I am a waiter in the states, and used the job because of its schedule to raise my kids as a single parent. I am surprised that there are simply many people out there who don't understand that the tip that they leave, in many cases, is the only sourse of income that person gets. For years I have made $2.13 an hour, which is not even enough to cover my withholding taxes. I have not recieved a paycheck in years (I get a check for $0.00 that says accross the front "this is not a check"). Now, there are a lot of people out there who say that if I don't like it, I should change jobs; these are also the same people who constantly complain about bad service. If you want good service, pay for it. It costs no more to get your food to-go, in most cases, than it does to sit in a comfortable place and have someone wait on you hand and foot. In other words, you pay the same for the food even if you take it home and wait on yourself. The extra "tip" is for the work that we perform while you are sitting in the seat... Your server doesn't get any of the money that is used to pay your bill. Furthermore, the IRS will audit me if I don't claim at least 13% of my sales as tips, and this includes all of the money I have to tip the bartender, busser, and hostess (thats right, I have to pay other people with some of the money that you leave for a tip). So the government even expects you to tip, and they charge me in taxes what you are supposed to be leaving. Why else do you think that servers are allowed to be paid so much below the minimum wage? Because people are suppose to tip for the service they recieve.
Now, this said, there are two types of 'bad tippers'. There are those who are simply too cheap to tip, or those who look for a reason so that they don't have to tip. I am a good server, and work very hard for my money. That said, I make mistakes just as anyone else does at their job. Next time you make a mistake at work, ask yourself if you should not be paid for the hour that you worked, simply because you made a mistake. I would be willing to bet that few people will walk into thier bosses office and give them back the money that they didn't earn for that hour. We all make mistakes, and if your server is sincere about making the mistake, don't hold it against them. We all make them. The second type of bad tipper are the people who simply don't know any better. As a server, you know these people simply by the way that they tip you. Generally, they will shake your hand, tell you you did a great job, and give you a $5 tip on a $50 tab... not a very good tip. However, they are genuine about their tip, and believe they are doing a good thing. As a server, you just smile, and take it.... They don't know any better, and usually they are so sweet that you have to smile and let it go.
I enjoy my job, and love working with people. There are few things that are as rewarding as having someone come into my section who is just in a terrable mood, and doing a good enough job that they leave with a smile on thier face. As for the bad tippers that are simply cheap, or look for a reason not to tip.... know this... the servers where you regularly dine know you. Though in most places, no where that I have ever worked, are they going to do anything to your food, but they will fight over who has to wait on you. We watch who comes in the door, and when you walk through, the bickering and cussing begins... "I waited on them last time... its not fair that I should have to do it again!" And whoever gets stuck waiting on you comes out with a smile on their face, welcomes you back, and wants to stick needles in your eyes. It is not that we don't like you personally, it is simply that if there was a tipping customer sitting in your place, then we would be making money, rather than waisting our time (very valuable time, because waiting tables, the number of people that you get to wait on is very limited, and if you don't make the money off of the service you give those people, you can't pay your bills).
In closing, servers are a dime a dozen. Anyone can wait tables and make a meager living doing so. However, good servers are very rare. Few things are as bad as paying $75 for a meal, and getting poor service. You leave feeling like you were cheated, no matter how good the food was. It boils down to this, tipping has become so bad that the exceptional servers find that their tallent and effort is better compansated in other lines of work, and therefore they leave. Only the bad servers stay behind, because they cannot get a job anywhere else. So as a consumer, you get what you pay for.....