I find that most people who go out to eat have never worked in a restaurant, but have very high expectations for how those employees should work. I got involved in a couple of discussions on tipping policies with friends over the past few days. Most people feel that a tip is something to be earned. I am OK with that idea for the most part. We should be providing you with the chance to get food and drinks brought to you in a timely manner and be what you wanted. However, we are not slaves or servants. Ask us, do not tell us, and you will find you get faster & happier service. After all we are people too.
As for what percent you tip...well all I can say is the "norm" these days is 15% at least. Our fabulous government taxes us on 10% of our sales, thus if you decide we were not up to your standards and leave less than that 10% we are actually losing money on your table.
I will say I find most people to be fair in their tipping. I have only a couple of times in my 20+ years within the industry not gotten a tip at all (being stiffed as we call it) and rarely get 10% there are times though.
There are those who say get a "real" job. I honestly can not tell you how much that bothers me. Being a server is a real job. It has both good and bad sides to it. Great flexibility, people and money. The people and money can be negatives at times too.
I left serving for a while, did back of the house and management duties only to find I worked harder for less money. I got more respect from people in saying I was a floor manager, but got more stress, hours and no more money. I will take the negative of being a server as for me the positive completely out ways it.