Yesterday, a gaggle of Fox News commentators decided to have a discussion about tipping servers and baristas. It went exactly as you might imagine:
This is a topic our own Salty Waitress has covered before, in case you don’t know the answer to this question. Honestly, I’m a little sad that the folks at Fox News aren’t reading The Takeout. I think they’d find us both useful and amusing. But I digress.
First, I would like to point out the problems with that chyron: “20% tip for bad service.” A tip is not a reward system—it is the majority of a server’s salary. The federal minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.13 an hour because, according to the government, the expectation is that the customer will cover the additional $5.13 so that the server can make minimum wage. Good service has absolutely nothing to do with tipping: the customer is responsible for a employee wages, full stop. No matter how poor you think the service is, you still need to tip at least 20% on your check.
But back to Jesse Watters who, in this clip, is discussing tipping baristas and cafe employees, who do make minimum wage. First: understand that cafe tips are pooled; that extra dollar you’re paying is being distributed to all the staff, so the person who is “just handing you a cup of coffee” is only getting a few cents out of that tip. At the end of the day, they’re maybe bringing home an extra $1 an hour on top of minimum wage.
Secondly, let’s talk about what’s expected for many coffee shop employees for minimum wage. Sure, the handing over your cup is part of the job. There’s also making the more complicated espresso drinks. There’s being on your feet for eight hours. There’s customer service which, if you’ve ever been observant while waiting on line for coffee, is a terrible job (I often write in coffee shops, and the behavior I witness on a daily basis is appalling). There’s heavy lifting, inventory, ordering, cleaning—it’s a lot of hard, hands on work. And, as implied by the chyron, it actually takes skill, because if it were easy, there would be no such thing as bad service.
Jesse Watters, on the other hand, is paid over $15,000 a week to sit on a couch and chat.
Tip your goddamn baristas.