A friend recently took a job as a restaurant server to stop a mercifully-brief bout with unemployment. He's a quick study: after only a week his tips are averaging 20% and only one server is doing better. Not a poor server by any stretch.
A few days ago comes this little gem in his updates:
“I got an 18 cent tip today!”
Not 18%. Eighteen cents, as in a dime, a nickel, and three cents. He later apologized for appearing ungrateful — as he is very thankful for the job — but this was my response:
“That's BS. If you can't afford a decent tip, you can't afford to be eating out in the first place.“
Tips are customary and optional, but they're an integral part of a server's income. Eating out and leaving a lousy tip when the service was good is without excuse. Period. It's certainly without excuse if the tip can be easily afforded. But I also think it's without excuse if you can't afford it.
Workers are worth their wages. They're entitled to at least the same minimum wage that non-tipped employees are entitled to, but there's no reason to help ensure that the employer needs to chip in the shortfall. And some (dishonest) employers may not even do that.
Eat a less expensive meal. Use a coupon. Eat at home. Anything but skimp on the tip.