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#52 Nov 28 2012 at 7:43 AM Rating: Excellent
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#53 Nov 28 2012 at 7:52 AM Rating: Good
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Nilatai wrote:
Is there some kind of loophole in the law which allows people to pay waiting staff less than minimum wage? I figured it was pretty self explanatory what "minimum" means.

Yes, there is an allowance for a lowered minimum wage for tipped employees. I've never really researched it, but believe it's a state by state thing. In MN as a server I made regular minimum wage - at the time it was about six bucks an hour. I moved to Maine and was only paid $2.95/hr. The state has to insure that wage + tip is at least minimum wage. Both places I had to claim 10% of my sales as earned income (tips). Though we were,of course, supposed to claim what we actually made in tips.

Here's a chart.
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#54 Nov 28 2012 at 7:57 AM Rating: Good
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Elinda wrote:
Nilatai wrote:
Is there some kind of loophole in the law which allows people to pay waiting staff less than minimum wage? I figured it was pretty self explanatory what "minimum" means.

Yes, there is an allowance for a lowered minimum wage for tipped employees. I've never really researched it, but believe it's a state by state thing. In MN as a server I made regular minimum wage - at the time it was about six bucks an hour. I moved to Maine and was only paid $2.95/hr. The state has to insure that wage + tip is at least minimum wage. Both places I had to claim 10% of my sales as earned income (tips). Though we were,of course, supposed to claim what we actually made in tips.

Here's a chart.

That's the most fucking retarded thing I've ever heard. Isn't the idea of a tip supposed to be to bolster your earnings, not to make them up to standard?
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#55 Nov 28 2012 at 9:42 AM Rating: Excellent
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Nilatai wrote:
Elinda wrote:

Here's a chart.

That's the most fucking retarded thing I've ever heard. Isn't the idea of a tip supposed to be to bolster your earnings, not to make them up to standard?


Well we've figured that out here on the west coast; Lord knows when the rest of the country will catch up. Smiley: oyvey

Also pegged minimum wage to inflation, and now we avoid all the political drama around voting to raise it every 5 years. Smiley: cool


Edited, Nov 28th 2012 7:42am by someproteinguy
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#56 Nov 28 2012 at 10:14 AM Rating: Good
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The loophole is the fact that they can accept tips.

Fast food places are required to pay full minimum wage and as such as not permitted to accept tips, nor are they ever expected. Any restaurant where you are served directly, however, can get away with paying $2.13 an hour to wait staff on the assumption that tips will bump them well over minimum wage. Some states also have a law that if tips turned in average to below the minimum wage amount for the hours when averaged, the employer is obligated to make up the difference. Busboys and dishwashers may or may not be considered part of the wait staff, and as such may or may not get tips.

Depending on the restaurant, the cooks can opt in on the tops and accept the lower wage, and then get part of the tips. A cook at Waffle House is unlikely to do that because people who eat there are cheap, and a cook at a high end restaurant is probably getting paid well over minimum wage anyway.

TL;DR: The amount you tip is sometimes split between the whole team that cooked your food, not just that particular waitress.
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#57 Nov 28 2012 at 10:23 AM Rating: Decent
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Nilatai wrote:
That's the most fucking retarded thing I've ever heard. Isn't the idea of a tip supposed to be to bolster your earnings, not to make them up to standard?

No, the idea of a tip is to incentivize employees to provide good service; if they got paid a flat rate, they'd slack off. Just like a lot of salesmen make a very low base rate, and most of their income comes from commission. Otherwise why bother making cold calls and driving around visiting potential customers?

The bolstering is supposed to come from providing great service (i.e. a 20% tip rather than standard 15%).

I'm not saying it's the best way - you could just as easily pay a normal wage, and simply fire the employee if their service was poor. But this system also seems to work fine.
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#58 Nov 28 2012 at 10:29 AM Rating: Excellent
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trickybeck wrote:
No, the idea of a tip is to incentivize employees to provide good service; if they got paid a flat rate, they'd slack off. Just like a lot of salesmen make a very low base rate, and most of their income comes from commission. Otherwise why bother making cold calls and driving around visiting potential customers?


Sorry but cold calls and random sales visits are far removed from anything I'd consider good service.
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#59 Nov 28 2012 at 12:19 PM Rating: Excellent
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someproteinguy wrote:
trickybeck wrote:
No, the idea of a tip is to incentivize employees to provide good service; if they got paid a flat rate, they'd slack off. Just like a lot of salesmen make a very low base rate, and most of their income comes from commission. Otherwise why bother making cold calls and driving around visiting potential customers?


Sorry but cold calls and random sales visits are far removed from anything I'd consider good service.
Visiting potential customers and random sales visits are completely different things.

And agreed, cold calls aren't about service, they're about production. For a sales person, the incentive to provide good service is about repeat customers.
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#60 Nov 28 2012 at 12:40 PM Rating: Excellent
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Uglysasquatch wrote:
Visiting potential customers and random sales visits are completely different things.


Well it certainly makes sense from a business point of view. If I had sales people I'd want the perusing potential customers as well. As a customer though, if I didn't invite you, I don't want to hear from you. I'll visit your website, and your booth at a conference or whatever if I want information.

Though I should probably add the sales people I see tend to know squat about the products they're selling (which I imagine is a problem and hindrance in any technical field). I'll get far more useful information reading a couple of papers that use their product, or talking to a technician that uses their piece of equipment then I ever will from a sales rep who's never worked in a lab.
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#61 Nov 28 2012 at 12:44 PM Rating: Excellent
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I set up a tip jar on my desk. It's always amusing to see people look at it for a moment before approaching.
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#62 Nov 28 2012 at 2:25 PM Rating: Good
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Uglysasquatch wrote:
And agreed, cold calls aren't about service, they're about production. For a sales person, the incentive to provide good service is about repeat customers.

I didn't mean to equate sales with service. Just used it as another example of field with incentivized performance. In both waiting and sales, employers obviously feel their employees wouldn't try hard enough without tips/commission. Whether it's true or not, that's how those industries work.

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#63 Nov 28 2012 at 3:56 PM Rating: Default
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trickybeck wrote:
Nilatai wrote:
That's the most fucking retarded thing I've ever heard. Isn't the idea of a tip supposed to be to bolster your earnings, not to make them up to standard?

No, the idea of a tip is to incentivize employees to provide good service; if they got paid a flat rate, they'd slack off. Just like a lot of salesmen make a very low base rate, and most of their income comes from commission. Otherwise why bother making cold calls and driving around visiting potential customers?

The bolstering is supposed to come from providing great service (i.e. a 20% tip rather than standard 15%).

I'm not saying it's the best way - you could just as easily pay a normal wage, and simply fire the employee if their service was poor. But this system also seems to work fine.


That's completely false. We are a tipping culture. We don't ask employees how much money they make or have made that day before we tip. We simply tip based off their service. If a person making above minimum wage has the probability of getting tips, they will NOT slack off. Even if they did, they would be treated like in every other job in the world, they would be fired.
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#64 Nov 28 2012 at 4:47 PM Rating: Good
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You have failed to make any semblance of sense. I also don't think you really understood my post, but I can't be certain because your writing is inscrutable.


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#65 Nov 28 2012 at 5:25 PM Rating: Excellent
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I think I'm out of the loop. It seems there are 3 options being discussed:

1) Minimum wage (or flat rate if you will)
2) Minimum wage + tips (a few states)
3) Lower-than-minimum wage + tips (many states)

We keep comparing 2 of them, and I'm not sure any of us are talking about the same two... Smiley: rolleyes

Edited, Nov 28th 2012 3:27pm by someproteinguy
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#66 Nov 28 2012 at 5:54 PM Rating: Default
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trickybeck wrote:

You have failed to make any semblance of sense. I also don't think you really understood my post, but I can't be certain because your writing is inscrutable.




I can't be any more laconic than that, so why don't you specify exactly what confuses you? Assuming that you're not a total idiot, I will go with the assumption that you're just upset that your entire meaning was debunked so easily and quickly. Don't feel bad, it happens to the best of us.... and people like you.
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#67 Nov 28 2012 at 7:58 PM Rating: Decent
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someproteinguy wrote:
I think I'm out of the loop. It seems there are 3 options being discussed:

1) Minimum wage (or flat rate if you will)
2) Minimum wage + tips (a few states)
3) Lower-than-minimum wage + tips (many states)

We keep comparing 2 of them, and I'm not sure any of us are talking about the same two... Smiley: rolleyes


Well, technically, there are just two. The difference is that many (most?) states have a different minimum wage for jobs which receive over a set amount of money in tips. The thinking is pretty logical. The total amount someone is willing to pay for a given service (let's say a meal at a restaurant) is somewhat set and includes the tip. So if you're willing to pay $30 a plate at a given restaurant, if the wait staff didn't take tips, the restaurant owner could charge that much directly on the menu. If he charges that much and the customers have to pay tips, he'll lose business (whole supply/demand curve thing). For many restaurants (mostly lower end ones), paying their employees the full minimum wage *and* expecting tips would push the cost of the meals higher than the quality of the meals (ie: what people are willing to pay for their grand slam breakfast for example).

Obviously, the easiest solution is to just do away with tips. Then you can charge a straight price on the menu, and pay your employees a straight pay scale. But people tend to like the option of tipping. It gives them some ability to provide feedback for the quality of their service. Also, and I know some people disagree with this, but most wait staff tend to make far far more money with a lower minimum wage plus tips than if they were just paid a straight hourly wage. Obviously, this depends on where you work, but even at a mid level restaurant (say $20/plate total cost), a waiter serving say 4 tables an hour, averaging 3 customers per table, over a 3 hour work period, can easily pull in an extra $12/hour in tips alone. The potential for incredibly good pay is available, where it isn't in most jobs in that nominal pay/skill range. Also, pay tends to scale based on how busy things are. So a guy working the grill at a fast food place during a busy rush time doesn't make a cent more than if he's working a slow day but is busting his butt. The same person working at a restaurant where tipping is expected will make significantly more money.


There's good and bad to tip based jobs IMO.
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#68 Nov 28 2012 at 8:32 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
someproteinguy wrote:
I think I'm out of the loop. It seems there are 3 options being discussed:

1) Minimum wage (or flat rate if you will)
2) Minimum wage + tips (a few states)
3) Lower-than-minimum wage + tips (many states)

We keep comparing 2 of them, and I'm not sure any of us are talking about the same two... Smiley: rolleyes


Well, technically, there are just two. The difference is that many (most?) states have a different minimum wage for jobs which receive over a set amount of money in tips. The thinking is pretty logical. The total amount someone is willing to pay for a given service (let's say a meal at a restaurant) is somewhat set and includes the tip. So if you're willing to pay $30 a plate at a given restaurant, if the wait staff didn't take tips, the restaurant owner could charge that much directly on the menu. If he charges that much and the customers have to pay tips, he'll lose business (whole supply/demand curve thing). For many restaurants (mostly lower end ones), paying their employees the full minimum wage *and* expecting tips would push the cost of the meals higher than the quality of the meals (ie: what people are willing to pay for their grand slam breakfast for example).

Obviously, the easiest solution is to just do away with tips. Then you can charge a straight price on the menu, and pay your employees a straight pay scale. But people tend to like the option of tipping. It gives them some ability to provide feedback for the quality of their service. Also, and I know some people disagree with this, but most wait staff tend to make far far more money with a lower minimum wage plus tips than if they were just paid a straight hourly wage. Obviously, this depends on where you work, but even at a mid level restaurant (say $20/plate total cost), a waiter serving say 4 tables an hour, averaging 3 customers per table, over a 3 hour work period, can easily pull in an extra $12/hour in tips alone. The potential for incredibly good pay is available, where it isn't in most jobs in that nominal pay/skill range. Also, pay tends to scale based on how busy things are. So a guy working the grill at a fast food place during a busy rush time doesn't make a cent more than if he's working a slow day but is busting his butt. The same person working at a restaurant where tipping is expected will make significantly more money.


There's good and bad to tip based jobs IMO.


I'm just not buying it. What I see are employers realizing that their employees are making extra money in tips, so they decided to pay them less. World wide, employers are always looking for ways to get more by paying less. Hence the whole shipping jobs overseas, sweatshops and illegal workers.
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#69 Nov 28 2012 at 9:23 PM Rating: Decent
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lolgaxe wrote:
I set up a tip jar on my desk. It's always amusing to see people look at it for a moment before approaching.

Next time I'm in the city, I wanna come by and pitch some pennies. Smiley: laugh
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#70 Nov 29 2012 at 6:57 AM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Also, and I know some people disagree with this, but most wait staff tend to make far far more money with a lower minimum wage plus tips than if they were just paid a straight hourly wage.
And waitstaff in states where they get paid regular minimum wage make even more money. Smiley: schooled



If we removed tips and simply paid wait staff higher wages you* would see service levels decrease, because the simple fact is, serving all of you* is mind numbing and degrading and if there isn't an increased incentive, you're* likely to get told to **** off at dinner. People are retarded with their expectations when it comes to food when compared to how much money they're actually spending and quite frankly, far too many of you* aren't worth the effort to please.


*You is used generically
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#71 Nov 29 2012 at 7:05 AM Rating: Good
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Uglysasquatch wrote:
serving all of you* is mind numbing and degrading and if there isn't an increased incentive, you're* likely to get told to @#%^ off at dinner. People are retarded with their expectations when it comes to food when compared to how much money they're actually spending and quite frankly, far too many of you* aren't worth the effort to please.


Which is precisely why I tend to tip a few more bucks than the next guy. I know it doesn't mean anything the first time you wait on me, since you won't realize the tip til after I'm gone, but it makes repeat dining experiences far more enjoyable.
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#72 Nov 29 2012 at 8:17 AM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
Also, and I know some people disagree with this, but most wait staff tend to make far far more money with a lower minimum wage plus tips than if they were just paid a straight hourly wage.
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#73 Nov 29 2012 at 8:19 AM Rating: Good
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lolgaxe wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Also, and I know some people disagree with this, but most wait staff tend to make far far more money with a lower minimum wage plus tips than if they were just paid a straight hourly wage.
As much as a Brigadier General.

I never tip BG's more than 10%.
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#74 Nov 29 2012 at 8:55 AM Rating: Good
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Uglysasquatch wrote:
If we removed tips and simply paid wait staff higher wages you* would see service levels decrease

I'd be more than happy to see the inefficiencies of the tipping culture disappear.
#75 Nov 29 2012 at 9:13 AM Rating: Good
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Allegory wrote:
Uglysasquatch wrote:
If we removed tips and simply paid wait staff higher wages you* would see service levels decrease

I'd be more than happy to see the inefficiencies of the tipping culture disappear.
It would get rid of inconsistencies and even tax evasion, but I'm not sure about inefficiencies.

I suspect most servers make substantially better than minimum wage. I would also be comfortable hypothesizing that a good portion of tipped income isn't taxed.

If tipping was done away with servers really would become low-wage hourly earners. I think that would become readily apparent in the service we get and the prices we pay restaurants.

We could out-law sit down dining.




Edited, Nov 29th 2012 4:14pm by Elinda
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#76 Nov 29 2012 at 1:05 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
If he charges that much and the customers have to pay tips, he'll lose business (whole supply/demand curve thing). For many restaurants (mostly lower end ones), paying their employees the full minimum wage *and* expecting tips would push the cost of the meals higher than the quality of the meals (ie: what people are willing to pay for their grand slam breakfast for example).


Somehow I'm okay with that.

Really if you can't afford to pay your employees minimum wage you probably have bigger problems than payroll expenses. Certainly hasn't seemed to stunt the number of restaurants around these parts (Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California are all in the top half there). Not that I mind other states doing it their own way of course, but I just don't see it being hugely detrimental to business or anything.

But we pay people to pump our gas for us too, so take it with a grain of salt. Smiley: rolleyes

Elinda wrote:
We could out-law sit down dining.


Usher in the gold age of the golden arches! Smiley: nod
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#77 Nov 29 2012 at 2:51 PM Rating: Good
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trickybeck wrote:
I'd tip extra if the server brought me some Trident gum. Starlight mints are terrible.

The universe must be taunting me, because when I got Taco Bell for lunch today, there was a starlight mint inside the bag. Have never had that happen, at any fast food place.
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trickybeck wrote:
trickybeck wrote:
I'd tip extra if the server brought me some Trident gum. Starlight mints are terrible.

The universe must be taunting me, because when I got Taco Bell for lunch today, there was a starlight mint inside the bag. Have never had that happen, at any fast food place.


Sonic does that.
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#79 Nov 29 2012 at 3:21 PM Rating: Decent
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Almalieque wrote:
I'm just not buying it. What I see are employers realizing that their employees are making extra money in tips, so they decided to pay them less. World wide, employers are always looking for ways to get more by paying less. Hence the whole shipping jobs overseas, sweatshops and illegal workers.


True, but you're implying that this is some sort of exception, when it's not. The customers are always looking for ways to get more by paying less. The employees are always looking for ways to get more by working less (or less hard). That's the nature of a free market. All the forces are working for their own best interests. It's more than unfair to condemn just one part for this while ignoring the rest.

And at least in this context (service industry), the main competition for business is the guy running a similar restaurant just down the street, so can we lay off the whole "shipping jobs overseas" rhetoric?

Uglysasquatch wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Also, and I know some people disagree with this, but most wait staff tend to make far far more money with a lower minimum wage plus tips than if they were just paid a straight hourly wage.
And waitstaff in states where they get paid regular minimum wage make even more money. Smiley: schooled


Yes. But overall costs for those services are higher as a result. Now if it's statewide, that may not affect direct competition (it's a level playing field between you and the guy down the street either way), but it could affect choices in terms of cross state business. I know for a fact that a lot of tourists experience a bit of sticker shock when they see how much more it costs for basic stuff (like a cheap breakfast at a diner for example) compared to back home.

And ultimately it's questionable how much that really helps those employees. There's a whole range of factors that come into play here, and I don't feel like going through them all, but when it comes to minimum wage type discussions, I tend to take the "no free lunch" position. Either this one industry is the exception, so they're making more than other industry workers with similar skill requirements, in which case the cost of that industry to consumers is higher relative to other equivalent consumer choices and the industry will be less robust (ie: fewer of those sweet sweet waitstaff jobs, more failing restaurants, etc) *or* other industries receive increased wages in some way as well, in which case costs across the board increase, cost of living increases, and the increased pay ends out being nullified. Obviously, it's not quite that simple and direct, but it's important to realize that simply paying wait staff more by expecting tips and regular wages isn't "free". There's always a cost for doing that.


Elinda wrote:
I suspect most servers make substantially better than minimum wage. I would also be comfortable hypothesizing that a good portion of tipped income isn't taxed.

If tipping was done away with servers really would become low-wage hourly earners. I think that would become readily apparent in the service we get and the prices we pay restaurants.


Basically, this. Remember that in order for employers to pay less than the normal minimum wage, they have to prove that the increased wages via tips provides those employees with at least a minimum wage on average. So wait staff don't actually lose anything by having a lower minimum wage compared to just being paid a normal wage with no tips. What they gain is the potential to make a whole **** of a lot more though. And as you state, they only really *have* to report enough tips to bring their salary up to minimum wage to continue in that wage scale. Under reporting of tips is pretty standard and likely very very significant. On total, it's a pretty good deal. Sure, folks in those jobs have to deal with obnoxious customers, but so does everyone who works retail and fast food. And they don't get tips. Given that the tip pay rate *must* pay a minimum of what you'd make if you were being paid a direct salary, it's basically a win or break even deal for the wait staff.

Which is why I've never understood folks who complain about being paid in that way. It's a sweet deal relative to other similarly skilled jobs.
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#81 Nov 29 2012 at 3:44 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Uglysasquatch wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Also, and I know some people disagree with this, but most wait staff tend to make far far more money with a lower minimum wage plus tips than if they were just paid a straight hourly wage.
And waitstaff in states where they get paid regular minimum wage make even more money. Smiley: schooled


Yes. But overall costs for those services are higher as a result. Now if it's statewide, that may not affect direct competition (it's a level playing field between you and the guy down the street either way), but it could affect choices in terms of cross state business. I know for a fact that a lot of tourists experience a bit of sticker shock when they see how much more it costs for basic stuff (like a cheap breakfast at a diner for example) compared to back home.

And ultimately it's questionable how much that really helps those employees. There's a whole range of factors that come into play here, and I don't feel like going through them all, but when it comes to minimum wage type discussions, I tend to take the "no free lunch" position. Either this one industry is the exception, so they're making more than other industry workers with similar skill requirements, in which case the cost of that industry to consumers is higher relative to other equivalent consumer choices and the industry will be less robust (ie: fewer of those sweet sweet waitstaff jobs, more failing restaurants, etc) *or* other industries receive increased wages in some way as well, in which case costs across the board increase, cost of living increases, and the increased pay ends out being nullified. Obviously, it's not quite that simple and direct, but it's important to realize that simply paying wait staff more by expecting tips and regular wages isn't "free". There's always a cost for doing that.
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#82 Nov 29 2012 at 4:00 PM Rating: Default
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Because... what? Was there something in specific in my post you disagreed with?
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#84 Nov 29 2012 at 5:41 PM Rating: Default
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Allegory wrote:
Uglysasquatch wrote:
If we removed tips and simply paid wait staff higher wages you* would see service levels decrease

I'd be more than happy to see the inefficiencies of the tipping culture disappear.

It doesn't have to be one or the other. Even if the workers got paid well, some people would still tip for better service. The only difference is, people wouldn't feel obligated to do so.

gbaji wrote:
Almalieque wrote:
I'm just not buying it. What I see are employers realizing that their employees are making extra money in tips, so they decided to pay them less. World wide, employers are always looking for ways to get more by paying less. Hence the whole shipping jobs overseas, sweatshops and illegal workers.


True, but you're implying that this is some sort of exception, when it's not. The customers are always looking for ways to get more by paying less. The employees are always looking for ways to get more by working less (or less hard). That's the nature of a free market. All the forces are working for their own best interests. It's more than unfair to condemn just one part for this while ignoring the rest.

And at least in this context (service industry), the main competition for business is the guy running a similar restaurant just down the street, so can we lay off the whole "shipping jobs overseas" rhetoric?


It's not a special case. That's why employees and employers make agreements on expectations before working. The employee wants to do less as possible for the most pay and the employer wants the most work for the least amount of pay. The compromise is the organization's rules and guidelines. Once you accept that job, then you agree to work at least to the minimum expectations. If you fail to do that, then the employer has legitimate grounds to fire you.

And no. Shipping jobs overseas was a conceptual metaphor not to be taken literally. I apologize if you were confused.
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#85 Nov 29 2012 at 6:10 PM Rating: Default
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Almalieque wrote:
It's not a special case. That's why employees and employers make agreements on expectations before working. The employee wants to do less as possible for the most pay and the employer wants the most work for the least amount of pay. The compromise is the organization's rules and guidelines. Once you accept that job, then you agree to work at least to the minimum expectations. If you fail to do that, then the employer has legitimate grounds to fire you.


Absolutely. But that means that both sides have power in said negotiations. Your earlier post made it seem like the employer just figured he could get away with paying his wait staff less as though this was some sort of nefarious and unfair thing. He can only "get away with it" to the degree that sufficient staff are willing to accept those terms and pay to fill his business needs. Let's also not forget the third component I mentioned: The customer wants to get the best service/product for the lowest price possible. This, more than any other factor, drives employers to find the most cost effective means to produce the good/service they're selling. If customers were willing to pay any price for a Big Mac, and there would be no decrease in numbers purchased no matter how high the price, McDonalds would happily pay their workers $100k/year because they could increase the cost of the Big Mac to cover those high salaries.

It is precisely because consumers are only willing to pay certain relative amounts of dollars for specific goods and services that the labor value for those goods and services is tied to that valuation. It's not about how hard the job is, but how valuable the result is to others. Ultimately this puts a ceiling on the pay potential for certain fields (like waiting) that has nothing (very very little at least) to do with choices the employer makes and everything to do with choices the customers make. Whether that pay comes in the form of a direct wage or a lower wage plus tips almost doesn't matter from a big picture perspective. Same deal when looking at other forms of compensation (benefits for example). Ultimately, total compensation, regardless of form, is going to be a function of the total amount consumers are willing to spend for a given volume of goods/services being supplied by that labor. You can play tricks with the numbers, but that's a hard fact you kinda can't get around. You can try, but the cost always comes back to get you one way or another.

Edited, Nov 29th 2012 4:54pm by gbaji
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#86 Nov 29 2012 at 6:51 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
Because... what? Was there something in specific in my post you disagreed with?
No, you just went on a tangent on something when I wasn't disagreeing with you in the first place.

And because of this:
I wrote:
And waitstaff in states where they get paid regular minimum wage make even more money


You wrote:
Now if it's statewide, that may not affect direct competition (it's a level playing field between you and the guy down the street either way)

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#87 Nov 29 2012 at 6:52 PM Rating: Default
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Gbaji wrote:
Absolutely. But that means that both sides have power in said negotiations. Your earlier post made it seem like the employer just figured he could get away with paying his wait staff less as though this was some sort of nefarious and unfair thing. He can only "get away with it" to the degree that sufficient staff are willing to accept those terms and pay to fill his business needs.


Welcome to my point. Your post made it seem like that the employer had to pay the employees less to keep prices down for people to buy goods. I countered to say that was malarkey. Employers pay their employees less because they know that they will make extra money with tips.

As I said, 'tis an agreement between the two people involved, but don't fool yourself. The action is still nefarious in the sense that an employer is paying an employee below the minimum wage (in most cases) because customers might like the employee's service good enough to tip him or her well. You are now relying on customers to make ends meet, NOT the work put forth to support the employer. Now, if the employer only wanted $2.50/hr worth of work from the employee, then that would be fair. But, that's not the case, the employer wants $10.00/hr worth of work.

At the end, it's all about money. As long as everyone gets what they want, no one cares about the "fairness" of it all. That's why people still continue to be waiters/waitresses.

Gbaji wrote:
The customer wants to get the best service/product for the lowest price possible. This, more than any other factor, drives employers to find the most cost effective means to produce the good/service they're selling. If customers were willing to pay any price for a Big Mac, and there would be no decrease in numbers purchased no matter how high the price, employers would happily pay their workers $100k/year because they could increase the cost of the Big Mac to cover those high salaries.


False. Having worked at McDonalds with a boss who cared more about money than her employees, you're painting quite a quixotic picture that conservatives tend to believe. The CREAM factor is always in effect and that's why businesses ship jobs overseas and higher illegal immigrants. There is never "too much money" where everyone lavishly gives to everyone. Nor, would there ever be a time where people would change their attitudes to deserve and maintain that money, but I slightly digress.

Gbaji wrote:
It is precisely because consumers are only willing to pay certain relative amounts of dollars for specific goods and services that the labor value for those goods and services is tied to that valuation. It's not about how hard the job is, but how valuable the result is to others. Ultimately this puts a ceiling on the pay potential for certain fields (like waiting) that has nothing (very very little at least) to do with choices the employer makes and everything to do with choices the customers make. Whether that pay comes in the form of a direct wage or a lower wage plus tips almost doesn't matter from a big picture perspective


The link that you are describing is far from accurate. The price of the goods that are being sold has less to do with the employees, but the most beneficial price ratio (highest price for the most number of sales) has everything to do with the customers. I've done some driving to and fro a few states the last two months and I've noticed significant price differences in the same McDonald's meal. Of course you could argue the cost of living factor, but at some point, the manager is surpassing the median and making profit. The more profit the better. At that time, the management has the upper hand because there are no expectations of you receiving reciprocal raises.
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Uglysasquatch wrote:
And because of this:
I wrote:
And waitstaff in states where they get paid regular minimum wage make even more money


You wrote:
Now if it's statewide, that may not affect direct competition (it's a level playing field between you and the guy down the street either way)



And... you cut off the second half of the sentence: ", but it could affect choices in terms of cross state business."

Given that the state makes the decision as to what its statewide wage laws will be (which is what we were talking about, right?), comparisons to other states and the potential impact said differences might make in terms of cross state business are certainly relevant. My point was that "more money for waitstaff" isn't the only thing a state needs to consider when making such a decision. How you failed to get that, I don't know. I spelled out out pretty completely in the following paragraphs.
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#89 Nov 29 2012 at 7:38 PM Rating: Default
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Almalieque wrote:
Welcome to my point. Your post made it seem like that the employer had to pay the employees less to keep prices down for people to buy goods. I countered to say that was malarkey. Employers pay their employees less because they know that they will make extra money with tips.


Which is paid by the customer, who uses that total bill amount to determine if the food/service was worth the price, thus having a very very real effect on the businesses bottom line. If a customer is willing to pay $20 for a given meal and service, whether that is broken up as $16 for the meal and $4 for the tip, or $20 for the meal is irrelevant from the customers perspective. That's how much he's willing to pay. The employer must pay the wait staff less money if they are getting that $4 tip since it comes out of the pool of money he could otherwise charge the customer directly.

I put that in bold because it's a very key point to this whole thing, but you seem to be utterly missing it. Please tell me you understand that if paying the wait staff a full salary (with no tipping involved) would require charging $20 for the meal, then to give them the same salary *and* the tip, would require charging $24 for the same meal. Everything else being the same, fewer people will come into the restaurant if that were the case. I'm not sure how much more clear I can be about this.

Quote:
As I said, 'tis an agreement between the two people involved, but don't fool yourself. The action is still nefarious in the sense that an employer is paying an employee below the minimum wage (in most cases) because customers might like the employee's service good enough to tip him or her well. You are now relying on customers to make ends meet, NOT the work put forth to support the employer.


Which is absolutely no different than relying on the customer to be willing to pay a higher price (with no tip) for the meal and paying the waitstaff a higher wage (but no tip money). The customer decides if the meal was worth the price. If it was, they'll come back. If it wasn't, they wont. It's really that simple. The methodology of tips adds a bit of variation to this in that the customer can choose to pay a bit less for his meal this time if the service or product was sub-par, but in the broad scope of the issue, it doesn't make a whole lot of difference. No one's going to come back to a place that they felt was so bad they weren't willing to pay a tip. So the fact that I could get that meal for $16 plus no tip, instead of paying the full $20 isn't likely to affect my decision to come back one bit.

Quote:
Now, if the employer only wanted $2.50/hr worth of work from the employee, then that would be fair. But, that's not the case, the employer wants $10.00/hr worth of work.


And if the customer decides that the work was worth it, he'll pay that much more. If it wasn't, then it still wouldn't be even if you paid the waitstaff $10 as salary and required no tips from the customers for the service. The tip cost would be included in the meal or whatever up front in that case. Either way, the customer will decide if the total cost was worth what he got.

Quote:
At the end, it's all about money. As long as everyone gets what they want, no one cares about the "fairness" of it all. That's why people still continue to be waiters/waitresses.


Honestly? People continue to be waiters/waitresses because it's arguably the best paying job someone with little to no job skills or experience can get. There's a reason why waitstaff is overwhelmingly made up of college age kids. It's the kind of job you get while looking/waiting for that "real job" to come along. Occasionally, someone makes a career out of it, but for most people it's temporary work on the way to something more permanent. And compared to the set of jobs you can do while in that skill range, it's very very good pay and flexible hours.

Quote:
False. Having worked at McDonalds with a boss who cared more about money than her employees, you're painting quite a quixotic picture that conservatives tend to believe.


Yup. In a McDonalds where there are limited amounts of money customers are willing to pay for a Big Mac. I'm asking you to stretch your mind a bit and imagine if there wasn't any limit. The company could make as much money as they wanted to, while still paying as much as their employees wanted as well. It's not intended to be a real world example, but to illustrate the point that it's cost constraints that affect labor costs. I know it's popular to blame greed for these sorts of things, but here's the secret: Everyone is Greedy. That's what I was trying to get across earlier.

Quote:
The CREAM factor is always in effect and that's why businesses ship jobs overseas and higher illegal immigrants.


They do so because they can make more money by doing that business overseas than domestically. There are a host of factors that might come into that. Simply blaming it on "greed" is silly. Greed is a constant. Businesses were just as greedy in a year when less offshoreing happened than in a year when more did. What changed was the conditions that impacted their business decisions. Sitting around crying about it and decrying "corporate greed" is completely counterproductive. The correct answer is to find ways so that businesses can make more money while hiring folks in the US than otherwise.

Quote:
There is never "too much money" where everyone lavishly gives to everyone. Nor, would there ever be a time where people would change their attitudes to deserve and maintain that money, but I slightly digress.


Sigh. As I said earlier, this applies to everyone in the market though. If you could earn twice your current salary by changing jobs to another employer, with everything else staying the same, would you? Of course you would. Because you are greedy. If you could buy something from store A for half the price as the same thing from store B, would you? Of course you would. Because you are greedy. To insist that employers must make less money than they could while you insist on making as much money for yourself as possible, and buying things for as little as you possibly can, is completely hypocritical. You're blaming them for doing the same things you do yourself.

And it's doubly silly because all of these things interact in the market. As long as you want to buy things for as little as possible, you help drive the need for producers of those goods to find the cheapest way to do so possible. As I said earlier, the correct answer isn't to "blame greed", but to find ways to make greed work. Make it attractive to businesses to do business in the US, and they will. And btw, this is a bit off topic because I can tell you that the idea that businesses do this for labor reasons alone is a fallacy. There are a host of reasons for businesses to move their operations. Cost is a factor, but labor costs are rarely the biggest ones. It's usually regulations and/or taxes (or other costs/benefits) on the businesses that drive this, not labor costs.

Quote:
The link that you are describing is far from accurate. The price of the goods that are being sold has less to do with the employees, but the most beneficial price ratio (highest price for the most number of sales) has everything to do with the customers. I've done some driving to and fro a few states the last two months and I've noticed significant price differences in the same McDonald's meal. Of course you could argue the cost of living factor, but at some point, the manager is surpassing the median and making profit. The more profit the better. At that time, the management has the upper hand because there are no expectations of you receiving reciprocal raises.


Ok. Then why doesn't every McDonalds charge the same high price? Clearly, there is some force that prevents the cost of a big mac from increasing without end. That force is the willingness of the customers to pay for it. And that absolutely has to do with cost of living and relative wages in a given area. If people get paid more, they're more willing to pay more for a big mac, and the costs will go up (not to mention, the need to make more to pay for the higher wages themselves). If cost of living is lower, wages tend to be lower, but the price of a big mac will be lower as well.

If this was not true, then big macs would cost a thousand bucks. They don't. They don't because people wont pay a thousand bucks for a big mac. But if you raised the minimum hourly wage to $2000/hour, they would be willing to pay that much for a big mac. Why? Because it's still relatively the same price as it is right now (about half the price of the minimum wage). Prices for goods are relative to things like wages. The greed factor cancels itself out. All sides are greedy. the problem is that some people don't seem to get this and think that they can play games with the values and somehow improve things. But at the end of the day, someone will decide if the price of a big mac relative to their hourly wage is worth it. Thus, the price of said big mac will tend to stay somewhat constant relative to average wages in an area. It has to if the business wants to stay in business.

Similarly, the relative wages of the people who make the big mac is somewhat constant as well. You can cry and insist that big mac assemblers should make more. And you can even pass a law making it so. But the market will always react to that and adjust that relative cost/value. Same deal with wait staff. It's not how hard you work, or how good you are (or think you are). It's how the customer perceives the value of what you do relative to how much he gets paid for his own labor. You can't get around that fact no matter how hard you try.

Edited, Nov 29th 2012 5:46pm by gbaji
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#90 Nov 29 2012 at 7:55 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
How you failed to get that, I don't know. I spelled out out pretty completely in the following paragraphs.
I never missed it, it's just not all that relevant. People aren't going to drive across state to save $10 on a meal for 2. At least not with enough frequency to be relevant.

But I do beleive you misunderstood my intentions, which isn't surprising since it was tongue in cheek, which often blows right by you since you're always defensive.
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#91 Nov 29 2012 at 8:01 PM Rating: Default
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Let me leave you with this bottom line statement: If what you are saying is true, then a waiter at Donovans would make the same money as a waiter at Bob's Big Boy. That's clearly not the case, right? Assuming the owners of both establishments are equally greedy, then there must be some other factor that makes a waiter at a high end restaurant earn more than one at a low end chain. I'll give you a hint: It's the willingness of the customers to pay more for the food and service.
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#92 Nov 29 2012 at 8:08 PM Rating: Default
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Uglysasquatch wrote:
gbaji wrote:
How you failed to get that, I don't know. I spelled out out pretty completely in the following paragraphs.
I never missed it, it's just not all that relevant. People aren't going to drive across state to save $10 on a meal for 2. At least not with enough frequency to be relevant.


No. But they might decide to vacation in a state where their food costs will be lower than one where it will be higher. They might choose to send their kids to college in a state with lower cost of living than one with a higher cost of living. See the pattern here? So when a state makes a decision like what to set their minimum wages at, they need to consider a lot more factors than just whether it'll allow wait staff to make more money. Hence your flippant statement was somewhat meaningless.

Also, "more money" is a relative concept. Dollars are just numbers on pieces of paper. Their value is really only relative to the costs of things you can exchange them for. And the tendency when you raise the minimum wage is for the cost of everything you exchange those dollars for to increase as well. And where this has the most impact is on direct retail prices in a region (and housing costs). Paying people more money doesn't do anything if the costs of all the things they have to buy increases in direct proportion to the increase in pay.

Yes. I get that you were talking about relative to folks not earning tips, but I addressed that in my initial response as well.

Quote:
But I do beleive you misunderstood my intentions, which isn't surprising since it was tongue in cheek, which often blows right by you since you're always defensive.


I got that it was tongue in cheek. I was just pointing out why it doesn't work that way, just in case some people might not have gotten that. You do understand that for some people, your comment might be seen as an actual positive to making such a decision, right?
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Quote:
But they might decide to vacation in a state where their food costs will be lower than one where it will be higher.


I don't know what type of vacations you take, but "cost of food at restaurants" is no where near being on the list of things that make me decide where to go.
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TirithRR wrote:
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But they might decide to vacation in a state where their food costs will be lower than one where it will be higher.


I don't know what type of vacations you take, but "cost of food at restaurants" is no where near being on the list of things that make me decide where to go.


Yeah. I said "vacation", but I was really thinking about any form of travel. If you don't think that businesses plan out where they have training/conferences etc based on calculated per diem costs based on destination, you'd be horribly wrong. And I live in a tourist destination city. You'd be amazed how often I overhear obvious tourists/travelers commenting about how expensive things are. It may not affect their choice of destination as a whole, but it can affect their choices once they arrive.

Every time someone decides to order take out instead of eating in, a waiter is losing a tip. And that decision is kinda affected by relative cost. Hence why I commented that it's questionable as to how much it really helps the industry itself (and by extension those working in it) to require tips *and* high wages. There's a lot of factors involved, but everything that increases the cost to eat out versus eating in will affect how often people make that first choice. And that affects the total dollars flowing into those jobs industry wide.
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gbaji wrote:
And I live in a tourist destination city. You'd be amazed how often I overhear obvious tourists/travelers commenting about how expensive things are. It may not affect their choice of destination as a whole, but it can affect their choices once they arrive.
I've spent my entire life in tourism, with a fair chunk working in restaurants and the rest in hotels. What you're saying really isn't all that relevant. The price of food is rarely ever a deciding factor for just about any traveller. It's pretty much the smallest part of any trip decision. The cost of travel to/from, accommodations and activities are far bigger factors.
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#96 Nov 29 2012 at 9:11 PM Rating: Excellent
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a food in the door.

Worst restaurant ever.



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Gbaji, I don't have the time to respond to your whole post, so I'll just do the first part for now and respond to the rest later.

Gbaji wrote:
Which is paid by the customer, who uses that total bill amount to determine if the food/service was worth the price, thus having a very very real effect on the businesses bottom line. If a customer is willing to pay $20 for a given meal and service, whether that is broken up as $16 for the meal and $4 for the tip, or $20 for the meal is irrelevant from the customers perspective. That's how much he's willing to pay. The employer must pay the wait staff less money if they are getting that $4 tip since it comes out of the pool of money he could otherwise charge the customer directly.


This is a blatant fallacy. Just because the amount of a tip is based on how much a person spent on food, doesn't mean that the amount of money spent on food is based on a tip.

People like me see tips as extra. If I go in a place with a $30 budget, then that's what I'm spending on my meal. The tip is extra. I'm not going to not buy something I want to eat because it may cut into a tip. That person may or may not just get a smaller tip.

In other words.. the amount of money that I'm willing to spend on my meal is completely irrelevant to giving a tip. Unless it's already included in the meal. Else,the amount of the tip is decided at the end..... because it's a tip.. i.e. optional.
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#98 Nov 30 2012 at 9:05 AM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
And I live in a tourist destination city.
City, that's cute.
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#99 Nov 30 2012 at 9:19 AM Rating: Decent
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lolgaxe wrote:
gbaji wrote:
And I live in a tourist destination city.
City, that's cute.

Hey, I'm sure it compares favorably, to the Bronx.
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#100 Nov 30 2012 at 9:21 AM Rating: Excellent
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City folk...

Smiley: disappointed
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#101 Nov 30 2012 at 9:28 AM Rating: Excellent
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City folk...

Smiley: disappointed

Go home, Country Mouse.
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