Speak Out: Canadian visitors, tip at least 15% or ‘more if you get great service’

First of all, let me start by saying snowbirds are a very happy bunch of folks. They are grateful for the nice weather and truly enjoy their time in Arizona. I find them to be pleasant, fun and very nice. However, as a waitress in Apache Junction, I sometimes struggle to hold that same good feeling about winter visitors.

I want to talk about tips, specifically from our Canadian visitors. I can tell from their accent or they tell me they are our neighbors to the north.

Don’t be offended, eh? I love you folks. It is a USA custom to tip at least 15 percent for service and more if you get great service. I’m not sure what the gratuity customs are in Canada, but it seems it must be a nominal amount or an afterthought.

At my restaurant, we add 18 percent gratuity on tables of eight or more. This is because servers have to tip 3.5 percent collectively to the bartender, busser and food runner. When a party of six with a $100 tab leaves a $10 tip, I am required to give $3.50 of that tip to the assist staff and I have to claim to the government that I earned a $12 tip from that table. I’m paying taxes on $12 when I only take home $6.50 from that table.

We make less than minimum wage hourly and rely on tips to earn a living. Other than being occasionally unhappy with their tips, I do truly feel the snowbirds are fun, happy, pleasant group of people and I love waiting on them. I hope this message is friendly and informative.

Please consider publishing my opinion. Servers at all AJ restaurants will be grateful. I have lived and worked in AJ for 25 years.

Editor’s note: The above letter was written by a waitress in the Apache Junction area who asked to remain anonymous.

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