My girlfriend is wonderful in so many ways but she has this one idiosyncrasy that drives me crazy: She doesn’t believe in tipping waiters. I live in Manhattan and she lives within driving distance, so every weekend she comes into the city and we go out to eat at really high end places, and whenever it’s her turn to pay, I try to find an excuse to run back to the table as we’re walking out the door and I try to drop a tip. It’s getting to the point that I’m trying not to return to restaurants where [we’ve been] because I’m afraid they’ll spit in [our] food. I’ve tried reasoning with her about this and she tells me it’s just the way she was raised (in the South). She doesn’t think she should have to pay for someone else’s employees… she’s convinced that waiters are paid minimum wage and that it’s not her responsibility to tip. Do you have any suggestions?
Your girlfriend has elective stupidity. Any moron can Google “waiter minimum wage” and learn that wait staff minimum wage is not the same as normal minimum wage, because in America, it’s a given that customers will tip waiters at least 15%. The difference, in case you care to educate her, is below:
New York State Minimum Wage = $7.25 per hour.
New York State Minimum Wage for Tipped Employees = $2.13 per hour.
I believe that the way we treat people like waiters, taxi drivers, doormen, etc. provides a window into our character. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t be able to get it up for a woman whose absence of character allowed her to eat a $200.00 dinner and fail to leave $30-40.00 for the person who stood on his feet all night long and brought her food.
As a former restaurateur, I used to take great offense to customers who failed to respect my wait staff, and I wouldn’t hesitate to follow said douche bag out the door to inquire about what was wrong with his service. Invariably the customer would become concerned that I was pissed off at my staff and he’d immediately tell me that the service was fabulous, at which point I’d educate him on the social propriety of tipping when one receives good service. At times I’d be told that the customer can’t afford to both buy the food and tip the staff, and I’d inform him that if he couldn’t afford to drop 15% on the table at the end of his meal, he couldn’t afford to eat in my restaurant.
I can only hope that your girlfriend gets her karmic due and is laid off from a job and needs to waitress for customers who treat her with the same generosity that she treats her waiters. As for what you can do about this, I suggest you just run and save yourself, lest her absence of generosity rub off on you.
Writer's Stats: Female, lesbian.