Diner At Eats


This guy earns it on entertainment value alone.

Good news. By clicking to read this post an 18% gratuity has already been added to your bill.

Don’t worry. We still provide a space for “tip” that allows you to recognize unparalleled service. You don’t normally review your charges, do you? Have you tipped 20% on top of an 18% gratuity lately? Trust me. It’s fun.

I survive on your tips. The lion’s share of the profits go to management. Luckily, though, my proceeds are not subject to “protection” charges by the blogosphere syndicate. I haven’t been syndicated. At least not yet. Won’t you help pay my way through college?

A local restaurant just closed. The “chef” had her parents invest lots of their own money which I can only assume has now vaporized. The building is shuttered and construction workers have brought in scaffolding and are tearing things apart.

The food had a reputation for being quite good but the portions were notoriously tiny. The prices were though the roof and the place was easily one of the most expensive in town. The restaurant never seemed to do anything about bad service though the stories were the stuff of legend and spread like wildfire through our small town.

I heard the chef had an explanation for her failed enterprise. “The community just didn’t support us.” Yeah, I’m sure she’ll be successful wherever she lands.

After doing Saturday morning computer work for a friend, I was “paid” with a buy-one-get-one-free coupon for this very same restaurant. Hell, that probably makes it my fault they closed just a few days later. Whatever. Yet another guru freebie and without gratuity, to boot! I guess I should frame that coupon and hang it on my wall to remind me of how the world works.

A friend related an experience at another local restaurant. After a mediocre meal with crap service, they were given a bill by the owner that included an automatic gratuity of 18%.

An enforced automatic gratuity is no tip.
–Tom B. Taker

When approached, the owner’s attitude was less than sympathetic. The tip was mandatory. My friend was offended and swore never to return. It’s another free market win-win!


They could have chosen a more similar font.

Me? I would have thrown down the exact amount in cash and said, “Eat that, fucker. No tip for  you!”

I couldn’t help but wonder if the knowing the tip was guaranteed had any effect on the quality of service. Ya think?

Stories of this sort of thing keep coming my way. Apparently times are tough. I think this itemized gratuity phenomenon might be a trend. And I’m not talking about large parties, either. This is happening as a matter of policy even for parties of 2 to 4 people.

I’m no Miss Manners, but in my world, a tip represents a “thank you” from the customer for good service, an enjoyable experience, and the quality of the meal. If the tip becomes mandatory then it is meaningless. To me, the automatic gratuity is the restaurant’s way of saying, “We are more valuable people than you.” That’s not quite what I want from top dollar dining experience. It’s supposed to be a place where you don’t feel, at least for a few minutes, that you are an important person and the world is not shitting on you.

I understand they have to make a living. Don’t we all? I think what strikes me as offensive is the element of “we’re more special than you” that’s innately involved. I don’t get fucking tips for doing my job. I bend over backwards for customers and, the thing that truly sets me apart, is that I try to stand behind what I say. If I say I’ll do something then I make sure I get it done. FYI to the rest of the world: That’s called keeping your word.

You never asked if I wanted another $12 cocktail. You didn’t offer ketchup with my fries or glasses of water. When my wife asked for more napkins they never came. You forgot. Our food didn’t arrive together. You made a mistake on our order. We had to wait forever to get the check.

And here’s the rub. I’m pretty sure you make more money than me. A lot more. Your job is hard? Seriously? Is that all you got? I got news for you. Jobs suck for other people, too. Hell, I’m a professional whore. (Intentional redundancy.) I get paid by my inferiors to do what I hate with a total lack of decency, dignity and respect. I personally keep the kneepads industry afloat. No one gives me any fucking tips. Your job is hard? Fuck you. My job is hard. Everyone’s job is hard.

After all that, you’re going to slap one more indignity and disrespect, the sprinkles on top, by demanding a gratuity on the bill?

I normally tip 20 percent for adequate food and service. You present me with an 18% forced gratuity? Sure, I’ll be happy to pay less. And make a mental note to never return.

Eat that.

7 responses

  1. Deborah the Closet Monster | Reply

    To me, the automatic gratuity is the restaurants way of saying, “We are more valuable people than you.”

    This is exactly how it feels to me as well. Like you, I steer clear of such restaurants, because I get enough grief from my day-to-day life to pay (more) for someone giving me more of what I don’t want.


    1. One thing I’ve noticed about life is that most people I meet have far less scruples about demanding money than I do.


  2. I never cared for the Automatic Gratuity shit. “You WILL leave 18%”. Um, No. (insert Grumpy Cat picture here).
    So I won’t go to restaurants that have that.
    And they hate when you flip out the AAA card, too. But then don’t offer it.
    I pay 15% tip. Yes, they have to make a living, too, but my husband worked his ass off for his money so guess what…it’s OUR money and YOU will get what we think you deserve. There’s enough controlling going on in our lives, the last thing we need is some schmuck restaurant making us spend our money.


    1. I stand by my philosophy, “A tip included is no tip at all.”

      I generally tip a full 20% for a good experience. I try to be a low-maintenance customer, too, and not get all demanding and act the asshole like some people and all that “I’m the customer!” bullshit. And I try not to blame the wait staff for things outside of their control.

      When there isn’t enough staff to keep up and we have to wait for everything and stuff runs around like chickens with their heads cut off, that’s not what I call a pleasant setting for enjoying a nice meal. It pisses me off. I try to remember it’s probably some dimwit manager or owner who made things go down that way. But I also think to myself, “Gee? If they are willing to be such tightwads right in front of my face, I wonder what other corners they are willing to cut where no one can see?”

      That’s not an appetizing thought to have running through your head when you are eating someone else’s food.


  3. “A friend related an experience at another local restaurant. After a mediocre meal with crap service, they were given a bill by the owner that included an automatic gratuity of 18%.
    When approached, the owner’s attitude was less than sympathetic. The tip was mandatory. My friend was offended and swore never to return. It’s another free market win-win!”

    To fill in the gaping holes of this story, my friend and 3 girlfriends arrived at the restaurant, got seated and asked for separate checks. The waitress kindly took all their orders and the meal proceeded. When the check came the four girls noticed a mandatory 18% tip calculated into their individual bills. They flagged down the waitress and asked what was up. She shyly said that they started a new policy for split checks. “We now add the 18% into your bill”. When asked why they weren’t told up front, the waitress shrugged and said “so sorry, I forgot to mention it, but since it was my fault I’ll remove the tip”. At that time the owners daughter over heard this and said told the waitress and anyone else in the vicinity “absolutely not”. My friend then said, “ok I’ll just scratch off the 18% and add my own tip”. The bitchy daughter said “No, You cannot do that.” That’s exactly what my friend did. She scratched off the 18%, entered her own tip, recalculated and singed the bill. When she got back to work, she checked her bank account and sure enough, that witch added the 18% back into the check.

    Needless to say, I myself will never go in there again.


    1. Thanks. You related the story much better than I did.

      I do not believe a forced tip is legal. I’d dispute the charge.

      In guru language, “A forced tip is known as price.”


    2. This is why you should blog. You got stories to tell!


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