TIPS AND CREDIT CARDS
Restaurant’s mistake was in the timing
In response to the uproar caused by Blue Plate Restaurant Co. taking out 2 percent of the server’s tips to cover credit card fees, I’ve worked in restaurants (in Minnesota) that reclaim the 2 percent from my tips. It’s not the big deal it’s being made out to be in the newspapers (“Conscientious consumers, don’t let servers get cheated,” Readers Write, Aug. 7). The restaurant owner has to pay a fee of 3 to 3.5 percent to process the credit card. By deducting 2 percent, the restaurant was simply asking me to pay my fair share of the fee. And I did it, because serving is a great job with flexible hours. On top of that, people will usually tip a bit more if they’re paying with credit cards.
I think it was a stupid move for Blue Plate to institute this policy in conjunction with the minimum-wage increase — it ties the two events together, even if the issues are unrelated. Furthermore, Minnesota is one of the few states without a tip credit, which would allow employers to pay servers less than minimum wage. A server in Wisconsin only makes $2.33 an hour. So, even with a 2 percent fee, Minnesota servers are doing much better than their counterparts in other states.
Don’t boycott; it only hurts the servers. If you want to express your disagreement with the “2 percent policy,” tip in cash — win/win for everyone.
Denise C. Sparrow, St. Paul
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Every year that the minimum wage did not rise to keep up with inflation was effectively a pay cut for minimum-wage employees, who were being asked to live on the same amount each year as the cost of living continued to rise (“Cafe adds fee for wage hike,” Aug. 7).
I find it telling that the owners of the Oasis Cafe in Stillwater did not choose to add a line-item “minimum wage freeze discount” at the bottom of their restaurant checks.
Nicholas Rezmerski, Minneapolis
VETERANS’ HEALTH CARE
What I learned as a VA hospital volunteer
When I volunteered at the VA hospital in Minneapolis, I was at first skeptical as to what I would encounter following months of political turmoil. So, my curious nature lead me to ask veterans how they enjoyed their stay at the VA. Easily nine out of 10 veterans replied they loved being at the VA — not because of the technology, health care or availability, but because of the people.
The doctors, nurses, volunteers and all others who serve those who have “borne the battle” make the Minneapolis VA consistently one of the highest ranked hospitals in the nation. With all the controversy surrounding the Department of Veterans Affairs, Minnesotans should be proud that Minnesota Nice has prevailed amid scandal. To all of those who give our veterans, the defenders of freedom, the care they so deserve, here’s to you.
Sam Pahl, Eden Prairie
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.