Advanced search

having read the whole thread about tipping, i have an anecdote to add.....

(71 Posts)
rabbitwoman Mon 28-Nov-16 16:22:41

I have not posted a lot on mumnset, but having read the whole of the most recent thread on tipping, and finding the complete polarisation of opinions about it interesting, i thought i would start a new thread with an illustrative anecdote and see what you think of that?

Me and my husband went for a lovely meal, about two months ago - the waiter was someone we vaguely knew, a friend or a friend's brother type of scenario and he was perfectly nice. Took our order, brought our drinks, brought our food, brought our bill - visited our table a total of six times, in the course of about an hour and fifteen minutes. When i dine out, i usually have some kind of discount voucher or special offer - i have a tastecard - so get a good discount off a meal, on this occasion about £18, so was happy to leave our waiter a cash tip of £5. No problem. This is what usually happens, and seems standard. Sometimes, i don't tip. Sometimes, I leave a pound. Depends.

Anyway, my husband works in retail. Zero hours contract, minimum wage, part time. He works in a shop selling high end technical equipment. A few days after our lovely meal, who should come into my husband's shop but our waiter! Remember, someone we vaguely know. And my husband serves him.

Waiter has a phone of a make that the shop doesn't even sell, but there is a bit of a problem with the software. Someone has recommended that our waiter visit my husband because my husband is, frankly, a genius with a good reputation. So my husband takes a look, says to our waiter, no problem, give me twenty minutes, go off and do your shopping and when you come back i will have fixed it.

So off our waiter goes. My husband does some google research on the problem, downloads a software fix, uploads it onto the phone, and returns it to the waiter in good working order. Thank you, says the waiter, and leaves.

Let me just reiterate, my husband has done this FOR FREE. Did not take payment - not unusual, he would do this for anyone and believes that it builds trust and wins return custom, he always does this. So, we gave our waiter £5 for maybe a 3 minutes of serving us. My husband then fixes his phone FOR FREE and does not get a tip. The waiter did not even buy anything!

Don't feel sorry for us, by the way, we are not JAMs just because my husband is on minimum wage, zero hours, etc; i bought my flat before house prices went crazy, we are child free and therefore, as far as we are concerned, semi retired and getting by very well, thank you.

My husband has a lot of hobbies and interests outside work which he has a lot of time to concentrate on so is perfectly happy with his job. He ALWAYS goes above and beyond for customers; things he has done includes a full forensic data recovery on a water damaged laptop - for free - helping customers with their CVs and court cases, teaching them photoshop and building websites - sometimes he gets a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates, very much appreciated, lots of thank you cards, but its not expected, or very often, or from every customer. He did not, by the way, mind at all that our waiter had not given him anything. Did not expect it. Lots of customers don't tip him, it is a lovely surprise when they do.

I just wanted to see what people thought of that? Why social convention dictates that we give our waiter £5 for doing his job, but our waiter gives my husband nothing, for going well above and beyond? Interesting, especially as noone was able to explain why some service providers automatically get tips and some don't?

MulberryBush12 Mon 28-Nov-16 16:31:16

Hmm......Is your DH employed or self-employed?
If he is employed, does the employer know about the free service that your DH provides? I think there should be a fee attached to that kind of service; if your DH is self-employed providing such a free service just seems silly. For eg How would he pay his overheads?
I would expect to pay for this kind of thing; I'm sure most others would too. Therefore, I'm not convinced that the 2 scenarios are comparable when discussing tip etiquette.

TheEmmaDilemma Mon 28-Nov-16 16:33:13

Because tipping your DH if he is employed could get him fired unless he works for himself?

Retail workers aren't often allowed to accept tips or gifts.

harderandharder2breathe Mon 28-Nov-16 16:35:45

He needs to stop doing work for free

Yabu for starting a thread about s thread

KayTee87 Mon 28-Nov-16 16:37:52

Well your husband didn't do it for free, his employer paid for his time. So his employer (possibly without knowing) gave the service away for free. Unless I've missed something?

rabbitwoman Mon 28-Nov-16 16:37:56

i disagree. As i said, my husband works in a shop, for minimum wage. his manger sees him as an absolute godsend who brings in repeat custom and can fix any problem that comes up. I think that if people are arguing that you should tip waiters because they earn very little and work very hard, then the two scenarios are comparable. it is impossible that our waiter could be paid less than my husband - legally at least - and they were both providing a personal service, weren't they? points that came up a lot in the last thread.

rabbitwoman Mon 28-Nov-16 16:40:07

kaytee87 - he doesn't get tips. because he works in retail. why should it be illegal for him to accept tips, and yet perfectly legal for a waiter to get them?

apologies if i have broken etiquette by starting a taat , i just thought it was an interesting point to bring up.

TrickyD Mon 28-Nov-16 16:41:06

Adding an anecdote: when we were very young with two small boys, sixpence always having to do the work of a shilling, our binmen left an expectant card, "Happy Christmas from the people who empty your bins". The next week we returned the compliment with a card saying '"Happy Christmas from the people who teach your children" .

KayTee87 Mon 28-Nov-16 16:44:06

I didn't say it was illegal for him to accept tips... if his employers happy with it then whatever. I said that he isn't doing the service for free, his time was paid for by his employer. His employer is giving away the service for free.

MulberryBush12 Mon 28-Nov-16 16:45:01

Setting aside DH v Waiter tipping query; (tbh I am neutral about that), I do think that the kind of service that your DH is providing should have a fee attached.
The employer is fool otherwise and will go out of business eventually.

myfavouritecolourispurple Mon 28-Nov-16 16:47:15

why should it be illegal for him to accept tips

it isn't (usually) but many organisations have policies about accepting gifts - more often in the public sector, because of anti-bribery legislation.

However, I do see your point. The waiter got a tip for doing his job. Your husband did something over and above his job and got nothing.

I don't know why we tip waiting staff and don't tip retail staff. However, perhaps we should, as so many retailers are moving towards self-service now, so if a human serves you and you like the service, a tip might be appropriate!

rabbitwoman Mon 28-Nov-16 16:51:09

don't waiters also get their time paid for by their employers too? are they not employees, then? my husband is only doing his job, as instructed by his manager - the business model of the shop is not his responsibility, and it seems to be doing very well........

one is in retail and one is a waiter, that is the difference, and we are expected to tip waiters but not other workers, that was the question?

rabbitwoman Mon 28-Nov-16 16:53:23

ah, not question, i meant debate. That was the debate?

FarAwayHills Mon 28-Nov-16 16:55:00

Your husbands employers are a bit daft if they are willing to provide a service for free that people would normally expect to pay for. Perhaps if they charged a fee for the extras that your DH provides they could afford to pay him better? It sounds like your DH is a valuable employee who's efforts are not being recognised.

There are many professions where people go above and beyond but where it wouldn't be appropriate to tip - police, nurses, doctors, teachers etc. It's also prohibited in many jobs to accept cash or any other gifts as these can be seen as bribes or inducements.

rabbitwoman Mon 28-Nov-16 17:00:14

My husband does not mind about the money, and he does not mind about not getting any tips himself. He hates the tipping culture, though, and hates giving tips when he himself doesn't get them for a role with many similarities.

Luckily, I pay the bill! But I kinda agree with him .....

TheEmmaDilemma Mon 28-Nov-16 17:05:31

Do you tip the cashier in your supermarket?

It was your husbands/his employers choice not to charge. And again it's usually again policy for retail workers/public sector workers to accept gifts/tips.

FarAwayHills Mon 28-Nov-16 17:05:44

I agree with your DH, I think employers should pay people appropriately and not rely on their customers to subsidise their wage bill.

Mirrorballfrog Mon 28-Nov-16 17:07:45

Why not make this point on the original thread confused

rabbitwoman Mon 28-Nov-16 17:08:52

Because it is nearly full.....

FarAwayHills Mon 28-Nov-16 17:11:14

There are many jobs where companies no longer pay commission for sales because the financial incentives have led to so many complaints of mis selling and pushy sales tactics.

GasLightShining Mon 28-Nov-16 17:13:57

I would have offered your DH some money but would accept a no if it is against store policy. Do the same to mechanics if they do a simple fix to car and don't charge.

Serialweightwatcher Mon 28-Nov-16 17:15:51

I agree with you OP - I think that in the US where the waiting staff are on very low wages and rely on tips is different, but here they should be on the minimum wage and it shouldn't be expected, although I think it is fair to give a small tip if good service has been had. I think it's a shame we can't tip nursing staff - they're on a poor wage considering the type of work they do and also a few of them may be encouraged to do a better job if it was a possibility

WorraLiberty Mon 28-Nov-16 17:20:22

How did the guy know your DH (or actually the business owner) wasn't charging him for the repair?

The guy must have offered something. You don't just walk out of a shop without checking.

So assuming your DH refused payment, I think it stands to reason there's no point in offering him another type of payment - ie a tip.

Normal etiquette IME is to return with a bottle of wine/box of chocs.

TheHiphopopotamus Mon 28-Nov-16 17:21:26

I agree OP. I don't understand why some jobs are deemed worthy of a tip and others aren't . A waiter or hairdresser etc. is just doing their job, which they get paid for (and incidentally, my hairdresser probably makes on average about £30-40 an hour!).

I can understand it in the US as their tips make up their wage but over here, we have the minimum wage. Which is why I never tip.

rabbitwoman Mon 28-Nov-16 17:24:49

i have gone into the phone shop before with similar issues that have been sorted out, quickly, for no charge. i think the idea is that it encourages repeat custom. you get good customer service, for a quick technical issue, next time you want to upgrade your laptop or tablet, that's where you go.

much like getting good service in a restaurant?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now