Sometimes we have to look carefully for the subtle signs of evil. In this particular case evil may seem like too strong a word, but the situation points to a trend; the end result of which is evil. Keep that in mind as you read on.
I do all the bookkeeping in my business and home, so the goddess just drops receipts on my desk and I take it from there. My wife is as frugal as they come so I seldom ever question her spending. One particular receipt got me to thinking, and then it made me angry. Not at the goddess, but at the restaurant where she dined with colleagues.
The initial check amount was for $19.21. The next line item read: " + Included Gratuity: $3.46" Then there was a line below that: "+ Additional Tip __________", then a line to write the total.
My wife left the additional tip line empty, and paid the total of $22.67. Now here is what I would have done:
I would have called the waiter or waitress over. Not the "server." A server is a computer CPU that handles internet traffic. If you are offended by the terms waiter or waitress, take your sorry politically fashionable ass out of here. Let's continue.
I would have called the waiter over and said, "You just lost some money. You're employer decided to insult me by taking choice away from me. I almost always leave a five dollar tip for anything between $10 - $25 dollars. After that it's $5 + 15%. If the service is really good I make it %20."
Not only does it insult a thinking person to not give them their rightful choice, it insult them to use this Orwellian newspeak. To call that $3.48 a gratuity is asinine. A gratuity is something freely given without obligation. It is used as a synonym for tip. The moment it ceases to be voluntary, it becomes an add on fee.
Worse than that, it serves a more insidious purpose. It kills incentive. Why should the waiter be concerned with how well he handles your order, or pays attention to your needs, or trying to be pleasant. He's got a guaranteed add on.
I've had waitresses so good that they got a tip equal to half the check. Not only were they on top of everything, but they were practically entertaining as well. Talent deserves to be rewarded. But maybe two or three times in my life I can recall leaving a dollar or some coins. After having to remind the guy 3 times that I needed a refill on my drink and getting frustrated watching him flirt with his coworker at the kitchen door.
I would not work as a waiter in a restaurant that had an "Included Gratuity" policy. And if somebody tried to get one established, I would raise some hell in the meeting. I would tell the substandard waiters, "Look, if you aren't satisfied with amount of tips you're getting, then maybe you need to improve your service or work on your charm skills, but don't cause me to lose money due to the resentment you create with the clientele."
The same thing goes for pooling tips. If I owned the restaurant, I would want waiters who try hard to make customers love the atmosphere of my place. Good waiters deserve to keep all the tips they earn and to tip their bussers according to their quality of work. Pooling tips tells the good waiters there is no reason to work harder than "slacker Sally" or "Inept Earl." Conversely, the bad waiters have no need to stop and ask themselves, "Hey, how come Frank and Julie are always getting almost double the tips I do?"
I worked for tips as a sportfishing deckhand. I was 19, but in retrospect I can recall times when I let my pride and attitude cost me anywhere from $80 to $160 in a single day. But it only happened a couple of times.
So the next time you see that line on a restaurant check: "Included Gratuity" or some such nonsense, speak up. Tell the waitress what it cost her to have her little bit of "secured income." And if they start copping an attitude, you can really blow their mind by saying, "Look, I'm profit and you're overhead."