My wife and I love to dine out. Like most people, we have our list of favorites, but we rarely, if ever, go to what I call “fancy” restaurants. In fact, even if I was a millionaire, there are many restaurants that are sinfully overpriced and I would never consider dining there. I have a real problem with getting ripped off. It’s not a matter of money; it’s a matter of principle and value for the dollar. Frankly, I don’t think there is a meal anywhere on planet Earth worth $100. I mean, just how good can the service, setting, and food be to justify such an outrageous price? And just to set the record straight, ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you that I’m anything but cheap. In fact, friends and relatives have told me that I can spend money like a drunken sailor.
In most cases, unless the service absolutely sucks, I am a generous tipper. My wife and I debate this issue all the time. She’s a fair tipper, but I have a tendency to over-tip, particularly if the server provided exceptional service. But there is one thing about tipping that drives me nuts. It’s what I call “Mandatory Tipping.”
Dine at just about any restaurant with a party of six or more, and you don’t have to worry about calculating a fair tip, because the restaurant will be kind enough to do it for you by adding an 18% gratuity to the bill. How kind. They will also factor in the tip if you participate in a buy-one, get-one-free promotion. Now don’t get me wrong. Most servers work their tails off and deserve to be fairly compensated. Waiting on whiney, demanding customers is no easy task. But hey, aren’t tips voluntary? Is it my obligation to supplement a server’s wages because the employment laws allow restaurants to pay them below minimum wage?
One restaurant my wife and I frequently patronize even calculates the gratuity on the tax. On the tax! I won’t, of course, stop dining out because of mandatory tipping. But the practice will continue to annoy me.
Have you noticed that lots of things piss me off?