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Posts Tagged ‘Tipping’

Ho Ho Ho! Holiday Tipping

Posted by gratrueities on November 27, 2009

Well,  ’tis the season and that means we need to start thinking about the annual bout of holiday tipping for those who provide services throughout the year, or even just occasional services. 

At GraTRUEities we know that many of us share the confusion that often comes with holiday tipping: who should we tip?  How much should we tip? When should we tip? Should we tip with cash or a gift?

One general guideline we like to keep in mind is this: tipping is a personal expression of thanks between you and the service provider. 

Only each of us  knows how much a particular service throughout the year means.  For instance, our hairstylists. How many times have we called at the last-minute to say we are running “ten minutes late”? How many times have we  had to cancel an appointment completely? I know I’ve done this more than once this past year.  An accommodating stylist should be rewarded for the times when they’ve had to switch around their  appointment book to accomodate our scheduling mishaps.

How many times have we all left ‘extra’ garbage by our curbs, just knowing our pick-up crews will haul it away without a word said? Again, this thoughtfulness can be acknowledged at the end of the year with a small token of appreciation.

Keep in mind some service providers, like U.S. mail carriers, cannot accept cash. But, I know that my mailman loves the tin of Peppermint Bark I hand him in late December every year.

So, start jotting down your list and thinking through how much these service providers actually do to accomodate us throughout the year. And, let our words and deeds of thanks reflect that.

To help guide you through, we’ve created a special page here on GraTRUEities with helpful links to sites and articles with all kinds of Holiday Tipping advice.

We’d also like to hear from you.  If you’ve got any specific questions about holiday tipping or bits of advice you’d like to share, please do. And, in the meantime, happy shopping, happy holidays and happy tipping!

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Do You Believe in “Tip Coordination?”

Posted by gratrueities on November 6, 2009

You can even order a t-shirt that poses this very question! In the first ‘Seinfeld reunion‘ episode of ‘Curb Your Enthusiam,’ Larry David shares with Jason Alexander his feelings on the subject. What is “tip coordination” you may ask?  Basically, it is an agreement, when splitting a restaurant bill, that all will tip the same amount or percentage – price fixing, if you wish!  Here is an interesting commentary on the psychology of tipping and the subject of “tip coordination” from the blog cheeptalk.wordpress.com:

“Economists have often wondered why people tip.  We have lots of sophisticated explanations for why rational (i.e. selfish)    people pretend to be altruistic.  A leading explanation, the reputation model, relies on some repeated game concern but how would that apply in a one shot waiter game?  The puzzle is, of course, easily resolved if one allows homo economicus to have a heart. Warm, mushy feelings for waiters can easily explain tipping, even if you both know your relationship is the restaurant equivalent of the one night stand.

As our well-educated and well-read readers know, the heart is a complicated thing and often responds to incentives in odd ways.  Larry David is the dark Jane Austen of our cynical time and his (second!) magnum opus, Curb Your Enthusiasm, is the warped Sense and Sensibility.  I enjoyed the Seinfeld non-Reunion episode.  There were so many treasures in one half hour but the business lunch between Larry and Jason Alexander was my favorite bit. Larry and Alexander go dutch and Larry suggests they coordinate the tip.  He wishes to avoid the embarrassment of under-tipping.  It is just obvious to Larry that other people’s opinion matters so he must tip.  Note it is not morality but image and hence self-image that guide Larry.  He certainly does not want to tip low when his Dutch partner tips high.  But if your partner tips low, there is still an incentive to tip high, because it is quite natural that you want your image to be better than your partner’s.  In other words, there is a dominant strategy to tip high…a Prisoner’s Dilemma of tipping. Once we open up the heart of homo economicus, not only is there an incentive to tip, but toovertip.  No wonder Larry wants to collude and coordinate tips.”


Posted in Dining experience, Etiquette, Paying the bill, Pop Culture, Tipping | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Required Reading? 50 Rules for Wait Staff

Posted by gratrueities on November 4, 2009

Even we were taken aback by this list of 50 rules for wait staff posted in the New York Times  by Long Island restaurateur Bruce Buschel. And, these 50 are only Part 1. It sounds like there will be another 50 in an upcoming post for a total of 100 rules.

Not to say that these rules aren’t relevant, and useful, they are. But…pity the poor server who is handed a list of these rules on their first day on the job. It does seem a bit overwhelming.

Some of the rules are common  sense and virtually all of them touch on something that  could easily turn into an aggravation for the guest.

Here are some of GraTRUEities favorites, with our comments.

3. Never refuse to seat three guests because a fourth has not yet arrived.

 —Yes! It would be awesome if all restaurants were more relaxed about seating partial parties.

8. Do not interrupt a conversation. For any reason. Especially not to recite specials. Wait for the right moment.

—So true.

11. Do not hustle the lobsters. That is, do not say, “We only have two lobsters left.” Even if there are only two lobsters left.

—Thank-you for this one, Bruce.

12. Do not touch the rim of a water-glass. Or any other glass.

—Eeeck! We hope not.

And finally, saving the best for last,

50. Do not turn on the charm when it’s tip time. Be consistent throughout.

Posted in Dining experience, Etiquette, Pet Peeves, Tipping, Wait Staff | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Chips Ahoy!!!

Posted by gratrueities on November 3, 2009

Where – Oba! Portland, Oregon

What  – Happy Hour

Who – Couple at table for two by window

Food – Delicious!

Value – Excellent

Service – Hmmm…mixed…some great and some lacking.  The first portion of the order was timed and served perfectly! Sadly, the repeated request for chips – coupled with ongoing non-delivery – eventually overshadowed the rest of the service.  (It should be mentioned that this was not a busy night.) However, when the chips finally arrived, they were hot and crispy – and *sold* as such!

One other comment from our party – with all the great margarita specials, has Oba! considered buying a blender?

Missed GraTRUEities – somewhat like a “missed connection” on Craigslist:

– “Without a blender, you’re just a pretender!”

– “A sense of timing is a mark of genius.”

– “Chips ahoy!!!”

Posted in Dining experience, GraTRUEities In Use, Pet Peeves, Pop Culture, Portland, Tipping, Wait Staff | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Tip Jar Debate Rages On

Posted by gratrueities on October 29, 2009

The lowly Tip Jar continues to provoke controversy of all sorts.

 Some, like MSN Money’s personal finance expert Liz Pulliam Weston are tired of seeing Tip Jars pop-up almost everywhere, moving way beyond the traditional deli counter or coffee shop setting.

In this post, from early October, she writes, ” You can ignore tip jars. Throw in some change if you’d like or if you get particularly wonderful service, but otherwise, don’t bother.”

Others, as evidenced by the comments on the above post, are most concerned with the tips that the Tip Jar  silently commands. GraTRUEities previously wrote about Tip Jars here.

But, realistically speaking, you can’t always ignore Tip Jars. Here, from our Tipipedia, is GraTRUEities guidelines on Tip Jar tipping:

Tip Jar

“Always the question…what to do about the ever-present Tip Jar?  This is a subject of much debate for which we offer no concrete guideline. It its our opinion that, if you regularly frequent an establishment, it is wise to tip at least every so often.  Also, if you place an order that requires extra effort a tip is warranted.  How much to tip?  10%-15% seems to be the consensus.”

Posted in Coffeehouse, Tip Jars, Tipping | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Coffeehouse Squatters

Posted by gratrueities on October 16, 2009

Just noticed this post in the Chow “Dear Helena” column. Personally, I’m not a coffeehouse squatter. I prefer writing from home or from our very nice brand new public library (sidenote:  many comments related to this post mention dreary public libraries).

But…I can understand why one would want to sit all day and write in a coffeehouse. They are warm, comfortable and they usually have the very best aromas.

At our local Peet’s there always seems to be one gentleman (using the term loosely) who not only writes at the coffeehouse, he seems to actually inhabit a corner. His table is generally covered with paraphernalia that goes beyond items related to computers and/or writing. Many, many plastic bags are typically involved.

The dilemma is: how much product (coffee, sweets, etc) do you need to buy to justify your table? One coffee every hour? One coffee per day?

And, related to this, how do you tip for the pleasure of using a table for an extended period of time, or do you not tip at all? After all, it does mean an extra trip to the Tip Jar on the counter.

Posted in Coffeehouse, Dining experience, Pop Culture, Tipping | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Rude?

Posted by gratrueities on October 14, 2009

Yes or no – a little of both?

In her recent MSN Money article, The Rude New Tip Jar Economy, Liz Pulliam Weston explores the increasing pressure we feel to tip “more and in more situations than ever before.”

Many of us take pride in being generous tippers and take pleasure in rewarding people for a job well done.  Just as we like to be compensated for our own efforts.

That said, the economic realities of this past year have made most of us more cognizant of the value of our dollars – and possibly both more cautious or more generous, depending on the situation.  We want our tips to have meaning and value, not to merely compensate for deficient wages.

That brings us to the other reality:  most service providers depend on their tips to earn a living wage, leaving them at the mercy of the customer, not all of whom play by the rules of the tipping game.

Therein lies the dilemma. How do service providers earn their due without offending the customer by crossing the line? Tip jars, mandatory service charges, etc. all convey the expectation of a gratuity and, while they bring in money, they can also have a detrimental affect.

People still want to feel they have a choice  – they want their tips to be meaningful, not not judged as lacking and especially not take for granted.

Has the time come to revamp the system?

Posted in Dining experience, Economy, Paying the bill, Pop Culture, Tipping, Wait Staff | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bon Appetit–“How Much Should I Tip”

Posted by gratrueities on September 8, 2009

Just noticed this excellent post by Andrew Knowlton, “The BA Foodist Q&A” over at Bon Appetit magazine, with his Five Basic Rules for tipping.

 Also note the varied response, over 340 comments, indicating that there is definitely not a consensus behind these tipping guidelines!

Posted in Dining experience, Tipping | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Reader’s ‘Digestion’ and “The Waiter” revisted…

Posted by gratrueities on July 21, 2009

From Reader’s Digest Magazine and from Waiter Rant via Yahoo …a little reminder of some things to avoid when dining out!

Oh, those waiters!

Posted in Dining experience, Paying the bill, Pet Peeves, Pop Culture, Tipping, Travel, Wait Staff | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

More: Coat Check Tales

Posted by gratrueities on March 1, 2009

A few weeks ago we posted about coat-check tipping.

This past Wednesday, the NYT had a story about how coat-check tipping is holding up (or not) in the tough economy. Check it our here.

Posted in Economy, Tipping | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »