Daily Archives: March 8, 2012

You’re an Adult, Learn How to Tip!

When in San Antonio in 2004 with heretofore invisible friends, Sherry and Daphne, we encountered the rudest, ugliest acting college kids it has been my misfortune to encounter since the Iranian Hostage Protests in the late 70s in a Denny’s restaurant near our hotel. Those kids were jerks. There was probably a dozen of them, they stayed for almost 2 hours, they made a mess of the table and surrounding area, ate huge breakfasts, asked for more drinks and coffee many times while they were there and then DISCUSSED leaving her NO TIP before they decided that she would be grateful for 5 bucks. Sherry and I watched them leave and immediately went over to the table and placed a more substantial – and well earned – tip on the table. The waitress was also our waitress so we left her a large tip at our table when we left as well.

Amusingly, one of the deadbeats had forgotten his sunglasses and had to come back into the restaurant. He grabbed the glasses but not without noticing the money we’d set on the table. He got sort of a funny look on his face, glanced at us without saying anything and left. Don’t know if he said anything to the others or not but I hope he was good and embarrassed and I also hope he later got a job as waitstaff in an establishment where no one left him decent tips.

I read a great blog post this weekend called You’re an Adult, Learn How to Tip!. My favorite thing he says are the two following exerpts but I highly recommend you read his entire post.

  • Don’t get out your stupid phone to calculate a tip.

Just don’t. Why? A) You look like an idiot, and B) It is completely unnecessary unless you have some severe form of dyslexia. The only numbers you need to know are 10%, 15%, and 20%.

  • 10% = Bad Service, 15% = Below Average Service, 20% = Satisfactory Service

No. That wasn’t a typo, you read that right. TWENTY PERCENT is the standard for satisfactory service. I don’t care if you were taught that 10% is standard, it’s not, it’s a crap tip. Let’s think about this for a minute. You and a friend have a meal at a restaurant. You’re both drinking water (because you’re so healthy like that) and then you each have a $12.00 entree. Your total bill, including tax, is about $25.00. If you were to leave a 10% tip, that’s only $2-3. What’s the big deal you say? You’re not made of money? Consider this: You and your friend may have only spent $25.00, but you took an hour of the servers time, holding up a table, for a minuscule bill. In that hour, the server made $2.63 (in Massachusetts).**

**In Texas, the server, who might be my Chris, if you happen to be at the Austin Pappadeaux, would have made $2.13 during that hour.

  • If it’s under 25$, leave $5

I consider this a bit of an “advanced” rule, but I think you’re ready. Hell, it’s actually really simple. Rarely should you leave a tip under $5.00. Why, you say? Let’s consider my $5.00 tip from the photo. I stopped at ABC for lunch a few days ago. I drank a glass of water, a cup of coffee, and eat a small meal. The meal came to just over $14.00. If I use my 20% rule, I’m only getting to $3.00 and that’s not good enough. Especially for a breakfast and lunch diner that doesn’t sell any alcohol. So I left $5.00, and I always leave a fiver if it’s under $25.00 for the meal.

Chris, like most servers I know, works hard. He remembers his customers from visit to visit, their likes and dislikes, what drinks they like, if they prefer lemon and/or a straw in their water, and so many other things. Some wait tables for a living, some do it as a part time job while they are going to school. Kristie was waitstaff while in college as a part time job. For Chris waiting tables as a server is how he earns his living and puts himself through school. He works full time and goes to school full time. I had a heart for waitstaff well before being the parent of a server and I’ve always had a keen sense of right and wrong. Stiffing a server is just wrong. You wouldn’t like it if your paycheck was short because someone decided they didn’t want to pay you. Don’t do it to someone else.

You are an adult. Learn how to tip or stay home and cook for, and serve, yourself.


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