[Sca-cooks] OOP/OT RE: tipping the wait staff

Celia des Archier celiadesarchier at cox.net
Thu Nov 2 13:04:41 PST 2006

Georgia Foster said:
<<The best waitress job, money wise, was at a german beer bar.  We made
per hour at a time when minimum wage was $4.35.  One was required to claim 8

percent of the total food and booze sold, for tax purposes.  If, at the end 
of the shift the .08 didnt make up for the difference between $2.01 and 
$4.35 one was entitled to claim the difference.  That being said, if one did

claim the difference, one was branded as poor servers and given fewer 
shifts, so  guess what  nobody ever claimed the difference, even in the 
dead-days after New Years.>>

Amen to that!  My last waitressing job was in, oh...?  '85?  -ish?  More
than 20 years ago.  The standard was that the government expected you to
claim 10% of your sales as tips and the management pretty much *required* it
(i.e., if you didn't, you found yourself off schedule pretty soon) because
the government, at that time at least, required them to pay the difference
if we weren't making minimum.  

Did we always make it?  Rarely.  Almost no one actually made that 10% on a
shift-to-shift basis, and not because we were poor servers, but because the
place was a seafood place where the major draw was an "all-you-can-eat"
buffet, so most folks came in for the buffet and didn't expect to tip for
having their drinks refilled - or didn't expect to tip 10% or more for it.
And stiffing the server completely, especially on lunch, was not uncommon
(we had "regulars" from the business park we were in who some servers would
fight with the hostess for seating in their section because they always got
the buffet and never tipped a cent.)  

When I had a party not ordering off the buffet I always made good tips, but
whenever I had a 'buffet' party the tip was a standard $1-2 (if I was lucky
it was $1/person on the $9.99 buffet, meeting that 10% minimum.)  But I had
to claim that 10% or loose my job.  

Granted, tip servers working at a decent place rarely claim more than the
minimum expected of the tips they make for tax purposes - that's one of the
"advantages" to working the job that most folks have no qualms about
exercising, but it really hurts when you're having deductions taken from
that $2/hr minimum for more money than you made just to try and keep the
job.  (And yes... I was smart enough that job only lasted the few months it
took me to find another, but pressuring wait servers to claim more than they
make is not unusual in restaurants which aren't "high end" places.  Just
another factoid I thought folks might not be aware of. ) 


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