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automatic tip

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I was recently at a pub with some people, and apparently we hit their "automatic gratuity" number of patrons - there was 6 of us, which seems like a low number but ok.  I didn't realize this, and when the tab came I threw down a card to pay for it without going over the details.  When they ran it and brought it back the itemized receipt was gone and there was no tip listed.  So I tipped a good amount and didn't worry much about it, although the total did seem high.  We had been having a lot of fun including sampling nearly 20 beers, so I was not as focused as I could have been.

I will concede the fact that the double tip was my fault, but I am still a bit grumpy about it.  I feel the waiter should have at least made sure to point out it was included when he dropped off the tab (which happened at another place earlier in the day when more of us were out), or if not, then it should have been obvious I didn't realize it was included when I threw a full tip on top of the automatic tip.

It's not that I necessarily want my money back - in fact I don't know what would make me happy.  I guess it just comes down to a bad experience, one that I will survive (have survived).  I want to say something to the owner but that feels like going a bit too far.  It's not really fair to the pub, but that one guy left me feeling cranky about the place.  Blah.

klickitat jim:
I think tipping should always be consensual. Auto tip for a certain sized group always tells me "we don't want large groups of business"
Instead of compulsory tipping just crank up the price 15% and pay your help more.

Tipping should mean "you did a great job"  not "sorry for coming to your pub and making you do your job"

"Freedom is temporary unless you are also Brave!" - Patriot

It sounds like the server pulled a little sly one on you Tom. They should have included an itemized printout along with the CC slip even if it was presented previously. I've seen this little scam happen time and time again where the server is hoping the customer will tip on top of the gratuity- especially with a group that is tipsy.

I'd certainly call the manager and explain the situation. They should realize that this is a practice that turns customers off in a big way. You can be reimbursed the extra tip on the card.

Automatic gratuities exist because when large groups go out, what usually happens is everyone throws in their money, there isn't enough money to cover the check, everyone gets annoyed at each other, and then no one tips anything.

The automatic gratuity is sometimes discretionary, and since it's 15%, a good waiter will usually waive it and gamble on getting a better tip.  If it's not discretionary, and their POS system won't allow them to waive the automatic gratuity, I wouldn't leap to the conclusion that anyone is trying to scam you. If they did a good job they should get more than a 15% tip, which would mean tipping on top of the auto gratuity. 

In some (I think most, maybe all) states the mandatory gratuity for large parties does not have to be tipped out to the waitstaff. The restaurant can pocket the money and if you don't tip on top of it then the waiter doesn't get any tip for serving the large party. It basically comes down to the language used in the notice of the mandatory gratuity and how much of an ass the restaurant owner is.


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