This thread on The Straight Dope discusses how much one should be tipping. Go down a dozen or so posts and read a few of the long comments from waiters. None of them make over $3.00 an hour. The system completely sucks, but tipping the waiter poorly solves nothing, especially since they are taxed on x% regardless of what they get, and they need to tip out the rest of the staff with their puny earnings. What a crappy job.