Servers take good with bad


    Waiting tables in Happy Valley is a paradox.

    On the one hand, Utahns are infamous for being bad tippers. On the other hand, where else in this town are you going to make $10 an hour? So servers ought to be allowed to complain, but not too much.

    Brian Peltz, 24, a construction management major from San Jose, is a server at Red Lobster in Orem, and is generally pleased with the money he makes.

    “It’s definitely worth it,” he said. “There are no jobs around here that pay more than that. It handles the car payment, school, and rent.”

    Peltz, whose wife is also a Red Lobster server, said he makes a lot of money despite Utah tippers, not because of them.

    “They tip very poorly,” Peltz said. “I don’t know if it’s out of ignorance or if they’re just cheap. If they can save a buck, they will.”

    Lincoln Wilcox, a 22-year-old business major from Portland, Ore., works alongside Peltz and his wife, and said that waiting tables in Oregon was a lot more lucrative.

    “In Oregon, I averaged 20 percent,” he said. “I also got paid $7 an hour and sold lots of wine. That’s where you make your money, in alcohol sales.”

    Here in the alcohol-free zone, tippers are able to calculate the gratuity stone-cold sober, and drink lots of water, Wilcox said.

    But how to decide how much to leave?

    “My rule is 15 percent for a normal waiter and 20 for a really good waiter,” said frequent restaurant patron Michael Santiago, 24, an English major from Laguna Nigel, Calif. “It’s a philosophy my dad taught me. Plus, 15 percent is easy to figure out.”

    Alicia Thompson, a 21-year-old communications major from Glendale, Ariz. has a fool-proof way to make sure she’s tipping well: “You just double the tax.”

    San-Francisco-native-turned- overworked-Utah-waitress Amy Seaman, 23, waits tables at both P.F. Changs and Ruby River. Seaman explained several pet peeves among servers.

    “Old people – guaranteed 10 percent or less,” she said.

    Seaman said Mormons have an excuse for tipping poorly – the tithing arithmetic is so familiar.

    “They figure the Lord gets ten, same for you,” she said.

    Another bothersome tendency among customers is to blame the waiter for the quality of the food.

    The worst day for Seaman was getting stiffed on a $150 check at Ruby River on Father’s Day.

    “You never know how they will tip,” she said. “They could be really praising and then leave you nothing.”

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