Geek Girls Rule! #222 – Tipping. Yes, Again.

Cheer doesn’t come cheap. It comes at a high psychological cost some days.

I know, I know, didn’t I just lecture you guys about this?  Well, no, actually, it’s been a couple of years, and someone who found that old post on tipping, sent me a link to a graphic that explains tipping:  why you should do it, when you should do it, and how you should do it.  Nichole, who’s part of the design team, asked me if I’d be willing to share it.  So, I looked at it and I think it’s informative and useful.  It includes a tip calculator, and a list of situations where you should or shouldn’t tip.  And there are situations where you don’t need to.  Please, please, please go check out the graphic and use the tip calculator.

Seriously, as I’ve said before, people who get tips count on those to survive.  In many places, serving staff are paid a smaller minimum wage than the standard minimum wage, because the federal government and employers assume tips will make up the difference.  And sometimes they do, but sometimes they don’t.  And if they don’t, you’re screwed.

So please, before you go to cons check out the tipping graphic, and learn it, live it, love it.  The people who are waiting on you work their asses off, whether or not you realize it.  Particularly at the restaurants in and around the hotels where conventions take place.  Those places spend those entire weekends swamped.  Frequently management doesn’t schedule extra help, which I may add, is not the fault of the overworked servers who may be getting short tempered after long hours of constant “go go go!”  And if people are tipping like shit, regardless of how good the service is, that wears on servers like whoa.  And I hate to tell you this, geeks, but we have a bad rep for tipping shitty.

And I get that many of you have never worked service industry.  You don’t know how exhausting it is to be on your feet for hours at a time, not getting breaks because no one ever schedules enough staff, and having to be nice to people who treat you like furniture.  I personally think that everyone should have to work at least six months of service industry so they know what it’s like.

So, yes, go check out the graphic, and treat your servers well.  Thank you.

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16 thoughts on “Geek Girls Rule! #222 – Tipping. Yes, Again.

  1. Why would most of us geeks not have worked the service industry? Because we’re independently wealthy? 😉

    Actually, I’ve seen people spend some crazy shitloads of money at conventions (at which I have gone to many in my life so far), so maybe there’s something to my little joke. But I put myself through college in fast food and waiting tables, and you never do so much labor for so little money as you do in that line of work – unless possibly you’re day-labor in agriculture.

    Months ago, I went out to eat with a friend who is almost 80. On a $24 check she left $2 as tip – so I waited until she left and dug out a couple more ones to give the waitress (I didn’t have $3). Later on, the friend and I were talking about eating out, tipping, etc. (unrelated) and she tried to justify tipping badly by saying the restaurant owners should pay their staff more and it’s not her responsibility to pay their salary beyond the high price of the food.

    Me: You could eat at home. You know how much the food is when you walk in. And, join us in the real world – what business owner is going to volunteer to pay their staff that much more than the industry standard if they don’t have to?

    Anyway, agreed with you. If some geek can haul out $500 for a coffee-stained signed script to some TV show 99 percent of the viewing public couldn’t identify with a gun to their head, they can fork up an extra $2-3 for a friggin’ tip. 😀

  2. I used to post a link to a tipping guide on the Norwescon web site because people didn’t know that they should tip bellmen, or for room service delivery, and some didn’t know to tip the housekeeping staff.

    I like this graphic much better. I’ll suggest adding it to the current hotel liaison.

  3. Well, in Seattle at least a lot of geeks go directly into IT. Especially geeks around my age. That’s when Nintendo started paying just obscene amounts of money for people to play their games, solve them and then be the tip line. Seriously. So, we’ve got Nintendo, Microsoft, Boeing, and more startups than you can shake a stick at.

    Yeah, I’ve had people try to use that “it’s not my job to pay their wage, blah blah blah” thing with me before. And on some level they’re right, but by not tipping the only person they’re hurting is the server. Which is bullshit.

  4. The baristas and waitstaff in the area surrounding PAX Prime hate the nerd crowd. I’m doing my best to improve relations, but when you have a population who mostly haven’t worked service industry, a lot of them don’t get it.

    Those of us who have, tip heavy to try to make up for it.

  5. The first year my restaurant was open — a very geeky restaurant, right near the convention center where PAX Prime is held — the Enforcers, who were very good customers of ours, came by and asked me if I wanted to partner with PAX and have specials for attendees. And I did. And every single one of my employees who worked that weekend asked me not to do it again the next year. I didn’t. The Enforcers were great. The attendees were not.

    (And now my restaurant is gone entirely. 😦 )

  6. I am so very sorry.

    That surprised me about PAX initially, because the other convention we typically go to, Norwescon, has waitstaff who request to work that weekend in the bar and restaurant, because the con com mentions repeatedly during the weekend, that the servers work their asses off, that we are a LOT of people, and that we should tip above and beyond if we like the service. And to at least follow minimum tipping guidelines if it was “slow” or whatever.

    Although I will say, that I have been known to berate fellow con-goers for bitching about “slow” service when the place is crazy busy. Of course it’s slow, there’s 88 million people here, AND room service orders. Are you stupid?

    My biggest problem is with people who don’t understand that waitstaff are people. Regardless of their job, they have shitty days, and shitty customers are generally a big part of that. And not everyone can afford to take a day off if, say, their pet dies, or their grandparents, they have to just soldier through. I’ve spent entire nights bartending, smiling when there’s a rush, getting through it, and then dashing back to walk-in cooler to sob because of a family emergency I couldn’t afford to take time off to deal with. Then you fix your make-up and go back out on the floor, and smile and flirt until you’re through the next rush, and then you do it again.

    So practice a little fucking empathy.

  7. I’ve always tipped well. I was raised by a mother and grandmother who often worked tip-dependent jobs. I know that good tips can make a big difference.

    And, yes, some geeks are over-privileged and clueless about such matters.

  8. I actually had this conversation on Saturday night at a bar in the Gaslamp District after SDCC. The guy next to me was saying that everyone should be required to work 6 months as a server/waiter/bartender. I couldnt do it. Just the *thought* of having to do that kind of work makes me want to put my head through a wall.

    I worked retail for years and have great respect for anyone who is in the service industry. Undertipping is epidemic and sad, and it’s disheartening to hear that nerds have a reputation of cheapness.

    Our group of 5 tipped $30 on our $90 bill. I’m hoping we did our part in swaying the stereotype.

    Probably not.

  9. I’ve actually had a fight with a geek friend in a restaurant because he wasn’t going to tip the server – because he was “too poor”. I ended up tipping the waitress myself and reaming him a new one – if you’re too poor to leave tip a tip on a $10 meal, than you are too poor to go to a sit down restaurant.

  10. Yup. I used to go out with a buddy, and we’d trade off, one would buy dinner, the other would buy the pitchers of cheap beer and tip. On his night to tip, he put one (1) dollar in the tip jar. And I smacked him in the back of the head.
    “What was that for?”
    “That wasn’t a tip, that was an insult. Now keep putting dollars in that jar, bearing in mind that I’m going to keep smacking you until I think you’ve put enough in.”

    He wound up stuffing a five and a couple more ones in, and we left.

  11. For that server, you did. Let’s just hope the next party of geeks don’t fuck that up again.

    Service industry can be very rewarding, you can come away with great stories, and some awesome friendships, but when it’s bad, it fucking sucks. The grabby dudes, the women who somehow think it’s YOUR fault their boyfriend’s hitting on you… I’ve got some fantastic stories, and some pretty hellish ones from bartending.

  12. The boyfriend and I arrived at a recent con with his sound system for use at concerts. We’re talking 4 30lb+ speakers, 2 flight cases, 1 sound rack, 2 mic stand bags, assorted duffles, etc. Boyfriend was feeling ill and I wasn’t much better.

    We pushed the wheeled stuff, but we let a bellman do most of getting the equipment into our room. Tip? $20.

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