In a "swanky" Newport Beach restaurant in California, a local banker came in, sat down, and ordered a fine lunch. The bill was $133.54. He proceeded to leave a "tip" of $1.33, 1% of the total bill, and said it was in defiance of the 99%, whatever that means, and on the receipt he left the comment, "Get a real job." The restaurant manager was appalled and said they were going to make every effort to "make sure the server was taken care of", if the service was "up to the level", since there was an "insufficient tip." One comment made was that the customer should be banned from the restaurant. The presumptions in this situation are stark, if you ask me. Was the man "obligated to leave any tip at all? Does he have to justify to the restaurant why he left the tip he did, or if he didn't leave one, why not? Who decides what is a sufficient tip, the diner or the patron? If the restaurant doesn't want a customer who eats a $133.54 meal for lunch, that's a financial decision they have a right to make, for whatever reason. Posted signs reveal that they "Have the right to refuse service to ......." Regardless of that sign, I doubt the restaurant has that right if it is a racial issue, but in this case, who knows. The man was rude and decided, based on his personal reasons, to tip in the given amount. That's his right, isn't it?
Many restaurants nowadays have a policy of automatically adding a given percentage of the total bill onto the charge for the meal, even as high as 18%, calling it the tip, giving the customer no option in the decision of whether or not to "reward" the server for doing what is really just what you would expect to get at a restaurant. A chair and table are provided, a menu is given out, an order is taken, and the food is brought to the table. Is bringing a glass of water, or refilling a cup of coffee, or a courteous attention to another roll or rattling off the day's special anything more than what you would expect in a place that serves dinners, especially in "swanky" places? Is that "over and above" service that demands a cash settlement? Or is it just that the eatery wants the customer to pay the wages for the server so they don't have to? The restaurants, perhaps, want the customers to feel obligated to donate, earned or not. Or they hope the customers will leave a tip maybe based on some notion that the customer will feel embarrassed if they don't. Some restaurants put all tips in a pool and divide the money between all servers, so no one gets left out of their "share." And of course here, it apparently doesn't matter the kind of service handed out, as everyone gets their piece of the pie. I recall one incident in a restaurant where the service, both in waiting time and food quality, was so inferior that my wife and I left no tip, and we told the management about it. But as we were heading for our car in the parking lot, a waiter came rushing out yelling "Hey mister, you forgot the tip!" This was bazaar and to me reflected how far afield eating establishments have gone in trying to get customers in the habit of tipping, rather than letting the patrons deciding for themselves whether they "owe" the restaurant money for doing things the management is in the business of doing.
It doesn't take much imagination to realize what's going on here. Restaurants have found someone else to pay the salaries of some of their workers. They can get away with paying out minimum salaries while promising prospective employees that it will be made up with customer donations in the form of some prevailing pressures to tip. Now, granted, people don't have to go out to eat. If they don't like the way the food service industry is behaving, they can stay at home. But, obviously, that begs the question of whether customers should be required, or asked, or even it be suggested that they supplement the wages of food servers in lieu of the employer providing the income for their employees.