I think what annoys me the most about the tipping system is the general idea that servers should make less money because they’re having an off day. I mean, it makes sense at first glance, but it’s actually not how any other job works.
I work as a customer service rep. If I put someone’s order in wrong, they call me up and complain, and I apologize and fix it. And I don’t lose any money in the process because I’m a human being and I make mistakes.
If a server does this exact same thing, the customer can just decide not to tip. Whether the server gets paid for the job they just did is completely up to the customer. And lots of people think they’re justified in not tipping–the server inconvenienced you, so why should you pay them for it?
I’d like to ask these people if they get their paychecks docked every time they make a mistake at work. Does your boss frequently call you into their office and say, “you forgot to sign off on these forms, so we’re docking your pay by $20 today”? Probably not. Because you’re a human, and if your income was threatened every time you made a mistake, you wouldn’t tolerate it.
There’s any number of reasons why a server may have messed up your order. Maybe the place is understaffed and they’re overwhelmed. Maybe their dad died that morning and they had to put on a brave face and come to work anyway so they could pay their bills. Or maybe they actually just are a lousy server–in which case, they will eventually lose their job. But until then, they deserve to earn a steady wage, just like anyone else who’s bad at their job. So stop being such a critical asshole and leave 20%.