Minimum wage & tipping
Great article by Michael Gardiner ["Just the tip," May 27]. One HUGE factor not discussed however, is minimum wage. In rural Colorado (when I lived there), there was no minimum wage for wait staff so my friends made something pitiful like $3 an hour. In that situation tips were everything. To top it off, some of those old farmers only tipped a quarter anyway (as in 25 cents not 25 percent), so an established charge and a decent wage would have been great if you're not working in some hot spot.
I know here in California I've never paid less than 20 percent regardless of how good or bad the service was because I don't want to be a crumb. I don't think we need tipping to have good service. If someone is a lousy server they can get fired like the rest of us. We shop with no commission sales staff all the time and they are nice because it's their job, maybe they even ARE nice, go figure. I thought for sure you were going to quote Mr. Pink: "This tipping automatically is for the birds, as far as I'm concerned they're just doing their jobs." But Mr. White says waiting tables is the one job anybody can get. Maybe if that was true you'd have to tip or else you'll get spit in your food because there's no competition for that job. But not anymore, it's HARD to get a job ANYWHERE these days so people value them and will strive to do it well, tip or no tip.
Bartenders will always be excluded from this.
I've dropped ridiculous amounts of extra cash with that first drink just to get looked at again. Tipping in a packed bar can be like eBay for cocktails. If I'll be completely ignored otherwise, I'm paying la mordida, not a gratuity. If we stopped tipping at restaurants it would be like getting a substantial discount and maybe people would eat out a bit more. If a business has to raise the prices to pay their employees, that's up to them, but breaking out a separate service charge that's on the bill automatically is just manipulation to make the food appear less expensive. If we start doing that I'll be the first to call shenanigans.
David Bardin, Cardiff
A news story from the last issue ("Political Riptide," May 27) incorrectly stated that presumptive medical coverage was part of a labor deal between lifeguards and the city that included pay increases and cuts to pension benefits. The potential future implementation of such coverage was approved by the City Council in 2014 as part of a five-year needs assessment.
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