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Being a server or bartender in America, you are dependent on the system of tipping. We make a hourly wage, but it is the minimum wage, so in New York, it comes to about $5.00 an hour. That's double what waiters are making in 19 states, the lowest being $2.13 an hour to wait tables. That is not a lot of money, to say the least, so we depend on the system of tipping. A lot of people are against this system and think it should be abolished completely, with servers then making a salary like any other profession. I am of the school of thought that this is not going to happen any time soon, as it is not something that anyone ever thinks about unless they are working in the restaurant business. People who have never worked in a restaurant know that they have to tip, and so many times it becomes a power trip for them, or a discriminatory act. Some people hold the tip over their servers head nearly from the get-go, saying some things like, "we're going to be a pain in the ass, but we leave good tips." Other people warn you, usually in a joking manner, like when you spill a little water, or worse, some of the drink; "That's coming out of your tip!" It seems to me that at the end of the night, the tips have a way of equalling out, so you'll get those awful tips, but then you'll have some great tippers, so the two offset.
There are some instances in which the tip is entirely lost because of the way people divide up the tip. These days, most people pay by credit card. I don't mind this although our tips are then taxed, but most places these days also collect the cash tips at the end of the night and put it all in the pot so it's all taxed anyway. This is not the case at our place, so our cash tips are tax free. Again, since most people don't pay cash, or tip in cash, this money is usually just a couple bucks here and there; enough to buy a round of drinks, essentially. What really irks me though, and this was the point of this rant, is when people divide the check between each other using cash and credit card, because the majority of these people do it incorrectly. I am here to let you know the incorrect method and hope that in the future, you and your friends will divide it better. So, the incorrect way, and the way that is most commonly seen is as such. Two (or more) people will be dividing the check, I will come over to the table and one of them will hand me a bunch of cash, a card or two, and say, "put the rest on the card." That is incorrect! What usually happens in this case is, I do just that; I count the cash (9 times out of 10 it is more than half of the bill because people are "adding on the tip" as part of their cash payment) and then I run the card. Most times, I pick up the credit card slip and the tip that has been left is only counting the money on the credit card slip, so I am only being tipped on half of the bill. This happens all the time. For some reason, people don't understand that this is happening. They think that since the cash payer "included" the tip in their part of the bill that we are going to get that "extra" money as a tip. But, when someone asks to "put the rest on the card" they obviously know how much they owe. So, if you take out the cash tip, and put more money on the card, they accuse you of overcharging. Some of the time, the people who are paying with credit cards will leave the right amount for the tip, but most of the time, in this scenario, the waiter gets half of the tip that is standard. If the credit card payer is a lousy tipper, then it is sometimes even less.
The correct way of doing this is so achingly simple, it makes me crazy each and every time I get the line, "put the rest on the card." Before I get to that, let me just preface this statement with the following. I realize that not everyone who comes into the restaurant has a lot of money on their debit card. I realize that a lot of the people paying with credit cards are behind on their payments and drowning in debt. I understand all of this. But, this does not excuse you from paying for your meal. So, with that said, here is the correct way to divide the check with cash and a credit card.
Whoever is paying cash in the party gives the cash to the person who is paying with the credit card. The person paying with the credit card keeps the cash and puts the whole bill on the card.
This way, the whole bill goes on the credit card, the credit card payer can leave tip in cash or credit form, and everyone is happy! The cash payer can feel good about his "tip included" payment, the credit card payer now has some cash on their person, and the tip is correct. Unless, of course, the credit card payer is a bad tipper. But t least they paid correctly!