Extra “Teen Tax” added to bill for children dining alone at New Jersey restaurant

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/11/09/extra-teen-tax-added-to.html


How about paying your waitstaff a fucking living wage so they don’t need tips asshole.


It never was. Also, it’s really shitty to withhold tips based on level of service. Reward good service, yes, but don’t take it away based on something that is probably out of your server’s control.


Agreed. The gratuity system in the US is an insane perversion.

However, as a former juvenile moron who spent far too many raucous hours in diners giving grief to poorly-paid servers, I’ve got to say that this isn’t a terrible idea. They should make it explicit so as to be an effective deterrent, but there are few versions of human capable of deeper assholery than late-night teens.


I am sorry, but kindly explain how bad service would be out of the server’s control. Thank you very much. By the way, I always tip, only once did I not leave a tip. On that occasion, about 20 years ago, the waiter was extremely rude to me (with no reason) and then he was blatantly flirting with my date (to the point of giving her his number). We were both shocked.


“Make it for everybody,” she said. “Adults, children, everything.”

That would come out to pretty much the same thing, it seems - or, I guess the latter would be wage + commission, while the former would be pure wage…


Bad service is usually due to understaffing, poor training and other aspects of bad management, not the fault of the staff.


So, should I refuse to reward that bad management by not paying their staff for them?


with the $15/hr minimum wage here in Seattle a lot of the places said prices will go up but tips will also no longer be a thing.


It’s a pretty common practice to “grat” teens. Because frankly speaking. Teens don’t tip, don’t buy product, linger for long times, And often cause problems. They’re especially prone to dining and ditching as well.

It’s perfectly legal to add a suggested gratuity to the bill. And even not to call it out. Though it’s considered poor service not to tell people that it’s been added.

So the case here is going to hinge on how it was listed on the bill. If it’s a standard “suggested gratuity” listed on the bill? They’re likely clear and millions of servers nation wide are doing the same thing.

That’d be great and all but the regulatory environment does everything in its power to disincentiveize that. In many states you even get a god damned tax break for employing tipped workers.

And one of the biggest hold ups on fair pay for tipped workers is the American public’s unwillingness to pay what it would cost for food and drinks to make it happen. Your $3 buds during happy hour are $3 for a reason. Generally speaking it’s not practical for single restaurants to structure themselves for fair pay. Because the higher prices make you less competitive.

Which is why you see some of the most celebrated, expensive restaurants and largest restaurant groups in the US trying it. Then using various service charges to hide the cost. Then abandoning the approach.

You need a top down regulatory change. Increased minimum wage that’s extended to tipped workers. Other labor rights they lack. A new tax frame work that doesn’t prioritize super low margin business that off puts labor costs. You need every restaurant to do it at once. And you need the public to get used to paying what that costs.


Scheisse happens sometimes and it is not always the servers fault. A few that come to mind…

Maybe other servers called in sick and the remaining servers had sections that were too large to serve appropriately.
Perhaps the waiter had too many tables seated at one time in their section.
Maybe the cooks made a mistake with the food order and that issue wasn’t apparent to the server (meat cooked too well or rare).
Maybe the waiter has an overly demanding and petty customer that requires a lot of attention.


I understand adding a mandatory tip for large parties as a matter of policy, but it has to apply to adults, too.


That Restaurant pulled a real scumbag move, as a parent that pisses me off something fierce.


Slow and service is usually due to back of house issues, under staffing, and rude customers.


No, you punish bad management by not patronizing their establishment.


Speak for yourself. I was taught by my working class parents to tip well. And on the infrequent occasions that I as a teenager had money to eat out alone or with company, I would make sure I had enough to leave a good tip despite not having a lot myself. If I discovered a restaurant was doing this, I’d never eat there again and I’d discourage others from doing the same. Fortunately another habit from being from a working class family is that I also always read my itemized receipts.

I won’t claim to having been a paragon of virtue in my youth, but I didn’t stiff workers. These ageist pricks need pay their employees a living wage.


I was all set to be outraged. Then oh they’re adding a gratuity fine then carry on.


“Melissa Desch wonders whatever happened to tipping being optional. She says she’d like to see a consistent policy.”

For me, that’s a policy that would trigger yet another type of option: Never returning to that restaurant.


Unless it is clearly marked that this policy exists then it would be illegal in at least most states in the US. And it sounds like this is not a written policy given the very little bit of information we’re provided in the article.

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Most of the restaurants I used to hang out in late at night with other obnoxious teenagers (buying only a single cup of coffee apiece and keeping the biggest table tied up for hours) had a statement in the menu to the effect that groups over x number will automatically be charged a set gratuity. Which had the same effect while being more widely applicable to the common problem of larger groups on a combined check tending to tip poorly.