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Why don't black people know how to tip?

Ok, I'm a restaurant manager in New York City, Restaurant Row.  My restaurant is owned by a black celebrity, so obviously, we get a lot of black customers, although we like to consider our menu and decor "global eclectic".  Anyway, I notice time and time again my servers being screwed over by black people.  It really bothers me to see my servers getting all pissed whenever they get a black table, but I have to say that I have seen that they have good reason to.  My question is this:  Why don't we know how to tip?  DISCLAIMER: By asking this question, I'm wondering if it is a lack of knowledge of the tipping system (i.e. percentage) or is it just people being cheap? I mean, I've been in this industry for a while, but even before that I knew that 12-15 percent is the norm, no matter where you are.  When you get to a white tablecloth establishment on Restaurant Row in the heart of the theatre district, 15-20 percent is the norm....and people lean more towards the 20.  $5 is not an acceptable tip for a $100 check.  It comes off as if the service was bad, and in that case, a bad tip is understandable.

 I'm wondering if people realize that in an establishment where you have bussers pouring water, bartenders making drinks and runners bringing out the food, the server is not the only person the tip is going to.  Did you know that the bussers and runners get a percentage of the actual sales of the server?  That means that if you have a really big check and you only tip 5 dollars, none of that goes to the server because the server is at the bottom of the chain and gets only what's left after giving money to the house and tipping out bussers, runners and the bar.  I hate the fact that my own people are the worse tippers and I actually have servers not wanting to take black tables.

I realize that tipping is not mandatory but it is firmly established in our society and in upscale places, you have to pay for someone to do your bidding.

Comments

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buttaa
Jan. 23rd, 2005 05:21 am (UTC)
seems to me if I pay 100 dollars for a mean I shouldn't have to come off 16 dollars to someone who brought me some water a couple of times. It's pointless.
toodani
Jan. 23rd, 2005 05:24 am (UTC)
#$%^&*(*&^%$#$%^&*
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toodani
Jan. 23rd, 2005 05:23 am (UTC)
i wish i could personally hand this out to every black person who i know gives a substandard tip just because it's the way they always do it.

i have a million other odd restaurant habits, probably one for every group out there, i just save em for the waitingtables community.

btw, how'd you get to where you are? Degree or working the chain or both?
tcnugent
Jan. 23rd, 2005 05:28 am (UTC)
Both.
thewayoftheid
Jan. 23rd, 2005 05:30 am (UTC)
Why don't black people know how to tip?

I don't know, but this question really insults those of us who do.
tcnugent
Jan. 23rd, 2005 05:36 am (UTC)
I don't mean to insult, but I'm just telling it like it is based on what I see everyday. By asking that question I'm assuming that the lack of tipping is based on not knowing what the system is(in terms of percentage) as opposed to just being cheap.
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denim_queen
Jan. 23rd, 2005 05:32 am (UTC)
*snorts*
My tips are reserved for those servers, white or black, who go beyond the standard service.

My definition of standard service: If you come to my table and take my order, bring me my food and keep my drink filled, and give me my check.

I've had too many instances where I've had to get out of my seat and hunt down servers in order ask for napkins, refills on my drink, the correct eating utensils (I once ordered a steak at a local restuarant and was given a butter knife), and even ask for my check.

It's the attitudes like the ones that your servers have towards Black patrons (and yes it shows no matter how they try, to hide it) that keeps them from getting a tip.

Also, I take issue with people who think they are entitled to a portion of my money because they decided to come to work that day.
aurorajames
Jan. 23rd, 2005 05:37 am (UTC)
Re: *snorts*
Well my personal tip fluctuates depending on the server. I only leave nothing if they offend me or if they were just terrible. I'll leave around 10% if they were average, and much more if they were above average.
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rdm85
Jan. 23rd, 2005 05:39 am (UTC)
I feel bad now
I am a poor tipper. I figure that anyplace i go, i just do $5.00 b/c that seemed right to me. Now that i know 15-20%, i'll do a better job. I wish someone had told me 2.35 was the pay, i would've been putting in more than the 20%(which i will think of next time i eat out). I'm for pissy servers. Bad tips would drive me over the edge too.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 23rd, 2005 10:45 pm (UTC)
Re: I feel bad now
I wouldn't feel too bad...I know quite a few people who work for tips that average more per hour than the managers do.

The restaurant has to guarantee that they at least make minimum wage. Some places assume you make 8% of the sales in tips.
intlpopstar
Jan. 23rd, 2005 05:49 am (UTC)
I don't know, I'm pretty good with tipping. It really does depend though if they were good. But, I usually even try to give them 10% even if they did SUCK.

Most people don't realize that if you get a $15 dollar check, 15% of that is $2.25.

I think people just lazy and don't want to do the math LOL.
johanna_bananaz
Jan. 23rd, 2005 08:11 am (UTC)
u know if thats ever the case usually what can make it easy for them is just double the tax. alot of the time it always comes out equilivant to 15%. also people dont have to do the math in their head, everyone has a cell phone, there is a little device called a calculator in it. not that hard at all.
toodani
Jan. 23rd, 2005 05:49 am (UTC)
i have a big rant just biting to get out of me. but this is not looking like the thread to place it in. it's clear that these people do not and can not understand what goes on in a restaurant outside of their one foot radius. i'm just going to go to sleep now and pray that none of these people or any of their like-mnded friends step foot in my restaurant during my dreaded sunday morning shift.
pradagirl
Jan. 23rd, 2005 05:52 am (UTC)
Honey I can so relate!!
If you're too damn cheap to tip then stay the fuck home!!
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amai_unmei
Jan. 23rd, 2005 05:56 am (UTC)
How many of us good black tippers were servers once?

I pretty much start at 20% and depending on the service, it goes up or down from there. Just got back from a fantastic restaurant ... it was busy ('cause the food is just that good) and it took 45 minutes to get a seat, but service from the time we were seated was very good. The server got a little more than twenty percent tip.

And for what it's worth, I had to teach my white boyfriend how to tip. He was HORRIBLE at it ... leaving $5 for a $50+ bill and whatnot. Now, he lets me leave the tip and everything is lovely. :)
pradagirl
Jan. 23rd, 2005 06:00 am (UTC)
I'm that way too...I always tip well because I know what its like.
Even if I receive crappy service I still tip well.
I've had friends who weren't sure how to tip and told them the easiest way to remember is take 10% of the total bill and times it by two for 20%.
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thewayoftheid
Jan. 23rd, 2005 05:58 am (UTC)
Wow. The classism in this thread is fucking ridiculous, almost to the point where it makes me want to beat people with a sock full of canadian nickels.
pradagirl
Jan. 23rd, 2005 06:01 am (UTC)
I hope I'm not one of the ones you want to beat :-(
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karnythia
Jan. 23rd, 2005 06:02 am (UTC)
*SIGH*
I just want to know in which version of America's reality, are any people working in a service position at a level below management, making enough money to actually live on? Most waitstaff makke below 1/2 of minimum wage. Is the structure fair? No, I much prefer the system in other countries where the tip is actually figured into the cost of the meal. Extra tips are appreciated, but either way your server is actually taking home enough money to eat. If the server is an ass, don't leave a tip or say something to their manager, but this attitude that they should pick a different job makes no sense. If you don't want to tip, then stick to McDonald's or eat at home. I do think saying all black people are lousy tippers is a damned broad generalization, especially as non-tipping seems to be more of a generational thing.
tcnugent
Jan. 23rd, 2005 06:07 am (UTC)
Re: *SIGH*
I agree with you but by no mean did I say that all black people are bad tippers. I am asking the question as to whether it is about lack of knowledge or 'you ain't gettin my money' attitude.
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layandeat
Jan. 23rd, 2005 06:05 am (UTC)
You're talking about me!!
I absolutely HATE that I'm obligated to tip. And yes there have been many times, when I've given below that 15%. It basically depends on how many singles I have in my purse. I do have some sympathy for the waiters/servers, b/c they're paid low. But not enough to cough up extra money out my pocket, when I dont have to. Call me cheap or whatever. I care not. Ha, once as a tip I left a note on a napkin. (But that was only cause we hated the food, and got crazy bad service) I dont see it as someone else do my bidding...I see it as their job which they get paid to do. Shoo, I get paid to do stuff for someone else, and I feel I'm underpaid, aint nobody tippin my ass.

Anyways, can't you just add a standard gratutites to the check??




denim_queen
Jan. 23rd, 2005 06:08 am (UTC)
Re: You're talking about me!!
word
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pjordha
Jan. 23rd, 2005 06:10 am (UTC)
tipping
I've noticed the same thing. Now reading some other comments, I'm thinking it could be this:

-Restaurants, places with valet parking, etc. maybe aren't the kinds of places that Blacks as a whole have been exposed to, historically, and a lot of Blacks just don't *know* that the servers really, really live on tips.

-Even to this day I've noticed that Blacks/minorites often get seated in the back, near the bathrooms or kitchens, and receive substandard service. It's probably not that common now, but think about Jim Crow-era America. Think about back when Blacks had to stand outside or sit at segregated areas to eat. Why would a person tip well, or at *all*, if they are going to be treated like that?

--I'm thinking it's mostly that we, as a whole, haven't always had a lot of money. If one only has so much, they are probably not going to willingly give up more $$ if it's not a *requirement.*

--I've not had many Black waitpersons in my life. I bet Black people would be more likely to tip a Black server well than anyone else, wrong or right. Maybe we think that the tips only go to the waitstaff and/or the hostess/hosts, who, in my experience, tend to be NOT people of color. Maybe we see (or assume) all the POC are in the kitchen, and won't ever see our tips, so we don't bother.

Summing up, I think it's a cultural thing. It's not that we're cheap. We just don't place tipping as a priority. Mostly the tips I've given to Blacks have been and the beauty shop, and I doubt those people get good tips, either. Of course, look at all the money Black women shell out for hair care. They really don't want to tip well after spending $75 on a touch up.

So, yeah. I hope that makes sense.
tcnugent
Jan. 23rd, 2005 06:17 am (UTC)
Re: tipping
Wow, thanks for actually answering my question!!! Yeah, but that can't really be said in my restaurant because it is black owned and we have an all black front of the house staff. Actually, our clientele is more older-white-lady than anything else, so it's not like our black customers would feel out of place when they see the black owners at the bar and have a 100% probability of having a black server.
Re: tipping - pradagirl - Jan. 23rd, 2005 06:35 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: tipping - buttaa - Jan. 23rd, 2005 06:40 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: tipping - pradagirl - Jan. 23rd, 2005 06:42 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: tipping - intlpopstar - Jan. 23rd, 2005 06:52 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: tipping - polymexina - Jan. 23rd, 2005 08:00 am (UTC) - Expand
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lostintheabyss
Jan. 23rd, 2005 06:35 am (UTC)
I'll put it up front here. I'm a midwestern white girl, and I'm going to comment on this, because I make my living waiting tables.

In the area where I work, suburban Detroit, we get a little bit of everyone in the restaurant. It's a chain of sports bar type places, attracts the people who want to see the sports, eat good food, etc. When I first started there, it was my first serving job, I was warned about the 'black tables.' I found that if I treated everyone the same, though, that my tips would remain about the same all night long. I would get tables of every race, religion, creed, color, whatever, some would tip me well, some would not tip at all. It wasn't that I was giving different service, it was just that there are people of all types who don't know how to tip. While I may not be able to address the original poster's question, I can say that in my experience, waiting on one person is like waiting on the next. Everyone has complaints sometimes, everyone is more than satisfied sometimes. All customers have bad days, just like servers do. Treat people how you would like to be treated, and you will be better off.

on a side note: I am getting out of the service industry because I'm sick of relying on the kindness of strangers for my income, and I'm sick of the irregular hours.

just my piddly two cents into this whole thing. I always tip at least 20%, or explain to the server why I am doing differently.
tcnugent
Jan. 23rd, 2005 06:55 am (UTC)
Yeah when I was serving I treated everyone the same and that's what would be so heartwrenching: You treat a table great and give them great service and they give you $5 for a $100 check...so you're left wondering if it a matter of people not knowing how to tip or just being cheap asshats
(no subject) - lostintheabyss - Jan. 23rd, 2005 07:10 am (UTC) - Expand
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tcnugent
Jan. 23rd, 2005 07:02 am (UTC)
*STANDING OVATION*
vortex
Jan. 23rd, 2005 06:55 am (UTC)
I can't comment much on why "black people" don't tip because I always tip and I mostly tip very well.

When I'm at a restaurant, I typically tip 15-20% for standard service (take order, bring food, fill drinks). But if I get a really good server (reccomends/explains choices without me asking, checking every few minutes to see if I'm/my group are ok with everything, party hats, happy happy person, etc...) I'll tip 22-30% or more, no question. Even if I'm with a group who orders a lot of stuff and my friends are cheap, I'll throw in an extra $20-50 or so just to let the waitperson know that I appreciate their service.

If I'm at a bar or club where drinks cost $5-7 dollars, I'll typically tip $3 per drink. If I order a drink they are unfamiliar with and they get it right or come close to getting it right, or if they remember me and the drink I want when I come up to the bar, I'll tip $10-$15 or more per drink. I've given a bartender at one particular club I visit here in Atlanta $20 per drink all night because when I walk up to the bar, he'll see me, work my drink (and make it strong) and serve me within 20 seconds...
intlpopstar
Jan. 23rd, 2005 06:58 am (UTC)
You must be ballin'.

LOL
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rubyphoenix
Jan. 23rd, 2005 07:15 am (UTC)
sooooooo funny u just posted that. i just posted the exact same thing not even knowing.
tcnugent
Jan. 23rd, 2005 07:27 am (UTC)
Yeah I commented but then I deleted cuz I didn't want it to continue. I say cheap ass muther*bleepers* stay your ass home. The end.
_endemic
Jan. 23rd, 2005 07:31 am (UTC)
Naw, I really feel u on this post, I generally tip well...but whenever I go out with my friends...they are so stingy talking about how they dont have money and we always end up arguing over the tip. I have to cover their tips cuz they leave a dollar tip for a 30 dollar meal. Oh man, it really pisses me off. I dont know if I can exclude white people but my experience with poor tipping come from solely black people. Grrr...I get annoyed at this subject and I am not even in the business-but I do understand ur situation(my ex was a waitress) Maybe Ill come to ur restaurant and tip well there:)
lovexemity
Jan. 23rd, 2005 08:01 am (UTC)
Wow @ this post...
polymexina
Jan. 23rd, 2005 08:04 am (UTC)
i'll be honest. i ALWAYS tip. but if you give me sub standard service (for example, if i need to track you down for a refill, to take my order, or you give me the wrong order) then i'm not going to tip you a full 20%. i get that ips are important... but i also don't think that they're a requirement. and if the service sucks then i'm gonna tip less. i don't have enough money to be giving it out to people who've just been rude to me.
gfrancie
Jan. 23rd, 2005 09:14 am (UTC)
I just thought it was the Canadians who were bad tippers. Now the black folk.
pradagirl
Jan. 23rd, 2005 04:15 pm (UTC)
Don't get me started on the canadians...lol!
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albonix
Jan. 23rd, 2005 09:16 am (UTC)
Here's an idea ...
Why don't you just pay your servers, bussers and bar tenders more and lay off of the Colored Folks' backs?

I tip according to how much I like the service. So if your servers already have an attitude about being given my table, and my service then suffers, why tip them? Fuck 'em.

You can solve your black people woes by changing the place into a Country Bar and playing the Dixie Chicks all night.
pradagirl
Jan. 23rd, 2005 04:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Here's an idea ...
If they do that you can expect the cost of your meals to go up 20%.
Then the server has no incentive to go the extra mile for you.
Re: Here's an idea ... - albonix - Jan. 23rd, 2005 06:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Here's an idea ... - pradagirl - Jan. 23rd, 2005 06:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Here's an idea ... - albonix - Jan. 23rd, 2005 07:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Here's an idea ... - pradagirl - Jan. 23rd, 2005 07:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Here's an idea ... - albonix - Jan. 23rd, 2005 07:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
dotters
Jan. 23rd, 2005 09:21 am (UTC)
i admit i have a bit of an asshole mentality when it comes to tipping. i think part of it is i'm a brokeass student so i don't have much money to spare on top of the bill. i do 15% when i'm impressed, 10 or less or none when i'm feelin neutral. i think also i can be a very literal person sometimes, and i just never saw tips as mandatory because of the definition of the word itself. i think servers should get paid to do what they do without me being responsible for their rent, because really if i have to pay you to do it i'd rather get it myself.
like tonite, i ate at ruby tuesday's for $12.81 and the dude was cool, kinda slow in the brain--i left a dollar. but i was at a table where the other girls left $2 each so i didn't feel as bad.
and i realize that the way i think isn't normal, but that's really just how i feel. i don't understand why the resturants don't pay servers for what they do, and expect the customers to (i'm talking about situations where servers make like $3/hr or whatever). maybe you can help me out w/that since you're a resturant manager. and what celeb owns your establishment?
pradagirl
Jan. 23rd, 2005 04:20 pm (UTC)
If you can't afford the tip in addition to the meal, then don't eat out until you can.
If the restaurants paid servers more the cost would be deffered to you in the way of higher prices for your meal. You would then have a server that had no incentive to go the extra mile for you.
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magentathompson
Jan. 23rd, 2005 09:24 am (UTC)
Whinewhinebitchwhinewhinebitchandwhine.
Oh give me a motherfucking break.

I am so sick of waiters and their goddamned WHINING. You guys act like you got hired and then they suddenly TOLD you that you're only getting two bucks an hour. If you don't want to take the chance that you may only make $2 an hour because you're depending on the kindness of strangers, DON'T BE A FUCKING WAITER. I was a waiter for all of two days, and why? Because I think the whole system sucks. I think the "wait staff" rate should be fucking illegal. But since it's NOT, I chose another crappy-paying job. And please don't give me that bullshit about how you HAVE to wait tables (like how you HAVE to strip), because McDonald's is always hiring.

This is my beef with tipping. Society is putting a lot of pressure for us to just tip ANY motherfucker - the waiters, the pizza guys, the coffee barista, the dude who pushes your cart to the car...PLEASE. And then there's the matter of not tipping ENOUGH! "Wah! $5 isn't enough! I want $10!" Well, so do I! I would LOVE for people to throw me money just for doing my job, but it ain't happening, now is it?

I'm not obligated to tip you. You're not my fucking child, so I'm not supplementing your fucking income. I shouldn't have to pay you extra money just so you can do your job WELL. You should do it WELL, regardless. Otherwise, you're going to be awfully pissed when you stop waiting tables and go on to another job and you DON'T get cash thrown at you daily. (Unless you're upgrading from waiter to stripper.) Oh, boo-hoo, so if I don't tip you enough, you're going to piss in my coffee or spit in my food? You think I'm afraid of that? Do you know how resilient the human body is?

You know who I tip - on the VERY rare ocassion that I go out to eat? The waiters who don't treat me like shit because I'm a black woman who you had to seat. The ain't the 60s. This isn't a sit-in. Negroes are going to patronize your business, BITCH, so get your eyeballs from the back of your head and get me my table. I've had so many waiters treat me like CRAP because I'm black and therefore, I'm not going to tip and I MUST be cheap. Am I supposed to break the stereotype by parting with my hard-earned cash to prove that we're not all cheap? FUCK THAT. When you treat me like a human being - and bring me my food hot, quickly and with smile on your face, I will GLADLY tip. Or at the very LEAST, let me know why the hell it's taking 45 minutes to grill a hamburger. Waiters like to play martyrs, but I've met too many eye-rolling, teef-suckin' BASTARDS to even feed into that "I'm a great waiter and NO ONE tips me!" bullshit.

$5 is not an acceptable tip for a $100 check.

Good to know. Next time I won't leave anything. Wouldn't want to insult anyone.
dotters
Jan. 23rd, 2005 10:11 am (UTC)
Re: Whinewhinebitchwhinewhinebitchandwhine.
your journal is friends only...am i cool enough to friend you?
Re: Whinewhinebitchwhinewhinebitchandwhine. - albonix - Jan. 23rd, 2005 11:09 am (UTC) - Expand
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chap
Jan. 23rd, 2005 01:03 pm (UTC)
Before I start let me say that I generally overtip when I go out leaving 20-30%. A lot of my friends used to be servers and I understand there need.

Here is what I don't understand. Lets say I went into a restaurant yesterday and ordered a burger deluxe which is just a burger with fries and spend 7 or 8 bux. Today I could go back and get a steak which might also just come with fries or something of that nature and spend 20 or more. Now the server does the EXACT SAME AMOUNT OF WORK that they do when I order one or the other. Maybe slightly more since I would probably need a steak knife, but thats about it.

Now taking that into account, why is it that I should spend more for the exact same service I got yesterday, when they didn't do anything more today? What is the logic behind it? While I still overtip, I don't understand the logic behind why people feel the tip should be based on the bill. I can understand if a 7 course meal was ordered and they have to do quite a bit of work, but if the only thing that changed is what they bring on my plate whats the difference?
lostintheabyss
Jan. 23rd, 2005 04:12 pm (UTC)
Servers are taxed on the dollar amount that they sell, because the government assumes that people will tip. If someone leaves a $2 tip on a $10 tab, that's all well and good, the server will get to see some of that money. If another person leaves $2 on the $20 steak, chances are the server ends up actually paying (through taxes, tipping out bussers and bartenders, etc) to bring that plate to that person. Yes, it is the same amount of work, but because of how the government views tipping practices, the amount the server is taxed is higher, therefore the tip should be higher.
(no subject) - chap - Jan. 23rd, 2005 04:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tcnugent - Jan. 23rd, 2005 10:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
majikman37
Jan. 23rd, 2005 01:16 pm (UTC)
okay, this is sickening...
I have read many comments from this thread and alot of them have said, "why should i pay for some one who is doing thier job?" " i don't see it as them doing my bidding!" WELL....

ONE, they get paid much less hourly. and for what i have read a little over 2 odllars...

and

TWO, the tips are shared throughout, by all of the people in the establishment....

i mean from what i have read by some of the comments here, i might as well say hey, the slaves where just doing thier jobs, not my bidding!

and by the way i am a black man with a master's degree, and it pisses me off; the mentality of us! We expect so much for so little and we show it in our interactions with the world.
chap
Jan. 23rd, 2005 01:34 pm (UTC)
Re: okay, this is sickening...
"TWO, the tips are shared throughout, by all of the people in the establishment...."

That is not true at all establishments
Re: okay, this is sickening... - pradagirl - Jan. 23rd, 2005 04:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: okay, this is sickening... - layandeat - Jan. 23rd, 2005 03:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Re: okay, this is sickening... - albonix - Jan. 23rd, 2005 06:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: okay, this is sickening... - majikman37 - Jan. 25th, 2005 02:55 am (UTC) - Expand
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Re: okay, this is sickening... - majikman37 - Jan. 25th, 2005 03:18 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: okay, this is sickening... - albonix - Jan. 25th, 2005 05:15 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: okay, this is sickening... - majikman37 - Jan. 25th, 2005 01:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Re: okay, this is sickening... - richirch2 - Jan. 23rd, 2005 08:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: okay, this is sickening... - majikman37 - Jan. 25th, 2005 02:49 am (UTC) - Expand
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Re: okay, this is sickening... - majikman37 - Jan. 25th, 2005 02:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
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