An anonymous commenter on the Watts Grocery post mentions how messed up compensation for waiters and waitresses is. That got me to thinking about tips.
I cannot think of a single time when I haven't left a tip. The waiter would have to slap me, cuss me out, AND call my momma a whore for me not to leave a tip. I'd probably also leave him w/ a black eye.
For the record, in America these days 20% is standard for restaurants, hair cuts, massages, whatever. Yes, tip your hairdresser. If you think 15% is standard, or (gasp!) 10%, then you are cheap. Do you really want people to think you are cheap? No, I thought not.
I leave a tip of 15% if the service has been really poor. In spite of being cranky from time to time about getting silverware and drinks in a timely fashion, I usually don't even knock it down to 15% for those minor infractions. Generally it takes a slew of mistakes: no silver or dirty silver, plus slow service, plus the wrong order, plus surly attitude.
A very long time ago I worked as a waitress. I found that waiting tables is far more stressful than a desk job, even the management job I have now. And customers can be a real pain. My biggest pet peeve is when I dine out with people who treat the wait staff as if they are servants. This is just wrong. In France, people respect their waiters and waitresses as founts of knowledge about the wine and the cuisine. Somehow we should recapture that.
So the next time you don't leave a 20% tip, or 15% if it is bad service, just remember that you are showing your own ass. And that is not a pretty sight!
I'm sure y'all will have opinions on this, but I stand firm in my own belief of what is correct and what is cheap and tacky, so beware.