Tip This

in Book Club!

The Husband and I are SLAMMED at work today, but we made time for lunch.  We really wanted to try a new pizza place called The Italian Pie.

IMG_4792 IMG_4798


We’re still burnt out on pizza from our vacation, so I was pleased to see the Italian Pie had other good vegetarian options. 


I started off with a side salad:


And absolutely INHALED this amazing Spinach and Artichoke wrap, which was hot pressed like a panini.  It was so much better than I even hoped for!  Yum.


Something to Talk About:  Tips and Customer Service


I was reading Dear Abby this morning (my fav!), and she had published several letters from readers who were upset that an earlier writer had boasted he never tips maids at hotels.  Maids, today’s writers argued, work extremely hard for little pay and almost no thanks.  It’s our job as travelers to tip them.


The discussion on Dear Abby reminded me of an amazing book I read in college:  Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America.  The author gives up all her possessions and takes on a a series of minimum-wage jobs (including  being a maid) to see what it’s really like to work for $6.50 or so.  Basically, the book discounts the theory that poor people “just need to work harder” to be successful… the trouble is really our system.

Nickel and Dimed

Nickel and Dimed is very interesting, and I highly suggest you check it out if you like creative non-fiction/books about social issues. 


Anyway, Nickel and Dimed is the reason why I always leave tips for maids.  In fact, the book (plus my own experiences in the service industry) made me a big tipper, period.  Especially once I graduated from college and began to earn a decent living, I realized that an extra buck or two didn’t make a difference to my bank account but really helped people who work primarily for tips, especially because a lot of people skimp on tips.


(Side note: I seriously think it should be a requirement that everyone work as a waitress or bartender at least once in their life… Kind of like how some countries require citizens to serve in the military.)


When I tended bar in college, I made pretty good money in tips, but the tips barely made up for the epic abuse I received from patrons.  In the spirit of appreciating waitresses, maids, and bartenders, I thought I’d share a funny (funny in hindsight) story about my own bartending experiences:


I worked at a really small bar; it was so small that I was very often the only employee at the bar (kind of scary at night).  This meant I had to be the bouncer, bartender, busboy, and babysitter to all the drunks.  One night, we had a karaoke contest and a group of girls came in.  I think they were celebrating a birthday.  Anyway, one girl was already so wasted that I refused to serve her.  She became so belligerent that she actually made herself throw up ON TOP of the bar, right in front of me.  While I was cleaning it up, two of her friends climbed on the bar and starting to dance ‘sexily’ (I use that term loosely; drunk girls on top of bars are generally NOT as sexy as they think).  One of the girls became angry at her friend for some reason and ended up PUNCHING her in the face!  It started a massive brawl that all the men in the bar egged on.  I ran around the bar to try to separate them, and one of the girls ended up punching ME in the face, too!  I promptly called 911 and got them thrown out.  But it ended up working out in my favor… all the remaining patrons felt so bad for me that I got tons of awesome tips that night.   And I quit a month later. 


The end!


Do you have any horror stories from being in the service industry?  Share and vent, please!



  • Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans May 24, 2011, 2:11 pm

    I worked as a bartender for a summer during univsersity and in retails stores for many years and can say that customer service is a really tough line of work to be in! The hours and schedules don’t allow for a typical work/life balance, the pay isn’t great and dealing with people isn’t always pleasant. I am grateful for the experience because I find that I am more appreciative when I get good service now!

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) May 24, 2011, 2:11 pm

    Working in a service job was always my goal (especially in high school), but I never got one. =( Maybe that’s a good thing?

  • Lindsay May 24, 2011, 2:13 pm

    Oh my goodness. So crazy!! I was a bartender too and I had a customer once who was combing her hair at the bar and then knocking her comb against the bar. She was also digging her fingers in a little container of Carmex lip stuff and then smoothing her hair back with it. GROSS! She then proceeded to try to walk out on her tab and told the bouncers who stopped her that I stole all her money. You can’t make this stuff up…bartending and waiting tables really does provide the best stories, though.

  • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing May 24, 2011, 2:13 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree — that is one piece of advice I give to everyone, young and old. Once you work in the service industry, you really appreciate people and their work more. It’s a quick education in empathy! You realize that everyone deserves to be treated with kindness, understanding, and dignity. Thanks for this great post; it always helps to be reminded.

  • Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) May 24, 2011, 2:13 pm

    I loved waitressing! I think the the bad stories of lousy tips made me bond with my fellow servers 🙂 I’m so glad I did waitress for 2 years, though, because I know the difference between being a decent server and neglecting yous customers and tip accordingly- I over-tip most often, even when things are just decent, but I’m not afraid to leave less of a tip when I’ve received horrendous service either. Because, hey, I’ve been there!

  • Marci May 24, 2011, 2:13 pm

    Nickel and Dimed is fascinating! A must-read. Makes for such a compassionate understanding of the lives behind the people. And a new understanding of Wal Mart. I took a Sociology of Work class in college. I love this subject! I always try to think of myself in other’s shoes and tip well. Also goes with the “treat as you’d like to be treated” point of view.

  • Cassie @ Back to Her Roots May 24, 2011, 2:13 pm

    First of all, your bar story is CRAZY!

    THANK YOU for educating me! I’ve never worked in the service industry (although I did my fair share of years in retail, and that is it’s own special kind of hell) and I’m a very, very good tipper at restaurants, hair salons, etc. But it never even occurred to me to tip maids! Will definitely, DEFINITELY do this the next time I travel.

    I wonder if someone has a good list of who you should tip?

    • Caitlin May 24, 2011, 2:16 pm

      We can make one!! Add in to the list if you think of someone I missed:

      People who carry your bags at the hotel
      People who deliver room service

      Annnnd I’ve drawn a blank.

      • Caitlin May 24, 2011, 2:19 pm

        Catering waitresses

        • Anna May 24, 2011, 2:31 pm

          taxi drivers!

      • Morgan @ Becoming Rooks May 24, 2011, 2:36 pm

        Skycaps (the guys at the airport drop off who take your bags/check you in)
        Concierge at the hotel (if they help you get a taxi, etc.)
        Taxi drivers

        With maids, we always leave a note that it’s their tip so they know to take it and not just spare money left lying out. Just a simple post it that says “thank you”.

        • Caitlin @ The Caitie Experiment May 24, 2011, 3:29 pm

          Hairstylists — AND the shampoo person, if he or she is not the one styling/cutting your hair!

          I always tip at least 20%… this person is responsible for one of my favorite features, so I’m not taking any chances with them getting mad and giving me a mullet the next time!

          I also tip my mailman and garbage collectors during the holidays, typically with coffee gift cards and/or scratch tickets.

        • Alaina May 24, 2011, 8:39 pm

          I’m a hotel concierge! 🙂 We do make above the minimum wage but when we really go out of our way to help make a guests stay the best it can be, a little tip can certainly go a long way. It’s not expected for us, but definitely appreciated when it happens.

      • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table May 24, 2011, 3:51 pm

        Your building’s concierge!

      • Nikky May 24, 2011, 4:37 pm

        Delivery drivers!

        My boyfriend just left a job making $4.00 an hour (up to an 8 hour day, after that, it was $35 a day… generally for a 12 hour day) and we completely depended on tips, especially when almost a quarter of what he made went to gas. I used to tag along, and it was AWFUL to drive 8 miles with a $10 order and get a ten cent tip.

    • Britt May 24, 2011, 7:29 pm

      I tip the valet people both ways at hotels, especially in Vegas. Who ever is taking my car away and bringing it back to me!

  • Michele @ Healthy Cultivations May 24, 2011, 2:14 pm

    No horror stories to share right now, but just wanted to comment that I love “Nickel and Dimed.” The author spoke on my campus when I was in graduate school, and it was a great experience.

  • Tonyne @ Unlikely Success Story May 24, 2011, 2:15 pm

    What a horror story! The husband doesn’t have anything quite that bad.

    Because the husband is a bartender, we tend to over tip, especially for good service. We know what it’s like to survive on the generosity of others.

  • Orla May 24, 2011, 2:15 pm

    I loved working in the service industry and was a pretty good waitress. However, I completely agree that everyone should have to do it at some stage .Yeah there are nice customers but it only takes one nasty and mean customer to make you want to drop their meal on their lap but you have to smile and be nice to them. As a result of working in the industry I always make a point, no matter how bad the food, to make sure that I tip my waitress. I always check whether the tips are pooled which is very common here.

  • Rachel @ Fit Fun and Fabulous May 24, 2011, 2:15 pm

    I always try to tip big (20% or more) at restaurants, bars, hotels, etc. to make up for all the other people who don’t tip, or don’t tip enough. My fiance usually tips in the 10-15% range and it drives me bonkers because I know we can easily afford to tip more. But if he’s paying, then I don’t feel right saying anything! And at least he’s giving some kind of tip, ya know? Ugh it’s hard.

    I’ve never worked somewhere that includes tips in my paycheck, but I know that those people work hard and need it regardless.

    • Brittany May 24, 2011, 3:35 pm

      You could offer to cover the tip and then tip as much as you want. I always feel like its a nice gesture to offer to tip when my boyfriend treats me to dinner anyway and that way you can be more generous than he would.

  • ally May 24, 2011, 2:16 pm

    I totally feel you on this and could not agree more. I used to wortk as a waitress at a catering hall. People rarely think to leave a tip at those places, but it’s truly an exhausting job. Now whenever I go to a wedding or a party, I always remember to leave a little something on the table for the people who have been running around all night and have to clean up when it’s over. It means a lot!

  • Megan @ Megan Mumbles May 24, 2011, 2:16 pm

    I always tip 20%. I was a waitress and because of that I always tip really well in resturaunts. Thanks for the reminder on tipping cleaning staff 🙂

  • Anna May 24, 2011, 2:16 pm

    I work in the kitchen of a restaurant (vegetarian and vegan, btw!) and nicely enough the day’s tips are divided equally at the end of the day, so I get some as well, as well as our waiters. I have to take a taxi back after work, so I do actually depend on getting some cash in my pocket on a daily basis.

    And I got into a huge fight with a friend once who wanted to tip a waitress 50p in a restaurant we had all just eaten at. He refused to put down more, so I put down a bit more, can’t stand for that.

  • Sarah May 24, 2011, 2:17 pm

    It is terrible that waiters/waitresses/baristas earn so little and must depend on tips. In most european countries these jobs are treated with a lot more respect, therefore the employees are payed better, and can even support families on their wages/salaries. They even have long-term/life contracts meaning they are protected if they must be terminated without just cause.

    I am a good tipper and will continue to be (in america), but it would be nicer if the establishments themselves just paid the workers better because they could charge more for the food/put a service charge on the meal, at a flat rate, and then the workers would be more secure and the establishment wouldn’t “lose anything”. It is nice in Europe though to just pay the price of the meal, with tax and the tip already included in the price or denoted underneath as a “cover” charge.

    • Caitlin May 24, 2011, 2:18 pm

      AGREE 10000000000000%. I only tip 10% in Europe because I know they get paid a living wage. The fact that our waiters are paid $4 an hour or something is ridiculous.

      • Sonia May 24, 2011, 2:33 pm

        In Denmark, minimum wage is about $25/hr but most wait staff usually earn more. Normally, it’s not expected to tip at theend of a meal, but it’s nice to add a little extra.

    • Carrie May 24, 2011, 4:10 pm

      When I waitressed in college (in the 90s, I’m old) I got paid $2.13 an hour. I remember when I got promoted to “shift leader” I was excited because I got a raise to $2.75! Heh. I always just looked at my teeny paychecks like beer money and lived off the tips.

      • Rachel May 24, 2011, 6:31 pm

        In Oregon, where I worked you cannot get paid less than minimum wage. Why isn’t that the law everywhere?

        • Melissa @ Running with Needles May 25, 2011, 2:10 pm

          I’ve worked as a waitress in Illinois, and they actually have a separate minimum wage for tipped employees vs. a higher minimum wage for non-tipped. It kinda stinks.

  • Jamie May 24, 2011, 2:17 pm

    I’m still in high school… so no horror stories yet. 😉 I think tipping generously is great provided they actually do their job. I mean, we’ve been to restaurants and had absolutely HORRIBLE customer service so when that happens my family isn’t usually too generous with a tip. Same with some maids. But when someone does a good job by all means they deserve a good tip. 🙂 I am happy to tip somebody that has earned it, and sometimes I look to see online if I can write a review or something about how good that employee is! I figure it may help them get a promotion in the future if they have good reviews.

    That’s really scary about working in the bar!

    • Caitlin May 24, 2011, 2:19 pm

      The only trouble with this is sometimes the bad service is NOT the waiter’s fault. Like, the cook screwed up and that’s why your food is behind. But yea, if the waiter is a butthead, you don’t really need to tip.

  • Amber from Girl with the Red Hair May 24, 2011, 2:19 pm

    OMGGGGG. I am sitting here with my jaw on my desk after reading your bartending story – that is nuts!

    I used to work at a small Italian restaurant when I was in college. It was very high class – we had to wear button up shirts and ties – so I didn’t have to deal with too much crap and I made good tips. I do remember that people really tend to “look down” on waitresses though and I definitely had some rude patrons – that made me cry! – in my day. I always tip at least 20%.

    To be honest, I’ve never heard of anyone tipping hotel maids and so I never have. I’m not sure if it’s as common in Canada or if I’ve just been oblivious to it? Either way, I will remember what you said the next time I stay at a hotel! And I totally want to read that book now.

    • Stephanie C May 24, 2011, 6:46 pm

      I’m with ya on the tipping maid thing.. I have never heard of it, but im in CA. I will consider it though for next time.. just never heard of anyone doing it before.

      • Rachel May 24, 2011, 10:37 pm

        I’m from California and I always tip maids. My dad, who once lived on welfare, taught me whom to tip and to always tip generously. I’ve noticed that a lot of my peers, though (I’m 24), don’t know about tipping maids or bellhops.

        • Stephanie C May 24, 2011, 10:51 pm

          Sounds like a great dad! My mom was in the same situation and yet is a bad tipper! Maybe something for me to consider.. heh. Always knew about the bellhop, but still not the maid.. again something for me to consider!

  • Dee May 24, 2011, 2:21 pm

    I was just about to comment and read Sarah’s comment above. I second those sentiments exactly, I really wish our society (corporations and public policy) would not hide behind “they get tips” as a way to weasel out of paying people a living wage. I recently was in Japan visiting my brother who sternly warned me not to tip, it’s considered rude, but is also a society where the government works hard to keep people employed at a decent wage. I will always tip in America as long as things are the way they are, but it’s so true that it’s a much larger and uglier issue.

  • Colleen May 24, 2011, 2:21 pm

    I worked at Mrs. Field’s cookies for one summer in college, and it was the most stressful job I’ve ever had. I worked the morning shift and baked, decorated cookies, and waited on customers by myself. A mom cursed me out in front of her children for using the wrong colored frosting on one of those giant decorated birthday cookies. I cried in our giant walk in freezer in the back!

    • Sam May 24, 2011, 3:15 pm

      Same! I worked at Mrs. Field’s all throughout high school. It was always underemployed unfortunately.

  • Morgan @ Endorphaholic May 24, 2011, 2:23 pm

    I worked at a five star hotel in the gift shop, and one weekend an older man (50’s) kept coming in and asking who I worked with, when I was off, etc. And I was closing by myself so it was a little creepy.

    At the end of the night, he came in and said he’d like to “buy me nice things” and “show me his suite”. Needless to say I was freaked, called security, and they actually removed him from the hotel (cause he had also talked about owning guns). I quit 2 weeks later.

  • rachel May 24, 2011, 2:25 pm

    Wow, that’s a pretty bad bartending story! I’ve worked as a hostess at a brunch place and a sandwich maker at Pita Pit, but neither was that thrilling, luckily. Less drinking, probably.

  • Alayna @ Thyme Bombe May 24, 2011, 2:25 pm

    I really hate that we don’t have a higher minimum wage and that we allow low wages for employees who are allowed to accept tips. I don’t think it’s right to make your customers pay your employees appropriately for you. But, I’ve worked in restaurants and bars for years and I know how important it is to leave a good tip, so I always do. I loved the no tip policy in Japan, it was really freeing to not worry about if I’ve given someone the right tip and haven’t offended them.

    One funny story– I worked in a coffee and dessert bar that was open late. Once, we had a guy come in that was obviously tripped out on some drug or other. He ran and climbed about 20 feet up a wall hanging onto lighting fixtures and molding to steal a fake bust of Mozart from an alcove. An employee chased him down the street to get it back and broke his wrist tackling the guy to the ground! Ah…customer service jobs.

  • Deirdre May 24, 2011, 2:25 pm

    I worked as a busser at an upscale restaurant the summer before I left for college. This was on top of working at a summer day camp during the day. Most of the time the kids at the camp were more well behaved than the adults I dealt with at the restaurant.

    Once I assisted a female server in our party room for a dinner for a bachelor party. You could tell these guys had already been drinking for a long time. There were constantly making comments about the female server and my ‘assets’ and staring at said assets. All I could think was save this behavior for the strip club. Finally, right before they left the bachelor grabbed my ass and stuck at 20 dollar bill in my back pocket. It took all my self restraint not slap him. No one I tell this story to can believe this happened in an upscale restaurant. I can’t even imagine all the stuff you had to deal with as a bartender.

  • katie @ KatieDid May 24, 2011, 2:25 pm

    I’m a waitress for the first time and it has really opened my eyes to how HARD it is to serve. It’s constant running around and trying to keep a smile on your face, and can be overwhelming. But it’s made me a much better multi-tasker and I enjoy interacting with so many people. Ever since I started waitressing I tip better and make an effort to be kinder to waiters, because a smile can really turn someone’s night around..

  • Ashley O. @ The Vegetable Life May 24, 2011, 2:25 pm

    OMG I worked as a server for 8+ years and I have so many horror stories that I can’t even remember then all! People seriously do not understand that most servers/bartenders work for $2-3/hour and that after taxes really do not get a paycheck unless they are tipped appropriatly.

    I do not usually tip maids but it is something that I will think about. I can see where it is important just like a server or a bartender! Will do in the future!

  • Halley (Blunder Construction) May 24, 2011, 2:26 pm

    I have a story from when I worked take-out in high school: Once, a man called to order a calzone and he was SO rude on the phone, so pushy that he wouldn’t even give me a name to place his order under. So I just typed “JERK” for the ticket. Funny for me, until he came to pick it up. He paid with a credit card and “JERK” printed out on the slip! He was waiting for his order to be ready when he noticed, and asked me what it meant. I stuttered to say that “Oh, our keyboards are acting up, that’s a funny typo, isn’t it?” I had my life threatened over those stupid pizzas, people are too much.

    • Carrie May 24, 2011, 4:16 pm


    • Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers May 24, 2011, 4:22 pm

      that is awesome!! 🙂

    • Lili May 24, 2011, 5:44 pm

      HAHHA that’s awesome. I love this. I have worked in Customer Service (phone only) before and I totally feel you!!

  • Margaret May 24, 2011, 2:26 pm

    I work retail as a second job, not related to tipping. but nothing gets my blood more boiling than when a customer leaves the clothes they tried on in a ball on the floor, and don’t even get me started on cell phones while shopping.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat May 24, 2011, 2:28 pm

    The pizza restaurant sounds like fun! Regarding your bar story: WOW! That sounds like quite a night!! Sadly I don’t have any service industry stories like that as I grew up in the Middle East and wasn’t able to work as a teenager because everyone needed a work visa to be employed. About tips though – I always give them if I think that the server/staff has done at least a sufficient job because I think it’s rude not to. However, if there is a reason to be upset (for example, if they are rude) I have to admit I’d probably skimp out a bit.

  • chloe @ 321delish May 24, 2011, 2:29 pm

    no service industry jobs here! but I had to read that book before starting my freshmen year of college too!

    I think that if I read it now, I would appreciate it a lot more!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape May 24, 2011, 2:30 pm

    Wow, that had to be scary being the last person in the bar late at night!! Would scare me!

  • Cara May 24, 2011, 2:30 pm

    Along the lines of what you said about everyone waitressing or being a bartender at least once, my mom has always thought that everyone should have to work retail during Christmas at least once. I’ve only ever worked retail, but man, people can be terrible! I was very glad I didn’t rely on their tips and I always make sure to tip well!

    • Stephanie C May 24, 2011, 6:49 pm

      I agree.. and you know what.. add to the everyone should have to work inventory at least once! I worked a retail job and only lasted 4 months because of how crappy upper management treated us.
      I ended up working inventory from 10pm til 6am and had a piece of glass stuck in my foot. I went to sleep and my hand was locked into the position of the scanner and I kept dreaming about scanning items! Worst job ever.

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg May 24, 2011, 2:30 pm

    You know what I’ve never tipped a housekeeper at a hotel, but I’m good about tipping waitstaff, bartenders, coat check people, the people who call taxis for you at hotels, etc. I guess it never dawned on me because I used to work in housekeeping in college and I never got a tip — ever.

    My worst story — I was working at a hotel in the middle of summer and for some reason no one had the air conditioning on in their rooms so I was soaked with sweat. I open the bathroom door to find the ice bucket full of human waste in the bathtub and the toilet was overflowing. I think I only lasted a few more days there.

  • Krystina (Organically Me) May 24, 2011, 2:30 pm

    What a horrible thing that happened to you! Drunk people are such idiots.

    I adore “Nickel and Dimed”. I read it in one of my gender studies classes and it’s such an eye opener.

  • Heather May 24, 2011, 2:31 pm

    love italian pie! We have had them down here for many many years. good stuff.
    OMG about the bar fight, that is crazy.
    We always tip, maybe not as much if the service is crapy, but we always tip. We have also written notes on teh reciepts before. We feel its pointless to just leave a crappy tip for crappy service b/c someone may not know what they did wrong or could work on, so leaving a friendly little nudge like “please don’t leave us with our glasses empty for the entire meal k thanks!” works for us. But, we still always leave a tip. esp in hotel rooms and especially if we were messy!

    • Caitlin @ The Caitie Experiment May 24, 2011, 3:46 pm

      My sister is a waitress, and she does the same thing when she leaves a smaller tip than usual. Actually, while she was visiting me, we went to a TGIFridays and had the. WORST. waitress I’ve ever had. My sister was truly appalled by the service, and the rude, condescending way our waitress talked to us — this was definitely the result of HER, not the kitchen or anything. As a result, for the first time in her life, my sis zero-tipped… and made sure to write a note at the top of the receipt why, to be sure that both the waitress and the manager knew exactly why there wasn’t a tip included. Harsh? Yes, but I know how understanding my sis is about stuff like that, especially living that lifestyle herself, so believe me when I say she was BEYOND bad! 🙁

  • Katie May 24, 2011, 2:31 pm

    never worked in retail or restaurant industry and honestly hope i never have to. i think i can appreciate what it means to work hard and for little money without holding either of those jobs! honestly, i just don’t think i’d be good at it!

    but, i am not afraid to speak up in a restaurant and tell the waiter/waitress if something is good/bad/etc. if they are quick to resolve the problem, then no worries, but if they drag their feet or are then rude, i take that into consideration when i tip. i understand its not always their fault which is why i always try to give them an opportunity to right the situation!

  • molly l May 24, 2011, 2:32 pm

    i love talking to my friends now that we’re all “adults” about the service jobs we worked when we were younger- sitting around and telling “horror stories” always usually ends up in laughter. i was 15 when i worked at our local generic version of the tastee freeze, making ice cream cones and milk shakes at the local mini-golf place. i never knew solf-serve could be so stressful until it was saturday evening after the rec baseball tournament and the lines felt like they were miles long of youth baseball teams! Then when I turned 16, I switched to being a pizza hut waitress– getting those pizzas out in 20 minutes really was hard and when the kitchen couldn’t get the pizza out in 20 minutes, the waitresses often lost our tips. I think we got paid $2.35 an hour. oh the memories! I learned SO much in the service industry and while my husband never had a job growing up, I definitely want our kids to be able to appreciate hard work like that and be more grateful and gracious to those in the service industry.

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) May 24, 2011, 2:33 pm

    Luckily of all the years I spent in catering and in the service industry, I don’t have any horror stories like that. I will say that I hated working in the back of the house in college. The chefs groped me and made more suggestive remarks than I care to remember. I happily work at home with my husband now where groping is encouraged. Sometimes you have to just laugh at those situations. Hind sight makes it that much better too.

  • Claire @ Live and Love to Eat May 24, 2011, 2:36 pm

    My father has owned several diners so I’ve always been lucky to have a part time job when I needed it. I have way too many stories to share, but agree with your statement that EVERYONE should work in a restaurant at some point in their lives. It really changes your perspective. My worst experiences were while working for Bahama Breeze – I had to do two weeks of training, pass like 9 tests (filling in the bubbles with a number 2 pencil and all), then my sidework as a server was to clean the expo station and the bathroom. NO THANK YOU. 😉

  • Sarah for Real May 24, 2011, 2:36 pm

    I live in Washington state where we have the highest minimum wage, over $8 an hour and still tip around 20% in restaurants. I cannot fathom someone working for $4 an hour!

    • Kristie May 24, 2011, 5:17 pm

      People who get tips are exempt from minimum wage though – it’s $7.50 in MI and you can still make only $2.50 as a waiter/waitress.

      • Cyclist Kate May 24, 2011, 5:34 pm

        I believe that the tips are supposed to make the wage meet minimum wage and, if it doesn’t, the establishment is supposed to make up the difference. Don’t think that happens too often, though.

      • Sarah for Real May 24, 2011, 5:42 pm

        I don’t think that’s the case in Washington state but yowza! If I ever dine out in MI I will be sure to tip even more generously!

      • Amber K May 25, 2011, 9:29 am

        I live in Oregon and those who earn tips are not exempt from minimum wage. EVERYONE earns at the very least minimum wage, if not more.

  • Anne P May 24, 2011, 2:39 pm

    I’ve been really wanting to read that book! I picked it up years ago and thought it sounded interesting but didn’t buy it and promptly forgot.

    That’s a crazy story about bartending – I could never have done that job!

  • Lisa May 24, 2011, 2:40 pm

    I totally agree with you that everyone should work in the service industry at some point in their life. It is just a humbling and eye-opening experience.

    I can’t really think of any great stories/vents to share, but I did work at Olive Garden for several years and my old car had a permanent smell of garlic to it (from my apron that I would always throw in the backseat after my shift). However, the free breadsticks at work almost (but not quite) made up for it 🙂

  • RhodeyGirl May 24, 2011, 2:40 pm

    I’d really like to read that book.

    I usually tip well, but I never remember to leave a tip in my hotel room. The only place I’ve ever done that is on my honeymoon to be honest! Whoops!

    I so also believe, however, in using how much I tip as a way to communicate with my server. If he/she was rude or we had an issue with something related directly to him/her I don’t tip as well at all and I don’t feel guilty about it. I know people have different thoughts on that.

  • Carly D. @ CarlyBananas May 24, 2011, 2:40 pm

    That is the craziest work horror story I have ever heard. I can’t believe you got punched in the face.
    I was a waitress at Ruby Tuesday in college (like… 8 years ago. *sobs* I just realized how old I am) & we made about half of minimum wage + tips. No one believed me that we were only paid $2.77/hour pre-tips. I made pretty decent $$ after tips (granted it was all in $1 bills and my bank teller thought I was a stripper) but I went to school near a lot of embassies and there were a lot of ambassadors who did not tip us because it wasn’t customary in their countries. It was so stressful!

  • Beth @ 990 Square May 24, 2011, 2:41 pm

    My sister and her fiance both work in retail. They’re both store managers and they barely make enough to live on. And I’m not talking about “high style” living–they live in my dad’s basement, drive old cars, and are VERY VERY careful about their spending. Oh, and they both have college degrees! Yeah, something is broken…

  • Angela May 24, 2011, 2:44 pm

    Being from the UK I found it totally weird that in the US tipping was almost expected for everything no matter what the service was like. The worst example was when booking my airport shuttle to go home and there was an option to include the tip in the payment before I even used the service!

    I kind of thought that if everyone in the US agreed to stop tipping you’d all have a lot more money!

    • Cat May 24, 2011, 3:43 pm

      Hah! I’m a generous tipper myself and agree with lots of these sentiments, but whenever I’ve been put in the situation to tip in advance, it always rubs me the wrong way. This happened on my birthday when I was getting a massage. It kind of bummed me out (I didn’t realize they’d charged me for it until I was leaving, btw) because it was already an expensive massage and it was probably the worst I’ve ever had. I would have tipped him for sure, but I wouldn’t have given him $25.

    • Cyclist Kate May 24, 2011, 5:35 pm

      Keep in mind that if we didn’t tip, establishments would be forced to pay their employees better and that extra cost would be passed along to us, so, while we might imagine that we’d have more money, we probably wouldn’t :).

      • Cat May 24, 2011, 5:58 pm

        Yeah, I don’t really have a problem paying someone more, but it was the first time I’ve ever been charged a gratuity in advance for a spa service and it was a high-end place. Just felt strange that it was out of my control and they didn’t really mention it either when taking my credit card when I’d arrived.

  • Jazmine May 24, 2011, 2:45 pm

    As a student I worked at a small restaurant where the waitresses were rushed and the supervisors were mean. Tips were the only saving grace, but when the kitchen was slow the servers didn’t get tipped (which was often). When I finally gave my two weeks notice my manager tried to break me down by telling me I would never make it in the real world. I landed a good job soon after, but I was unsure of myself at that time in my life, so my self esteem suffered a bit from the experience.

  • emily May 24, 2011, 2:50 pm

    I was a waitress for years (I actually just started serving again) so I always tip at least 20%.

  • Cindy @ The Flipping Couple May 24, 2011, 2:50 pm

    No horror stories, but I did work as a waitress and I agree – it changes your perspective on things! I’m a big tipper because a buck or two isn’t a big difference to me, but it can really make a waitress’s night.

  • D May 24, 2011, 2:50 pm

    I worked in a bakery in highschool and customers were not “allowed” to tip us. It wasnt a huge deal as a highschooler, but the issue of service is an interesting one. I also liked your response about things not being the waiters fault, because this is really the truth.I work part-time at the front desk of a “luxury” service type job, meaning a salon/studio/spa type place that is part of the service industry but is specialized and not essential. I have to specifically ask clients if they want to include a tip, and it amazes me that people come every single week, or can afford $1000 worth of services every couple months, but leave a five dollar tip. I understand that’s alright for a teenager, but when it’s someones career, and it’s a specialized skill and not waitressing (not saying it’s not a skill, but it’s not something you get certified in or go to school for) then it’s different and I think tips should be appeopriately higher. As far as your comment, it’s true, and it’s rarely the fault of the person getting blamed.

  • Liz May 24, 2011, 2:52 pm

    I’ve also worked in the service industry and tend to tip pretty well whenever I go out to eat/get my hair cut, etc. I’ve been known to go back into restaurants to give servers additional tip if I don’t think the person I was with gave enough.

    But I’ve never tipped a maid in a hotel. On the rare occassion I do stay at a hotel, I always leave the “do not disturb” sign up whenever I leave the room because I don’t think it’s necessary to having someone come in and clean/make the bed/change out towels. I would never do that stuff daily at home, so I’d never expect it elsewhere. If I left a giant mess or something, I might think of tipping, but otherwise I don’t. Hmm.

  • Katherine May 24, 2011, 2:57 pm

    I am so glad your business is going well!

    I was wondering if you could do a little how to on how this all happened? My dream is to move to Portland, OR and open my own vegan cupcake and dessert bakery 😀

  • Megan (Braise The Roof) May 24, 2011, 2:58 pm

    Wow, that’s a pretty awful story! I worked as a server for a long time and one of my worst experiences was when I had a guy get completely belligerent (I think he was doing coke in the bathroom) and hit on another guy’s wife and then the two of them ended up getting stuck in the revolving door, punching each other. That was frightening, especially since I had to sign an affidavit when the cops came! I got some good tips out of it, though. 🙂

  • Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me May 24, 2011, 3:02 pm

    I read that book in college for a class. It was pretty interesting. I thought it was going to be a boring awful read and it really wasn’t.

    What a terrible story and I’m pretty sure that’s illegal for you to be on the premises alone!

  • Sable@SquatLikeALady May 24, 2011, 3:07 pm

    Oh my God. Up until 4 months ago [4 heavenly, amazing months ago] I worked as a waitress in the *only* diner in our town of 55,000 open 24 hours a day. I worked the weekend shift. From midnight to 4am. Mmm-hmm. Let’s see…
    -There was the night that some guy grabbed my ass and I kicked him out in front of a table of lesbians, who then tipped me $30
    -The night that 5 airmen got in a fight, threw a glass syrup bottle at another waitress, and their supervisor was sitting right there and just filmed it
    -The night some drunk guy came in looking like he’d been shot about 8x in the hand; turns out he’d punched out a window and didn’t even feel it til I said something

    The list goes on and oooon and ooooooooooooooon!

    Also: Another good book much like Nickel&Dimed is The Working Poor: Invisible in America by David Shipler. Amazing read.

  • Amy May 24, 2011, 3:07 pm

    haha oh my god that is an awful (but kind of hilarious) story. i cant believe she made herself throw up…thats psycho! the service industry can definitely be tough…i just quit my job at a restaurant…it was rough!

  • Mary @ stylefyles May 24, 2011, 3:08 pm

    wow that is a crazy story. I never worked as a waitress or bartender (basically because it was too hard to get into, believe it or not), but I DID work as a hostess for a summer. It was fine in the beginning but when the management switched, it became a nightmare. I ended up not sticking it out the entire summer, quitting was a better use of my time. The worst part is that hostess’ didn’t get ANY percentage of tips, AND the pay was crummy. I have worked other service industry jobs (like retail) and found them to be much more tolerable.

  • Christina May 24, 2011, 3:12 pm

    OMG I can’t believe that girl punched you in the face!! That sounds like an episode right out of the Jersey Shore! I can’t stand when people get so drunk they act crazy. It’s especially scary when girls/women do it because they can so easily be taken advantage of.

    Quick story. I went out for a bachelorette party a few months ago and this girl was so drunk she could barely stand (she wasn’t with us). One guy had her leaning on his lap while his friend was standing in front of her literally holding a beer and pouring it into her mouth! I went right up to them and asked where her friends were and they got pretty scared. The girl pointed in some direction because she could barely talk and I pulled one of her friends she pointed at and kindly told her off. How can you leave a friend behind like that!! Needless to say the girls pulled her away from that guy but who knows what happened after I left. I felt terrible for that poor girl.

    • manda May 24, 2011, 3:52 pm

      that is horrifying! you are a good person for helping that poor girl. most people are too shy/embarrassed to help out.

      • Christina May 24, 2011, 4:51 pm

        It was crazy because other people were looking but weren’t doing anything. In a second I thought, if I woke up and saw something on the news about that poor girl I would never have been able to live with that.

    • Carrie May 24, 2011, 4:26 pm

      Wow, good for you for doing that. That poor girl.

      • Christina May 24, 2011, 4:52 pm

        Carrie it was def a sad sight. Us gals have to help each other out sometimes though 🙂 I did tell the girl (the inibriated one) with friends like that you’re better off with enemies. I know she probably didn’t remember that but it’s true.

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) May 24, 2011, 3:14 pm

    I totally agree! I worked as a waitress and at the customer service desk at a housewares store. Both time people would be absolutely horrible to me and expect unreasonable things like returning items 3 years old and obviously damaged by their pets. They would scream and ask for the manager only to be told the exact same thing I’d just told them.

    I’m a generous tipper as long as the service was good. If it was okay I still give a tip. The times I think I wouldn’t leave a tip I talk to the manager instead to let them know why.

  • Erin (Travel Eat Repeat) May 24, 2011, 3:14 pm

    I loved that book, too, and felt really enlightened after reading it but am of the mindset that employers should pay their employees better, not rely on customers to justify paying low wages. I tip well and will continue to do so until the economic culture changes but it’s very uniquely American that we are expected to tip people for performing their jobs — driving the cab, cutting your hair, serving your food — while employers get away with paying ridiculously low wages.

    • Cyclist Kate May 24, 2011, 5:39 pm

      In my experience, employers aren’t paying their employees low wages just so they can pocket extra cash. If employers paid their employees living wages, the extra cost would end up on the consumer. Either we can give our money (the tip) directly to the person who is performing the service, or we can give it to the boss who will then give it to the employee. I agree with you that employers should pay their employees better, but I don’t think it’s accurate to take the “the consumers are picking up the employers’ tab” mindset :).

      • Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) May 25, 2011, 7:28 am

        That’s actually a really good point — I hadn’t looked at it from that angle (cost passed down to consumer). But that said, I’ve traveled to plenty of non-tipping countries and haven’t noticed restaurant prices to be any higher than in the US. I wonder how both businesses arrive at the same bottom line…

        • Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) May 25, 2011, 7:29 am

          besides the fact that everything’s already more expensive because of the terrible exchange rate! 😉

        • Cyclist Kate May 25, 2011, 9:08 am

          Base costs are different country to country.

  • Allison @ Happy Tales May 24, 2011, 3:23 pm

    Wow, I HAVE to read that book. I’ve heard of it before, but I never knew what it was *exactly* about. I’ve worked in the service industry for quite a few years, and I know how tiring (better word would be…*exhausting*) it can be. Especially when you have to have your happy-face “on” all the time. BTW, that is a CRAZY story you had from your bartending days… makes you appreciate what you have now!

  • Megan May 24, 2011, 3:24 pm

    I have a story that I have to share even though it is not from a job in the service industry (though I did work at a shall remain nameless fast food restaurant for a time and it was awful). I was working as an admin. assistant at a small office and someone called asking to speak with my boss. He was not in, so, I asked (very politely) if I could take a message. The man on the other end asked me if I had a pencil to write the message down with, and I replied, “yes.” He then proceeded to tell me to go stab myself in the eye with said pencil and then hung up.

    Seriously, what kind of person does that?!

  • erica May 24, 2011, 3:25 pm

    omg. that story is insane!!!
    i agree. i’ve always said that a highschool requirement should be that everyone must work in some sort of service industry job for a given period of time.

  • Jeni @ stepping out May 24, 2011, 3:30 pm

    All through high school and college I worked as a waitress and then for a catering company. While I got paid fairly well at the catering company and didn’t need tips, I made 2.13 an hour + tips as a waitress.
    I’m sure I have some horror stories but I’ve blocked them out. 😀 I have one memorable story though.
    When I was working for the catering company I had to make a delivery to a large medical office where the eating area was upstairs with no elevator. That meant carrying at least 4 longs (easily 30 pounds) through 2 sets of doors and up the stairs. This was also in the middle of a South Carolina summer and I had to rush for another delivery.
    On my third trip in (already dripping in sweat) on of the ladies just inside the door looked at me and asked “How are you?”
    Um…how do I look? I said “Good. Thanks” but mentally said “A better question would have been, can I get the door?”
    I had to laugh though…some people are just clueless.

  • Amanda @ Cucina Amanda May 24, 2011, 3:32 pm

    I’ve actually never been a waitress or bartender. However, my sister is a waitress right now in college, so I know that people can be really terrible with their tips. I always tip at least 20%. It just doesn’t seem right that they make so little!

    Ps….I can’t believe you got punched like that! I’ve been starring at the picture trying to figure out that bar at Pitt, but can’t figure it out!

  • Allie (Live Laugh Eat) May 24, 2011, 3:33 pm

    I’ve worked two jobs in the food service industry and oddly loved them both. I tip very generously when I eat out because like you said, $1-2 makes a huge difference. I had no idea I was supposed to tip hotel maids until this past weekend. Totally unaware that was protocol. I will from now on!

  • Lindsey May 24, 2011, 3:35 pm

    I definitely agree with everything you said. I was in the service industry for about 10 years before hanging up my apron and tray for good. I promised myself that as soon as I graduated college, I’d never step food in the back of a kitchen again….and then a year later that happened. I tip well, but I’ve stopped over-tipping.

    I LOL-ed at your line, “drunk girls on top of bars are generally NOT as sexy as they think.” The bar dancing thing seems somehow only somewhat acceptable in college-type situations. I know of a few 30+ y/o women who still seem to aspire to ‘dance on tables’. I don’t get it…..

  • Caitlin @ The Caitie Experiment May 24, 2011, 3:36 pm

    I’ve never worked in a true “service industry,” but I did work in retail (JCP) for about 5 years, starting in high school and through summers in college. Memorable customers include the woman who threatened me when I told her that we could only give her back $5.77 for her kid’s sneakers, WHICH WERE CAKED IN MUD AND CLEARLY HAD A “FADED GLORY” TAG (and no, this wasn’t Walmart), and only on a gift card since she didn’t have a receipt. She went nuts; I got my manager. She went nuts on my poor sweet old lady shoe dept. manager, so I hauled ass to get one of the store managers. SHE came over, and this lady legit hocked one up to spit on her — I seriously thought I was going to see a fight when my store manager whipped around, finger in the air, yelling, “DON’T. YOU. DARE.” as this lady got ready to camel-spit at her, while I was on the phone with security trying to get her out.

    And then there was the time someone left a turd in the fitting room in juniors, but that’s another story for another day.

  • Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty May 24, 2011, 3:40 pm

    Oh my gosh!!! That’s terrible! I totally agree though! I worked as a bus person at a high end restaurant and i only got 10% of what the waiters did, and that was nothing! It wasn’t pretty.

    I also did a breakfast serving job and it seems as though people don’t tip much at breaky, which is the hardest part of the day to serve because a) you are sleepy b)people are not pretty when they haven’t had their morning coffee. So I always try to tip more it the morning.

    That being said, if it’s bad service, I don’t tip well.

  • Errign May 24, 2011, 3:40 pm

    I read that book my first semester of college in Ireland. It was fabulous, but I barely remember it – I just revisit it.

    I don’t have any real horror stories from being a small coffee shop barista, but I did have one customer all last winter that would order egg nog lattes (generally half nog/half milk) with skim milk…which I always thought was funny 🙂

  • manda May 24, 2011, 3:41 pm

    AHH! that story sounds awful!

    when i was 20, and still very naive, i wanted to be a waitress so bad. so i got a part time gig at a local bar. it was very small and only served the local community, so it was very tight knit. i worked for a month for FREE, only taking tips because the owners kept giving me excuses about why they couldn’t pay me, and said, i’ll get a pay cheque tomorrow, but never would have it ready. finally, there was this one really busy night, and i was thinking, this is great, gonna make some great tips. then one of the customers, a friend of the owners said, ‘are you sad the bar’s closing tonight’? i didn’t believe her, but it was true. I was shocked, and it turns out, they hired all new wait and kitchen staff, weren’t replacing stock, because they were going under! and didn’t tell any of the newbies. stupidly, i had money from the food service that i handed over because the owner said come by tomorrow and i’ll give you your paycheque. well, i never did get that paycheque, and i ended up just walking out of there with my tips, and a drink. that was the last summer i was a server. so not worth the little pay and abuse and stress.

  • Susan - Nurse on the Run May 24, 2011, 3:43 pm

    I worked as a waitress throughout nursing school and LOVED it. The tips were awesome and were actually quite ridiculous for “just” being a server. However, that came without health insurance and such so I can’t imagine actually trying to make a living off of those…I was still living with my parents and under their health insurance and such. Working as a server definitely makes me tip better and be understanding if not everything is perfect. I always thought it was interesting how some people felt the need to share their opinion about my life choice…one patron even told me that I really should consider going to college. Um, I did…twice! The nursing shortage isn’t what people think it is so I had a really hard time getting a job! People need to mind their own business sometimes!

    Now I work in nursing, which is a service industry, minus the tipping! If I could only explain how people treat nurses sometimes…it’s ridiculous. At one point we had a patient who would ask nurses if they were pregnant, and then when they said no, the patient would proceed to kick and punch them in the stomach. Ah, wonderful. Something tells me these patients wouldn’t be good tippers anyway….ha.

  • Veronica (Run Write Repeat) May 24, 2011, 3:44 pm

    i worked at starbucks, which isn’t exactly like a bar or serving job, but in my opinion it’s pretty close.
    Anyways, I was a manager at the time, and a guy came in asking if there were any Hanukkah gift cards. i said no, we don’t make them. He got extremely upset, and accused me of being anti Semitic. he proceeded to call Corporate on me, saying that i hated Jews. It was insane.
    i also always got customers who wanted their latte at, sa, 167 degrees. heaven forbid it was 168.
    we didn’t get a whole lot in tips, but we earned every penny.

  • Meg May 24, 2011, 3:47 pm

    I cleaned hotel rooms for a summer (only a summer, so barely counts) and, you know, I don’t even think about the pros/cons – I just tip maids. They SO deserve it. At my hotel no one could leave until everyone was done with their rooms, so the days were loooong. None of the staff areas were air conditioned. Finding supplies and stocking your cart were a trial. And then you spend the entire day with your face inches away from other people’s dirty sheets and towels and…bathrooms. It is hard, hard work, for really little money and zero respect. I received one tip that entire summer and I’ve never forgotten it. So I always, always tip.

  • Libbie May 24, 2011, 3:47 pm

    You’re absolutely right about that book. It was a required read in my freshman sociology class in college and to this day I tell people that I learned more about life from that book than anything else I learned in or out of class in all my years of education.

  • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table May 24, 2011, 3:54 pm

    I read that book in college too – it blew my mine, even as a bartender/waitress. I totally agree everyone should have to work in service at some point. I am a MUCH better patron and tipper because of those experiences.

  • Cat May 24, 2011, 3:54 pm

    I’ve thought about this topic a lot and wondered to myself “why did we get this way” and the best answer that I can come up with is that it all kind of boils down to our basic ideology and political theories as a country, which are that we value the individual rights much more than the collective. Basically, our country was founded on principles of individual liberties (and property rights), so while it seems like a stretch, we basically value the individuals work so much that we as a people would rather “reward” good work directly. I.e. tipping for good service and tipping less for bad service. It also explains to me why most of us value car and home ownership so much, while most European countries do not. I often wish we were more European in lots of ways too and it would be nice to pay our waitresses more, but I have to admit that because of these differences, the service that I’ve experienced while in European restaurants is MUCH different than at home. Most of my Euro traveling has been in Germany and surrounding countries, so maybe that has something to do with it, but it’s definitely not of the same caliber that we get here. Even when it IS bad 🙂

    • Cyclist Kate May 24, 2011, 5:41 pm

      Very interesting and insightful comment.

  • Laura I. May 24, 2011, 3:55 pm

    I’ve worked in both retail and as a waitress, though not recently. I’m also a total introvert. EXHAUSTING AND SOUL-SUCKING do not describe those experiences adequately for me!

    I totally “over-tip.” I’ve even tipped when I have gotten poor service, though on a few occasions I’ve talked to a manager if I felt it was warranted. You just never know what’s going on in people’s lives and I have tried to be empathetic, golden-rule-ish in those situations.

    Working in retail and as a waitress sure taught me a ton about life and people, though! And also taught me I was a lot tougher and resilient than I thought I was.

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit May 24, 2011, 3:57 pm

    I waited tables in college and it was the hardest and worst job I’ve ever had! Some people think they can treat servers like trash, and the servers are at the mercy of their tipds bc the hourly pay is so little. I hope I never have to work that job again.

  • Natalie @ Bryan and Nat Cook May 24, 2011, 3:58 pm

    – 22 top
    – NO backserver or help of any kind, just me
    – Table didn’t tell me that they had to be out by 7 pm when they arrived at 5:30
    – Their entrees weren’t even fired when they told me this at 6:30.
    – Lady YELLED at me because her food was late.
    – I CRIED at this table. (It was dark though, so nobody saw.)
    – Man ended up tipping me 30% but it wasn’t worth it =(

  • Laura @ Starting Out Fit May 24, 2011, 4:20 pm

    I totally agree with your opinion that everyone should work in the service industry and some point in their lives. It is only then when everyone will understand. I did my stint working banquets throughout my high school years and boy are their stories. I think I ended up blocking out all the horror ones though. 😉 I do remember one great story though. I had to work a breakfast buffet one Sunday for a group of truck drivers. We used to loathe getting the breakfast buffet shift because the tips were usually slim to none for a buffet and then breakfast to boot. Well, after a very easy shift, the head of the truck drivers association handed both myself and my coworker a $75 tip! That was HUGE to us. So huge that I’ve never forgotten it.

    Needless to say, I always make sure to leave a fairly nice tip. Unless it’s not deserved that is.

  • Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} May 24, 2011, 4:21 pm

    Crazy story! That does not sound fun at all.

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) May 24, 2011, 4:31 pm

    That is a crazy story!! I worked in a cafe for a few years in high school and it made me swear to never work around food again. Some guy threw a box at me…

  • kelly May 24, 2011, 4:36 pm

    When I first graduated, I worked in a relatively important politican’s office. People would often call demanding to speak to him, which obviously wasn’t going to happen right that second.
    People could get pretty nasty though.
    One man told me I was an idiot because I was “obviously a woman and a Democrat”. (Hmm. I take that as a compliment.) The best was when he then said, “You must be a blowjob queen, slutting your way around the state to get that job.”

    Um, hello, I was answering phones. I wasn’t exactly high up the ladder. If that was the case, I better work on my “skills”.

  • Tara May 24, 2011, 4:37 pm

    I work as a barista & although people have been rude to me, my co-worker had the worst experience ever. A regular customer who everyone was familiar with “called in” to ask if she could prepare his drink before his arrival, even though we don’t generally do that. He’s always seemed kind of odd, but friendly so my co-worker agreed; however, she experienced a rush of people and was not able to prepare the man’s order before he got there. So he shows up, gets aggravated the drink isn’t done, and starts verbally attacking her. He tells her “you can’t handle a rush”, “I’m going to talk to your manager”, “you have ruined my entire day”, and “thanks to you I’m late for work”. Note that he began to yell & is a very large man so quite intimidating. My co-worker begins to cry in front of other customers because she was so taken aback & another barista tried to help her before the man verbally assaulted her calling her awful things such as a “fat lesbian”… just AWFUL. At that point other customers tried to get the man to leave but he continued to shout and became enraged. Eventually he left & was banned from our shop, but the poor girl had to go home because she couldn’t stop sobbing. I came to work after that and felt horrible- she’s just a young girl trying her hardest to make a buck & didn’t deserve that, especially since we don’t offer “call in service”. She was trying to do him a favor and although she was unable, she apologized before he even yelled at her. Baristas (and no low-page workers) do NOT deserve that.

    • Caitlin May 25, 2011, 2:05 pm

      OMG. Your poor coworker wins for worst story.

  • Kristen May 24, 2011, 4:40 pm

    WOW! your bar story is awful! (and kindof sad that people acted like that!)

  • Lindsay May 24, 2011, 4:41 pm

    Agreed. Everyone needs to work in the service industry at least once in their life to understand what good service is, when a server isn’t ignoring you but is busy with the 20 other tables, how to be nice to servers and how to tip!!!

  • dana May 24, 2011, 4:52 pm

    That is so crazy! When I bartended, I was lucky enough to work with all guys. I was the only female bartender, so I never had to deal with that mess! It’s funny because you’d think that guys would be the worst when your a female working at a bar, but it’s usually the girls. Girls are catty and rude sometimes!

    • dana May 24, 2011, 4:54 pm

      and, I forgot to mention that I loved Nickel and Dimed. I too read it in college.

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife May 24, 2011, 4:54 pm

    holy moly, what a story!!

    I try and tip well also, it is just happier for everyone. Besides, when we are great/flowing with our money, it always comes back to us in return!! don’t be stingy, people!!

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss May 24, 2011, 5:04 pm

    Ahhh!! That’s horrible and SO gross!! Glad you quit..bleh!!

    I worked at a small bar too and it was a lot like that. I wasn’t a bar tender, but a waitress. Anyway, we’d have drunk guys try to grab us and even had them follow us home a few times so whenever we left, we had to have a cook or manager walk us to our car and make sure nobody left right after us.

  • Courtney May 24, 2011, 5:11 pm

    Your bar story is so awesome! I worked at a small sushi bar when I was going through college, and I was jack of all trades: host, server, bartender, it was crazy, and I was usually the only employee on. Phew!

  • Taysa May 24, 2011, 5:19 pm

    All these comments are bringing back really terrible memories from my days in retail/food service! I worked in a high-end kitchen retail store. I can’t even tell you how many things I’ve had THROWN at me! Once it was a vegetable peeler! Often because they did’t like the product or they thought the line was taking too long.

    I’ve also had people scream at me over their coffee when I was a barista. Trust me, if you ever scream at a barista, do NOT go back to that coffee shop. You WILL get decaf. 🙂

  • Katie @ peacebeme May 24, 2011, 5:29 pm

    I have honestly never even heard of tipping maids at a hotel!

  • Melissa @ Be Not Simply Good May 24, 2011, 5:37 pm

    I was doing housekeeping at a resort, and a man answered his door wearing nothing but a hand towel that sort of covered him. He asked me to bring the clean towels upstairs to the bathroom. Heck no! Not going in with a practically naked man! I set them inside the door and bid a hasty retreat! I got a tip just once during that summer and I was surprised and thrilled.

  • Carol May 24, 2011, 5:38 pm

    Holy cow!!! Can’t believe you stayed an extra month!!!

    I used to work as a waitress at a 24/7 “hell hole.” I worked the midnight shift 10PM-6AM on the weekends while I was in college. I used to rely on tips (the $2.89/hour wage blew chunks) so I would be very friendly to the customers. One night the crowd (mostly drunks) was especially lively and I was hit in the head with a water bottle. NO ONE did anything to stop the customer. He may have been asked to leave. I quit the next day. I did learn, the hard way, that I am allergic to all cleaning products (my hands were so badly burned I had no fingerprints for a short time) and to tip really really well. I usually leave an insane tip for the servers that wait on me.

  • Jen May 24, 2011, 5:45 pm

    I worked as a cashier in a grocery store when I was in college. This one lady came in – she was a regular – on her lunch break from her office and was buying some kind of “wet” salad (it was some concoction involving cottage cheese) from our salad bar. I asked twice if she wanted an elastic band around the container but she was too busy chatting with her friend and literally waved me off, so I bagged up her lunch and off she went. 5 minutes later I hear a voice behind me say “Are you some kind of an idiot or something?” I turned around and it was her – her salad container had opened in the bag so she came back in to freak out. I told her I’d happily give her refund if she’d just give me her receipt (salad bar was weighed so it’s not like I could just give her a set amount), and while she looked for the bill I asked if I could take the bag of salad for her. She said “sure”…and then launched the contents of the bag/container at me! Thank god I ducked fast, lol. All the other customers in line started yelling at her, and our security guy had seen the whole thing go down so she ended up getting banned from the store. I ended up getting a raise the next week based on my “exemplary customer service skills” (I take that to mean “good for you for not beating the crap out of a customer!”) That lady’s horrible manners have always reminded me that a) it’s rarely the fault of the person behind the counter, and b) ALWAYS put a rubber band around salad bar takeout 😉

    • Jen May 24, 2011, 6:58 pm

      Also Caitlin – I just ordered this book for my Kindle; looking forward to reading it! My company recently merged with our biggest competitor and there’s lots of b!tching and moaning around the office these days…if anything will put things in perspective, it sounds like this book will do the trick!

  • Amy May 24, 2011, 5:48 pm

    This is a very interesting topic to me and everyone has an opinion. I worked in the service industry all throughout highschool and college and always tip at least 20%. However it’s really starting to annoy the snot out of me when service people at drive through windows plop the tip cup directly in the middle of the window (as in can’t even get my coffee to me b/c the tip cup is blocking the exit way of the window) It seems insulting to the customers and makes me not want to tip (and I always tip) and not wanting to go back. Also there is now a tip cup at the mailbox etc store…. really? When does the tipping stop…. why don’t you just add it into the price of things

  • Sam May 24, 2011, 5:57 pm

    What a horrible experience! I worked as a waitress/in the food service industry for multiple years. I don’t have any horror stories that stick out in my mind, but I definitely dealt with my fair share of ungrateful customers and poor tippers. I definitely agree that it’s a job everyone should experience at least once in their lives.

  • SheFit May 24, 2011, 6:31 pm

    No horror stories in the service industry but one too many in the hospital. I have had some of the craziest patients!

  • Sarah May 24, 2011, 6:42 pm

    This isn’t exactly a horror story, but it’s a bad pick-up attempt story from my time as a barista. This firefighter drove through the coffee shop I worked at. It was 5 pm, and he had just gotten off work. He was the only one there, so we talked a little bit as I made him his coffee. Then, he asked me if I wanted to go out for a cup of coffee when I finished my shift.

    My jaw dropped. I had been working at the coffee shop since 9 am! Why would I want to go out for MORE coffee?! I had a boyfriend already, but even if I hadn’t, I would have had to turn him down due to his lack of creativity…

  • Sarah May 24, 2011, 6:53 pm

    Even with a decent paying full time job, I STILL work in the service industry as a way to get ahead on my hefty student loans. When financial aid runs out, most colleges point students toward the generic student loan options which are nothing more than disreputable burdens with interest rates upwards of 20% (my private loan is at 30%). Though my service job provides an extra income and not a livelihood, the tips help make the difference between paying off my debt now and paying it off in ten years.

  • Kelly May 24, 2011, 6:57 pm

    Wow…that is a crazy story!! I have this theory that most college kids work either retail or food/beverage service. I worked retail (at The Gap) so thankfully my job wasn’t based on tips. But I used to HATE it when people would bring tons of items into the dressing room, try them all on and then leave them in a heap on the floor. I mean really?! How hard is it to re-hang the items you don’t want and bring them out of the room with you? I swear those people used to make me so angry.

  • Shauna May 24, 2011, 7:02 pm

    I worked at a gas station throughout university – many stories to tell from there! Whenever the hauling truck came and re-filled our tanks, they would give us an invoice, and we would then change the price of gas to reflect .02 cents above the price we paid for the gas. The price change occurred as soon as I would get a break in customers to run to the back room.

    One day, following a rush and a gas delivery, I ran into the back and switched the price, which resulted in a price drop of about .03 cents/litre. Soon after, a woman came into the store to buy a case of pop – she had previously been in to fill her tank during the rush. She accused me of “purposely waiting until she left so I could lower the price” and demanded a refund. I tried to explain I couldn’t refund gas she had already purchased, but she began to escalate and yell at me. I tried to use a calculator to determine the difference, and was going to give her my own money to get her to stop yelling at me – but kept getting flustered as she yelled and having to re-start. I eventually gave up, grabbed a $5 out of my wallet and handed it to her – she then grabbed a can of pop from her case and hurled it at me! Thankfully it missed and hit the window behind me, but I burst into tears and couldn’t stop shaking.

    I later figured out the difference, which was just over $1.00. People get so ANGRY over the price of their gas! I make sure to be extra nice to the cashiers/gas jockeys when I fill up, as I know a lot of people treat them like crap at no fault of their own.

  • Christine May 24, 2011, 7:05 pm

    Wow! Crazy story.

    I think one thing we need to also do is put more pressure on the hotel industry to treat their employees better- hotel rates keep going up, their employees should see some of that.

    So, what’s your take on tipping the barista at Starbucks or the kid that scoops your ice cream? Yay or nay?

    • Caitlin May 25, 2011, 2:04 pm

      I tip both of them if I have change 🙂

  • Michelle May 24, 2011, 7:08 pm

    I agree — I think EVERYONE should wait tables or work in the food service industry!

    I worked at at several restaurants throughout college, but the one moment that stands out most in my mind is when I worked at Applebees. I worked a night that notoriously bad for tipping and was NOT having a good night. Most tables gave me $2 tips, despite racking up $100 bar tabs (the $2 had nothing to do with my service, btw – they just didn’t know any better). One table in particular has a CRAZY bill and I was just dreading the final tab because I know I had to claim my tips (and tip out the bartender/hostesses). Their final bill was probably $120 and they without giving me a tip at all. That was my last table of the night and started cleaning up after them in tears. That’s when I found a wad of money on the floor. Someone had dropped 3 $20s! It was definitely not intentional, but I do believe it karma (oh, and I DEFINITELY believe in Karma after waiting tables!!).

  • Lindsey May 24, 2011, 7:10 pm

    Oh my god your story is out of Coyote Ugly! I was a waitress at a diner one summer. You might think people on vacation down on the beach might be in good moods, oh no! I’ve never seen people more frustrated to be spending time with their families than some of the groups that came in.

  • Jolene May 24, 2011, 7:22 pm

    Oh my goodness that is nuts! I have never considered being a waitress. I am so clumsy I would be horrible at it. As for tipping…my parents would not EVER leave a tip higher than $2-3…NO MATTER THE AMOUNT! They were horrible horrible tippers and I despised how cheap they were…just down right cheap. My husband and I are very generous tippers! We have 4 incredible children and they always take it as a challenge to prove to the patrons and servers how outstanding they can behave! We aim to leave an amazing impression about large families wherever we go!

  • Katy (The Singing Runner) May 24, 2011, 7:30 pm

    I feel bad saying this, but I’ve never even thought to tip maids! This makes me feel AWFUL! Definitely doing it from now on!!!

    I want to check out this book! Seems really interesting!

    What a story though about your bartending experience! Whew! I’m thinking about getting my bartenders license so I can make some money (the beach bars around here pay well!)

  • Alaina May 24, 2011, 7:37 pm

    I definitely have to read that book! I can’t believe that guy doesn’t tip maids. I totally agree that every person at least once in their life needs to work in the service industry.

    I worked at a steakhouse throughout college and I had a colleague who served a large party and with those parties, gratuity is automatically included. Well, the patron refuted it, saying that they couldn’t afford to pay that tip. Well you could obviously afford to go out to dinner! You didn’t need to go out dinner, but that tip is needed by the server. That IS their income. I used to fume when I got a low tip. My husband and I make sure to tip really well.

  • Verna May 24, 2011, 7:59 pm

    I always tip maids because I used to clean rooms, and it was not a fun job!! I’m generally a good tipper anyway, just because I’ve worked with the public A LOT, and it’s difficult!!

    Here is my worst story ever.
    After high school, I got a job working in the local movie theater. Not the greatest job but my boss was nice and I became an assistant manager pretty quickly. One weekend someone decided to set off a smoke bomb in one of the bathrooms. Smoke was seeping into the concessions/entryway. We really didn’t want the smoke alarms going off, because the fire department would automatically come. So we had fans going everywhere but it was still really smoky. I was helping out in the ticket area and the line was out the door. The the phone rang, it was some lady complaining about her daughter being charged an adult rate instead of kids rate. People lie about this stuff all the time, she even admitted that her daughter looked older for her age. I tried as politely as I could to take down her number and call her back later so I could continue helping the people standing in line but she was not happy with that either. I got a good earfull from her and was about to start crying, I was so stressed out! She finally agreed to come in later and I explained the whole situation but it was a VERY rough day all around!

  • Kristen @ The Concrete Runner May 24, 2011, 8:11 pm

    Ha, I read that book for a class in college. It was the only book in the class that I actually enjoyed! I think about that book every week when I vacuum my carpets since they had a specific way to vacuum when she worked as a maid! I honestly don’t think about tipping maids when we stay at hotels (which is not very often), but I will definitely think about it more now. Is there a specific percent you are supposed to tip as you do with waiters/waitresses?

    • Alaina May 24, 2011, 8:40 pm

      I think for housekeepers it’s $1 per person per night.

      • MelanieF May 25, 2011, 7:08 pm

        The suggested amount is between 1$ to 3$ a night. I always leave around 3$ each time she cleans our room. I’ve been working in hotels most of my working life, so, it’s always appreciated when people leave tips when you have a cleaning service. They work hard and are not paid very much. Also, it’s always nice to leave the tips on the day she cleans your room as it’s not always the same chambermaid that cleans it.

  • Amber May 24, 2011, 8:26 pm

    I definitely agree that everyone should read _Nickel and Dimed_. I can’t believe you were punched in the face! What a story! I worked as a barista for a corporate coffee company, and even though I wasn’t a serve per se, it was still a valuable service industry experience. I was constantly appalled at the way people treated me and my fellow employees. Many of us were working our way through school, and people treated us like scum (especially the morning, pre-coffee crowd.). I ended up switching to a store in another city because I was so offended by the patrons at my original store.

    There is one incident I remember specifically: a guy was short on change for his coffee, so he reached into our tip jar and pulled out the change he needed. When I told him it was our tip jar, he shrugged and rudely said, “So what, you’ll make it back.” That wasn’t the worst of it, but it was so rude that I’ve never forgotten. 🙁

  • Charlotte May 24, 2011, 9:04 pm

    Hi Caitlin! LOVELOVELOVE Nickel and Dimed. I read it in high school, and it’s actually what inspired me to become a Sociology and Anthropology major in college. I get SO mad when my friends don’t tip. I think it’s ridiculous! If you don’t want to spend a lot of money when you go out, just order something less expensive so you can still leave a tip. Not tipping is not okay. On the topic of Nickel and Dimed, the author, Barbara Ehrenreich, just wrote a piece on domestic workers’ rights in NYT Mag. Here’s the link (it starts on p. 49): http://www.nytimes.com/indexes/2011/04/29/t-magazine/design-issue/index.html

    • Caitlin May 25, 2011, 2:03 pm

      Thanks for this link!

  • Elise May 24, 2011, 9:50 pm

    I too worked as a waitress from 17 – 23. It was a Greek owned family restaurant, but the men were pigs – they’d slap our butts as we walked past and make very crude comments. The money and tips were certainly NOT worth what we had to go through! Even if I get bad service I’ll almost always give 20% – if I’m having a bad day at my job they’re not cutting my salary, so I won’t take it out on the server if they’re not 100%.

  • K May 24, 2011, 9:57 pm

    My dad read, and I believe, owns a copy of that book and I know he really enjoyed it. I think I just may have to borrow it from him soon! I totally agree with you that everyone should have to have a serving job in their lifetime. I was a server twice, worked retail a couple times and worked as a grocery store cashier. I know how it feels to work you ASS off and then get tipped close to nothing. And when I was a server our wage was $3.45 an hour. That was only 4-5 years ago too. How pathetic, huh?! So basically, if you didn’t bring much home in tips, you were REALLY screwed. Now I make sure to tip well and be sympathetic to the server (sometimes your experience is not that good, but you can tell it’s not the server’s fault or that the server is just having a bad day). Love this post, Caitlin, and your story (funny in hindsight, for sure!).

  • BroccoliHut May 24, 2011, 9:57 pm

    I worked in a family-owned pharmacy for high school and college, and I dealt with a lot of angry old ladies!

  • Izzyy May 24, 2011, 10:12 pm

    Okay, I’ve worked in retail, food service and telemarketing, and I’ve been SO verbally abused, I don’t even know where to start. Telemarketing was probably the worst – try sitting in cramped room, starring at a wall for six hours straight with a manager breathing down your neck, having people who think their clever and hilarious make the same, rude jokes at you. Over. And over. And over. My first day (age 15), I got called a “stupid sl*t” and was told to go “burn in h*ll”. Seriously.

    TOTALLY agree that everyone should have to work in the service industry, at least once. Maybe then I wouldn’t get verbally attacked for not make 5,000 lattes fast enough at 5:30 in the morning!!


    • Caitlin May 25, 2011, 2:02 pm

      Telemarketing sounds like hell!

  • Ashley May 24, 2011, 10:37 pm

    I highly, highly recommend Nickel and Dimed!

  • Miranda @ Working Mom Works Out May 24, 2011, 10:56 pm

    First of all, I’ve read that book. Horrifying. Absolutely shocking.

    And I mentioned this on Sunday when I forced my husband to tip 15% even after bad service.


  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing May 24, 2011, 10:57 pm

    I LOVE Italian Pie! And heck yes on the tipping.. I don’t think people realize that we make our LIVING on their tips. $2.50 an hour does not quite cut it.

  • Dominique May 24, 2011, 11:14 pm

    I was in the customer service industry for over 5 years (am sort of still now but in a different compacity) and have dealt with all kinds of harassment based on my age, gender and race. When I was managing a post office customers wouldn’t belies I was the manager and then not listen to ms when I had to tell them about post office regulations. Dealing with difficult customers made ms sympathize with people in my situation so I try to be as nice as I can without beig creepy. I’m also a good tipper as log as the service is good because I know I could never handle being a waitress. I think tipping is just something simple that you can do to show your gratitude and yes, it doesn’t cost that much.

  • Katie May 25, 2011, 12:28 am

    I have ALWAYS told people that I think everyone should be required to work as a waitress at least one day in their lives, and that had better be a Saturday night! So many waitressing horror stories…..I once got a 25 cent tip off of a group of 9…..and of course I’m taxed for all the food they eat, so I came out negative on that! And it wasn’t from bad service…..a woman in the party of nine was having a fling with my boyfriend at the time, that I was totally unaware of. How fun! 😉

  • Khushboo May 25, 2011, 12:47 am

    I agree about the tipping issue! Some restaurants here put service charge on the bill so the patrons have no choice. After spending $20+ on a meal, another few bucks isn’t going to cause a major dent to the bank balance!

  • Sarah May 25, 2011, 7:49 am

    I worked at McDonald’s when I was in college and one day a dad said to his daughter, on purpose just loud enough for me to hear “If you don’t study hard enough at school, you’lle be like this woman one day”…yeah thanks
    I also think being in the retail/service industry teaches you a lot about life and respect.

    • Caitlin May 25, 2011, 2:02 pm

      OMG. What a horrible parent.

  • Annika May 25, 2011, 7:54 am

    Thanks for the book tip, it looks worth reading. The only time I do not tip is when the service I have received is really, completely, utterly bad.

  • Molly @ RDexposed May 25, 2011, 7:56 am

    Are. You. Kidding. Me? I can’t even think of anything that would compare to that. I’ve had a drunk guy trying to remove my apron to get me to dance with him during a wedding reception that I was catering in college.

  • Sara @ OurDogBuffy May 25, 2011, 8:43 am

    WOW! I can’t imagine much comparing to that story! I worked in a grocery store in high school and a hardware store in college. Customers can be SO testy about food–served to them or just buying it in the store. I remember crying once at the grocery store when a customer YELLED at me because her Cheetos were not buy-one-get-one-free. The sign said chips. Not Cheetos. She ended up calling me dumb, the county we lived in dumb, the store dumb … (I have to agree–the cheetos shouldn’t be on the same end cap as the chips if they’re not part of the deal. But really? Read.) The hardware store wasn’t too bad. The occasional guy would hit on me (ew) but that was about as bad as it got. 🙂 And not having to sell anyone beer or alcohol rocked.

  • Amber K May 25, 2011, 9:13 am

    I totally could not do a job like that! The closest I came was working fast food and even if we ran around like crazy trying to get things done while serving the customers, we weren’t to accept tips even if they were offerred.

    I live in a state where the service industry earns at least minimum wage PLUS tips, so I don’t usually think about it. I do still tip, almost always about 15%, but knowing they are still making money makes me feel less guilty about not tipping at all if I get bad service.

  • Mila @ loftyappetite May 25, 2011, 3:08 pm

    I love this post, I could not agree more about everyone needing to experience a job in the customer service industry, whether it be a restaurant, retail store, or whatever. It teaches you so much, and helps you become a better customer in the future! Some people that don’t experience that then end up forgetting to treat wage employees with respect they deserve.

  • Caitlin May 25, 2011, 3:55 pm

    I worked allll kinds of jobs in the food and service industries through high school and after college. My Mom always said that I should write a book with all the crazy stories – I wish I had!

    I will say that when I worked at a coffee shop in High School I had a couple of angry patrons who were incredibly rude and threatening and in both cases the other patrons rallied and came to our defense – I especially remember them asking if we (myself and the other workers, many of whom were young) were okay. That was a nice counterpoint to the Crazy.

    Of all my tales, though, I think my favorite story is from a customer service job I had after college. I was on the phone with a customer who was placing an order. She was generally just kind of rude and had very little patience for the basic questions I had to ask her but at one point I asked her for her name or a street or something. She said it very quickly and was mumbling a little and I could not understand her, so I had to ask her to repeat herself. Again, she was quick and mumbling and so I finally had to ask her to spell it. She let out a big sigh and began “i…like IDIOT.”


  • Kristina @ spabettie May 25, 2011, 4:51 pm

    I LOVE that book! very interesting.

  • MelanieF May 25, 2011, 6:43 pm

    I’ve been working as a hotel receptionist for almost 10 years. I also worked as a maid in a hotel as well before being a receptionist. I know how hard they work and how hard we work in the tourism industry. I also worked as a waitress in a Pizza Hut when I was much younger. Those experiences alone made me a great tipper 🙂

    • MelanieF May 25, 2011, 6:49 pm

      Oh, and minimum wage here in Quebec (Canada) is now at 9.65$ an hour and people in the service industry it’s at 8.35$ an hour plus tips. For anyone who’s interested to know. 🙂

  • Anne May 25, 2011, 6:46 pm

    There was actually a book written in response to Nickel and Dimed called Scratch Beginnings where the author (Adam Shepard) voluntarily goes to another state and starts in a homeless shelter and works his way up to a living wage, and is able to pull it off. I have read both books. I can see that while there is sometimes opportunity available for those with dedication, we definitely don’t do enough as a society to support those who have the least. Plus, even those WITH huge dedication and resumes can sometimes submit hundreds of applications without a response, it seems!

  • Jes May 26, 2011, 11:44 am

    I like to think of myself as an awesome tipper at traditional places like restaurants and bars and such… I think a little bit of my problem (that word is used loosely because I could not come up with a better one), is ignorance. Until this post, I never knew that maid service is something that you tip for. Heck, just a year ago when I paid for a haircut via CC I did not know you should/could tip your hair stylist…

  • Dean May 26, 2011, 10:59 pm

    I travel a few times a year for work and now for races I run, but it is usually for just one night. I didn’t think a tip is expected in those situations, because they didn’t come in and clean up during my stay or anything. ?

    I was never in the service industry (unless you count the front desk at an Aquarium- but we weren’t even allowed to take tips), so I guess I have a hard time knowing/remembering when I should tip.

    • Caitlin May 27, 2011, 6:20 am

      I still tip after 1 night because they have to clean up when you leave 🙂

  • Carly May 27, 2011, 9:50 am

    I 100% agree with all of this. I have been working in the service industry for about 4 years now, and sometimes it makes me so upset to see how some guests treat servers. My horror story comes from my very first time serving ever. It was at the Cheesecake Factory and my very first table was a group of 6 women. These women ran me like a dog. Everytime I went to speak with my other tables it was a wave, a snap, an “excuse me miss”, but I just kept on smiling and did as I was asked. Their total bill was $200+ dollars, and I split it 6 ways. My final total tip…..$1.87. I just started to cry. I felt so betrayed. But, I kept going, and ate a slice of cheesecake for dinner to make it all better.

  • Michelle May 30, 2011, 7:57 pm

    I tip service people very well because I’m so grateful to have never had to work as a waitress/bartender/etc. (I spent a lot of time working in retail instead). Just the idea of waiting tables in a busy restaurant and keeping on top of everyone’s orders scares me! It takes a lot for me to leave a lower than 20% tip, and I hate people who are proud of tipping low or not tipping on a regular basis.

  • Samantha July 5, 2011, 7:58 pm

    I work in a hotel doing the complimentary breakfast buffet. It is absolutely horrendous what we have to deal with some days! The company I work for gives great discounts for employees so we get tons of associates traveling for vacation all the time. (I live in Las Vegas, which means a lot of…not so nice people want to visit.) The part that irks me the most is that the majority of associates staying with us do so at an extremely discounted rate (we usually can book for about 200 a night when busy but they get a room for 39 a night…!) and being that they do the same jobs as everyone else at the hotel and you would think they would have some empathy, they do not tip and are the ones that have the worst attitudes. In my two years of working breakfast (which includes prepping, cooking, serving, replenishment, busing tables, doing dishes, cleaning and so much more) I have probably received a total of 20 dollars in tips. I do not depend on them because they are so rare to see. (I’ve been tipped probably 2 dollars in the last 4 months) But because I work so hard at my job and understand what people have to go through in kitchens and serving jobs, I always always always make sure to tip well.

Healthy Tipping Point