Re: Tipping Question - Update
All of this is fairly intriguing...
I don't do takeout at many restaurants other than a pizza place, and have never tipped there. My reasoning has pretty much been the same as Goodoleboy's wife. Though the reasoning offered for tipping on takeout will cause me to reconsider should I do that someplace other than a pizza place.
I have always thought 18% was customary for good service...
I leave 20% (rounded up to an even amount) almost universally. There have been RARE occasions that the service & food were just inexcusable and I've left $1. They probably wrote me off as cheap, because they were so indifferent to their customers they were probably clueless as well. I tend to be pretty forgiving, so you really have to be eye-poppingly bad to get less than 20% from me.
I have to say though, the whole premiss of tipping is supposed to be discretionary and based on the service received. That an industry is able to pay an unfair wage and expect their customers to "overpay" to compensate the employee just doesn't seem right, even though "that's how it has been done" since I came into existence a half century ago.
I have travelled overseas, and in many places, tipping is not expected. It is a bonus for exceptional service, as it should be in my opinion. There is a restaurant that I saw recently, maybe in Philly but could be someplace else, that said they do not expect tips, though they are welcome for exceptional service, because the entire staff were paid a good wage and benefits (something else that isn't very common for waitresses/waiters). They said they had something like 3000 applicants for 20 or so positions. It was a fairly "upscale" place if I recall correctly.
I personally would rather the menu price just be higher, and the restaurant pay their employees. If somebody impresses me somehow, I'll leave them a "bonus". The way it is, the menu price is artificially low (because you are expected to tip a certain amount) and they leave it up to the customer to pay their employee. The only one who is at risk of getting shafted is the server. The whole system is goofy.