Friday, October 12, 2007

Knitters' Tips


Well, maybe not the kinds of tips you were thinking

More QueerJoe Communist Ideas
I've always found the concept of tipping to be quite a communist idea, and so very unlike most American practices. Basically, the folks that get tips in our society are allowed to be paid a pitance by their employer, and have to make up for their small salaries through the generosity or satisfaction of customers.

I have always been an excessive tipper regardless of service. It's one of my ways of charitable giving. Unless a waiter/waitress is clearly being purposefully bad, I will always give about 20%. If the service was poor, I'll round down a dollar, and if it's good or better, I'll round up a dollar. Not a big distinction between good and bad service, but I figure the wait staff in restaurants need the tip money more than I do.

Also, since I stay in hotels about half my life, I always tip for housekeeping.

I'm interested to hear from any readers on what they consider to be a standard tip for the person that cleans their hotel room, and what they would consider to be a good or excessive tip. Does that amount change based on the quality of the hotel? Or if the hotel is used for vacation or business?

Current Knitting/Crochet
Shockingly, I kept up my rather fast pace on the lace tablecloth.



Not only did I complete three additional stars, I also did one filler star motif. I think this weekend I will try and do all the filler stars so I don't get too far behind on that part of the task.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Sherry W. asks, "What type of hooks do you enjoy working with, Joe?

I use a lot of different types of hooks, and I'm honestly underwhelmed by most of them. The Boye metal hooks are what I use for small lace work, like the tablecloth. I also use Susan Bates Aluminums and plastic hooks. Both the Boye and the Susan Bates are too small (in length) for my hand based on how I hold the hook, and they annoy me by poking me in the palm of my hand. I have a 12" afghan hook that I use that is more comfortable, but still not great. Even an Amazon search for crochet hooks doesn't show me much else that I feel would make my hooking experience better.

28 comments:

Typesetter said...

As a communist, instead, I adamantly refuse to tip. Ask me to activate and side up with the service personnell to request for them and here I am, ready to march with them and fight the revolution with them. But I adamantly refuse to tip, to offer a charity that makes up for the capitalists' refuse to pay their workers a wage that fits their needs.

Communism (or rather "scientific socialism", as Karl Marx defined it) is the opposite of any charity: according to my idea, nobody should be put into the contition to need a charity to start with, and if someone is, paying a tip or a charity is but a palliatice cure: the therapy is changing the state of things with structural reforms (or, if push comes to shove, a revolution) that remove the causes of this charity need.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. An interesting topic Joe. I too tip heavily almost always giving 20% unless as you said horrendously bad service and I too follow the same guideline. Less $1. I worked as a waitress through much of my college time in order to pay tuition. My hourly rate was $2.11 not to mention that most restaurants for tax purposes take 10% of the checks you served that night and use that as your tax claim. Which is great if everyone tips well. If someone decided to stiff you for some reason, or tips less than 10% you have to pray for the good tippers to help you make up the difference. Because of this I ALWAYS tip well in the hopes of making up for someone elses shortfall.

Housekeeping tips for me depend on the length of stay. If I stay only one night (a lot of my business trips are this way) I will usually give about 10% of the cost of the room. Usually that's about $10 and if it isn't I usually round up. If I stay for a week or longer, I tend to give that same 10% multiplied by the number of days. So a 10 day stay would usually find a $100 tip for the housekeeping staff. Maybe this is excessive, but it is an easy to remember rule of thumb for me. Living in a society where service is so important I think it is of vital importance to show appreciation for those who provide service to us.

I have a suggestion for the crochet hooks. Brittany used to make wooden crochet hooks that were 8" long. I'm not sure if they still make them or not but that might work.

LizB

Sherry W said...

typesetter, I doubt your protest is helping the waitstaff by not tipping them. I'm sure they system doesn't give a rat's butt if you choose to stiff some working schmo or not.

I usually only leave a couple bucks for housekeeping at hotels unless I ask for something like extra towels, etc and I throw in an extra buck. I don't think they work for tips like waitstaff and I don't ever make a mess.

I also tip every day at a multiple day stay since you don't always have the same housekeeper.

ginchy said...

I think it's hideous that people working in hospital aren't paid a decent amount. They shouldn't have to rely on tips. Tips should be something over and above for good service rather than making up the basic wage.

I live somewhere that tips aren't expected, but I generally a quid or two. If I'm staying in a hotel, then I tend to leave my small change on the dresser when I leave for the housekeepers. It's not much I guess, I probably should leave more.

Crochet hooks, I far prefer working with bamboo hooks, they don't grate on my fingers so much.

Sherry W said...

Oh, about the hooks, I find many short as well. I have long hands just bought a Brittney hook, I'll let you know what I think.

FiberQat said...

I must be an ignorant boor because I don't tip the housekeeping staff at the motels I stay at. I'll have to remedy that.

I did recommend to a friend who was having a skein of Baruffa laceweight wound for him at a store to tip the winder. The skein had over 1500 yards so I felt that the winder deserved at least a couple of dollars for doing it for him.

Minty Fresh said...

I admire your patience on the tablecloth. I do not think I would be able to make so many identical pieces without becoming bored.
As far as tipping in hotels, I think I base it on the quality of the hotel. If it is a nicer hotel, I tend to tip about $5/day. For less snazzy places, it tends to be about $3/day.
As for restaurants, I have to say that I give between 15% and 20% on a regular basis. I tend to like to round up to nice even numbers on the credit card bill.

Lesley said...

Hi Joe,

I wanted to draw your attention to an article that appeared today in my local paper, the Vancouver Sun. It refered directly to your last topic on the treatmet of the GLBT community in nursing homes. Thought you might be interested in seeing what's happening on the west coast:

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=6e321d5c-19db-44b7-980d-79a1e0cbd8a4

Typesetter said...

Sherry W I forgot to add that I live in Italy where waitspeople are paid in full already, so the tipping is an extra too. The idea here is that you don't tip ever except a euro or two is the service has been really oustanding, with, for instance in a restaurant, a waiter that just disappeared in the background until the very moment when he or she was needed for some purpose. yet, I believe that this tipping pratice in English-speaking countries is indeed unfair and bordering the scam on both the worker and the customer.

calamity rach said...

This discussion is really interesting to me because I work in a restaurant in a hotel. We start at $6.50/hr plus tips, which is pretty nice. A friend of mine in maintenance has only been tipped twice, and I'll have to ask my friend in housekeeping if he ever gets tips. They get paid a higher hourly wage than I do.

I tend to tip over just because I know what it's like to rely on tips. Usually, my goal is to make $10 a night so that I can eat lunch the next day. I'm in college, and since all the money on my check goes to rent/school/etc, I usually don't have enough to buy all the groceries for the week in one go. Also, we're a pretty slow hotel. My goal for weekend mornings is $30. We usually only have one cook working, too, and people get pissed off when the bar is crowded and there's another table and they don't have their food RIGHT NOW because they ordered a steak cooked well done and there's only one other table. I hate how people take cooking slowness out on the server.

A lot of people don't tip to go orders, either. I never thought about that until I started working in the restaurant (if I go out to eat, I'm going to sit in the restaurant), but now I do whenever I do order something to go.

anne marie in philly said...

I leave $5 per day in any hotel where I stay for pleasure; I never travel for business.

restaurants it's always 20% on the total BEFORE discounts are taken. I will not leave anything for truly horrible service.

that tablecloth is looking good, joe.

Elizabeth said...

Funny you brought this up, because my local paper had a guest column this morning advocating that Wisconsin make tipping illegal. It was a very persuasive column, too.

I worked as a chambermaid at a hotel in south Jersey one summer. The tips were nice, but not a certainty. People who stayed several days were much more likely to tip than those who only spent one night.

My own approach hinges on whether I stay several nights, and thus receive ongoing maintenance from housekeeping, or if I'm only there one night, and they have to do the routine cleaning for the next guest. Mostly, my family goes camping, so it's a non-issue.

The thing I appreciated most when I was a chambermaid was when people are not disgusting slobs. That mattered more to me than the money.

I try to be generous with wait staff and pizza delivery, because the extra $1 might mean very little to me, but be a big morale booster for the recipient. A good pizza tip might be $2, but an excellent one is $3. Such an easy way to improve someone else's day.

Elizabeth said...
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Elizabeth said...

link for column I mentioned above.

Terri said...

Wow. Pizza guy always gets a minimum of $3 bucks. I hit close to 20% in restaurants most to the time, rounding to the nearest dollar. Great service gets more. In my life I've stiffed 2 waitresses. Both times they spent 20-25 minutes practically climbing cute guys they were waiting on. One was so bad to the point the busboy brought drinks and apologized. Funny thing, one of the cute guys was a friend of mine and HE came to our table and apologized for her bad service... (By the way, the busboy got a $10 tip left with the manager with an explanation of why he was getting the tip.) It's a jumbled explanation combining the two incidents, but most of the time, I'm a decent tipper and a very UN-demanding customer. It's not the waitperson's fault if the kitchen is backed up or the food isn't right, and he/she is NEVER penalized for that when it comes to paying the check...

Pam Mann said...

Hi Joe,

I've just discovered your blog and am enjoying it immensely.

We always overtip for good service and leave a much smaller tip for bad service (mainly as a way to let the waiter know that we weren't pleased; they probably think we're cheap, but I don't like leaving a penny unless the service was horrendous). I'm a retired pastry chef and know that the waiters (I'm using that as a generic term for all waitstaff) rely heavily on their tips. We've usually tip between 20 and 30% and have been known to go up to 40% for exceptional service at a fine dining establishment. As for hotel staff, we usually don't tip the maid, but we do tip bellmen, doormen, etc. In a casino, we tip everyone from the change girl to the cashier to the dealer.

As a lifelong crocheter (47 years now), I have to tell you that your work is exquisite. We have a tablecloth made by my grandmother for my husband (she never made me anything!) that's constructed in a similar fashion as yours. It took her a year to make it due to severe arthritis, but it's an heirloom that we'll treasure for the rest of our lives. As for hooks, I use the same set of Boye Balene hooks I got almost 30 years ago. I know they've come out when them again, but they're not the same. I also use Boye steels for fine work (they're the same age as the Balenes). I prefer the shape and feel of the Boye hooks as opposed to other manufacturers. I also don't care for wooden hooks. While they're beautiful and I do have some exceptional examples made by a man on eBay, they're more for show and tactile pleasure rather than actual crocheting. The thread/yarn drags too much on the wood; I crochet too fast for them and get frustrated if the fiber/stitches don't flow freely. I really think people tend to prefer the tools they learned on and have always used; you get used to a certain size/shape and feel uncomfortable using anything else. I know that's true for me. I always joke that if one of my Balenes break, I can't crochet anymore.

Sorry to have blabbed on for so long - it's a pleasure to meet you! Come see me on my blog one of these days. :)

Sherry W said...
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Sherry W said...

Typesetter, that makes perfect sense if you are from a non-tipping country, sorry. I don't like the way it is done here either, just I wouldn't take my objection out on the waitstaff.

I went to Australia and was told tipping is only for special service. I always felt like a creep if I didn't leave even a little something on the table, so I guess it's the culture you are raised.

Angel said...

My roommate in Div school was a waitress and it amazed me at how badly people treated her on the job. The stories she would come home with, and she worked so hard, and was attending a prestigious masters program at the same time so that she could eventually become a rabbi. Ever since then I tip generously because I have seen someone struggle along trying to make ends meet on a waitress salary.

Joe -have you tried the Clover soft touch hook? I have a different problem than you in that my hand cramps badly, so I need a big handle on my hook. I use the clover hooks for heavier weight projects and they work okay- not great, but okay. Apparently Susan Bates has just started to make a hook with a large bamboo handle but I haven't tried those- also Addi hooks (I think WEBS carries them) have a good sized plastic handle on them- my problem is that I just grip too tightly when crocheting.

Anonymous said...
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la glitz said...

Hi Joe, lurker here from Ireland! I agree with your Italian commenter above: for me, tipping is the anti-communist system, one where the waiter/ress is kept entirely dependent on the charity (and prejudice) of the customer. In Germany (and to a lesser extent in Ireland and Britain) waiting is a properly-paid job: when you turn up at the beginning of your shift, you know how much you're going to bring home at the end of the night. Tips are a bonus for extra-good service.

I do tip in the US, but I loathe the necessity to do so. It removes all responsibility from the employer to ensure the welfare of their employees, while they of course make a profit on their labour anyway. Tips, US-style, turn the service person into a pauper-entrepreneuer whose only capital is their ability to please, but who has little other control over the means of production and distribution. Not tipping exploited workers is not the solution as long as the US population is willing to allow restaurateurs to exploit them.

Minneapolismama said...

I travel quite a bit for work, and I probably don't tip for housekeeping as much as I should. But, I also try to leave my room as clean as possible every day.

Recently, though, I stayed in a hotel where we were charged, as part of our regular bill, $3/day for housekeeeping and $7 for porterage. Some people in our group talked to the porters and causually mentioned that we paid this to the hotel. They knew nothing about it!! So, I think it just goes to show that the corporation is out for greed, exploiting both their customers and employees this way.

Andy's Crafts said...

I tip for good service. If the service is excellent it will bring 20% or more, if the service is bad, I will tip 15% -1.00. Housekeeping the same, plus a note.

I do not reward bad service, and if the service is very bad I will tell the Maitre 'D that I will never set foot on that place, I will make sure that all my friends hear about it. So far I have never done that.

I rarely go out, maybe once a month, I am very picky where I eat. I look at the servers fingernails and if they are dirty, I will actually get up and leave.

Meribeth said...

You bet I tip. Waiting tables, housekeeping, and often for a good hair cut. Waiting tables is serious work, something I was a total failure attempting. Usually 20% for the waiter/ress, hair dresser and $5 a night for housekeeping.
For poor service, I leave a small amount..like when the waitress kept hanging her boob in front of my husband and pawed his shoulder. (which he ignored completely and didn't like)
For the most part, people who are "servicing" our needs and wants are treated like servants that can be talked down to and insulted. So for that reason, I tip heavily.
And I agree, the tradition of tipping in this country needs to change.

Terri said...

umm.. what Meribeth said.. touch my husband when he's sitting there with me and your tip goes down drastically. The boob flash is unfortunately done more than a little by some young girls (sad how little self esteem that shows) and a pointed stare will generally put an end to it.

Mary said...

We eat out a lot and tip 20%--it's easy math--unless it's really bad service. We don't need friendly or subservient waitstaff, just efficiency--I don't need a new best friend.
We tip in hotels, too. The amount depends on what kind of bills we have on that day. When I've mentioned tipping to housekeeping to female friends, they often don't know about it.

Kathy said...

Tipping in restaurant: 20% for adequate service; more for good service, less for poor. On two occassions, I've left just enough on the table to indicate displeasure with the service so the server didn't think I'd simply "forgotten". In those instances, a talk with the manager was also part of the experience. When service is particularly good I might go as high as 30%.

In hotels, I tip for multiple day stays, not single nights. More for luxury hotels where the service staff are called upon to provide so many of the "amenities".

Mary the Digital Knitter said...

There are a variety of holders for pastels and charcoal sticks that you can put onto crochet hooks to lengthen them. These holders are adjustable for a variety of sizes and are found in art supply stores and catalogs. I've never used them for this but I know someone who does.

Regarding tips, we're big tippers because we can afford to be. I can't imagine working as hard as wait staff do, on their feet for so many hours, for example. I guess my tipping habits are mostly related to empathy. I've been lucky enough to have a nice desk job, after all.