Hostess: Dean, Amy, I just sat you.Waiter: Oh, sh!t. What do we got?
Hostess: Well, yours are cool. They look like business people.
Waiter: All right.
Waitress: What about mine?
Hostess: I don’t know. They don’t speak English.
Hostess: I’m sorry.
Waitess: Are you mad at me?
Hostess: No, I swear! I’m just going by the rotation.
Waitress: I f*cking hate foreigners! It’s such bullsh!t!
Hostess: Like they don’t know how to tip?
Waitress: Oh, they know.
Waiter: Aw, yeah, they f*cking know!
The above quote is from the movie Waiting, a comedy about a TGI Fridays-esque chain restaurant called Shenaniganz. As expected, the waiters and waitresses spend a lot of time bitching about tips, but there’s one group in particular they dread most — foreigners.
In the film, five or six Europeans sit down at a booth and pretend they don’t speak a word of English, presenting themselves as tourists who aren’t familiar with the American custom of tipping for service.
As crafters on every server can attest, some World of Warcraft players aren’t much different when it comes to tipping the people who make or enhance their gear. In one way, WoW’s bad tippers are worse than the foreigners in Waiting — you can see the Europeans coming, but Azeroth’s bad tippers don’t look any different from their better-tipping brethren.
Although real money is not at stake when it comes to in-game tipping, bad tips can influence player behavior — why would a crafter keep a BoE pattern if they’re getting paltry tips on big-ticket items? If they know from past experience they’re not going to recoup the going price of the pattern by crafting an item, why not just sell off the pattern?
Those were questions I asked myself a few months back, when I accumulated four Trial of the Crusader patterns for iLevel 245 gear and hadn’t ‘learned’ them yet. If I can get upwards of 5k for each of these patterns, I thought, is it really worth it to keep them for crafting?
As it turned out, it hasn’t been worth it. That’s a lesson I should have learned back in The Burning Crusade.
An example: Recently a Hunter had me craft a Crusader’s Dragonscale Breastplate. He had me travel to Undercity to meet him, kept me waiting for about 10 minutes as he finished buying off the materials, stood there eagerly while I hit the ‘create’ button, and ended the transaction by tipping a whopping 5g. Five gold is cool if I’m converting some Borean Leather into Heavy Borean for you, or if your level 50-something alt wants a Blue Dragonscale Breastplate. But if you’re asking a crafter to make you a near best-in-slot item that requires thousands of gold in mats, and you make that person travel to — and then wait for — you to gather up mats, you should tip them well.
I can’t help but notice how, on my server, there are a handful of people Horde-side who I’d consider completists when it comes to patterns and plans, while the rest seem content to max their crafting skill, make a few items for themselves and call it a day.
Around the same time as the above example, I had a player craft Crusader’s Dragonscale Bracers for me. I bought two of the Crusader Orbs with emblems, paid up the nose for the other two, and presented the mats with a 150g tip, which I still felt was kinda low despite my depleted in-game finances. Likewise, if I bring three epic gems to a jewelcrafter, I usually tip around 60g, or a little more than 20g per cut. I haven’t gotten any complaints, and I hope the crafters I deal with are happy.
Should we, as players, be tipping 15% or 20% on crafted items, as if we were settling the tab at a diner? No. A tip of 1k gold on an item that costs less than 6k to craft is problably excessive for most people, although if you’re one of those players sitting on more gold than Scrooge McDuck, you could make a crafter very, very happy that way. (I know one guy who was the GM of a large raid guild, and he claims he’s got more than 100k.)
Tips should reflect the value of the item being crafted, its rarity, its power, and the good faith of the crafter who learned it instead of selling it off at the Auction House. If a crafter makes a grand total of 15 Bracers of Swift Death, and she receives an average 10g tip for each of those bracers, the fact that she could have earned thousands more gold by selling the pattern will not elude her.
And while it’s true that every pattern sold through the Auction House finds its way into the possession of another crafter, those might not be the same folks who hang around in Dalaran or Orgrimmar for hours, offering their services in trade chat. Some people view crafting as a minigame itself, and it’s much better to have a reliable, frequently-available crafter on your friend’s list than it is to chase down a player who’s always in an instance or out farming somewhere away from civilization.
Of course, as in the real world, if you receive bad service you can choose to reduce your tip, or not tip at all. In the service industry, customers use their wallets to provide feedback. But if you’re happy with the transaction? Next time you excitedly gather up the mats for a big-ticket item and bring them to a friendly crafter for a key enchant or piece of gear, put yourself in their shoes and show your appreciation in gold. Like a bartender, they won’t forget you, and next time you need something they’re more likely to go out of their way to help you.
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