NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Tipping culture

Families and friends often come together to grab a bite to eat at a restaurant to be able to sit down and enjoy each other‘s company, drinks and good food, as well as good service.

Many believe that tips should not be included in their overall bill when paying for their food.

Customers sometimes find that paying their bills should be enough and tipping shouldn’t be put on a customer who came for just food. Not everyone understands the effort, time and dedication it takes to provide good service. Some may think that when waiters and waitresses are upset about their tip when they thought they provided you with everything you needed and delivered excellent service that they have no place to be upset, they may think “find a better job with better pay so I don’t have to pay you myself.”

Here are some thoughts that servers themselves have when it comes to tipping culture and the restaurant industry.
Colby Manning, a 20 year old finance major at Merrimack College and part time waiter finds that tips are most certainly earned “if a waiter or waitress does not give the customer what they need then they have every right not to tip extra money,” Manning said. When working in the restaurant industry.

A receipt that says Excellent serviceShantely Aquino

The writer shares two receipt examples. This has smiley face and “Excellent Service,” written on it.

When asked if Manning believes when people have worked in the restaurant industry they are more understanding and whether the industry is meant for everyone at some point in their livesManning says “People with experience in the restaurant industry have better multitasking skills and are better at dealing with people. However it is not for everyone… the industry is demanding physically and mentally some people are better off working with a job that suits their skills and personality more.”

Some servers believe that if everyone has worked in the industry at some point in their lives they grasp a better understanding of how much pressure and dedication it takes to clock in and get on your feet for hours, and some like Manning understand that just isn’t for everyone.

“I believe that when waiters take in the risk into this job they should understand that sometimes they will make significantly less than what they expect and many times they make significantly more. You can’t have that type of reward without risk.” Manning then mentions that when your tips don’t add up to minimum wage the restaurant should cover that shortfall. In Massachusetts due to the Fair Labor Standards Act an employer may credit. a portion of tips toward the employer’s obligation to pay minimum wage. When working as a waiter if you make “too much” you usually don’t receive a paycheck because tips are accounted as a form of income so therefore the hourly wage you do make goes into taxes due to Congress enacting the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act (TEFRA) in 1982. At times when employees have worked and servers have a “slow day” they are paid minimum wage for their hours. The Massachusetts Fair Wage Law Tips requires employers to pay tipped employees at least $6.15 per hour for each hour worked in cash wages or otherwise known as a “service rate.”

A receipt that says Excellent serviceShantely Aquino, Features Editor

The writer shares two receipt examples. This has smiley face and “Excellent Service,” written on it.

Lauren Mcrimmon, a 20 year old communications major at NECC, and waitress found that it does take a certain personality to work as a server. “It takes a unique person to work in the industry because sometimes it shows the worst parts of how people act and it can also be a toxic environment with both coworkers and customers.” Customers can sometimes be very cranky when they’re hungry or sometimes employees have bad days just like everyone else.
When asked her thoughts on people’s perspective of if waiters should find a better job or a job where you aren’t paid less than minimum wage and dependent on the tips of customers

Mcrimmon said “I would not be a server if it changed to minimum wage because it is a much harder job than any other minimum wage job and if I were to rely on minimum wage as well as less tips it would not be rewarding at all.”
A good amount of working in the restaurant industry takes a certain kind of patience, consistency, effort and even a little bit of a gamble because servers don’t always know what they will come home with at the end of the day but they do always know the work they will have to put in. Gziah Nunez, a 22 year old psychology major and criminal justice minor at UMass Lowell and parttime waiter, says “it’s not necessary for everyone to work in the restaurant industry because it simply isn’t for just any person, but I do think that everyone should at least grasp the understanding that employees are human beings and deserve to be treated with respect regardless of any error they have made.” Some days servers find themselves going home with the money they worked hard for to not be as rewarding when they have had customers talk down to them and felt treated as less than when circumstances don’t always go the customers’ way.

When asked about the slogan ‘’the customer is always right,” 18 year old Lisa Roscillo, a waitress says “I do believe in order to be professional ‘the customer is always right’ even when it hurts to be treated poorly. It is a part of the job to accomodate for customers.”

Yes, tips are usually earned but servers did not create the system in which they have to earn their money per table; they simply live in it. Tips are earned but respect doesn’t need to be.

Most people don’t know what a normal shift looks like for a server. There isn’t ever a normal shift, it isn’t the same as working a desk job and doing the same thing 9-5, you are always dealt a new hand everyday you come into work. The gamble of being a server takes a special kind of person and sometimes servers wouldn’t trade it for anything else.