Slashfood's Hanna Raskin has made an interesting (and controversial) argument that restaurant customers are doing themselves and their servers a disservice by leaving a "standard" 15-percent tip for good service.
"Want to really confuse your server? Leave a 15-percent tip," she writes. "There's nothing more ambiguous than the 15-percent tip, which could just as well be a 'thanks for nothing' grat from a miffed diner who always leaves 20 percent or a sincere show of gratitude from an infrequent restaurantgoer who thinks 15 percent is still the going rate for good service. Only the tipper knows for sure."
According to Raskin (blogger, server and food-tour organizer) leaving a 15-percent tip isn't just rude, it's also unrealistic, insensitive, ungrateful and outdated.
Think that $3 tip on a $20 bill is fine? Think again, she says. If you want to let your server know he or she did a fine job, you're going to have to do better.
"Surveys show the vast majority of Americans have transitioned away from the 15-percent standard which ruled the food and beverage industry for decades, with the national average tip rising to 19 percent in 2008," she writes. "Just as the public realized that folks who toil on assembly lines and sell costume jewelry at the mall deserve a minimum wage, diners have finally caught on to the real value of service. As we approach Labor Day, your server thanks you for that."
What do you tip? What do you think of Raskin's argument? Anyone care to add additional points for her case? Anyone care make the argument for a 15-percent tip for decent service?
by Michael Y. Park
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