Well this thread has gone for a while.... I can report I've never been a waiter, but I have had jobs that were very manual by their very nature. I was a paper-boy back in the day.. It may not have been a 12-hour shift, but it was a job that made a 12-year-old get up 364 out of 365 days of a year. And like being a waiter, a LOT of your take-home pay was in the form of tips. Later i worked in construction, so the great outdoors sure could show her not-so-great side on a regular basis. THAT'S why I elected to get out of that sort of life. In the end I traded-in one form of stress for another. While I used to whine about long hours in the heat or cold, or early hours folding papers in the heat and cold, nowadays those stresses have been altered to being the always-connected (laptops, BBs, MiFi...you name it, they can find me - and they do) IT professional! I think that's why many of us are here! We get to watch people get paid a stupid amount of money for doing something thy love. Yet they too have complaints and concerns about their lives too. It could be argued to death, and it's pointless.
But back to the original point, waiters and waitresses - but I'd extend it to the entire community of people in jobs where "tips" are the larger part of their take-home pay being in the form of gratuities - I think they just need to be abolished it if these problems are more than the exception to the rule. Just pay people if 9-out-of-10 servers are getting stiffed regularly. If, however, it's 1-in-10 servers who occasionally get stiffed after working an hourer past closing, tell them to suck it up and know it's part of deal. LOL, I porched every goddamn paper on my route, every day, and some folks just paid the price. I still porched their paper too.
Ask the community what they want and go with it. I'm sure there will be those who make $300 a night who will say it works well. Than there are a few Waffle House servers who work their asses off who might be inclined to be happier with a guaranteed minimum wage.
I know this, I tip, and I tip well, but I hate the idea that it's based on the price of the meal. That means 20% of expensive dinner means an server has "earned" more than the server who did a better job than the 20% of a more economical meal. So that's something I'd like to hear ideas about; you go out to the Pierpont's and it's not difficult to run up a $120 dinner and get a waiter/waitress who's not bad, but not better than McComick and Schmick's and how do you justify going less than 15% (as low as I'll go) to make sure the better server walks away at the end of the month with more money. That's my problem...I've had servers in supposedly higher-end restaurants who just did their job, but walk with more simply because the food is more expensive.
And I get the "amount of time per sitting" angle too...