Meals in the room?

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AG1

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cruisegary, people here are being informed of their options on Amtrak not the local restaurant. The options include no tip (perfectly okay as officially not required by Amtrak just like the airlines) or tip ( perfectly fine, amount up to you).
That is a 100% free choice of the rider and should be understandable to most people .
 
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Devil's Advocate

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Many people do not have a clue what would be normal in various situations and ask to better understand. The above type of statement does not help these people at all, and encourages those of the non-tipping culture or persuasion that no tip is perfectly fine - even in places where people make a living off tips - wait staff in a restaurant for example.
Saying the decision is up to you is a simple statement of fact. Several data points have been included in this thread and there are hundreds more included in the other threads she linked.
 

Cho Cho Charlie

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As has been stated previously, tipping is not required. However, it is customary.
True that one is never required to tip anyone; be it the LSA, the SCA, the red cap, the cabbie, the waitstaff, the bell hop, and so on.

To me, it is that the OP is looking for validation from us (me?) to go ahead and stiff people who provide them a personal service. Sorry, folks, but I am certainly doing to provide such general/global validation and I think it is irresponsible to do so.

I don't buy, the "am rich enough to travel sleeper class, but too poor to appropriately tip anyone". :rolleyes:
 

Devil's Advocate

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To me, it is that the OP is looking for validation from us (me?) to go ahead and stiff people who provide them a personal service. Sorry, folks, but I am certainly doing to provide such general/global validation and I think it is irresponsible to do so. I don't buy, the "am rich enough to travel sleeper class, but too poor to appropriately tip anyone".
Aren't you the same person who complained about customers insulting your daughter by handing over tips in the form of dollar coins and $2 bills?

Yep, looks like I found it...

My kid is now in the restaurant business, and I can tell you that leaving something really odd like a $2 bill is definitely not appreciated. The reality is they can't do anything with such, and because of it, the $2 bill will just get tossed into a drawer or box. Leaving a $2 bill, or a $1 coin, is worse than leaving no tip at all, and writing "FU" on the check. You'll be badly remembered by the table help, if you should ever dare to return.
Reading obnoxiously entitled posts such as these doesn't make me want to tip more money.
 
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Chey

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I am not financially well-endowed. I therefore ride the rails - in sleeping accommodations (roomette) - every 2-3 years. I budget for the ride, including tips. The tips I leave at the diner car are half what I leave if the SCA brings my meal to my room. I really don't care how well the employee who serviced me is compensated. What I care about is the service I receive, that's how I tip.
 

SarahZ

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To me, it is that the OP is looking for validation from us (me?) to go ahead and stiff people who provide them a personal service.
The OP is not "stiffing" the car attendant simply because the amount they plan to tip is beneath what you deem socially acceptable. Stiffing would be not leaving a tip at all.

Additionally, as DA stated, the car attendants are paid quite well for their service. This isn't the local Applebee's where a server isn't going to be able to pay their rent if I don't tip 15-20%. As such, tipping $2 per meal instead of $5 is completely acceptable.

Also, those of you ripping into the OP for booking a sleeper when they can't afford to tip as much as you would:

- How do you know they don't have a condition that would make traveling in coach extremely difficult?
- How do you know a family member or friend didn't pay for the room?
- How do you know this room wasn't booked with points?
- How does tipping $2 instead of $5 for a few meals magically turn someone into a cretin who should be shunned from a service they are 100% entitled to? (I mean, for crying out loud. I'll send the person $20 to make up the difference if it will get you off their back, because come on now.)

OP - I hope you have a LOVELY trip full of wonderful memories and grand adventures.
 

PerRock

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The OP is not "stiffing" the car attendant simply because the amount they plan to tip is beneath what you deem socially acceptable. Stiffing would be not leaving a tip at all.
Having worked in the tip-based industry in my passed; getting small change we often felt was worse than getting nothing. I was a valet, we averaged $2-5/car; I would much rather be not given anything than to have someone just toss me a hand full of pennies & nickels.

That being said, we almost fought over the $2 bills & $1 coins.

peter
 
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OP here. Thank you everyone for your responses.

I ended up just eating in the dining car and tipping the wait staff there. I actually had no interaction at all with my sleeping car attendant. Frankly, I was put off by not knowing how to tip so I didn't ask for anything. Then, I saw a coach attendant getting ice and drinks for their passengers without receiving any tips. Ha, go figure.

I will say that I always tip at restaurants and that interaction makes sense to me. Also, I've ridden coach all my life and this was my first sleeper/Roomette trip. I loved it, and will be a repeat customer. The trip has been incredibly comfortable and pleasant.
 

AG1

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Wisconsinthunder, glad you enjoyed your trip ! Could you give us your feelings about tipping Amtrak waiters making $25 an hour versus restaurants paying wait staff minimum wage $7.75 an hour plus shared tips.
 
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Ha! Well, that's more than I make, which absolutely puts things in perspective. I definitely appreciate everyone who stuck up for my question and my right to ride in a Roomette.

I will say that there were times on this trip when I would've asked for help if I'd known it was okay to do so without tipping. And, there were meals in the dining car that I tipped after even though service was poor. That said, some of my other tips I feel good about having given because my order came quickly and accurately.

I hope to take another sleeper car trip in December and after this trip and reading everyone's input I will be more confident in my ability to choose when to tip or not.
 

caravanman

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Wisconsinthunder, glad you enjoyed your trip ! Could you give us your feelings about tipping Amtrak waiters making $25 an hour versus restaurants paying wait staff minimum wage $7.75 an hour plus shared tips.
Is it that you begrudge Amtrak employees earning a good wage for their many hours away from home, or are you annoyed that some Americans have to work for $7.75 an hour in the richest country in the world?

I will say that as a foreigner, the "tipping culture" in the US is annoying, although restaurant staff expect tips this side of the pond too. Bar tenders not at all. The way "tax" is added to so many prices, after the cost is advertised is often a nasty surprise too!
Ed
 

crescent-zephyr

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If a waiter is earning minimum wage, that is equal to other, non-tipped employees like at a fast food restaurant. Most servers make LESS than minimum wage because they are supppsed to make up for it in tips. A terrible practice that is thankfully ending in some areas of the USA but not all.
 

Rasputin

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Wisconsinthunder,

Glad to hear you had a great trip and enjoyed your roomette. I don't believe you are under any obligation to explain or defend how you spent your money on this trip. (Well at least if it was your money. If you robbed a bank or stole money from your grandmother, you might have some explaining to do, but otherwise no.)
 

seat38a

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If a waiter is earning minimum wage, that is equal to other, non-tipped employees like at a fast food restaurant. Most servers make LESS than minimum wage because they are supppsed to make up for it in tips. A terrible practice that is thankfully ending in some areas of the USA but not all.
California does not have this nonsense. I don't know if it ever did, but waitstaff must all get minimum wage regardless of tips. When my friends and I were waiting tables while in college, we all raked in lots of tips which were all paid out at the end of each shift in cash. Paychecks itself were tiny like $20 dollars or less because that is where all of the taxes were deducted from. So I guess in theory in states that do not require minimum wage for waitstaff, they would still owe the government??
 

PerRock

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California does not have this nonsense. I don't know if it ever did, but waitstaff must all get minimum wage regardless of tips. When my friends and I were waiting tables while in college, we all raked in lots of tips which were all paid out at the end of each shift in cash. Paychecks itself were tiny like $20 dollars or less because that is where all of the taxes were deducted from. So I guess in theory in states that do not require minimum wage for waitstaff, they would still owe the government??
You're supposed to pay taxes on almost all income; wages, or tips it doesn't really matter to the government.

peter
 

seat38a

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You're supposed to pay taxes on almost all income; wages, or tips it doesn't really matter to the government.

peter
Well thats a given. Let me clarify my question. Do employers with tipped employees in states without minimum wage for them, collect from the employees things like FICA and etc. directly from their tips or do the employees reconcile it themselves with the government like self employeed do quarterly if their paycheck isn't enough to cover all of the taxes owed? I ask because there is an underpayment penalty the IRS/States imposes which would suck if the employee got hit with it.
 

greatwestern

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Like caravanman, as another "foreigner" I too find the US tipping culture annoying. Just because someone is doing their job properly should not mean that a tip should be customary.

The service given by the cafe car attendant on Amtrak is to me not a lot different to the service given at a McDonalds counter (I usually receive polite and pleasant attention in both situations). So why is it customary to tip one but not the other ?

Despite these comments, I do tend to tip on Amtrak, but I do have a job reconciling my rationale - probably just wanting to fit in with local culture !!
 

PerRock

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Well thats a given. Let me clarify my question. Do employers with tipped employees in states without minimum wage for them, collect from the employees things like FICA and etc. directly from their tips or do the employees reconcile it themselves with the government like self employeed do quarterly if their paycheck isn't enough to cover all of the taxes owed? I ask because there is an underpayment penalty the IRS/States imposes which would suck if the employee got hit with it.
Different states & different companies are different. The company I worked for, when I worked for tips, you were supposed to report all your tips to them & they'd take the required amount out of your paycheck. That being said in practice the vast majority of my coworkers reported no tips to the company & didn't claim them on their taxes either.

I believe in most cases you report your tip earnings to your employer & go down that route. This is usually because the company has to be able to prove that their employees are making up the remaining of the gap to minimum wage in tips.

peter
 

JayPea

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Wisconsinthunder,

Glad to hear you had a great trip and enjoyed your roomette. I don't believe you are under any obligation to explain or defend how you spent your money on this trip. (Well at least if it was your money. If you robbed a bank or stole money from your grandmother, you might have some explaining to do, but otherwise no.)
I agree. It's nobody's business how you spend your money. If I want to tip I'm going to tip, regardless of the wage that is paid to the person I'm tipping. I have never understood why that should be anyone's business but mine.
 

seat38a

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I agree. It's nobody's business how you spend your money. If I want to tip I'm going to tip, regardless of the wage that is paid to the person I'm tipping. I have never understood why that should be anyone's business but mine.
Well the OP did make it our business by starting this post and asked the question which I quote:
"Is all this okay?"
If its not our business then maybe the OP shouldn't ask the forum for either validation or diapproval in the first place.
 

caravanman

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I am not up to speed about whether tips are taxed the same as wages or not. I assume the way some hotels add a massive "resort fee" to a low hotel rate means that the "resort fee" is not taxed?
Ed.
 

Devil's Advocate

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I agree. It's nobody's business how you spend your money. If I want to tip I'm going to tip, regardless of the wage that is paid to the person I'm tipping. I have never understood why that should be anyone's business but mine.
Did you read the opening post? The OP laid out their plans and then asked for feedback. The OP didn't do anything wrong and neither did the members who responded. The only way your personal tipping habits will become anybody else's business is if you choose to bring them up.

I am not up to speed about whether tips are taxed the same as wages or not. I assume the way some hotels add a massive "resort fee" to a low hotel rate means that the "resort fee" is not taxed? Ed.
A resort fee is a surcharge. It has nothing to do with income tax law.
 
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caravanman

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A resort fee is a surcharge. It has nothing to do with income tax law.
I just wonder why it is a surcharge? It is not an optional item, one is obliged to pay a resort fee when booking certain hotels, there must be some advantage to the hotel to split the fee in this way? Maybe not for income tax, but maybe for some other room tax advantage to themselves?

Ed
 

jebr

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I just wonder why it is a surcharge? It is not an optional item, one is obliged to pay a resort fee when booking certain hotels, there must be some advantage to the hotel to split the fee in this way? Maybe not for income tax, but maybe for some other room tax advantage to themselves?

Ed
It's mainly to show a cheaper price on third party hotel websites. They can advertise that their hotel is "Only $49/night!" but still get $70+/night in revenue (assuming a $30+/night hotel resort fee.)
 
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