Sooner or later, the serving classes were bound to revolt.
If you’re worried that a strike might shut down your local sports bar, you can relax. However, the guy sitting on the bar stool next to you might get called out in a blog titled 15%.com (http//:15percent.tumblr.com).
Even in the current age of enlightenment, it seems that more people can afford to go out than can afford to tip. This is baffling, given that the math is not confusing: leave 15% for decent service, 20% (or more) if you feel you’ve received superlative treatment. It’s certainly not beyond the comprehension of a customer who fancies himself to be a self-made captain of industry. Notice I said himself—women appear to be far more sensitive to the situation of those who are serving them. Beyond that, I won’t get into the political incorrectness of gratuity profiling. Suffice to say that if you wear bow ties, tweed jackets or plaid shirts, don’t be amazed that restaurant personnel aren’t killing each other to wait on you.
In reality, 15%.com is pretty tame. Bad tippers are not actually identified. Rather, the site functions as a therapy session for servers, a place where they can vent their long-standing frustration against the customers who consign them to the ranks of the working poor. Many of the complaints are similar and repetitious, but some are very interesting.
What about delivery? Those who post on 15%.com are unanimous in their belief that people who deliver food to you in your home are entitled to the same compensation (or more) than restaurant servers. Considering that they brave rain, snow and/or traffic to ensure that you don’t have to leave the couch, this does seem reasonable. On top of that, they frequently have to use their own vehicles and pay for their own gas.
Other situations are not so clear. Do you tip for takeout? If so, the person receiving the gratuity is not the same one who sweated over a hot stove to prepare your meal. Even though I spent many years in the restaurant business, I balk at the idea of tipping someone who simply hands me a brown bag. If we’re supposed to compensate these folks, then why not tip the person at the supermarket seafood counter?
Stimulating these discussions, of course, is the point of a site such as 15%.com. Until the day comes when service is automatically included in a restaurant check, remember that your server is a commissioned salesperson dependent on you for their livelihood.