It just isn’t cute anymore, this business of leaving a waitress a smart-aleck notes instead of tips. For one thing, it’s tacky exhibitionism and for another it’s depriving someone of hard-earned wages. Here’s the latest: a newlywed jealous wife left her server a note “he’s my husband, find your own” and no tip. KFOR-TV reported on Nov. 10 that waitress Jessica Morris posted about the incident on Facebook. Few people would argue that the note isn’t awkward in extremis, but you might think it melodramatic to take it to social media. It does serve to raise awareness to two glaring problems: sub-minimum wage and puerile, cheapskate diners, however.
Here’s Saga of the Stiffed Server: Jessica Morris Edition. Morris and her husband, a fellow server at the restaurant, are a newlywed couple. Four customers arrive and one couple says they are newlywed. Morris says she is too. A good waitress makes connections like that with her customers. Then the newlywed wife asked her name (a little forward, but okay) and Jessica tells her. Mrs. Newlywed Jealous Wife retorts that she doesn’t like that name and they will call her “Jess” (a lot forward and rude). To which Morris says fine, whatever, she’ll answer to anything, even “A$$hole” (a waitress must sometimes grovel for a tip, in this crazy sub-minimum wage system). The husband laughs and proceeds to call Jessica “A$$hole” for the rest of the night! (VERY rude and possibly harassment).
When they leave, Jessica finds a $4 tip from the other couple (cheap and nowhere near 10 percent let alone 15-20 percent standard tip). From the the newlywed couple she gets no tip and a note from the jealous wife saying “he’s my husband, get your own. Good luck.” Jessica predictably went off about how she did have a husband as she said and how much better hers is, etc. She later pulled the post, probably embarrassed. But setting the embarrassing behavior of Madame de Jealous Wife, the situation underscores just how tenuous are server earnings and how stupid the sub-minimum wage is.
There can’t be many people left on this planet who actually think a tip is a just a non-obligatory thank-you. Anyone born after the Civil War knows a waitress makes sub-minimum wage and sub-minimum wage is only one third or so of minimum wage: about $2-$3 an hour. It barely covers income taxes. Employers expect tips to make up for the low sub-minimum wage. So to withhold a tip is to withhold salary. Don’t like that? It is what it is–take it up with restaurant owners. And that’s not even the worst part: the real reason people don’t leave tips is because they’re too cheap. Or they spent too much wining and dining themselves and don’t have tip money. So they drum up some dumb reason why the server or service supposedly failed, so they can feel justified for their cheapskate ways. Notice jealous wife doesn’t fault the service, because she probably couldn’t. So she attacks the poor waitress. Your don’t tip your server because she kowtows to you. You tip her because you owe it to her for waiting on you. Period.