?

    If you send back a plate, how much time do you credit to the server if you can’t see the kitchen?

    By your system, if you don’t want fresh ground pepper or cheese or whatnot, then the server gets less of a tip. If they bring you the wrong salad dressing, and have to come back a second time, they get more of a tip. Notice a problem or two here?

  65. killavanilla says:

    @Alvis:
    let’s see, you list the obvious things a waiter does, so I’ll go ahead and list a few you seem to be happily oblivious to, but before I do, allow me to explain something to you.
    Instead of being a smart ass and using words like ‘secret duties’, understand that like most occupations you’ve never worked, all you know is what you choose to see.
    Here’s a few things that happen that you don’t see that make your experience pleasant:
    - plating your meal. Food doesn’t come to the window 100% ready for consumption. Garnishes have to be placed and sides need to be plated and included. But you don’t see it, so it doesn’t happen and you shouldn’t tip for it, right?
    - Polishing and rolling silverware. Servers have to polish the silverware you use and roll them neatly. But you don’t see it, so why tip?
    - Coordinating with the kitchen – cooks don’t always do things correctly, nor do things always come out the way they should. As a server, I used to have to double check everything so it got to your table correctly. The wrong cheese on a cheeseburger, the customer wanted mashed potatoes instead of fries, they wanted it well done, not rare, etc. I’ve spotted cooks dropping food on the ground and try to plate it and stopped it. But hey, since you didn’t see it, it didn’t happen and you shouldn’t tip.
    Servers also have to have things refired if they came out too early and the food is ‘too old’. But you don’t see it, so why tip? After all, the server is working hard to make sure your meal is correct and tastes good.
    To be honest, I don’t feel much like explaining this to you as I am quite sure that as you are reading this right now, you are mounting some sort of shallow, small minded attack revolving around the idea that you shouldn’t have to pay anyway.
    Fine.
    Don’t tip more than a few bucks. I don’t care.
    I don’t wait tables anymore.
    Specifically because of shmendricks like you who never bother to ‘get it’ or who avoid the industry altogether.
    Face it, bub. You are cheap.
    That’s fine, but perhaps protesting when someone calls you on it is a bit on the silly side, don’t you think?
    Go try your hand at being a server, then come back and talk to me. Unless you’ve experienced it, you’ll likely not get it.
    Good waiters are hard to find and harder to motivate. Why? Because for every person like me who tips well and shows some understanding, there are two like you – cheap fools who are willfully ignorant and totally defiant. Tipping poorly will eventually get you exactly what you pay for.
    Stick to denny’s. It’s cheaper there.

  66. lilmiscantberong says:

    ONESWELLFOOP

    Your post infuriates me!

    MY job is not to make up the difference in your weekly salary! You chose your job, just as I chose my job, if you aren’t making enough money to pay your daily living expenses, quit your job, and stop whining!!! Why do you think I should pay you to carry my food to my table? I carry peoples dry cleaning to them every day, I am polite to them, I run for their petty needs, just like you. I however, chose a job that pays an hourly salary that I can depend on and budget with.

    We the public, are not all educated in the ways of tipping, some are small town, some choose to be ignorant of life around them. You may not have personally mentioned this, but other servers have spoken of the entitlement they feel in messing with peoples food as a way of retaliation, either for asking for too many things, or not tipping appropriately one time, and then suffering upong a return visit. What gives servers that right?? I cannot think of another profession in which it is even a consideration to mess with a customers anything!

    I think your post shows an immense amount of immaturity and self entitlement.

  67. HungryGrrl says:

    People wait tables because MOST CUSTOMERS TIP WELL. The “you chose to work this crappy job” argument doesn’t pan out because they chose a job this is NOT CRAPPY, but actually can be financially rewarding if they do it properly and are lucky enough to not have to deal with assholes like you who think they’re somehow exempt from tipping like the rest of the patrons.

  68. lilmiscantberong says:

    @killavanilla:

    Why do you feel that these duties are not part of your paid job? Why do you feel that WE that consumer have to pay you extra to perform these duties?

    Was there a job description when you were hired?

  69. flyover says:

    NOT tipping your server isn’t any kind of way to ‘protest’ pay scales. What are you proving?
    If you don’t like tipping rates, talk to the restaurant lobbying groups/gov’t agencies who keep it that way. You don’t want to put forth the effort? Then fork over the 15-20%. Or, don’t eat out.

    God, what do you do when you travel? Completely ignore local culture & customs? Because tipping 15-20% is it here buddy.

  70. fulanoche says:

    Living in the tropics, we don’t have a hot water heater, except in the shower head. We wash all our clothes in cold and have no problems. We even wash all our dishes and pots in cold, again no prob. I feel fortunate that I have a washing machine, instead of going down to the river to do wash.

  71. Cowboys_fan says:

    @killavanilla:
    I have not been a server but have worked in a kitchen. Let me be your devil’s advocate as you miss some points. I worked at a Hard Rock Cafe. If a server made less than $300/day in tips, they would be pissed. They lie about their tips to the restaurant so they pay a smaller cut, which comes directly from my pocket. Now, $300/day * 5 days = $1500 tips alone, not incl salary. I made $9/hr(years ago) * 40 hrs = $360 + maybe $75 tips, we’ll say $450. My job was way HARDER and took actual EXPERIENCE to attain a cooking job. The servers were hired right out of high school, and obviously on looks alone as brains absent. Are you starting to see descrepencies here? These servers, at least in decent restaurants, make more than you’d think. Now in a crappy restaurant, I am more willing to tip more because I know the servers are poor. In a decent restaurant, if the food is great, I will tip the cook directly, or through the manager.

  72. CamilleR says:

    I wash everything in cold and only use the dryer when for sheets and towels. I have clothes from eight years ago that still look brand new because they’re not exposed to high heat. I work in retail selling women’s clothes and every day I have customers ask if clothes with cotton, rayon, and spandex will shrink. They look at me like I’m crazy when I explain that heat will shrink many fabrics and that spandex gets destroyed by heat. Unless you’re getting really filthy, most clothes will get clean in cold.
    As for the soap sliver hint, I’ve found the best way to save money on soap is to buy good soap. The last time I bought a cheap 5 for $5 pack, the first bar melted to half its size after the first time I used it. I’ve found a $3-5 bar of soap will last just as long as a whole pack of cheap stuff, and it won’t melt and make a mess in my shower.

  73. Alvis says:

    @KILLAVANILLA

    I’m not cheap; I tip according to how I’m directly being served. I’m just not interested in trying to bribe my way into better future treatment, as you advocate to do (and don’t get me started on the racket bartenders have going).

    That other stuff – laying out the table, cleaning silverware – the way you make your case, the tip should cover EVERYTHING the wait staff does. They DO get paid by the restaurant too, you know? Just what’s that money supposed to be for?

  74. rdm7234 says:

    @protest: I think you’re a bit paranoid. I wash most of my clothes “cold” because they last MUCH longer if you do. And I hang dry them because, again, they last MUCH longer. It’s not just the immediate energy saving. It’s keeping your clothes as good as new so replace them less often.

    That said, undies and sheets I wash “warm”.

    I would recommend washing your clothes “hot” only if you are trying to destroy them.

  75. rdm7234 says:

    Oh, and recommending tipping less is kind of like suggesting you shoplift.

    I’m a good tipper, in general. But I think the whole concept is flawed, and assholes like Blueprint for Financial Prosperity prove why. The cost of service ought to be included in the price of food. And contrary to what some have suggested, it isn’t.

  76. SOhp101 says:

    I always wash all my clothes in cold water. It helps keep your clothes looking newer, longer. I think the amount of energy saved by not using hot water is negligent (maybe $10/month?) but it’s abusive on your garments.

    Reusing tea bags only really works if you drink multiple cups of tea in one setting, but that’s just my opinion. The mess left by a dripping bag just to save a few cents is a bit much.

  77. rdm7234 says:

    @G-Dog: There’s a method to her madness… By buying gas more frequently, she pays closer to the average price of gasoline, and is less likely to be hit hard by high prices. It’s the same principle behind making regular stock investments rather than one-time purchases of shares.

  78. oneswellfoop says:

    To Alvin, listen to the other people that chewed you out and you might learn a thing or two. Go get a job as a server and you’ll learn a lot and wind up doing a lot of “secret duties”, and may break a sweat once in a while while you’re at it. Or stick to Denny’s and stay the hell out of my restaurant, which you wouldn’t likely be willing to afford in any case. That gives me a lot of peace of mind. I’ve never messed with a customer’s food, but in your case I’d be willing to reconsider.
    To LILMISCANTBERONG, so sorry, never meant to make you mad. I make more than enough money to pay my living expenses, because after doing fine dining you rarely go back to anything else. The post it typed was primarily in support of the servers who bust their butts at places like waffle house, TGI Fridays, and that level of restaurant for what often turns out to be very little.
    I am passionate about both incredible food and wine, and while I won’t be a server forever I have and will continue to educate myself on all aspects of food and cooking as well as wine from every region of the world. All this so that I may more effectively advise my customers on how to have one of the best culinary experiences of their week/month/year/life. I make sure that every need is fulfilled, every plate is perfect, and that the experience is seamless and wonderful. I rarely get tipped less than 20%, and 15% is insulting at this level of restaurant. What do I do that the people you feel so entitled to treat like crap at other restaurants don’t? Not much. My job is quit a bit easier in fact, but I know more, and was fortunate enough to find a place in the higher end of the industry. Maybe the plating at O’ Charlies’ isn’t as perfect, but it would be if you were spending $30-$50 per plate.
    If the service is mediocre or crappy with no good excuse(it’s going to take longer at 7:30 on a Friday or Saturday so don’t get any ideas. Real diners go out during the week anyway, because that’s when service is best.)then by all means, compensate the server in a manner that reflects the service, but don’t mess up someone else’s day because you have a stick up your ***.

  79. seeker1321 says:

    @RODEOBOB “Well, the obvious “bad money-saver” goes to the infamous “Entertainment coupon” books produced annually and sold door-to-door. if you have to pay for a coupon, it’s not worth it.”

    I would have to disagree with you. Depending on how much you use coupons it can be well worth the price. I buy an Entertainment coupon book every year, (granted I wait til they go on sale for half price) I usually save about 3-4 times what the book cost me . As long as you use the coupons there is nothing wrong with paying for them if it saves you money.

  80. CumaeanSibyl says:

    No wank like tip wank, eh?

    Worst tip I ever heard was to rinse and reuse plastic zipper bags, plastic wrap, and aluminum foil.

    I mean, really — it’s not that expensive. Just buy the cheap kind and use it sparingly. If you want something genuinely reusable, invest in some Tupperware.

  81. Smashville says:

    @Alvis: Because that 2.13 an hour goes so far after taxes…

  82. infinitysnake says:

    @gibsonic: That’s a bad idea if you have moths in your area- your clothes might smell clean to you, but clothes-eatng insects are attracted to body oils and might make dinner out of your clothes.

  83. infinitysnake says:

    @CumaeanSibyl: Not as bad as thre tip I saw suggesting one save the rubber band from broccoli and cut them in half to get two ‘regular’ rubber bands…

  84. infinitysnake says:

    @rdm7234: There’s also evidence you’ll get better mileage if you keep your tank on the full side…

  85. infinitysnake says:

    @lilmiscantberong: Yiuy seem to be unaware that a server works for two “employers,” the restuarant and the customer- so expect to get what you pay for- if you don’t plan to tip, you should expect to pick up your own food from the kitchen.

  86. @rdm7234: The whole point of my post was that those ideas were terrible and ridiculous, not that they were good ideas you should try. Learn to read more carefully before calling people assholes.

  87. jamesdenver says:

    It’s been said and it’s final: If you can’t afford to leave a decent tip for standard service: Eat at McDonalds.

    In addition to my 9-5 office job I also work at a bar two nights a week. The money is great, especially for working a five hour shift – and it’s because of the tips. Not all service jobs are crappy as some people think.

  88. SaraAB87 says:

    I feel for the waiters and waitresses that have to work the Denny’s midnight shift, most of the people coming in eating at this time of the night have just spent all their money at the bar or on a night out and have just enough to pay for their food, and yup you guessed it they leave NO TIP or pennies for a tip. I have not been a waitress ever but I have seen it so many times, these servers must make next to no money for working a horrendous shift. I wouldn’t be surprised if they get only one tip a night on these shifts.

    I do not eat out a lot or even on a regular basis but in all my life I have only ever had one problem with food in a restauant, and it was a legitimate complaint as it really did not taste right and I am not one to complain at a restauant as I am not picky with my food. I cannot describe what this sauce tasted like in words but it was very very bad, and we have eaten at the olive garden before and never had any problems, nor did the sauce taste like this! We were able to figure out that they forgot to add any spices or anything else to the sauce and that we were served the raw sauce base. Instead of making a scene in the restauraunt the manager was phoned the next day and we got a gift card mailed to us for the purchase price of the meals which was fine.

  89. MissMissy says:

    @Dacker

    I’m glad I’m not the only freak who collects hotel soaps. I travel ~4-5 times a month, and I have a whole drawer full of soaps and shampoos at home. I never, ever have to buy soap.

    Bonus: if I get too much, there’s a women’s shelter in my area that puts together emergency “get away” kits with soaps and such–they rely on donations, so a healthy portion of my purloined hotel soaps go there.

  90. acambras says:

    Scene in a restaurant:

    “So, Alvis, how was your week? What’ve you been up to?”

    “…one, two, seven, thirteen, carry the one…”

    “Uh, Alvis?”

    “Shut up — I’m trying to COUNT!”

  91. Candyman says:

    @rodeobob:

    Oh, please.

    Refilling the condiments is something the waiter/ess is compensated for through tips?

    WTF are they being paid a paycheck for, then? Is there ANY part of their job that customers aren’t expected to pay them for?

    The whole concept of tipping is out of control in America. Restaurant operators get to skip out of providing a good wage by arguing that wait staff will get tips in addition.

    Wait staff in turn has to beg for tips because their basic wage is too low.

    Customers, who are already paying a higher price at a sit down restaurant based in part on the fact that they will be getting table service, are then extorted into paying even more for feqar of getting bad service if they “stiff” on the tip.

    Here’s a concept, how about restaurants pay their own employees, instead of leaving it to the customer, and price their menus accordingly. When I make a purchase, of any sort, I should not have to pay the store employee who assists me, rings me up, etc. Where is the fundamental difference between that and eating in a restaurant?

    And don’t you DARE tell me if I don’t want to tip, I should stay home. If i pay the menu price, I have paid for my meal AND for the SERVICE; I have every right to a quality meal AND quality service for it, without being extorted for more money on top.

    A tip is a GRATUITY, not an obligation, and if you don’t like that, get a different job, one where your BOSS pays you.

    For the record, I actually do tip most of the time. But that’s because I tend to make EXTRA requests. Normal, regular service is included in the price of the meal. Period.

    Oh, and “the poor waiter/ess needs the tips to live on,” doesn’t pull any weight with me, either. SO WHAT? Unless you’re independantly wealthy, all of us need our salaries to live on, and MOST of us don’t get extra payments from our customers. In fact, for most jobs that would be considered at least unethical, and possibly illegal (ie, kickbacks, bribes, etc).

    There’s nothing special about restaurant work in this regard, if your boss doesn’t pay you enough, find a better job. No one else in other jobs seem to think being low paid is the customer’s fault, or the customer’s obligation to make up for.

    Bellmen piss me off, too. Snatch my bag out of my hand, then expect me to tip you for it? F U!

  92. acambras says:

    @SaraAB87:
    most of the people coming in eating at this time of the night have just spent all their money at the bar or on a night out and have just enough to pay for their food

    That, and/or they’re too inebriated to calculate a tip. :-(

  93. Candyman says:

    @killavanilla:

    Same question to you, why are all those duties the customer’s responsibility to pay for, in your mind? Why the hell are you wasting your anger on the “cheap” tipper, instead of the cheap-ass boss who pays you too little for all that???

    If wait staff is soo hard to find, and harder to motivate, try paying them a decent salary. Better pay and treatment seems to result in better motivation and productivity in other industries. And other industries don’t rely on the customer to do so directly.

  94. floofy says:

    I knew a lady who used to wash and reuse disposable styrofoam plates. Was nothing to get a plate with stains and knife marks in it. Yum!

  95. Candyman says:

    @HungryGrrl:
    If you chose it because SOME people tip well, then just enjoy those that do; but you should understand that tipping is NOT an obligation, service is paid for by the customer in the menu price, and YOU are obligated to provide the same good service regardless of tip. Somehow, from your tone, that doesn’t seem to be your attitude.

  96. floofy says:

    I have to agree that restaurants should pay their servers more even if it includes raising prices and just get rid of tips altogether. I’m sure few I’ll inflame some people with that comment. But really, what type of business expects the customer to pay their employee? Btw I was raised by a single working mother who was a waitress.

  97. Candyman says:

    @flyover:

    Protesting pay scales, like paying your salary, is NOT the customer’s job. The restaurant lobby groups you refer to are YOUR BOSSES. YOU should protest to them, not me.

    Again, the customer pays for service when he pays the menu price. that is the END of his financial transaction. YOU waiters/esses who talk like a tip is obligatory are fooling yourselves, and allowing restaurant owners to cheat you, and then taking it all out on the customer.

  98. Candyman says:

    @HungryGrrl:

    OH, and Hungrygrrl, if you don’t get it yet, ALL customers are exempt from tipping. NO customers are required to tip.

  99. Candyman says:

    @rdm7234:

    The COST may not be included, but just like a loss leader in a retail store, that’s the employer’s problem, not the customer’s. Again, the menu price includes the service. Paying the menu price is all the customer is obligated to do. If you don’t like that, work another job.

  100. Candyman says:

    @infinitysnake:

    How is a waiter different in working for the boss and the customer than, say a grocery store checker? Or any service employee? Yet, the grocery clerk, bagger, etc do not expect the customer to pay them directly, do they?

  101. Candyman says:

    @jamesdenver:

    No, that’s not final. That’s bullshit. A tip is a gratuity, not an obligation. THAT’S FINAL.

  102. LibidinousSlut says:

    @killavanilla

    I don’t wear patchouli thank you, I smell like Christian Lacroix Tumulte, or Hanae Mori. It doesn’t change the fact that fabric softner is NASTY as anyone with even mildly sensitive skin can tell you, and that vinegar does the job as effectively with *no odor*.

    Detergent is basic, if you rinse your clothes without some form of acid your clothes stay “sticky” and attracts dirt. Vinegar does the job at a fraction of the cost and toxicity of fabric softener. You can call it hippie, I prefer science. The same science that tells me that you’re literally eating the reproductive system damaging phalates in your tide everytime you nosh on a piece of fish or other seafood.

    Our sewage treatment facilities were designed to treat bacterial waste, not chemical waste. What you pour down your drain ends up in the world’s oceans, and eventually in us.

    And I stand by what I say: current standards of wash are ridiculous. A person doesn’t have to wash their jeans every time they wear them. Their undies, yes, their jeans, no.

  103. jamesdenver says:

    @Candyman:

    You’re kidding me. If a server performed his/her job in a normal no-nonsense manner, you’d only tip IF you were feeling exceptionally gracious that day?

    A tip IS an obligation. Period. If you think a tip is some sort of “icing on the cake” you’re insane. In this country anyone with a brain knows a tip is a PART of the overall restaurant experience – which you give for STANDARD and normal service. It’s NOT something you give should you be feeling generous that day and you get a hand job from the waitress.

    Stay home and keep microwaving you’re 99 cent Totinos pizzas if you can’t afford a tip.

    Christ almighty.

  104. Padriac says:

    1) Tipping is customay, but it’s a flawed system. I should not be paying your wage, period. Tipping is a system that allows restaurant owners to screw their employees and customers. That’s it.
    2) Restaurant employees tend to be overpaid. For every poor Denny’s working mother there are 3 wannabe actors bitching about how they “only” made $200 in tips for their 5 hours of work. I know firsthand.
    3) For all those defending tipping, the problem is not the money it’s the entitlement. Why am I tipping you and not the grocery store clerk? The people who educate my children? The researchers who are saving lives? Until you can answer that with something other than “just because” you’re going to be stuck justifying your tips for the rest of your life.

    This is a tradition who’s time has passed. I’m not payroll services: I just want to eat a goddamn meal, not “judge” your performance and do math and other things that *employers* should be doing.

    I know how much you get taxed, I know how much you report, and I roughly know how much money you make in tips on any given night. After taking that into account, I’ll tip you whatever I think you deserve. Not enough? Get a job that requires some skill and pays more.

  105. oneswellfoop says:

    Oh, candyman says it’s final, so he must be right….
    Actually, if you want to eat at what’s been considered the best restaurant in the country, French Laundry, a 30% non-negotiable gratuity is included on anything that you buy, you are able and encouraged to tip over that as it will be very well deserved. Thomas Keller got so sick of ignorant people who wanted to eat “the best food in the country” spend a grand for two people, and then save money by tipping 5-10% that he instituted this as policy and I think more fine dining places should. But you’ll never have to worry about it because you’re obviously too cheap to pay for what is, honest to god, one of the best meals you’ll ever eat. Not just at French Laundry, but at the nicer places in your city/state/region.

  106. cde says:

    I find it funny how waiters/waitresses bitch about something when they knew going in that they are only entitled to half-wage. It’s like if I order a new pack of computers for my company, pay for 40 gig harddrives and then get pissed I didn’t get 80 gig harddrives even though I ordered a bunch of new computers.

    If you can’t deal with not getting tipped, find another job. I’m sure McDonalds would be glad to pay you a real minimum wage.

  107. wwwhitney says:

    My wife is very big on reusing tea bags; apparently it’s a pretty widespread practice in Japan. I’ve thrown some away on accident before she was done and she was miffed as to why I would waste them. We also make cold green tea by putting a tea bag or two in a jug in the refrigerator. It lasts forever because you can just keep adding water.

    And to those of you who are bemoaning having to tip for “ordinary” service… give me a break. I understand that it offends you to your core that waiters’ main source of income comes from customers and not their employer, but tough luck, that’s the way it works. It’s like one of those tests where you have a base score of 80%. If the waiter sucks, tip them less than 15%, don’t tip them at all if they’re particularly terrible. But don’t for a minute think you’re anything more than a cheap asshole if you decide not to tip just because you didn’t receive outstanding service. By eating at a restaurant and paying artificially low menu prices, you are implicitly agreeing to compensate the waiter for his/her services. If you don’t like it, eat at home or find a restaurant that asks you not to tip. I can’t even believe that you would blame waiters for not lobbying their boss for a higher wage.

  108. wwwhitney says:

    @Padriac:
    “For all those defending tipping, the problem is not the money it’s the entitlement. Why am I tipping you and not the grocery store clerk? The people who educate my children? The researchers who are saving lives? Until you can answer that with something other than “just because” you’re going to be stuck justifying your tips for the rest of your life.”

    Ummm… maybe because they don’t make $2.14 an hour?

    Why do Americans drive on the right side of the road and not the left??? Why do we drive on a parkway and park in a driveway??? Why do we say “good morning” instead of “beautiful morning”??? Why is white associated with marriage in the West and death in the West??? There’s a complex reason for all of these… but you can’t change the way things are so the most useful answer is JUST BECAUSE.

    I’m not a waiter but I have been in the past. It’s not a fun job but it helped me make ends meet before I could start on a real career. I’m not going to screw them over just to entertain a conviction (which, by the way I agree with… waiters shouldn’t have to depend on tips).

  109. Clobberella says:

    @Candyman: Wow, you sure hate tipping, don’t you?

    I definitely agree with you that restaurants should be paying their employees more. I don’t know if this is the case in every state, but I have waited tables in two states and the wage was the same, $2.13/hour. I worked the standard 40 hours a week most of the time, sometimes more, and after taxes I was lucky if I got a check for $5. Most of the time I didn’t get a check at all. I survived 100% on tips.

    I also agree with you that you should not have to pay the wages of someone else’s employee, but unfortunately, things are what they are and they’re not likely to change. Please don’t take out your frustrations with the industry on the servers. It’s a thankless enough job as it is, and most of these people work extremely hard to support themselves. And please stop it with the “if you don’t like it, get another job” line. If it were that bloody simple do you think ANYONE would be working these low-paying service jobs? I sincerely doubt it. And then you wouldn’t have a restaurant to go to at all, or a grocery store, or a gas station, etc., etc.

  110. Trai_Dep says:

    The same thoughtless, selfish, empathy-free, myopic people saying that restaurants should charge more to pay waiters a living wage would scream to high heaven the second that restaurants charged an automatic 20% tip.

  111. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Over 100 comments and it’s mostly bickering about tipping. It never fails. Post a story about tipping and the arguing begins.


    Meg, I think you should just close the comments on this story.

  112. green_onion says:

    It has been my observation that most people who feel a tip is -required- have either worked some kind of foodservice position, or feel very strongly that said employees do not make adequate money, and that tipping is a social responsibility of some kind when you go out to eat. That is a ridiculous and unrealistic notion.

    Tips have always been optional, and not some kind of required extra “fee” with your meal. If the service is good, then the tip should reflect that. If the service is bad, then the tip (or even lack thereof) should reflect that.

    A culture where people consider tipping a required part of a meal reinforces the idea that bad service is fine. Not tipping bad service relays the impression that the server simply did a bad job – more so than saying “I asked for no ice” or something similar, which is very easily forgotten in a busy environment.

    Plain and simple: good service? Leave a good tip, if you so choose. Bad service? Don’t leave one, if you so choose. As consumers, that is one of the many ways we have to share our opinion and help shape how a business treats us.

  113. zeus_loves_hera says:

    Wow, I feel like I’m in a crowded bus with a bunch of strangers all arguing at the same time…

    But back to the original article, the overall problem I see these arguments arising from is the fact that the article is written entirely in the author’s own opinion (which is perfectly fine), but instead of being taken as simply someone’s point of view, it seems to have been interpreted as fact. One of my fundamental views of money is that it should reflect what your values are, and saving money should work in the same way. This whole debate about washing clothes in hot or cold water is a good example– whereas I’m generally not concerned about every minutae of bacteria being killed in my clothes, I am sympathetic to other blue-collar workers and I like to tip generously. In essence, spending extra money on hot water is less important to me, whereas I feel like tipping well is money well spent, so I’ll splurge more. But I can see how other people, for whatever reason, would arrive at conclusions opposite mine. In both cases there is a customary idea of the norm (using hot water and tipping at least %15), but the consumer is given the ultimate choice on the final outcome.

    I think the real point of the article was to point out extreme ways people try to save money, so I’ll add my own:

    Tailgating Big Rigs to catch their wind “pull” while driving on the highway. That’s just plain dangerous.

  114. PeggyK says:

    While there is no legal obligation to tip, there is a social obligation to tip in the U.S. As it’s been pointed out, most wait staff are paid at a rate that assumes part of their income will be from tips. And they are expected to pay taxes on the expected tips whether they receive them or not: the IRS assumes that diners tip an average of 14%. If you don’t tip the waiter/ess may be out that money. The tip is simply part of the cost of dining in a restaurant. If you can’t afford it, you should stick to take out.

    (As for money saving: I’ll admit I’ve separated the two-plys of TP into one, but only because I was down the the end of the last roll in the house. It’s definitely not worth the effort unless you desperately need to extend your roll.)

  115. erica.blog says:

    Sooooo, the difference between Bill Gates and The Rest Of Us: he peels apart his toilet paper and reuses his teabags.

    Righto.

  116. kimsama says:

    @PeggyK: You brought up a good point — I always assumed take-out was tip-free if you picked it up yourself, but I saw on a different message board that some people think this is also a “tipable” situation. I always thought that since I was driving to pick up the food myself, and since only the cook and register operator were involved, it was ok not to tip.

    I’m not trying to start a whole other thing here, but I think that a large part of the tipping furor may stem from the fact that, like me, people have different ideas about when it’s ok to tip and when it’s ok not to…

  117. Candyman says:

    @jamesdenver:

    Bull. Find me a law requiring me to pay a tip. The law DOES require me to pay for my meal. Service is included in the meal.

    YOU may consider it obligatory. But it’s not.

    Again, I generally do tip. I don’t have a problem tipping, nor am I cheap.

    But; A TIP IS A GRATUITY!!!!!

    And it really pisses me off when servers try to insist that tips are mandatory (by law, custom, and the very definition of the word, they’re NOT), whine and moan about not being paid enough to live on without tips (should we start tipping everyone who’s low paid?), threaten customers with poor service if they’re not tipped well (if you can’t do your job well regardless of tip, you have a very bad work ethic), and most of all when someone (like you) spouts off that utter garbage about not eating out if you don’t want to tip (So long as I pay the menu price, you have no damn right to bitch).

    If you want tips to be mandatory, put it on the menu and on the bill. Service charges, heard of them?

  118. Candyman says:

    @Padriac:

    Exactly; it’s not the tip I object to, it’s the plain wrong-headed way people want to insist that it’s something they’re entitled to, and that anyone who just pays the actual price is “stealing,” “stiffing,’ or “cheating.”

  119. Candyman says:

    @oneswellfoop:

    If it’s on the menu, that’s a service charge, and like any other charge, it’s legally binding if you choose to eat there. That’s very different than a tip. And who the hell are you to call me cheap? Have I called you or anyone else names? Take your “cheap,” and stick it up your….

  120. Candyman says:

    @wwwhitney:

    I was not blaming anyone, just responding to someone else’s comment. IOW, if anyone should fight that fight, it would be the employees, not a customer.

  121. I wash everything in warm. I do this simply because the washing machine fills faster when I’m running both hot and cold water into it and thustly saves me time. Since time is money I am in effect saving money.

    I am in agreement that a tip is a gratuity rather than an obligation. Tips are there to reward people who are good at their jobs. If I get bad service, they get a bad tip. Good service may get upwards of 30%.

  122. Candyman says:

    @wwwhitney:

    WHy is paying the price being charged “screwing” someone over?? I order a burger, the menu says it’s $6.95, I pay $6.95 plus whatever taxes, etc. Transaction is complete, both sides of the contract are fulfilled, noone’s screwed over.

    Then, if I choose, I may or may not give a tip to the server. There is no requirement to do so, that’s why it’s not called a service charge. If I choose not do so, for whatever reason, TOUGH!

    If anyone’s screwing waiter/esses over it’s the employers, not me.

  123. Candyman says:

    @Clobberella:
    1) No, I don’t hate tipping. I hate people who tell me tipping is mandatory, or who threaten bad service if they aren’t tipped well, or insult their customers for not paying extra. I do tip.

    But I don’t feel obligated to do so, because I’m NOT obligated.

    2)I’m not taking my frustrations out on anyone, except here on this board :-). But my message to waiter/esses is; Don’t take YOUR frustrations over not being paid enough out on your customers. They aren’t required to pay anything but their check.

    3)As long as people on your side of this debate keep saying I shouldn’t eat out if I don’t want to tip, I will keep saying if you don’t like your wages, get another job.

  124. Candyman says:

    @LatherRinseRepeat:

    If you don’t want to discuss it, don’t. But what business is it of yours to ask for the thread to be shut down?

  125. Islingtonian says:

    @Candyman: if you don’t want to tip, don’t eat out. simple as that.

  126. Candyman says:

    @trai_dep:

    Well, I wouldn’t complain. In fact, when I traveled in Europe, that seemed to be the practice there, and I preferred it. But then I’m none of those adjectives you used, so I guess you weren’t talking about me. :-)

    However, I do know for a fact that in restaurants and hotels where mandatory service charges are the practice, the staff will still bitch and moan and insult you behind your back if you don’t tip ON TOP of that. Again, my objection is to the sense of entitlement, which is BS.

  127. Candyman says:

    @Islingtonian:

    If they aren’t being paid enough by their employer, they should get another job, as simple as that.

  128. mac-phisto says:

    @acambras: ROFL! you just made me snort coffee up my nose. IT BURNS!!!1!

  129. markwm says:

    Candyman has pretty much said it exactly the way I feel about it. I do tip, but it is a courtesy on my part, not an obligation. If it is obligatory, it is no longer a tip or gratuity, but a service charge. If that’s the case, be honest about it and call it that. Saying it is obligatory goes against the very definition of the words ‘tip’ – “to give a gratuity to” and ‘gratuity’ – “something given voluntarily or beyond obligation usually for some service”.
    However, as long as it is called a tip, I shall use my discretion in determining how much to leave for an individual. I generally receive exceptional service when I go out, and tip well because of this. I’m also not the sort to leave a poor tip if the waiter/waitress was great but the food was poor. It’s not their fault if the cook is a bad cook. As long as they make my experience good to the best of their abilities, I will tip them for it.
    I think part of the problem, not as bad as poor pay making the tip appaear mandatory, but a large problem nonetheless is tip pooling. I can understand sharing with the busboy who made the table shine before I was seated, but why the deuce should the bartender get one red cent of my money, if he did not prepare me a drink? Yet a lot of places expect the waitstaff to split their tips with the bartender, regardless of whether or not those tips came from customers who used the bartender’s services. This in turn leads to waitstaff expecting a larger tip to compensate for that.
    Unfortunately for them, it is not my duty to properly compensate them and make up money lost to the bartender. I tip as the service merits, not as some unwritten and illogical rule dictates.

  130. Saboth says:

    @aro:

    20% tip? That means when I go out to eat, I am basically buying my dinner, my gf’s dinner, and your dinner too. Bringing 2 refills doesn’t entitle anyone to a free meal in my book. 15% is a bit ridiculous in my book, but I’ll tip it just to be nice.

  131. Candyman says:

    Just to restate it clearly; Personally, I DO tip. My objection is to the idea being pushed here that tips are somehow required, and not tipping is “screwing over” someone.

    A tip is a gratuity, an extra amount, beyond the actual bill, which is given to reward, and encourage, good service. The expectation that a tip should be given regardless, “reduced” for bad service, and only eliminated if the service is REALLY bad, IS EXACTLY OPPOSITE TO WHAT A TIP IS FOR!!!

    I expect, as a customer, that the waiter or waitress will take my order, place that order, and bring it to me when it is ready, all in a reasonable amount of time while being at least reasonably polite. That’s the basic job, and it’s included in the price I pay. For just doing their basic job, I don’t feel obligated to pay them seperatly from paying my bill.

    That said, usually, I get more than just the baiscs. They’re not just polite, but friendly; they keep tabs on whether I want anything else, like a drink refill; etc. THAT’s good service, which, while still not obligated, I want to reward and encourage with a tip.

    And, in my own case, since I usually pester them with menu questions, special requests, and more drink refills than average, I would feel like a jerk if I DIDN’T reward them for it.

    But that’s still MY choice, not anything obligatory, or which they should feel entitled to. Putting up with demanding customers is part of the job, regardelss of tips, and most other customer service occupations DON’T get tips for the same hassel.

  132. Candyman says:

    @markwm:

    Thank you, that’s exactly what I mean.

  133. Candyman says:

    @green_onion:

    Very well put.

  134. getjustin says:

    Store brands people! Also, if you want to eat out without all that tipping and expensive wine and such, just order to go. Then you won’t have to look like a 90-year-old or a 15-year-old when you leave a $1.50 tip.

    -Former server who only got a few crappy tips, but didn’t really care too much. All the other good ones made up for it.

  135. killavanilla says:

    @lilmiscantberong:
    There was a job description when I was hired (ten years ago – I’m not a waiter anymore jackass – it’s called reading and you should try it).
    In that job description, it is very clear in saying that the compensation plan is a very low hourly wage plus tips.
    Hence, you cheap jerk, tips are part of the compensation.
    I am not going to continue explaining this to ignorant fools who hold contempt for a profession where it is customary to tip. This is a stupid conversation as people like you refuse to understand that the tradition of tipping your waiter is tried and true and older than you and I combined.
    I’ve said it before and I will say it again – if you’ve never done the job, you don’t know what you are talking about.
    In my personal opinion, I think it would be a good thing to simply add a 15% gratuity to every check and simply pay servers off of that. But what you noodle-heads don’t understand is that it could be hidden – all the restaurant world has to do is add 15% to the price of every item, allowing restaurants the revenue to properly pay servers.
    But what you dolts don’t get is that doing so would motivate the server to simply sell MORE instead of the way things are, where a server is motivated to do a superb job in an effort to receive a proper tip.
    A tip is a gratuity, but it is not optional. Period. Unless, of course, you are eating at McDonalds. Which, if you have a problem with tipping, should be your only option.
    What most of you anti-tip morons seem to mistake is that servers ‘protest’ or ‘bitch’ or ‘whine’ because they don’t earn a good salary. That is a fallacy. Servers, by and large, do not do any of those things.
    Here’s how it works – you go out to eat at a nice restaurant. You NEED someone to take your order, refill drinks, make sure the food is proper, make sure the table is clean, make sure you are happy, take care of substitutions and special needs, clean up after you, and more. You have to pay for that. Don’t like it? FINE. There are PLENTY of self server restaurants.
    Don’t like it? Tough. Move to Ireland. They don’t accept tips there.
    Do you tip the valet when he brings your car around? Sure. Most of you don’t think twice about it.
    This thread has deteriorated into waiter bashing stupidity and some of you are showing your true colors.
    Cheap, ignorant, and indignant is no way to go through life.

  136. killavanilla says:

    @Candyman:
    Why? because that’s the system that has been in place for 100 years.
    Ever been to a great restaurant, where the waiter is attentive, takes care of everything, and makes it all seem effortless? That is because of the tip he is sure to get from a person who isn’t a cheap loser.
    This isn’t bagging groceries or delivering mail.
    This is service. You get great service? Tip well.
    You get bad service? Complain to a manager and don’t tip.
    But why would I protest a boss for paying me what the government tells him is legal?
    And why would any waiter (I AM NOT A WAITER ANYMORE) that is good at his job be angry at any boss who tells him to work hard and ends up making mad money for doing so?
    The best waiters out earn all of you tools who sit here complaining about how bad it is to tip.
    Because they aren’t bitter jerks. Because they take pride in their job.
    Nobody is protesting pay, save for you who seem offended to tip.
    I’ll go on record saying that studies show that parents who tip properly have children who tip properly.
    Your parents must have all been jerks who refused to pay.
    Bad parents=bad kids.
    Make no mistake here – the only people floating this idea of job dissatisfaction, pay protest, and people unhappy with their pay as a waiter, strawman arguments all, are those of you who have a problem tipping.
    Which means you are either poor, jealous, bitter, or jerks.
    Thankfully, most waiters I have gotten to know aren’t like you at all. They tend to be kind, caring people who enjoy their work and work hard to make sure that even you, the non-tipping pain in the butt, are happy with their level of service.

  137. killavanilla says:

    @Candyman:
    Service is NOT included in the meal, unless you see a charge for it.
    Perhaps THAT is the problem.
    At a restaurant, you are charged for food, not service.
    When you order something on line (like a computer, for instance) you pay for the computer AND shipping. The service is paid for there.
    When you buy a car, they charge you destination fees. Service is included.
    Next time you eat out, find the charge for service.
    You can’t, because it doesn’t exist.
    Heck, I’m fine with restaurants charging 15% more for everything and passing that along to a waiter.
    If you want service included in the meal, ask a manager to do so and he will happily add a gratuity to the check.
    I ate out yesterday. I still have the receipt- hang on while i check it.
    lesseee:
    food
    drinks
    tax
    total.
    Nope, no charge for service.
    I sure am glad I tipped my waiter 20% for giving me a pleasurable meal with no problems.
    I PAID for service.
    You don’t.

  138. cde says:

    @killavanilla: Racism has been in place for 100 years, Slavery before that, British rule before that, shouldn’t we continue those then, just cause they been there for years and years before we came around?

    And while we’re at it, your pretty compliant to what your boss or government says, you belong in Soviet Russia. Learn to use the governmental system and lobby for change then. Get your boss to pay you a morally justified wage, not a bullshit half wage, then use him as an example of why the wage for waiters should go up. Oh wait, your too busy bitching about your job which you knowingly took.

    But not tipping is indicative of bad parenting? Atleast mine taught me not to just accept things just “because”… China called, it needs more whipping boys.

  139. acambras says:

    @mac-phisto:

    Thank you. ;-)

    (curtsies)

  140. acambras says:

    @markwm:

    FWIW, when I waited tables, we were supposed to tip out to the bartender, but it wasn’t a “split” — it was 10% of our drink sales, excluding bottles of wine (which I opened at the table).

  141. mac-phisto says:

    holy trolls batman!

    dumbest money saving idea? well, my sister used to (possibly still does) get her condiments from restaurants. i always envisioned her walking into mcdonald’s with a shopping list: 10 packets of ketchup – check! 15 packets of sugar – check! 5 packets of equal – check! now where is the mustard?

  142. cde says:

    @mac-phisto: I do that, kinda. Wendy’s forks, not cause I’m cheap, but I can’t find individually wrapped forks that won’t melt in Cup O’ Noodles that doesnt require me to have a business license to buy.

  143. bbbici says:

    Going to Costco really won’t save you much money, because of the lure of a bucket of Gummi Worms.

  144. bbbici says:

    Like it or not, tipping at restaurants (and hotels, salons, etc) is an established institution in North America. If you don’t want to tip, then go to a restaurant without tipping or make your food at home.

    Yes it’s a stupid institution, but the waiters didn’t invent it. Complain to your congressman.

  145. @cde: TIPPING = SLAVERY!

    I also wonder about whether or not to tip for carry out. But then I don’t normaly spend more than $10 at restaurants when I do go to them (which isn’t that often).

  146. killavanilla says:

    @cde:
    another strawman fallacy…
    slavery is bad.
    british coloniziation was bad.
    Tipping, as a practice, gives servers proper motivation to do their jobs well.
    I have no complaint about what my ‘boss’ does.
    and again -I AM NOT A WAITER ANYMORE.
    But I don’t think the system needs to change. It is fair and equitable.
    The people who think it isn’t fair are the folks who don’t want to tip. YOU change the system – the system works great for servers.
    Why do I belong in soviet russia again? Because you are out of your skull angry?
    I don’t think the system is broken, YOU do.
    It’s a fair market economy and I think it works.
    People like you don’t want to participate in the practice of tipping, yet you want WAITERS to change the system?
    That makes loads of sense.
    politics? Nope. This is about customs. Tipping is customary. If a server goes the extra mile to ensure you and your ugly, gluttonous party have an enjoyable experience, tip well.
    Bad service? Complain to a manager and have the guts to explain yourself, then don’t tip.
    And I’m not bitching about a job I took. I took that job and worked in that industry happily for 10 years. I got out because I got tired of self-righteous morons with poor social skills taking out their daily frustrations on me when I didn’t fill up their beer fast enough.
    Yes, bad parenting is the reason most people don’t tip properly. You were raised to only value your own work and to look down on others who aren’t miserable in their little status jobs.
    Here’s a clue, dipstick – I earned more waiting tables than most of my customers. I did so because the level of service I provided was excellent and they realized it. They happily tipped me extremely well.
    I’ve since moved on to a different career.
    But I am not a bitter yutz who just LOVES to broadcast to the world that they don’t tip.
    Try that on your next ‘date’. The girl will be very impressed.
    Here’s the root issue:
    Tipping is a fact.
    You don’t like to do it.
    So you get frustrated because you don’t know what waiters do for a living. In your frustration, you assume waiters are frustrated people who hate their jobs and want to do something about it. But waiters don’t want to change the system. They like their jobs and like the idea that if they do it well, they can earn great money.
    Stop pretending to be ‘for the people’. You are hiding from the truth and pretending that waiters have come here whining about their jobs. It isn’t the job that sucks, it is dealing with people like you that makes it unpleasant.

  147. Trai_Dep says:

    Mr. Pink didn’t believe in tipping. And look what happened to him…

  148. killavanilla says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation:
    for the record, tipping at takeout isn’t necessary.
    It’s nice, but most servers just consider take out a no-tip thing.
    I still like to leave a buck to cover the taxes a take out server has to pay, sometimes more if they are nice and everything is perfect.

  149. cde says:

    @killavanilla: If they’re happy about their job, then they can provide excellenct service for those that don’t tip without degrading the service the next time, without saying if you don’t tip, stay home/eat Mcdonalds.

    About that extra mile, maybe you should describe the difference between average and great service?

    And since your all about pointing out fallacies, here’s two you obviously seemed to have missed out on (Probably bad parenting and poor schooling) ad-hominem attacks, and calling the other person’s arguments a fallacy is a fallacy in it of itself.

  150. cde says:

    @trai_dep: I think that had more to do with his name being Mr. Pink then anything else…

  151. @Fatdogsmells: “All fabric softener is, is a violent acid whose scent is masked by the smell of even more toxic “perfumes”.”

    Fabric softener is bad for your clothes anyway. It damages the fibers, frays them, and makes your clothes wear out substantially faster. They’re “softer” because you’re damaging them and making the fibers fuzzy and loose.

    (And if you use it on your towels, it makes your towels less absorbent and you’re kind-of an idiot.)

    If you air dry, you don’t even need the fabric softener for static control!

  152. @killavanilla: “And I’m sure you don’t smell like vinegar. To yourself.”

    When you wash things in/with vinegar, they don’t smell like vinegar when they come out. This is a common trick for helping “set” the dye in very dark jeans (I don’t know if it works, but they don’t smell like vinegar) and absolutely necessary for washing anything a cat has peed on. Also useful for various stains and hard water deposits.

    After it’s been rinsed, it just doesn’t smell like vinegar (and my machine rinses things FOUR TIMES). You don’t have to be so nasty.

  153. Candyman says:

    @killavanilla:
    1) If a waiter is attentive, etc, as you said, I would assume it is because he is good at his job, and has a good work ethic. I would CHOOSE to tip him, because that’s what a TIP is. If, however that same waiter was rude, lazy and inattentive with another customer becuase he knew the customer wouldn’t tip, the fault would be thw waiter’s, not the customer’s. The issue is not the tip, but the attitude. YOU assume the motivation is for doing a good job is the tip, that perfectly demonstrates the attitude that pisses me off.

    2) Food service is just that, a SERVICE job, as are bagging groceries and carrying mail. You have no right to belittle other service jobs.

    My Dad is a mailman. He takes pride in his job, delivers great service, and is well liked and respected by his customers. Mailmen used to be customarily tipped by way of a gift at christmas. Many people still do, and my Dad appreciates that. But he doesn’t have the attitude that those who don’t “stiffed” him. He doesn’t give them bad service when he knows he won’t get a tip.

    I worked as a bagger one summer back in the day. That was at an army PBX, and we didn’t get any pay at all, just tips. Some of us were grateful for the tips we got, and accepted the ones who didn’t give tips as part of the job. Others were just like you, full of self entitlement, and resentful. The worst were the ones who refused to help without a tip. And they got “fired.”

    I’ve been working in the service industry for over 18 years, and I still see this same melodrama being played by supposed adults. Those with good work ethics do a good job and get good tips as a result, those without bitch and moan about the tips they didn’t get.

    3) I must work with a lot of straw arguments, then, because I witness it all the time. :-) The problem is the attitude, and the attitude is all too common. Just yesterday, one of my co-workers refused to help a guest, becuase he knew he wouldn’t get a tip. I ended up doing his job, neither expecting, nor getting, any tip. Because I have a good work ethic, tips or no, and he didn’t.

    NO, you are the one with the strawman army. How many times have I been called cheap, or accused of not liking or wanting to tip in this thread? When have I said any such thing???? Go back, re-read my posts. I never said any such thing. I don’t think ANYONE did. THAT’s not only a strawman argument, but also an ad hominem fallacy, attacking the speaker and not the position. Only proves that you don’t have any real argument of your own.

    4) Service IS included in the MEAL. I don’t go to a restaurant for “food.” I go to a grocery store for food. A restaurant is somewhere that prepares, cooks, and SERVES that food as a MEAL.

  154. killavanilla says:

    @cde:
    the best servers do provide excellent service every time, or at least try to.
    But frequenting a restaurant and not tipping tend to be remembered. You become “that guy”.
    Sorry you don’t like it. And I have never said to a customer to stay home or eat fast food. I have said it here. When I was a waiter, I treated every customer like a guest in my home or a close relative. They all got great service. That’s why I made good money and did it for so long. For every bad tipper, there are a good number of great tippers who make the job a little easier to deal with.
    I’m not going to continue this war of words and describe the difference between good service and great service. You know well what the difference is. If not, then you just aren’t paying attention.
    ad-hominem attacks – point taken. My bad. I actually did the job and get pretty heated when people say waiters have no skills and go on to degrade the industry by implying that servers should quit complaining (the complaining came from non-tippers, not waiters) and get ‘real’ jobs. Sorry about that. I tend to get a little hot over it.
    Calling another persons fallacious argument fallacious is not a fallacy. Logic 101. You made a strawman fallacy argument by saying that if waiters don’t like the system, they should change it – but waiters LIKE the system. Waiters don’t like working hard for no tipping customers.
    Your argument that waiters should change a system that, by and large not only works but is good for them, is a strawman because you created the supposed waiters argument.
    Hence, it is a fallacy.
    it is YOUR argument that waiters should change the system. Waiters like the system. Am I being clear?
    Hence, a fallacy.
    And there is nothing fallacious about pointing out an error is logical reasoning as part of a discussion. That, sir, is an illogical conclusion.
    I’ve said it before and I will say it again:
    Don’t want to tip? Fine. Don’t expect to develop a friendly relationship with your server and don’t expect great service if you become a regular. You will eventually be the customer that waiters want to fire.
    Best of luck.

  155. Candyman says:

    @cde:

    Racism? Stalinism? CHINA? I’m with you, but, dude, that’s HARSH…

  156. mgv says:

    Just wanted to point out that in some countries, like France, service is almost always included in the bill (actually, in the price of each menu item) – when people tip, it is often just a few euros. (In France, this is called the “pourboire”, which literally means “for drinking.”)

    What this means is that waiters (and bartenders) in France do not expect a gratuity (although it is common, and a good idea, to leave a small pourboire if you are a regular customer).

    What this also means is that in many cases, the service sucks.

  157. mac-phisto says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: seriously? it works for cat pee?

    i’ve been thru about 90 bottles of spray n wash since my housemate got a cat. so how does this work exactly? do i put it in with the detergent, or do i have to do a separate wash with just vinegar?

  158. killavanilla says:

    @Candyman:
    1) good. that is reasonable. It appears that I accidentally lumped you in with ‘no tip period’ crowd. my apologies.
    2) I didn’t belittle service jobs. Mailmen earn an average above $48k a year salary. Waiters make a salary of below $3. That’s the breaks. Waiters rely on tips. Good mailmen (i’ve only had one in my 32 years of life) get nice christmas bonuses from good customers. But they also get paid a nice salary to do their jobs. Tipping is and never was part of their compensation plan. Waiters, not so much. They are told up front that tips are their compensation. Hence, the comparison is barely applicable, if at all.
    And we agree – good workers in tippable positions do their jobs with pride, work hard, and earn great tips. I was not and never intended to complain about bad tippers save to point out that NOT tipping because you don’t like the system is plain old dumb.
    3) my apologies, sir. Clearly I mistook you for someone else. If you do in fact tip well for good service and reduce or refuse to tip for terrible service, then I would say you are doing it correctly. Yes, there are always going to be bitter morons waiting tables, refusing to work unless they get tipped and constantly complaining. They aren’t meant for the industry then. Good waiters know it all works out. But don’t mistake bitching to relieve stress during or after a shift with someone who freaks out when they don’t get tipped. Good waiters know it all works out. And they also know Karma takes care of those who refuse to tip ‘just because’.
    4) Service is still not included in a meal. You pay for food, which is then prepared per a recipe by an employee who earns a regular salary or great hourly. You are not paying anyone to bring the food to you, check on your, make sure you are happy and your needs are met, etc. Hence, you aren’t paying for service, you are paying for food (and drinks). That’s how it works. When I ran restaurants, I paid my cooks a minimum of $10 an hour. Most made closer to $14 an hour. Most of my servers, through good service brought about by careful, difficult training and retraining, earned about the same AFTER tips.
    The fact remains that good servers provide great service and should be compensated by the customer. That’s the system. And it works. I used to eat at Potbelly sandwhich works. They make your food and you pay for the food, the drinks, the sides, etc. But you have to bring it to your table and clean up after yourself. No tip required. Full service restaurants provide you a server who takes care of all sorts of things for you while you eat and after.
    And there have been plenty of people who are saying that you shouldn’t tip around here.

  159. Candyman says:

    @killavanilla:

    Again, Killa, no one on this side of the debate has complained about tipping; only about the attitude you are demonstrating right now. I’ve worked with good service employees, and I know they can do very well off their tips BECAUSE they are good. Well enough that they never seem to feel the need to bitch the way you are right now.

    I hope you feel grateful for the customers who did tip well, although you seem to be arguing that they HAD to, so it doesn’t sound like it. But you have no right to resent or complain about those who didn’t. That’s part of the job.

    And will you please knock off with the insults? I’ll ask once, politely.

  160. floofy says:

    KILLAVANILLA: You are wrong. In your previous post you claimed that adding tips to menu prices would encourage servers to try to sell more instead of offering good service. Waiters now try to sell more anyway to increase their total tip.

  161. killavanilla says:

    @Candyman:
    Candy – you are flat wrong. There have been multiple references to not tipping by others.
    I absolutely felt grateful for all my customers. They didn’t “have to”, but I earned every dollar I made.
    Not sure why you think I implied that they HAD to do anything. They certainly didn’t HAVE to come back, like most of my customers, 3-4 times a week.
    You absolutely have a right to resent or complain about people who don’t tip. Just like you have a right to complain or resent President Bush or taxes, or what ever gets you heated up.
    It IS part of the job, which means you absolutely have to accept it. But saying you don’t have a ‘right’ to complain about non-tippers? Nonsense.
    And knock off the insults?
    Done.
    You got it.
    Perhaps if people took a similar tone to the one you have been taking, I wouldn’t get upset.
    But I must say, I’m tired of reading that waiters have no skills, don’t deserve the money they earn, and shouldn’t be tipped. Yes, others have said those very things.

    I’ll go back to what I mean now. At one point, you said that if you order a burger for 6.95 and pay 6.95 for it, your transaction is complete and you don’t have to tip. That’s true, at mcdonalds.
    There, a waiter doesn’t provide table service, clean up, menu knowledge, policy knowledge, and more. In a sit down restaurant, you sit down and a waiter does the work. The custom is to tip this person for their work. There is a disconnect here that I don’t think I am quantifying properly….
    Without the tip system, a waiter would take your order, drop the burger, ask you to pay, and never come back.
    There is no incentive to sell more, to work harder, or to check in and make sure it meets your approval (and fix a problem if one exists).
    The tip is the key to ensuring service.
    Knowing that some customers really appreciate a strong effort keeps waiters on top of their game.
    Not sure if that helps, but I am most definitely done with this thread.
    You seem to have a good grasp on how this is supposed to work.
    Waiters feel let down when people ask you to work hard, then don’t tip for the work.
    I think it would be great if restaurants would charge customer for the service and passed it along to the waiter. That would be great.
    I ran a restaurant where I did a new years eve package where the tip was included. The staff worked hard because they knew they were getting cash to do so. Those who slacked got sent home early with less from the tip pool.

  162. killavanilla says:

    @floofy:
    Yes, servers do try to sell more as a way to increase a tip. However, the motivation as it stands is still the tip – meaning selling more is only one part of the equation. If they sell more but provide bad service, they get tipped less. Changing the system where servers get a percentage (say 15%) of the ticket encourages servers to sell more without encouraging good service because the service charge is automatic.
    Hence, the flaw in that sort of system.
    It’s like picking up a package at UPS.
    They don’t care if you have a good experience. You already paid them, so if they make you wait an hour to grab your package, you still paid and they still made money.
    But in a tip situation, check total is only a factor.
    I have earned $20 tips on $10 checks and $20 tips of $600 checks.
    For the 20 on 10, I gave awesome service and had a conversation with a lonely, homesick traveler who was bored and upset. I chatted with him when I had time and introduced him to some nice female regulars in the restaurant. For the $600 check, I busted my butt for a group of businessmen who didn’t feel like tipping.
    Check totals aren’t the endgame, giving great service can make you more money on smaller checks.
    Switching to a system that compensates automatically on volume doesn’t translate into good service.

  163. floofy says:

    Gee, I wonder what policy knowledge a waiter would need share with a customer?

  164. floofy says:

    @killavanilla: “switching to a system that compensates automatically on volume doesn’t translate into good service”

    You could say that with any job that requires employees to work with customers. I work with customers, do not receive a tip, but am still required to be polite. Adding tips into the bill would not lower service. Hell, it may actually increase it because at least the waiters will know they are getting guaranteed compensation for their services.

  165. Candyman says:

    @killavanilla:

    re 3) It’s not just me, Killa, no one else here is arguing against tipping itself, either. The only place that’s been said at all has been as an accusation. Thisisn’t about “tipping is good” vs “tipping is bad,” except in the minds of thos on the “good” side. It’s about “you HAVE to tip,” vs “tipping is voluntary.” ALl the accusations about being cheap, are, well, cheap shots.

    re 4) No, service is included in the meal. Look, when I’m presented with the bill is it itemized according to your scheme? Am I billed so much for the cook, so much for the dishwasher, so much for the advertising, so much for the rent and electric, etc. No. Because I am not paying for the cook, the dishwasher, the marketing, rent, etc. I’m paying just for the meal. All of the other stuff is just part of the owner’s overhead, and not my concern AT ALL. So is your pay.

    You have a contract with your boss, and I have an implied contract with your boss. You and I do not have ANY contract with each other, except for the social contract, of course. :-) The fact that your contract with your boss entitles you to keep part or all of the tips you recieve dos not IN ANY WAY obligate the customer to give those tips. Not legally, not morally, not at all.

    Tips are given to reward and encourage good service, by giving them something they are NOT entitled to, just the exact opposite of a contractual obligation between customer and server.

    You’ve got your cart not only before your horse, but upside down, too.

    Hence why

  166. killavanilla says:

    @floofy:
    no substitutions is one I can think of right off the bat…
    No credit cards.
    no minors at the bar, only at tables
    you can have fries subbed for mash, but not broccoli.
    free refills.
    those are policies.
    they need to be shared with the customer.
    stop picking fights over nothing.

  167. killavanilla says:

    @floofy:
    most occupations where people sell things to customers do, in fact, rely on some sort of compensation.
    I am in sales right now. I can sell you a product for advertised, or I can make it a little cheaper and take less of a cut.
    Big volume orders get better pricing.
    So in a sense, I am an example of institutionalized compensation similar to tipping.
    The difference is (amongst others) I set the price.
    Restaurants set their pricing, not waiters, so waiters don’t have influence over their compensation in a volume situation. Hence, they will sell more to make more, not to provide service. Tips, the possibility of earning a whopper, keeps service levels high without fluxuating pricing.

  168. Candyman says:

    @killavanilla:

    No, Killa, no one on this thread has objected to tipping, or insulted waiters, not even Alvis, who started the debate. Alvis had his own unique method of figuring the tip, but he never said he didn’t tip.

    “People” may complain about waiters as you say, but that’s not what anyone here’s been saying. You’re reading all that into it yourself. Again, it’s it’s about whether tips are required.

    You describe the motivating effect of tips very well, but you fail to get that all that only works if tipping is voluntary. Make it mandatory, like you keep saying it is, and everything you describe goes away. Make it expected, which it is already, and you get the bad apples that piss me off. Sorry, but as you say yourself, you work hard in order to get those good tips. If everyone always tipped it wouldn’t be a motivation anymore, just another part of your pay. Which you keep asserting that it is, when you say that tips are how you are paid for service.

  169. markwm says:

    @acambras:
    And I have no problem with that sort of system, as the bartender did do some sort of service. However, I’ve noticed a lot of restaurants now automatically give the bartender a portion of the tip, regardless of if his services were used or not. I’ll just grumble about how it’s not fair to the waitress and leave the tip. My father-in-law takes it a step farther and actually asks waitresses/waiters if they have to split their tip with the bartender. If they say yes, he asks if the do even if the bartender was not used. If they say yes again, then he explains to them that he will not tip the bartender, and if part of the tip he gives the waitress has to go to the bartender, then he’s not going to tip her. He then makes sure to leave the money on the table and explain to her that it is not a tip, it must have just fallen out of his pocket as he was leaving, and should find its way into her pocket, without going to the bartender. Of course, I’m sure he knows the waitress still splits it as the rules say, as she doesn’t want to get in trouble if she’s caught pocketing it, but it’s his own little way of stating his dissatisfaction with it.

    @killavanilla:
    For all your appeals for others to read more attentively, you seem to do a poor job of it yourself. Add to that the name-calling, and your contradictions, and you’ve pretty much summed up why automatic tipping is wrong. And no matter how many times you state that tipping is obligatory, that does not change the fact it is not. The very definitions of tip and gratuity state they are voluntary. Once you make them compulsory, they are no longer tips or gratuities, they are service fees. If they are truly compulsory, then let the restaurant tack them on, either by raising menu prices or a written policy that an X% service charge will be added to all bills for compensation of the waitstaff. Do not call it a gratuity or tip. It is not. Even if that were to happen in every restaurant, some waiters/waitresses would get a gratuity on top of the service charge and some wouldn’t. You hit upon it yourself when you said “ever been…where the waiter is attentive, takes care of everything, and makes it all seem effortless”. _That_ is the sort of waiter I tip and tip well. Someone who’s just there doing their time and watching the clock, I probably will not tip.
    I have not seen anyone in the thread say they never tip. I’ve seen people say they tip based on service, and if it was not good service, they don’t tip. That’s the way it should be.

  170. @mac-phisto: “seriously? it works for cat pee? … do i put it in with the detergent, or do i have to do a separate wash with just vinegar? “

    Yes. Also works for dog pee, but dog pee doesn’t reek quite as much as cat pee. :) Spray and wash won’t do it — you need vinegar or an enzymatic cleaner (which I haven’t needed so can’t recommend a brand personally). I buy it in the big 1-gallon jugs of Heinz white vinegar for $1.50 or whatever; very cheap.

    Generally I wash it once in vinegar (on cold), sniff-test it, and wash it a second time in detergent. It DOES work if you use the vinegar and detergent both at once, but I only do that when the accident was very small. (This is probably unwarranted paranoia.) A cup is all you should need for even the biggest cat pee incidents, but I just sort of pour, I don’t really measure.

    (Vinegar also works on animal carpet/furniture accidents, but there’s all kinds of different ways you have to do it then to not damage subflooring or whatever.)

    If you are super-paranoid and want to be super-thorough, put the piece of clothing out in the sun for a while after it’s dry. Sunlight removes all kinds of odors.

    If any location or piece of clothing is a repeat target, you need an enzymatic cleaner to remove the residual scent that the cat can smell and you can’t. If the cat is peeing exclusively on things that smell like its people (bedsheets, clothes in the hamper, stinky gym bag), the cat may be ill or suffering pain during urination and seeking comfort in the owner’s smell; the cat needs to see a vet ASAP.

  171. rjhiggins says:

    @Alvis: You don’t seriously compute this throughout the meal, do you?

    You must be a helluva dining companion.

  172. mac-phisto says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: awesome! thanks for the advice. from your advice, i would imagine that soaking the items in a vinegar/water mix in the sink before a wash would also work.

    i was attributing her peeing to marking. there’s other felines in the house & she has a very “forward” personality, so i think she’s just claiming territory. but what do i know? i don’t think she’s ill – she doesn’t seem to pee exclusively anywhere. bedsheets, towels, dirty clothes are targets, but also rugs, furniture, mail, paper towels, boxes – the list is never ending. even so, i’ll make sure she gets checked out when she goes for the fixing.

  173. cde says:

    @killavanilla: Ohh, one last thing, should I still tip in states where, oh I don’t know, waiters get paid real wages? Like New York or Washington? As it is, only half the states allow for less then minimum wage, and even then, some of them are still ABOVE the federal minimum wage for NON-TIPPED employees. Should tips still be obligated in that situation?

    [www.dol.gov]

  174. cde says:

    Ohh, even more interesting. If a waiter or other tipped employee is not tipped enough to make up the difference between their wage, their tip credit, and the minimum wage, then the employer has to pay the difference. Either way, the waiter makes the same minimum wage as every other non-tipped minimum wage worker does, but has the ability to receive more. More proof that any forced tip is just welfare and subsidizing the restaurant then it is “supporting” the waiter.

  175. INTPLibrarian says:

    Everyone arguing makes me want to cry.

    That said…

    Someone said: “What gives servers that right?? I cannot think of another profession in which it is even a consideration to mess with a customers anything!”

    Oh my. Uhm, everyone else who’s every worked in any sort of remotely service-like profession, let’s not let on that this happens everywhere. You’re rude? You get bad service. Period. And, yeah, that includes “free” services like, oh, at the library.

    “The whole concept of tipping is out of control in America. Restaurant operators get to skip out of providing a good wage by arguing that wait staff will get tips in addition.”

    I think most people would agree with you on that point. Including waitstaff. However, the question is whether you want to “protest” by punishing the waitstaff by not tipping or the restaurant owner by not eating as his/her establishment.

    “And don’t you DARE tell me if I don’t want to tip, I should stay home. If i pay the menu price, I have paid for my meal AND for the SERVICE; I have every right to a quality meal AND quality service for it, without being extorted for more money on top.”

    No, that’s the point, you’re NOT paying for the service. If restaurants were to pay their waitstaff living wages, then that money would come from somewhere. Guess where? The menu prices.

    “How is a waiter different in working for the boss and the customer than, say a grocery store checker? Or any service employee? Yet, the grocery clerk, bagger, etc do not expect the customer to pay them directly, do they?”

    Easy question to answer. Because waitstaff are exempt from minimum wage. Grocery store clerks are not. Next?

    Yeah, tipping isn’t an “obligation,” but neither is saying thank you or covering your mouth when you cough. Not doing these things makes you an asshole, not a criminal.

    And for EVERYONE who says to just choose another job… I can’t even being to explain why that’s not as simple as it seems. Although there are definitely flaws in the book, read Nicked and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich.

  176. Yogambo says:

    Entertainment book: $12
    Contains: $25 in grocery savings at Safeway
    $6 movie tix (Vs. $9.50 at our local)

    With those coupons alone, it saves price of the book. But we use it occasionally at restaurant, hotel, car repair … all good here.

    And remember, this guy said ignore the frequent shopper cards, etc. If he wants to pay an extra dollar for orange juice, etc.. let him. I’ll use my anonymous card, get the discount and head home a few dollars richer.

    In addition, I regard our purchase of the newspaper as similar to the Entertainment book. Each Sunday we find at least $5 worth of coupons that we actually use in the next week, easily paying for our newspaper subscription, which we eagerly read and enjoy. It’s all good.

  177. dvdchris says:

    @ALVIN and LILMISCANTBERONG and CANDYMAN:
    Are you guys on crack?
    Since you three seem to have difficulty in comprehending how restaurant dining works in this country I will explain it.
    Waitstaff gets paid about $2.15/hr. Your MIMIMUM TIP of 15% is COUNTED as part of their salary and they are taxed on it whether you tip them or not.
    So yes, YOU ARE EXPECTED and it absolutely IS your responsibility to tip a MINIMUM of 15%.
    The cost of service is NOT INCLUDED in the cost of the meal.
    You pay their salary.
    In short if you cheap asses tip less than 15% you are STEALING SERVICE from the waitstaff.

  178. dvdchris says:

    @Candyman: I bet you get great service when you eat out.

  179. cde says:

    @cooltidbits.net: Read your state’s wage laws. If we “steal service” from them, the employer needs to make up the difference up to the federal or state minimum, whichever is higher. And not all the states are the same. Waiters in Hawaii get paid a dollar over the new federal minimum including a tip credit. Washington and Oregon are almost 3 dollars over Federal Minimum, and increase every year.

    Again: Department of Labor Tipped Employee Wage Guide [www.dol.gov]

  180. Trackback says:

    Ahhh, this is the second article in the Your Take series and it piggybacks an article I wrote earlier that was linked to by Consumerist.

  181. Candyman says:

    @cooltidbits.net:
    Why? Because I CHOOSE to tip, as opposed to being cowed into believing it’s a requirement by people like you? Or are you WRONGLY ASSUMING I don’t tip? I tip. I never said I didn’t.

    Here, yet again, is another fine example of the entitlement attitude, and all it’s negative results. I say tips are voluntary, not required, and the immediate response is, “You cheapskate! I don’t earn enough! You’re cheating me! Tips are how I get paid!” Crack a dictionary and look up the meaning of the word “gratuity.”

    I tip because I want to REWARD good service. It is not something I OWE. I OWE my BILL. That is all.

    I swear, I am getting sick of being called cheap by people who don’t know shit about me, and haven’t even bothered to read what I write. When the hell did I ever say, “DON’T tip your waiter??”

  182. @mac-phisto: “i would imagine that soaking the items in a vinegar/water mix in the sink before a wash would also work.”

    It should! My problem cat tended to target bedding, so it usually made a full load. But with just a shirt or whatever a soak would be much less wasteful!

    And while marking is more common in male than female cats, it’s possible the spaying may fix the problem anyway. Even the girls tend to calm down a bit after having their parts removed. :)

  183. thedreamingtree says:

    People who laugh at people who wash and reuse baggies and do other small things to save money should actually read The Tightwad Gazette or other books that show the long-term savings. You can be as frugal as you like, to the point that it doesn’t actually harm you. The author (you can get her books at most libraries) shows how she fed a huge family just on her husband’s income by not having to have the latest and greatest of everything, and forgoing convenience items. Think of how many families could actually have a mom at home, instead of a stranger raising them, if people would stop trying to keep up with the Joneses.

  184. INTPLibrarian says:

    Entertainment books would be a great deal for me **IF** any of the dining coupons were for half off instead of BOGO. I eat out a LOT (yes, I know, not frugal), but usually by myself with a book.

    Does anyone know if one can use those coupons for one meal to eat in and one meal to go?

    And to keep on topic (which is supposed to be BAD ideas re: saving $$): Uhm… shopping at Walmart? Doing the daily crossword in the library’s newspaper? Buying your children toys that were painted in China?

  185. acambras says:

    @mac-phisto:

    Yes, definitely have the vet check the cat out. Often, “inappropriate elimination” can be a sign of a physical problem. My cat is very old (17), and was recently diagnosed with hyperthyroidism (common in senior cats). The vet put her on medication. He also told me that older cats don’t have great night vision, and advised me to put a nightlight in the room where the litter box is. Between the medicine and the nightlight, the “inappropriate elimination” has stopped.

    Oh, and for carpets, try “Pet Gold” — a gallon jug of it costs about $20 at Petco. Don’t get the spray bottle, because you want to POUR it onto the stain, liberally saturating the carpet and the padding underneath. Then let it air dry. It worked at our apartment. If you have trouble finding where the cat peed, get an ultraviolet light and turn it on in the darkened room — the pee stains should glow in the dark like something out of CSI.

    I’m not a Petco shill or anything, btw.

    Who would have thought that a discourse on cat pee could be the most pleasant conversation going on this thread? ;-)

  186. Tonguetied says:

    I’ll never understand how the passage of time can be used as an excuse to increase the percentage of a tip. The base price of the food has gone up so therefore 15% of the cost of a meal in the oughts is bigger than 15% of the cost of a meal in the nineties.

    “I work hard therefore I deserve XX%” also doesn’t work for me since I heard basically the same thing back when it was being raised from 10% to 15% and then from 15% to 17.5%. Now I’m hearing it for 20%. I fully expect to hear it again a few years down the road when someone will indignantly scream that 25% is completely reasonable. I guess in about 20 years or so we’ll be hearing how 50% is the new 40%…

  187. killavanilla says:

    @cde:
    I have changed my mind.
    Don’t tip.
    Tipping is for idiots!
    You are awesome!
    The whole ‘minimum wage’ argument is flawed.
    It is based on an average over 2 weeks.
    Meaning, you don’t tip and as long as the server clears wages equal to minimum wage (including paltry salary), restaurants don’t have to make up anything.
    But you are right!
    You shouldn’t tip anyone for anything ever.
    Me?
    I’ll tip extra to make up the difference.
    Cool?

  188. killavanilla says:

    @cde:
    don’t tip then.
    we get it.
    you think a tip is equal to welfare.
    OKAY already.

  189. Echodork says:

    Refilling my drink, ensuring the table is clean, making sure my order is correct… these are aspects of your job. This is what your employer pays you to do. I don’t pay you for these services because I’m not your boss. I pay the menu price for my meal to the restaurant, and they use that revenue to compensate their employees, the same as any other business. You do your job, you get paid by the company that hired you. It’s a very simple equation.

    The details of your working arrangement with your boss are none of my concern. Sounds like some of you are working for $2.13 an hour. Now me, I consider my time to be worth a little more than that, but I guess some people don’t feel that way. However, if you’re unhappy with your working arrangements, then the proper course of action is to find a new job, not bitch at me because you don’t get paid enough.

    See, tipping is optional. It’s a way for the customer to thank his server for a job exceptionally well done. That’s why it comes after the meal — after the customer has had a chance to evaluate the server’s performance throughout the meal. If you do a poor job, or if you have a bad attitude, you get no tip. Not 10%, not a dollar. You get no tip. And the next time I return, if you perform poorly again (on purpose or otherwise), then my next course of action is to pull the manager aside to discuss the poor quality of the service in his restaurant. Managers like to know how they can improve, to bring in more business. Sometimes that means shedding employees who drive away sales.

    See, some servers out there are confused.. they think that they wield the power in the server/customer relationship. Usually it only takes one serious complaint and a fully comped meal to dissuade them of that attitude. Unfortunately, the sense of entitlement that some people have is too strong to be reasoned with. Thankfully they don’t usually last long, and it’s easy enough to request a server who understands that service generates tips, and NOT the other way around.

  190. @acambras: “He also told me that older cats don’t have great night vision, and advised me to put a nightlight in the room where the litter box is”

    One of my cats has the same problem. I don’t know if it’s just him, or if it’s because he only has one eye, but he can’t see a DARN THING in the dark and cries piteously if he gets left downstairs in the dark when we go up to bed because he can’t find his way up.

    We learned REALLY QUICK that we needed nightlights leading to the litterbox!

  191. acambras says:

    @Eyebrows McGee:

    Yep, my cat’s vet has been a wealth of info on the whole elderly cat thing. Another bit of advice he gave me — ditch the cover on the litter box. He said most old cats don’t like to feel closed in.

  192. thedreamingtree says:

    Thanks for the elderly cat info. My cat is an adoptee and I have no idea how old he is. I kept finding large areas of pee on my bed and finally had to shut him out of the bedroom. I thought he was just being mean, until I realized that he might have a urinary tract infection (he is fixed, and should not be spraying or urinating inappropriately). I took him to the vet, they gave him medicine, problem solved. I will try the other methods too, just to be sure, especially since we are in the market for a new mattress.

  193. FLConsumer says:

    Hmm… with all of these people talking about washing their clothes in cold water, I wonder if maybe they’re the ones who are causing the stink in the movie theatres as mentioned in another Consumerist thread.

    Forget trying to save money on your washing if you’re using a traditional American-style top-loading washer. You’re using anywhere from 50-80 gallons of water per load with those. I have a European front-load washing machine which only uses 14 gallons and has its own water heater built-in. Towels, sheets, lab coat, etc., all get done at 200F. Want something white & clean? boil-washing it at 200F will do the trick. I’ve yet to have any stain which I couldn’t remove. Yes, you can’t use chlorine bleach in a true Euro front-loading machine because they use stainless steel inner & outer drums, but I’ve yet to encounter a stain which the washer couldn’t remove. 200F boil washes can do a number on anything elastic, so white socks & undergarments are done at 140F. I think the “coolest” temperature water I use is 100F and that’s for the “delicates”.

  194. Candyman says:

    @killavanilla:

    There ya go again, Killa. WHen did CDE say he doesn’t tip, ot that tipping is bad? He was responding to the assertion that waiters do not get minimum wage. He showed proof that that isn’t true. What part of that means, “Don’t tip?” You and everyone else arguing on your side are so defensive over the issue that when you can’t refute the basic assertion that tips are in fact voluntary, you immediatly attack us as being anti-tipping. Stop using strawman arguments and attacking the arguer.

  195. acambras says:

    @thedreamingtree:
    Glad to help.

    So we’ve thoroughly discussed cat urine — now if only we can stop the commenters’ pissing contest about tipping. ;-)

  196. @thedreamingtree: Get a vinyl-backed mattress pad, the ones that are waterproof.

    It reflects buttloads of body heat back up at you so can be uncomfortably hot in summer, but even so it’s SO MUCH BETTER than trying to take cat pee out of a mattress — especially a new one.

    My older cat also chose the bed when he had a UTI. The vet said that’s because he was seeking people-smell comfort, which is sort-of flattering in a weird way that the cat loves and trusts you enough to want to, you know, pee on you when he doesn’t feel well. But mostly just annoying and gross and a lot of laundry!

  197. c0nsumer says:

    Want to know how to not have to deal with scary ways of reusing soap splinters?

    Let the splinter from the previous bar sit in the soap tray, and just before getting out of the shower squish it against the bottom of your new bar. The two will dry out together overnight and become usable as one by the next day.

    I do this regularly and never have to throw out soap splinters, deal with a bag full of leftovers, nor have soap splinters hanging around for more than a single shower.

  198. acambras says:

    @Eyebrows McGee:

    I guess cat UTIs don’t respond to a heating pad and a gallon of cranberry juice? ;-)

  199. killavanilla says:

    @Candyman:
    There you go Candyman, extending a stupid argument that is pointless and nonsensical (and irritating everyone reading this thread).
    NO ONE CARES.
    It boils down to this, as far as I can tell:
    You and a few others like you seem to want waiters to kiss your ass over your voluntary tip.
    Waiters should be thankful that you even bother to hold yourself to a century old tradition in american dining.
    Why?
    Because to you, the attitude of the waiter who gets stiffed is important.
    Which is ridiculous.
    And stupid. And has led to even MORE posts arguing about tipping.
    Since I’m not a waiter anymore, I certainly don’t give a crap what you think about tipping, not tipping, etc.
    Hence, don’t tip if you don’t want to. Tip low. Tip a buck of $100. I. Dont. Care.
    Just like I don’t give a rats behind if the waiter that I overtip thinks he is owed a tip or understands that tipping is a gratuity and is, therefore, not required.
    No one should give a crap. It is a wonder that you care so much how a person, who is within their rights as an American citizen, views tips and customers who don’t.
    No. One. Cares. What. You. Think. The. Motivation. Of. The. Waiter. Is.
    All we, as consumers, should want is good, polite, courteous service. And we, as consumers, shouldn’t be getting our panties in a bunch about what motivates a server. If they expect a tip, it doesn’t matter to me and shouldn’t matter to you either.
    WHO GIVES A CRAP? If they provide good service, tip them well if it suits you – or tip them poorly – or don’t tip them at all.
    Can we stop this silly thread from becoming an even more boring one?
    It’s up to you.
    I’ll even allow you or CDE or whomever get the last word. Because I, for one, am done.
    Why? Because I don’t care if a waiter expects a tip or not – I always leave one.

  200. markwm says:

    @killavanilla:

    And yet, if you truly didn’t care, you wouldn’t have taken the time to respond. Especially not as often as you did. And you still fail to see what the other side is saying.

  201. The Meathead says:

    @superlayne: In actuality buying used from GameStop is a good idea.

    They offer a decent warranty and I never have had disc problems.

  202. killavanilla says:

    @markwm:
    mark-
    don’t make a mistake of continuing what amounts to a stupid argument.
    It’s not that I fail to see what the other side is saying, I just don’t care anymore.
    See, it seems to me that the resentment shown by people who take issue with tipping waiters in some form or another is how the waiter sees things (or at least how people think waiters see things).
    What I am saying is that the argument is silly.
    I bitch all the time that I deserve more money and should earn more. It doesn’t mean I resent my job, my boss, or my customers. I have a right to look at it however I see fit.
    Do I care if a waiter thinks he is owed a tip or not?
    No. because for all I care, a waiter can think he should earn $10 grand a check. He gets what I think is appropriate.
    The main crux of this argument seems to be that some people resent that some waiters seem to think they are owed a tip. WHO F-IN GIVES A CRAP?
    Why this matters to anyone is beyond me.
    Yes, I don’t care anymore. Key word – anymore.
    I took the time to respond out of courtesy and because this morning, while taking my shower, I thought about it and realized that the issue here doesn’t seem to be about the tip, but rather whether or not customer think that waiters think they are entitled to one.
    Which, of course, is stupid because that doesn’t matter one bit to anyone – or at least it shouldn’t.
    I think I am entitled to millions of dollars, a 6000 square foot house, and 7 luxury cars. Does that matter to my boss? Of course not.
    Waiters are going to keep doing their jobs – some great, some suck.
    Diners are going to continue to tip – some great, some suck.
    Why should anyone who comes to the consumerist have to read yet another justification for tipping less or more based on the perception that some waiters think customers owe them a tip?
    Really. Does it matter?
    If so, fine. Be petty. Don’t tip waiters, tip them a little, tip them a lot – no one really cares what a bunch of internet brainiacs have to say about it anyway.
    I will continue to tip huge for great service and 15% for regular, run of the mill service.
    So tell me – what do YOU think the other side is saying?
    Am I far off?
    Have I been obtuse in any way? Am I dead wrong?
    Go ahead – post it. I’m sorry I came back to this thread now more than ever.
    Candyman is stuck on the entitlement issue – which is meaningless to everyone but him and others who might think their opinion matters to everyone else. And there is nothing wrong with it, per se, but enough already.
    The great “tipping flame wars” of 2007 is officially over.
    You want to think you won?
    Fine.
    You won.
    Entitlement is bad for business, but I just don’t give a crap who thinks what – I tip on performance. They can think they are owed 15% all they want – when they get 20% from me it won’t matter anyway.

  203. cde says:

    @killavanilla: You’ve been done for 5 posts now, yet you never shut up… And your still insulting people. My my…

  204. markwm says:

    And again you’ve missed the point. It’s not about whether or not waiters think they’re entitled to the tip. Of course they do, just like every employee up for review feels they are entitled to a raise. That’s no biggie.
    It’s the fact that society as a whole is trying to say that the tip is mandatory. That’s the rub, because it takes away the incentive for a waiter to do a good job. He can slack off, and when he doesn’t get the tip, it’s because of the tightwad customer.

  205. killavanilla says:

    @markwm:
    Mark-
    Then I would say that the perception that society is saying a tip is mandatory is false.
    What society is saying right now is that the standard tip is between 15 and 18 %
    Waiters are not stupid (most of them).
    They understand how the system works – if they do a good job, they are rewarded with a tip.
    I’m not sure where this idea that a waiter can do a crap job and expect a tip comes from, but I assure you it isn’t from waiters.
    I certainly don’t mean to offend of aggravate you, but you are the only person who said that society says a tip is mandatory for sub-par service.
    For the record, I have always said that if service is bad the customer should complain and then reflect the service in the tip.
    I believe at one point, I went on record as saying that rude or lax service (service where I am insulted or ignored for long periods of time for example) get reduced (10% or less) or no tip.
    There is no objection to that whatsoever.
    But some here seem to be saying that they figure out a tip based on how long a server is at their table and another said that the transaction is over when they pay for the food.
    The standard tip for good service (everything is acceptable, problems are resolved quickly and without hassle, drinks stay full, the server is courteous and attentive) is 15-18% of the pre-tax bill.
    The idea that a tip is mandatory is a concept created by non-waiters as a sort of strawman way of framing an argument against proper tipping.
    No tip is mandatory. But when a waiter does their job properly, a tip is expected. If they suck and screw up everything? That’s a whole different story.
    I can tell you as an ex-waiter, there have been times when things went poorly and I thought to myself “This is going to end with a low tip.” Good waiters seize this opportunity by working harder to ‘turn’ the customer.
    When I bartended, they used to call me “the closer” because when there was an issue with a patron, I became the bartender and I did everything I could to turn the situation around. When I did my job correctly, I still got a good tip because customers know when things are being fixed and appreciate receiving great service, even after a major foul up.
    I can’t WAIT for CDE to post about how I’ve been done for 5 posts and still haven’t shut up.
    :-)

  206. markwm says:

    Even in this thread, there have been people who’ve said tipping is mandatory. I think that’s where the rub comes in, and where Candyman and I are coming from. We’re not saying we don’t/won’t tip, we’re just saying that it is a voluntary thing, and if the service does not warrant a tip, one will not be given. Some people have said that the tip is where the waiter makes all his money, and without it, he’ll be on the streets and starving, so it is mandatory to tip. That is the attitude that I, and I believe Candyman, am arguing against.
    If my water glass sits empty for long periods, if I have to track down my waiter, or grab the first waiter I see, that will affect the tip.
    There have been numerous times I’ve left no tip. There’ve also been times I’ve left a much larger than customary tip. It all depends on the service I get. As I said, I couldn’t care less what the waiter is thinking as far as the tip is concerned, other than I would find it amusing if he got mad at me for not leaving one after giving me insufferably poor service, and he honestly felt entitled to it, such as in the case in this anecdote:
    Some friends and I went to a restaurant, a nice mid-level dining restaurant, not part of a chain, a few years back. There were six of us at the table. The waitress seats us and passes out the menus. The five menus. She starts to walk off and I stop her saying, “Ma’am, I did not get a menu.” “Well, you’ll just have to share with someone else. I’ve got other tables I have to get to.” and walks off.
    This frustrates me, but I say nothing and instead wait for someone else to finish with their menu so I can use it. The waitress comes back and asks to take our orders. Another at our table asks if we could order beverages and have a few more minutes to decide our food orders, as we were a menu short.
    She seems taken aback by this, but goes around the table taking drink orders, taking mine last. As I’m the DD that night, I just order a glass of ice water, no lemon. When we get our drinks, I ask if I can have a different glass of water, as I’d ask for no lemon. She insists I got plain water, no lemon. I then point out the seeds floating in the water. She jerked the glass from my hand and walks off, I’m sure muttering about how it was just a few seeds, or it’s just lemon, or some such.
    She brings me a fresh glass of water, then proceeds to take the food orders. As she’s doing this, she’s literally leaning on me, her elbow on my shoulder and slouched. She takes everyone’s order but mine and starts to walk off. I again stop her and she says, “Yes?” in the aggravated, ‘what is it now’ voice.
    I ask if I can please order. She takes my order then walks off. It was at that point I turned to my dining companions and inform them she will receive no tip, and if I see anyone put a tip down for her, I will pocket it myself. Of course they all agreed and could not believe the service she was providing.
    As we were leaving, she was at our table looking around. She then turned and glared at our group. She said nothing, but you could tell she was upset with us for not tipping her. She honestly thought the service she provide was such that she should get a tip.
    Perhaps she felt she gave spectacular service. Or she felt that the tip was required, regardless of service. Or maybe I reminded her of her boyfriend, who had just dumped her that day. I don’t know what was going on in her mind. I really don’t care. All I know is that was poor service and she received no tip.

    I tell that story simply to illustrate to those out there who insist the tip is always mandatory that no, it is not.

  207. killavanilla says:

    @markwm:
    a point well taken – your story illustrates an excellent time when a tip is not necessary.
    One caveat though – as a former restaurant GM, I’d want to know about that sort of thing so I could explain it to the waiter.
    Perhaps your post is the first to make the point well enough so that I could clearly grasp what you intended to say, or perhaps your viewpoint is unique to the thread.
    Either way, it’s pretty clear that you have it right – good service gets rewarded with good tips.
    The argument that waiters rely on the money and you are obligated to give it – even when service is horrendous- is absurd.
    Waiters do rely on the money, but it is unreasonable to expect it when providing poor service.
    Where was this 150 posts ago?
    :-)

  208. SJActress says:

    I never understood the two-ply versus one-ply thing. If I use one-ply, I use more of it than two-ply, thereby I consume the same amount of toilet paper, no matter the ply.

    It’s just silly.

  209. WillACarpenter says:

    @superlayne: Buy a good condition used game, buy it from a smaller store or a private seller. Also be aware of prices, also WAIT to buy that game. Once the price has dropped from $60 to $40, buying the used copy at $35 (or less if you have a good store or buy from a person) has saved you $25 or more.

    If you get a game that is used, and the disc is crap, it’s your responsibility to take it back and not allow the retailer to take advantage. I’ve hundreds of used games, mostly on discs (some carts too, some of those VERY OLD) and I’ve had very few problems, and saved a ton of money getting the games I want.

    //

  210. WillACarpenter says:

    @Candyman: Agreed. I’m a waiter by night (I also have a day job) and I don’t think you need to tip me some super high amount. Personally if you give me a couple bucks (if everybody’s got meals, I’m hoping to get $1 per person, if it’s a HUGE PARTY you SHOULD leave more $2 per person maybe…but it probably won’t happen)

    I do pretty well in tips…but it’s because I do a good job, I really try to take care of people, and I work for my money. I’m genuinely concerned when things go wrong, and I do my best to remedy the situation.

    But I’m not entitled to a tip. I probably deserve it, but you’re not obligated to pay it for a reason.

    I do however think that if I give you AMAZING service, and you’re telling all of your friends about this GREAT WAITER YOU HAD that you probably shouldn’t walk out without giving me at least a few dollars.

    (for the record, I never complain about a table that leaves me a somewhat small tip, or even a damn small tip, I only care when I’m good, and I get nadda, and even then, I’ll probably make up for it on the next table, all the more reason to smile and step up my game for the next group)

    //

  211. cde says:

    @killavanilla: //No tip is mandatory. But when a waiter does their job properly, a tip is expected.//

    Please, please, for the love of god/goddess/thor/science, go ask an English teacher or major to explain your sentence to you.

  212. killavanilla says:

    @cde:
    Okay CDE.
    It’s pretty clear that you are well educated and extremely intelligent.
    Thanks for the grammar lesson.
    I wasn’t operating under the impression that proper english was a requirement for posting on the Consumerist.
    You aren’t being a catty prick now, are you?
    Yup.
    You are.
    Go suck and egg, flamer. I’m not interested in getting into a flame war with an immature punk who wants to correct my english.

  213. Spooty says:

    Killavanilla is quite insufferable.
    I just don’t want him/her to get the last word.
    Search the posts and see how many times he/she said that they weren’t going to comment any more.
    Let’s see if his/her ego, misanthropy actually, prompts yet another reply….