I am pretty surprised to hear about such fierce competition. Of course, there may be, for finding and keeping clients, but that doesn't seem to have an effect in prices, neither here nor (as far I appreciated in my stays in the USA) even less, there.
Prices for food in the USA rise from high to unacceptabble in the USA, and I am not talking from my own level of salary but form an american's. You have to eat at home everyday if you are lucky to be able to do so, or bring your lunch box, or eat just a (expensive for it's quality, contents and cost) sandwich.
Today, eating out is a luxury, in the USA for a worker.
And eating out in a restaurant is a big luxury, for special days only.
Paying a 15-20% on top of this is just way too much.
Wait staff wages are low. 600 euros is not much, but it's about the same you get in other low qualification jobs. Of course, professional waiters can have 900 or 1000, maybe 1100, and those who serve weddings and big group celebrations earn a high per day: about 50 to 60 euros.
How do people live? Same as the rest of most of spanish workers, they don't live
, they just survive
. If they are single, they share a flat, even sometimes (usually foreigners, we spanish rarely accept this) room. Use always inneficient public transportation or have an old second hand car or a motorcycle, that they don't use much becuse of the cost of petrol, eat (free, usually) at their workplace sometimes unhealthy food (what's avaliable there) going to "botellón" (that's been recently forbidden but we just don't care) instead of pubs and discos, vacationing home or at parent's instead of abroad or the coasts or the mountain, ... Those married, try to buy a home working both, but those with low salaries rarely can because many times at nowadays prices not even with both salaries can they pay the mortgage, not to speak of putting money aside previously for the first payment (about 10% at least up to 30%), not to speak of those who have children. These poor people have to live eternally in high prices rent because they have no other chance, unless they can slowly save and finally buy something old, cold and rusty 40 miles apart, which makes them spend 3 hours (1h30m twice) each day in traffic jams.
Survivance. No hope. Not only waiters, many workers. The wait staff is in essence an independent contractor offering his/her services to a particular restaurant.
That's what surprised me a lot in the USA. I think it shouldn't be this way. In fact, it's the only work I know that works this way except for sellers. I had never ever seen any business where workers were "allowed" to work there almost free (free of salary), supported only by people's kind of charity. Although that charity has became nowadays an obligation, since that's what they get for most of their wages. Ignacio, do Spanish wait and chamber staff earn a living wage? That is enought to feed, clothe, and house a family
NO, but most people don't. So, if you wanted to be charitative, you should have to tip the newspaper agent worker, the one that sells you the tickets in the travel agency, any clerck you see, the national policemen, the dustmen, and so on.
And it's the compulse of a custom that becomes a rule what's bad. In the old times, people kind of "had" to tip the guy that served the petrol. Then Franco forbade, and everybody felt a great reliefto have an excuse not to do it; people was resented to have to tip somebody for doing such easy task, that they could do perfectly well themselves, and many times, somebody who earned as much as they themselves (with tips a lot more).
What owners have to do is give decent salaries and that's all, we don't need to supply owners greed.
MONGO: the server be paid the minimum wage IN ADDITION to their tips
Shouldn't it be the other way round? which means that a server is earning at least 12% commission on their sales in addition to the wage.
So, they don't EVEN get their FULL tips?
Because it used to be 15% and lately I am seeing 20%. We don't have anybody making less than $15/hour
Err... Where do I have to send my application? If somebody works, let's say 200 hours a month that would mean 3000$ a month for a "lower" qualification job... Better than some engeneers I know ... in the very USA. To say that Spanish waiters are not tipped is a bit of a misnomer. I have many friends that work in the hospitality business in Madrid and they are all at least partly dependent on the service charge that is included in all restaurant prices. They divide it up at the end of the night/week. The more they sell, the more they make just like in the US. The difference in Europe is, the tip is included.
Nobody said waiters were not tipped, what I said is that they are tipped very few, when they are and that you perfectly well can avoid tipping without nobody considers you are not paying him/her his/her wages and when we do, we tip many times 10-25 cents when you have a drink or also a sandwhich or "pincho" or maybe 50 cents to 1 euro if there is 8 people having so.
There is NOT AT ALL "service charged" in 99,99% of the spanish restaurants. You can considered that the bill includes "service" within, but you could as well believe it includes "electricity service", "cleaning service" or "you-name-the-service" within. It's just your way to see it.
What you said about dividing money is the usual thing about the tips. As for room cleaners, I tip them because I appreciate what they do, microeconomics be damned!
Great! When you use your phone within Spain, don't forget to send me my tip because I am partially responsible of the service you receive. Do that to every service you get...
No, seriously. I do my work well because that's what I am paid for, and because I have a pride for a work well done, and that's what chambermaids should do and, in Spain, do.
Question for debate: What would happen if there was a Global law/rule proclaiming that tips were illegal and from this point forward no more tips would/could ever be given.
Simply, cafés and restaurant owners would have to pay higher salaries, and earn, for instance, only
22.500 euros a month instead of 24.000(24.000 - 10 waiters * 150 euros). That wouldn't ruin them, but would dignify the job.
I am just expressing a deep feeling. However, where there is a group of three spanish people there is four different opinions!
:p Probably although many would feel like me (say it or not, not to be called mean), some will agree with tips.
But the problem I have with tipping in Europe is that I feel it is an anachronism, based on a time when the very wealthy threw coins at the poor lower classes
That's very true.
I only tip when I feel somebody has done something that has helped me a lot that he doesn't need to do because of his duty, and I feel he helped me substantially
, like giving me insider counsel of where to eat well and cheap or where is safe and most fun to hang out, or telling me what time does that pretty girl use to go to the beach and what beach,
. In these cases, I reward him even pretty generously depending of the usefulness of the info. I almost never give a tip for something a person should do in his duty, that is, attending me with the maximum quality within his working duties
, just like I do at work. I do my best and expect no aditional reward for doing it the best I can.