I'm a server. I've been a server since I was in my early 20's. Yet to this day, some, if not a lot of people, don't know how to tip. Now, I know that there are probably a thousand bloggers who have talked about this subject, but now there's a thousand and one.
I'm not sure how many people are aware, but because servers depend on tips for their income, their hourly rate, at least here in Illinois, is just under $5.00 a hour. But generally, when check day comes you get a check that has "THIS IS NOT A CHECK!" branded across the whole thing (Ok, maybe there isn't an exclamation point, but you get it). The reason it says that, is because the tips you've made through the pay period should equal out the hourly rate you are receiving. So when people don't tip you or give you a three percent tip, you're actually paying out of your pocket.
Look, I understand if you don't want to tip 20%. Technically, a 20% tip or higher is for exceptional service. A 15% percent tip is fine, but if I've done everything you've asked of me, gotten all of your tables orders correct, refilled drinks, all while maintaining a great attitude and a smile, why would you leave me $3.00 on a $50.00 check? I can always tell when a person has left a bad tip by the way they've placed their signed credit card slip back into the check presenter. If it's face down, it will almost ALWAYS be a bad tip. If yo're so ashamed of your gratuity leaving skills, perhaps you shouldn't come out to eat. Stay home, make a turkey sandwich and have some Crystal Light.
Now let's move on to foreigners. I have nothing against foreigners. Welcome to our country! Enjoy yourselves while you're here! But please, for the love of God, don't tell me you aren't aware of tipping in the US. Now I know that in a lot of European countries, the gratuity is always included or the servers make a higher hourly rate so tipping isn't customary. But when Americans come to other countries, they love us because most of us always leave a tip after having a meal.
To them, that's like a little some thing extra. It's kind of like when you put on your winter coat after it being in the closet all summer and you find a $20 in the pocket. Bonus! And I understand that it's bound to happen occasionally that a non English speaking person from another country doesn't know to tip. But I once waited on two ladies from England who didn't even leave me a penny.
So I did something that I've never done before and I went back to the table before they left and said, "Ladies, was every thing alright with the service? The reason I ask is because you didn't leave a tip. In America, it's customary to tip 15% to 20% depending on service." Did they leave me anything after that? No.
But I guarantee that one of two things will happen. Either from then on, they'll remember to tip (probably not) or they'll tell their friends about the rude server who said that to them and then their friend will say, "Yeah, you dummies, everyone knows to tip". Ok, fine. Neither of those things will probably happen, but damn it, it felt great to finally say that to a few cheap asses.
Well, I'll end this rant here. The word TIP is generally thought to stand for To Insure Promptness. So perhaps we should change the tipping procedure to tipping BEFORE the meal to ensure that I give you good service. Kind of like a.....well bribe I guess. Anyway, just please, the next time you go out to dinner tip your server appropriately because karma's a bitch.