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Gripes On Gratuity

Amanda Bar

This weekend I did something I never did before: use a cab. (Okay, there was that one time in college, but I was too drunk to remember it so that doesn't technically count.)  I considered the whole process fascinating until we pulled up to our destination and it was time to pay.  A friend picked up the tab, but as she was using the credit card swipe-machine in the backseat I noticed that during the payment process it suggested a 20% tip, turning a $40 fare into $48.

I've gone over some issues I have with tipping in the past, but now this is just getting excessive.  Who decides which professions are tip-able, because I don't recall it being a social faux pas to not tip the city bus driver.  I don't begrudge taxi drivers tips - I would love if people paid me randomly for doing my job! - but a suggested 20% gratuity?  I understand that waitresses (and other professions) make a lowered wage and that tips make up a bulk of their salary, but I couldn't uncover whether the same can be said of cab drivers.

Also, on the return trip our cab driver was not only awful (turning down the wrong streets despite repeated directions) but he failed to tell us that the card-swipe machine was broken; thankfully we had cash, or else I'd have run into the house to get a check, but it really should be the responsibility of the driver - when I'm paying for a service - to inform us of this before he even presses down on the gas pedal.  Our extreme lack of cash (we were just able to cover the cab fare) made us unable to afford him a large tip, but I don't think I would have wanted to, regardless.

Do you have any opinions on professions that accept tips; any that you disagree with, or any that you think deserve the extra cash?

Posted by Amanda Conwell at 11:57 AM on July 5, 2010 in Nightlife , Savings | Permalink | Facebook | Digg | del.icio.us | AIM



I'm a waiter so I know what it is to be a "tipped employee." I agree with you about the taxi vs bus driver scenario.

Here's another one, when did sub shops workers become tipped employees? Go to subway and their may or may not be a tip jar. But go to Quiznos and if they don't get a tip, you get that awkward look from them. I've even heard remarks from them.

I've always want to ask them, since when did you all become tipped employees?

Though, one gripe I do have is from my own people from South America, and others from say Canada, England ect is that they tip 10% in a fine dining restaurant. That really gets under the servers skin


I just wanted to add something for those not in the Biz (Tipped employee industry). That lousy 10% that some ignorant people leave to the waiter will be way less than that.

For one, everyone in the restaurant puts their hands in the server's pocket. Here's the breakdown for most servers:

3% of sales or 15% to 20% the tip goes to the busboy, 3% of sales or 15% to 20% of the tip goes to the door or captain, 1.5% of sales or 5% to 10% of tip goes to the bar. The dish washers usually want a cut too, even some cooks too. Also, servers tend to tip extra on top of that so the busboy/bartender will assist them with urgency when needed, all to please the guest.

My bad for the rant, but next time your friend or family member from another country comes down to visit you, please educate them on that lousy 10% tip that really turns out to be like 2-4% after taxes. Ohh, and I almost forgot the one race in particular that only tips $5 per every hundred they spend. Figure that one on your own. There was a huge outcry from that on SoBe several years back. It's sad but very true.

Compare that to the 20% most Americans leave and you will see why some severs can't stand to serve certain people.


Mike -

I've noticed that in several fast food restaurants now you can see a tip jar plopped in front of the cashier.

I had a discussion with a friend who worked at a local coffee shop while in college, and she said that they put a tip jar out simply to collect the spare change that the customers would tell the cashiers to keep. If spare change is such an issue, though, they can always opt for one of those fundraiser/Ronald McDonald-fund type collection boxes instead of a jar to collect tips.

I've never worked as a tipped employee, but I know I would be boggled if someone attempted to tip me on my current job.


If you took cabs more you would know that the "credit card machine is broken" routine is one that cabbies pull often. It's not their machines are actually broken, but rather, they don't want to give up the 2 - 3% service fee the credit card companies charge. And, no, they will never tell you the machines are "broken" when you first get in the cab. For this reason, I will only use reputable cab companies (such as 954-777-7777 in Broward), because if a cabbie tries to pull this on me, I can call the dispatch to have the situation resolved. As for tipping cab drivers-- yes I believe this is pretty standard practice, at least it is in every big city I've been in. What I haven't been able to figure out though is what is a decent percent. I've had some people say small tips are all that's expected, but I'm not sure of the practice in South Florida.


Reader -

Thanks for the comment; that's definitely something to watch out for if I ever use a cab again. I guess every business has their share of shady people, though I can't begrudge them wanting to skip the service charge...just let your passengers know, in case it's an issue.


Also, turning down the wrong streets is yet another scam to drive up the mileage (or enter another "zone" in some cities) so that they can charge more. Just an FYI.

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