It’s not Obama’s fault you’re a jerk.

Bitter, party of one?

Hallelujah, amen, and praise Jesus.  Give it to your church and feel fucking smug.

It seems almost as absurd as believing in Jesus to think that this will convince someone that Obama is a bad president instead of convincing them that the person who left this is an asshole and that Christianity doesn’t do much for making people better; but it can sure lend legitimacy when they want to be dicks.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • bee

    Let’s hope next time he visits the restaurant that Crystal feels free to redistribute his food as she feels fit over his half-witted skull………

  • JohnH

    Crystal may feel free to redistribute some of her spit into his soup.

  • Elisha

    I am a waitress, and this just made me so, so incredibly mad.
    Do people like this realize that many restaurant employees are paid less than minimum wage? It’s legal to pay servers less in many states specifically because we earn tips. My paycheck is $3/hour, and I still have to claim tips to be taxed. Thanks to tips (even though where I work they aren’t very high generally) I can afford to pay my bills and buy groceries. That said, waiting tables is a very physically demanding and often high-stress job that gets no respect from most people who haven’t done it. Believe me, the work I do is worth much more than the $3 I get hourly.
    Yeah, I get stiffed on tips all the time. It happens, whether because a customer isn’t happy or because they’re just thoughtless jerks. But to leave a note blaming the president and saying that you’re going to “redistribute” your tip to your church is just insulting. To say that tipping someone who depends on those tips as part of her pay is like giving to charity just proves that this person is completely clueless in regards to normal human interaction and the lives of anyone who doesn’t work on salary.

    • Jeremy Shaffer

      To say that tipping someone who depends on those tips as part of her pay is like giving to charity just proves that this person is completely clueless in regards to normal human interaction and the lives of anyone who doesn’t work on salary.

      Especially if the place you work at decides that a portion of your tip belongs to them and base how much belongs to them on how much tip you should get. The restaurant I worked at as a waiter many years ago was like that. They got theirs even if the customer didn’t tip enough or at all, even if it meant dipping into my regular pay.

      • RuQu

        Darden, the owner of Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and others does this. They take a mandatory percentage of sales from the servers and use it to pay some of the other staff after they cut their wages.

        They see your tips as their money.

        • Loqi

          What a surprise. Two of the shitty companies from earlier this week.

    • John Horstman

      If you have not made minimum wage for a given pay period once tips are added, your employer is legally obligated to make up the difference. If they don’t, sue ‘em; you can probably get pro bono representation and win damages to cover you as you search for another job. I have encountered many people working in the service industry who don’t know that they must ultimately be paid at least minimum wage even though their direct hourly wage can be lower, and too many are exploited as a result.
      Here’s the page from the Department of Labor explaining it: http://www.dol.gov/elaws/faq/esa/flsa/002.htm
      Here’s the much more convoluted actual law (Sec. 203(m) is where the law about wage/tip differentials is spelled out): http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/statutes/FairLaborStandAct.pdf

  • baal

    Wow! That guy is seriously taking his issue out on the wrong person. Tips are a large part of the wait -staffs income and tips are used as a justification for not paying minimum wage to them. So this letter is “Because Obama, you don’t get paid. GL with rent and stuff.” That’s really shitty. Does this guy also not pay at the gas station? Isn’t it redistributionist to have the station owner get paid for providing a place to buy gas too?

    • iknklast

      He probably assumes she’s one of the 47% – you know, the ones that are shiftless and lazy (in spite of the fact that he just saw her working a job on her feet while he sat in comfort and ate). And since that 47% was assumed never to vote for Romney, it’s her fault Obama was elected, so she should suffer.

      It actually irks me that my tip to the waiter is part of their salary. I want the employer to pay their salary, and the tip that I leave can be a nice little bonus for a job well done, to show my appreciation. That’s what they were meant to be, but then the wealthy owners of restaurants that charge too much for the food decided they could simply not bother to pay the employees, and leave that to the customer who was already paying for their overpriced food. Now it’s not as much of a pleasure to tip, because I know it’s more like I need to so the poor waitress can pay her rent, not like I am leaving her a special thank you.

  • Art Vandelay

    I’m sure he’s making all the decisions as to how his church is redistributing his money. 20% into the kiddie-rape defense fund? Or is it up to 25% now?

    Douche.

  • http://twitter.com/johnradke jtradke

    Kinda reminds me of that knob who’s boycotting all Democrats he comes across: http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/11/eric-dondero-boycott-democrat-libertarian.html

  • RuQu

    The minimum wage for servers is $2.13 per hour, with the expectation that your tips will make it match $7.25 per hour. In practice, large employers assume you made a fixed percent of sales as tips and won’t take your word for it if you were stiffed and came up short of your $7.25 even if you ask for it.

    And that is before the companies, like Darden the owner of Olive Garden and Red Lobster, take a fixed percentage of sales out of the server’s tips to pay other employees because they consider that tip income to be part of their company revenue stream.

    And don’t bother suing, the courts have declared that they are right.

    As far as the courts are concerned, your tips ARE the corporation’s money. Yay Freedom!

    • Niemand

      Thanks for this comment. I am now boycotting Darden restaurants. It’s not going to make a huge difference, since I’m usually a local restaurant sort of person, but FWIW…

      • RuQu

        The restaurants Darden owns:

        Seasons 52
        Red Lobster
        Olive Garden
        Bahama Breeze
        The Old Grist Mill Tavern
        LongHorn Steakhouse
        The Capital Grille
        Eddie V’s Prime Seafood
        Yard House

        They aren’t the only company in the industry that does this, just the big name I’m familiar with since my wife waited tables at Olive Garden for a while. We eventually had her quit since the take-home pay wasn’t worth the time, effort, opportunity cost, stress, and lack of respect from the management and customers.

        As a general rule, I try and take as much of my business to local establishments anyway. They tend to treat their people better (and you can always stop if you find out they don’t), and even when the owner pockets all of the profits, its compensation for the ridiculous hours and work most independent restaurant owners put in. Most of the ones I’ve met work at their own place every day they are open, for 10+ hours a day.

        • Rowan

          And they’re also one of the ones complaining that big bad Obama is making them cut workers hours so they don’t have to give them health care, right? In case someone needed more reasons to avoid them.

          • RuQu

            Since she stopped working there we don’t have much interaction with any of the Darden chains, but yes, I believe I’ve seen some mention of Olive Garden and Red Lobster in the anti-healthcare coverage.

        • Niemand

          Thanks. The only one I’ve even been in as an adult is Olive Garden, so my boycott isn’t exactly going to send them into bankruptcy, but one does what one can. I’ll keep with local restaurants and a 20% standard tip, none of which will be going to Darden.

        • iknklast

          I guess I can’t actually boycott any of these, since there aren’t any in my town. And when I travel, I usually look for local restaurants as much as possible. Why go to a place with its own unique character to eat at a national chain?

    • Kodie

      I have not been lucky enough to wait tables and have a terrible career history in food service in general, but it was my understanding that most restaurants pay their other staff out of tips accumulated by the waitstaff. At least in one restaurant I worked at in high school, amazingly my wage was the same, but it was only a dollar less than minimum wage at the time.

      I’m going to say something unpopular, and I have all respect for waiters, but if people’s tips are based on what they order, servers do the same amount of work bringing an expensive meal as a cheap one. It may be their work involved making the expensive food more appealing, calling it a special or upselling because that would affect the bottom line anyway, but the percent paid in tips is toward the product owned and sold by the company so I don’t really understand how a server would argue that they own $10 from one customer and $3.50 from another customer when the work was the same amount of work. Generating higher tips from higher cost food is one way to “make money for the company” which is what salespersons do. Being really friendly, patient, helpful, and attentive is another way to make the customer feel pampered and likely to pay higher, compared to an unfriendly, incompetent, or inconveniently absent server, whom people I tend to associate with tip just as well as the competent one. It’s a hard job, everyone has a hard day once in a while, but mostly not to leave a restaurant you like on bad terms, lest you get the same server when you go back (if it wasn’t ruined altogether). We realize this is how they earn a living, but if someone isn’t good at it, they might be economically pressured to step it up or find some other line of work.

      Anyway, I don’t understand the tip system. When I was in commission sales, I got what’s called a “take” and it was more than minimum wage, but I had to cover that with a percentage of my sales, so $250 a week meant I had to sell a retail amount significantly higher than that to avoid owing the company money (or as it turns out, just getting fired before I cost them any more money). I was there doing work – I wasn’t home watching TV and I did a lot of paperwork and cleaning others didn’t want to do, so being young figured I was paid adequately for my attendance and work the same way as any other job, but it doesn’t work that way. If a customer in a restaurant is having dinner for 4, buying drinks and staying for dessert, that’s more work than someone who just gets a sandwich, but the company puts a lot toward making the food good and the atmosphere welcoming, and that sandwich customer may come back another time for a different occasion, so his experience is valuable in the interest of repeat business. Customers are conditioned to pay a percentage in excess of the price tag, while it may be something where the company collects those tips and pays its staff directly so they are “at work” and “making money for the company” but instead of relying on tips, they just get a normal paycheck for showing up to work like anyone else would. Maybe the servers make out better that way in some cases, but maybe decreasing everyone’s personal incentive to upsell customers and lay on the charms to increase tips makes the experience less satisfying for the customer and less likely to return as often, so sales go down, opportunities for tips go down, and corporations are losing money paying their waitstaff to be there (also just like normal hourly wage jobs).

      As for the OP, it’s possible someone doesn’t realize restaurants rely on tips to pay their servers so they can underpay them and thinks the amount that it says on the menu is the amount food costs, which he paid. I’ve gotten into enough bad discussions on tips on the internet to know some people don’t actually realize the “more” they’re paying the server over the meal is not just a customary present. It would be weird to walk in Barnes & Noble or IKEA or Stop ‘n’ Shop and give the cashier a present. Even in commission sales, we weren’t allowed to take “tips” and few customers felt obligated anyway, although tipping the delivery persons over the delivery charge was still customary. I think some people don’t understand how tips work and why we treat waiters different than cashiers. You get someone to, between you and about 4-8-ish other tables, bring you things to eat that they didn’t make, and so why is that work rated on a completely different scale and why is it the customer’s job to pay them when they already bought food that’s marked up to account for all the special amenities of having it served to you in a place that’s not your house and cooked by people who aren’t you. I am a pretty good tipper when I eat out, so please don’t get on my shit. I understand that’s just how it is, and I appreciate the service. Writing this note in lieu of a tip was definitely shitty, but I think it was out of ignorance.

      • Jeremy Shaffer

        It may be their work involved making the expensive food more appealing, calling it a special or upselling because that would affect the bottom line anyway, but the percent paid in tips is toward the product owned and sold by the company so I don’t really understand how a server would argue that they own $10 from one customer and $3.50 from another customer when the work was the same amount of work.

        The problem is when the company or owner assumes a tip was given without any regard if one was or not. For a lot of wait staff a single bad night for tips can easily make it so that they are ultimately paying the company/ owner for the “privilege” of working at the place of business for that week. As for the company/ owner; they made their money when the customer paid their bill, with or without tip.

        • Kodie

          And the customer may (falsely) presume that the cost of the food includes a mark-up by which the employer would pay their workers like most of the other places where they buy things. When a salesperson makes a sale, they generally get a commission paid back to them from the company for making them more money. The problem is we have this odd custom of treating the waiter like our personal servant and are expected to pay them directly for their service instead of their boss paying them, which is weird.

          When people come into a restaurant, I don’t know how it works, I think it’s really difficult for a server to make “sales”. There’s only so much on the menu to recommend, a short window of time before people become sensitive to the fact they’re being pressured to change their mind and get something more extravagant than they had planned, and the strange trance one goes into when failing to realize something that costs $19 on the menu actually costs $23, multiplied by 4 or 5 or 6, with appetizers, drinks, and possibly desserts and coffee. I also come from a tradition of tipping generously/adequately no matter what happens. It doesn’t matter if a server is good or not, but they are working the same amount for a $22 tip as a $6 tip on a different table with different plans for the evening. That makes no sense to rely on being paid this way. Gratuities may be automatically added to ensure the server reports their tips, but customers hate that they don’t get to decide, they hate to be presumed. Just charge more for the food and pay your servers and stop being such sneaky assholes, that’s what I’d say. We’re so culturally used to the idea of tipping, and I think I’ve gotten in more arguments about it than I care to, because bad tippers love to argue that they’re right. I don’t know why we would have a problem paying the restaurant a slightly higher amount if that means we can’t punish our server if we want to (even if we don’t actually but feel mighty about it being within our power to ruin someone else’s day to the scale that they ruined ours).

          Of all the restaurants I’ve ever eaten at, only one server has been extremely sub-par that I considered not tipping, and random other bad experiences that weren’t the fault of the server, so why take it out on them (which people often justify somehow)? On the contrary, most of the servers in just about any restaurant I’ve eaten at have done their jobs better than other people in service do theirs – is that because tipping actually affects their performance compared to other jobs that aren’t tipped?

    • John Horstman

      If the employer takes any portion of tips, the exemption from standard minimum wage no longer applies – this is explicit in the FLSA (I linked it above). That’s a bad, bad court ruling if they were paying less than minimum wage.

  • Niemand

    Two thoughts:

    1. I’m reminded of Barbara Ehrenreich’s book “Nickel and Dimed” in which she comments that “conspicuous Christians” are lousy tippers. Any excuse to stiff someone they’ll take, apparently.

    2. What was this supposed to accomplish? Is Crystal supposed to say, “Darn. If only Romney had gotten elected I’d have gotten a tip?” and immediately change her voter registration to Republican? I find the unidentified bodily substance in his/her food theory a lot more plausible as an outcome. I hope she let’s all her other friends in the food service industry know about this guy or gal so they can react…appropriately…when s/he enters their restaurants as well.

  • RuQu

    And let’s not forget, it isn’t redistribution when the money you pay for the products and services made by the workers go to shareholders, people who own some fraction of the company but have no involvement in anything it produces, who contribute nothing to that process. If a worker works twice as hard and produces double the revenue to the company for a pay period, they get paid the same but the shareholders get all of that extra.

    That’s not redistribution, right? Got it.

    • DSimon

      Well, to be fair, the shareholders contributed more than nothing: they paid the company for the shares, and the company then used that money to do some of its business.

      • RuQu

        True, but they did nothing to increase the productivity of the laborer. At best they deserve a return on their investment as if it was a loan or bond, or for the value to increase as the real, non-cash, holdings of the company increase. Their compensation should come after the workers who produced the product are compensated.

      • John Horstman

        Money is not labor – they still DID nothing. A dollar bill sitting on my desk is useless, and my name on an auto title accomplishes exactly nothing. It’s the use of something that imparts value – all value, with the exception of a very few natural resources like air and water, which really ought to remain free for all, comes from labor.

        In the case of the company, it’s the person doing the work to spend the money on goods, facilities, services, tools that’s providing that value – the money is still simply an exchange medium. Capitalism (the practice of making money directly from capital, usually money, not to be confused with a market economy) makes exactly zero sense; it’s simply a method of exploiting a system of stored value (money/capital) and differentials in access to that capital. It provides no value whatsoever, and it creates perverse incentives, like ‘investment’ (I think “speculation” is a better term) for the sake of reaping a profit, rather than investment for the sake of providing a needed, valuable good or service (which a lack of an ability to make profit from capital would passively encourage – no reason to hoard cash if it’s only value to you is actually in its spending).

        • smrnda

          John, I love your posts. Capitalism basically seems to mean “the profits go to me, since my name is on the title.” Passive ownership should never earn a person anything.

  • Rikitiki

    Oh, how clueless! According to a Stanford study (back in, I think, 2008? – you can Google it) “faith-based” charities (which would include churches) average maybe 9% of your donations ACTUALLY getting to the needy, whereas secular charities average 80 -to- 90%.
    So, if you really want to make a difference, donate to secular charities and avoid churches like the plague!

  • smrnda

    Apparently paying a worker (the server) for work she has actually done (waited the guy’s table) is ‘redistribution of wealth.’ So what, should servers just be content to work for free until a Republican lands in office?

    Ever hear of those incredibly realistic looking 50 dollar bills that were Christian tracts? That’s the only thing I can think would be any more tasteless than this.

  • smrnda

    Perhaps this guy’s defense is that he believes Obama is actually doing the same thing as him – taking away money from people who work and doing ‘what he sees fit’, whereas in reality Obama’s only ending a tax break people who earn money though other people’s work put in place by his predecessor.

  • http://ripeningreason.com/ Bix

    So I guess redistributing your own money as you see fit means neglecting to pay people for the service they’ve provided to you. No, I don’t understand, and I bet Crystal isn’t very understanding either. What pomposity and utter disregard for everything, particularly the fact that waitstaff depend on tips to make a living.

  • http://. Mark DeMonbreun

    Find a good labor and employment attorney or file a claim with the department of labor if your wages plus tips don’t work out to $7.25 per hour, or more if your state minimum wage is higher. I work in payroll and don’t pay tipped employees at my company, but the American Payroll Association publishes reviews of court cases all the time where companies are fined and made to pay back wages where they weren’t meeting their minimum wage requirements.

    • RuQu

      It would be better to eliminate the tipping exception entirely. It entirely favors the employer who has no incentive to not over-staff a shift since the economic cost is minor for too many people standing around, which means lower over-all tips per server from the customers who do come in.

      It’s also a cultural oddity. Other nations do not do this. For most places I’ve been in Europe, tips are only left if service is exceptional and then the customary tip varies a bit from one country to the next but guide books say 5-10%. In Japan, it is considered very, very rude to tip, which I learned the hard way.

      • John Horstman

        I agree, there really is no justification for an alternate minimum wage. Places like restaurants would likely need to raise prices some to cover the difference, but then total cost would be about the same since one would no longer need to tip (my guess is that it would go up a bit – I know a lot of servers, many of whom simply have been exploited by their employers who failed to make up differences when tips weren’t enough to off-set the lower pay).

    • Amaryllis

      And what are you doing for money while the lawsuit gets held up in court for 3 years and your lawyer expects $200 an hour for his services?

      • Azkyroth

        Well, if the knowledge that you’re right keeps dementers at bay, why not starvation?

  • Randomfactor

    Reportedly lots of waitstaff dread working the Sunday after-church crowd. Lots of demands, incredibly low tips if any, and occasionally a religious tract printed so as to look like a folded $20 bill.

    • BruceMcGlory

      ex-waiter here and, even before I became an atheist, I hated working sundays. The biggest assholes in the world are fresh from church, having just been ‘saved’, so now they’ve got a whole week to act like assholes again before being conveniently forgiven again.

  • UsingReason

    This guy probably went out of his way to kick a homeless person on the way to their car after leaving this gem.

  • DaveL

    Remember this the next time a conservative tells you he’s all about rewarding hard work.

    • RuQu

      Conservatives suffer from a subjectivity bias.

      This is how people here in Louisiana and Mississippi, very red states, can be on welfare themselves while complaining about lazy people on welfare. They know they work hard, which makes them “one of the good ones,” but they know nothing about anyone else, so they assume they are freeloaders.

      In contrast, the liberal knows that it is entirely possible to work hard and still not see rewards. I would venture that since the more education a person has the more liberal they tend to be that many liberals see the compensation they get and compare the desirability of their jobs to those of lower paid workers and internalize the injustice of that imbalance. When the system does not resolve these imbalances naturally, it is the role of government to regulate and impose corrections from the outside.

      • smrnda

        Great point. I’m getting more and more on the left the more successful I become, realizing that I get lots of benefits aside from just decent money, I get a quality of life that a person doing an equally necessary but more proletarian job can’t enjoy, and I’m not even sure if I’m more necessary from a social utility standpoint.

  • TheMiller

    Assholery seems to be going around a lot these days.
    This one targeted a food drive of all things.
    http://www.passiveaggressivenotes.com/2012/11/13/sore-loser/

    Many years ago when I was working in Vermont I found many of the inns charged an automatic gratuity to their guests yet those gratuities never made it to the employees’ paycheck. Extra income for the employer, guests with the expectation that they’d given the staff all they needed for their service so leave nothing more, and hardworking employees getting the shaft. Ever since then I’ve encouraged anyone visiting an inn in Vermont to challenge the automatic gratuity, opting to tip the staff directly instead.

    • RuQu

      To be fair, we would be better off without the need for charities. If we identify a need that society thinks needs covering, tax and cover it.

      Studies have shown that people are less generous than they think they are. If a person says “I think I’d donate $100 to that,” they are likely to actually give $20-$50. Let’s generalize and say that they will provide $X for a particular cause.

      There are also plenty of people who will opt to not donate. These people get the societal benefit of the service (ie fewer hungry people) but without the cost (ie donating food). Let’s assume Y% of the population (P) donate.

      If a service requires $C to pay for, the cost per donor is $C/(P*Y). This will always be larger than $C/P. If $C/(P*Y) is greater than $X, what they would willingly give, then the cost is not met and the need is not satisfied. If we instead fund the service through mandatory taxation, we can assess the cost $C/P and then assess each citizen a tax of that amount, or a progressive tax that sums to $C. The need is met, and at the lowest per person cost with the option of progressive scaling.

      The problem is that these same people who refuse to donate and call it “Obama’s fault” are also the people who oppose actually letting Congress pass tax increases to fund the social services they are now denying funds to.


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