We went out to dinner last night, and the service was just typical L.A., i.e., you felt like the server was stoned. We actually sat in the bar area and the bartender was our server.

We saw our food sitting in the window for almost fifteen minutes. The bartender forgot to pick it up. We saw the plates sitting there under the hot lights. I almost went to get them myself.

The bartender knew she had screwed up, but when she brought the food over all she said to us was “hot plates!” Of course they were hot. They had been sitting under a hot light for fifteen minutes.

Then she couldn’t figure out how to get our bill to print from the computer. By the time she did figure it out, we were late for the horrible movie we ended up seeing.

By the way, don’t go see “The Informant!” It was really bad (and really dumb).

So when I finally get the bill for dinner, I’m looking at it and thinking about how I have to leave a tip for this woman. I’m thinking, “Doesn’t a tip mean that you enjoyed the service?”

I bartended for seven years, and if I ever didn’t get a tip I always assumed it was because I gave poor service or because someone was cheap. Nowadays, tips are viewed as handouts. Everyone wants a tip. In fact, let’s talk about that . . .

Could I get tipped please? Excuse me, I have some advice for you. Can you leave me a tip?

When did we become a tip society? Have you noticed that everywhere you go — whether it’s Starbucks or a local takeout restaurant — that there’s a little line on the credit card slip for you to insert a tip or a jar on the counter asking you to leave a tip?

We’re expected to tip people even when we’re getting takeout. I remember sending someone I used to date with my credit card to pick up some food for us. When she gave me the receipt, I noticed she left a $7.00 tip . . . for takeout! I almost went through the roof.

Why am I tipping the person for takeout? What is up with everyone expecting to be tipped?

On an average Sunday, you’re forced to top people all day long. If you go to brunch (which is a ‘self-serve’ meal), you have got to tip the waiter.

Wait a minute. I’m paying for food that costs me four times what I would have paid to buy it myself. Don’t restaurants pay people?

I have to pay my employees. Why can’t I pay my employees cheap wages and have them just make up the difference in tips?

You’re expected to tip everybody nowadays. You get a massage, you’ve got to leave a tip. You get a haircut, you have to tip. At a hotel you have to tip the concierge, the bellboy, the busboy, the waiter and the maid.

You have to tip everyone. Tipping the hotel maid? I know they don’t make good wages, but isn’t that the choice they made?

Why are we tipping everyone in the world? Why is everyone in the world entitled to a tip?

Why do we have to tip 20% in a restaurant.  Why do we give a 20% tip everywhere we go.  If we spent $100.00 on a Saturday, you’re really spending $120.00 because of all the people you’ve tipped throughout the day.

There are tip cups everywhere you go. You go to a local bagel shop, and the person there who decided to work for minimum wage cutting a bagel expects a tip. You get a cup of coffee and there is a tip cup. You get a scoop of ice cream, and there is a tip cup at the register.

People also try to give you guilt if you don’t contribute to their tip cups. The other day I picked up some takeout food, and as I signed the credit card slip without leaving a tip the woman gave me a dirty look as she put the food in the bag. She expected me to give her a tip (instead of hoping that I would leave her one).

I worked many jobs like this when I was younger, and I never expected to get a tip from every customer (or, really, from any customers). If I got a tip, I was happy. Of course, I expected to get tipped when I was bartending, but not when I was working behind a counter.

So, here’s a tip. If you don’t like what you’re getting paid at your job, go get a new one. Why is everyone at every job entitled to a tip?