Lately the news has been talking about the recession deepening. I've recently seen articles asking where the stimulus money went (boring answer: it's not slated to be spent until 2010), or how we need another stimulus package, or how unemployment will go to 11 percent. I don't know about any of this; personally, I know the recession is getting worse because I see it in tips we're making.
On a $40.00 check, a $5 tip. Fifty dollar check, $6 tip. These aren't Europeans I'm talking about here. They universally tip like shit. I'm talking about Americans. Of all the tips I see come across my desk, 90% of them are like this. Apparently, we all have enough money to go out and eat. We've just decided to cheap out the service people on the tip.
Some of you might be saying to yourself "well, the servers must be giving bad service." Perhaps. But that would mean all my servers were giving terrible service to every single customer who comes in. That just doesn't make sense to me; and if it's true than the owner should close up shop. It can't be that.
The only explanation I can think of is that the American people are feeling unsure about their financial future. They just don't have the money. So let me put this as plainly as I can: If you can't afford to tip, then don't go out.
If that additional $2 you should be leaving is just too much to bear, then you have some serious financial problems. You shouldn't go out and spend $50 if you can't leave a $7.50 tip. You should be putting that $50 in the bank, or use it to pay down your credit card debt.
One of my servers even wants to go back to her tables and hand them their shitty tips back and say "you need this more than me, apparently." But I pointed out that then she'd be making no money at all. See, and that's what cheeses me off so much; service people are just average everyday people who've chosen to earn their livings by serving you. When you leave a crappy 11 percent tip, you're basically taking food out of the mouths of Hakima, who's trying to raise her son, or David, who's trying to pay for school.
So let's review: If you're check is $60, then ten percent of that is 6, and five percent is 3. Six (10%) plus three (5%) is nine (or 15%); you should be leaving a $9 tip on a $60 check. At least. If you can only afford $7, and that two dollars is so vital to your financial future, then stay home. Because you shouldn't be eating out.