Tipping a custom
For full-service restaurants with wait staff, it is the established norm (and in some locations/situations mandatory practice) in the U.S. to add a tip for “service.” The national minimum hourly wage for tipped employees is $2.13, so said employees depend heavily on such tips.
In many other parts of the world the wait staff is principally compensated by restaurant ownership with the menu prices raised to account for this.
The idea behind tipping (rather than paying a higher hourly wage and increasing menu prices) is that wait staff has an incentive to give “better service” in the hopes of earning a larger-than-normal tip.
If the quality of service is clearly unsatisfactory you have a right to express your dissatisfaction through your “tip” and to address any service issues with management. Be aware that some service issues may not have been fully the fault of the wait staff.
To reiterate: This norm is clear and long established.
I would suggest to the recent letter writer that rather than asking for a “poll” by readership whether tipping is “mandatory,” some of whom might, as is the case with the writer not accept the practice, that instead he advise the restaurant upon his arrival that he doesn’t believe in following normal tipping practices as regards wait staff. The writer might come to find out that he is not welcome at a great number of local establishments, or at most, if not all, of the dining tables.
Compliments aren’t relayed
As a retired veteran of more than 28½ years, I have experienced both absolutely stellar patient service as well as being treated like a secondhand individual with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
I learned as a young enlisted man that you need to follow the mantra of making it known with a word of thanks, letter of appreciation or award if one does an exceptional job. I have received extremely compassionate and professional service from the listed VA individuals and have written three letters of sincere appreciation to the administrators of both the Hampton and Harlingen VA medical centers as well as the secretary of the VA.
I was attempting to bring to their supervisors’ attention the exemplary commitment and service that Dr. Lloyd P. Hitchings (Neurologist, Hampton, VA), Marissa Carreon (McAllen, VA) and Dr. Allegra Garcia-Cantu and the Green Team (McAllen, VA) provided me. All have performed well above what anyone could possibly expect as normal patient care. I wrote the letters of appreciation more than two years ago and the individuals mentioned have not been informed by anyone of their exemplary patient service from a supervisor.
With so much negativity toward the VA, why would a supervisor or even the secretary of the VA be neglectful toward the recognition of top performers? Are they too busy? It appears complacency and disregard starts at the top.
Maybe the listed individuals will finally receive the accolades they truly deserve should this letter be published.
USCG Don J. St. Aubin U.C. Coast Guard Command Master Chief (ret.)