Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Issues With the Free Stuff Rule of Tipping

Browsing Facebook today I found a group called, "If you can't afford a 20% tip, don't go out to eat. Period." For those of you who don't know, when I'm not a SAHM, I am a server. As such, I find it completely appropriate to join said group.

Once I joined the group, I went to their main page and read some of the posts from other members. One of them posted The Rules of Tipping. I've seen and read the rules several times in several places and I agree with most of them, even if their wording is not agreeable (calling children "little devils" is not gonna fly with me.)

What I take issue with most of all is Rule 7. THE FREE STUFF:
"If you happen to get anything for free and you did not have a problem with your dining experience, most of the time it is because the server thinks you will realize that they are giving it to you for free. There should be extra tip thanking the server for the free item. They could get in a lot of trouble giving away free stuff. You should give them hazard pay for it."

Okay - here are my issues with this:

When I go out to eat, I can typically only afford to pay for dinner and the tip. If the server gives me something I have ordered for free, sure I'm gonna tip extra for that. It's not like I wasn't going to be paying for it anyway. (A good example that I've seen of this is free sodas.) However, if the server brings out a free dessert at the end of the meal because we're just "wonderful customers," I am so sorry, but I can't tip extra for that. Yes, I appreciate it. Definitely. But you know what? I love dessert. So much that when I can afford it, I order it. So if I didn't order it, it's not because I'm too full (I'm not above taking it to-go) . It's because I can't afford it. And if I can't afford the dessert, I'm certainly not going to be able to afford to tack on an extra $2-3 in tip for being given one "under the table." It's not that I'm a tightwad and I don't want to tip appropriately. In fact, just for the record, I always tip heavy.

Also - giving away free stuff is against the rules. Don't get me wrong here - I am certainly not against breaking a rule here or there, but I know the extended costs of high food cost. My husband is a cook and when food cost is high, he doesn't get a raise. And you know what? I like it when my husband gets raises. It usually means that I'm closer to affording that dessert.

Plus, if you're not making enough money by sticking to the rules, if you feel the need to steal in order to make a little extra cash per table, you're probably not that great of a server anyway and you might want to reevaluate your profession. Speaking as someone who has worked extensively in the field, I know what I'm talking about. I did JUST FINE without handing out free stuff.

Do you have the same problem with this "rule" as I do? Or am I just being uptight?