Author Topic: Open Bars and Tip Jars  (Read 8183 times)

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gellchom

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Re: Open Bars and Tip Jars
« Reply #60 on: February 17, 2012, 11:28:57 AM »
I have no problem with them. Especially after working in catering i know that most of the time that added gratuity is rarely seen by the staff. If someone was going to stop being my friend and go out of their way to not spend time with me just because i was so crass as to leave a tip in a tip jar at a function - well, good riddance. I would hope they would be honest enough to let me know right away and up front, at the very least, so that i might remove my rude self from their event.

I have worked catered events too, and the bartenders/wait staff do not see the gratuity the venue has tacked on. They are paid a flat hourly rate.

Do they know that when they take the job or are they promised tips that never materialize?

That's an important point, because the whole basis of the tipping system in the US is that the employers pay less in salary.  If instead the employer is paying a higher salary estimated to be the same or more as the lower base salary plus tips would be -- of course, with the employee on board with that understanding -- then the server isn't getting stiffed by not getting a separate  payment of part of the service fee, the same as employees of any other kind of business. 

That's one reason I wish that the US would abandon the whole tipping system in favor of a service charge, or higher food and drink prices, and higher salaries for servers.  What really bothers me most is the way we tip based on the price of the food or drinks.  That seems so unfair to me.  The server of a few rounds of high-priced cocktails to wealthy people at an expensive place gets a bigger tip than a waitress balancing huge trays of heavy plates of meals to working class families at a pancake house.

hobish

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Re: Open Bars and Tip Jars
« Reply #61 on: February 17, 2012, 11:46:13 AM »
And I agree that it is rude to try to buy yourself better service than the hosts have provided and that other guests are getting.  It is sort of like asking if you can pay extra to have lobster instead of the chicken that the hosts ordered.

If I tip at a hosted event it's not because I want better service. It's because I'm aware that there is a reasonable chance the "tip" or "service charge" the host pays won't make it back to the people on the floor. Not all the time, but sometimes and that doesn't seem right.


But the hosts and other guests don't know what your motivation is.  It very likely does look like someone who is expecting superior service.  I too would find it insulting if I found that a guest of mine was tipping at an event that I was hosting.

I know you are not the only one, but that just seems like gong out of your (general you) way to be insulted and think the worst of people who are at least close enough to you to be invited to your event. I just don't understand it.

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gellchom

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Re: Open Bars and Tip Jars
« Reply #62 on: February 17, 2012, 12:10:51 PM »
I see your point, Hobish, but I think that the fairness or unkindness of others' reactions and assumptions are not the question here -- it's simply whether it is incorrect for a guest to tip the staff at a hosted party.

Like asking, I don't know, which fork to use for a salad course or whether a long gown is appropriate to wear for a daytime party -- there is a right etiquette answer, even though of course it would be thoroughly obnoxious for others to judge you for doing it wrong.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Open Bars and Tip Jars
« Reply #63 on: February 17, 2012, 12:35:29 PM »
And I agree that it is rude to try to buy yourself better service than the hosts have provided and that other guests are getting.  It is sort of like asking if you can pay extra to have lobster instead of the chicken that the hosts ordered.

If I tip at a hosted event it's not because I want better service. It's because I'm aware that there is a reasonable chance the "tip" or "service charge" the host pays won't make it back to the people on the floor. Not all the time, but sometimes and that doesn't seem right.


But the hosts and other guests don't know what your motivation is.  It very likely does look like someone who is expecting superior service.  I too would find it insulting if I found that a guest of mine was tipping at an event that I was hosting.

I know you are not the only one, but that just seems like gong out of your (general you) way to be insulted and think the worst of people who are at least close enough to you to be invited to your event. I just don't understand it.

But I see it the other way.  You are close enough to attend my event, but you don't believe I'm a smart, kind, or gracious enough host to make sure the staff is being fairly compensated.  You feel the need to take over part of my hosting reponsibility.  To me it's no different then coming in and putting out clean towels in my guest bathroom because you don't think I know to do that before guests arrive. 

WillyNilly

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Re: Open Bars and Tip Jars
« Reply #64 on: February 17, 2012, 12:57:43 PM »
And I agree that it is rude to try to buy yourself better service than the hosts have provided and that other guests are getting.  It is sort of like asking if you can pay extra to have lobster instead of the chicken that the hosts ordered.

If I tip at a hosted event it's not because I want better service. It's because I'm aware that there is a reasonable chance the "tip" or "service charge" the host pays won't make it back to the people on the floor. Not all the time, but sometimes and that doesn't seem right.

I have to say, to a certain extent, yes I tip for better service.  But please let me define for you what that means to me.

I'm a  drinker.  I can, and on occasion do, drink a lot.  But I also would like to think of myself as having some class and tact.  When I go to a fancy open bar party, lets say a wedding or bar mitzvah, my drink of choice is a "black and soda" which is a Johnny Walker Black scotch and seltzer/club soda combo - I do not like Dewar's scotch or some other brands, if there is no black I will choose a different drink totally, and "soda" does not mean "Coke" it means soda water.  The industry standard in my area for a party is 5 hours (1 hour cocktails, and 4 hours "main room"); I want to drink throughout the party but don't want to be trashed.

So I tip because I want my server/bartender to A) remember that a "black and soda" is not a "any old scotch and soda"  or a "scotch and Coke" and B) I want more soda less scotch not the default "generous" stance many event servers take of strong drinks (which I explain with a smile the first time I order... and when I tip).

I don't expect faster service or more frequent service or better service in anyway that deters from other people's good service.  I want better service in so far as I want the server to remember me, personally and my personal preferences among the 200 random guests at the party.  And yeah a $5 can buy recognition.

gellchom

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Re: Open Bars and Tip Jars
« Reply #65 on: February 17, 2012, 01:27:59 PM »
Well, I see what you are saying, Willy Nilly, and your motives are just fine.  But as a host, I am paying the staff to take good care of you -- including remembering a special request for some guests, which really doesn't strike me as anything so out of the ordinary.  It averages out anyway --  there will be some guests they don't have to serve at all, but I'm not going to subtract from the tip for that. 

I can see if the bartender helped you carry your spouse out to the car, or if a waitress came into the ladies room to help you sew up a tear after a wardrobe malfunction, or the something really extraordinary like that.  Maybe even if you requested a cocktail that required the bartender to run around the hotel during her break to find some bizarre ingredient.  (I do not include in that a request to go and get a higher end liquor or more expensive wine than I as the host have provided.  It's not polite for a guest to ask for upgrades whether or not they are willing to pay.)

But serving my guests what they want, the way they want it, even if it requires a little extra effort, is exactly what I am paying -- and tipping -- the staff for.  If a guest tips extra for some special but not unreasonable request, that still feels like they are taking over my hosting responsibilities a bit, and I wouldn't like it.  As a guest, in your position, I would simply repeat "Johnny Walker Black and soda water, not too strong, please" rather than pay the bartender to remember it.  If a staffer does an exceptionally good job for you, the thing to do is to tell the hosts what a good job the staff did, so that they can increase the tip accordingly -- not to do it for them.

(Do professional bartenders really assume that "Scotch and soda" means Scotch and COKE?!  Yeesh.)

WillyNilly

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Re: Open Bars and Tip Jars
« Reply #66 on: February 17, 2012, 02:19:04 PM »
But serving my guests what they want, the way they want it, even if it requires a little extra effort, is exactly what I am paying -- and tipping -- the staff for.  If a guest tips extra for some special but not unreasonable request, that still feels like they are taking over my hosting responsibilities a bit, and I wouldn't like it. As a guest, in your position, I would simply repeat "Johnny Walker Black and soda water, not too strong, please" rather than pay the bartender to remember it.  If a staffer does an exceptionally good job for you, the thing to do is to tell the hosts what a good job the staff did, so that they can increase the tip accordingly -- not to do it for them.

(Do professional bartenders really assume that "Scotch and soda" means Scotch and COKE?!  Yeesh.)

But that's where we differ.  I hate doing this, this is way too many words, I find people don't listen and I don't want to do this.  I, as an individual, want to pay to be able to smile at a bartender and do a slight nod and have a drink, just the way I like it appear.  If I have to say even "black and soda" its too many words, but hot dang if I have to specify a whole sentence 12 times over 5 hours?  And have to tell my date or my friend who's going up to the bar for me, to say a whole sentence?  Its easier and more pleasant IMO for everyone for me to just grease a palm.  And that's what I mean by "better" service.  I want to be specially taken care of - I recognize I'm begin a bit SS by not wanting to specify my drink each time.  Hence me tipping to make up for the annoyance.

I don't want to hope they do a good job so later I can compliment the host (which to me, is in a great sense thanking the wrong person anyway - I thank the host for a lovely party, I thank the servers for good service), I want to just give $5 in advance to ensure personalized service (vs a generic good job) instead of risking another* brand - even if a respected high end - scotch.

And yes, while rare, it has happened to me more then once that a bartender has served me a scotch with Coke when I ordered "black and soda".



*Don't get me wrong, there are some other brands I'd drink, or other colors of Johnny Walker, like green or blue, but I don't want a Dewars or a Chivas or whatever.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2012, 02:21:31 PM by WillyNilly »

DavidH

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Re: Open Bars and Tip Jars
« Reply #67 on: February 17, 2012, 03:13:27 PM »
I think the venue and host matter.

In a private home, a tip jar for a paid bartender or worse the host is, to me, rude.  Maybe for a large charity event, hosted by a group in the person's house it is okay, but I'm not completely convinced.

In a catering hall or other public venue, it is, to me, less rude, but somewhat awkward.  For an event hosted by a person, like a wedding I think it's markedly more rude than at a corporate event or club event. 

If as the host you allow a tip jar, then I don't think you can object to your guests tipping.  On the other hand, if there is no jar, then I can see why a host might object.  I never thought of the tip as a comment on the host, so I'm not sure that ascribing such a negative connotation to it is the best choice.  It is also possible that the person tipping is making a statement about the effort that went into the service, say mixing an unusual and complex drink. 

gellchom

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Re: Open Bars and Tip Jars
« Reply #68 on: February 17, 2012, 04:28:42 PM »
But serving my guests what they want, the way they want it, even if it requires a little extra effort, is exactly what I am paying -- and tipping -- the staff for.  If a guest tips extra for some special but not unreasonable request, that still feels like they are taking over my hosting responsibilities a bit, and I wouldn't like it. As a guest, in your position, I would simply repeat "Johnny Walker Black and soda water, not too strong, please" rather than pay the bartender to remember it.  If a staffer does an exceptionally good job for you, the thing to do is to tell the hosts what a good job the staff did, so that they can increase the tip accordingly -- not to do it for them.

(Do professional bartenders really assume that "Scotch and soda" means Scotch and COKE?!  Yeesh.)

But that's where we differ.  I hate doing this, this is way too many words, I find people don't listen and I don't want to do this.  I, as an individual, want to pay to be able to smile at a bartender and do a slight nod and have a drink, just the way I like it appear.  If I have to say even "black and soda" its too many words, but hot dang if I have to specify a whole sentence 12 times over 5 hours?  And have to tell my date or my friend who's going up to the bar for me, to say a whole sentence?  Its easier and more pleasant IMO for everyone for me to just grease a palm.  And that's what I mean by "better" service.  I want to be specially taken care of - I recognize I'm begin a bit SS by not wanting to specify my drink each time.  Hence me tipping to make up for the annoyance.

I don't want to hope they do a good job so later I can compliment the host (which to me, is in a great sense thanking the wrong person anyway - I thank the host for a lovely party, I thank the servers for good service), I want to just give $5 in advance to ensure personalized service (vs a generic good job) instead of risking another* brand - even if a respected high end - scotch.

And yes, while rare, it has happened to me more then once that a bartender has served me a scotch with Coke when I ordered "black and soda".



*Don't get me wrong, there are some other brands I'd drink, or other colors of Johnny Walker, like green or blue, but I don't want a Dewars or a Chivas or whatever.

I guess we just have to agree to disagree, then, because to me this is pretty much a clear, though minor, example of paying for VIP service  --  just having your favorite drink "appear" for you without your having to speak.  Not a big deal, though.  I imagine no one even notices.

I also imagine that if you come back to the same bartender twelve times, s/he is going to remember your drink anyhow without your having tipped.

I evidently wasn't clear -- I wasn't saying a guest should compliment or thank the hosts for good service.  What I suggested was to "tell the hosts what a good job the staff did" so that they will be able to tip accordingly.  Like when sales clerks, customer service reps, and receptionists and assistants are really good -- I thank them, but more important, I tell their bosses.

WillyNilly

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Re: Open Bars and Tip Jars
« Reply #69 on: February 17, 2012, 04:40:28 PM »
I guess we just have to agree to disagree, then, because to me this is pretty much a clear, though minor, example of paying for VIP service  --  just having your favorite drink "appear" for you without your having to speak.  Not a big deal, though.  I imagine no one even notices.

Actually I do agree  ;D
I'm tipping because I want better service - I agree I want VIP attention. 

Not better in the sense of servers giving other guests worse service then "very good", or at the expense of other guests (I'll still wait my turn).  I want straight up SS service and I admit it.  I want beyond what the average guest or host or employer would consider as the server doing a good job. 

But you know what?  I have noticed that at events filled with big tippers, even the folks who don't tip end up getting this kind of uber attention.  And not just in hopes of more tips, but as a reaction of happy employees who are in a mindset of "this is an awesome crowd" not "this is an awesome individual guest".  I know when I was working an event, 1 tip from 1 guest resulted in me being in a super mood and providing above and beyond service to all the guests.

I do abhor tip jars though, I tip discreetly, and directly into the server's hand.