After the Valley Fire erupted in Lake County last week, local disaster response began to mobilize and raised over $18,000.
In Sebastopol, the locally owned Community Market and Andy's Market began donation drives, with trucks streaming northward full of disaster relief supplies for Lake County residents. Restaurants held fundraisers. Evan Wiig of the Farmers Guild and the Sebastopol Grange organized a fundraiser in 72 hours, held last Thursday at the Sebastopol Grange.
Chefs pitched in, farmers donated produce, cheese makers donated cheese, dessert makers brought pies and cakes, Strauss Creamery doanted ice cream, and an amazing silent auction was held with seemingly countless donations.
As I watched all these events unfold, it made me reflect on the power of community. Sometimes we feel discouraged because we are unable to turn world events in a good direction. But when this disaster struck, the responses were, and continue to be, amazing. The feeling Thursday night at the grange was beautiful, so many people united in service to those in need. One message I got loud and clear: United, we are powerful. May we remember that and work together more and more.
Good tip or bad tip ("Going Tipless," Sept. 16), owners and management should be more connected to the client in the seat and know whether service and food are good or not. A good server will let management know if there is a problem at the table, even if they are the cause of the problem.
One thing not mentioned in this article is the increased taxation the owners would have to pay. Right now, owners are required to report a minimum of 8 percent of a server's sales as income. With no tipping, an employer would have to report 100 percent of the income of the server, and would have to match the federal, state, Social Security and Medicare taxes. Higher incomes mean employers pay more taxes. It wouldn't put them out of business, but it would cut into the bottom line and is not something one can put off paying.
I read with slight amazement that Peter Lowell's restaurant in Sebastopol is instituting a 20 percent service charge on each and every ticket and raising the prices 10 percent as well, thus eliminating tipping for servers. As a person who worked in the business for years and now frequents restaurants as a customer, I say phooey to that. It is expensive to eat out, especially if one enjoys good food, but forcing customers to pay a set tip feels manipulative and unfair. It was off-putting getting through all the feel-good philosophical explanations for the overcharging—oh, my bad: principled changes. Perhaps there could be less profit for better wages and benefits, but I digress.
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