Hold my earrings

A Reddit user recently posted a picture of a note that a waiter friend had received in lieu of a tip. Assuming this is real, why should this cheap-ass, non-tipping note-leaver go to hell? Let us count the ways.

(1) Premeditation. Americans dining out at a sit-down restaurant understand that the bill is only a portion of what is to be paid. Unless it was a particularly bad experience, most people know to add a bare minimum of 15% (though usually 20%) of the bill as tip. Tips are a part of the cost of the meal. Can’t afford to pay a gratuity? Can’t afford the meal, then.

Although people sometimes miscalculate or don’t factor in tip costs when going out to eat, this was not the case with Mr./Ms. Note Leaver (NL). As NL’s typing and printing out of the note proves, he/she had decided before entering the restaurant that he/she didn’t want to pay.

(2) Giving nothing up. NL blames President Obama for his/her not leaving a tip. Because the government is burdening NL so by making him/her pay “[his/her] fair share in taxes,” NL must make the terrible, terrible sacrifice by “cut[ting] back on discretionary spending and gratuities.” Probably wiping away a tear as he/she sits in front of the computer, NL types that he/she “wish it didn’t have to be this way for both of us.”

What fucking bullshit.

NL and perhaps a few companions got to enjoy a meal out. Someone else prepared the meal, someone else brought the food and drink to them at a reasonable time and someone else cleaned up afterwards. There is no indication that anything went amiss. NL didn’t give anything up. In fact, not only did NL not make any sacrifices, NL gained by having the full dining out experience at 15-20% less.

In addition, NL also blames Proposition 30 for cuting back on gratuities. Among other things, Proposition 30, effective in California on January 1, 2013, increased state personal income taxes of people earning over $250,000 for seven years (1% more if earning over $250,000, 2% more if earning over $300,000, 3% if earning over $500,000). If NL thought that Proposition 30 would impose such a hardship, it means that NL makes significantly more than $250,000 per year.

Let’s say NL went with a significant other to an expensive restaurant like Quince, NL’s treat. They both order the prix fixe tasting menu ($140 each) and wine pairing ($95 each). NL is saying that selling out an extra $75 – when he/she earns at a minimum $250,000 – is too much of a burden?

What fucking bullshit.

(3) Someone else’s burden. Not only did NL not make any sacrifices, any sacrifices that are to be made by NL’s refusal to pay gratuities would be borne by the waiter (and, if there’s a tip pool, the rest of the restaurant staff), who depend on tips to supplement their oftentimes very low base pay.

In the U.S., wage and hour law is governed by federal and state law, where federal law establishes certain minimum protections that state laws cannot go under. While all states require employers to pay employees at least a minimum wage, most states have a separate minimum wage for tipped employees; the tipped employee minimum wage (TEMW) is lower than the regular minimum wage because employers assume that the tipped employee’s income will be supplemented by gratuities. Although the laws always require employers to make up the difference if the TEMW plus tips are less than the state-mandated minimum wage, in practice this often does not happen. In addition, many states allow tip pooling, where employers may require employees to share tips with other employees.

Fortunately, the server appears to work in California, where there is no separate TEMW and employers cannot take, deduct or credit tips against an employee’s wages (though involuntary tip pooling is allowed). However, the server is likely making not much more than the minimum wage. Any tip would help the server’s finances more than it would hurt that of NL.

Perhaps NL wanted to make a political statement, perhaps NL does feel bad but isn’t very self aware. Whatever the case, NL’s one fucking asshole.

Image via Reddit