The Foodie Report
Ruminations on food, cooking in and eating out in our area.

It's entirely possible to be a vegetarian in Porkopolis. Pop culture reporter Lauren Bishop blogs about products, recipes and restaurants she's tried for others who eat meat-free. E-mail her at lbishop@enquirer.com.

Nicci King is an unabashed foodie and the Lifestyle/Food editor in The Enquirer's features department. She loves to discover new food faves, and she's on a daily quest to answer one burning question: What's for dinner? E-mail her at nking@enquirer.com.

Enquirer Weekend editor Julie Gaw tends to order the same dish every time she eats at a restaurant, but periodically ventures out to discover something new and fabulous. After living in China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Thailand for more than 8 years, she craves tasty Asian food. E-mail her at jgaw@enquirer.com.

Food/dining writer Polly Campbell loves every quirk and secret of Cincinnati's food personality, and is on a constant lookout for something good to eat. Keep an eye out for her restaurant picks, or see how she's progressing toward becoming famous for her apple pie. E-mail her at pcampbell@enquirer.com.

Communities reporter Rachel Richardson is on a mission to prove vegetarians eat more than lettuce. She shares both her graduate work on American food culture and food-related news.. E-mail her at rrichardson@enquirer.com.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008


OK, it's cranky curmudgeon week for Polly. I have complained about too much salt, about the cult of the tyrannical mean chef and oh, wasn't I griping about something else, too? But when it comes to peeves I keep around as pets, mine is tipping.

I would have thought that American society would have evolved past tipping by now, but instead it's spreading. You know those annoying tip jars on counters? Well, last weekend I took SkyBus to Boston (I mean, to an airport in the same general part of the country as Boston. A shuttle, a bus, a ride on the T and a taxi ride got us to where we were going eventually) The t-shirted flight attendant, after selling the in-flight food announced that "tips were happily accepted, though never expected."

I did not tip on my $2 bottle of water. Though my reasonable voice told me that I had only paid $35 for the flight, surely I ought to.


at 9:20 AM Blogger Cin Twin1 said...

I am taking that same Skybus flight in two weeks to run the Boston Marathon. Thanks for the heads up about the tipping. I won't be shocked or surprised when they make that announcement. You have me beat though, my roundtrip cost per person was $65!

at 9:28 AM Blogger Polly Campbell said...

No, you beat me. It was $35 one way. While we're on the subject of irritations, one thing I love about Skybus is that they have no video on their planes or waiting rooms. It's so relaxing.

at 11:02 AM Blogger Rachel said...

I usually tip at coffeehouses just because I know the baristas do not make much money and I like to support locally owned businesses and their employees.

I've never taken Skybus, but I wonder how much the attendants make if the flights are only $35 one-way.

at 11:56 AM Blogger Polly Campbell said...

Well, they probably don't make much. Their employers should pay them a living wage instead of making us feel guilty and chipping in. You don't tip the pilots, do you? OOH, that'd be scary.

Same with cooks and servers.

at 12:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good point, Polly. But then if the airline starts paying flight attendants more, does that mean they'll still be able to offer those $35 flights that you enjoy?

at 5:07 PM Anonymous I'm anonymous! said...

People who complain about tipping are cheapskates, it's a sure sign. I would hate to wait on her table. I bet you are lucky to get 10%. Waitpersons and bartenders make below minimum wage. If you cannot afford to tip at least 15%, then you cannot afford to eat out.

I hate cheapskates.

at 6:21 PM Blogger Rachel said...

I just remembered an NPR story actually. Skybus charges passengers $35, but tickets are subsidized through the federal government. I think the government pays two to three times what the passenger pays. It's all in attempts to bolster air travel. So, maybe the airline isn't as racked for money as we might think.

at 8:28 PM Anonymous vudutu said...

Say what? We taxpayers are paying for your flight? How screwed up is this country?

at 12:45 PM Blogger Polly Campbell said...

I'm not cheap at all. I tip 15-20%. I just don't like it. I like things to be straightforward, and I think restaurants, airlines, etc., should decide how much pay their employees, not me.

at 4:08 PM Blogger Stepf said...

I'm with you, Polly. I tip 15-20 percent, but I don't like the practice. In Korea, tipping is an insult. It was nice to have those costs included.

at 8:11 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

newsflash for the cheapskates: in those countries that you don't tip, a service charge is added into you check. You pay it either way. Sorry, but there is no free lunch.

at 10:29 PM Blogger Thomas said...

Well I guess you don't have to worry about this particular problem anymore.... Skybus is ceasing operations as of Saturday 4/5.

at 10:07 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is why I LOVE Rainbow Carwash... They have a sign up: ABSOLUTELY NO TIPPING.
So, I go there at the exclusion of any tipping car wash. I think they are onto something.

And Polly, I am totally in your camp. Employers: Pay your people. Don't make the customers feel pressured to make up their salary deficit!

I could spend an hour tapping keys on my distaste for this bizarre and proliferating practice..
And like Polly, I am not a cheapskate.

at 12:09 PM Anonymous anonymous, but not cheap said...

10:07 is a cheapskate to be sure. They likely drive 15 miles out of their way just to go to the non-tipping carwash, burning up more gas than it would cost them to throw a buck or two tip at a closer carwash.

The Rainbow guys steal change out of your car, by the way.

How many of you "I hate to tip" folks refuse to order a beverage at a restaurant, and ask for water & lemon instead, and then ass suger to the water, squeeze the lemon into the water to make some type of ersatz 'lemonade'? If you do this, you are a major cheap@ss.

Here is what you cheapos fail to recognize: if a restaurant paid their waitstaff a 'decent wage' (ranging from $20,000 for a TGI O'Chilibees type of establishment to $60,000 for a Pigall's class restaurant) YOU WOULD STILL BE PAYING FOR IT. Restaurants would raise prices 15-25% or would add that amount as a mandatory service charge, as they do in Europe.

You pay either way folks.

at 4:10 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fine. Price the food. We'll then decide where we want to go based on cost and value.
Just get rid of this arrangement where customers "voluntarily" make up the staff's salary deficit.
It stinks!

at 5:07 PM Anonymous Anonymous Cheapskate Hater said...

4:10 just doesn't get it. it would be THE SAME PRICE that you pay now, PLUS 15-20 percent. What's to decide?

It would actually cost YOU more money, as you are undoubtedly a cheap b@stard that tips five bucks on a hundred dollar tab.

It us best if you eat all of your meals in your own home, as you are either too cheap or can't afford to eat out at a restaurant.

at 8:37 AM Anonymous dmg said...

Polly, we'll have to discount the restaurant workers with their inane biased comments. For the rest of us, the tipping system is corrupt and a pain in the neck.
It gets the restaurant owners off the hook on payroll, while making the workers grovel for their salary.

at 8:41 PM Anonymous Anonymous Cheapskate Hater said...

Not a restaurant worker, nor have i ever been. I am a frequent diner however. Those who have a problem with tipping are always cheap people who just hate to tip. They would HOWL with anger if restaurants started adding a 17% service charge to your bill.

By the way, if you actually asked 'restaurant workers', as I have, they would be all for a mandatory service charge to replace the tipping system. They would make more money at the end of the day, as the good tippers are only just balance out the cheap tippers.

at 9:44 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey all of you chronic cheap tippers, you have no idea what your server is doing to your food to get even with you:


It's written by waitpersons, for waitpersons. Make sure that you read this little tidbit:


That will make you think twice before you leave a lousy tip at a place where you eat regularly!


at 9:51 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

You wouldn't want your name added to the Shitty Tipper Database!


at 6:03 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The defense rests.

at 12:45 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Classy? Like it's classy to stiff a waiter with a cheapass tip? Screw you cheapskate. Enjoy my saliva.

at 11:58 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, classy...
Gee, I cannot wait to eat in a restaurant again with this kind of one-celled pond-scum bringing me my food...

Again, the defense rests.

at 4:32 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, if this is the level of IQ possessed by those working our restaurants, God help us all... It's worse than I thought...

at 12:31 PM Anonymous Leave a penny said...

For any food service employees out there in the blogosphere:

Take your sense of entitlement and shove it.

It's obvious and it's true: tips are not always warranted. Why should I tip a bad server as much as a good one? Well, I don't - and I don't have a regular restaurant that I patronize. So much for your scare tactics!

Consumers will only take so much, too. Bad service guarantees a patron will never return. Enough bad service and the restaurant will fold. Then everybody loses.

at 4:34 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cheap @sses always have an excuse. 'Sometime I get bad service'...'I don't get tipped to do MY job'.

Stuff it cheapskates. Waitstaff make $2.15 an hour. They are taxed 10% of their check totals by the IRS, in order to tax their tips.

If you have a problem with the service or food, you should direct a complaint to the management, by the way. Not leaving a tip will not 'correct' a bad server.

You chronic cheapskates have probably ingested a lot of waitstaff spit over the years. I hope that you enjoyed the flavor.

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