Tea deciding factor for tipping

Published 9:00 pm Sunday, February 26, 2012

As I go about my daily routines, I’m often stopped by people, some I know and some I don’t, who tell me they read my column. For that I’m always very humbled and appreciative.

     A lot of the people who stop me often suggest items for me to write about, and I’m thankful for this, too.

     I’ve been writing columns for The DAILY LEADER since late 2004 and sometimes it gets a little hard to come up with new subjects to write about.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

     I’ve found most of the people I run in to like reading about my husband, Dennis. He is very funny, and loves to joke with people. He has become a very good sport about my retelling some of his most embarrassing moments.

     If Hank Ketcham had not invented the Dennis the Menace comic strip in early 1951, I would have thought he was shadowing my Dennis as a boy, who by the way, looks very similar to the comic strip version. Coincidence? My Dennis was born a few years later, though.

     But, back to column writing.

     Just this past week Dennis and I were eating out at one of our local establishments. Our regular waitress, Angela, was telling me about how much money waitresses made per hour and how I should write a column about tipping.

     Well, I heard you loud and clear, Angela.

     Most waitresses only make about $2.13 per hour. Not a lot when compared to the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

     That’s where tips make up the difference.

     I have never waited tables myself, but I can tell you, just from eating out a lot, waitresses and waiters have a hard job.

     Not only do they have to keep up with several tables at a time, they also have to keep up with each diner at each table.

     Dennis’ tip scale goes by how many times he has to get up and ask for his tea glass to be refilled. If the waitress keeps his glass filled, the more generous he is when time comes to pay the bill.

     He can get pretty rowdy if his tea glass gets empty. He’ll start shaking the ice in his glass while looking around for the waitress or tapping it on the table. He’ll even stop eating and start craning his neck from side to side like a giant giraffe searching for our waitress.

     Heaven help us if he actually has to get up and go find her or the tea pitcher. By this time our time out is ruined.

     I’ve calmed him down a bit over the past few years … but waitresses take note: If we happen to sit in your station, just keep his glass filled and he’ll be a happy camper, and so will I.

     Tips are purely optional, depending on your service. Keep in mind that tips are gratuities – by definition: money given in return for some service or favor.

     Today the standard for tipping your waiter or waitress is 15 to 20 percent of your pre-taxed bill. Dennis and I try to adhere to this – the rule is pretty clear.

     I’ve always questioned how much to tip at a buffet-styled restaurant. Years ago, you didn’t have waitresses at buffets … it was mostly serve yourself, problem solved. But today, a lot of these restaurants have waitresses who bring your drinks, clear your table of unwanted dishes and refill your drinks, as needed. How much do you tip in these cases?

     According to several etiquette websites I visited, the going rate is 5 to 10 percent. You be the judge.

     No matter where you eat, if someone serves you, then consider tipping if the service is adequate.

     I understand there is even an app available for your smart phone that will help you calculate your tips.

     And how was your week?

     Lifestyles Editor Tammie Brewer can be reached at The DAILY LEADER at (601) 833-6961 ext. 144, by e-mail at tbrewer@dailyleader.com or you can write to her at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven MS 39602.