Shit People Say to Bartenders

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20 Responses:

  1. joh says:

    so... as I'm from Germany... is $1.50 an acceptable tip on a bar tab in the US? Or is that another jab?

    • extra88 says:

      Yes, a 5% tip ($1.50 on a $30 tab) is another jab. I don't really have personal experience but I figure 15% would be standard, same as for waiters in a restaurant.

    • Michael Kolesar says:

      I tend to tip a dollar per drink. I've been told I'm an over-tipper though (not by service workers.0 I guess that's a compliment?

      • jwz says:

        You are not an over-tipper. $1 per drink is the baseline. If you tip less than that you're undertipping on purpose.

        Sure, lots of people don't tip. They still get served. They get the side-eye, though, and bartenders never sleep with them.

    • Pavel Lishin says:

      New York resident here.

      For a bartender, it's a dollar a drink, unless it's something fancy and/or hard to make.

      For a waiter, it's typically 15-20%, plus a dollar per trip to the bar.

  2. antabakayt says:

    As a non-US person, this whole tip system is still a mystery to me, even after living there for a few years. Why are service people in the US not paid sufficiently by their employers? Tax reasons? Attempt to keep the price on the menu look low?

    • Rob says:

      Because capitalism.

      And until that changes, you tip.

    • Perry says:

      antabakayt asks: "Why are service people in the US not paid sufficiently by their employers? Tax reasons? Attempt to keep the price on the menu look low?" — Why do you foreigners never wash? Do they not have soap in your uncivilized country?

      (And if this question makes you angry, perhaps you might consider the possibility that you just asked the same sort of question, which is to say, one that presumes facts that aren't true and is phrased in a manner almost calculated to insult the recipient.)

      • antabakayt says:

        Interesting - so service people ARE paid sufficiently? Whenever I asked, I was informed that service people were relying on the tips for their income, so I assumed that they were paid not enough. Adding 15-20% tip on top of a sufficient wage seems rather high to be honest.

        (And before accusing me of using a "calculated manner" you might want to consider that english is not my native language.)

        • jwz says:

          The base wage is lower because a culture of tipping exists. Even if you think the system would be more efficient or more fair if it was something other than what it is, there will never be a flag day where everyone decides to change the system all at once. Enjoy your Dvorak keyboard.

          • antabakayt says:

            Ok, I guess I can get that. As long as the culture of tipping exists, wages can be quite low. I guess it's interesting for me to understand how that culture got to the point where it is now.

            I also wonder how far the tip % has to climb before enough people are sufficiently miffed by it to consider having such a flag day :)

            • Pavel Lishin says:

              An interesting fact you may not be aware of: servers and other folks who rely on tips typically get an hourly wage of much less than minimum wage - somewhere on the order of three bucks an hour.

              However, if they don't make enough in base pay + tips to actually hit minimum wage, their employer is supposed to actually compensate them for the difference. So if you get paid $3/hour, and minimum wage is $8/hour, and you literally get tipped nothing all night - your boss is supposed to add $5/hour to your paycheck.

              But, that usually doesn't happen.

              (As jwz actually owns an establishment where food and booze are served, in a state in which I don't live, I hope he confirms/denies any of my statements that are right/wrong.)

              • jwz says:

                It all varies state by state and even city by city.

                I don't know about the "making up the difference" thing, or whether that exists in CA, because that case doesn't actually occur in any business I'm familiar with. However, workers are expected to report their tips and pay taxes on them.

                San Francisco recently raised the minimum wage to $15/hour, and this is the first time (I think?) that a tip exemption was not included. Typically the minimum wage is lower for tipped workers, but now it's the same whether you're tipped or untipped. Which means that tipped workers all just got a much bigger raise compared to their untipped coworkers.

                • Pavel Lishin says:

                  If it's publicized enough, this might be an interesting experiment - will people start tipping less?

                  • jwz says:

                    No, it won't be an interesting experiment, it will just make everyone think you're an asshole.

      • Edouard says:

        Note for non-Americans:

        The American system of tipping is similar to the American electoral system - whilst it is obviously broken to any outside observer, Americans themselves believe that, because it is the system the is currently employed within their country, and, because they are indoctrinated in nationalistic propaganda telling them they live in the greatest country in the world from an early age, therefore the way they do something in America is the best possible way of doing it.

        You can't really do much about it. Just smile and nod when they bring it up, and be thankful you don't have to put up with it (tipping, the electoral college, gerrymandering, gun ownership, at-will employment, trillion-dollar federal funding of their war machine, corporate person-hood, heavily militarised police, incorrect spelling of common English words, etc, etc, etc) in you neck of the woods.

        • Perry says:

          Note for Americans:

          Europeans believe that they're smarter than Americans even though their I.Q. scores aren't higher, their education levels aren't better, etc. They tend to believe they know everything about the United States even though tests show their factual understanding is no better than that of Americans for European facts -- they probably couldn't find Wyoming on a map if their life depended on it, though they're very smug about the fact that Americans probably can't find Latvia on a map. They still believe they're better, however, because they are indoctrinated from an early age in propaganda explaining how stupid Americans are and how much more civilized Europe is. Therefore they "know" that the way they do something in Europe is the best possible way of doing it and that Americans are parochial morons.

          They are also happy explaining how much better they are in the rudest possible way, never mind that their economic problems are at least as bad, that they have actual fascists with parliamentary seats, that they have multiple countries on the verge of bankruptcy, that they have poor protection for free speech, that they have a lower, not higher, standard of living, etc.

          When they condescend to you, nod quietly and ignore them.

  3. Steve says:

    The women asking to get the tab split between cash and a pile of credit cards is the best part. I don't know how many times I've seen that happen, can't someone just buy?

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